Thursday, 8 November 2018

#TorPrompts Week One

The wonderful TorAthena has made a brilliant list of writing prompts to follow, for those of us who are inspired by NaNoWriMo, but don't quite fancy writing a whole novel. I've been itching to flex my fictional muscles for a while, and dip my toes into the grisly world of horror writing, so I'm very thankful to Tor for giving me a good excuse to! I'm going to be posting weekly sets of short pieces based on the prompts she's made, and I hope you enjoy them! I'm new to the whole fictitious thing, so I'd love any feedback or constructive criticism!


Day 1 - Horoscope

The bell pierced through the stuffy silence, signalling a change in the atmosphere. As if a spell was broken, the teenagers' boredom burst into to chatter and bustle, as they roughly gathered their bags, planned their weekends, leaving the the confines of their classroom as quickly as possible. Sighing, Isabella stacked her books into her locker, pulling out her treasured mp3 player for the trudge home. When Gabby's shrill laughter grated her ears, she steeled herself. Today, Gabby chose to barge through Isabella, her blonde curls tangling across Isabella's face, their shoulders clashing as neither wanted to give in. Continuing her shallow conversation as if she hadn't noticed Isabella, Gabby sauntered down the corridor, flanked by a gaggle of identical-looking, simpering worshippers. Instead of the panic lodging itself like a stone in her throat as normal, Isabella just smiled to herself. Today was different. 

***

Sighing, she surveyed her bedroom. Slick red splatters were soaking into her pale pink sheets and running thick rivulets down to the floor, shiny and moist on her cream plush carpets. The glint of a kitchen knife protruded from beneath her bed, where it lay discarded. There Gabby was curled, her body contorted in a crupled heap, still gushing from the assortment of knife-plunged wounds across her shredded abdomen. Her jaw hung slack, her once pristine makeup smudged in streams of tears and blood. Gaping open, her mouth was monsterous, distorted, and empty. Her wide and vacant eyes stared at the space next to her where her tongue sat, like a fat, sticky slug, growing paler as it drained of blood. Tracing her eyes across the violent scene, Isabella bent to pick up a magazine from the floor. There, between crusted droplets of fluid, the shiny paper boldly proclaimed 'Pisces - today is ideal for cutting out negativity'. 

Day 2 - Thick

I gently patted Max's thick, grey fur. He felt as soft and as warm as always. My heart fluttered in my ribcage when I thought about how special this precious boy was to me. Looking into the gaze of his shining hazel eyes, I whispered to him about how loved he is, and how sorry I am. As I tickled under his muzzle and dabbed a glob of slobber from his jaw, I knew he understood. His pointed teeth shone, bright bone under the glow of the moon, blooming through his exposed pink gums. Stepping back from the cage, I knew there wasn't long until the sedative wore off. I glaced towards his canine form, large clumsy paws with razor claws, bulging muscles under dark knots of fur, and a thunderous, waving tail. A sickening vine of guilt crept and curled into my stomach and chest, entangling my lungs and making my breath shudder. The iron bars stood, stoic and unbreakable, offering me some reassurance of my angel's safety. This was the only way to protect him when he got this way. It was in his best interest, and that is what one does when they love something, even if it is difficult. Some people call me crazy for putting myself at risk this way, but what else can I do when my soulmate is a werewolf? 

Day 3 - Flour

His mother groaned inwardly, fixing a patient smile on her face, as little Bobby's lip quivered for the 8th night in a row. His soft cheeks flushed with fear as his tiny hands clutched at his mother.'s night-dress. He wailed, begging her to check again for the monsters in his wardrobe, pleading with her not to leave him alone in the dark. Softening her voice, she reassured him, stroking hair away from his overheated face and adjusting his comforter. She promised him that if he could be a brave boy for just one more night, she'd teach him how to catch monsters the next day. Stalling for time and hoping this phase would pass is all she could do. Her whole family were exhausted from sleepless, tear-stained nights at the hands of Bobby's vivid night terrors. 

When morning finally came, Bobby was a toussled flurry of excitement and giddiness. His tiny reign of chaos lasted until evening, when he realised bedtime was looming nearer. Looking at his mother with sorrowful, pleading eyes, he asked about catching the monsters through gaps in his milk teeth. From the back of the kitchen cupboard, she retrieved a small bag of old flour, handed it into Bobby's outstretched palms, and followed his tottering figure up the stairs. Gurgling with laughter, he shook the flour across his bedroom floor, watching the white plumes of powder rising into the air and coating everything in a fine layer of dust. He felt an exhilarating sensation of relief in his new feeling of safety. If there were footprints, his mother would catch the monsters. If there were none, then he could be certain it was just bad dreams. His mother knew there would be none, and was almost drunk with delight at finally having a proper sleep. That night, Bobby fell to slumber quickly, the nights spent frozen in fear finally catching up with him. His mother smiled, retiring to her own bed to rest more peacefully than she could remember. 

Contented, his mother stretched as she awoke, a smile dancing on her lips as she noticed the silence. She tiptoed to Bobby's room to wake him, knowing he would be sleeping soundly, eager to show him the flour undisturbed. His door squeaked open, revealing ghastly footprints in the flour, huge crevices and trenches where it had been scraped aside. A wail bubbled then died in the back of her throat as she noticed the tiny smeared handprints, as if Bobby had been trying to cling to the wooden floors of his room. Little Bobby was not sleeping soundly. Little Bobby was gone. 

Day 4 - Frozen

Melissa had taken a risk. She had let her peers see the real her. One must understand, that when Frozen was popular, so too were people with mystical skill. Her classmates delighted in her games with ice and snow, roaring with laughter when she froze the teacher's pen or made it snow outside so they didn't have to run track. She had never been happier, no longer keeping a secret hidden, no longer pulling her sleeves down around her clammy hands or avoiding eye contact with classmates in fear that they would notice snowflakes dancing in the blue. There was no more shame. She finally belonged.

As all fads pass, so too did the world's love of Frozen, and with it, their love of Melissa. Her heart felt like cubes of ice in her throat as she tried her best to ignore words like 'mutant' and 'freak' jarring in her ears and the corridors of her school. The people she once considered her dearest friends now loathed her, and that felt like stalagtites protruding through her lungs. The loneliness sank in her stomach and smothered her like blankets of snow. To have known love and to have it ripped away hurt far more than her hiding ever had. 

Her collection was her only solace now. Hidden in a half collapsed outhouse on her parents' land, she found her peace. There, in the dank, mouldy corners of the shed, were her models, her only friends. Drops of water trickled down the intricately detailed forms, crisp and clear. Pristine sculptures of bodies balanced, halted in time, like showstoppers at a decadent wedding. The ice glinted in the darkness, revealing her classmates suspended in the glass. Their faces were twisted in exhaltations of fear, their eyes desperate and petrified. Melissa sat next to her friends and shook with laughter that pierced the air like frozen winds. She would never be lonely again. 

Day 5 - Regret

I hate it when my father visits me. His smile never reaches his eyes, and I cannot stand the way his skin feels like damp sandpaper. His eyelashes are charred, and his eyes are gelatinous slime, oozing from the sockets. Odd clumps of hair still cling to his scalp, bloodied and matted. His features seem to melt into his face, skin sliding in sinews around his nose. Every inch of him is mottled, raw red, charred black, pus yellow, desecrated and infected. His blistered sheets of skin threaten to peel away with each movement. From every crack in his stripped skin, yellow fluid seeps and shines. Muscle bursts forth from beneath his tarnished flesh like raw meat, falling apart to reveal his ivory frame. His every motion is slow, agonising, and stiff. Every time he visits me, I regret ignoring his wishes. I should never have had my father cremated. 

Day 6 - Verdict

Saffie was a food blogger and a force of nature. She was a whirlwind of curls and camera flashes, earthy skin with pink cheeks and a heart stopping bright smile. She giggled to her friends as she bounced into the vegan cafe, scanning the decor for the most Instagram-worthy shots. She charmed the staff with her effervescent personality, even swapping tips with the chef and selecting his recommendation of a seitan based noodle dish. 

Having taken photographs of every inch of the establishment, and of the perfectly presented food from every imaginable angle, her and her friends finally began to eat, with Saffie scratching notes into an artsy pink pleather planner balanced delicately on her lap. Laughter and gossip faded into appreciative nods as they tucked into their meals. Their expressions made it pretty clear just how divine the chef's artistry tasted. As Saffie slurped the last of her noodles, one of her friends mumbled through a mouthful of food,

'So, Saff, what's the verdict?' Saffie glanced down at her notes, humming in concentration.

'Rich flavour. Interesting textures. Setian tasted realistic. Would have liked a smaller portion. Overall delicious. Would recommend'. Her friends nodded and murmured in agreement, some still swallowing mouthfuls of food, others tidying their plates and cutlery. 

In the kitchen, the chef whistled to himself, a devilish grin breaking on his rugged face. Feeling accomplished from the day's work and multitudes of satisfied customers, he began wiping down his chopping board and knives, pink watery liquid staining the clean white of his cloth. His leather boot bumped against something, and groaning, he leaned to pick it up. Setting the finger on the counter and brushing it off, he huffed. The dangling threads of flesh and tendon had splashed wine coloured splatters onto his freshly cleaned countertop, and he was going to make even more mess removing the fingernail. Reaching for a large, freshly-sharpened blade, he set about preparing the errant finger. Once the fingernail was successfully discarded, and the bones ripped out, the chef hurriedly stuffed the finger through his processor, and neatly placed the tupperware of mashed finger into the fridge, next to the other cartons of entrails. That would do nicely for tomorrow's specials. 

Day 7 - Seed

I have been enchanted by plants ever since I was a girl. When I was finally old enough to purchase my own home, a greenhouse was top of my priorities. There, in the white iron safety of my ornate haven, I grew my beloved collection - a cornucopia of bizarre and rare botanical specimens. My most treasured plant, grown from a seed, was the rare, endangered Nepenthes rajah. I had cultivated this beautiful plant through hours of hard work and dedicated research into its needs, and I had done a splendid job. My dearest stood regal, her bulbous pink traps luscious and full of deadly fluid. 

Of course, as she had grown, her needs had grown exponentially. To be quite truthful, I hadn't expected her to grow so large. She had far surpassed anything I'd read about in textbooks, and keeping up with her care was becoming challenging. I was relieved when she began telling me what she wanted, and when her soft voice echoed in my head, I was grateful of the company. It was comforting having her gentle chatter wade through the quiet of my greenhouse. I loved her so dearly, and our bond only grew more powerful as she became a magestic behemoth. When she gurgled and called me 'mama' for the first time, I finally felt complete. 

Soon, her hunger became utterly insatiable. I could hear her heart-wrenching cries richocheting through my skull all day and all night. No matter how much I fed her, she was distraught with starvation. Her once bold pink hues had dulled, and her leaves were wilted. I couldn't bear to see my daughter in such agony. I couldn't stand to see her once divine form lackluster and reduced to a drooping bouquet. I knew what I had to do. 

His slumped head stirred, and his eyes widened as he discovered his bindings. He shrieked in terror, muted behind the folds of cloth stuffed into his mouth. His limbs strained and flexed against his ties, and his head swiveled wildly on his outsretched neck, eyes darting in search for an escape. Resigned, I began heaving his struggling form across the floor of the greenhouse, grunting against his weight. He reasoned with me silently as I hauled him to his feet and shoved him towards her urn-shaped traps. All it took was a gentle push to rid him of his balance, and deliver him into the open waiting mouth of my baby. 

The sound of him choking and gagging on his cries as he was consumed by her liquids made me nauseous. Through the mottled greens and pinks of her pitchers, I watched as his sillhouette twisted and thrashed against his fate, before completely disappearing beneath the surface of the sweet fluid, splashing and resisting until the bitter end. I couldn't stand to watch any more, shakily sliding to the stone floors. Finally, silence rang in my ears. The man had succumbed. My daughter's weeping had stopped. I truly loathed what I had done, but a mother's love has no limits. 


  

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2 comments:

  1. Oohh my god, these were insane! Insane, but beautifully written. I'd love to read more of the Horoscope prompt, I think you could make a whole novel around that!
    Can't wait to see what else you come up with.
    Saph xx

    www.simplysaph.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Working on Week 2 as we speak! ;)

      It means a lot that you read it!

      Kiah xx

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