We could all use a little more light right now, don’t you think?
The Prompted contest for May was light-themed, partially because of the need for more light, partially because my flash fiction story “Secret Agent Lampshade” was published today only on Havok. (Sorry I’m posting this so late. Marit, my fellow judge, and I had a hard time coordinating schedules.)
As usual, the stories were to be 150 words or less, which is a difficult challenge, to be sure. But they all did marvelously!
Here are the Instagram posts:
Now for the winners!
I know I’m bleeding, it drips down my fingertips, but I stagger numbly through the charred ruins along the outskirts, knowing that my feet tread across the blackened remains of innocents.
I climb a mound of rubble and stop, staring at the unmistakable sight before me. The city blazes in amber, but it isn’t the brightness that makes me look away. It is the thought that my brother did this.
If my brain could register any more of the horrors I’ve seen today, I would fall to my knees and cry out. Instead, I just stand there, the thick black smoke burning my eyes.
I know he did this; my whole being is heavy with knowing. And one more thought winds its way into my mind, fills my existence with poison and an acrid taste in my throat: we were never supposed to go this far.~ Michaela Bush
Michaela Bush (@tangledupinwriting) really nailed this prompt. The sense of atmosphere, the horror and grief and guilt the character feels, the descriptions that take you right into the scene. And that last line––oh my goodness, the thought that the main character was in on it? That hurts so good.
In my gushing wounds, I see the brook where the boys play on hot summer eves. Memories of silky breezes over the farm’s pastures numb my cuts.
I quiver. My vision darkens. Death is near.
Sword in hand, I rise from my knees. Battle’s cacophony of fear mingles with my infant daughter’s laughter.
I parry, then thrust my blade through another wicked heart. The violence is sickening, but defeat would lead to worse.
My muscles grow weak. Darkness thickens. A door opens on the battlefield, lighting the gloom with paradise’s promise. A soothing glow calls me closer. My heart yearns for what is ahead and aches for what is behind.
My sword is knocked from my hand. I ram the rim of my shield into a throat. A spear tears through my chest. The door is near.
I grab the spear shaft. “Not yet.”~ Michael Erasmus
Michael Erasmus (@michael.c_erasmus) never fails to astound me with his prose. The juxtaposition of normal life and violence, the depiction of a dying man pressing on, the door leading to life beyond… This story hit me hard. Fantastic job.
In the beginning, there was only formless darkness and I was at the water’s edge, hovering over darkness deep.
It began subtly at first as thick, sweet honeyed smoke, like the burning of aged applewood. It grew into the flavor of sweet fire, rich and heavy in my mouth, crawling from the back of my braised throat, across my tongue, toward the back of my teeth which were parted in awe.
Then He spoke.
He spoke and liquid smoke burst from my mouth as radiant strands of honeyed fire and light, as sunshine on that, the first day. Then the robust heat that had been in my mouth was upon my face.
And that was the first taste of the light of day.
And it was good.
In the beginning.~ Angela Dicken
Angela Dicken (@angelavirginiawrites) blew Marit and I away with her story. She truly described the taste of sunshine with vividness and clarity and gorgeous prose. Those descriptions were marvelous and effective. Plus, I loved the fact that she used the biblical creation story of Genesis.
The Next Contest
The next Prompted contest will be in June. I haven’t decided the dates yet, but I’ll announce it on my Instagram and email list. (If you want to be a part of my email list, go here! And I made an Instagram hashtag, #promptedcontests, that collects all my contest posts in one place.)
I’ve already chosen my June judge, but you’ll have to wait until contest time to know who that is. Also, I haven’t decided if I will be doing a contest every month again. I broke my every-other-month schedule due to quarantine free time, but with the world starting back up again (praise God!), I’m not sure I’ll have time or energy for a contest every month.
I suppose we’ll just have to see the states of the world and my mental health at the time. But whatever happens, thank you so much for participating in and supporting these Prompted contests! I have really enjoyed hosting them over the past year, and I hope they are as much of a joy to you as they are to me.