There was a sign propped up against the empty doorframe which read “If you are a dreamer, come in” except the paint had chipped, and instead of dreamer it read dream. ‘So?’ asked his wife. ‘Are you going in or not?’ She stood on tiptoes and tried to peer through one of the windows. Graham thought he saw her shiver, and for a moment started to shrug the jacket from his shoulders. ‘It looks abandoned.’ She stepped away and scowled. ‘You copied out the right address, didn’t you?’ Graham nodded, then felt his heart sink. An old lady stepped into the hall, the edges of her body blurring against the peeling wallpaper. ‘Oh,’ said his wife, now stood behind him. ‘She’s like me!’ She grinned and poked him in the ribs. ‘Poor Graham, can’t even find a living physic to help with your ghosts.’
If you are a dreamer, come in.
Shel Silverstein’s poem, Invitation, Where The Sidewalk Ends
For someone who doesn’t read a lot of horror/ghost stories, and can’t really watch the genre either, I seem to write a fair bit of it. I find I really adore these monthly Prosery prompts as there a great way to stretch the creative writing muscles when my focus has drifted away from flash fiction. It helps that Lillian picked a cracking line of poetry for tonight’s prompt as well.
In some exciting poetry news however, this week I’ve got two poems coming out, in two seperate magazines. The first was published on Sunday in the second issue of The Riverbed Review which is available to read for free on their site. The second is my poem ‘Overgrowth’, which I originally wrote for a Dverse prompt and is being published Wednesday, (with a couple of edits) in the first issue of Hencroft. A lot of journals and magazines do not accept poems that have appeared on blogs or social media previously, so I’m ecstatic to have the chance to publish with a magazine that didn’t mind.
The coffee was cold, and the machine broken. Gabriel checked the plug, tried wiggling it in the socket and swore as the thing zapped him. ‘Smooth brother.’ Raphael stood with his head still bent over the control panel across the room. ‘If you’re done playing around, I need you to check these stability levels.’ He waved at a series of flashing lights. ‘Why call them that?’ Gabriel sucked the burn on his finger and edged towards the controls. ‘There’s nothing stable about this realm. Why bother keeping things ticking over. Why not fix it all, or simply hit the kill switch?’ Raphael’s brow tightened. ‘I prefer keeping in mind, even the possibility, that existence has its own reason for being. We’re here to keep the others from tampering.’ ‘Makes more sense to let them.’ ‘No brother, there is no sense in endings at all.’
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.
Wisława Szymborska, ‘Possibilities‘
Tonight’s line for the prosery prompt was chosen by Merril, and is perhaps one of my favourite, ever, prompts. 144 words doesn’t feel like quite enough for this wonderful line, so I might have to come back to it later on and work this into a longer piece because ideas have been sparked, and it would be a shame to let them fizzle out.
‘What did you just say?’ Selwin asked, leaning his body through the open doorframe. He squinted past the greasy smoke and spotted Jak crouched by the hearth, hands out to the spluttering flames. ‘I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head,’ Jak muttered, his scalp mottled and pink in the gloom. ‘It wasn’t in your head.’ Selwin crossed the room to open the back door. ‘You messed with a bad spell and set the world alight.’ ‘It needed to be let out.’ ‘It needed you to mind your own business.’ He waved a hand in front of his face, the air clearing slowly. He frowned at the shadows across Jak’s features. ‘New worlds rise from ashes,’ muttered the broken wizard. ‘Not from these.’ Selwin sighed and sagged against the doorframe. ‘Your just lucky enough not to see it.’
Tonight’s DVerse Prosery prompt takes inspiration from the poem ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by Yeats.
‘I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head’.
They bought the house new, especially to avoid these sorts of things. There is nothing behind the wall, except a space where the wind whistles, and it always whistles. Even on still days, when the plastic windmills in the neighbour’s garden don’t clatter, and Gregory Mutt’s union jack is slummed around its flagpole, the wind whistles! ‘I don’t quite understand what you want?’ the contractor explained. ‘There’s nothing to explain where a draught would be getting in, and we’ve checked all your external walls.’ ‘Listen though!’ Jenny hauled him through the kitchen by the front of his shirt, pressed her face to the lilac paint. ‘It’s whistling now!’ The contractor stared at her, wide eyed, and a little sweaty. ‘Aye,’ he croaked, ‘I hear it.’ She yanked him closer. ‘You will,’ she said, quiet now. ‘You will be the one to make it stop.’
It’s the end of a long day and I still have words to write for NaNoWriMo, but I’m taking a little break to pop over to the dVersePub and see what delights they have in store for tonight’s prompt. They’ve yet to dissapoint!
Grinning, the newsreader finished his story and muttered something half-funny to the reporter next to him. Edmund muted the sound and redialled Atlas, flicking crumbs off his armchair as the phone rang. ‘Heyyyyyy mateyyy…’ Atlas’ voice trailed off. ‘Problems with your connection?’ Edmund asked. The newsreader handed over to the hot weather guy, Edmund tried to remember his name, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Something like Phil, or maybe Mark. ‘Yeah, the line’s bad and I-’ Atlas broke off. ‘Look mate, I’m sorry I hung up on you, I didn’t mean to answer the call, I was dealing with a bank robbery and I forgot my phone was in the suit.’ ‘Bet everyone still came out alive though.’ There was a pause. Edmund tracked the weatherman as he indicated high pressure coming in from the west. ‘You ran headfirst into a train Ed. What did you think was going to happen? The way Tulis tells it, you damn near split your skull like an egg.’ ‘Bruised noggin’, nothing more. Stopped the train.’ ‘And killed every, single passenger on board.’ ‘Most were dead already. Didn’t do them no harm really.’ The weatherman was wrapping up, the camera panning back to the newsreader. ‘Heard you got some certificate,’ Edmund said. The newsreader was grinning again, all teeth and thin lips. Atlas had thin lips, thin nose too, and beady little eyes. A wonder anyone trusted him. Beady eyes were better than a monster out of myth. ‘It’s the Nobel Peace Prize, not a certificate.’ ‘Papers, paper,’ Edmund shrugged. ‘It’s not- ah forget it. Look I got to get going, I’ve still got reports to fill out and the league wants me to drop by once I’m done here.’ ‘What about?’ ‘I- er- I’m not sure.’ Edmund tapped his finger against the chair and sucked in a breath. ‘They want you to deal with me,’ he guessed. ‘No, no, I’m sure it’s not that.’ He pressed the off button, listened to the empty apartment around him. ‘Ed?’ He kept listening. ‘Ed?’ ‘Hey Atlas,’ he said quietly. ‘I think someone’s here.’
It’s been a while since I made use of one of the writing prompts from The Story Shack, mostly because I’ve been writing more poetry than flash fiction over the past couple of years. I think a little variation is good to stretch to writing muscles however.
I’d love to hear any feedback you have on how this format reads. I’m still trying to get to grips with the new block editor so any comments will be greatly appreciated.