16th April Prompt: Early morning mists

I don’t know where this came from, I used to have a bit of an obsession with the Peninsula War, so probably that influenced this story nugget.

An Incident in the Peninsular War Napoleon Entering a City - Robert ...

The men appeared out of the mist, early summer sun colouring it blood red. Like their jackets. The sun glinted on fixed bayonets and shako badges, the colours lost somewhere above them.

The red coated men marched in line towards us. How many were there hiding in the mist? We heard their orders shouted from one end to the other. Above us all, on the ridge that hemmed in the valley and herded the mists that sat over us, was their General. He sat on his horse, beneath a tree, surrounded by his commanders. They watched us, and their men. I don’t know what they saw that we didn’t, but it made me nervous.

We waited for orders. I looked round for my commander. Would they send in the cuirassiers first? Those heavy horsemen would chop the British to shreds. Even the river wouldn’t slow their charge. They’d have no time to form square, and if they did? My gunners would have slaughtered them where they stood.

The enemy marched towards us, crossing the shallow river that ran through the centre of the valley. That was foolish, there river was a good defensive line. This close I could see them clearly, their flags finally out of the mist.

They weren’t interested in taking a position and defending it. They came on.

Finally, a runner arrived, with orders.




15th April Prompt: Hurricane

There’s a weather theme with the current crop of prompts. I was going to write something else entirely, but then I realised I was thinking of tornadoes not hurricanes and had a rewrite. So this is only a part of a story. I do sketch out at the end where it goes though, I just haven’t written the rest of it yet.

Description Shutters Locked in Preparation for Gustav New Orleans.jpg

“Don’t mess with those.” Florence snapped at her niece, Jenna.

“They’re only shutters.”

“They’re hurricane shutters, and very hard to find here. Don’t mess with them. I need your dad to put them up for me.”

Jenna rolled her eyes at her great aunt but stepped away from the pile of wrapped, wooden shutters.

“We don’t have hurricanes here, Auntie Flo.”

“There have been.” Florence shoved a coffee table across the carpet, positioning it in the centre of the room. She bent to check for scratches.

“No, there aren’t ever any hurricanes. Hurricanes happen in hot, wet places; we did it at school.”

“They taught you wrong then, or your teachers aren’t very old. There was a hurricane just before I left to live in the Caribbean.”

“Auntie that was thirty years ago. And a freak too. You’ve lived abroad for too long.” Jenna’s dad, Sean, laughed as he walked into the living room of the sheltered housing complex bungalow Florence had rented when she returned from her years in the Caribbean. Sean was carrying a box of hardback books, acquired in the months Florence had stayed with his family since her return.

“Where do you want these, auntie?”

“On the kitchen table. No, not there. There. And don’t scuff the table.”

Sean shifted the box a few inches, turning back to his daughter and aunt when he was finished.

“It’s survived thirty years in the Caribbean, a long trip back and six months in storage, I’m sure it’ll cope with a box of books.”

“You don’t know that it hasn’t been damaged.”

Sean sighed. It was going to be one of those days.

The story continues with a house warming, and Sean being nagged into putting up the hurricane shutters. During the party a freak storm blows up and the shutters come in handy after all.

14th April Prompt: First snows of winter

This one is set in a future of of drought and flash floods, of hot summers and non-existent winter.

The first snows of winter arrived in March, several months too late.

We’re used to it by now but the old people say it used to happen in October or November. The rivers are already shallow and the reservoir is a puddle. When the snow came we were trying to break the clay up in the garden because mum wants to plant another olive tree. The snow wet the ground, but dried within minutes.

Mum showed me photographs of her great-granddad playing in the snow as a kid, with plastic boots and a hat on. A wool hat, with a bobble. We don’t get snow anymore, but, boy, does it rain! It doesn’t stay long, it just runs off the surface, and takes the soil with it.

We went on a day trip to the sea once, no one in the school believed there used to be more land out there.

5th April Prompt: Care Worker

I’ve been working on some of the prompts I missed during the first two weeks. Most of my scribble is rubbish, but I’ve come up with the start of something using the ‘care worker’ prompt.

“What do you want? Who are you?” A grey eye watched Brenda from between door and its frame, the gold chain stretched across Mr  Jones’ nose.

“Hello, Mr Jones. It’s Brenda, from Central Care Services.”

“I don’t know you.”

“I was here on Tuesday.”

“No you weren’t. It was that young lady Sheila. You’re a crook trying to talk your way in.”

Brenda ignored the charge, used to some variation on the same thing being levelled against her every time she came to Mr Jones’ flat. It changed depending on what he’d read in the Daily Mail that morning.

“Sheila left six months ago. She went to work at the hospital. You came to her leaving party at the community centre.”

“I didn’t. I haven’t been out in weeks. Nobody takes me anywhere.”

“We went to the cinema for Senior Screen on Tuesday morning.”

“What film was it?”

“Dambusters. You remember the bouncing bombs.”

“I was in the air force you know.”

“Yes, I do. You showed me your medals. We went to the memorial service a month a go.”

“At the Memorial.”

“Yes. You looked very handsome in your uniform.”

“Oh I was, turned all the girls’ heads I did.”


I have no idea if this is going anywhere. I have a lot of respect for care workers, it’s an hard job and undervalued, not to mention regularly underpaid.


The prompts for 14th and 15th April have a bit more potential so I’m going to see what I can do with them and I’ll post later or tomorrow. I also have a couple of book reviews coming up, one for a book about Newgate prison and another about asylums in 19th century Britain and Ireland.

8th April Prompt – Intelligent

I’m supposed to see what I can write in ten minutes with these prompts, so this one isn’t complete, but is definitely something I’ll go back to later.

Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud - believed to be the two main reservoirs ...

Intelligent life was first discovered outside Earth by the mining ship Venture, sent to the Oort Cloud with a dozen other ships in search of rare minerals and, more importantly, water.

Parking above their allotted lump of dust and ice, Venture scanned the surface fora place to send the shuttle.

“Looks good. Send team one down.” Captain Lecker ordered.

“Yes Sir.” Comms. Officer Brank leant into the speaker above him, “Team One, good to go.”

“Team One good to go.” Leader One confirmed.

The deck officers watched their screens as the shuttle descended on to the dull, pitted surface beneath them. Once the anchors engaged they breathed a sigh of relief and watched as Surveyor Team One emerged on the surface.

The team spread out, pads in hand, careful to step small in the low gravity. One wrong bump and they’d float off into the black.

From a hidden dip in the surface a black craft rose. In the vacuum it was silent. The surveyors became aware of a slight tremor beneath their feet. Looking for the source, Leader One found the heat trail of the engines in his IR feed.

“Team On return to shuttle. Repeat. Team One return to shuttle.”

A squeal cut off the comms, blocking transmission. The warning was unnecessary, the rest of the team had noted the heat trail and tremor already. Once communications had cut out, the scattered surveyors bounced quickly back to the shuttle, dropping kit as they did.

Aboard Venture the screens cut out at the same time as the Leader One called the team back to the shuttle. Lecker looked over the dash at his COmms. Officer.

“Brenk, what’s up with the screens.”

“Sensors are out sir.”


“We’re blind. I can’t find the source, but something is blocking our transmissions.”

“How’s that possible, we’re the only one’s out here?”

30 Days of Creative Writing: Day 30

Good morning. Well done, you’ve put up with my pseudo-creative ramblings for 30 days. This is the last in the series. I’ve chosen an exercise that appears in ‘term three’ of ‘Back to Creative Writing School’ by Bridget Whelan.

The subject under discussion is the literary genre of magical reality. Or, magic for grown-ups as the author herself described the genre in her section title. The exercise is to choose a character from from a given list and then give them unexpected wings. How do they react? What are the wings like?

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