The Creature Slithered – an ISG Writing Exercise

On DATE, these three words were chosen:

  • Graham-Cracker

  • Limp

  • Bookmark

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



Clara was sitting on the large overstuffed chair in her grandfather’s library looking out at the thunderstorm raging outside. She heard a plop as the now limp graham cracker she had been dipping in her tea broke off and was now what her brother would call a “floater”.

She looked down again at the book she was reading. It had actually been a perfectly sunny day until about ten minutes ago when the hero in the book was thrust into a perilous storm. The moment it happened the lightning cracked right outside the window.

She looked down and decided to turn some pages to where there was an old tasseled bookmark. She flipped open to the page “The creature slithered between the shelves as a cold mist rose from the floor.” Looking at the words again she closed her eyes and sighed. The air around her began to cool and when she opened her eyes again there was a dark grey mist around her. “They didn’t mention the color of the mist in the book” she mumbled to herself just as she heard the sound of movement from the shelves behind her chair….

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Ryan stepped gingerly around the graham crackers crushed and spread across the floor. His limp from the fight earlier in the day did not help the fact that he was trying to avoid making any noise as he made his way to his room through the kitchen. He stepped around a particularly large pile of crackers when his knee failed.

Hitting the tile, the cracker crunched, and he froze, partially from the pain and partially to strain his ears for any evidence that he had been heard. White noise was all he could make out so he stood on wobbly legs and continued.

A soft chuckle came from behind. Ryan stopped and turned around. Lorna stood with a thick volume in hand, a bookmark on a string dangled from her fingers.

“The faeries aren’t back yet but they’re coming. Better hurry.” She encouraged though the smile on her face said differently.

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Kimberly tucked the bookmark into the magazine and sighed mournfully. Stretching out on her chaise she pet her cat as she daydreamed of the royal prince. The magazine had an exclusive set of pictures of him on his yacht and he was just dreamy she thought, with that black hair and dark eyes. Hercules, her cat, didn’t bother twitching an ear as she pet him, one paw hung limply over the side of the couch.

“What do you think Herc? Would I have a chance with the prince if he saw me?”

Herc just yawned. She grabbed another graham cracker. The cat lifted his head and looked at her.

“You won’t catch anyone if you keep eating like that,” he said snarkily.

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Hildy walked into the room and surveyed the mess. Graham cracker crumbs littered the table, next to a glass of milk with one sip left. The pillows were thrown willy-nilly over the floor, and the rug had been pushed into a heap in the corner. All the books had been pulled off the shelf and stacked in random places. Some of the ribbon bookmarks had been pulled out and pinned to the wall like prizes or party decorations. The curtains were closed, and a smattering of burning candles gave a dim light.

“Peter?” Hildy called out.

“I’m right here,” a gruff voice snapped at her, and her heart rammed into her throat.

“Peter, what’s happened?” she asked.

“Why does your place look like…” she waved her hand inarticulacy around.

“What?” Peter said, and blinked.

“Let me open the window, get some light and fresh air-“

“No!” Peter barked.

“You’ll let them in.” 

“Let who in?” Hildy wondered, watching the old man limp around the piles of books, leaning on the worn cane he never let out of his hand.

“They’ve come back, and this time, they’ve brought friends.”

Hildy frowned. “Are you having nightmares again?”

Peter stopped beside the couch, wheezing. He looked like he was a hundred years old, but Hildy knew that he was only a dozen years older than she was. A tapping at the window drew both their eyes. “They’re here,” Peter whispered.

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            I looked down at my hands, then back up at the djinni. “Are you sure?” I asked it. 

The creature nodded sagely, gesturing to my hands, “You must choose your reward for freeing me,” it repeated. 

            “What about my three wishes?” I asked. 

            “Wishes?” it repeated, clearly confused. 

            “Yeah,” I pointed at the newly shined lamp sitting on the counter in front of me. “That’s the deal with a djinni. I  rub the lamp; I get the wishes. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with either of these.”
            I looked down at my hands: my right held what appeared to be an ancient bookmark, the material glorious against my skin, and lovely with scrollwork, but still just a scrap of fabric. 

My left land held a stack of three perfectly shaped graham crackers, the bottom now feeling a bit limp as it absorbed the sweat from my palm.

            “I offer you wondrous treasures,” the djinni explained. “So great that you cannot have both. You must decide which you will have.”

            “Crackers and a place to mark my page?” I asked. “I don’t know what kind of world you’re from, but I can get crackers from my cabinet right now, three different varieties, and I have bookmarks stashed in every book I own.”

            “They are not merely food and markers,” it snapped, looking annoyed. “Clearly, the old tales have faded during my time away.” A ghostly hand gestured to the bookmark. “That marks the page of any book you wish to read in the world.”

            “Like any book?”

            The djinni nodded. “Is there a book in the world or the history of the world you’d like to read? Think of it, and that so-called scrap of material will bring it to you for as long as you wish.” I held it more carefully in my hand after that. 

            “And these?” I looked at the crackers. 

            “The finest food to be found in the world,” the djinni declared. “Think of it, and it shall be yours.”

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The faerie limped across the library floor, she was upset over slipping on a bookmark and hobbled to her desk to fetch a graham cracker. Nothing like comfort food to help ease the pain of wounded pride and a broken foot. She hated those dirty humans, always leaving stuff about for her to pick up or trip on. One day she would get her revenge on all of them, but today was not that day, unfortunately. She sniffled as a tear ran down her cheek. They were always so mean, why did life have to be so hard? She wished for the days when fairies wandered the forests and were not holed up in some stupid library or book store. That was also her dream, after the demise of all humans, the faerie kind would be free to roam as they wished. 

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

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