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.

A Monday Moment: Foreboding

Monday Moment - Foreboding

Todd grasped his wife’s upper arms. “You must take the magistrate’s fastest horse and warn everyone in and around the village that they need to escape before it’s too late.”

Tears streamed down Rachel’s face. “Would it not be wiser to ride straight to Northbay and ask them to send an army?”

“You know we don’t have time for that. We’ve all heard the tales—once Antios’s men show up outside the village, it’s only a matter of time before Antios himself arrives and destroys the village. Our town only has hours left. If we can warn enough people, maybe someone will survive to tell our story too.”

She nodded and took a deep breath. “I will warn who I can.” Then she pulled her husband into a quick embrace.

“We’ll keep Antios’s men engaged as long as we can to allow those escaping to get away. As soon as you have sounded sufficient alarm, make for the nearest town.”

She pulled back and looked him in the eye. “I won’t leave without you.” Her jaw was set and eyes unwavering.

“Rachel, my love, you know that those of us staying to fight will leave before Antios arrives if we can. We must stay as long as we can, to give the rest of you a chance. But listen to me—if I do not make it, it would be better for Laura and Joshua to lose one parent, and for Shanna to lose one grandparent, than two. They will need you.”

Prompt used: After a powerful enemy destroys 2 major cities, they arrive at your main character’s city

A Monday Moment: Favor

“So, can you do me a favor?”

“A favor?” he scoffed. “You must be joking!”

I stared at him, trying so hard to keep my face as stoic as possible.

“Don’t think of it as a favor for me then. Think of it as a favor for your homeland. For your friends and family there. For you, even.” I could see his jaw jumping as he clenched and unclenched it over and over. He was angry. He had every right to be. Still, he had come to see me.

“If this has anything to do with Linus, you can save your breath. He’s not getting out any time soon. And neither are you.”

“I don’t want him to get out. I don’t care if I’m released either. But he can still do a lot from prison.”

“Not from prison in Pithea,” he countered.

“You don’t think so? Do you know anything about the operation he was running back home? About the operation he was running here?”

For as cold as he had been, his tone turned to ice when he replied, “I think I know enough.”

I lowered my gaze for a moment. I would have apologized for my part in all this, but I was pretty sure it wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I’m only saying that Linus is very connected, very smart, and very determined. I wanted him caught here in Pithea, but the truth is—”

“Wait, what?”

I looked back up at him to see narrowed eyes.

“You wanted him caught? Don’t you work for him? And you got yourself arrested too.”

“I’m well aware of that, thank you. But if you haven’t noticed, they don’t have much in the way of charges against me. My guess is the worst they’ll do is keep me here for a bit, and then send me back. I can’t go back—not after getting Linus thrown in jail.”

“I’m supposed to feel bad that they’ll hate you back home after what you’ve done?”

“They won’t just hate me.” I searched his face for the slightest hint of the compassion or kindness I once knew. “They’ll kill me.”

Prompt used: favor

A Monday Moment: Mistaken Identity

Natos had specifically chosen to spend that day alone, not wanting to get caught up in his brother’s chaos for once. He figured Jaffna would be safe, because he’d heard Acronis discuss heading to Taellyn with some of the others. As soon as he heard the giggle right behind him, he knew he should have gone to Qulu instead. His brother and the others would never bother with that remote location.

Despite hearing her coming, he wasn’t expecting the arms to wrap around his body from behind. He let out a startled yelp and pulled away, turning around quickly.

“Inanna!” he said with a gasp.

“Oh!” Her face turned bright red and she covered her cheeks with her hands. “I thought you were Acronis!”

“I gathered,” he muttered.

“I’m so sorry!”

“Right…well, it’s not a big deal.”

“Maybe not for you,” she said breathlessly. “You’re…Natos, right?”

He refrained from rolling his eyes as he nodded his head. It wasn’t that he minded that this rather attractive young woman preferred his brother to him. But despite how little he cared to hang out with his Acronis and the others, he had been around a lot when Acronis was in Jaffna and spent time with Inanna. Was it that hard to remember his name?

“Is Acronis here too?” she asked, looking around the area.

“I don’t think so. I heard them talking about going to Taellyn today.”

She stuck her bottom lip out. “What’s in Taellyn? Who is in Taellyn?”

Natos only shrugged. He couldn’t tell her what he was thinking. I couldn’t even begin to care. Why on earth do you want anything to do with my brother or those others that he spends all of his time with? What must be wrong with you that this is the kind of attention you want?

The truth was, he had always seen signs that Inanna’s family was not much better than his own. He felt bad for the girl, but on the other hand, at least her life was better than his. At least she wouldn’t be expected to become a mercenary and assassin, living in the shadows for the rest of her life, never having the chance to have real connections with others. He could only hope that she didn’t waste her freedom—that she would outgrow this fascination with his brothers and find some better friends.

Prompt used: What if your character was mistaken for someone else?