I was in a Zoom workshop recently led by flash fiction expert Meg Pokrass. One of the writing prompts she offered was, “They said it only came out at night.”
Here’s an edited. version of what I came up with:
I know better
They say it only comes out at night. I know better. I sense it in the morning at the foot of my bed when I arise. I see it in the shower, when lavender body wash lathers freely until there it is, like a dark blob on the corner of a wedding invitation signaling the pair will never last. I feel its sting when my fingers close around my car keys. I hear it when I blot out everything that is 2020 with a soap opera that goes on and on, episode after episode. Not even a bowl of tomato soup can tear me away from the trials of actors with fake traumas, until there it is, again, this time cackling through the TV, knowing it can grab me at any time. It takes each and every one of us eventually. Shapeshifter of chaos. Why do they say it only comes out at night? It purrs in my lap right now while the sun blazes through the window. It tempts me to scratch its soft fur, so I’ll be taken, sucked away. I know better.
I have to admit I’m not sure what the story means. I just went with what the prompt brought up. It is a fun way to generate stories, though. And this one seemed fitting for October when neighbors have brought out their giant spider webs, tombstones, ghosts, witches and other Halloween decorations to fascinate youngsters whose parents are figuring out whether there’s a safe way to trick or treat this year.
What do you think? Do you like to use writing prompts to generate stories?