Unexpected – an ISG Writing Exercise

These three words were chosen:

  • Post-it
  • Sulphur
  • Stolen

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



The smell of Sulphur wrinkled Allie’s nose against her will. She was doing her best to be at ease in this hellish place. All for a modelling shoot that would rocket her career to the next level.

“Relax, honey,” the photography said as she turned her head away from the water emitting the noxious spell.

“I’m sorry this smell has stolen some of my ability to think.”

”You’re from the corporate world, right?”

“Yes,” she answered lightly as she posed, her barely-there bikini fitting in all the right places.

“Imagine your sniffing a new post it. You corporate types like that right?”

“Some do but there’s a reason I’m working with you instead,” she smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. The photographer clicked again. Step back few feet and that will be the last of it,” he said.

So she did. The cliff drop was unexpected and sudden. The photographer looked over the edge and watched Allie fall, listening to her screech the whole way down.

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Paige looked at the pile of Sulphur and then she looked at Len. “Are you sure about this,” she asked, unable to keep the disbelief from her voice as she held her hand to her face at the smell in the warehouse.

Len shrugged in a rather irritating manner she thought.  He obviously wasn’t taking this as seriously as he ought to be.  “Yeah, I wrote it down. See?” He handed her a post-it note with some illegible scribbling on it.

“The magician wanted us to get him Sulphur, you’re sure,” she asked again.

“Yeah, I told you. He said Len, my boy, you’re the only one I know who can do the job.  Go and get me some Sulphur for the spell and I’ll pay you good.”

Paige’s skepticism was not laid to rest by her friends’ story.  She looked at the pile of stolen rocks and shook her head. “So, now what?”

“Now we got to take it to him.  That’s why I called you. I need your truck.”

“Len, I own a smart car, not a truck. I haven’t owned a truck in over ten years. And all of that – she waved at the rather large pile of smelly rocks, “isn’t going to fit in my car.”

Len scrunched up his face. “Oh,” he said.

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The tapping intensified.  Peter held up his cane as if he meant to attach someone, his eyes narrowed intently. “What is going on?” Hildy demanded. “They’re here!” Peter snapped. “Grab something to defend yourself girl, unless you want to die!” Hildy had no particular desire to die, but there wasn’t anything particularly dangerous or threatening that she could use as a weapon. “Wait wait wait!” Peter’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Sulfur! Get the sulfur!” Hildy looked around, but she had no idea what sulfur looked like. “There there, on the shelf!” She dashed to the shelf, and saw that in place of the mistreated books, little vials of colored powder were now lined up in rows. Post-it notes with weird symbols were behind each, but none of them said “sulfur”. “Which one?” she asked. “The yellow one!” Peter yelled. “Damn it, girl, we don’t have all day!” Hildy realized he had forgotten her name, but the urgency in his voice banished the sadness. She pulled the jar with the yellow powder and put it in his eagerly outstretched hand. The liverspots were new, as was the faint tremble when he pulled out the stopper. The room filled with a pungent smell, and the tapping at the window stopped at once. A grin of pure glee spread over Peter’s face, then the window exploded inward in a shower of glass shards, ripping the curtain off the wall. The sunlight was blocked by a monstrous shape, claws digging into the frame. Hildy mouth dropped open, her scream frozen in her throat. Peter threw the yellow powder in the air, thrust his cane after it and muttered something. Lightning sparked and then dispersed in a giant crash. The darkness in the window was obliterated, and an eerie silence enveloped the apartment. “What was that, and why is it here?” Hildy whispered, her eyes wide. “They came for what was stolen,” Peter said quietly, and then sank down onto the sofa.

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After hearing the noise, she decided to flip further into the story, which at this point she was sure was amazing, but also might end up not being something she could walk away from. She smirked at her joke.

There was a post it that she flipped to the new page that started with “The breeze carried with it the smell of jasmine and he could hear the sound of a bubbling brook nearby” …. This is much better she thought. “Then he felt the stinging burning pain as the red-hot blade was laid against his skin again…”

“What in hell” she exclaimed. Looking around for something the book had yet to describe holding a red-hot blade. She did not see or hear anyone, so she flipped again to the end of the book. She was hoping to find the happy ending but there were pages torn out.  She looked to the last line on the remaining

“The creature held the fate of the hero in his palm that he had stolen….” She sighed and looked up to see a demonic figure standing in front of her smelling of sulfur “Looking for these?’ he said holding up pages.

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I took a sip of my tea, the liquid tasty and satisfying, but there was a moment where I wondered if it would be better if I had chosen the crackers and had the best food in the world. Then again, considering the loopholes I had discovered, it probably wouldn’t apply to drinks anyway–just food. And then I’d have great food and disappointing-in-comparison drinks.

No, I had made the right choice with the book mark.

I stared at the book on the table before me, the slight smell of sulphur wafting from the pages. I wondered where it had been stored to smell like this. I didn’t think the Pearl poet would have been making deals with demons, but I could never be sure. I frowned before touching it. I was fairly sure that the Lost Tales of the Pearl poet hadn’t been hidden away in some museum archive, but I did not want a repeat of the last fiasco when I’d been happily reading the First Shakespeare Folio to be interrupted by a news story about a theft at the British Museum. Luckily, no one thought to search the house of a simple barista in Chicago for the stolen manuscript, but if they had, I didn’t know how I would explain how the book got here.

I looked at the post-it note stuck the wall above the table, reached out, and put a check mark next to the Pearl poet. Eventually, I’d work my way through all of the pre-Christian Dark Ages and move on to the Middle Ages.

All that French, though, I thought. Good thing the bookmark lets me understand the book, no matter the language it was written in. I was having fun with the Old English names in Pearl, no doubt butchering the pronunciation enough to make Tolkien roll over in his grave. One of these names would conjure a demon if I wasn’t careful.

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Sulphur. She smelled sulphur, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. He was back, and had come for the thing she had stolen. Luckily she did not have it here.  She smiled slightly in that comfort. He would never find the location. She had written iit on a post-it note and placed it haphazardly in with all of her other ones. She would never reveal its location, even if he killed her. But she had a plan, grabbing her purse and the piles of sticky notes, she bolted out the door. He was right behind her, she could hear the scuffling of footsteps at her back, she dodged left and sprinted down the hall. “Lyza! Come back here!” He screamed in terror, her blood ran cold and she stopped. There was a high pitched laugh that made her sick to her stomach.

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