When I picked my Machine of Death card during a writers' group meeting, it said "Hot Air Balloon." Yup, that's right. I was supposed to die by hot air balloon.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the Machine of Death, it is a game in which the Machine of Death tells you how you are going to die. It's very interpretive, though. You might get "fish" and get eaten by a shark, or get poisoned by a badly-cooked fugu fish, or get stabbed by a fish-hook. The Machine of Death has inspired stories from writers all over the nation (world?) and resulted in an anthology, an ongoing podcast, and more.
I kind of cheated. This story isn't about me, per se, but it's about someone who dies by hot air balloon. Sort of. Read on and find out how Mr. Alexander Sedgewick meets his demise by hot air balloon.
Conspiracies, epigenetics, and linguistic junctures--all in one short story!
When you've finished reading THE MAN WHO DID NOT EXIST here, you can scroll through my Pinterest writing prompts at the end of this post and choose my next project.
The story is up to you, my friend!
My sister challenged me to write a story based on this prompt in my Pinterest "Writing Prompt" board. I had no idea how it would go, but I started to write anyway, because I'm a pantser.
(Definition: Someone who writes "by the seat of their pants.")
And waddaya know! I found a plot.
I bit into the pizza, chewed, and swallowed. Weird flavor, but kind of tangy. I liked it.
Tell me which prompt you want me to write next!
Pinterest is a black hole of time for writers, but there are some perks for those who are willing to plumb its endless depths. For example, writing prompts.
I've been amassing a board on speculative fiction writing prompts for a while and now I open it up to you. Go through. Pick a prompt that you would LOVE to read as a 5-minute fiction or short story.
I will write it.
Sound fun? Excellent. Continue for details.
When Speculative Faith held its annual winter short story contest recently, I decided to add my own entry to the array of imaginative and fascinating 250-word stories that the prompt engendered. I didn't get the majority of the votes, but I had a lot fun and, best of all, I got some useful feedback. Here is my story, here are the responses, and here is your chance to give me feedback too!
THE SEAM IN THE SEA is now live in my #5MinuteFiction section! What is this story about? Read here:
Shya made a promise to cross the Seam in the sea, and to leave the city and its guardian Varrim behind forever. But leaving will not be so easy.
Click here to read THE SEAM IN THE SEA for free now.
“Pardon my intrusion, but could I trouble you for an Awakener’s hat? I’ve lost mine.”
The hatter glanced up from his bench, hands stained purple as he worked the warm, damp felt into shape. The stranger’s clean-shaven face and midnight robe marked him as a Master, a gifted servant of the people. His age could be no more than thirty-five.
“You may trouble me,” the hatter replied. “But I must finish the shaping on this hat while the fibers are warm.”
“I will wait,” the Master replied.
“Then share my bench,” the hatter offered, and the Master took the offered space. They sat for a time without speaking, and the Master’s eyes marked the dancing of the tree-shadows across the grass that the nearby sheep had nibbled nearly to the earth.
When you enter a Mind, you never know what you will find. Some entry codes look like something cobbled together from kindergarten exercises. Others would take a genius to crack, even after the decay of death has set in. What you hope you’ll find is something reasonably organized.
Engineers or mathematicians are the most efficient, but their minds can be…unusual. You might find a long hallway, lined on both sides with file cabinets, each one appropriately labeled—and yet all of the cabinets flash with a kaleidoscope of colors. Some orderly minds have a library with tiers of books, several stories high, but the shelves sway and hum as though they have a life of their own.
He was here, Kade thought. Somewhere amidst the well-pressed suits and the glittering gowns was the man whom Kade sought. It seemed as though every celebrity had descended upon this bright spinning station in Earth’s orbit. Glass walled the circular room, and, beyond it, a sea of lights sparkled in the darkness, and the moon hung like a gray pearl, so large that it dominated the view in one direction.
Esgarion was said to be the last bastion of real civilization, for the colonies of the moon, Venus, and Mars possessed all the roughness and resilience of the frontier. Esgarion was the Ellis Island of Earth, the international passage to and from the Mother Planet and the colonies. It was also a favorite meeting place of the wealthy and influential from all nations, and the United System events on Esgarion kept a fragile peace amongst the powerful nations who had interests in the colonies.