The Hidden Room

This was another microfiction challenge, to do exposition only. I ended up with this odd little piece that I desperately want to use as the prologue to a novel or novella about this hidden room. It calls to me, and maybe someday I will get back to it, but for now… Also Welcome to Camp NanoWriMo. Make sure to set your goals today!

Dust particles danced in the fine stream of light the thick curtains allowed into the room. In the din, only the rough shape of the books on their shelves could be seen, the door still firmly locked against the manor’s occupants.

It had been six years since that door had been opened, six years since the fire had been lit, six years since people had stepped foot in the room, six years since Clara had passed, and six years since the grief had overcome John, making him declare this space, Clara’s beloved library, off limits.

It would be six more years before a boy, too curious for his own good, would find the key, secreted away in a hidden compartment of an old desk, and everything would change.

Apparently I have some sort of obsession with hidden rooms…

Over in a Flash

Hello, this week on The Writer’s Mess Weekly Friday Picture Prompt Challenge, I decided to take a stunningly lovely picture of a canyon and twist it into something dark and sad.  Follow Evan, an inexperienced hiker who took a weekend trip without knowing all the fact, and learns that water in the dessert is both a blessing and a curse.

Evan looked up at the smooth rock walls of the canyon, the blue gray of the storm building above, and thought it was a pretty nice place to die.

He didn’t want to die, but he was practical and knew he chances of getting rescued were low at this point.  He had been trapped in this canyon for four days, after being flushed in during a flash flood.  At the time he had considered himself lucky for not having drowned, after all, he had found the bodies of the three of other guys he went hiking with already.

The food and water from their packs had kept him going, and he thought that he could make it to a spot where he could climb out before his rations were gone, or he would be found.

Hope ran out about three hours after the water had, but he knew he still had at least another day before he died of dehydration.

Then the thunder started.

At first he thought it was a chopper, but as it grew louder, and the sky grew darker, he realized it wouldn’t be the dehydration that killed him.

He had barely managed to stay afloat the first time, in the best shape of his life.  Now, four days later he was tired, starving, and thirsty.  He wouldn’t have the strength to keep his head above water, and as the first drop of rain hit his cracked tongue, he knew that this was God being merciful.

The Course

Read about Ty, who is waiting for his turn to run: The Course, the definitive athletic event of the school year, and the results of which determine everything after. This one was for the Friday Weekly Picture Prompt on The Writer’s Mess, and is inspired by the picture prompt below, and my own personal loathing of Track and Field day in elementary, where I acquired purple participation ribbons like they were going out of style…

Ty hated gym on a good day, but on a course day, he loathed it.

He was near the front of the line, only five people ahead of him. Hopefully the class would be so focused on watching them, that when he started struggling they wouldn’t even notice.

After all, the course was all about being the best, and no one waste energy on watching someone who was slow. His parents certainly wouldn’t, not after his older brother Jo set a course record last year.

He could hear the heavy breathing of his classmates, revving up in excitement, this was it, do or die, for those who wanted to join the fleet.

The course was THE evaluation, and while only the top tier were eligible for the coveted pilot portions, you needed a minimum score to get into space at all.

It was a score beyond Ty’s abilities, and honestly, he was good with that. He always wanted to be an artist, but he knew he parents had loftier ambitions for him and his siblings.

Six out of seven would have to be enough for them though, because he would be lucky to finish the course, he hadn’t the last two years he ran it.

He only had three shots left, one each year on course day, and then the graduation run. Ty saw a lot of family practices in his future.

He took a breath to rally himself, time to go out and fail…spectacularly


I am a bit behind this week, so this one is pulling double duty as a response to the invisible ink challenge of “Write a story about visiting a planet.”, and the Weekly Friday Picture prompt from The Writer’s Mess on the image below. Join Maggie as she steps onto a new world, and sees something amazing and unexpected.

Maggie stepped out of the ship, and froze. This was not the desolate rock she had been briefed on.

Fog drifted over a lush forest, as the sun rose in the distance, and that was the least magnificent part of it. She didn’t know if what she was seeing was towers, or statues, but they were huge, red and white, shaped like dolphins leaping out of the fog, only ripple in the air like they were fluid.

Before she could say anything, radio in, they began to move. At first it was a slow thing, so slow she wasn’t sure it was happening, and then it got faster, a spinning, and then a lifting, and she wondered if they were ships, taking off.

It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, as great fins broke free of the fog, propelling them though the air, leaving a great blue rippling wake that reminded her of the northern lights.

When they finally faded from sight, she closed her eyes, her eyelids like sandpaper, and when she opened them, it was all gone.

Not just the ships, but the sun, the fog, the forest, everything, like it was never there, but every part of her knew that it had been there, it had been real.

Even after the ships medic told her it was probably just a hallucination from oxygen deprivation, a missed pinhole in her suit. She knew though, it had been real, and she would never forget it.