Writing Prompt: Moving

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I have two friends undergoing a move right now. But I think I’ve done a writing prompt in the past about packing stuff so this time I want you to write about getting friends to help a character move. You have 1000 words, maximum. Have fun!

Writing Prompt: On The Road

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Write a story, no more than 500 words, that takes place during a car trip. The entire story must take place in the car, though character(s) can think or talk about events that took place outside of the car.

Writing Prompt: Lost

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This week, write a story 500-1000 words about a character who is lost. This character can be figuratively lost, literally lost, or both. Have fun!

Surf’s Up

I saw a show recently where someone’s stomach got pumped. I got to thinking about a character who might have undergone that, and apparently, she was talking for this prompt.

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“It’s like a scene right out of Jaws,” Jane said, eying the beach. She stood on the boardwalk, beach towel and cooler in hand. The beach towel was white, with large blue words that read, “Surf’s up” on one side. She wasn’t a surfer, but the towel, threadbare in places, had been her brother’s. Since he lost his mind and went to school in the frigidity of Canada, she decided he couldn’t be a surfer anymore. 

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” her older sister claimed. “Come on.” 

They wove between blankets and beach chairs. Boomboxes blared. Babies and little children tipped buckets of water onto piles of sand, and with frantic digging, tried to make tunnels and castles before the sand could dry. 

“There’s no space anywhere. And it’s really hot out here,” Jane whined. “Why did we come here again?”

“I’m not missing the holiday weekend at the beach. Not when it’s this nice out. And I can’t exactly leave you home alone.” 

Jane’s face flushed. “It’s been a whole year, Sara. I wouldn’t do anything—”

“Yeah, right. Mom and Dad come home tomorrow with Dave to find you OD’ed on the kitchen floor. Nice image. You promised we could do what I want today. I took you to the bookstore yesterday, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but I hate the beach.”

“Get over it.” 

They found a few square feet about three feet back from the tide and spread their towels. Jane sat on hers, wrapping her arms around her knees. Sara rolled her eyes. 

“You’re not going to sit there covered head-to-toe.”

“I’m here. What does it matter what I wear?”

“I know you’ve got a bikini on underneath. I had the happy task of checking your closet and dresser last week. You don’t own a one-piece. Show off a little.”

Jane shook her head and chewed her cheek. She’d been clean for over twelve months and had the chip to prove it. But she didn’t want Sara to see the long thin scars she’d made with a steak knife she snagged from the kitchen as soon as Mom and Dad went away for the weekend. If she’d known the beach would be the payment Sara demanded for a full morning at the local bookshop, Jane wouldn’t have cut herself Friday night. She would have waited. Because she knew how Sara was, how she could get—for some reason it mattered to her if Jane was covered up. 

“You’re so weird.”

“Thanks,” Jane said, a half smile peeking out. “I resemble that remark.”

Another eye roll. “Whatever. Just be quiet and let me enjoy the sun.” 

Jane didn’t nod but she didn’t disagree either. She watched the surf rolling onto the beach, and timed her breathing to each breaker. Breathe out, slam the sand. Breathe in, pull the sand back into the water. She imagined it churning, and her with it, spinning under the water. Dave once told her about a time the riptide had sucked him under. She wondered if it was more uncomfortable than having her stomach pumped. That’s what happened the last time she overdosed. 

“I’m going for a swim,” she said. Sara made some noncommittal noise, and Jane stood. She didn’t take off her teeshirt or shorts, but kicked off her flip flops. She hoped some sand got into Sara’s eyes. Jane wove her way toward the water, and when the next wave rolled, she dove under it.

This work of fiction is in response to my writing prompt from this Sunday. All characters and events are completely fictional, and in no way created to represent myself or anyone else I know.

Graduation Day

Lucy’s accepted the folio embossed with her university’s name and logo, and shook the dean’s hand. She remembered advice her father always gave, to offer a firm handshake. She squeezed tighter and the dean hissed in a breath and narrowed his eyes. She muttered an apology and, head down, hurried from the stage to catch up with the students—no, graduates—ahead of her.

Marching in file reminded her of fire drills in primary school. Her teacher would take them out into the hall, hold up two fingers to indicate they were to be silent, and say, “Don’t let go of your buddy’s hand until I say so.” Miss Pear, that was her name. Well, Miss Pear would turn her back and lead them out of the building, not once looking back until they were outside. Years later, Lucy hated her for that. Any one of them—or pair of them—could have been consumed by rampaging flames and Miss Pear wouldn’t know until she took attendance outside. Then it might be too late.

Lucy took her seat. She ran her fingertips over the gold letters on the folder. Even though she knew it would be empty, she opened it anyway. Under the plastic sleeve was a typed note that read: Pending a review of all financial obligations, you will receive your diploma in the mail within two to three weeks. In the end, Lucy thought, it comes down to money. 

Over one hundred thousand in student loans awaited her. The thought of it turned her stomach. Sweat dampened her forehead under the Pennsylvania late-spring sun. A degree from Wharton opened doors for her. That’s what everyone told her. Years later, she had no prospects. No guarantee that she’d be able to pay her student loans when the six months were up. 

Frank got a job as a business manager for some firm in New York City. He already had an apartment lined up. Lucy was supposed to help him move next week. Sarah had four offers to choose from. Lucy had joked with her that the three Sarah decided against should, by default, become hers. Sarah had tossed her hair and said, “If only it worked that way.” Joe, Lucy’s boyfriend, had called things off last night.

Lucy didn’t care about where he went next after graduation day. All she knew was he was going to California. “I just can’t do the long-distance thing,” he’d said. Lucy had offered to move. Joe said she could drop him a line if she made it out to the west coast.

When Pomp and Circumstance started to play, Lucy felt glued to her folding chair. Frank and Sarah had to hoist her to her feet so their row could file out. Joe should be sitting with her. He should be her buddy. Like Miss Pear, he didn’t give a damn what happened to her now—but if she managed to make it out to California alive, maybe he’d notice her.

This is in response to Sunday’s writing prompt. I came in at exactly 500 words on this one.