Promptober: Week Five

Oya!

IT IS NOVEMBER!

WOO!

That means a lot of things. The end of ‘spooky season’, the beginning of winter weather (at least where I live), Christmas music beginning to ooze into the radio stations, panic as you realize you have about nine million people to get presents for in just a month and a half, NaNoWriMo, a little sadness as the last bits of green die off outside.

And the end of –Tober.

Whether I finished on time or not you will never know.

(You can probably guess though if you know me at all)

So yeah, here we are, the last week’s worth of stories! I enjoyed this. I stretched myself. Writing short stories is not really my thing, but here I’ve gone and written thirty-one of them! Granted most of them were written all in one go every Saturday or Sunday or even Monday, but I got them done!

And I DO have some pretty sweet content coming up for you guys this month!

Did you enjoy the stories these last few weeks? Which one(s) were your favorite? Tell me in the comments once you’re done reading!

I’d also like to quickly thank all of my friends who helped me come up with ideas all month when I was being a useless thwap. And Emily. And my mum. Thanks.

Without further ado THE LAST FIVE STORIES

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Day 27: Verdant

Trees stretched far above, blocking out the sky and any last dregs of sunlight. Incredibly thick, unsettlingly thick with trees, a marked contrast to the field of cheerful sunflowers spread out behind the forest.

Elizabeth shivered, drawing her jacket close around her shoulders. Her ears tingled with cold and her lungs burned with it. Her family dove into the trees ahead of her. 

“C’mon Elizabeth!” her younger sister yelled. Her voice already seemed muffled by the crowded trees. 

Elizabeth inhaled a chill breath and stepped in after them. All sound seemed to be instantly gone. 

Her first step sunk into the ground. She gasped, leaning back. The ground was spongey, covered in dark moss and damp, decaying leaves. She took another step, enjoying the sensation through her sandals. 

Soft rotting branches jutted up between trees. Dried wisps of creeper vine still clung to some of them, rattling in the nearly non-existent breeze. The only sounds were their footsteps, nearly squelchy in the soft ground. 

Elizabeth looked behind her at the sunflowers, wondering at the stark difference. When she turned back, a huge, thick spiderweb dotted with dew wrapped itself over her face. After a minute of surprised shrieking and frantic web-removing and hysterical laughter from family members, she sped up to walk with them, shoulders hunched with cold and embarrassment. 

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Day 28: Bitter

“Is that chocolate?” 

My classmates perked up in their seats. I looked up from my doodling. 

Miss Alison smiled and dropped a chunk of chocolate at each of our spots at the table. 

I eyed it suspiciously. “Are we allowed it?” I asked.

“In a second. I want you to try it and write down observations in your Brains.” She sat back in her chair in front of the whiteboard. 

Ah. A trick, then. It was probably dark chocolate. I grinned and waited for the others to scarf down their treats. 

Various disgusted and betrayed noises echoed in the small room. “This isn’t chocolate!” Noah protested, scooting his chair away from the offending cocoa chunk. 

I popped the whole thing in my mouth. It was bitter, yes, but there was salt in it, and a tiny bit of sweetness. I wrote in my Brain notebook as the other kids continued their protestations.

“Wait, do you actually like that?” Maelee said incredulously, staring at me. Noah was attempting to wipe his tongue off with a paper towel.

I nodded. 

“You’re insane.

“Yup.”

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Day 29: Overflow

A pencil scratching in a notebook. Should be writing down intricate plots, character sheets, brilliant outlines. 

Drawing the same little squares over and over.

A frustrated sigh. Reaching over and tapping keys, opening Discord for the hundredth time. Nothing since the last time. 

Staring at the document. Last edit was 3 days ago. Staring at that little blinking line following the word fire

Checking Discord again.

Absence of ideas is not the problem. Too many ideas. Bouncing and racing. Zooming until fingers twitch and legs go numb and heart races jumpily.  Ideas about ghosts and fog and disguises and hugs and anger and crying. Ideas about the future that will never be. Ideas about a future that could be, but likely won’t. 

Sitting still. Staring at the screen. Feeling like screaming and punching things. Staying still.

Scenes replaying too many times, rolling over and over until they’re sickening. Twitching. Checking Discord again. Scrolling Instagram, getting more ideas. Art and comics and stories. Why can’t I make those? Emotions piling up, heart beating faster.

Music. More ideas. More emotions. Stomach-dropping lung-emptying emotions, familiar now, craved now. 

Staring at the blinking line. 

Guilt. Why am I like this? Knowing why doesn’t make it better. Aching. Physical or mental, it’s getting hard to tell.

Hatred boiling up. Why is it so stupid? Why is it so hard? Just scrap it. Just forget it. Ideas pounding against each other, clamoring for attention. Some have been waiting for years, smoothed and polished and refined and rehearsed to perfection. Never given life. Some sprung up a second ago, sparked by an incorrect quote meme of all things. 

Sitting still and quiet. Doing nothing. Every second feeling more and more guilty, more and more aching, more and more trapped. 

Deep breath. Fingers tapping on the keyboard. Backspacing as twitching hands hit the wrong keys.

Last edited seconds ago.

One sentence, less than ten words.

Lost in the storm of ideas again. 

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Day 30: Yield

“Hold!”

“Hold the gate!”

I shiver. My fingers are cold and numb as they grip the freezing handle of my weapon. Soldiers rush past me, but I stay at my post, staring off into the gray darkness. 

“Over here with the barricades!”

“You, here!”

“Hold the gate!”

My armor clinks as I shake my head. I’m too scared to be tired, thank goodness. But I am very cold. 

The captain walks by. Men are with him that I’ve never seen before. Regal men, important men. An elf? Lots of elves. I blink, refocusing on the featureless plain below.

Silence, as if every person on the wall is holding their breath. I know I am.

“Hold the gate!”

“Hold the wall!”

“Do not yield! Do not surrender! Hold the gate!”

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Day 31: Mask

Duncan let out a deep breath, eyes scanning over the datapad in his hand. Name, location, blah blah blah . . . extraction. His shoulders slowly relaxed. Not termination. Good.

Assassination was his family’s business, not his. 

He gathered a few of his favorite knives and tucked them into his belt, more for luck than anything else. Not that he believed in luck, but it was always comforting to have a favorite weapon or six at his side. 

Then he took a deep breath and donned his mask. 

Everyone feared the Assassin. Called the Shadow by some, the Grey Wolf by others. At least those that were brave enough to mention him in casual conversation. No one knew for sure what he was; human, elf, shapeshifter, something else entirely.

Truth be told, Duncan didn’t quite know either. 

The Timberlines were humans, a long line of professional mercenaries and thieves. Theirs was a revered lineage in the underworld of the country. Duncan had been too young to remember the day they had adopted him. They didn’t know what he was either.

He looked mostly elven, with the traditional elegant features, long limbs, pointed ears. But his teeth were just a little too sharp, his pupils a little too narrow and catlike. He could see things that others couldn’t, hear things that at times even dogs were ignorant of. 

Duncan felt more comfortable with his mask on. It hid his unnerving features, maintained the illusion that he was One Of Them, veiled his emotions on the rare occasions he let them show. 

He pulled his hood over his head, further shadowing his face. His eyes rested on the datapad again. This particular target he knew. This wasn’t the first time he’d been sent after her. It likely wouldn’t be the last time either.

It wasn’t Duncan’s fault she kept escaping his employers’ clutches. Not directly, anyway. But he kept getting paid to go after her. Really, it was in his best interests that she stayed alive.

The filters on his mask hissed, circulating oxygen through the fabric. 

The datapad switched off with a beep. Duncan stood, stretching a bit. Here goes nothing. 

Only a soft swish of curtain betrayed his exit into the night. 

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And there we go! I’m done!

(If you would like to read all the stories in one place, here is a Google Doc)

Kinda want to crash. I’m gonna go eat a muffin I think.

If YOU enjoyed reading my Promptober stories, go ahead and leave a like! There’s a star button down below somewhere that’ll let you do that. It helps out a lot and also makes me happy. As does subscribing or following! Don’t worry, it won’t get you hacked or spammed or anything; you’ll just get a quick little notification email every Monday when I post. Isn’t that handy?

If you’ve made it this far, I’d just like to say thank you, and I’ll see you next week! Bye!

– Ace

2 thoughts on “Promptober: Week Five

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