That One’s Marked – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 18 October 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Marked 

  • Butterscotch 

  • Grime 

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!



Sully licked the butterscotch from his fingers and sat heavily into the stool. He looked over the small pub and smiled, his missing teeth making Fitch, who was standing nearby, flinch. The room was covered in grime and old beer but the night had been a good one and even the grime couldn’t keep Sully from his joy. He tossed a copper to Fitch who barely caught it.

“Get some’in to clean it, eh?” he said. Fitch nodded and pocketed the coin.

“What about ‘em?” Fitch pointed toward the far corner.

Sully’s lip curled down and he frowned. “That one’s marked, he is. I don’t know if’n we should leave ‘m there or kick him out.” He jingled the coins in his pocket. “Feeling lucky today. Let’s leave him to dry out, yeh?”

Fitch nodded and patted Sully on the shoulder before heading to the stairs toward his room.

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“Who are you?” Tim stammered, clutching the turkey to his breast as if it would protect him.

The second man smiled wider. “My name is Toppam.” The man bowed and touched his hat.

Tim started. No one had ever bowed to him.

“And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” The man had a pleasant smell reminiscent of butterscotch hanging around him, and his fine clothes seemed to repel the grime of the dirty alley they were standing in.

“My name is Tim. Tim Calloway,” Tim nodded, and raised his hand to his forehead though he had no hat to tip.

“Mr. Calloway, it is an honor to make your acquaintance,” Toppam said. “Would you walk with me this evening?”

Tim didn’t think he had a choice, so he nodded and fell into step beside the tall, sinister man.

“You are probably wondering why I came to seek you out,” Toppam continued in the same dignified voice that hinted at a private joke.

Tim nodded. “Yes, Mr. Toppam, sir, the thought has crossed my mind.”

“No, it’s just Toppam,” the man corrected, flashing pointed teeth again. “And it is a simple enough answer Mr. Calloway. You’re a marked man, sir, a man marked for greatness, if you would only allow me to assist you in that endeavor.”

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“I don’t think that is butterscotch” she said as she pointed to the grime on the cookies.  


“What do you mean?” He replied. 


“Well, for one, it is green.” She said, and when he seemed unconvinced she continued “and then there is the smell.” 


She realized then, although first mistaking him for human he had none of the senses.  


“Why were you marked?’ She asked as she dumped the tray of cookies covered in green slime into the trash. 


At first she could she he was going to be defensive. Then before he uttered a word his head dropped, no longer meeting her graze and said “Twice. This year and the last.” 


She felt some pity for him. When a fay lost their senses, sight, smell, hearing, they became more and more human losing any identifier of their race. 


“What did you do?” She asked. 


“I fell in love and then wouldn’t give up on her” he replied. 

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Axton wiped the grime from his brow and then popped another butterscotch morsel into his thin-lipped mouth. He’d been trapped in the tomb for at least a day, he calculated, based on the remaining number of morsels in his bag of candy. Axton had followed the instructions marked on the worn map he’d found on a dig in Giza. It had promised the riches of one of the wealthiest dynasties of Egypt, but so far, he was met with nothing but death. The natives had warned him of the curse, he didn’t listen and now he was in serious trouble.

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“Uh, no, well, I would not appreciate it,” Henry replied, and took a step away as it waddled toward him, still disturbingly glistening and now somewhat tainted by the floor’s grime.

“Oh, well, hypocrisy and a butcher then,” the bird said, his voice taking on a grim tone. “We can’t have that. Perhaps I teach you how we serve humans on Bird’s-Giving then.”

“You made that up,” Henry commented, stalling for time. He looked for some sort of weapon—but it was dead already, so he had no idea what would help.

“I did. Yes.” The turkey made the inside of its hollow neck produce a sucking sound. “But, then, since I did, I get to decide the traditions. How about you are drowned in butterscotch, or lit on fire with brandy. How about I stuff you with cactuses?”

Henry did not like the sound of any of that. A deep sense of confusion was also making the whole thing odder. How had he gone from a cook making his soon-to-arrive family a meal to a marked man fighting a demon turkey?

“Gobble, gobble,” the creature said, his voice slow and menacing. With one leap, he flew into the air—not actually flying, his wings were plucked—and slammed into the face of poor Henry.

Henry let out a shout but still managed to grab the demon by its leg, and hang it upside down. The bird suddenly, and comically, had no real way to deal with this.

“Oh,” Henry muttered. “Right.”

Strength or no strength. It was still tiny.

“I guess you’re not done cooking yet,” Henry said. “I guess some more time in the oven might be in order.”
Noooo!!!!” the turkey roared.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Writers Group, Writing, Writing Exercise

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