“A short story is a shard, a sliver, a vignette. It’s a biopsy on the human condition but it doesn’t have [the] capacity to think autonomously for itself.” ~Will Self

Life is a distraction mine-field and often we delay the art we’d oft create because we lack the “ideal writing conditions.”


Jump Rope, by Kathleen Rashid

It is a fiction, not far different from the stories created thus, that writers only write in petite, woodsy cabins inhabited by suspiciously attractive, non-bilingual, Portuguese women. No, no we’re far too poor for that — so we write to the dulcet tones of screaming children, to the falsetto of a ringing telephone, to the hum of the espresso machine. It is in these distractions that we find the rhythm, the music, to churn our stories out.

As it so happens, tonight was a distraction for both writers. However, the stories crafted herein explore more thoughtful territory than either writer has a right to expect.


White Hair Harlequin by thienbao (Deviant Art)

In murder., Jacob utilized the prompts: 1. Murder, 2. A Harlequin Mask,
3. Ice Cream to scratch the long-gestating itch to write a creepy, gothic narrative. The result is a playful dreamscape following the stream-of-conscious observation of a woma
n placed in an all-too-remarkable situation. Utilizing elements of first & second person perspective, the story draws you into the world while remaining comfortably vague until the very end.

Conversely, ZB took off with the prompts: 1. A Dried Cheeseburger, 2. A pack of cards, 3. “Sting!” to create an absolutely stunning end-of-innocence narrative. Some stories are best told from a far-off vantage. Unlike murder.One, Two, Three, Four focuses on the street-level action from the perspective of a man on his high-story balcony. Cutting through the potential for melodrama, ZB hones in on the honesty of inner-city living for young girls. A truly remarkable piece of flash fiction, even if one prompt was more inspiration than practical application.

Happy reading! Oh, and remember — if you have your own story inspired by these prompts, submit it to us! We’d love to feature it here on (H)our Stories!


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