Writing Spark #86

A sparkling burning firework.

A slice of natural inspiration for your next story?

****

Flowers love you. When you enter a space with live flowers, whether it’s a garden outside or pot plants in someone’s home, they turn to face you. 

Sometimes it’s hard to notice – flowers don’t move quickly – but if you linger long enough, the flowers face you instead of the sun. Walking through a field of sunflowers causes noticeable ripples of movement.

Other people in your life are starting to notice. At some point, someone’s going to start asking questions.

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Writing Spark #85

A sparkling burning firework.

Could this be the start of your next adventure?

****

There is a landline in your home, though you’re not sure why you bother; it came with your internet connection. It’s hooked up to an old phone that you tuck out of the way for emergencies. You’ve never given the number to anyone.

It rings one day, startling you. You answer it expecting a cold caller.

“The blackbird is over the wood,” a voice says hurriedly on the other end of the line. 

“What?” you ask.

“The blackbird is over the wood.” They sound out of breath. “And the fox is loose. Where are the horses?”

“Uh…” You would ask more, but the person has hung up. 

The next day, the phone rings again. More nonsense phrases are whispered down the line to you, and they hang up before you can say anything. You start to write the phrases down. You’re still half convinced that this is some kind of prank.

After the third call, you begin to suspect this is not a prank, but more likely your number has been mistaken for some kind of spy connection.

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Writing Spark #84

A sparkling burning firework.

Is this the start of a story or the end?

****

You’re home alone one evening when a storm descends on your house. Thunder makes the walls tremble and lightning splits the sky. The wind tears at the trees outside and you can barely see through the panes with the rain coming down so hard. The power goes out and you light a couple of candles to see by while you check all the windows and doors to make sure they’re securely fastened against the deluge.

Somewhere under the noise of the wind, thunder, and rain, you hear a voice calling.

“Help, please help! There’s something out here!””

You peer out through your window, but it’s dark and wet and difficult to see much of anything. Lightning splashes light across the yard. Shadows move in unnatural ways. 

You head to the front door but as you reach for the handle, someone – or something – bangs on it. Your heart thumps loudly.

“Help me!” The voice is right outside the door now.

A crack of lightning strikes a tree in the yard; the thunder is deafening and you clap your hands over your ears. Afterwards there is an empty silence. 

Nervously, you open the door, but the deck outside is clear. There’s a smear on the step that might be blood but it’s hard to tell in this light. You don’t hear the voice any more.

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Writing Spark #83

A sparkling burning firework.

Where will this question take you?

****

You have lived a good life by the values you hold dear. You have tried to do the right things within your power. You may or may not have done it with a view to a reward in the next life, but even so, you’re surprised and a little disappointed when you’re confronted with the gates of whatever hell means to you after your death. 

“Hi,” the ruler of hell says to you. “We need your help.”

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Writing Spark #82

A sparkling burning firework.

Which path will you choose?

****

You are about to start your PHD in archaeology. You love the subject and have a real passion for it, particularly going on digs and exploring ruins. Your teachers and tutors always say that you know how to make the past come alive in your papers. 

What no-one at your school knows is that you’ve also been studying necromancy. Minor rites have helped you gain some real insights into the past so far, and your more mundane studies have allowed you access to some fascinating bones and artefacts. It’s time for the next step in your necromantic studies as well.

Now, you need to decide what your PHD project will be and where these two paths will take you.

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Writing Spark #81

A sparkling burning firework.

How does this one speak to you?

On a walk one day, you come across a tiny, lost kitten. There’s no sign of her family, human or feline, so you take her home to feed her and get her warm. Searches don’t reveal any owner and you decide to foster the kitten until you can find a home for her. 

A year passes and you haven’t found a home you’re willing to give the cat up to. She follows you around the house and sleeps on the foot of your bed every night. When you get up at night to go to the bathroom, the cat is always sitting on the end of the bed, staring at the corner of the room by the door. Every single time. 

One morning, the cat limps up to you, injured like there has been a fight. You take the poor feline to the vet, who patches her up and wants to keep her overnight to make sure she is all right. 

It’s the first time you’ve slept without the cat on your bed in over a year. A noise wakes you suddenly in the middle of the night, and as you sit in bed wondering what it was, you swear you see something move in the corner of the room by the door.

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Writing Spark #80

A sparkling burning firework.

Here’s a shiny new prompt for you:

A distant relative of yours is declared dead, and to your surprise, their estate lawyer contacts you because you have been included in the will. It is not a large estate and it has been split among many various relatives, and you have been left a single item: a small metal box locked with a combination.

The will does not include the combination, only your relative’s assurance you can figure out how to open it. 

Should you get into the box, it contains a small, solitary seed.

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Writing Spark #79

A sparkling burning firework.

Here’s something a little different to get you started:

Sometimes when the wind is high and the trees move in a complex dance, the forest floor breathes. It heaves and huffs, the undergrowth rolling atop it, and if you listen closely, very closely, there is a moan deep underneath the singing of the branches.

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Writing Spark #78

A sparkling burning firework.

A bright prompt to light your way into a new story:

The office building where you work has always struggled to be eco-friendly. They tried lights that automatically shut off, but they never seemed to work. The timers kept turning the lights off in sections at different times, and only for half an hour at a time, no matter what they were set to. Sensors were constantly being tripped, so the lights just stayed on. They asked the cleaning crew to turn off the lights as they cleaned, but after the crew finished a floor, someone else would come along and turn them all on again.

Finally, the building management instituted a simple policy: last one out turns off the lights. The problem was that there always seemed to be someone there, working away, just out of sight but audible. Typing or shuffling or closing drawers. And so the lights stayed on. The lights are always on.

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Writing Spark #77

A sparkling burning firework.

Is this a prompt you can get in touch with?

You hate using the phone. No matter how careful you are, you always call the wrong number. Somehow, though, it always seems to be the right call.

Like the time you didn’t feel well and tried to call your doctor, and wound up calling your butcher by mistake. It turns out they’d had a batch of bad meat and they told you to go to hospital right away. Or the time you tried to book a hair appointment and dialled your mother instead, and found out your sister had just gone missing. 

Your sister was found, and now, years later, she’s having a baby. You want to call to see if she has given birth yet, but you’re afraid to dial the number. Who will you get this time? What if it’s that cute person you just met? Or the morgue?

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