Monday, June 2, 2014


WELCOME BACK! And Happy June!!! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE!?!?!?!? I can't believe we're almost halfway done with this year... I need to be more efficient; my to-do list isn't shrinking. I will be going to my first ever writers conference this month, so I'm excited about that. I also have plans to write my very first "short story" (8,000 word limit, rather than the flash I typically write...or the novels) for a contest. I don't know what I'm writing yet, though, so it may not happen. :) Also, I took a break from editing. I've been binge reading tons of stuff and I wrote another scene on my second book (not related to the first). So, I've been busy. Anyway, enough about me, you're here to write! So get to it!

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Marie Johnson
. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #48 is:

"I will be a real [gnome]," [she] said, hoping no one remembered [her] vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, [her whole life].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include a flying, steam-powered contraption.



  1. Leverage

    "I will be a real gnome," she said, hoping no one remembered her vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, her whole life. Bimkink Thistlebang muttered sotto voce, not that regular speech could be heard over the creaking and groaning gears filling the body of The Swiftwing. Her stomach roiled queasily as they hit another pocket of turbulence. "Gnomes belong in the ground, not the air!" She griped, clenching her teeth against the urge to vomit.

    The ornithopter limped through the sky, bird wings beating a jagged rhythm. "More coal!" Captain Nitfinkle Twistguage shouted. "We've got to keep the pressure up!" The steam engine wheezed asthmatically. Pistons groaned in protest as the cycled endlessly around the crank shaft. Streaks of soot and grease covered the face and clothing of her best friend. Pithkyfonk Trinkspring smiled widely, flashing white teeth through the grime. "Isn't this wonderful?" She screamed happily.

    "Super!" Bimkink yelled sarcastically.

    "You're starting to impress the Lieutenant."


    "I can tell by the way he looks at you." Pithyfonk assured her.

    Dibvizz Fastmaster was the reason for her current predicament. The things a female would do to get the attention of a male she was interested in romantically, she thought in disgust. Stupid hormones. He was tall for a gnome, with black hair, penetrating dark eyes and roughly chiseled features. Her heartbeat quickened just thinking of him.

    The sudden screech of metal giving away accompanied by the whistle of escaping steam interrupted their conversation. "Get that leak plugged or we're all dead!" Captain Twistgauge ordered.

    The hot moistness seeped through Bimkink's protective clothing, scalding her. Thick fog filled the compartment, blurring her vision. The hissing pipe dangled from the ceiling just to the left of her location. She stumbled forward and grabbed it. Ouch! It was too hot to handle even through the thick gloves she wore. Frantically she peered at her surroundings, searching for something, anything useful. She caught a glimpse of the coal shovel and a large barrel of oil. An idea blossomed in her mind. She tumbled the barrel onto its side and rolled it into position. She ripped of her gloves, using them to wedge it into place. If she could just lift the pipe back into position. She grabbed the shovel's handle, laying it over the barrel and slid the scoop beneath the pipe. Muscles straining she heaved desperately upwards, with a screech the pipe clanged back where it belonged. "I need some help here!"

    "I've got it!" Dibvizz loomed out of the murk. Pressing his front to her back, he stretched out his long arms. Bimkink's spine tingled at the embrace. Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! He drove the bolts through their holes. Grunting, he screwed the nuts tight. "Good job Crewwoman Thistlebang! Would you care to join me for a meal after we land?" He asked in his gravely voice.

    "I'd be delighted Mr. Fastmaster." Bimkink responded coyly. Sometimes all you need is a little leverage she thought complacently.

    496 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

    1. Splendid. It feels like "Frank Herbert writes YA."

  2. The Boy's Dragon

    "I will be a real dragon," he said, hoping no one remembered his vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, forever. The three foot long, shimmering blue drake propped his snout on the window ledge of the dorm room and peered at the humans wandering below. Behind him, Jireh’s human friend gently pushed his tail off the desk before dropping textbooks down.

    “What, are you an otter now?” Tye teased. “You look pretty real to me with those scales, leathery wings, smoking nostrils...”

    “You know what I mean!” Jireh humphed. He rolled onto his side and twisted his neck around until he was eye-to-eye with Tye. “I want to do what dragons are supposed to do!”

    “And what’s that?”

    “I...I don’t know.”

    Jireh set his head on the ledge again and puffed a bit of smoke into the passing breeze.

    This restlessness started on one bright morning when a ruby streak zipped past the window. Of course Jireh had poked his head out of the second storey window to catch another glimpse. The creature circled back until it hovered nearby. It was a female dragon not much bigger than himself!

    “Are you a prisoner?” she asked.
    “No, I’m a dragon.”
    “What are you doing with humans?”
    “I live here.”

    Jireh pulled his head in so she could land on the sill. The sun glinted off her wings as they folded into place behind her back. She sniffed the air, the desk, and finally Jireh himself.

    “Well, you *smell* like a dragon. And this place reeks of human,” she concluded with a delicate wrinkling of her snout.

    “It’s called a university. Lots of humans live here.”
    “What do they do?” she asked curiously.
    “They sit at tables and type on machines all day.”

    “*All* day? What a waste of time,” she snorted. “At least it keeps them from dragon hunting.”

    “Why would they be dragon hunting?”
    “Why, it’s what humans *do*!”
    “Not here. I grew up here.”

    “So you’re a pet.” The way she pronounced “pet” made it sound like it was some awful, fatal disease.

    “Tye’s my friend...”

    “Humans aren’t friends,” she snapped. “They always have to own things! How old are you?”

    He puffed up proudly, “Two years.”

    “Two years? I’m three months! You’re a stunted, brainwashed, human’s pet. You’re not free!” And with that, the dazzling female stretched her wings and flew away.

    Jireh snapped to the present as Tye scratched him under the chin.

    “What’s been eating you, boy? Why the moping?”

    Jireh closed his eyes, savouring the tingling sensation. Oh how he wanted to stay and keep things the way they were! It was impossible. Haltingly, fearfully, he ventured to convey his yearnings.

    “I want to leave and find out what it means to be a dragon.” Jireh winced, waiting for an angry reply, but it didn’t come. When he peeked at Tye, he only saw a small, sad smile.

    “Then go. I’ll miss you.”

    For the first time since the dragon’s visit, Jireh felt free.

    Word Count: 500
    No special challenge, sorry!

    1. I mean, you *could* technically count the dragons as flying, steam-powered contraptions, but they aren't really powered by steam alone, so.... You can count it if you want to. :)

    2. I like it. Simple, yet elegant.

  3. "Baptized in Steam"
    499 words
    Special Challenge Embraced

    "I will be a real father," Waldemar said, hoping no one remembered his vehement protestations to the contrary for, well, his whole life. “Real fathers have their daughters baptized.”

    Yseult looked up at her father blankly as she smoothed the folds in her dress. Her platinum ring gleamed in the noon light.

    Father Viktor shook a fist under Waldemar’s nose. “She’s a witch, Mar. A consort of Satan. Not to mention she’s illegitimate.”

    “Her powers come from God, Father. The steamists are His gift to us.” Waldemar placed a hand on Yseult’s shoulder. “She flew here in an airship. All by herself. At fourteen.”

    “Proof that she is in league with Beelzebub.”

    “No,” said Yseult, just above a whisper.

    Father Viktor peered down at Yseult from his lofty height. “What was that?”

    “I am not in league with Beelzebub.” Yseult pressed her lips together. She twisted her ring on her finger.

    “And why should I believe you, a confirmed steamist?”

    “Because I can show you.”

    Waldemar smiled at his daughter. “She speaks God’s truth, Father.”

    The priest shrugged. “Fine. Show me.”

    Yseult led her father and the priest through the streets of the village, past a smoldering stake of wood in the central garden, to her airship beside a stream of the Rhine.

    She walked up the gangplank into the ship and waited.

    Waldemar took Father Viktor’s hand and practically tugged him into the airship’s lower compartment. Wooden crosses hung from nails on the steel walls of the entry room. The priest gaped.

    “The sanctuary is upstairs.” Yseult climbed a narrow flight of stairs to the upper compartment of the craft, careful to keep her skirts in order as she went.

    “You call it a sanctuary?” said the priest. “Heresy, blasphemy, Sat—”

    Waldemar placed his hand over the priest’s mouth. “You’ll see.”

    Several tons of black metal cogs, engines, and water reservoirs littered the floor of the airships larger compartment. Between them, paintings of saints sat on easels.

    “This is where my mother taught me to worship.”

    Father Viktor tore Waldemar’s hand from his lips. “So your wife was a witch too, Mar? Adelina, the first girl I ever baptized?”

    “You’ll be proud you baptized her,” said Waldemar. “Now, for the love of our Lord, quiet.”

    Yseult took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She pulled her ring from her finger and waved it in the sign of the cross. The air quivered where she drew.

    “Heavenly Father,” Yseult sang in a quiet soprano. She pointed to the reservoirs in turn. “Make my spirit to fly, and this vessel with it.”

    Steam billowed from the reservoirs. The cogs whirred. The engines rattled. Yseult chanted.

    A surge of force tugged at Waldemar’s stomach. “See?”

    “Yes,” said the priest. “I see. I feel.”

    “So you will baptize her?”

    Father Viktor shook his head. “I think the Lord has already baptized her, Mar.” He grunted. “I may baptize her with liquid water, but the Lord has baptized her in steam.”

    1. Notes: 1) I couldn't figure out how to get "will" to stay in italics when I pasted it in to the comment form, but it is intended to be in italics as the prompt has it. 2) I do not intend to condone acts of sorcery or the mixture of sorcery and Christianity. This is only a story, of course.