Sunday writing chat prompts for 7 May 2023

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    • #9709

      The Sunday Brunch Prompted Writing Chat is an opportunity each week to test your skills at writing under pressure — or to have some fun without the need to be brilliant — or both!

      The prompts are intended as both as a challenge and a starting point, open to creative interpretation. You can use these as an excuse to write anything that comes to mind, whether it’s fiction or creative non-fiction or a mixture of both. You can write a separate piece for each prompt, or try to link them all together in a single story.

      If you join in the chat, you can add “an excuse to complain about unfair prompts” to the entertainment, too. But even if you can’t attend the chat session, feel free to give the prompts a try anyway (and leave your responses, comments, or complaints in this thread if you like).

      This week’s prompts are posted below.

      1. Use the following five words: shadow, flush, piece, marine, article. (10 min)

      2. Use the phrase, “kick off your shoes.” (10 min)

      3. Write about removing a mask. (10 min)

    • #9710

      Eck strayed a bit behind the others. There was a scuffle behind him, a shadow flashed in front of a street lamp, and he froze. There was a sound of breaking glass, repeated.

      “Damn, I was gonna drink that beer,” someone laughed hoarsely.

      It was difficult for Eck to hear, and he didn’t dare turn around. For the moment he didn’t seem to be the target.

      “We don’t like your kind here, on our streets,” said another voice. It was strange, not unlike the one Olivia used. Deeper than most women, but with overtones carefully cultivated.

      “Who’s we?” came the response. Eck thought it might have been Peter, but the voice was muffled somehow, and most grad students didn’t go in for late-night extracurriculars. He still didn’t turn to look.

      “Look around you.” There was a pause. “Call me Mo. I was a marine once. My friends here are mostly marine vets, some army. We… keep order on the streets. Seemed to me you were following those fine folks.”

      “Just a bunch of queers.”

      “Yeah, well. We’re here to flush the queer-bashing right out of our town. These guys haven’t done a proper ambush in years and they’re itching for it,” said Mo. “Besides, not to take it personally, but some of your target demographic overlaps the homeless vet population who run this town. Including me.”

      There was a long pause.

      “Can I give you a piece of advice?” said Mo.

      “Why would I take advice from a homeless queer?”

      “A leader of homeless marines, some queer,” said Mo. And then she shouted. “Semper Fi!”

      The darkness rang with the echo. “Semper Fi!”

      “You’re a little outnumbered. Plus we know a thing or two about urban warfare. Just saying. And I wouldn’t go reaching into your pocket like that. Kick off your shoes.”


      “You heard me, Eck, is that you? Come over here for a sec.”

      Eck turned and did as he was told. There was something gym-teacherly about the person in charge: a woman over six feet tall who was obviously extremely physically fit.

      “Tie the laces of his shoes together,” said Mo.

      Eck did so.

      “Hand them to me.”

      Eck did that, too.

      Mo swung the shoes in her hands, getting a feel for their weight, and then flipped them end over end toward the overhead power line. The tied laces snagged the wire and the shoes came to rest twenty feet up.

      “You’ll notice the broken glass all around you,” said Mo. “I’d tread carefully if I were you.”

      Eck watched a tense moment as the target person considered his options. As far as Eck could see, there wasn’t a lot of choice.

      “OK, now that we have your attention, pull off your ski mask and toss it to me,” said Mo. “The weather’s rarely cold enough for that in Fairfax.”

      The.. Eck was going to call them a gang but decided maybe squad would be a better word. They had chosen a remarkably dark place for a city street to hold their ambush. Faces were difficult to see even without a mask. But the requested item flew a few feet before opening like a parachute and dropping at Mo’s feet.

      “Thank you. I happen to live with someone who owns a DNA sequencing lab… I’m sure there are some hairs here that’ll do nicely.” Mo pulled a large plastic bag out of a pocket, inverted it, and picked up the mask like a collection of dog droppings. The bag right side out again, she zipped it. “Eck?” She said. “It’s time to vacate the theater.”

      “Vay what now?” Eck stammered.

      “Let’s go. He’s not a threat any more tonight,” said Mo. “I’ll help you catch up with your friends.”

      There was some crunching of boots on broken glass, and Mo hurried him up the street.

      “What are you going to do with him?” Eck asked.

      “Let him go,” said Mo. “There are some tough customers out on the streets, but he’s not one of them. But if you or your friends need help getting out of town, look me up.”

      Eck’s phone bonged in his pocket, acknowledging receipt of contact information.

      “Thank you,” said Eck, to the empty street where he stood. He hurried to the corner where his friends were waiting.

    • #9711

      This is Ude’s contribution:

      When it was time to flush my shadow, I gazed beyond the eyes of the Controller. It was deemed disrespectful, to give your superiors any eye contact of any duration particularly whilst undergoing the process. Article 67 strictly forbade such behaviour. That piece of me the darkness that attached itself loosely to my body then followed me when the sun was behind me, that enjoyable playmate was no more. I would be like the amputated limb of a marine animal, like an octopus tail, lost and lonely. The Controller struggled to catch my companion, this shadow was determined not to be caught. But eventually the black trail was flushed into the giant glass cylinder. With the others. All I could hear was its wail.

      “Kick off your shoes” He ordered. There’s more shadow in your body. You haven’t given us all of it”.

      “Honourable Mistress, I have no more to give”. It wasn’t like me to answer back, I don’t know what caused this irritation to surface in my voice. The Controller stared at me for a second, then spun my upright body that was attached to the spin cord making me dizzy. My head throbbed and I felt sick. The women Controllers were worse. I always had trouble with them. Maybe it was because they hated to have to catch us free fighters especially ones like me who were not afraid of them.

      I balanced one foot on top of the other. These were my favourite tan leather slip on shoes. I curled my toes as if rolling a miniature accordion. The soft supple leather bended and easily slid off my feet.

      The oxygen supply was set to be removed in 5 minutes. There wasn’t much time. The idea was to keep our shadowless bodies in ‘inertia’. The shadows were our second human forms that the Controllers could manipulate. In inertia our minds were not our own, we were puppets of the Controllers. Two minutes to go. I had to act quickly. I delved into my pocket reached for the stun gun, snapped the plastic cord that wrapped my wrists around the spin cord, snatched the plastic mask from around the Controller’s face. I laughed out loud at her startled expression,. I pressed the escape button, grabbed the parachute by the escape hatch, attached it to my body following the procedures Sastin had outlined.

      “Goodbye Mistress”

      A rush of speeding air greeted me as the door of the escape hatch opened.

      “See you in another life” I shouted and jumped into blackness.

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