Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Sunday 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: Caring.

38 thoughts on “Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. The small crowd had gathered around him. He sat there on his haunches watching them gather. He sighed deeply and stood erect, creaking and groaning as his joints complained. Why did he have to start caring again after all this time?

  2. Listening to the chattering of an excited ten year old gearing up to see a tribute band concert on Saturday, talking about his favorite classic rock bands makes me smile. Caring about your children isn’t about taking elaborate excursions. It’s in daily interactions and the tiniest of moments as you listen to him drum along to Journey.

  3. “Care what humans think” said the Dragon to the defeated knight. “Dragons don’t care about humans until somebody like you makes us care and you won’t like that”.

    1. ::I thought of better wording::

      “Dragons don’t care one way or the other about Humans” the Dragon said to the defeated knight. “That is, we don’t care until somebody like you makes us care and Humans won’t like that.”

  4. “Sound the alarm in Care-A-Lot! All Care Bears on duty! The Caring Meter has dropped to an all-time low!”

    “No need to panic.”

    “But what could have caused this?”

    “There’s a simple explanation. Hillary Clinton put out another book.”

    “Oh. Never mind. Carry on then.”

  5. As he reluctantly opened the adult diaper he began to carefully wipe away the detritus of the afternoon, ruefully considering that, no matter what his guidance counselor’s scientifically designed and calibrated tests claimed, he had no choice but to profess that he did not much care for the caring professions.

  6. A’mwree turned to Mirren and said ‘He’s lost a lot of blood, but I think we can save him.’ Mirran looked worriedly down at Rowr, who was whimpering gently. ‘Please try your best,’ he said, ‘he saved my life with that warning. Can you do something first for his pain?’

  7. Afterwards, late at night, Owen could never quite forget, or stop caring, that if he had not argued, it would not have happened that way. All the enchantments in the world could not have forced things down that path if he had not offered to let Jack grab the talisman.

  8. From the grumbles about them, half the people didn’t care who it was, or what powers it entailed. Traya still burbled with excitement, as if she didn’t realize that whoever it was could have been hurt or killed, there could have been injuries, or that Liliya might know these people.

  9. Ca-zoom!
    Bill and Suzy ducked lower behind the display pillar out in front of city hall as the bullets zipped, cracked and ricocheted off the masonry.
    “Stay Down!” shouted Suzy, popping her empty magazine and inserting a full one. “All we have to do is hold out until my friends get here!”
    Suzy reached up and fired blindly past the old town bell on the pedestal. They were mostly safe behind the heavy concrete, but if anyone thought to flank them, they were toast.
    Ca-Zwong! Ca-Thwack!
    Then one of the shooters missed a little high, and a new noise buffeted Bill’s ears – someone had finally hit the bell.

  10. “I don’t care!” her mother shouted. “I don’t care!”
    She drew in a deep breath. That gave time and silence enough for someone to clear his throat behind her. They all turned.
    An earth-brown dwarf, in rough clothing, stood there. “We’ll do the caring, then. They’re going to the school.”

  11. Hope bit her lip. Caring about something was hard when she did not know who was the victim, and who the villain. There might even be a hero or two to care about.
    But her thoughts kept going back to her own book. She could imagine what they could do.

  12. She sat down carefully, trying to keep her dress as impeccable as possible. With one finely manicured hand she picked up the glass wine goblet by the stem. “Mr….Smythe is it? What is it that you need?”
    “What I need, or want would be better, is your story ma’am.” I asked her politely. Taking note of her poise and demeanour. “When did you stop caring about what people like me wrote?”

  13. “How will I be able to strip naked
    without caring about my sagging breasts
    and the inevitable sad glances?”

    Her aching joints overcame her humility.

    She quickly removed all her clothes
    and climbed into the steaming hot tub.

    With a blissful sigh, she realized –
    Her breasts were buoyantly seductive.

  14. “So, the little old lady is the vampire, right? That’s how she knew so many were turned! She lured them in with cookies and blood bound them herself!”

    “What? No, not at all! Mary cares about her little friends – that’s why she noticed when they were afraid of their parents, and being blood bound. The guidance counselors just viewed them as numbers, the teachers were glad they were quiet, and the caseworkers didn’t care if the right boxes were checked. But they trust Mary, and she cared enough to make sure they were safe.” James fixed his best gimlet eye on the new kid. “What crack are you smoking to suspect Mary?”

    “But, I’ve watched the movies! It’s always the white guy, or the businessman, or the evil corporation, or the Christian! And she’s a white Christian, so she has to be the evil one!” He protested bouncing so hard on his toes that his manbun flopped out of its hold.

    “You’ve watched the movies. The ones they approve, finance, and direct? And you think they’re going to tell you the truth? You dumb…”

    As the team lead exploded, Zinner leaned back and didn’t bother to lower his voice. “Hey, Mongo. Betcha five bucks manbun boy doesn’t make it a week.”

  15. Zwingo was outraged. He was ready with a hot retort, and shouted at the old man; “Do you know what I think?”. The old man replied “I don’t care what you think”. That stopped Zwingo cold. It was the truth. There was nothing he could say that would make any difference.

  16. “And so, People of Earth, we stand by to help you as best we can, with our greater knowledge but all too limited resources, as we beseech your help in our own predicament.”
    The red ON AIR sign went off, and Ari’sss allowed himself a moment of comfort, though the real comfort wouldn’t come until he was back in the warmth and smell of his fellow T’golla’q’n.
    Caring was the subtlest bait, for the most sophisticated and desirable of prey.
    And the more genuine the caring, the more trusting the prey.

    1. We are a caring people. We care deeply about you. This is why we have written a book about you for our people. We titled it, “To Serve Man”.

      1. Knight’s brilliant story has, unfortunately, turned out to be less of a warning than a how-to for the Demolishers (the same as with Animal Farm and 1984).

  17. She walked through the thin new snow,  shallow enough (over the harder snow and ice beneath) to leave her snowshoes in her pack.
    The pack on her back, the traditional long rifle of her people with its big damper up front, the clothes she wore, and herself — that was all she had, for uncounted Years of distance. Surely all she had left on this world, under its unmoving, too-large sun the color of firelight. Once the others, the Norse (almost surely royalists of Midgard rather than althingers of Sessruminr) with their ally or allies in the crew, had destroyed her own once-stealthy ship in orbit as she’d watched.
    The larger New Albionese ship was still here, the crew (if they lived) the only ones left now but her. She’d tried her radio, but its subtler modulation could transmit only pops and hums to their newer amplitude-moduated rig; and they were probably too busy surviving to listen anyway.
    So now there was only this.
    Snow mostly too algae-colonized to be anything but parchment or outright piss-yellow. A few brave rocks showing above it. And the sun; and somewhere behind the eternal gunmetal sky, the unseen planets and the stars.
    But still she had herself, and her boots, and the snow. And gravity barely half of home, on a world half the size, with even more oxygen in the air. A world she could, in principle, walk right around.
    It was less than fifty miles to where their ship had been. Maybe less than half that, when you have such resources in orbit it scarcely matters. Until.
    But “St. Elmo’s Fire” could almost certainly lift and fly away, and most of the people of New Albion were Celtic like her, one way or another, for all the centuries of unshared history between them and hers. There was hope, logically speaking.
    And that terrible smile came to her lips again, as it had to so many of hers since they’d been Dropped onto their twin worlds, a sixth-circle apart in their common orbit, that they’d named Téa and Tephi after the patronesses of their people. To live or die as they pleased.
    Hoping wasn’t necessary.
    Believing wasn’t necessary,  nor knowing, nor caring.
    Walking was necessary, slow and steady enough for the cold not to burn your lungs, not to tire yourself to where you dropped sooner than you otherwise might. So you could go on till you did or found a better reason to stop.
    She let herself fall into the embrace of the howling wind, the rock-steady sun, the unaccountable and incredible lightness of being here. And thought of the old proverb, rendered into the variation Duncan Fletcher or Emily Pentecost of the crew would’ve recognized: an duine gun eagal agus gun dòchas. A one without fear or hope, meant as the pejorative kind of either.
    She lifted the scarf from her face and let it blow free in the wind from behind her. Wouldn’t do to get too warm, not even in forty degrees of frost. Especially here in that.
    As far as she knew, no direct contact of any kind had ever been made with New Albion, either by Téa-and-Tephi as such, or by the whole Seven Nations Confederacy. Perhaps she, herself, could end up breaking new diplomatic ground here, on the way to not freezing or starving to death.
    Caring wasn’t necessary. But it was a luxury she could afford, here and now. Out of so few.
    She smiled that smile again, colder than the ice and the wind. Soon, she believed, she’d see their tracks back from retrieving the third Artifact they’d found here, sled tracks and feet too.
    But for now from too-close horizon to horizon, from rocks and ridges to sky, the only tracks were her own and behind her.
    She concentrated on lengthening them.

    (Based on pre-existing characters and situations, but nowhere near written about yet. And without this exercise I doubt I’d ever have tried just this approach.)

    I find I just can’t get the following recent vignette out of my mind: “that’s the trouble with the hollow hills, no structural integrity.”
    So subject to the usual courtesies and considerations–
    Please, m’am, may we have some more?

      1. Thank you very much. Your “picturesque” is especially interesting, because I’ve learned that to write well *or* quickly I have to see something first and then describe it — “visually oriented” or something of the like.
        And given that a (1:1) tide-locked planet of a small red-dwarf sun isn’t exactly common even in science fiction, I had to deliberately try to get across the feel and nature of the experience; for instance, the near-constant wind is what exchanges heat from brightside to darkside.

    1. So subject to the usual courtesies and considerations–
      Please, m’am, may we have some more?

      !! Thank you very much! I was absolutely terrified about drabbling in such august company. I didn’t have any plans to go further with it, but I kinda like Jane if I can figure out her world. (dammit, getting sucked further into fictioning all the time…)

  18. “I’m not programmed to worry,” Andy said.

    Lucky stiff. Tom tapped his stylus against his desk. “That sounds great, So why did Cap send you to me?”

    The android looked uncomfortable. “Engineering found nothing wrong, yet I malfunction.”

    The psychologist stopped tapping his stylus. “How?”

    “I have started … caring.”

  19. I stood in the center of the bridge, contemplating on what the impact would feel like when I hit the bottom. I placed my hands on the rails to lift myself up when I felt something at my ankles. A medium-sized dog was sniffing at me and gave my pants a quick lick.

    I released the rail and stared at this animal and it stared back into my eyes. It sat down and gave a doggy smile with its butt wiggling along with its tail wags.

    I sat down beside it and began to stroke its head and face. The tears streamed down as I realized something cared for me in this world.

  20. The first sewage puddle was consumed in under fifteen minutes, along with a healthy portion of the wall and floor. Swarms of ants brought material to the growing blob from all around the room. Different metals and minerals they found, exotic compounds from the demonic refuse, all sorts of things. In twenty minutes the blob was a hump of silica the size of a small dog.
    The surface cracked and broke away, revealing a smaller version of the original spider. It shook off the shards of glass from its carapace and began scouting the demon pens. It inspected the progress of the nanomachines that were eating the bars and fittings and looked at the condition of the demons held in the cages. Satisfied, it turned and scuttled over to where the afrit was sitting in his special iron cage, silent and morose.
    “I remember you,” it said perkily. “I shot you in the face. How’s it going, ugly?”
    The afrit opened its eyes and regarded the spider balefully. “Which one are you, homunculus? The one who cut me down from the sky, or the one who called me a duck?”
    “I’m the one you breathed fire on,” replied the spider, jumping through the bars and going right up to the demon. “That was a fun little contest, I thought. The look on your face when you hit the ground was hilarious!”
    “You are easily amused, spider,” said the afrit darkly. “A common trait among your kind. Leave me in peace. I cannot be bothered with your mockery.” He closed his eyes again, dismissing her.
    “Hey, don’t be like that,” complained the spider. “I came over to see how you are, since we know each other and all. You don’t seem well. You haven’t even tried to squash me yet.”
    “What possible interest could you have in my welfare?!” demanded the afrit, eyes springing open to glare at the spider.
    “Nike thought it was worth letting you live, so I thought I’d come see, in case she might be interested,” said the spider. “Personally, I don’t care one way or the other. I’m a machine. I don’t ‘care’ about anything.” It made finger quotes with its front legs. “You people with souls get all wound up about stuff. I don’t get it.”
    “My soul is going back to the shadows,” said the afrit, subsiding back into his funk. “I have no further cares in this world.”
    “You are a dumbass!” said the spider in surprise. “My maker offered you release from this thing you fear, and you ran away. You made it worse, even. That is so illogical only a conscious being could do it. It makes no sense whatsoever.”
    “You have the understanding of a stump,” snorted the afrit listlessly. “And they say demons are stupid.”

    1. We wonder why he took the job in the first place. He missed his calling as a cake decorator at Shoprite.

  21. It was ten years since she first volunteered on the phone bank, but the celebration would have to be postponed. A hurricane was approaching the state and the organization was needed. People called with questions on how they should prepare.

    She answered the line, ‘Carolinians Advancing Real Independence, Not Government.’

  22. Okay, a little retro-posting here. Sarah’s Monday post Race…In space and Orvan kicked over some brain cells this morning. But I’ll take any motivation anywhere I can find it.


    “No daughter of mine is going to marry a bison! I absolutely forbid it!”

    “But Daddy, I love him! He’s kind and caring.”

    “Helena, that’s just gas in your omasum. Dump him. Find a good solid Jersey bull. Even a Brahman would be better than one of those shaggy-haired, hook-horns!”

  23. It occurred to the young woman that nobody really cared why she had appeared in the village. As long as you were somehow useful, that was enough for the locals to accept you. Nobody cared about her past, either, except in the most superficial way, which was fine with her.

  24. She knew the Duke had powerful allies. They had to care at some level about what she did, although she couldn’t picture anyone mourning him. But in this village, many days away, nobody seemed to be tracking her, so maybe they didn’t care that much. All the better, she thought.

  25. To colonize this planet, we’ve been sent with a dozen earth movers; no additional fuel. Eight tons of water pipe; no filtration. One tent and pillow per person; no blankets. A library of children’s books, plus enough political prisoners to fill a carrier.
    Yup, that’s our caring lords and masters!

    (Fifty, on the nose.)

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