Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prompt: a clock, a match, a vintage post card, a packing crate (Use at least 3 of these)

I was curled up in my favorite reading chair, with one of Sarah’s hidden-stash romance novels, when the grandfather clock struck five. I heard it, but I didn’t pay attention. No one was home, and I didn’t have to worry until the mantel clock struck the half hour. Mom and her clocks. Since her arthritis had gotten so bad, I was in charge of winding them now. I did kind of love the old things. But honestly. A real cuckoo clock? My friends thought it was weird to have all the chiming go off every hour. I didn’t really notice unless I needed to.

Mom didn’t like me reading racy stuff like the stolen gem I held in my hands. She said I’d get wrong ideas about what love—and sex—were really like. I rolled my eyes, picturing her dismay over this bodice-ripper. But honestly, the horror stuff she read was far, far worse. Lately, she couldn’t hold a book or turn pages very easily, so she listened to audio books. Without earplugs. She hated them. I hated the books. I spent a lot of nights with my pillow over my head, trying to get to sleep while her pain kept her up late.

The mantel clock chimed. Half an hour gone already? I pulled my bookmark from the back of the book and slid it in place. I barely glanced at the photo – a cheesy sepia-toned Niagara Falls. Sarah’s passion for photography had started young, and she collected these corny vintage post cards everywhere we went over the years. Now she was in college, but I still found them floating around from time to time.

I heard a scuffle at the door and thought it was Mom, so I ran over to help her in. I swung the door open wide and froze. There was no one there. I leaned out and looked left, then right. No one in sight. Some kids playing hoops at the corner house, five doors down. No way one of them could have gotten from here to there that fast.

I looked down at the packing crate sitting on the door mat. It must be for Mom. She was always ordering things from late-night infomercials.

“Ruth Maribel Stemson,” I read on the shipping label. For me? I eyed the box dubiously and pushed at it with my toe. It didn’t budge. How was I going to get it inside? I leaned down to pull on it and got a closer look at the label.


Dangerous? I straightened and stepped back. Who sent this? What was going on?

I laughed. Mom or Sarah had to be playing a trick on me. “Good one!” I called, looking around for them to appear. 

The box shook.

Dogs in house

Time writing
~25 minutes, interrupted


  1. Prompt: a clock, a match, a vintage post card, a packing crate (Use at least 3 of these)

    It was cold, and dark, and my imagination was inventing all sorts of things creeping about the warehouse around me. I readjusted my injured foot, leaned back against the packing crate behind me, and searched for calm. I had two matches left. The last one’s flare had illuminated a clock showing a bare two minutes had gone by since Katie and her friend had left.

    _Just wait here_ Katie had said. _We’ll find out what’s going on and be back soon_

    I should have insisted on coming, even with my limp. Together, we could have found our way out of this maze of supposedly defunct warehouses and back to what masqueraded as civilisation. As it was, we were separated and ready to picked off one-by-one like used to happen in horror movies back when people made movies.

    Time writing: 10 minutes

    1. Fantastic! Calling out the cliche *in the cliche* and giving it a setting is *awesome*!