Image Prompt Response 078 – Meeting the Enemy

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I chose the image of the spider as inspiration for today’s 20-minute sprint.  Using characters from the project I started for Camp NaNoWriMo back in April.  For a little context, Hannah is from our modern world and was transported into the fantasy world in the scene below.  I’m trying to leave out most of the world building stuff for this exercise, but hopefully the character and story parts will come through alright.

Title: Meeting the Enemy

After weeks of travel and training with both the locals and her fellow Champions, Hannah was ready to meet this being from another plane to figure out how she could protect this world from it.  She still wasn’t entirely sure she bought into the idea that the only way to do that was to kill the creature.  She also wasn’t entirely sure what the previous Champions described when they defeated their opponents was death.

She’d asked to go alone, since everything she’d learned seemed to indicate that she should be relatively safe but any of the local people could be killed just from getting to near this thing.  She’d been a little surprised when everyone agreed to that plan, but there she was, walking alone down the streets of the empty city.

The buildings weren’t very tall, maxing out at five stories, but they had a certain charm to them.  They all had the kind of embellishments she associated with Victorian era homes, but the architecture she’d expect in an Asian country with the wooden structures, sliding walls, and easy ways to add ventilation.  It was an interesting combination, but she liked it.

She’d been told that the being had arrived a few months ago, and had attacked anyone that came near it, and managed to drive the inhabitants out of the city entirely before taking up residence near the center of town on the central tower.  They’d all said that it was twice the size of the larger animals they used for riding and pulling carriages, which made it about twice the size of an ox.  Hannah held the Scepter loosely in her right hand, and had a slim sword hanging at her side.  She’d enjoyed fencing in College, so she’d kept with it recreationally since.  The locals seemed to like that she had something they saw as martial training.  She still wasn’t used to the weight of the real sword compared to a fencing foil though.

When she came to the end of the road and walked into the main square, she paused and looked around.  The Champions had indicated that she should know the being when she saw it.  There was something about humans like her that could recognize the other-planar beings.

Hannah looked across the paving stones and didn’t see anything.  She did have the strange feeling that she was being watched though.

She examined the fronts of all the buildings, looking for signs that one might be inhabited.  And then she looked up at the tower itself.

The tower was made of a pink stone that glittered slightly in the bright mid-day sun.  Hannah’s eyes tracked upward, admiring the carved ornaments at the corners of each story.  And then she was looking at the top story of the tower.

It was a spider.

That was her first thought.  It was just a spider hanging down between her and the tower.

Hannah shifted to one side, but the spider didn’t move.  It was resting against the tower, it’s black body gleaming in the light and the yellow markings along it’s back and legs seeming to shift and move as she looked at it.

The spider lifted one leg, and Hannah saw the shadow of it move against the tower.

It was a spider.

From front legs to back it was nearly two stories long, which made it about ten meters she guessed.  That made the body itself about ten meters long.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Hannah said out loud.

The spider’s head moved.

You do not run from me.

The voice wasn’t something she’d heard.  It was more like how the previous Champions spoke to her from the Scepter.

“You can hear me?” she asked, curious if it understood her.

They all run from me.

“You tried to eat them, of course they ran from you,” Hannah muttered.

I was not trying to eat them.

“Well, it sure looked like it to them.  And that means you can hear me and understand me.”

Of course.

“So, why are you here and what do you want?” Hannah asked.  If it was intelligent, she might as well ask the questions.

I did not choose to be here.

“That makes two of us.  So what do you want now that you’re here?”

Hannah saw the spider’s head tilt one way and then another.  It was a mannerism more like a dog or a cat, when they were trying to listen to their human talking to them.

What do I want?

“Yeah, what do you want?”  If the answer was to go home, maybe she didn’t have to kill it.  Hannah rather liked spiders most of the time.  They were useful.

Image Prompt 078 – Spider and Botanical Garden Path

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 078-01 RenFest Opening Day 2012-10-06 205

Image Prompt 078-02 Daniel Stow Botanical Gardens October 2010 004

Image Prompt 077 – Fog at the Dock and Sun at St. Ives

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 077-01 Morning 05-08-27 003

Image Prompt 077-02 Day Two05-05-10 101 St Ives

Image Prompt 076 – Cat and Creek

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 076-01 Christmas 2010 009

Image Prompt 076-02 Maggie Valley 2013-08-02 (2)

Image Prompt 075 – Nebraska Campus & Scottish Stream

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

 

Image Prompt 075-01 Lincoln NE 2011-10-21 074

Image Prompt 075-02 Haggis Tour Scotland05-04-15 021

Image Prompt Response 074 – Red

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I chose the image of the moss-covered, stone stairs leading up a hill for my twenty-minute prompt this time.

Red:

After months cooped up inside her apartment, Kelly was glad to get out of the house for a while.  She’d been doing alright with online meetings for work and seeing her friends in online spaces and doing occasional calls with family and her best friends, but it was getting old staring at the same walls all the time.

So she’d driven up the mountain to find a place to hike for a while.  It was safe enough to be out in nature as long as there weren’t too many people.  It was still early in the season, and the parking lot hadn’t been very full, so she figured she’d be alright.  She kept a mask in her pocket anyway, just in case.

The first part of the trail was a little busy, so she put her mask on and picked her way around people a little off the trail most of the time.  She was an experienced hiker and even had a little climbing experience, so she was willing to go off trail a little, always careful where she stepped to avoid damaging anything, and she managed to get out away from the others by taking the more difficult option when the trail forked.  It wasn’t long before she came to her favorite section of the trail.

There were stones set into the side of the hill to help make a rudimentary set of steps to get higher up the hill.  They were covered in moss and could be very slippery in the wrong conditions, which was part of why this was a harder trail, but it was dry and bright today, so she was able to walk up them quickly to the top of the hill.

There were remains of a railing that hadn’t been kept in good repair.  Back from an older period of trail tending.  These days the goal was to change as little as possible.  The trail was there to keep humans off the rest of the mountain, so they didn’t damage things.  It wasn’t necessarily there to make the climb easier.

When she crested the hill, the light blinded her for a moment.  She held up a hand to shield her eyes and blinked quickly, her eyes actually watering from how bright it was.  She hadn’t been expecting that this early.

When her eyes had adjusted, she was able to lower her hands and gaze out at the mountains spread out before her.  She was so glad she’d moved up here.  So much better than being stifled in the city.

“Haven’t seen you around before,” someone said from her left.

Kelly shifted to her right as she grabbed her mask out of her pocket, slipping it over her mouth and nose and wrapping the elastic over her ears.

“Never got that reaction before either,” the voice said.

Kelly couldn’t see anyone on the trail to her left.  That was weird.

“Down here,” the voice said, so Kelly looked down.

There was a fox sitting just off the path, front legs straight, head held high, tail wrapped around it’s feet.

“You seem surprised,” the fox said.

“That’s because foxes don’t talk,” Kelly replied.  Had she slipped and fallen?  Hit her head?

“Oh, right, you aren’t used to this,” the fox said, looking down at itself.  “Is this better?” it asked before being enveloped in a puff of smoke.

The smoke cleared to reveal a slim figure about four and a half feet tall with fox ears poking out of it’s red hair, amber eyes with vertical pupils, and a bushy fox tail swishing slightly from side to side.

“No less unbelievable, but it’s been a weird year, so what the hell, I’ll roll with it,” Kelly replied to the fox person.

“They said belief was down these days, but I didn’t realize it was this bad,” the fox person said.  “How about we start with names, then?  You can call me Red.”

“Kelly,” she replied.  “Nice to meet you,” she added.  “Do you get human diseases?  We’re dealing with a pandemic, that’s why I put the mask on when I heard you.”

“Oh dear, a plague?” Red asked.

“We’d probably have called it that back in the day,” Kelly said.  “It’s a potentially deadly disease at any rate.”

“It shouldn’t hurt me any,” Red said.  “Never heard of a puka getting a disease before.  Probably because of all the magic.  Keeps us healthy.”

“Magic, right,” Kelly said.  “Is that how you do the fox to mostly human thing?”

“That doesn’t take magic,” Red said, waving one hand in denial.  “That’s just something puka can do.”

“Cool,” Kelly said, carefully taking of her mask.  “So what’s a puka doing here anyway?”  She might as well have a conversation.  It had been a long time since her last face-to-face conversation.  So what if it was probably just a hallucination brought on by a head injury.

“I like to visit and people watch,” Red said.  “Been a while since anyone’s been able to see me.”

“Not everyone can see you?” Kelly asked.

“Only humans with a little magic of their own can see us these days.”

Image Prompt 074 – Woods Near Maggie Valley, NC and GA Renaissance Festival

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 074-01 Family Vacation 2007 - Maggie Valley 018

Image Prompt 074-02 GA RenFest 2011-05-29 244

Image Prompt 073 – Snowy Tree and Parliament

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 073-01 Carl's Tree03-01

Image Prompt 073-02 Parliament House05-04-14 004

Image Prompt Response 072 – Tired of Third Shift

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I chose the image of the cat on the laundry hamper for my 20-minute sprint today. 

Tired of Third Shift:

Amy was so glad to be home.  Working third shift was harder than she’d thought it would be.  Just managing to sleep properly when it was daylight out wasn’t a simple thing.  Thankfully she’d found a mask that was comfortable enough.

Violet was settled on her laundry hamper as usual, eyes closed and looking content and warm even right next to the window.  As soon as Amy walked in she opened her eyes and meowed loudly in greeting.  For such a lightweight little thing, she was incredibly loud.

“Good morning to you, too,” Amy said, stepping over to pet Violet and scratch her ears and chin just the way she liked best.

Amy heard the bathroom door open in the hallway outside her room.

“Good morning,” her brother Jason said quietly.  “It’s nice that I always know you made it home alright, but that’s the only nice thing about how loud she is.”

Amy laughed softly, still petting Violet.  For as much as Jason complained about her cat being loud, Amy knew he secretly loved Violet, especially when she was in a good mood and curled up on his lap to cuddle.

“Good night at work?” Jason asked, leaning in her doorway.

“Not bad,” Amy replied.  It was a retail warehouse job, it was never going to be great, but at least it meant she made enough for her part of the rent and utilities and at least some of the grocery bills.  Jason was being really great about feeding her when she came up short.  But then, he made bank doing computer security work for one of the big banks, so it wasn’t like he was struggling too.

“I got a pot roast and your usual list of veggies for it if you want to get that in the oven this afternoon,” Jason said.  “I’m going to be a little late getting home, so you don’t have to wait on me unless you want to.”

“Thanks for feeding me all the time,” Amy said, moving over to the door to give her brother a hug.

“You’re worth it,” he said, hugging back.  “Besides, one of these days you’re going to find that perfect job and you’ll be able to spoil me right back.”

Amy laughed again.  Finding work as a graphic designer wasn’t as easy as you’d think.  Yes, plenty of people needed one, but not everyone was willing to pay what you were worth or pay you to just do design and not six other things while you were at it.

“Have faith,” Jason said as he gave her a final squeeze and headed back to his room to get ready.  He had to leave for work soon.

“I’ll try,” Amy replied, heading into the bathroom to brush her teeth and get ready for bed.  At least she was able to keep her sleep schedule such that she was awake in the evening when her brother and their roommate were home.

Amy changed into pajamas and curled up in her bed.  Violet was jumping up to join her only a moment later, curling up against Amy’s chest where it was nice and warm.  Amy smiled as she put on her sleep mask and lay her head on the pillow.  She gently stroked Violet as she let her mind wander, hoping it wouldn’t be too hard to get to sleep this morning.

She was almost asleep when her phone range.

She pushed the mask up and reached for it.  Clearing her throat she answered with a standard “hello.”

“I’m calling to speak with Amy Thomas,” the male voice on the other end said.

“This is she,” Amy replied, laying her head down again.

“I’m calling from Wright Light Design,” he said.  “We received your application for the designer position and wanted to arrange a phone interview if you’re still interested in the position.”

“Yes, I’m still interested,” Amy replied, sitting up in bed.  “What day would you like to schedule it?”

“Are you available tomorrow?”

“I’m available between two and six tomorrow,” Amy replied.  If it was going to be that fast turnaround she didn’t want to disrupt her sleep schedule.

“We have a time available at three,” the man replied.  “The phone interviews usually take about thirty minutes.”

“Tomorrow at three,” Amy replied to confirm.  “Who will the interview be with?”

“I’ll be calling you at three as the HR representative for this position, along with the Lead Designer the position reports to and one of the designers on the team the new designer will be working with.”

“I look forward to speaking with the three of you tomorrow,” Amy said.

“Excellent, I’ll speak with you then.  Have a pleasant day.”

“You do the same,” Amy replied.

Amy’s door opened, Jason peeking his head in.  “Did I hear the word interview?”

“Yeah,” Amy said.  “Phone interview tomorrow.”

“Nice,” Jason said, smiling.  “Get some good sleep,” he added, “I’ll see you for dinner and I can grill you about the job it’s for.”

Amy just laughed.  He never grilled her despite how often he said that.  “Have a good day at work.”

“Later,” Jason said, closing her door before heading down the stairs.

Well, maybe things were about to turn around.  This was the first interview she’d gotten since she started applying for design jobs seven months ago when she graduated.

Image Prompt 072 – Cats and Wolves

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It’s the Second Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

Image Prompt 072-01 Winter Break in Gastonia 001

Image Prompt 072-02 Campus Spring 2012 (10)