Lightning Rounds 51.

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic:It’s Pompeii and Vesuvius is about to erupt.

Ocean had been angry, making rumblings for days. We weren’t sure why, but we were all nervous. Prophet said that Forger was pounding inside the mountain, making something for Thunderbearer. The sky glowed red at night. The smoke billowed down, bringing fine ash and soot. I didn’t know what he might be making, but it was something fine, fine enough for a god to bear. I wondered whether Ocean was angry with Thunderbearer, and that’s why he made Earth shiver. And that maybe Thunderbearer wanted Forger to make him new lightning so he could smite Ocean. Still, it didn’t make sense. Ocean’s daughter Love was married to Forger, and he would not harm his father-in-law. On the other hand, Thunderbearer was the mightiest of the gods. I pondered while I gathered my nets and creel and strolled down to Ocean’s doorstep. I didn’t want to be on the wrong side of a fight between such great powers. Maybe I should throw in my lot with someone else. Maybe the Greeks.

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Lightning Rounds 50.

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: Describe how it feels to be Superman flying over the Rockies

Clark yawned and rubbed his nose with his knuckle. These cross-country flights were getting old, but he didn’t have the heart to tell Becky he was moving on. She was just the latest in a series of aging loves. They always wanted to be different. They never were. Still, he made them happy with his brooding and he enjoyed their worship for a while.

A few more minutes, and he’d clear the Rockies, the glittering plains of Los Angeles would spread out below him, terminating abruptly in the darkness of the Pacific Ocean. He could see it now if he squinted, but he was so used to confining himself to a human-level sensory environment that it felt like cheating somehow. It was the same reason he didn’t hit supersonic speeds when he made the journey, the same reason he followed the same flight patterns as jumbo jets.

He coiled his finger into the curl on his forehead. The moon reflected whitely off the snow thirty thousand feet below. The whole earth looked wrinkled and pale, like she’d just emerged from a hundred-year-long bath. He pressed his lips together and rolled onto his back, choosing instead to stare up into the stars, searching again for his home like a lost tooth. He wasn’t even meta-human. Not even human. And he was far, so far from his home.

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Lightning Rounds 49

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: The Heart of Pluto

He stood with his hands behind his back, his chin lifted slightly. From her vantage point, she could not see his face as he gazed into the darkness beyond the window of their palace. He cleared his throat and shifted slightly, turning his head to the side so he could address her over his shoulder.

“It is difficult to tell you this,” he began, then turned back toward the window. Her hand tightened ever so slightly against the arm of the throne, but she remained silent. He folded his arms across his chest. “I know you are displeased that I brought you here.” He paused, then heaved a deep sigh. “Truth be told, I find the prospect of marrying my sister quite off-putting. You are a convenience only, to avoid that fate, and if you do not wish to stay here once we are married, you may go home to your mother.”

“The damp darkness and cold autumn wind does my health no good, Uncle.” She stood up and padded quietly down the dais toward the alcove where he brooded. His shoulders slumped slightly, and he waved his hand dismissively, but before he could speak again, she continued. “I suppose perhaps I could remain here for half the year, if you think your dog will let me pass.”

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Lightning Rounds 48

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: “Why do I feel nauseous?”

“Oh god,” she said, lurching sideways and gripping the brick wall. “Why do I feel nauseous?” Her fingers found little crevices. Her nails scratched against the mortar. She knelt, her hip pressed against the rough uneven dampness of exposed pipes.

“Easy, Fox.” Bill put a hand on her shoulder, his eyebrows furrowed with concern. “We’re not going to claw our way through that.” He lifted his head, his eyes searching along the ceiling for openings.

“I’m not trying to claw my way out.” She clutched her head suddenly. “Oh damn it.” She pointed toward the floor, then waved her hand at the pipes. “It’s all iron. Shit, I think I’m going to be sick.”

Bill lifted her feet off the ground, pulling her away from the pipes. Fox smiled briefly and put her arms around his shoulders, letting her head rest under his chin. “That will only help for a little while. I’m afraid I’m not going to be much help getting out of here.”

He nodded once, still scanning their surroundings. “I’m going to put you on my back, OK?”

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Lightning Rounds 47

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic: luxury bathing

Vanessa eased back into the thick goop, a little uneasy about naked soaks in strange chemicals. Her friend has insisted she would feel like a whole new woman by the time she was done, but the idea of having “an rich, earthy organic emulsate” pressed anywhere near her undercarriage gave her some misgivings.

When she was up to her neck, she reached back and pulled the wooden bowl full of bonbons over her head. She held it uncertainly for a few moments, then gently eased it onto the iridescent muck. It was dense enough to hold the bowl like a happy servant, and Vanessa grinned quietly, suddenly wishing she had peeled grapes instead. She let her body relax, and after she’d eaten a few bonbons, she put the bowl back on the shelf and squelched down a little farther until her chin settled on top of the squishy mass.

She closed her eyes and dipped her hands down, squeezing the emulsate between her fingers. The smell was pleasant, like petrichor. It oozed into her sinuses and out again, dipping into the corners of her memory, and she heard the patter of rain against her umbrella, splashing against her rubber boots.

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Parking lot ramble

I’m sitting in a parking lot, waiting for dinner. I’m writing on my phone. Rain spatters on the windshield in my peripheral vision. The tight rumble of my stomach makes my mouth water. Thai food. Noodles. Anticipation is so sweet. And hungry. Sweet and hungry.

Music hums behind the rain, hiding under the voices of the boys in the back who are destroying tanks with mirth and no mercy. I’m wondering how long the batteries will last. Long enough.

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Lightning Rounds 46.

This blog post is a ten-minute timed writing exercise from writers.stackexchange.com.Visit the Writers chat room every Tuesday for new writing exercises.

Topic 1 (last week): Monday’s Minutes

Shelly thought the little soldiers were nicely detailed and carefully painted. That was the first thing that attracted her eye. Tucked away on the back of the lowest shelf, you could barely see them peeking out, even if you were perched against the cabinet base, trying to look inconspicuous while your mother was talking about lace frocks with the shopkeeper.

She slid the box out carefully and studied the set of soldiers. There were twelve in a row, but none of them the same. “Dirty dozen,” she whispered, picking up the first, whose sleeve was tipped with sargent stripes. “Or maybe Kelly’s heroes.” She bit her lip and cocked an eye toward her mother. The shopkeeper was carefully opening the lid of a large wooden coffer. Dark green velvet draped demurely over the lip. Shelly rolled her eyes, and tucked the sargent into the bib of her overalls.

One at a time, she plucked the men from their little box and secreted them about her person. The cash register chimed, and she hurriedly felt for the box lid beneath the display. She replaced it, tracing her fingers over the silver letters of the maker’s name: Monday & Sons, Ltd. She smiled briefly as she shoved the empty container to the back of the shelf. “Monday’s minutes,” she said in a self-satisfied whisper.

Topic 2 (this week): Jam and toast.

Gary wasn’t sure about the jam. He never was. I could see him hesitate from my vantage point behind the counter. I didn’t look up, but I could feel it, you know? He paused, considering the impact of triple-berry preserves on his unenumerated attempt to reduce his sugar intake. In the end, he shrugged and dipped the knife in.

Joel called to me from the kitchen, and somehow in that instant, at the moment I first failed to track Gary’s progress, that’s when the glass shattered, splattering berries and pectin across the table. I grabbed a rag from the bus bucket, but as I turned toward the dining area, I barely had time to notice that Gary was slumped across the back of his chair before Joel tackled me to the ground. My head hit the well as I went down. I sat up dazed, pushing against Joel, until I realized his lips were moving and I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

The room was full of smoke, and all I could think about was the toast.

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