“365 Prompts” – Prompt 070. portrait ages so subject doesn’t 2A – $5 to paypal.me/harperkingsley

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2. Hidden in an attic, wrapped in stiff paper, there was an old painting. A moment caught in time, though the subject–a young man with fine features–continued to age until he was a withered old man.

A. Hidden in an attic, wrapped in stiff paper, there was an old painting. A moment caught in time, though the subject–a young man with fine features–continued to age until he was a withered old man. He’d been easy prey to the monster that lived in the house.

Captured and locked in oil paint, he felt no pain as the life was drained out of his trapped soul. And neither did the 200 other men and women transformed into paintings and hidden all through the countryside, their screams silenced to dull lassitude, so that they could sleep through their decades-long deaths.

But he was special. He was the first. The one true beloved that had turned a loving heart into a sucking pit of hate and rage.

*

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“365 Prompts” – Prompt 041. blackberries 2A

“365 Prompts” by Harper Kingsley will be available as pre-release November 14. You can order a copy via Paypal or Patreon. Just send $5 and mention that it’s for “365 Prompts”.

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*

2. Tangled in the blackberry bushes, the small child howled in fear and pain. There were red scratches marring the dirty face and arms, one thorn having scratched dangerously close to a teary eye.

A. Tangled in the blackberry bushes, the small child howled in fear and pain. There were red scratches marring the dirty face and arms, one thorn having scratched dangerously close to a teary eye.

Anna ran forward, waving her arms to signal No. “Don’t move, kid. You hold still and I’ll help you.”

“Get me out of here. It hurts! It hurts!” the child screeched, making an aborted lunge forward. Anna winced when she saw that a long thorny branch was wrapped around the child’s chest, digging into the patched and worn cotton shirt.

“I’ll get you, I’ll get you, don’t move.” Anna tried to hide her panic and project a sense of calm concern. The last thing she wanted was for the kid to realize how afraid she was. “Why don’t you tell me your name, sweetie?”

“I’m not sweetie. I’m Brandon.”

“Oh. Well, hello Brandon. I’m Anna.” Working slowly, she began untangling the small body. He couldn’t have been older than four or five, dressed in clothes that would have done better in the rag bin. “Can you tell me where your parents are, Brandon?”

“Don’t have any,” he muttered, his attention focused on her hands. Which is why he missed the expression of shock and pity that crossed her face before she controlled herself.

*

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“365 Prompts” – partial Prompt-Fill: 004. spring 1A. “Out of the Wild Lands” by Harper Kingsley

Prompt 004. spring – 1A

1. It was a relief when the spring frost began. They’d been close to running out of nearly everything.

A. Once the river melted, it was a rush to finish building the boat and gather enough food to see them out of the Wild Lands. If they were lucky they could reach civilization within a few months. If they were unlucky they would die. They didn’t have a choice either way.

There was no staying where they were. They’d stripped the island of everything it had to offer, and there hadn’t been much to begin with.

It was either make the attempt now, or slowly starve to death. There was not going to be another opportunity.

/END PROMPT
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Prompt-Fill: “Out of the Wilds”
Author: Harper Kingsley

Once the river melted, it was a rush to finish building the boat and gather enough food to see them out of the Wild Lands. If they were lucky they could reach civilization within a few months. If they were unlucky they would die. They didn’t have a choice either way.

There was no staying where they were. They’d stripped the island of everything it had to offer, and there hadn’t been much to begin with.

It was either make the attempt now, or slowly starve to death. There was not going to be another opportunity.

“Quiet that baby,” Gareth ordered. He was lashing the last of the supplies to the boat and didn’t need the distraction.

“Yes sir.” Leilan shushed the blanket wrapped bundle, jostling it until the wails turned to an unhappy grumble. The baby had been fussing ever since her twin — her Other Half — had died. There was a real concern that she would follow after, the broken strings of her tattered soul pulling her down and down after her sister.

When Poiler had suggested killing the baby as a mercy — she must be suffering with her broken soul — Leilan had hit her as hard as he could and taken the baby himself. He couldn’t believe a mother could ever suggest murdering her own child. It made him suspicious of how the unnamed baby had died. She’d looked healthy after her birth; then she’d been quiet and still.

Leilan tightened his grip on the baby he held. She was alive. She needed him.

He stood out of the way as the men and women worked. He looked down at the baby’s face. She was skinnier than he liked, as his milk had only just begun to come in, but seemed healthy enough. He thought there was a chance that she would live.

“I’m going to risk it,” he said. She blinked up at him. One fist had worked itself free of the blanket and found its way into her mouth where she furiously gummed on tiny tiny knuckles. He chuckled and used two fingers to pull her hand out of her mouth. He wiped the slobber off with a scrap of cloth from his pocket, then tucked her arm back in the blanket.

“None of that,” he ordered when she looked about to cry. She hiccuped and blinked, but remained quiet. “Good girl.”

He jostled her a couple of times. “I’ve decided that you need a name if you’re going to be my daughter.” He licked his lips. “I think my mother would have approved her granddaughter sharing a name with her.”

He held her a bit away from himself so he could see all of her and she could see him. Even if she didn’t understand, this was an important moment. By giving her a name, he was accepting responsibility for her. She would be family.

“Melissa Kim of the House of Graythorn,” he said. “Welcome to my family, Melissa.”

“365 Prompts” – Prompt 003: appendectomy

2. It was during a routine surgical procedure that they discovered the strangeness of his anatomy. Not just the reversed location of his heart and other organs, but the extra appendix and the strange bulbous growth attached to his ribcage.

A. An appendectomy was performed immediately and the extra organ was dissected. There were pages and pages of lab work produced all highlighting the unknown hormone floating in his bloodstream.

From the way they looked at him, he began to feel that they wanted to dissect the rest of him next. There was a frightening avarice in their eyes, one that made him want to squirm with discomfort.

Every time they came at him for another test or blood draw, he repeated over and over again: “I do not give my permission to have my medical information published.”

He didn’t want to hold back scientific discovery, but he would prefer that he have some kind of veto on what was shared. Like he wasn’t too keen on scans of his genitals ending up in medical books with his name right next to them. He had a bit of dignity.

*

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“365 Prompts” – Prompt 001. “I did it! I did it! he kept saying”

This is “Prompt 001” from 365 Prompts, my upcoming book of prompts. The book is available for pre-order for $5.
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Starting here ->

1. How the newspaper quoted him. When people saw the headline in the news they began turning on him.

A. His family was dead, and some editor somewhere had changed his words into a confession.

The horror of that day still lingered–dizzy from whatever the EMT had injected him with, he could only repeat what the man had said. “I did it! I did it!” And at their looks he’d explained: “‘I did it! I did it!‘ he kept saying. Over and over again. It was all he would say as he killed them. That madman murdered my family. And I couldn’t do anything to stop him.“–as did the effects of his follow-up breakdown.

He hadn’t been able to work, and not just because people had ceased to hire him.

He got anxiety attacks. His heart would suddenly begin pounding and his head would get floaty and would feel like it was too large.

He’d thrown up a few times just from thinking about people looking at him. Judging him.

He was a nervous wreck. And he blamed the media.

They’d turned his worst day into the worst ten years of his life.

<- ending here — This is the first suggestion for “Prompt 001: ‘I did it! I did it! he kept saying'”. There are two others for Prompt 001, and each Prompt has at least three suggestions. Some have four or five. I aimed for 100 words per prompt.

365 main prompts x 3 suggestions = 1095 suggested story ideas.

*

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* That possible excerpt above is suggestion “1A” for Prompt 001: “I did it! I did it! he kept saying”. The other two are about a bad Olympic winner and a crazed murderer.

“1A” is a wrongly accused man that spends a good chunk of his life being raked over the coals by the media, then having to somehow piece his life back together afterward.

He could find love with a man. Or with a woman. Or he could just come to personal realizations about himself without the need for another person.

It’s up to you and your $5.

Otherwise it’s just a teaser to get the creative juices flowing for anyone looking to use “365 Prompts” to kickstart their imagination.

“Partial Curse” PROMPT-FILL: 407.

PROMPT-FILL: 407. Cursed by a random and cruel stranger

A stranger casts The Curse on a young girl with not a single exchange of words between them. In fact, with the heavy traffic on the road, she never saw who cast The Curse.

She simply woke up the next day in screaming agony as her body began to rearrange itself in preparation for the change.

She was terrified but helpless to it. There was no cure and no stopping what was happening to her.

She forced herself to endure as her bones shifted and broke. As her skin ripped as it failed to stretch over her new, larger shape. Blood and plasma stained through her sheets and ruined the mattress below. They were the gushing fluids of her rebirth.

And for a time she rested in wretched skinlessness. Days passed with no food or water. Her breath came in a dull, agonizing wheeze as even the tiniest motion made her flesh burn.

She’d thought she’d died. She should have died. But she didn’t. She endured.

She survived until she could crawl from the bed to the bathroom sink. To the water she greedily swallowed even as her patchy and scabbed skin stung and brought tears to her eyes.

She stayed in her home for weeks, surviving on water and the few scraps of food she could force herself to swallow.

Gradually she healed. Until one day all the pain was gone and her scabs were solid and had ceased to split and bleed. She wasn’t healthy yet, but she was mending.

So with some trepidation and a large dose of fear, she stepped in front of the long mirror. And she looked at herself, at her new life.

=THE END?=

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magazine 001 – prompt, Eric Andre, Snowden,

PROMPT: “Like werewolves and serial killers, I prefer a fullmoon and clear skies.”

*
A. Florentine and Rickets:

R: “What’s with the helmet and leather jacket?”
F: “I’m going out to ride my scooter.”
R: “It’s the middle of the night.”
F: “Like werewolves and serial killers, I prefer a fullmoon and clear skies.”

*
B. A Last Goodbye to Balor Hammerhart:

The last flight of Balor Hammerhart was burned into Aeron’s memory. He’d been in the crowd of spectators watching the launch of the first Seed ship. He’d seen it arch up and up, then there was a flash of light so bright that the outline of the ship seemed burned into the sky. It was the last thing he’d seen before his eyes were permanently damaged by the radiation released during the explosion of the hyperdrive.

Balor’s last words rang through his mind, “Like werewolves and serial killers, I prefer a fullmoon and clear skies…” and it didn’t hurt as much as it used to. It seemed that he was finally getting over what had happened.

Seven years of therapies, surgeries, and sacrificed dreams and he finally felt as though he could let go of Balor and move on.

“Which is why I need to visit his grave,” Aeron said.

“But it’s all the way on Titan,” Saera said. He could hear the worry in her voice.

“Mom, it’s going to be fine,” he said. “It’s a short shuttle ride to the Gatestation, then a needle trip through the Eye. I’m only going to be gone a few weeks.”

“Still, anything could happen. It seems dangerous to me.”

“It’s not anymore dangerous than a trip past the Wall. Plus I’ve already hired a Security clone to act as my Companion.” Aeron held out his hand until she laid her palm across his, then he squeezed his fingers around her hand. “I’m going to be all right. I promise.”

“Oh Aeron…” The waver in her voice said she wanted to say more, but she knew him enough not to say the words.

“It’s going to be fine,” he said again.

She drew in a shuddering breath and her hand squeezed tight. “It better be,” she said. “I’ll make a list of things you should take on your trip.”

“I can handle it,” he said.

“Shush. Let me do this for you.”

Even six months ago Aeron might have argued with her, fought for his independence. But he’d grown enough to recognize the need in her voice.

“Okay,” he said. And leaned into the hug she gave him.

* * *

What is the deal with Eric Andre? I feel like he might need some drug counseling.

He’s constantly freaking people out on his Adult Swim show, but I saw when he guest starred on Ridiculousness. He was obviously on something. At one point he actually started taking off his pants with plans to show his wiener. Then it cuts out, and it’s a while later and he looks thoroughly chastened and is playing sober as hard as he can.

It was an ugly scene, is what I’m saying.

* * *

The movie Snowden isn’t my usual cup of entertainment tea, but I might give it a chance when it comes out on video. I am a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s work, so I would at least want to see what’s up.

PROMPT: Humanity splits itself apart

A. Once humans begin farming in space, the wealthy move onto luxurious space stations while relying on the Earth for resources and labor. Instead of there being a rebellion, the stationers begin seeing themselves as above normal humanity.

1/A FILL: After the Blight struck, there was no choice but to move agriculture production to the orbital farms. Which meant building a place where humans could live.

Some nights, the sky looks nearly blocked out by the ag-farms. They’re curving bends of metal and plastic, each its own little world, containing thousands of people living miles away from the problems of the Earth below.

The ag-farms once answered to Earth command, but after the War they governed themselves. They chose to use their newfound independence to make themselves into the kings of the sky, doling out food with ungracious superiority.

The Dirt People toiled in factories and in mines while the Exalted enjoyed the fruits of their labors. Ever more fantastical scientific advancements were made on the backs of the people, but the wonders they created were not for themselves.

While the lifespans of the Exalted grew ever longer, the lives of the people became short and filled with sickness and discontent.

What parts of the Earth not destroyed by the Blight were damaged as the people were forced to dig deep and drag out the precious ore.

Year by year, the dying cries of the planet made themselves known to the people. From earthquakes and tornadoes, to explosions of hidden gas and mile long fissures that opened with deadly suddenness. Yet the Exalted did not listen to the dying cries of the people.

They floated high above the world in their shiny and clean habitats, served by their robots and genemod slaves. They lay in their healing pods and never felt pain or old age.

And still it was not enough for them. As the people suffered, the Exalted built spaceships and mined stars. They traveled into the Depths and transformed planets and moons to meet their demands.

The Exalted promised the people a new home as a reward for their hard work. The people would live on a fresh world ripe with life. As long as they were loyal and true, their children would grow in lands of plenty.

But it was a lie.

The people were never to see their new home. Instead, as a reward for all their years of misery and hunger, they were Culled.

Everything that they were and could have been was distilled down to the most basic of components and mixed into something new. Their lives were pasteurized, homogenized, and bottled.

The Exalted had found the means by-which they could live forever. All it required was the death of billions of people at regular intervals.

So Lois uses prescription meds recreationally? #FamilyGuy

So Lois uses prescription meds recreationally? #FamilyGuy

I guess it’s easily explained. She has gone through quite a bit during her marriage to Peter. He is simple-minded man that indulges his every reckless idea with no thought to cost or consequence. As a result, she has to stress nearly every week about losing the family home or a even a member of the family.

She spends the bulk of her time with toddler Stewie. He grew from a bad-tempered baby that actively seemed to dislike her to someone that has his own life and opinions. She spends all day with him, but then he always seems to be someone else’s responsibility. She loves him, but she’s given up on caring for him.

Beginning with daughter Meg–the sexual predator–she’s experienced some true parental failures. Enough that I could imagine her looking at Stewie and knowing that she’s going to screw him up.

Too much of Lois’ nitpicking and Meg is a very unhappy young woman. She’s desperate to get out in the world and have adventures, but her interactions with others are stunted and awkward. She makes other people uncomfortable, so they leave her alone again. But she does have a history of violence and property destruction, not to mention a horrible family–things that might make her hesitant to meet new people.

Who would want to see their brother perving on their new friends? Chris doesn’t even bother going somewhere private before he starts masturbating. He sits around in his underwear irregardless of who’s in the house. And considering some of the things he says? He may grow up to be a serial killer. (“You’re never getting out of that bag.”)

Lois trusts Stewie to the care of the family dog. And while he sometimes gives in to his nature–eating things out of the garbage and pooping in the yard–for the most part Brian is like a human man. He keeps Stewie company and they go on adventures and their friendship is maturing with every passing year. He’s not very responsible and he’s an unabashed alcoholic, but he keeps Stewie fairly intact and Stewie has learned the values of friendship and love from knowing him.

Yet Brian is also a sanctimonious ass that can’t be shown too much affection or he loses control. One hug lasting a few seconds too long, and Brian’s obsession/love for Lois takes over and he tries to have sex with her.

This curtails an adult friendship between them.

She always has to hold herself back from Brian or he’ll take things wrong. It’s the same way with Quagmire.

Glen is definitely a pervert and a sex offender. He has low morals when it comes to sex and what he’ll say to get it, yet there are some lines he won’t cross unless his friends pressure him. And he’s in love with Lois. Like stealing her hair and making a life-sized replica in love with her. He has a full-sized closet altar.

Lois receives so many extremes of emotion aimed at her that she has become an interesting character.

And though she seriously considers leaving Peter (“Mom already has a burner phone and she’s been talking to people. She’s checked out of this marriage.”) she never does. Because when Stewie traveled to the future, Lois was still with Peter. She loves him enough to stay.

Even if it means having her children hate her and using pills to get through the days.

PROMPT: “Let me out, you bitch!” I screamed, throwing myself at the door.

“Let me out, you bitch!” I screamed, throwing myself at the door.

1. “Dude, that’s your mom.”

1A. “I don’t care. She’s keeping us here. *Starving* us.”

1B. “She doesn’t want you going out, finding your own brains, possibly killing a family with small children.”

1C. “You *have* been playing a lot of video games lately. Maybe she has a legitemate reason to worry.”

2. The nurse turned her head. Her eyes met mine. The lipstick red slash of her mouth curled up.

2A. I felt a cold chill. I was never going home.

2B. “Go back to bed. You’ll get your meds in an hour.”

2C. Her uniform was pristine, either a perfect recreation of an old-timey nurse’s uniform, or an expensively maintained original. It sent a chill down my spine to see it. What kind of person had kidnapped me? Where was I?

3. Everything had gone wrong. I should have turned the job down the minute I got those first details.