Miscalibrated – an ISG Writing Exercise

These three words were chosen:

  • Instrument
  • Redhead
  • Globe

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



The fourth time the redhead walked past in the same five minute loop, I realized I’d miscalibrated the volume, a digital set made of screens. It needed to be ready for the next shot in less than ten minutes. From here, so long as you mostly looked north-ish, you could believe you truly were in a library complete with dust, but the repeating loop was obviously too short, and if the actors arrived before I’d created a longer loop for the volume to work with, I’d be out of a production assistant job.

After I walked to the instruments just beyond the entrance, tapped in the new parameters and then checked the result, I felt an odd snap of electricity run up my spine as I re-entered the volume. Strange. I shook it off, tested everything, and felt pretty satisfied with my work. I turned around to leave, calling for the director’s team to double check my work, but as I turned to where the bank of cameras should have been, I saw only the librarian’s desk, with a stack of books, a stamp and a globe. Neither had been there earlier. Obviously. A volume is just screens.

Regardless, the librarian looked up and smiled knowingly at me.

“Welcome. The others are just over there”, she said, pointing to my left.



Lucas spun the globe absently as he watched his father make the final notation in his estate book. His father, Baron Charles Northwyn looked up and frowned.

“You will have to learn sooner than later, my boy. I am not getting any younger.”

Lucas raised a a single brow.

“Surely not, father. You are but six and thirty. His father’s lips pressed thin.

“You never know what will happen.” He whispered. Lucas felt his ears redden. His Grandfather had passed very young and it had slipped Lucas mind.

His father stood, brushing his hair from his forehead. Lucas was a full redhead where his father’s own hair was more gray than red.

“Grab your instrument, and we will be off,” his father stated with no space for objection.

Lucas rushed to get his lute and follow his Father toward the picnic.

As they left the house, a woman rushed up, her dress torn.

“Sirs,” she dipped into a low bow, I beg your help.”

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Joseph stared hard at the redhead who stood in the center of the circle of cloaked figures, taking a step back to avoid the slowly expanding globe that surrounded them.

“I know you said this was bad,” he commented to the demon standing next to him, “but you didn’t say it was like instrument-of-the-devil bad.”

“The devil doesn’t play an instrument,” the demon replied in a gruff voice.

“Really?” Joseph was surprised. “What’s with all that guitar stuff, then?”

“Guitar stuff?” the creature echoed, clearly confused.

“You know, like meet the devil at the crossroads and he’ll teach you to play guitar in exchange for your soul.”

“You think they are trying to learn to play guitar?” the demon asked, gesturing to the group performing the ritual in front of them. They took another bigger step back as the globe expanded some more.

“What? No. I think they’re trying to rule the world.”

“Good,” the demon muttered. “The devil can’t play guitar. But he does rule the world. I don’t think he’ll be very happy with them trying to take his job.”

“Probably not. You think he’ll show up to do something?”

The demon just looked at him.

Joseph sighed heavily, removing the wand from inside his coat. “I guess we should stop them then,” he suggested, taking another step backward. Whatever the ritual was supposed to accomplish, it looked like it was working well so far. “Maybe you go in first this time?”

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There was an ominous glow from the instrument in the man’s hand. The redhead on the operating table struggled against his bonds, terror making his movements agitated.

“Please!” He screamed, tears rolling down his face. “I didn’t do anything!!!”

The man only smiled, crooked yellow teeth glistened evilly in the dim light. The instrument, a scalpel, was slowly coming toward the flaming red hair.


The globe in the corner fell off the table nearby. The man jumped, dropping the scalpel as he stared down the barrel of a sawed off shotgun.

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

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