I Am

Things were different in the past, now people care about my color.
At times I am a burden, other times I am a frill.
I can be specific or all-encompassing. I am ubiquitous.
You could live without me but it would be difficult.
Commonly found in the air or on the ground, above and under you.
People worry when I’m left alone in populated places.
You put in me things you trust. I try to keep them safe.


The other day I woke up with a dream where I wrote a riddle and I thought it was brilliant, I managed to save a line on my phone before going back to sleep. I thought I’d try to recreate it but it turns out that writing a clever riddle is harder than I thought. To write a clever riddle you have to skirt the line between being too obtuse or too obvious – something I haven’t mastered. In turn, doing this exercise made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating good riddles. Maybe I’ll attempt more in the future.

In case you didn’t figure it out already, I am a bag.

The Spell

“It’s so hard to read this gibberish!” Dina said to herself with the stolen spellbook open in front of her. “There must be a better way to get a prom date!”

“No, this is all Adrian’s fault!” she reasoned. “If only he was in love with me, then I wouldn’t have had to resort to magic!”

She was by no means an experienced spell caster. She was far from one. Dina had spent exactly
one day under the tutelage of the Great Theodore, one of the school’s most powerful wizards before she found herself stealing one of his advanced spell books and attempting spells beyond her means.

Tonight was the school’s prom night and she had decided to test the seduction spell on Adrian because she wanted a dance. Things didn’t go accordingly, and she killed everybody in the vicinity instead. Now she was by herself, trying to figure out how to undo the damage.

Dina flipped through the pages of the book, looking for pictures that resembled mass resurrection. There was nothing as far as she could see. “Maybe that’s in volume two…”

Nearing the end of the book, her eyes widened when she saw a drawing of what appeared to be a tombstone with a crack going through it. “Could this be the spell to raise the dead? Only one way to find out.”

Dina cleared her throat, raised her wand, and did her best to utter the words on the page. “Du’s ra tha rath guia eh ko luu chai!”

Her wand started glowing and lighting shot out from its tip to the corpse closest to her, and bounced around from corpse to corpse, electrocuting each body and bringing them back to life.

“Yes!” she exclaimed, happy that the spell worked.

As the previously dead people rose to their feet, they all looked at Dina, eyes blinking in confusion, demanding an explanation. Eventually, everybody was alive in the hall, including Adrian who was now stumbling towards Dina. However, the lighting continued bouncing around and started striking people once again, sending their bodies into convulsions before turning them into ash and ending their second lives.

Dina realized what was happening and quickly returned to the book for a spell to end her previous spell.

“Dina, what’s going on here? Did you do this?” asked a dazed and concerned Adrian.

“No time to explain!” said Dina, as her eyes frantically scanned the pages of the book. “Ah hah!”

Raising her wand again, Dina yelled, “Suu kai la thri roos rhah!”

Her wand let out a small spark and quickly extended itself, turning itself into a lightning rod. The lightning redirected itself to Dina’s wand, dissipating almost immediately. “Phew.”

She collapsed to the floor, exhausted from the ordeal.


Haven’t done a writing prompt in a while, decided to get back into it today. Prompt from /r/promptoftheday “She resurrected”

A Silence so Sudden That I Seem to Hear It

“I’m sorry,” said an unfamiliar voice. I looked up from my seat to see Lisa standing in front of me. My mind raced – “What the fuck? She speaks?”

Everybody thought Lisa was a mute because she refused to speak to any of us. Ever since her first day at school, she had never uttered a word. We knew she wasn’t special needs or deaf because she raised her hand during roll call and did the same homework as us.

We’d invite her to join us for lunch, but she never accepted – declining by smiling and shaking her head at the same time. After a few weeks, we figured she was either mute or introverted. Regardless, she was a part of our classes – except when it came to discussions. The teachers would never pick her. I believed they knew the reason behind her silence and refused to tell any of us. We left it at that.

And now, on the very last day of school, Lisa decided to speak to me. Of all people.

“It is time for me to say goodbye,” she continued.
“Wait, what?”
“It’s time for me to go.”
“But I don’t even know you, why are you telling me this?”
“Maybe I’ll see you again.”
“I don’t understand,” I replied. I looked around the classroom – nobody seemed to notice that I was having a conversation with the mute girl. They were in the midst of making plans for the summer, drawing dicks on year books, and snapchatting farewell posts.

Lisa turned around and walked out of the classroom. Immediately, I rose to my feet to follow her out of the room.
“George, where are you going?” my teacher asked as I began to open the door.
“I’m going after Lisa!”

Silence fell over the room as all eyes focused onto me.
“Who?”
“Lisa, the mute girl?”
Everybody was looking at me as though I was crazy. Low murmurs of students whispering to each other began to filter into the air.

The teacher got up from her seat and walked towards me. She put a hand on my shoulder and said, “George, you better sit back down.”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: [WP] Everyone thought that one student was mute, though no one knew why. Today, on the last day of school, she speaks to you.

We Could Live Like Hermits

“Stop.”

“The fuck you mean?” I snapped.

“Just don’t. It’s not going to end well.”

“And how would you know that?” I retorted. “You from the future?”

Silence.

I placed my Glock onto my lap, lifted my ski mask and looked into the welled-up eyes of my best friend seated on the passenger side of my beaten-up ‘93 Camaro. I always found it funny that we both shared the same green eyes when nobody else in town I’ve met had them. “Brother from another mother,” he’d tell me all the time.

Ever since we met, we got along famously. Through good times and bad times, we’d stick together, coming out on top. Even though today was going to be one of them, I had a feeling that he was going to get cold feet. I strengthened my resolve.

“You don’t understand, Francis. I just got let go, I’ve got a kid on the way, I’m up to my neck in debt,” I told him. “I need this.”

“Just trust me,” he replied, in between sobs. “It’s a bad idea, someone’s going to call the cops, there’s going to be a massive shoot out, and you’re going to end up… dead.”

“The fuck you on about? You gonna call the cops on me? Aren’t we in this together?”

“I’m not gonna snitch, it’s not that –”

“What happened to all that talk about leaving this town and starting a new life far away? You and Sam; me, Nancy and the little one; neighbors on a farm in the middle of nowhere. Don’t you want that?”

“I do, but – “

“But? But shut the fuck up! You in it or you out. I don’t got time for this shit.”

I pulled my ski mask back on, readied my gun, and stepped out onto the front steps of the town’s largest bank.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: [WP] You have realized that your best friend is your son/daughter from the future who wants to hang out and get to know you since you die before he/she was born

Andvari

Maybe it wasn’t as wonderful as he thought it was in the first place. After all, memories always seemed brighter than he remembered. Was he even remembering them correctly?

He paused, took another drag on his cigarette. What if it was already falling apart in the first place? All it needed was a catalyst to give it a slight push. To make it all happen.

The problem is, he didn’t know. All he could do was speculate. From behind rose-tinted glasses, all he saw was a loving and wonderful story that took place over two years of his life.

Was this the way things were supposed to pan out? Nobody could give him an answer. The funny thing about the future is, it hasn’t been written until it happens. Sure, you can guess at what happens – but there’s no way to tell until it comes to pass.

It’s the same dilemma as thinking that you can go back to the past to change what happens in the future. How do you know what you do will make a difference? Who’s to say that you won’t end up in a situation that’s worst than the present? Short of drastic measures like murdering somebody (then again, you’d probably end up in prison instead of being celebrated a hero) – changing the past could drastically alter the outcome of your present life.

Life isn’t linear. If something happened differently in the past, chances are you’d be sent down a completely different road in the future. Think of all the little choices you made that seemed so small back then – not opening your mouth to say hello to your current best friend, deciding to stay at home instead of going out drinking, changing flight dates because it conflicted with another date, not dressing up or looking your best on your first date. Anything and everything would change the way life played out.

Sure, you mess up at times. Looking back, it’s hard to accept some of the worst mistakes you’ve ever made in life – but there’s no going back and changing things. You’ve made your move, now deal with the consequences. The most you can do is to continue living and not let history repeat itself. It sucks, it hurts, but hey – you live and you learn. At least you’ll still have those memories. Right?

He put out his cigarette, shut his journal, packed his things and put his backpack on. He entered a date into the time machine and stepped in. The door shut itself after him.

Hidden in his alcove, the watching tortoise shed a tear. Goodbye, it whispered into the darkness.

Three Men at a Bar

“My younger brother killed himself yesterday,” said Jim as he put down his glass. Everybody fell silent – even the background music seemed to go quieter by itself. “I told him to kill himself and you know what? That son of a bitch did it. Kids these days, spending too much time in front of the computer. They don’t know what’s good for ‘em.”

Ray’s eyes widened in surprise. “No fucking way.”

“What? You know something about my brother’s death?”

“What was his name?”

“Johnny. Or Jon the Slayer, as he liked to refer to himself when he was caught up in his games.”

“My ex killed himself yesterday, and I’ve been devastated. I couldn’t pay him a visit. He told me his family was homophobic. I-” Ray broke down and started to cry. “I regretted not trying hard enough to make it work.”

“The fuck? You were dating my brother? You fucking fag!” Jim stood up, his fist raised and ready to strike.

“Now I know why he didn’t want to come out.” Ray retorted.

“My brother was not gay!”

“Stop it!” said Leonard as he stepped in between the two men. “Your brother just passed, and you’re acting like an animal in public,” he told Jim.

“It was all his fault!” yelled Jim. “If it wasn’t for this piece of shit over here, my brother probably wouldn’t be so much of a coward!”

“Hey! It wasn’t my fault that your brother loved sucking dicks. He was born that way – I didn’t make him choose his sexual preference!” snapped Ray.

“Just shut the fuck up and sit down, both of you!” interjected Leonard. He had to act fast before the previously-amicable-turned-sour conversation devolved into an all out brawl.

Jim and Ray didn’t respond. Ray was also now on his feet, staring Jim down. As if beckoning him to throw a punch.

Now the music in the bar had stopped and all eyes were on the trio.

“Are you guys going to behave properly or should I call the authorities?” the bartender’s voice boomed from across the room.

“We’re fine over here,” said Leonard as he nudged the two angry men back into their seats.

A few seconds passed and the music and chatter among the other patrons in the bar gradually resumed. It was as though everything was back to normal.

Ray and Jimmy were still fuming at each other while seated.

“Look, Jim and Ray – neither of you are to blame for what happened. You guys met tonight – there’s no need for bloodshed. Honestly, Jim, you should have told me you weren’t up for a blind date after such a tragic occasion. It would have been better if you stayed home.”

“This was the blind date?” exclaimed Jim.

“Yes, I told you that I was going to help you take your mind off things.”

“I thought we were just going for drinks!”

“And you decided to set me up with the extremely homophobic homosexual brother of my dead ex!” confronted Ray.

“How was I to know that you dated his brother?” replied Leonard. “If only you were more open with your past!”

Leonard got up from his seat.

“I’m going out for a smoke, and when I get back, I want to see you guys laughing and hanging out like best friends. Like you’ve known each other your whole lives,” he said. They remained silent as he walked out of the bar.

He stepped out into the cold night, lit up a cigarette and peered through the glass. He could now see that Jim and Ray were warming up to each other again and had started talking. Based on their body language, things were going well. It wasn’t long until they were holding hands and falling into each other’s eyes lovingly.

He smiled to himself. I guess I’m done after all. He pulled out a voice recorder and started speaking into it.

“Leonard two-three-one-seven reporting. Experiment one thousand and sixty-seven has been a failure. Despite all the different methods I’ve employed, it appears that it’s impossible to stop love from taking place. It is powerful enough to transcend both space and time. I’ve enjoyed myself in this timeline, but it’s time to go. If there’s another way to stop the relationship from happening, I haven’t found it yet. My life’s work has been ruined – all gone down the train.”

He sighed as he put the tape recorder back in his pocket. A few seconds later, his watched beep. “Message Received” was the prompt that flashed on its tiny display. He felt a tiny explosion go off in his head and his world was enveloped in darkness.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Three guys start chatting in a bar during the lowest moment of their lives. As they exchange their life stories, they realize that they are all connected, and responsible for eachother’s misery.

The Fool

She was waiting for him to get out of his car. When he did they locked eyes. He smiled at her and she returned it. I’ve been waiting for you, her eyes seemed to say.

However her gaze immediately averted when he walked into the restaurant – as though she knew they were doing something wrong. He was here.

“I can’t talk to you.”

That’s all he needed to hear.

“I’m leaving-”

Please, don’t.”

He saw the desperation in her eyes. After a second which seemed like an eternity he made up his mind. He was done playing the fool; he walked out of the restaurant without saying goodbye. She held back a tear as he drove away.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: I give you the punctuation, you write the story.

The Perfect Crime

“Two years and not a word. I wondered if they even realized it was gone. Was my fake that good? I went into my garage, unlocked the trap door to my basement and descended the steps into it. I switched on the lights. There, in the middle of the room, was the prized Mona Lisa, resting on an easel for no one but my own eyes to see. I had pulled off the perfect crime, but there was nobody I could tell about it, or I would have been caught and sent to jail.”

“Alright, show and tell is over. It’s time for your meds,” said Francis off to the side of the podium. I stepped away from the lectern, normally reserved for bingo nights, and felt two steady arms guide me back to my seat. Though my eyesight was failing, I could see the same (old) faces, smiling at me, breaking the silence with frail clapping.

“Oceans Ninety Nine! Tell us another story!” I heard from the back of the room.
“This is only the hundredth time I’ve heard it!”

“Bah! These patronizing kids,” I thought to myself as I sipped the water through a straw placed in front of me. “They’ll never know the truth if it hit them in the face!”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: You have been striving for years to commit the elusive “Perfect Crime” for the fame of it. You steal the Mona Lisa and replace it with a fake. You leave a taunting note and wait for the panic when it is discovered. But, 2 years later, no one has noticed.

Tony hated cats

When Tony was a young boy, he used to have nightmares about a man sneaking into his room and taking his toys away. He had made sure to always go to bed hugging his favorite teddy bear, but in the dream, the teddy bear was always on the floor on the other side of the room. He’d cry and scream, and beg the man not to take his teddy bear away. But the man would never listen. He’d always make sure to grab the soft toy before exiting the room.

However, there was one night the dream didn’t play out as usual. This time, the teddy bear was still in Tony’s clutches. Thinking that the mysterious man would give up if he didn’t find the bear, Tony hid it under his blanket, away from the man. After silently combing the rest of the room and not finding the bear, instead of walking out of the room, the man looked at Tony and stepped towards him. It was as though he could sense the bear under the sheets.

“Go away!” Tony yelled at the man as he gripped the bear even tighter. He wasn’t going to lose the toy again. Not this time.

The man wordlessly continued towards the boy. And for the first time, Tony saw the face of the man, revealed by the moonlight shining through the windows of the room. Expecting the face of an adult man, Tony was horrified by what he saw – the man had the face of a cat. The fact that it wasn’t disfigured or grotesque made it much worse for Tony. He let out a scream and woke up crying. He had never felt a greater fear before in his life.

Since that nightmare, Tony decided to get rid of his teddy bear, thinking that it was a magnet for the mysterious cat-faced man. While the dreams stopped, his fear of cats and anything feline-like remained. He never looked at them the same way again.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Wednesday Writer’s Workshop: “Thought” Verb Exercise

Bounce

“I can’t wait to see her again.” He smiled to himself.

It had been two weeks since he had last seen her. She spent the summer break at her parents’ place out of state. So he had been looking forward to this day. He kept his feet on the gas pedal as he drove towards her house. Traffic was great this evening – it was smooth all the way. Less than ten minutes after leaving his house, he was at hers.

He saw her standing outside as he parked his car. He couldn’t wait to tell her all about what had happened during his break. Elated, he hopped out of his car and dashed towards her. She had finished smoking a cigarette and was putting out the butt with her flip-flops.

“Baby!” he greeted her, arms outstretched.

While she was only dressed in a casual T-shirt and shorts, she stood radiating like a goddess under the moon light. He couldn’t take his eyes off her.

A few paces from her, just out of arms reach, he saw the smile on her face straighten. Like a trampoline returning to its neutral state, it took the wind out from his step.

“I’ve put all your stuff in here,” she said as she handed him a paper bag. Then she turned and walked back into her house.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: Write either a genuinely nice story or a story that looks nice and then has an unexpected turn. Don’t let any people reading know which you wrote until the end.