Image Prompt 045 Response – I’ve Already Trained One

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I chose the picture of the two cats on the piles of boxes for my twenty-minute sprint this week.  A quick copy edit later, this is the result. I hope you enjoy.

I’ve Already Trained One:

Angelica peered over the edge of the box she sat in, waiting to see when the door would open.  The large hairless cat would be back soon. She and Jonathan preferred to have eyes on the door when he did return.  It was good to know when the bumbling creature was around.

“Did we leave everything prepared?” Jonathan asked.

“We rearranged the items in the tiered beds room,” Angelica replied.

“And the large bed room?” Jonathan asked.

“Of course,” Angelica replied.  “I always do that first thing in the morning.

“Our dishes were properly filled today,” Jonathan mused.  “Yesterday was reasonably successful then.”

“He made more of the interesting noises than usual as he rearranged things,” Angelica reminded him.

“Yes, it is always a successful day when he verbalizes more,” Jonathan agreed.

“Do you think we need to particulate something?” Angelica asked.  “He’s especially verbal when we do that.”

“Not today.  We did one last week.”

“Best not to overdo that technique,” Angelica agreed.  “I was sure to lay on his pants today.”

“We must give him whatever added warmth we can manage,” Jonathan said.  “I don’t understand how he survives without his fur.”

“The fur on his head probably needs grooming as well,” Angelica said.  “Provided it doesn’t taste too awful. I don’t know what he does to end up with all that gunk in it.”

“It seems to be voluntary,” Jonathan said.  “He was in the water room the other day and I saw him putting something in his fur that smelled like what we usually find in it when we try to groom him properly.”

“It’s getting late,” Angelica said, glancing out the window.  “He’s usually returned before dark.”

“It’s not so late that it’s concerning yet,” Jonathan replied.  He was older, so Angelica trusted him to know what he was talking about.

They both perked up when they heard the sound from the door.  There was always a specific grating noise before the door itself opened.  They jumped down from their boxes and hurried to jump onto the counter beside the door.

“Say hi to the welcoming committee,” their furless cat said as he walked in.

There was a second furless cat behind him.

“Oh, how cute,” she said.  “They’re waiting for you.”

“Yeah,” theirs said.  “They always greet me at the door.  I think maybe they miss me when I’m not around.”

“They’re lovely,” the other one said, stepping closer and reaching out to touch Jonathan.

Jonathan ducked his head as she reached for him.  He didn’t let just anyone touch him.

“Hey, sweet girl,” their furless cat said as he stroked between Angelica’s ears and down her back.

Angelica purred and pushed into the touch, but kept her eyes on Jonathan and the new furless cat.  She thought this one was female.

Jonathan had evaded her touch and jumped down to the floor.

“He doesn’t seem especially friendly,” the furless cat said, crouching down beside Jonathan.

“He can be slow to warm up,” their furless cat said.  “Just give him time to get used to you.”

The female furless cat stood up again and stepped closer to their furless cat.  “Is she friendly?”

“Usually,” their furless cat replied, still stroking Angelica.  “She loves attention.”

The new furless cat reached out and rand her fingers along Angelica’s back.  It wasn’t a rough touch, so Angelica remained still. She watched the newcomer.

“You’re beautiful,” the female said.  “And so soft,” she added, as she continued to stroke Angelica.

Their furless cat continued stroking her as well, and the female seemed to be learning from him how to do so, her strokes becoming more and more like his as they continued.

“Alright up there?” Jonathan asked.

“So far,” Angelica replied.

“Do you want some attention too?” the female asked, crouching down again.

Jonathan retreated to the other side of their furless cat.  This newcomer wasn’t very well versed in their language apparently.

“She’s alright,” their furless cat said, crouching down to stroke Jonathan.

Jonathan purred for him.  Perhaps they would reward him for his good behavior later.  He was giving them proper attention, and he hadn’t tried to pick Jonathan up like he had the last time a strange furless cat was in their space.

The female stood again and returned to stroking Angelica.

Angelica purred since the furless cat was doing a reasonably good job in her ministrations.  She even scratched under Angelica’s chin without any prompting.

“This one seems trainable,” Angelica said.

“If she responds to your training she might be worth the effort,” Jonathan replied.  “I’ve already trained one.”

Jonathan didn’t see the point in training anything that didn’t show promise in advance.

Angelica went back to purring, wanting to encourage this new furless cat to treat her properly while their furless cat ministered to Jonathan.

“Alright,” their furless cat said after a while.  “Be nice to Victoria while I get everyone’s dinner together.

Jonathan followed their furless cat into the food room, leaving Angelica alone with the newcomer.  Since she continued to be stroked and petted, Angelica saw no issues with the other two leaving. This one had a good touch already.

“You’re much happier to see me than your fellow,” the female furless at said.  “Maybe you can put in a good word for me later. I’d love to see if he’s as soft as you are.

Angelica laughed at that.  She was far softer than Jonathan.  All the furless cats said so.

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Image Prompt 045 – Cats and Ireland

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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 045-001 2018-10-12 Locke and Lilly 10-07-16 002

Image Prompt 045-002 2018-10-12 Shamrocker Tour05-04-23 043

Image Prompt 044 Response – Shelter in Place

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I chose the picture of the fountain at the McKimmon Center.  I wrote this at my weekly write-in and the prompt from the room was to crash a spaceship into it, so I hope you enjoy a little random scifi.  As usual, this is the product of a timed sprint and a quick copy edit. I went a bit over my usual twenty minutes so I could get to the actual crash, so this is a bit closer to a thirty-minute sprint.

Shelter in Place:

Sarah was on duty at the front desk in the McKimmon Center doing her statistics homework.  It was a work-study position, so they had to let her work on stuff when there was no one around that needed help or directions.  It was the only reason she had both rent and all her homework done.

She heard the rumbling and thought it was thunder at first, but when the noise just kept up, she got up and checked outside.  It was bright and sunny. The only clouds were the fluffy white ones that never caused rain. The rumbling noise was still there, and it was getting louder.  She didn’t see anything, so she went back to the desk. If it was worth worrying about, she’d get an alert soon. It could just be related to one of the ever-present construction projects in and around campus.  She’d started ignoring a lot of noises after they began reconstructing Hillsborough Street. You could hear it in any building within a block of that edge of campus.

Sarah was just getting back to her statistics homework when her phone went off.  It was a campus alert telling everyone that there was a national warning asking everyone to get indoors as quickly as possible and shelter in place.  All campus personnel were to stop what they were doing, go to the nearest building, and follow the shelter in place procedures.

Frowning, Sarah left her homework on the desk, but grabbed her backpack with her computer and did a quick sweep of the main area on her way to the bathrooms designated for shelter in place.  She was only half way across the main entryway when someone came on the building’s speakers announcing the shelter in place call and asking everyone to follow staff to the designated location.  She clicked on the link in the alert, hoping the main page would have additional information, but there wasn’t much. Just that the warning and shelter in place directive had come from the US government.

“Do you know where to go?” Someone asked as they walked into the main hall from one of the side rooms.  There was a line of people behind them.

“If you’ll all follow me,” Sarah said, putting her phone back in her pocket.  “Shelter in place locations are in the center of the building in the bathrooms there.”  It was a pretty typical shelter in place location. Sarah had been doing what she thought of as hide-in-the-bathroom drills since she was in kindergarten.  Back then they’d been called tornado drills. They were better than the code red drills.

When they reached the bathroom, Sarah held the door open to the women’s restroom and let everyone else file in past her.

“Should we go to the men’s room?” a guy asked her, pausing before entering.

“For shelter in place purposes, it doesn’t matter,” Sarah replied.  “This one is closer, so we’ll all shelter here.”

There were about a dozen people in the bathroom when Sarah stepped in and let the door close behind her.  Her supervisor, Greg, was in the back corner with a few other people Sarah didn’t know, plus the eight people that had come out of the meeting room to ask her for directions.

“Everyone make yourselves as comfortable as you can,” Greg said.  “We could be here a while. It’s Monday morning and the bathrooms are always fully cleaned over the weekend, so feel free to sit if you need to.”

Sarah leaned against the wall near the door and watched everyone.  A few people looked at the floor, but no one sat down. She understood.  Bathroom floors were a weird place to sit down, even if you knew it was freshly cleaned.

The rumbling noise was still audible, even from where they were in the center of the building on the first floor.  It must have been really loud outside. It sounded a bit like being inside an airplane during takeoff or landing. Just a huge rushing air noise.

Another alert went out, urging anyone not already inside to get there as fast as possible and anyone driving to pull over and shelter in place in their vehicles.  Sarah knew she should probably be scared. It wasn’t a weather emergency, and the US government was telling them to hide. Did that mean the government had finally pissed someone off enough to attack the US?  But why would they go after anything in the Raleigh area? She’d think they’d target something like the military bases near the coast before anything else in North Carolina.

The rushing air noise got louder, and Sarah thought she heard a couple loud banging noises.  That’s when the wall started to shake. Sarah stood up and had time to take one step away.

There was a horrible crunching and crashing noise, accompanied by the walls shaking and drywall cracking, and dust raining down on them.

Sarah dropped to her knees and threw her hands over her head.  Years of public schooling had ingrained the need to protect her head.

The next sound was so loud it left Sarah’s ears ringing.  The ground shook and the wall beside her pushed inward, drywall falling on her.

There was silence after that.  Sarah coughed, and pushed up, hoping there wasn’t anything heavier than drywall on top of her.

The drywall cracked and fell on either side of her.

Sarah looked up for find everyone covered in gray and brown debris.  There was dust everywhere, and she could see blood on some people.

“Is everyone alright?” Greg asked, right before the fire alarm went off and the sprinkler system activated.

The sprinklers only stayed on for a few seconds.  Long enough to soak everyone, but not long enough to do anything if there was a fire.

Sarah got to her feet carefully, thankful for her backpack, which took the brunt of the hit from the bits of wall that had accompanied the drywall.  She turned to look behind her.

The main lobby was gone.  So was most of that half of the building.  She was looking at the courtyard where the fountain should have been.  She could even see a few cars in the lot on the other side, though none of them were right side up.

Where the fountain should have been, was a pile of metal.  It looked like it had been rectangular originally. Maybe slightly rounded on one end, but it also looked broken.  There was a crater around it, and it had dug itself partially into the ground of the courtyard. There were broken bricks scattered everywhere.

Sarah’s phone chimed, and she checked it automatically.  An unidentified object had fallen from orbit and landed near the McKimmon Center.  Those in the affected area were to remain sheltering in place where possible, or follow emergency evacuation procedures if their building warning systems indicated.  Everyone else was to remain sheltered in place.

Sarah looked back at the weird object.  It didn’t look like a satellite. What else might have been in orbit?  She didn’t think anyone made spaceships that looked like that.

Image Prompt 044 – Raleigh and Dublin

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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 044-001 2018-09-14 McKimmon Center Spring 2012 (1)

Image Prompt 044-002 2018-09-14 Dublin05-04-21 015-Guiness Theatre

Image Prompt 043 – Moon and Forest

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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 043-001 2018-08-10 Campus07-11-19 001

Image Prompt 043-002 2018-08-10 Welsh Dragon05-05-06 048

Image Prompt 042 – Scotland Cityscape and Stonehenge

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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 042-001 2018-07-13 City Scenes 020

Image Prompt 042-002 2018-07-13 Day One05-05-09 008

Image Prompt 041 – Stairs

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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.

This week, I wanted to share a little bit about how I select these images.  I have two large folders of images that are all either completely without humans and identifiable information, or where things like license plates and distantly visible faces have been blurred.  I use a random number generator to pick the images for each month.  So the fact that both pictures this week are of the same outdoor staircases is rather interesting.

Image Prompt 041-001 2018-06-08 Behind Apartment March 2009 025

Image Prompt 041-002 2018-06-08 Snow Day09-01 001