This short story was prompted by the following image:
Winter came upon them like a rainbow; their minds had been dancing in preparation.
Finally they found themselves in the “Coughing Lair” as they called it, cigar fumes so rich and red.
Taking their seats they wondered, “Why do all these fellows always think they’re the best?” Their fingers alternated pushing pieces and twiddling their facial hair, making it rather crooked. The laughter molted-off them as in silence they smirked.
Perchance they weren’t pitted equally, but it was doubtless who’d win. One move, one stop closer, the previous partner moping onward to the bar. Then they plowed forward and through the next, exchanging glances over the mossy hair.
Finally, at the table they met. “Can’t they tell we’re sick of being nestled in homes, with no right to vote? It’s not as though everyone births babies by the click,” the women guffawed. One loosened her binding and the other slammed her drink back, silent shock reverberating through the men’s lounge.
There wasn’t ever the sweet grass prairie when she dislodged her aviators. Dee always found herself somewhere fantastical: a foreign landscape, some pounding club, or a colonist’s ballroom. She’d sigh, hike-up her stockings, and embrace the plot.
This time wasn’t any different; she stood proud on a mute slab’s edge. Relieved, she wasn’t scared of this cement. An expert judge, Dee already knew here was too idyllic to be another futuristic dystopian.
Instead, her attention was silently screaming at the rope swinging with dead-weight. Not again. Dee hated bringing calamity with her. But she ceased premature blame-casting, for who knew when he’d jumped the brink?
Story commenced; she nudged her toe at the coil, hoping to uncover a clue. No reason to keep her shoes clean, for the scarlet sequin-sparkle had shed-off literally ages ago.
On cue, her aching companion flared–that gut-wrenching longing–for her blasted, world-warped, clicking heels take her to where Em’s apple pie is served with cheddar:
Read E. S. Johnston’s story based on the same image here.
(Note: this following image is the prompt for this story)
He had melted into the bed for an hour by now, surely. Actually, it could have been hours, thirty of them. Those decades had passed in a blink, would he know if the hours had played the same game?
The sun was a hazy ball on the horizon. He felt his gaping chasm acutely, head pounding from the ache where his heart had laid.
To pass time’s lack of essence, he listened to the refrigerator’s tinks. A whole colony of miniatures lived there. With top-hats, tails; frilly dresses and bonnets– holes cut for ears.
He heard the minis scurry up and down the railings, the stairs and the elaborate castles they build in the mound of cooling rejected pastry. They had made exquisite pillars of the champagne bottles.
He considered folding himself into a jerky square, hiding in the frozen room. He imagined delighting in their revelry almost as much as he hated himself in this eternal moment dragging on.
The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:
Did we give them credit? Of course not. We are Life, they were bottom-dwellers.
They labored. When the storms and thunder came and went, when the sun burned and set, we paid them no mind.
Why would we? Wormwood was the least of our concerns. The Kingdom had the vicious Wyderhosiens, sleazy Mebas, and the violent race of Zyesis to worry about. The Larvi were said to be non-toxic to society as long as left to themselves. (And when not, they were known to bite visitors apart.)
When we migrated the populations from the dying planet, we left them in a boring useless sector where the Larvi could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.
But we do not have the talent to coexist. By the time we returned, the Larvi had transformed the tough, hewn rock walls into a masterpiece. Then we followed command, slaughtering the slimy peach creatures.
These new headquarters will suffice. Until we find something better.
“Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.”