Thursday, December 5, 2013

Prompt: Forest in the Attic

Thanks to Hoang Pham for permission to use his beautiful image, “Forest in the Attic”!

Sarah sat on her bed and watched the frogs. Behind her pillows, bright green tree frogs nestled on blooming iris. They were her favorites. Dad used to say he’d take her hiking in California, but he never did. Past the edge of her old blanket covering the bed, pink water lilies and big leaf pads floated. A big, fat green frog rested on a leaf, half submerged.

The song she liked faded away on the tinny old radio, and she rolled the knob back and forth, trying to pick up the signal again. Suddenly, the green frog leaped from his lily pad and disappeared with a splash into the water. She leaned over and watched him swim to the bottom and hide under the rocks around her bed.

Her bother’s footsteps sounded up the stairs, step, step, bounce, step, step, bounce. He was obsessed with basketball, claiming to anyone who would listen that he was going to join the Harlem Globetrotters when he grew up.

She heard the swish of the ball through the air and reached up to catch it without looking. She tossed it into the armchair between her bed and the door.

“Aww,” Michael whined. He wouldn’t come in the room. “Sis, throw it back!”

She ignored him, lying back on her bed and turning the page on the book she had previously abandoned in favor of the frogs.

“Sarah! Give it back! Or I’m telling Mom,” his tone grew sly. “You know she won’t like all this water up here.

Sarah snapped her book shut, sliding it under the blanket, and sat up, glaring at her brother. She’d worked hard on the attic room, since their Mom said she could move up there this summer. Mom’s knees were too bad for her to hike up the stairs, so Sarah had the room to herself, except for Michael’s occasional forays.

“What do you want, Michael,” She said flatly.

He put his hands on his hips. “My ball, for one.”

Sarah pointed her finger at the ball and twirled it around. The ball rose up in the air, spinning slowly. She flicked her fingers toward Michael, and it shot straight at his face. He caught it with both hands and tossed it down the stairs without looking.

“What did you come up here for?” She shook her head. Little brothers were so annoying. Mom would probably notice if she turned him into a dog or something, though.

He looked around the room and turned his head to look down the stairs. “Forget it. I want you to teach me something.”

“Teach you what?”

“I dunno. Anything. Like you did with the ball. That would be cool!”

Sarah sighed loudly. Once Michael had an idea, he really was like a bull terrier about it. He wouldn’t quit threatening her with a Mom intervention if she didn’t give him something. She needed something simple. A frog croaked from under the window. She smiled as an idea came to her.

“That’s too hard. It took me a long time. Okay, I’ll teach you something, but you have to come in here.”

Dogs in house

My upbeat walk mix

Time writing
20 minutes

December word count


  1. Prompt: Forest in the Attic

    The house was made of wood, which was disturbing, but I had known the humans used the material a lot. Raina had probably not even thought of the impact on me. I touched a hand surreptitiously to a banister, probing, and got two welcome surprises: the wood was all from natural tree-falls, and I was not the first dryad to have come here.

    I slid my hand along the banister as I followed Raina up, hoping to sense more from the friendly house about my predecessor. But the old wood held little more than memories of its life and the barest hints of what had come since.

    Raina stopped before a door at the top of the stairs. “I hope you like it.” She pushed the door open.

    It was bright in the attic, and the first thing I noticed was that the windows looked directly out over the forest I was here to save. But then my eyes took in the forest inside the attic itself: Raina had covered the room in ferns and other plants of my homeland. The floor shone like water, polished smooth and strewn with lilypad-shaped rungs.

    “Oh, sorry!” Raina laughed a little, almost as if hiding a strange uncomfortableness. She dashed across the room and hugged a basketball to her chest. “Frankie’s stuff gets around.”

    I nodded absently, still taking in the room and the amazing effort Raina must have gone through to make it pleasant for me. I turned back to see her troubled eyes. I had come for the forest, but I now remembered Dyella’s words about Raina: _She may need us, too_. I wondered when I would get to meet her son.

    Time writing: ~20min

    1. Love it! Great touch with the dryad and the natural tree-fall :)
      Great description of the room and nice interpretation from the painting. A*lot* going on in the last paragraph. If you were to continue, I'd suggest spreading that out. As it is, it all sounds intriguing!

  2. Interesting world. The magic slides in quite smoothly.