Tag Archives: Author Dalia Lance

She looked Adorable – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Telescope
  • Stickler
  • Beard

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DALIA LANCE:

“I can’t see a thing” Marcia said seeming even more frustrated then before.

Chris smiled a little because she looked adorable looking out of the telescope into the night sky.

Since he spent most of his time studying the stars, when he had met Marcia and saw her joy and wonderment it renewed his passion for his work.

He got up and walked towards her “Let me help you.”

As he came up behind her putting his hand on her waist she turned and at first gave me a small pout on her lips and then smiled reaching up to his face. She put both hands on the side of his chin, running her fingers through his beard and pulling him in for a kiss.

After a few moments on simply enjoying each other Marcia pulled away and smiled again “fix it please.”

Chris of course couldn’t resist and looked out of the telescope and sure enough there was something blocking the view. He moved around to the front of it, not wanting to leave her embrace and looked at the lens. There was a sticker on it that had hearts and said “I love you”

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LISA BARRY:

 

I scratched my short beard and thought about the best plan of action. If I went over there, the little witch might be able to do something foul to me too, but I was stickler for punching bullies where it counts. Carson was human, so he wouldn’t be very useful except…

“Hey Carson, let’s go have ourselves a chat with some little hotties.”

Carson stood nervously from his chair, but he was totally into it. As soon as we got over there, Pink met my eyes and gave me a smile that would have stopped a normal mans heart. The witch frowned but when Carson finally got the courage to say hello, her concentration dropped and Pink girls words, to me I noticed happily, were heard halfway through her sentence.

“I wondered when you would come same hi,” she said. I sat down and asked if I could get her another coffee.

“Get lost,” the witch said to Carson.

“I think you may need to rethink your friends,” I said softly to Pink even though I was a little scared to telescope in to her friend like that. She frowned but knew I was right. I girl that looked exactly like the witch came from the back of the coffee shop and blinked her lashes at Carson. He immediately started talking to her. The witch huffed and left the table. Carson and I smiled at each as we realized that we had actually scored some decent babes.

 

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

 

She swallowed, and edged to the side. The wolf’s eyes followed her, and when she had almost made it around the the chair, when the wolf backed around and cut her off. “Can you call him away?” she called to the man behind her. A sharp whistle made the wolf pad past her and back to its master. “Come sit with me.” She sighed. “I really don’t have time for small talk.” “Then we won’t talk small. Sit.” Something in his voice couldn’t be argued with and she sat. His beard was thick and neat, his face worn. The wolf sat with its head in his lap. An open satchel on the table showed an array of impressive tools, a knife, a telescope, a crystal ball, and other things that she didn’t recognize. “I’m sorry for the informality, I’m not a stickler for pomp and circumstance,” he said, and chuckled. “I suppose I’ve been out in the Wilds for too long to be fit company for civilized folks.” “Whatever made you go out there?” she asked. “The question is what made me come back,” he replied, the jovial expression falling from his face.

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BRANDON SCOTT

Henry’s gaze was like a telescope on Little Timmy, growing closer and closer. And despite the weak protests of Kyle, so small beside him, he moved forward almost automatically. Flowing forward on his feet and with eyes wide.

“I am sorry,” he said, his voice weak. For that moment, with the darkness of his fetish in his soul still bared, he looked frightening. His beard, though mostly managed, was a scraggly thing, reddish-flecked but mostly brown.

Little Timmy looked up with wide, tear-colored eyes. So full of reflected light, it contrasted with the red puffy skin beneath. “You blew out my birthday candles. You blew out my candles!”

Henry did not flinch, did not react much beyond the darkness in his eyes growing more powerful, more pronounced, as he stalked forward. This talk of candles was doing things to his body. And he was doing a poor job of controlling that.

“Oh, don’t be such a stickler for this. Don’t be so that way, okay?”

Little Timmy sniveled but still looked at him with disdain. Some things, it appeared, were not so easily forgiven. And, to a kid, that may have been the greatest crime ever committed.

“Suck it,” Timmy said, drawing upon the strongest swear he felt comfortable to use—even if the meaning was lost on him slightly. Suck what?

“It’s all over, okay? I don’t have any more candles; can’t you protect me and forgive me?”

Protect?” Timmy spat back, and then his eyes widened. Henry was still stalking forward, but that was not what he was looking at, what he was gawking at right then.

Henry got it too late, and turned, only to have a flower pot explode on his face, and the water wash over his skin. His eyes swam, and the kick to the groin dropped him into unconsciousness.

Kyle panted, and stood over him, eyes wide in a different way. He was not aware he could be that violent—it had not occurred to him.

“I’m calling the police,” he muttered.

“Yeah—the cops will get him for my birthday,” Little Timmy said.

Kyle pursed his lips and bopped his head. “Sure…yeah. That is what he’ll go to prison for. Right.”

He let out a sigh and looked up at his son. “Tim, buddy, could you maybe wait upstairs?”

“I want to see the police,” came the immediate request.

“I’ll buy you a new cake,” Kyle said, his voice flat.

Timmy was pretty sure he did not have to give into demands on his birthday but went along with it.

 

 

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Someone was Watching Her – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Candle
  • Black
  • Wax

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

She made her way down to the tavern. The streets were rapidly emptying as everyone scurried to their homes. She adjusted the basket of bread on her shoulder, and went through the wide doors. Warm golden light and the smell of ale greeted her, and she relaxed. Walking up to the counter, it was several moments before she realized someone was watching her. It was several more before she found him, sitting in the darkest corner, his eyes glittering like gems. A single candle flickered in front of him, the wax oozing down the sides. She was disconcerted when she saw it writing and looping on itself to form the likeness of a beautiful flowering vine.

“Do you like my work?” a voice issued from the shadows.

She averted her eyes, and dropped into a shallow curtsy more as a reaction rather than a gesture of any respect.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, sir,” she murmured, and though she was no longer looking in his direction, she could plainly see the wax dripping into a perfectly normal puddle in the saucer.

“I’m sure you don’t,” the voice agreed.

She turned to continue to the bar to drop off the bread for dinner, and found herself confronted with a massive black wolf, its golden eyes level with hers and a pink tongue lolling from its mouth.

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LISA BARRY:

Carson’s love interest reached deep into her bag and pulled out a black candle. I couldn’t help but raise a brow. Where I’m from, that it not generally a good indicator. But since we were on Earth’s plane, I found it hard to believe that the pretty dark girl could do much more than stink up the quaint coffee shop we were situated in with random herbs and scents of burning waxed. I wondered if the proprietor would even allow for burning candles. I took a sip of my coffee and realized that it had gotten cold while I drooled over the pink girl. In a lovely accent, she kept chatting away at her dark-haired friend who seemed bored really, as she set the candle on a napkin between her and Pink and lit it. She leaned in to the candle whispered some words tossed an herb on, saw that coming, and then smiled at Pink who kept talking. I realized that there was now no sound coming out of her mouth. I sat straight and took a better look at Carson’s girl. She nodded and smiled at Pink but I knew damn well she couldn’t hear anything. I glanced around but no one else seemed to notice that lack of noise. Well, hell.

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DALIA LANCE:

Mari realized talking Cara down from this euphoric high she had from Brad’s spell wouldn’t happen without real proof. Brad was presently in the part of Man-of-her-dreams after-all so breaking the spell before he broke here was going to be tricky.

 

Mari picked up her phone and texted Brad: Can we meet?

 

She thought about being more subtle, but again, time was of the essence. 

 

Although Brad had told Cara he was busy with work and that is why he couldn’t see or talk to her now, Brad replied almost immediately: What were you thinking?

 

Mari looked at Cara and then responded: I will be at your apartment in an hour. Be ready.

 

He replied with a thumbs up emoji. Boys are dumb.

 

Making a bad excuse, Mari left Cara at the bar and headed home. She needed to grab one thing to be ready for the encounter.

 

She made it to his door with exactly five minutes to spare and when he opened the door his apartment was lit with only candles and he was wearing a black robe. She looked down as it was hanging open and asked “Did you wax for me?”

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JM PAQUETTE:

“Like a candle in the wind!” I was singing along to Elton John, sitting in my office, staring at the computer, lines of words streaking across the screen, wishing that finals week was over and I could just listen to music without using it as crutch to get me through the day. “Never knowing who to cling to…” I continued, bopping my head in time and leaning forward, trying to find a thesis statement amid the seemingly random words of the student essay I was grading.

            “Uh, miss?”

            I jerked upright, words falling silent as I looked at the door. A student stood there–well, I thought she must be a student. She had the right look for this time of the semester–harried, uncertain, nervous but desperate enough to venture into the professor’s office for one last chance to plead her case. She ran her hands through her black hair, a nervous gesture, and I swung my chair around to face her while reaching out to lower my soundtrack.

            “Yes?”

            “Are you Dr. Paquette?” She looked around the office, back to the door with the nameplate on it, then down at the stack of papers on my desk, my name clearly printed on the upper left hand corner of the top one.

            “I am,” I admitted, waiting for her to lay into her plea.

            “Oh,” she said, standing there nervously.

            “You can sit down,” I gestured at the chair opposite my desk, and slid the stack of papers away from the edge so she could lay down her notepad.

            She stood there for another long moment, and I wondered if she was expecting an engraved invitation, complete with a wax seal. “What can I help you with?”

            She sat, shoulders slumping heavily, eyes wet with desperation. “Well, you probably know that I never came to class this semester but…”

            I leaned back to listen to her story.

 

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BRANDON SCOTT

“But, truly, you do not understand,” Henry said, again managing to push his will into the world and standing up to his full height. He was taller than Kyle by a good foot, and Kyle took a step back in alarm. A child was upset, but he did not want to be decked for defending him.

“Okay, then…explain it to me.”

Kyle regretted this almost immediately as a gleam came into Henry’s eyes. Something not wholesome in the slightest. Something almost dark in him, or at least shaded.

“Well, it’s like this…” he began, his face more and more animated. “The wax—the smell of it. That’s what goes for me to do it, okay? I can smell the heat and—”

“Okay. Stop,” Kyle said, looking a tad green. “That’s enough—I did not want to know. It’s a candle though. Like, it’s not like we are talking about even ears or feet here. Don’t you see it’s just wrong…”?

“Wrong?” came Henry’s question. “It’s a burden, yes—and I am sorry for Timmy. But it’s not like it’s morally an issue.”

“That’s not the point. You stole a child’s wish.”

“Oh, like that’s real,” came the snappy retort.

Off in the corner, quiet and sulking, Timmy began to sob uncontrollably.

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Brandishing his Sword – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 13 December 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Blow
  • Infatuated
  • Streak

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“Only a word?” he recited. “Why not couple it with something? Make it a word and a blow!” At this, Christian stood up, brandishing his sword at Bryan, who was supposed to leap back in a display of cat-like ability. Bryan was playing Tybalt, after all, prince of cats, and he needed to show that he deserved the title. The audience would need to see it.

Of course, Bryan’s reflexes were more dog-like than feline at the moment, and he stepped back awkwardly, knocking over the table where Christian had been resting his feet, lounging as his character Mercutio was supposed to do until he jumped up and Romeo arrived and the real fight started.

The table fell with a crash, a few drinks spilling and bouncing around on the floor. Marie made a note to not fill them with anything on the night of the performance. Bryan may be adorable with his lean limbs and long brown hair, his face offset by the streak of white blonde just down one side. He swore it was natural, but Marie doubted it. The line was just too perfect. No doubt he went to the hair salon each month to get it colored. She just couldn’t picture him doing it at home, standing over the bathroom sink with a strip of foil scrunched up around his face, waiting for the timer to ding so he could rinse it off.

No, surely Bryan didn’t do such mundane things as stand in front of bathroom sinks. But as she thought about it, she decided that maybe he did. And he would be adorable as he stood there. Everything he did was adorable, even knocking over tables and spilling drinks. That’s what happens when you are infatuated with someone.

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LISA BARRY:

She had a streak of pink down her hair on right side and I couldn’t tell if it was natural or not. People here might think me dull by that comment but honestly where I’m from, her hair colors could easily be natural. I thought about blowing from this hang, but she was just so cute. And she had these little fangs sitting on her lips. I wondered if those were real too. If they were, she would be a really fun time.

“Check her out,” my friend Carson said and pushed his long jaw toward my pink girl. I was about to growl at him when he continued, “she’s got that thick dark hair that I would love to wrap my hands in.”

“I glanced over and saw that pink girl was sitting next to a raven-haired girl with rosy cheeks.

“Oh yeah, for sure,” I commented. I think it would be easy to be infatuated. I wondered if other people were curious about my pointy ears. Did they think I got plastic surgery? Or did they know with certainty that I was born with them. Pink glanced up and met my eyes. She smiled and those teeth, man, fake or not, I’d like to play with her.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Ever since she could remember, she had been infatuated with the stars. She would sit for hours just watching the skies, with the glittering diamonds streaking and falling. And then one day they were just gone. All of them. She went out every night and waited for their brilliance to return, but all she had for company was the chill wind blowing through an empty sky. The others were scared, and set alight huge pyres to appease the gods, but the stars did not return. She was not scared, but she was sad to lose her sparkling friends. For a long time, she wondered where they had gone, and continued her nightly ritual though it was a cold and lonely time without the stars. After a while, she no longer went out every night, and then not every week. Finally, she no longer noticed the flat black sky that was left when the sun disappeared behind the horizon, and her childhood wonder never entered her thoughts. That all changed when the man with the silver eyes arrived in the town, at his side a massive wolf.

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DALIA LANCE:

As Mari looked across the table at her friend she could tell she was totally infatuated with her new beau Brad.
Cara’s look could only be described as swooning and it was making Mari nauseous. Honestly Brad was a player. A horrible flirt and Mari knew that Cara was just the latest in his long line of conquests. 

Brad, for whatever reason, like the thrill of the hunt. Making the girl fall head over heels so when he merely entered the room you could blow the girl over like a feather because the only life raft was him.

He was on a real streak too. This was his third girl in less than a month. Mari usually didn’t care because the vapid airheads he normally chose to pray on were better gone from the circle but this was actually one of her friends. 

“… and then he told me his heart beat only for me…” Cara was finishing looking even more wistful. Mari decided she had to do something.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“I am infatuated with it, yes,” he said, sitting there, his face only slightly red. “I mean, everyone’s got something right? Don’t shame me.”

Kyle shook his head slightly, working words he could say around in his head until they fit what he thought was a good way to put it. But, none came to fruition, so he just went with: “Yes…sure…but most people don’t do that…most people do not have a streak of ruined parties.”

“It wasn’t ruined,” he protested, his voice somewhat shrill.

“Will they ever speak to you again?”

“Some of the kids did…” He trailed off and looked out the window, trying to find a counter-argument to the accusation.

“The parents?”

“No,” came the flat answer.

“Well, alright, so you admit that you should not blow—”

“Now wait,” he interrupted, standing up and raising his hand. “That’s not—that’s not…I need to, don’t you understand.”

“Then get help.”

These words seemed too heavy for him, as he fell back down into his seat without much defense. Eventually, he mumbled out: “It’s not like it is hurting anyone really. What’s a few…people make exceptions for your eccentricities all the time.”

“Yes, but I am allergic to cats and I am afraid of knives—different entirely. You can’t do what you do.”

“But—”

“Henry, you cannot blow out every birthday candle you see in sight. Little Timmy will never get over this.”

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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!

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

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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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“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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ERIKA LANCE:

“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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ALANNA J. RUBIN

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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BRANDON SCOTT

“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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I Warned You – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 18 October 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Turkey
  • Narrow
  • Messy

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

ALANNA J. RUBIN

Jordan narrowed his brown eyes as he stared down at the messy wooden table. “Not again,” he muttered as he watched a turkey with green and red tail feathers peck at the food. “Max,” he said in a scolding manner, “how many times have I warned you about using my wand?” The turkey looked up at him with human green eyes. It was a bit disconcerting to see those eyes in a turkey’s body, but Jordan shook off the eerie feeling as he went about looking for his wand. He was walking about the table trying to dodge over-turned dishes and chairs when he heard a crunch. Jordan swallowed hard as he gingerly stepped back to reveal his wand lying on the floor in two pieces. He caught Max’s gaze, who human eyes now held a worried look.

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LISA BARRY:

As I skimmed down the narrow alley trying to be as quiet as possible I thought about the coming events. A duel. I’d never been in a duel before. I was fast, sure, but I’d never needed to really know how fast. I always thought I would eventually be in a duel but not for something like this. I ran into a gentleman. Completely by accident. Messy business that. Not in a million years would I be so foolish as to do something like that on purpose. I gnawed the last bite of my turkey leg and carefully placed it on the ground at the end of the alley. I looked around the corner hoping… but there he was. With an entourage too. I pushed my shoulders back and, head high and walked toward them. As I passed the first man I was taken aback as I was flung to the ground, my knees hitting hard. I bit back tears, pulled in a breath and stood. Then I realized my hat had been dislodged. It toppled to the ground. My heavy long mane spilled out and a hush took over the crowd.

He is a girl,” someone declared. I cringed.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

He walked down the narrow alley, the dead turkey swinging at his side. They would eat well tonight, better than they had all winter. The dead bird was scrawny, and had not been plucked, so it would be a messy preparation, but still his mouth watered at the thought of hot, roast meat. His stomach gave an answering grumble. Shadows moving behind him pulled him from his lovely fantasy, and he groped for the rusty knife in his belt. He turned to look, but the alley was empty. After a moment spent searching the darkness, he convinced himself that he had been imagining things. He shrugged and turned to continue home. He ran into the tall man standing in front of him, swinging the silver topped cane with a smile that bared pointed teeth.

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ERIKA LANCE:

This was going to be a complete disaster. 

 

Monica looked out at the motion that was her living-room; parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren all crammed into a tiny space. All were waiting to gorge themselves on more food than they ever needed to eat in one meal. 

 

She looked back in the kitchen to the messy island that the now thoroughly burnt turkey was sitting on. Monica weighed her options. 

 

On the one hand she may be able to come up with an excuse and a horrific story that involved a narrow escape of some life-threatening incident that caused the further demise of the afore mentioned turkey. Or possibly she should use option B. 

 
As she watched grandma Ethel pull out her dentures to show Mikey, Monica’s seven-year-old nephew who immediately went screaming towards his mother who was engaged in a conversation with her sister’s husband that looked way to flirty for a family event she made her choice. 

 

She turned, removed her apron, grabbed her coat and left through the back. 

 

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BRANDON SCOTT

The table could be called several adjectives, each more extreme than the last. But, for the sake of avoiding rude language, Kevin went with the simple go-to of “messy.” Smeared in gravy, doused in tiny pieces of bread, and containing a long trail of yams and cranberry sauce like some massive snail had gone through the area.

All of this paled though, from the thing standing on the table, on its’ hind legs, wielding a carving knife with supreme hostility.

“You…you butcher!” the thing cried, and Henry flinched. Not because he was insulted—he was a literal butcher, after all, that was kind of the whole reason the creature was here actually—but because he could not fathom how or why a headless turkey would be able to talk to him.

It glistened underneath the lights, the golden-brown skin of a perfect roast only increasing the surrealist nature of the proceedings.

“Um…I’m sorry?”

“Sorry!?” shrieked the bird, and Henry flinched again as a knife missed by a narrow margin his ear. He glanced back as the implement stuck out of the wall, still vibrating.

So, the bird was super strong, too. Great.

“I am very sorry?” Henry ventured. “I did not…well, it’s Thanksgiving and all. It’s the custom?”

“And you expect me to care?” the fowl said and jumped down off the table. “I suppose, then, if it were the right holiday, it would be okay to cook and eat you?”

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Best Flavor – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 19 July 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Quest
  • Bathroom
  • Dazzle

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

LISA BARRY:

I was on an important quest to find the best pralines and cream ice cream ever made. So far, of the nine places I had visited, only six even carried the flavor. It was a disappoint in humanity that a store wouldn’t carry the best flavor ever made. I was pretty sure at this point that Baskin Robins was going to win but I had one more place to go and was glad to have arrived so quickly as I needed a bathroom bad. After breezing through the front door and freshening up I walked out and went straight to the counter. The tall server’s back was to me but when he turned I was as frozen as freezer burnt steak. He dazzled me with his smile, teeth shining bright in the manufactured lights, eyes shining and blue, looking straight at me.

“What can I get you?” he asked, his voice a mellow and soft breeze.

“One scoop of pralines and cream in a sugar cone,” I said automatically. He smiled again.

“Best flavor,” he said as he reached for the cone. Now I now knew the meaning of love at first sight.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

There are a few things that one generally doesn’t take into consideration when one is planning an arduous quest, and there are things that one does take into consideration. Food, of course, in a necessity. As are horses. Weapons are a top priority, arrows for goblins, swords for trolls and ogers. Any magical implements that could protect from sorcerers and witches, while expensive and hard to find, are more than worth the trouble to procure. Fire is important as well, and a well stocked tinder box is always brought along.

Most questers would consider themselves well  prepared with the above taken care of. Burdock had certainly thought so, but now as he trudged beside the beautiful princess of the Upperlands, he was painfully aware of the one thing that he had not thought about at all. The bathroom. He was getting desperate to relieve himself now, but they were still trying to escape the flat, barren lands with no rock or tree to break the monotony of the terrain.

Each time Burdock thought his plight severe enough to muster up the courage to ask for a momentary rest, and if she might look away, she would turn her dazzling green eyes on him, and words failed. This was the fourth time this had happened, and he was going to have to figure something out soon, or risk soiling himself.

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DALIA LANCE:

She was on a quest to find the mythical bathroom that was located somewhere in this venue. 

 

So far she had found four “lounges”, which seemed to be large closets with chairs forced into them, two separate bars hidden behind silver palm trees and a dazzling monument made out of fake candles. You know the kind that light up with batteries.  

 

None were the same kind and more then a third didn’t light up. 

 

When her friend Stephanie had told her she had found the perfect place for her wedding she knew she was in for something interesting. What she hadn’t realized, was that she was going to be required to show support in a place that looked like where all the terrible wedding decorations went to die. 

 

“The Island of mis-fit wedding favors” she mumbled and laughed.  
 

She finally found the door that must be the bathroom with “Private” on the door. She turned the knob and opened the door to find the groom in the arms of the best man.  

 

This place just keeps getting better.

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JM PAQUETTE:

“I’m confused,” Kelli (with an I) said, raising her hand as she spoke, not bothering to wait for the instructor to call on her. Kelli (with an I) never waited for anything in her life. Why on earth would she start now? All she had to do was dazzle them with her perfect smile and all would be forgiven. Such was the story of her life. Well, most of it.

“What are you confused about, dear?” her instructor asked, the elderly gentleman leaning forward on his ancient elbows, creasing the stack of yellowed parchment from which he was lecturing.

“These quests. I mean, do you really mean that these knights and whatnot just went roaming around the country on horses? Seriously? Like where did they sleep? What if they had to use the bathroom?”

A few titters greeted her questions, but the instructor only smiled benignly at her. “They relied on the generosity of their fellow humans,” he explained. “They slept in strangers’ beds, ate strangers’ food, and no doubt used strangers’ facilities when nature called.”

“That sounds hideous,” Kelli (with an I) commented. “I mean, what if the other people didn’t want the knights to come in their house and eat all their food? Isn’t that why the Americans, like, had a revolution–for quartering troops or whatever? And, like, strangers using your bathroom? Gross.”

“Well, the knights generally wore armor and carried swords, sweetie. I don’t think the local villagers had much say in the matter.”

“Well, I would have plenty to say in that matter. And just so you know, when I inherit my armor and get my mythical sword back, I will not be tramping about town sleeping in your beds and eating your food.” She looked around at her classmates, future subjects, face serious. “And I certainly won’t be begging to use your bathroom. As if.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

“What?” Jarvis asked, too caught off guard by the woman’s dazzling smile to have heard her question.

She looked at him perplexed and a little annoyed, “The bathroom,” she said a little more slowly. “Where is it?”

This time Jarvis did his best to concentrate on the words coming out of her mouth, “Um yeah,” he said as if shaking himself out of a stupor, “it’s just down the corridor to the left.” She swung her black straight hair behind her as she turned around and sashayed her way toward the direction she was told. So much beauty and so much attitude, he smiled to himself. Being a bartender at the only tavern on a common route for those pursuing quests, definitely had its perks.

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BRANDON SCOTT

The quest, her quest, was to visit the bathroom. Long had she traveled, long had she gone forth. Many battles she had faced. The snake with two heads, the demon who played the drums, the pit of sorrow. All now behind her. Finished and defeated.

But, this, this final thing, this was the hardest challenge yet.

For the man, the man could dazzle with but a look.

She’d come upon the outhouse, and the joy in her heart had nearly floored her. She glanced down at the plastic bag in her hands, and whispered to her dead goldfish, “It will be okay, it will all be okay.”

But, as soon as she’d taken a step in the direction of the place, a man appeared there, and his very gaze stopped her breath for a second. She’d shut her eyes closed then, realizing that, despite his odd beauty, that was not a metaphor. It quite literally stopped her ability to breathe.

So, now, she hid somewhere away, behind a bush, still holding her little dead fish friend, who deserved a proper burial for all the companionship he’d given over the years.

The man stalked back and forth, in front of that door, and she thought harder about how she was going to deal with her newest challenge, how she would slay the dazzling man.

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This Type of Irregularity – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 19 July 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Smitten
  • Science
  • Recycle

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

JM PAQUETTE:

“Look, I know you’re pretty smitten with your little recycling science project here,” the inspector observed over her clipboard, “but I think there are some factors you definitely didn’t account for.” As she spoke the last word, a hand went flying past her face, fingers brushing the edge of her nose, and she stood up straight, instinctively backing away from the extra limb. “I thought someone with your promising statistics would have known to prepare for this type of irregularity.”

“You’re cataloging this as an irregularity?” Jessica, reaching out idly to snatch the flying hand from its path and popping it back into the shoebox she held. She slammed down the lid with somewhat more force than she was accustomed to when catching the extra pieces, but she was always nervous on inspection day. And to think, they had to come by right when that ancient creature was giving up all of his limbs. What did they call them again–the ones with the hundred hands? Her assistant would know. She dropped the box on a nearby table and caught another hand just as it whizzed past. Her reflexes were definitely improving from this project. She’d be catching two or three at  time by the end of the day. The original creature was still strapped to the machine, all of his original hands regrowing nicely, so that was good, at least. One less thing to worry about.

“Honestly, Jessica, didn’t you think the pieces would be mobile?”

Jessica snatched another two hands and placed them in their boxes before turning to the inspector. “No, Madam, I did not anticipate mobility when recreating the hands of a thousand year old mythological beast. I realize now how foolish and short-sighted I was.”

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LISA BARRY:

I thought I would be helpful and take the recycling out for my mom. That’s not a normal thing for a teenage girl to do, especially one who avoids science and nature as much as the nerd section of the cafeteria. But I really wanted to go to the party at Cynthia’s house on Saturday night and so I was working diligently at my brownie points. I was counting on the fact that mom was smitten with a new guy who she met at the car wash and would want some time alone with him but doing some extra chores would be icing on the cake of my nice self this week.

So here I am innocently helping my parent with a household chore when I find the big green bin. It was tucked back a few feet behind the recycling center she had put together in her environmentally conscious stage a few months ago.

When I looked into the bin it was dark so I flipped on the flashlight app on my phone and took a look. I was kinda hoping for some new pool toys or something but no. A face smeared with blood and bent in a shape I was unaccustomed lay inside the bin.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“I know that you’re totally smitten with this new idea of yours…”

Hadden was cut off by a feverish voice. “It’s not a ‘new idea of mine’,” Carlee told him, brushing by with two vials of bright green liquid, both smoking and bubbling in an unfriendly way. “This is science. This will make things better.”

Hadden looked nervously around their small home, once upon a time it was cozy and enough for them, but now it was just cramped and smelled like burning and rotting things, filled with too many tables and contraptions. Hadden didn’t want to recycle all of the arguments and discussions they had gone through for the weeks since that strange man had shown up in town, with his trunks of artifacts from some place far away. Carlee had heard his loud speeches and that was the end. She took all their gold, and bought as much of the man’s questionable wares that she could carry, and began doing this thing called something that Hadden had forgotten for the twentieth time. “Maybe we could move…”

Once again Carlee interrupted him, her tone short. “No, I have to follow the instructions-”

The explosion cut her off with as much force as she had cut off Hadden.

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DALIA LANCE:

“You’re telling me she is actually smitten with him?” Jay looked across the field to the bleachers where sure enough a buxom blonde was talking to a scrawny nerd. 

 

Jay turned back to Mark “Who is he?”  

 

Mark shrugged, picking up his helmet “Some science nerd”. 

 

Jay slid his helmet on and headed towards the other players at practice “I still don’t understand. I mean look at him and look at her.” He said pointing “She is practically cooing over him. What did he do that made that happen?” 

 

“What is your issue anyway?” Mark said stopping “Did you break-up with her?” 

 

“Yeah, Sorta.” Jay looked down then back up again “It was a both of us kind of thing.” 

 

“So, she dumped you” Mark smiled and patted his friend on the shoulder. 

 

“No… whatever… what the hell does he have that I don’t?” Jay seemed almost frantic. 

 

“Maybe he recycles?” Mark said, ducking avoiding Jay’s swinging fist. 

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Marcus took the plastic recycling bin and walked down the end of driveway for pick up. He was about to go back in, when he noticed his neighbor walk out of the white house with brown shutters from across the street. He was instantly smitten. Her red hair accentuated her creamy skin tone and he couldn’t stop himself from staring. That’s when she turned toward him, her smoky green eyes locking onto his. Marcus suddenly couldn’t move and his pulsed quickened as she approached. His years as a teacher in the biological sciences taught him that his physical reaction was a sign that danger approached. Marcus’s mouth went dry as her smile turned into a toothy sneer.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“I am smitten with science,” announced Kathy to the entire room. A sea of heads turned to her.

The bride to be, and the groom to be, took a second to look away from each other—they were about to kiss, after all.

A cough rang out through the room, and the silence continued to hold, like a sticky film over the entire area.

Kathy was not perturbed by this. With jubilation, she announced it to the world yet again: “I am smitten with science! I am in love with it. I want to have children with the concept of science! I want to, twenty years from now, convince science to get up off the couch and take out the stuff we plan to recycle, and then don’t, to the garbage. I want to find it lying there dead at the ripe old age of like eighty!”

Again, the room was quiet. Someone, some brave soul, finally managed to raise his voice and talk—despite the smothering awkwardness.

“Okay…does that mean you don’t want these two to get married?”

Kathy looked at the guy with wide eyes, clearly shocked. “No…no, of course not. I’ve known Jeremy and Justine for years now—they are perfect for each other. I just love science so much!”

Another person cleared their throat. Someone, an older woman, debated calling the police.

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Waiting to Surprise Him – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 21 June 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Whisper
  • Forgetful
  • Moist

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DALIA LANCE:

She was not happy Mark was so forgetful. She was quiet as a whisper waiting to surprise him with the treats placed across her naked body.  

Laying across the dining room table she was literally a dessert bar. Well she had been a dessert bar, but as the time ticked on she was becoming basically moist, soggy and sticky in a number of places that would be ok if it wasn’t melting food causing the issue.  

She wrinkled her nose as she realized using whip cream may not have been the best idea.  

She was about to sit up when she heard the door open and he put on the most sultry look she could as she heard footsteps approach the dining room.  

“Honey?” Mark said. 

“In here” she replied, trying to sound sexy and not move at the same time. 

“Brian and Jay decided to come over to watch the fight” he said as he entered the kitchen with the afore mentioned friends in tow.  

The awkward silence that held that moment in place was movie worthy considering there was not way to unsee her presentation. 

“Surprise” she finally said. 

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LISA BARRY:

Tanna wiped the moist towel across her brow, the sweat continued despite her attempts to cool down. The run from the warehouse to home in the incredibly dry heat of the Denlark realm was a dumb move and her forgetfulness was making her pay. She drank another bottle of water, her stomach now swollen, and sat heavily on the couch.

“Help me, Sebastian,” she whispered. Thought was starting to become difficult. Oh, she really had screwed up this time. The heat exhaustion was bad. She had barely recovered from the last time.

Where was Sebastian?

Darks spots were starting to appear in her vision. Blinking was making them worse. The water was threatening to come up when she heard him.

“Lovely Tanna.”

“Sebastian – please!” she begged.

“Now now, it’s your time, love.”

Tanna’s eyes closed and the moment Sebastian the wraith had been waiting for came. He slipped in and gave her spirit an easy boot. Now he would live once more.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

The thought stopped Jedrin cold. Now he was going to have to rethink his entire plan from a whole new perspective, wondering if his steps had been predicted and planned on, or not. He spent several moments going over this, before he remembered to stop himself. The witch had told him that death was forgetful, and if he wanted to make sure his plan came to fruition, it was crucial that the other man’s face remain clear in his mind.

Jedrin was just going to have to carry on with the plan, but he was going to be more cautious. Cautious and intelligent, we’ll make a good pair, the other’s voice whispered to him, and Jedrin smiled a savage smile. When he emerged fully into the Overworld, into the moist air just after a storm, it became easier to move. He floated, almost flew, and it was easy to find the other, as he had kept the jewel with him, as Jedrin had known he would.

Jedrin watched the other man for a long time, savoring the imminent revenge, and was surprised that when he tried to move forward, some invisible force held him in place. He struggled, and it was that which drew the attention of the other man, who came over and smiled the same cold smile he had when Jedrin died.

“I wondered when you were going to be turning up again,” he said, his voice very polite.

Jedrin remained calm despite this small twist. He had a great advantage over the other man – one couldn’t die twice.

“Are you very sure about that?” the man said, his eyes gleaming.

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JM PAQUETTE:

“You shot me,” Mark whispered, voice quiet moreso from shock than pain. He’d been through far worse.

His man-servant nodded, oily smoke leaking from the barrel of the gun as he cocked his head to the side, confusion creeping across his face. This was clearly not how he’d expected the next few moments to play out.

“You actually shot me…” Mark paused, hand reaching up to touch the hole in his chest, already feeling the skin healing up, the bullet hole barely moist with the few drops of blood that had escaped before his body did its miracle trick. “Over Shakespeare?”

“I was on the stage at the Globe Theatre,” the servant replied, voice steady but his hand had started to shake. “I know the Bard. But you are always,” and here the hand on the weapon steadied, “you are always correcting me.” He fired again, this time the look on his face was  as familiar to Mark as his own reflection. He’d seen that kind of passion before, many times. He really was getting too old for this kind of thing. That is, he would be too old, if he ever really aged. He’d stopped doing that hundreds of years ago. How many was it? He’d grown forgetful over time. Certainly more than eight or nine hundred. Hell, maybe a thousand? It was so hard to keep track of things.

“What…what are you?!” the man-servant shrieked.

Mark turned his attention back to the man-servant, gave a meaningful look down at the second hole in his shirt, and his expression turned grim. “I wouldn’t have to correct you if you’d learn the damn lines properly. Obviously, you weren’t worthy to stay on the boards at the Globe.” He touched his chest, “And speaking of the famous theater, this suit was tailored for me by a rather famous man, and now you’ve gone and ruined it. That’s two classics you’ve destroyed this evening, young man.” The servant raised the gun again, but this time Mark caught his hand. “You will not be destroying anything else.”

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Garrick wiped his brow, moistened with sweat from the fear that ran through him. The whispers grew louder in the dark forest and he realized too late that he wasn’t alone. How Garrick wished he wasn’t so forgetful and had left his hat back at the cabin, then he never would have left his friends to go back and retrieve it. Now, the thick night air closed in around him. He felt like he was suffocating. The whispers grew more intense, as if more voices were being added to their sad song. He could feel their pain resonate in his being and it brought him to his knees. Garrick did not think he would survive to see another sunrise.

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BRANDON SCOTT

“I’m forgetful, so sue me.”

“I am suing you!” Charlie said, waving his hands around to the courtroom. “That is the whole point!”

“Oh…” Will said, looking around at the room, “And you are?”

Charlie face-palmed so hard it bent his glasses a bit. This had been the last hour. His forgetful ex-friend going around in circles. Not recalling, then recalling.

“I am Charlie,” Charlie said, “And I am suing you because you let my house burn down, when I said to watch the fucking roast so it would be just cooked enough to be moist!”

“Oh, did I?” Will said, placing his hand on his chin. “Well, that does not sound like something I would do—not really. Though, I suppose, I could have—may I ask you a question actually?”

Charlie could see this one coming and prepared his mind for it, so it might maintain some stability. “Yes, what is the question?”

“Who am I?” Will said.

Charlie, from pure stress, had a blood vessel in his eye pop, but he did not hit him, he did not take the urge he had and send it into the man’s face with reckless force.

“You are—”

The judge, having been watching this entire exchange, as had the entire room of people (all enraptured by the odd scene) snapped out of his amusement, and cleared his throat.

“Have you to come to some agreement, or are we continuing with this case?”

“Who’s he?” whispered Will, leaning forward.

Charlie hung his head—and turned to address the judge. “I take it back—just…can I have a restraining order.”

“If that even works,” he added underneath his breath.

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Blamed the Fish – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 May 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Fish
  • Key
  • Purge

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

“And then the huge fish leaped out of the water, teeth gleaming like silver razors, and snatched the key from my hand, swallowing it, and taking to to the depths,” the man on the floor finished his tale, a pitiful wail escaping his lips as he cowered, his face pressed to the ground.

Rex lounged on the cushioned bench, and took his time selecting another grape from the solid gold platter beside him. The servant hovered somewhere in the vicinity, out of sight, but just as Rex had swallowed, the servant appeared, swooping in to offer the little vial of the potion that would purge the stomach should Rex be full yet wish to continue eating. Rex waved him away, and the man retreated to the world of invisibility.

“A fish, you say? With teeth?” The man on the floor trembled, and somehow managed to nod his head while keeping his forehead against the stone. “Interesting,” Rex said, and ate another grape. “And how is it your hand is still attached to your arm?”

The man quaked, but did not say anything. Rex considered for a moment, his mind going over the possibilities. He needed that key, more than anything, and it was all he could do to keep his calm. There were spies everywhere, their eyes and ears leading directly to the White King, and it would not do to have him know Rex’s growing desperation.

“Perhaps,” Rex said aloud. “You swallowed the key yourself, and blamed the fish?” Only now did the man lift his face, though his eyes were squeezed shut, his mouth trembling in unspoken pleas. Rex waved at a guard. “Open him up.”

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LISA BARRY:

Dangling the fish over the sleepy dragon’s nose, I pondered my next move. The Dark Kingdom had the key to my survival what with its vampiric ghosts, hairy shapeshifters and whorish fae. I knew I could make my fortune there easily but that double damned Prince. Everyone loved him and here I was wanting him purge him from our beautiful brimstone covered land.  He had thwarted my plans not once, or even twice but three bloody times he had muscled in on my action and taken the credit. When Scarp finally pulled the fish from my hand it was like a light had been flashed over my coveted talent of The Sight and I saw further than ever before. My salvation may not ever come, thank the Demon Goddess, but my pockets would be full of coin and the Prince would be history. I jumped up and set to work.

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ERIKA LANCE:

Marcile fished in his pocket for the key.  

 

The demon moved closer towards him snarling and flexing as if causing fear would make his prey taste better. It most likely did, but if one wanted to survive such encounters one best not think on this too hard. 

 

With key in hand he grabbed the box, closed it, locked it, read the words or better described as symbols around the lid and unlocked and opened the box as the demons jaws were about to clamp perfectly on his head. 

 

Suddenly there was a pop and the demon was gone and in it’s place was a banana. 

 

Marcile looked down at the fruit and wondered if he should bother touching it, but magic was fickle so he left it be, closed and relocked the box and headed after Jerimiah.  

 

It didn’t take long to stumble upon his friend or at least what he assumed was his friend in the form of a peacock now pacing the hallway leading out of the tomb.  

 

The bird had apparently purged any contents in its stomach moments before.  

 

Hmmmm” Marcile said looking behind and wondering if peacocks liked bananas. 

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I needed to purge some of the contents from this damn purse. I had been fishing around in it for a solid 90 seconds now looking for my housekeys. It was time to make dinner, not time to be lollygagging outside. Ugh.

I knew I’d placed my keys in the purse when I left the house. I sat in a huff, jeans too tight as I crouched onto the bricks of my front stoop. The entire purse turns upside down, light started fading. Digging through the contents and still not finding the keys, I remembered my mom’s advice and started rethinking all the steps that I’d taken as I left the house. I’d popped on my new peeptoes, walked to the hall, flipped the switch to turn off all the inside lights, pulled the keys from the hook, flipped the switch to turn on the porch light, locked the door, popped the keys into the side pocket of the purse, and then walked down the steps. Then I spent the day walking the city with Jimmy. It’d been a blast. Jimmy who I had never thought would be fun, but it really was. He had just walked me back and just now was disappearing around the corner, half a block away. I texted him quickly.

“Hey, can’t find keys. Come back?”

I hoped he didn’t take it as a come on, but I didn’t want to wait for the locksmith alone. The daylight was almost completely gone now, and locksmiths could take a while.

Jimmy hadn’t emerged from around the corner yet, but as I was dialing the locksmith, I noticed the front porch light must have blown out. I could still see the contents of my purse as I put them back into place, though, and I realized why. The livingroom light was on, and shining out through closed blinds. Blinds I hadn’t closed.

Oh, crap. The front door knob started turning, as I ran down the steps, trying to dial 9-1-1. I realized I’d been halfway through dialing the locksmith already, and it failed. I hung up on the locksmith, running full tilt, as I saw someone emerge from my house. What the hell, it looked like… It started running toward me, and I realized.

It looked like me. Exactly like me. I almost couldn’t look away, but I had to, I had to run faster. I turned to look behind me again, as I ran straight into Jimmy.

“Jimmy?” I was scared. I grabbed onto him, looked into his eyes, and something didn’t seem right. Something about Jimmy was just… wrong. Oh crap, I thought, just as everything went black.

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JM PAQUETTE:

John raised an eyebrow, knife poised over the fish splayed on the ceremonial plate before him. “So, do I just cut it or what?”

“It’s the Great Fish Feast, Human John,” Serena the Supreme Leader whispered. “Please find some measure of decorum.”

John kept his knife held over the plate, deciding that he would wait to see what everyone else did first. This dinner was a big deal after all, the key to sealing the peace treaty with the Estonians, his people’s only way of  avoiding the planet purge these Fish-loving people were so fond of. He had to show them that his people were worthy. That he was worthy. He’d hate it if he screwed it all up before they even got started because he didn’t know the proper way to eat fish. And at the Great Fish Feast, he was sure such manners were required. This was a test.

He stared at the fish, wishing he knew more about the creatures. It was grayish, with one gelatinous eye still staring balefully up at him. Weren’t the cooks supposed to cook it more, or skin it, or at least take the eyes out before serving it? What kind of savages ate like this?

They probably didn’t eat like this he realized. No doubt they purged all of the fish from their own seas, just as they destroyed everything else they decided needed to go.

And then they had to find new planets to inhabit, with strange new creatures to worship for a few moments before they purged again and moved on.

Fortunately for him, they seemed to live a long time. Maybe they would be entertained by the many different types of fish on this planet for the next hundred years and it wouldn’t matter to him anymore.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

Wesley pulled the key out from around his neck. It was truly unique as it was shaped like the skeleton of a fish. It had taken him almost a year to find the door that it would unlock and today was going to be the day he’d find out what secrets were held within. He took a deep breath as he turned the key in the lock until a click sounded. As he pushed open the door a rush of air streamed past him, pulling him inside. It was useless to resist and he found himself trapped in the room, the door had slammed behind him. After he regained his equilibrium, Wesley realized he couldn’t remember who he was or why he was here. It was as if all his memories had been purged from his mind.

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BRANDON SCOTT

From the lake, he pulled forth a golden fish. It was large, heavy, and gasped at the lack of water. Fen looked at it and felt a tinge of guilt at his actions, but still placed it down inside the large pail he had brought for such an occasion.

“Hello, you little thing. How’s today going?” he said, trying to calm the thrashing creature. “It’s going to be okay, we only have to go a little way, and then we will have a feast, you and I.”

“Oh, now that’s bull,” said the fish, sounding a little hoarse. And Fen jolted away from the pail, his eyes wide.

“You think I am really going to fall for something like that?” the fish continued, now sitting in the center, it’s mouth flapping in accordance with human speech. “You’re planning to eat me.”

“Well…” Fen said, unsure what to say to a fish. He hung his head in guilt.

“No, no—don’t be that way. Your species eats fish, I understand—but here, I can make it worth your while. Reach into the pail, and I will give you a golden key.”

“A golden key?” Fen asked, incredulous.

“Yes. A key to the secret door, at the center of the pond. Behind it, gold and jewels beyond your wildest dreams.”

The man’s eyes widened, and, in a fit of greed, reached forward into the pail. A moment later, defying all laws of physics, his entire frame flew into the pail and disappeared.

The fish let out a loud burp and then chuckled. “That’s one way to purge a human—if only I could do it more often. They are good eating.”

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To Spice Up… – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 14 May 2017, these three words were chosen:

  • Sky
  • Whip
  • Banana

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

FEATURED AUTHOR

DALIA LANCE:

She looked down at the table and frowned. 

A whip, well a riding crop with sky blue feathers on it, a bowl of whip cream and a plastic banana. 

She had agreed that they needed to spice up their sex life a little but this was not what she had in mind. 

Looking down at the black satin and lace nightgown and the cute little pumps she got to match, she felt that she might be out of place for this adventure and started to turn to go back in the bathroom and change, into what, she had no idea. 

“Are you ready baby?” Came the voice of her husband, sounding rather husky. 

Crap, she thought. “One minute” she said trying to sound not as panicked as she felt. 

She draped herself across the bed and adjusted all the parts into place and then in a much more sexy tone said “I’m ready big boy.” 

Then he opened the door and entered wearing a gorilla suit. What the hell was happening? 

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LISA BARRY:

“Why do we have to do this?” Leila whined as she whipped a half-eaten banana back and forth. I watched her carefully walk on the narrow wall toward the roof. I glanced at the sky and smiled. She was so gullible. The castle had been built recently and I still loved tricking the young ones. The air distortion was clear with my demonic ears and I waited patiently for my pet to arrive. I saw the scales glint in the double sun rays before the dragon took full shape. I laughed.

“Supper time!” I hollered and a blast of fire shot toward Leila.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

He stood on the ramparts, watching the sky fall, great big chunks of blue and black crashing down into the hills surrounding the fortress. The peasants screamed and fled, but there was nothing they could do, really. Gordon looked up, the spiderweb cracks spreading, streaking out like a whip, coming closer and closer.

To the south, another vortex had opened up, obliterating the fabric of that part of the world. The ground churned and heaved as the heavens rained down. Gordon, in the eye of the storm, could only watch helplessly as whatever he’d set in motion proceeded to destroy the world. “What on earth did you do, boy?” a waspish voice called up.

Gordon turned to see the wild, white hair of Merlin floating just below the lip of stone on the walkway. He hurried over, and saw the aged wizard clinging to the ladder, fierce eyes staring at the havoc around them with not fear, but indignation.

“What did you do?” he repeated.

“I don’t know,” Gordon said,  wringing his hands. “I did everything that the book said. “Obviously you didn’t, or else this wouldn’t be happening. Let me see.” The wizard stuck his hand up, requesting the spell.

Gordon handed over the piece of parchment, and waited, both hoping he had done everything right and that the wizard found something to correct whatever had happened.

“Banana!” Merlin cried.

“What?”

“The word is supposed to be ‘banana’, you dolt!”

Gordon looked to where Merlin pointed his long, knobbly finger. Written in Gordon’s precise, block hand, was the word “bandanna”.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

I just knew I was going to have a great day. I could just tell I’d aced my finals. Jack had asked me to the dance and I’d said yes. Plus, I had lost all five of the pounds I’d gained over break.

I sighed in satisfaction, and looked out the diner window at the gorgeous fluffy clouds floating past. The sky looked like the whipped cream topping on my banana meringue pie, of which I took a huge satisfying bite just as the waitress slapped a ticket down onto the table. It sounded too loud and banged three times, and I was confused.

“Jessie! Wake up!” the waitress yelled at me. I looked at her name tag, and saw that she had the same name as my roommate, “Gahandra”, which was weird because she was blond and looked more like a Tammy.

“Jessie!” Gahandra yelled, as I came back to myself, “Get the fuck up! You’re ten minutes late for your chem final. What happened to your alarm?” She ran into the room, keys in hand.

“Um.” I was bleary. I rubbed my eyes and sat up, then looked at my phone. My lock screen was a bunch of floaty clouds… and my alarm said it was still going, but what use was it if it didn’t make any noise.

I’d missed zero texts from Jack… and after staying awake half the night supposedly cramming but mostly waiting for his answer.

Ugh.  I climbed out of bed and threw on a shirt and pants, running out the door. I found myself wishing I was back with not-Tammy. Today was going to suck so bad.

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JM PAQUETTE:

I held my arms aloft to the sky as the prophecy instructed, whip in my right hand unfurled and ready to receive the blessing of the almighty, the sword in my left ready to defend against anyone who dared interrupt the moment of my triumph. As the thunder crashed and the lightning flashed, I felt the items change in my hands, and I kept my eyes closed, certain that what I felt was only the magic imbuing the weapons, marking my name in the annals of time and sealing my place in the halls of destiny.

This was my moment. And it was actually happening. All that work finally paying off in a substantial way. And with everyone watching. This was perfect. My life was perfect. My god was perfect.

I opened my eyes and looked down, eager to see the handiwork of my deity. The crowd gasped, the silence drawing out in unbearable suspense.

Oh no. No. Seriously?

The whip in my right hand, the weapon handed down through generations of my family, the symbol of my long heritage, had been turned into a yellow banana. The sword in my right hand, the mighty weapon forged in ancient fires and stolen from a master dragon’s lair, had been morphed into a letter opener.

Sometimes, it really sucks having sworn oneself to a trickster god.

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ALANNA J. RUBIN

The wind whipped around Ollie, causing his hair to fly into his eyes. Through the strands, he could see the sky turning from its normal shade of blue to a blood red. Ollie, drew the jewel encrusted knife from its sheath, the crescent shaped curve of the blade glinting in the sun. It gave off a yellow glow, and Ollie couldn’t help but think it reminded him of a banana. The thought made him chuckle, a welcome respite to the dire situation he was now in.

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BRANDON SCOTT

The sky was full of clouds until he cracked the whip. Then it was full of nothing at all, just blue across the horizon. Jake marveled at the leather of the device for a solid minute, before the man next to him cleared his throat.

“You going to stare at that all the darn day. It’s magic, don’t you know. It’s magic from handle to tip,” said Henry, as he took a bite out of the banana he held. When he finished the first one, he produced from his pocket another, equally yellow fruit, and ate that as well.

“Yes—I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jake said, still not looking as his companion, who had a steadily growing pile of fruit remains at his feet, all pulled from a small pouch: apple cores, pear cores, and peels, along with the remains of a pineapple.

“Well, you’ve seen magic before, right?” Henry said.

“Well, yes, of course I have—but weather control is much better than anything The Wise ever spoke about. Why would he not tell us about something this powerful thing?”

“Perhaps it’s for the same reason that he locked it up in the first place, and didn’t tell us about the safe either.”

“Hmm,” Jake mumbled, and then flicked it out again, a smile dancing forth from his lips from the noise of the taut leather. Above him, a storm cloud formed and churned with light. “But this isn’t so dangerous.”

A moment later a lightning bolt struck him.

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