The emptiness of the night pressed close against me. My heels echoed strangely as they hit the sidewalk. I resisted the urge to glance over my shoulder, but only barely. It was exactly the kind of night that all good girls and boys should be tucked safely away into their beds. Thick, heavy clouds hung low in the sky. A dense fog had rolled in from the bay, coating everything in a layer of moisture.
I was out braving the weather instead of curled up in my living room because my house was currently under construction. However, the project was running long. To make up time the crew had decided to stay late tonight to get back on track. The incessant hammering had finally driven me out into the weather to “clear my head.”
Now that I was out here though, I was somewhat regretting my decision. It was just odd out tonight. When another set of steps began echoing along with mine, I fought the childish urge to run home to safety. A dark shape loomed out of the fog and my heart quailed in fear. I laughed in relief as the dark, scary shape turned out to be my elderly neighbor.
“Oh, dear, it’s a terrible night to be out. What are you doing?” she asked with a frown.
“My house is still being worked on. The noise was driving me batty, so I decided to go for a walk. I didn’t realize how terrible the weather was until I was already out here.”
“Well, be a dear and walk me home. I’ll make you some tea and you can keep this old woman company until your house is quiet again.”
Writing prompts: construction, sidewalk, emptiness
I wondered, once again, how I found myself in these situations. Sure, to some it was just a makeup party. However, the hostess was flighty enough to set the women’s liberation movement back by fifty years or so.
I cringed as the lady’s voice assaulted my ears. “Now ladies, let’s see what we can do for you. You all want to look your best for your man, right?” There was a cacophony of giggles from the rest of the women in the room.
“Now, dear, you are certainly in need of some help, aren’t you?” The hostess’s beady eyes landed squarely on me. My so-called friend–the one that had dragged me to this horrible event–elbowed me in the ribs to prevent the response on the tip of my tongue from leaving my mouth.
I smiled and in my most saccharine voice I replied, “You know, I always did want to learn how to apply clown makeup. I see you know how, could you show me?” My friend’s elbow found my ribs again but I didn’t regret it, the woman really did need to learn how to tone it down.
The hostess’s eyes rounded in horror, as if she couldn’t believe what I had just said. “Why I never…you…you…” she finally managed to stutter out. I just continued to smile, happy that my evening was finally looking up.
Writing prompts: party, liberation, makeup
My attitude didn’t improve as I read the paragraph again. Yep, I had read it correctly. Black clouds gathered over my head as the scowl embedded itself deeper on my face. I shut my laptop with more force than absolutely necessary and my roommate raised an eyebrow.
“Something wrong?” she asked.
“Yeah, Dan just email dumped me. What a jackass,” I replied grumpily. I wasn’t that torn up over the dump, he was on his way out anyway, it was more the lack of respect it showed that he couldn’t even tell me in person.
“Ouch. You know what you need?” Her eyes took on the evil glint that told me I wasn’t going to enjoy her next words. “You need to come out with us tonight. There are more fish in the sea and I happen to know just where to find the hottest ones. We’re hitting up Scarlet tonight; come with us!”
I frowned. Scarlet was a new club that opened up in the “revitalized” section downtown. The problem is it opened before much of the rest of the area had a chance to improve.
“Come on, come on!” she pleaded. “I’ll let you borrow my black dress.” I must’ve still looked skeptical because she continued. “I’ll even let you wear my boots. You know, the red ones?”
She really wanted me to go if she was going to give up two of her favorite pieces to make it happen. “Okay, I’m in. I would’ve went even without the boots and dress but now that you’ve offered, I’m not turning them down.”
She stuck her tongue out at me. “No fair! You play dirty!”
I just laughed and rolled my eyes. “When are we leaving?”
Writing prompts: email, paragraph, attitude
The flying monkey screamed over the top panel of my cube and landed in a blissfully silent pile in the corner. I sighed as Matt jogged in and picked it up.
“Sorry, Chris, I know you hate this thing. I’ll try to keep it out of your cube.” He flashed me a grin and went back to slacking, confident that the boss was safely in Chicago.
I just rolled my eyes and went back to work. Yeah, it was Friday, but some of us actually liked to get work done during work hours. Funny, I know. The monkey screamed through my airspace again and I suppressed a shudder. It would be an act of kindness for everyone in the office if that damn monkey was lost, never to be found again.
“Matt!” I yelled as the monkey made a third pass over my cube. “Go play somewhere else! Some of us are trying to work.”
Matt’s head poked into my cube. “Chris,” he whined, “it’s Friday. Come have some fun with us. We’re having a contest to see who can shoot this,” he held up the flying monkey, “the farthest. The best route goes right over your cube.” He gave me puppy dog eyes. “You don’t want to ruin my turn, do you?”
Matt was adorable and he knew it. He had all of the women in the office wrapped around his little finger, myself included.
Writing prompts: monkey, kindness, panel
The city was a dangerous place at night. Ever since the vampires had violently come out of hiding nearly a decade ago even the most hardened criminals took shelter behind blessed steel doors once the sun set. The few stragglers that hadn’t quite made it home when darkness descended were never heard from again. The sunset curfew was the law but most people only obeyed it because it was meant to save their lives.
It started in Paris. After millenniums of hiding in the shadows, the stuff of myth and legend, vampires were forced abruptly into the light. It is still unclear what caused the vampires of Paris to go on a rampage that cool April night. They hunted without regard to hunger or need. Humans were killed by the thousands as they sought to flee.
Traditional weapons did very little damage to the vampires and the city was declared a total loss after a month of trying to fight back. Only a master vampire could create new vampires but even the oldest of the species had succumbed to insanity and began creating vampires at an alarming rate. The Council sent in a team of their best warriors to take care of the problem but even they never returned. Finally, fearing the insanity would spread, Paris was destroyed.
Vampires seemingly disappeared but the humans knew better. They began developing technology so any future wars would not end the same way. “Vive la Paris!” became the war cry around the world. Any vampires caught were turned into lab rats and were subjected to a barrage of tests. Curfews were enacted and people were told to arm themselves with silver and blessed crosses. Those who could afford it had their dwellings blessed by a priest.
However, there were a few who ignored the warnings and the curfews. They came and went as they pleased, to hell with the consequences. Some of these people thought it was all a government scam. They generally lasted only a short time before they disappeared. Others were the wannabes. These were the disillusioned souls who actually wanted to be turned into vampires. They too disappeared quickly, though it was unknown if they got their wish.
And finally, there were the hunters. These were the brave few who decided to stand and fight rather than cower in the darkness. They generally worked in teams and left the safety of their compound armed to the teeth. These were the only humans that returned, night after night.
Writing prompts: city, loss, vampire