A Monday Moment: Dog

Monday Moment

“Where have you been?” Gary asked as soon as Sadie was close enough to hear him without shouting. “I have been so worried about you.”

“I know. I would have commed, but I lost my disc.”

He noticed then the bundle she was carrying. It looked like a pile of blankets. She was also limping slightly, and her clothes were dirty and torn. He closed the distance to her at a run.

“Your ankle is injured,” he said. He had already put his Power to work mending it.

“Not for long,” she said with an affectionate laugh.

“Okay, so whatever happened apparently wasn’t that scary, since you’re laughing. What’s this?” he gestured toward the bundle.

“This is the fella to whom you owe your gratitude.”

Gary furrowed his brow, looking between the bundle and her face. “What do you mean?”

“He saved your wife’s life.”

Gary’s heart began to race at her words. They were at the door by this point, but he still wasn’t sure what was in the bundle, or if it could come into the house. Sadie finally pulled back the top cloth, which Gary realized then was her cloak, and a furry face looked up at him.

“Is that…a dog?” he asked.

Sadie nodded. “A wild one. A dingo, maybe, but it is a baby. It is weak and in need of water, probably food too.”

He ushered her inside and to a chair in the sitting room. Then he quickly filled a shallow bowl with water and brought it in to set on the floor. Sadie lowered the dog to the floor and unwrapped it, coaxing it to the water bowl. While the dog drank, Gary sat down next to Sadie, desperate to know what had happened.

She told him a harrowing story of being out in the wilds, searching for kamphas herb. She fell into the ravine past Potter’s Grove. She woke up to the dog licking her face, but couldn’t move. Her cloak was ensnared in a thick nest of brambles, and she’d broken several bones. They were already starting to mend, slowly, but she couldn’t move well enough to free herself.

“I think I would have been stuck there all night if it hadn’t been for this little guy. When he saw me pulling on the cloak, he started doing the same, using his teeth to free it from the thorns.”

“What was he doing in the ravine? Did he fall when you did?”

She shook her head. “I think he’d been stuck down there for a while. Probably days. I don’t think he would have lasted the night either.”

Gary was silent. He knew that Sadie would not have died in that ravine. As a Cleric, her wounds most likely would not have killed her. And he was only minutes away from getting some others from the village to help him look for her when she showed up. But he had no problem whatsoever with Sadie attributing her survival to the small animal, or with her wanting to nurse it back to health. He was just grateful that the initial fall into the ravine hadn’t killed her.

“I don’t know what I would do without you,” he said as he pulled her closer. She rested her head on his chest. “So what should we call the dog?”

Prompt used: What if your character adopted a new pet?

A Monday Moment: Heat

Monday Moment

“I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner,” Gary said with a happy sigh. It was the first time he had been comfortable in months.

Sadie gazed at her new husband, happy that he seemed to be content. Then she looked up at the swirling mass above them, looking almost like a small cloud. “I think you were too pre-occupied with other matters.”

“I suppose so.” He laid his head back, closed his eyes, and smiled.

Sadie continued staring at the cloud. She was a little less enthusiastic about it. It felt too much like he was controlling the weather. What if his cloud somehow interfered with the local atmosphere?

He opened his eyes and looked over at her. “Are you okay?”

“How long do you think you can keep it going?”

He shrugged. “It doesn’t take much Power, so probably as long as I want. Doesn’t it feel amazing?”

She nodded, still staring at the cloud, slowly spinning just below the ceiling. He noted her twisted lisps and chuckled. He scooted closer to her and pulled her into his arms. For once, he didn’t feel like touching her only made him more miserable. He kissed her, settling in for a long moment. Soon, though, he felt the heat returning. He ignored it for a while, and then broke the kiss and looked up.

“Apparently, I’m a little too distracting,” Sadie said with a mischievous grin.

“You definitely are.” He continued to rub her shoulder with one hand while staring at the dissipating cloud.

“It will be nice to have relief now and then, anyway,” Sadie said soothingly. She didn’t want him to get upset about the heat again.

“There has to be a way to make it work without me,” he mused. “Our Power performs on its own after we send it to those needing mending. Power works completely unbound when it’s used in Power lights and cooling cabinets.” He looked over at Sadie. “I’m going to figure this out. But not right now.”

Prompt used: What if your character came up with a great new invention?

A Monday Moment: Fight

Monday Moment

No punches had been thrown, but we all clearly heard Ted tell Dom that he was going to kill him. I hadn’t seen how the fight started, but someone in the crowd said Dom had said something bad about Ted’s girlfriend. I knew that couldn’t be true. Dom once felt bad when he had to insult someone in character, in drama class.

He stood there with a look of sheer terror on his face. I looked around at the others in the crowd. There were guys there at least as big as Ted, and some who I would have thought nice enough to stand up to the bully on someone else’s behalf.

I don’t know if it was fear of Ted or indifference to Dom that no one was trying to intervene. I thought about every school fight cliché I’d ever seen:

Even bullies won’t hit girls. What if that isn’t true?

The person being bullied will be humiliated and angry if they are defended by a girl. Would Dom react that way?

Ted took Dom’s books and handed them to his friend. Then he moved closer to Dom, towering over him. I saw his hand form a fist, clenched tighter than a dog’s bite.

I made a split second decision and ran forward from the crowd. I had a plan—probably a bad one—to extract Dom from the scene without embarrassing him.

“Dom!” I said as cheerfully as I could. “There you are! You were going to walk me—”

The blow came unexpectedly, and I fell to the ground. The gasp from the group rang in my ears. Or was that just the pain I was hearing?

Prompt used: A fight breaks out between a muscular person and a much weaker person who is clearly being bullied. You decide to intervene.

A Monday Moment: (K)night

Monday Moment

It was about eight o’clock when I stumbled into the coffee shop on my way home. I wanted a drink and about a half an hour to work with fewer distractions than I knew I’d find at home. Sitting down with my drink, I walked by a booth with four people, all of whom were wearing costumes, some more extravagant than others. The one that stood out most was Batman. The guy had really gone all out.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled that the newest Batman movie was opening the next day. They were most likely dressed for a midnight showing. I’ve never understood people like that—did they really get more enjoyment out of the movie by wearing ridiculous outfits? And why would they stop in here first? Did they have no shame?

Though I would never do what they were doing, it didn’t stop me from sitting near them for the possible chance to observe them. They weren’t making it very hard to eavesdrop. “Batman” was forcing out a gravelly voice that had the others in uproarious laughter.

It wasn’t long before I grew bored of listening to their prattle and turned my attention back to my own work. I was almost done with my coffee when a man walked up to the counter. I wasn’t paying enough attention to give you a play-by-play of what happened, but it quickly became evident that he was there to rob the place. He waved a gun in the cashier’s face while the man opened the register.

Then the gunman glanced over his shoulder in my direction and nearly started laughing. He’d noticed Batman, and, worse yet, Batman looked to be getting up to confront him.

You fool! I thought. Wearing the costume does not make you a superhero! It’s not like your chest plate is bullet-proof!

As soon as the gunman turned his weapon on the Dark Knight, he sat back down. Apparently it had been enough to make the thief nervous though, as he motioned for Batman to exit the booth. As the man complied, the gunman caught sight of perhaps the reason for Batman’s courage—a gun of his own attached to his suit. The gunman relieved the hero of his weapon and insisted he sit on the floor on the other side of the room.

For good measure, he decided to send the other three over-dressed companions with him. As he turned to watch Batman go, the last one out of the booth—a woman in a green costume of some sort—grabbed him around the waist and slammed him to the ground while at the same time knocking the gun out of his hand. In the next instant, she pulled a gun of her own and held it on the man.

She produced a badge, which she held up for the rest of us to see. Batman came jogging over, holding up an identical badge. In the ensuing business of an arrest made and witness statements gathered, I realized that all four of the costumed patrons were cops. The man had really picked the wrong time and place for his petty heist.

I still wonder if they made it to their movie.

Prompt used: The night won’t save anyone.

A Monday Moment: Avoidance

Monday Moment

“Is this kamphas?” Nathan called.

Penny suppressed a sigh and walked over to where he was kneeling, holding a green plant. “No, remember, I said the leaves are more rounded. Would it help if I gave you some to hold onto, so you could compare it?”

“I doubt it,” he said with a frown. “All you have is dried up, so it wouldn’t look the same. The leaves on what you showed me didn’t look very round. They looked…well, sort of like this.”

“I told you that hunting for kamphas can be tedious, unrewarding work.”

He straightened up and looked at her curiously. “Did I complain?”

“Not yet.”

He nodded then. “I’m bothering you.”

“Not…bothering,” she said. “I just…don’t know why you wanted to come with me at all.”

He smiled. “You don’t understand why someone would want to spend time with you?”

“I don’t understand why you would want to spend time with me in this way,” she said, trying really hard not to blush.

He shrugged and started walking again. She followed him.

“You said you’d have lunch with me today,” he reminded her.

“I know, but—”

“But you ran out of kamphas and needed to procure more as soon as possible. You told me.” His tone led Penny to think that he didn’t believe her.

“I used more than I thought making the Substance K for my final examination, and still didn’t have enough K made, so it was vital that I…what?” He had stopped and was looking at her with an amused expression.

“You’re avoiding me.”

“What? Of course I’m not. I really did need more kamphas.”

“Then why are you so uncomfortable with me coming along?” He held up the basket he’d been carrying the entire time. “You said we’d have lunch; I’m just providing a way to do that and allow you to restock your kamphas supply at the same time.”

She finally softened a bit, feeling badly about how she’d been treating him. “I am hungry, and you know how much I always enjoy the food you bring me. But I didn’t lie about needing more kamphas…maybe about how vital it was that I get some as soon as possible…”

“Then can we stop and eat now? I promise to stay and help until we find as much kamphas as you need after that.”

She took a breath and held it in for a long moment, then exhaled and nodded. He began to lay out the food he’d brought and gestured his invitation for Penny to sit next to him on the blanket he’d hastily stuffed into the basket as soon as he caught wind of the location change for their lunch.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t completely truthful to you,” Penny said, eyeing the food, but unwilling yet to partake. “I…I don’t really know why it’s been so awkward to be around you.”

“I think I do,” he said. After a pause, he put forth his theory. “Ever since I told you about my past, there have been no more barriers between us. I think it scares you.”

“Doesn’t it scare you?” she asked quickly.

“Why would it scare me? You’ve become one of my best friends. I care…very deeply about you.” He looked her directly in the eyes, remembering the connection he’d felt with her right after he’d told her his story. Right before she’d hurried out of the room and spent the next few months deftly avoiding him. “In the interest of complete honesty—”

“Oh, don’t tell me there’s more,” she interrupted.


“Nathan, I don’t know how to handle what you shared with me. I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like to grow up the way that you did! I care about you too, but…well, like you said, it scares me.”

He put his hands on the blanket behind him and leaned back, stretching out his legs. “Why?”

She shook her head. She wasn’t sure how to put into words what she’d been feeling. “I guess I feel like you want me to fill some kind of role for you, something I don’t understand and don’t know that I can possibly do. I guess…I just don’t know what you want from me.”

Prompt used:

A Monday Moment: Mud

Monday Moment

The rain poured hard outside. It had been raining for days, and it never seemed to let up. Darcy was worried about the coming weekend. Not only did her family’s business depend on decent weather to make enough money to sustain it for several months, but she was bringing Sol to his first rendezvous ever, and she wanted it to be fun. Mud was not fun. Mud Faires were almost always a nightmarish week of cold, wet, boring, and messy.

She’d told Sol all about the Faire and how much fun it was. She’d told him about the battles, the music, the food, and even the canoe races. Most of that would still be there even if it rained the whole week, but it just won’t be as fun. Their clothes would be muddy and wet, their shoes would be coated in mud, they’d have to pick their way across straw paths everywhere they wanted to go, and well, they’d have to go out in the rain.

The forecast didn’t call for rain all week, just through the first weekend. Still, the mud would be there, and it would still be perfectly able to ruin things.

Friday afternoon, Darcy piled her bags and bedding by the front door and sat down in the nearest chair. She couldn’t do anything else until Sol came home from work. She stared out the window and just let herself wallow in her frustration and sadness.

She was lost in her thoughts, imagining how disappointed Sol would be, and how he’d never want to go to another rendezvous, when a hand suddenly hit the window. It stayed there, pressed up against the glass, while the rain poured around it.

Darcy’s heart beat faster than she could count as she stared at the hand. Her mind cycled through all the different things that could be happening. Then she realized she knew that hand. It was Sol’s hand. Why was he standing out in the rain with his hand pressed up against the window? Was he hurt? In trouble?

Darcy finally took hold of her senses, jumped out of the chair, and flung the front door open. Sol stood by the window, leaning against it, while he bent over. Darcy worried he was in pain and ran out into the rain.

“Sol!” she cried, grabbing onto his arm. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”

He looked up at her in surprise. “What? Oh, no, it’s just the stupid mud.” He gestured to his foot, which was lifted and crossed over his other leg. The shoe was caked with mud.

“Where did you walk?” Darcy asked, looking around. Her heart was finally starting to slow to a normal pace.

“I was coming over here to see if the downspout was clogged–it didn’t look like much water was coming out of it–and stepped in this soft spot here.”

Darcy looked down at where he was pointing. That was when she saw his shoe half-buried in the mud. She looked down at his foot again and realized that it was his sock that was covered in mud. She couldn’t stop herself from bursting out laughing.

Sol looked at her with narrowed eyes. “You think it’s funny that I’m a huge mess? I won’t even be able to go inside without tracking mud everywhere.”

She shook her head, unable to respond from laughing so hard. Sol shook his own head in response. After taking some deep breaths, Darcy was finally able to respond.

“I don’t care,” she said with a loving grin. “It’s just mud.”

Prompt used:

A Monday Moment: Winter

Monday Moment - Winter

Once, when I was about twelve, I went with my parents to Imphal. I had never been there before, so I didn’t know how cold it was. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the oddity of it being so cold there, when it’s only a few miles east of our island. I couldn’t tell you what the season was at the time we went, but I was always aware of the fact that Imphal received what was considered an average snowfall, when we usually got hardly any.

Anyway, when I went to Imphal with my parents, we stayed with some friends of theirs. They had a boy a few years older than me. He had already gone through some Power training, which I was not old enough for yet. Oh, how mean he was to me. He had little more than the basic training, but in his eyes, it was miles ahead of where I was, not even old enough for the basic.

He would boast about how he could start a fire just by snapping his fingers. Then he would show me. He got in trouble if his parents caught him. He wasn’t supposed to start fire in the house. He even showed me how he could turn on a light with his finger. It didn’t stay lit after he let go, but it was still pretty cool to watch him do it.

Now, with a snap of my fingers, I could freeze his fire. I could make that light explode. With a little more effort, I could freeze his smug smile right there on his face. Of course, it’s been a few years now, and he’s probably not the same arrogant kid he once was. He probably doesn’t even remember me from that visit.

Still, for whatever reason, I would just love the chance to tell him that I’m the one that brought true winter back to Pithea. Imphal’s not so special anymore.

Prompt used: Once, when I was…

A Monday Moment: Footprints

Monday Moment - Footprints

I didn’t know where the footprints would lead, but I followed them anyway. I didn’t call out to the rest of my group, because I didn’t want to alert the boy, if he was indeed on the other end of the footprints. Leaving the fence and walking back the way we’d come, I was too focused on the prints.

Suddenly, I was knocked down from the side.

“Oof! Get off me!” I whispered harshly.

After we’d untangled and backed up, I saw that it was a boy. Maybe THE boy, but I couldn’t tell in the darkness and fog.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I didn’t…I don’t…why are you here?” he asked me. His eyes were wide and he glanced in all directions constantly. He barely looked at me for more than a second at a time.

“We’re looking for someone.” I stayed as still as I could so I wouldn’t frighten him further.


“Well…a boy.”


“I don’t know. Are you lost?”

“No. I’m not lost. I want to be left alone.”

“Are you Dylan?”

He flinched at the name, but answered, “No. That’s not me. You have the wrong person. Maybe there’s some other kid in these woods.”

“Okay. Well, how old are you?”

He finally looked me in the eye, but shut his mouth.

“Okay… Aren’t you too young to be out here alone?”

He shook his head.

“I hate to disagree with you,” I said, shifting my legs so that I could sit on the ground more comfortably, “but I think you are. There’s a curfew in this county, and it’s way past it. If you’re younger than seventeen—and I can tell that you are—you should be home right now.”

He only shook his head and looked away.

“Dylan, why don’t you want to go home?” I asked gently.

“I’m not Dylan!” he insisted, immediately looking around to see if he’d drawn any further attention. “My name is Samuel.”

“Okay, Samuel. Why don’t you want to go home?”

He shrugged. “I just don’t. Why does it matter to you? What are you going to do, make me go home?”

“Well, no. I don’t know where you live, Samuel. But I should probably take you to the police station—”

“No!” He jumped to his feet in one swift movement.

“Wait! I won’t take you to the police station!” I assured him quickly. I didn’t want him to take off running.

“I don’t believe you!” Moonlight filtering through the trees reflected off the tears in his eyes.

“I promise you I won’t. Please, sit back down.”

He looked at me for a few seconds, deciding what to do. Then he slowly sat back on the ground.

“I won’t take you to the police station, and I can’t take you home. But can you do something for me?”

He shrugged.

“Can you show me where you plan to sleep tonight? If I saw that you had a warm, comfortable spot, I might not feel so bad about leaving you out here in the woods.”

The boy looked around us for a bit. “I don’t…I don’t know. I guess I’ll sleep here.”

“No, no, that won’t do.”

Prompt used: You weren’t sure where the footprints would lead, but you followed them anyway.

Sorry about the abrupt ending.

A Monday Moment: Explosion

Monday Moment

The door was slightly open when he reached it, so he slowed his approach. It had been two weeks since he’d last been to the apartment, and he really hoped he hadn’t left it unlocked and open for two weeks. What sort of creatures might have ventured into the warm environment?

As he touched the door handle, he had a thought—why had no one going by seen the open door and decided to close it? That was exactly the kind of community he—

A ball of fire erupted from the doorway as soon as he pulled on the handle. He was sent flying back and landed on the other side of the dirt road.

He heard shouting and running. The building was on fire! It would spread to the other buildings if they didn’t put it out. He tried to get up to help. He felt a pair of hands on him, keeping him down.

He tried to speak—to insist that he be allowed up.

“You need to stay still,” the familiar voice of one of his neighbors said.

As he lay there, unable to move or speak, and not able to narrow down where the pain was actually originating, he saw a man. The man was not running around or shouting like those around him. He was staring at Nathan. He looked angry.

“There, that man, someone needs to apprehend him,” Nathan attempted to say. He only managed to cough, which sent new waves of pain through his body.

“Nathan, stop moving,” his neighbor instructed. “A medic is on the way.”

When Nathan looked again, the man was walking away. He noted the insignia on the man’s sleeve—the mark of Grouca. The king would not be pleased.

Prompt used: Your house explodes just as you were about to enter the door.

A Monday Moment: Creature

Monday Moment - Creature

When they came across the body, they approached it cautiously. Nathan’s mind raced with possible causes for the man’s death. Rustling in the bushes nearby only heightened his apprehension. Inuk knelt down next to the body while Nathan kept an eye on the bushes.

“This does not look like the marks of any animals from the island,” Inuk said in his native tongue.

Responding in the same language, which Nathan had mostly picked up over the time he’d been there, he said, “Does it look like it was done with a…” Nathan couldn’t think of the word he needed. He held up his dagger.

Inuk shook his head. “It looks animal. Just not an animal I’m familiar with.”

Nathan relaxed a little. That actually made him feel a little better.

He gestured toward the bush, and Inuk nodded his understanding. Nathan walked forward slowly and noiselessly. When he reached the edge of the brush from which he’d heard the movement, he used his free hand to slowly push aside the foliage.

There, close to the ground, was a large, shiny, green dome. He couldn’t tell what he was seeing at first. He tried to move more greenery aside to see the edges of the dome.

Then he saw two yellow eyes looking back at him. It startled him enough that he dropped the foliage he was holding back and quickly backed out of the bushes.

“What is it?” Inuk asked.

Before Nathan could respond, a large creature charged out of the bush. Nathan jumped backward and almost tripped over the creature’s previous victim.

Inuk unsheathed his sword and swung it at the unfamiliar animal. It glanced off the shell that protected it. The creature lowered its head, which was sticking out of the shell, and rushed at Inuk.

Nathan could see legs under the shell, and knew that the creature must be vulnerable under that dome. He lunged forward with his dagger and caught the creature in one of its hind legs. It continued forward and knocked Inuk down.

Still, it was clearly wounded, and turned its attention to Nathan. He noted its sharp beak and knew that he should avoid that. He held his dagger out in front of him and was glad to realize that the animal wasn’t moving toward him as quickly as it had Inuk. He must have injured it enough to slow it down.

While he tried to decide his next course of action, he watched Inuk get up off the ground and jump on the back of the creature. It fell to the ground and pulled its head inside its shell. Thinking fast, Nathan thrust his dagger into the hole that the head had gone into. He felt it connect, and felt a sticky substance on his hand.

Pulling it back out, he saw blood and other unidentifiable substances. The animal didn’t move.

Inuk stayed on top of the shell for a moment until they agreed that it was probably safe.

“I don’t understand what this is,” Nathan said. “It looks like a…” In his normal language, he finished with, “turtle.”

“Tur-tle?” Inuk questioned.

Nathan nodded. He knew it wasn’t an animal that lived on this island, so it made sense that the man wouldn’t have heard of one before.

“They live in Pithea,” Nathan explained. “But they’re normally this big.” He put his hands together to indicate something of less than a foot in length.

They took both the man’s and the animal’s body back to the village and gave the man a proper ceremony. By the next time Brian and Winnie visited Nathan at the village, two more of these giant turtles had been spotted around the village. One had been killed, while the other had eluded the hunters.

“Winnie, Brian, I’m so glad to see you!” Nathan greeted them when they arrived. After hugging them both, Nathan grew solemn.

“Is something wrong?” Winnie asked.

“Silla was killed last week,” Nathan explained.

“How?” Brian asked.

“He was killed by some kind of giant turtle,” Nathan said.

“A turtle?” Winnie asked with a look that said she didn’t believe him.

“Yes, basically. We’ve already buried the bodies of the two we encountered so far, but trust me. They’re just like turtles, but bigger, and they seem to be invading the island. They’re huge and aggressive.”

“This is not good,” Brian said.

“That’s an understatement. It’s not like the villagers here can’t handle a predator, but this is much more dangerous than what they’re used to dealing with.”

Winnie watched Brian carefully. “You know something, don’t you?”

“Maybe. I have heard about a Madness run on the island not far from here. It’s uninhabited, at least by humans, and our union does check it now and then. But they found evidence that the Madness had cropped up there and sent some people to deal with it. There have been rumors that there is more than just a normal outbreak. But I never thought about the possibility of whatever is going on there spreading here.”

“Well, apparently it has,” Nathan said.

Prompt used: A scientist created a new animal today.