Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Promo- From the Lair of the Ambulatory Mollusc

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it!  For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Heap

Sunday Promo- From the Lair of the Ambulatory Mollusc

J.M. Anjewierden

Penny Dreadful and the Clockwork Copper

Viva-3 was built to discover secrets. But they made her too well. She’s the perfect spy: the lethality and persistence of the police clockworks in a body that can pass as human. What the Empire’s police don’t know is that she doesn’t have to obey their orders or her programming. She can think and decide for herself. And she’s doomed if they find out.

Viva is sent undercover with orders to unmask the city’s vigilante hero, Penny Dreadful. She is supposed to stop his one-man war against the criminals of Monte-Ostrum. It will be dangerous, but just maybe Dreadful will be more useful as an ally rather than an enemy…

J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Tally Master

Seven years ago, reeling from a curse in the wake of battle, Gael sought sanctuary and found it in a most perilous place.

The citadel of a troll warlord – haunt of the desperate and violent – proves a harsh refuge for a civilized mage. But Gael wields power enough to create an oasis of order amidst the chaos.

Now master of the metals that flow to the citadel’s weapon forges, Gael rules his tally room unchallenged, until he discovers a theft within its vaults.

Gael loves the quiet certainty of black ink tally marks on smooth parchment, but his search for the thief leads to a maze of unexpected answers, putting his hard-won sanctuary – and his life – at risk.

52 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Promo- From the Lair of the Ambulatory Mollusc

  1. I saw the red lights flashing in my mirror. I pulled over. And waited. With my driver’s license in my left hand and both hands on the wheel. The sheriff came to my window, and suddenly I was in a movie. “You in a heap o’ trouble, boy”, he said. Or “Dukes of Hazard”.

  2. Sam woke up abruptly. He could still hear the whispers that pierced his dreams. Benjamin! He packed his snares and fishing poles, tightened the shutters and doors to keep out the wolverines, and bounded into the forest – his breath quick and silent as he leapt from shadow to shadow.

  3. He crouched done and picked up one of the blankets heaped on the floor and peered under it.
    “Look, I know that you don’t like the cold winter mornings, but I am sure there’s better ways to keep warm then burrowing in blankets on the floor.”
    A muffled voice responded. “Stop talking, you’re letting the cold in.”

    1. Adam smiled, and padded off to the kitchen. Ten minutes later, he thumped the heavy thermos full of hot chocolate on the bedside table, and scooped up the full bundle off the floor.

      She shrieked and flailed as he dumped her on the bed and dove in after her, pulling the tangle over both of them and trapping her in the warm, woman and laundry-scented dark. “Sharing body heat is a better way, wouldn’t you say?”

      She giggled, and stuck icy hands under his shirt.

      1. I like the way you think. 😀
        I also like the way I left it rather “generalized” as to who or what is under the blankets. 🙂

        1. Indeed. If I can find the coffee, I may yet come up with an alternate as to who or what is under the sheets. First, I have to find the mug, because I need what holds the coffee before I can drink the coffee…

            1. Not today. Today I actually went to the boss and said “I’m too tired to work safely; I keep making stupid errors. I’m going home before we have to spend more time catching and fixing stupid errors than we got progress from the work I’m doing.”

              And then I drove home at five under the speed limit, because my reaction time wasn’t up to the speed limit. And took a nap. Because some days… some days I have to quit while I’m behind.

              1. I have not always managed to make it stick, my hard limit of ten hours a day. And every time, I spend more time the next day fixing my errors than it would have taken to do the work that I got done then.

    2. Well, duh. You want a bed. The air actually helps.

      Unless this is a floor that’s already off the ground.

        1. Wooden floors are generally not actually on the earth, and therefore function as beds.

          I still remember sitting there as a woman was reading her story about an injured person lying on the ground, in a sheltered nook during snowy weather, and how tenderly and carefully her companion made sure she had blankets on top of her. . . . several times, making me wince each one.

  4. “Heap of white ashes. A strange name for a tribe.”

    “This is not Madrid, my friend. It is an idiom.”

    “For what?”

    “They are hot coals beneath well burned ash. Miguel thought to cheat them. It took him three days to die.”

    “I’ll not stir the ashes.”

    “Ah. You understand.”

  5. He looked at the assortment of containers. There were baskets – a bushel and a peck, at least – and a barrel, and a pile of something.

    He turned to the girl. “Okay, what am I looking at?”

    She giggled and wound her arms around his neck. “Silly, it shows how much I love you!”

  6. “This is the heart of our space program. Without the right spells, the gate is inactive, insubstantial, and invisible. But it still emits esoteric particles. We make a pile of various chemicals in powder form. There are reactions. Then we separate out feedstocks for various materials. Boom. We have spaceflight.”

  7. “Break,” shouted the producer. “Okay boys, take five.”

    “Look, Elvis, this song isn’t quite working. Something about the lyric just isn’t right.”

    “I know what you mean, Boss,” replied the King. “I just can’t get the feeling of being ‘a heap, a heap of burning love.’ Maybe try ‘a hunk’?”

  8. Jo stood wide eyed, illumined by flashing red lights and deafened by klaxons. Dr. Hasley-Azikiwe had assured her technology was a social construct, but expertise in critical theory wasn’t helping decipher these controls. Jo frantically scanned the empty room. Smoke curled upwards. I’m in a heap of trouble, she thought.

    1. Idly mentioning that there have been four heaps of trouble inspired by this prompt — thus far!

  9. Red and blue lights flashed across my viewport. A warbling tone emanated from the external comm. I ceased acceleration. A short time later, a Patrol cruiser matched course and speed. The tone stopped, replaced by the curious flat intonations of a universal translator. “You in a heap o’ trouble, boy.”

  10. Uriah was in a heap of trouble. It didn’t help that he had the same name as an unsavory Dickens character, or the guy in the Bible that David sent off to be killed to marry his wife. People seemed to think he was going to live up to his name, one way or another.

  11. “How many lies do you think you can heap up?” Carrigiana’s voice, at least, was calm enough to be clear. “Trying to trick me to admitting to some weakness? The reason why I cast the spell was that only I was strong enough, wise enough, clever enough, to do it.”

  12. Someone cleared his throat. A wizened little nut-brown man, half her height, thin and wiry, with a long white beard that had to be three times her height, and wearing only a loin cloth, and holding an iron bar as long as his beard.
    “You’ve heard the tale. Whom do you think could do that?”
    “Heaps of people,” said a human looking young man, gloomily.

  13. How many skulls does it take to make a heap? With so few survivors, I’m not really sure it matters any more. I guess the question should really be, how many heaps does it take to make a city? And how long will it take to pile them all up?

  14. “That kid’s in a heap of trouble.” stated Officer Green flatly.
    “And yet we’re not pulling him over, Brian?”
    “Oh no. He’s driving as safely as he can, even would without us watching.”
    “So… the trouble?”
    “His old man notes the odometer on that heap, pardon, ‘classic’, and…”
    “I see.

  15. Now it’s time to say goodbye
    To Luke and all his friends,
    And we would like to thank you folks
    For kindly stopping in.

    You’re all invited back next week
    To this locality,
    For another heaping helping of
    Vignettes and repartee.

    Read. Write your own.
    Y’all come back now, hear?

  16. “We’re in a heap of trouble,” the voice over the com said.
    “What now?” the captain asked, the muscle under his right eye beginning to twitch.
    “There’s honey on deck 5.”
    “So? Why is that a problem?”
    “It’s coming out of the control panels.”

  17. Who writes such titles? Fourth Estate, Fifth Column is more like it …

    Our Treasonous Media Is a Clear and Present Danger
    By Some Libertarian Chick
    My dad, in teaching me Portuguese history, used to repeat an aphorism, “A weak king makes a strong people weak.” This often ran to my head during the ill-fated reign of Barry the Smug.

    But we’re not, thank heavens, an absolute monarchy, which is where that saying originated. Our danger comes from another area. Weak presidents, mentally slow representatives, and various functionaries who are not so much incompetent as on the other side — all of them pale before the risk our media presents.

    I’m fifty-five. In several countries and at several times, I’ve been present at events that were newsworthy. I can say as Heinlein did at a little older than I, that I’ve never been present at an event that the media reported accurately. More interestingly, I’ve been present at many events that you’d think – and were – newsworthy but that were never reported at all.

    I’m also not precisely stupid.

    BTW: “‘Everyone says it’ so it must be true.” …

    There are only four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.
    The world is flat.
    Disease is cause by bad air and that Pasteur chap is a real nutter.
    No colony has ever broken from the parent stem in the history of the world.
    You’re the top!… you’re Mussolini
    Rockets won’t work in space because there’s nothing for their engines to push against.
    And, especially for the atheists out there: For G-d so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    I could pound that meme into the dirt but I should leave space for others’ contributions.

    1. Earth, Air, Fire and Water

      On the other hand, this division corresponds reasonably well to the four basic states of matter: Solid, Gas, Plasma, Liquid

      … which I have arranged to correspond the the elements as you’ve listed, but are out of order! *hem* Anyway….

  18. It was her second day at work at the used bookstore, and it had taken the boss that long to get around to his number one obsession.
    “There are stacks of books. Nothing but stacks. If the books are not in stacks, they are waiting for you to stack them into… stacks.”
    “No piles?” she stupidly asked.
    “Stacks.” His voice was much tenser that it usually was.
    Well, in for a penny…”Heaps?”
    She suddenly read in his face the reason so many people went to work here and then soon quit.

  19. 50 on the nose.

    “Charley! Time to empty the bucket!”

    “But Mom, can’t Sharon do it? I’m busy here.”

    “Charles Robert Jones, you take out the bucket right now.”

    Grumbling under his breath, Charles grabbed the bucket handle and trudged down to the lower garden to dump the next load of organics for composting.

  20. The heap of whatever-it-was landed in her bowl with an audible “splat.” The young woman knew better than to ask for anything other than what the innkeeper made that day, but she didn’t care. Walking away from a wolf attack had stirred her appetite. She ate every speck of food.

  21. A final, flapping book fell on the immense pile, sliding down the side to come to rest at her feet.
    “I guess…there is a reason casting’s not allowed in the library.”
    “You think?” her familiar asked from under the table. He was licking his hands clean nervously.
    “It’s okay, I can fix this.” She hesitantly raised her wand.
    “No, Imogen,” the little rodent called from under the table, “Don’t make it worse!”

  22. “Son, it’s going to take some serious ducats to get this heap flying again. You’re better off buying a new one. The frame is bent, the control surfaces are rusted all to Hell, and there isn’t enough cavorite left in the engine to float a teacup, let alone a sled.”

Comments are closed.