Writing prompt no. 2

Second prompt of the day for our NFFD writing challenge is...


Physically or metaphorically, whatever occurs to you. Write a short piece around this idea - anything up to 400 words - and post it under here as a comment.

Any technical difficulties, please email us at: cafeaphra@yahoo.com

Next one along in three hours' time....


  1. BENCH
    He couldn't explain how they'd come to be sitting on this bench overlooking the lake in their favourite park- nor his wife's tears;nor why she trembled so. She ignored him. Then she stood, revealing the shiny brass plaque. He read the dates. And then he knew. H i s name.
    ( originally published in 4.33" Magazine 2013 )
    Bren Gosling

    1. Intriguing! I thought it would be her, but it was him... great setting up of expectations in so few words. Thank you Bren!

    2. Nice. Has to be read more than once, and it really pays off. I love the existential overtones.

  2. L’apprentie sorcière by Joy Manné
    She told her brother, ‘Birds eat crumbs. The forest is full of birds. Scattering crumbs to mark the way home is even dumber than your usual ideas.’ But would he listen? No. and when he couldn’t find the crumbs what did he do? The spoilt little bugger ran off and the wild beasts got him. She’d heard him yelling and them chomping and she’d run as fast as she could in the opposite direction..
    Lost. Yes she definitely was lost. The forest was dark and dense. But look, there’s a light and the gingerbread house again, and it still has the sign, ‘Cherche apprentie sorcière.’ She’d always been good at French. She knocked on the door.

    1. Haha! Brilliant. "Apprentice witch wanted". Love it. Thanks Joy, I always enjoy fresh and subversive takes on fairytales...

    2. Americans in Moscow visit white and gold palaces, surprising survivors of revolution, beauteous rivers. The man avoids stone steps to onion-domed cathedrals, leaves vodka untasted, ignores heavy cream. Despite all that, he’s unconscious, heart failed, in a Russian hospital. Thank God for translators.Doctors are good there; a kind nurse holds his wife’s hand.
      His wife comes every day by cab through a blizzard of traffic, sits and holds his hand, talks. Some power translates. His open eyes dream untranslatable dreams. She climbs the steps of each day, trying to find the non-rush hour time—there is none—learning how to Skype the doctor at home, add international minutes, cope with expiring visas, translate insurance and conditions, arrange an air ambulance. It will have to fly at sea level. She wants to go with him through the air and hold his hand, but it might not be possible.

    3. Thank you Lita! What a fantastically visual and emotionally powerful piece. Being a part-time translator myself, I love the line - all too rarely uttered - "Thank God for translators". And I love his "untranslatable dreams". Great job.

    4. thanks for the opportunity and nudge to write this. How sychronicitous (word?) that you are connected to translation too!

  3. "Lost and Found" by Sarah Goehring

    Bodies crash into me from all sides. In the pulsating strobe light, flashes of dark necklaces and highlighted hair become visible. We move in unison to the blaring music.

    I have no idea where my friends are. Momentary worry nestles into my heart, but it passes in mere seconds. Why should I care about where my ride back to my house is? That empty building isn't even unpacked. It's not home. This--right here, with the beats echoing trough my bones and all the dancers moving in synch--is home. Never in my life did I think that I'd find this sense of sanctuary at a Year of Honour Roll Celebration Dance in my senior year of school. Life is strange that way.

    I've finally done it. It took being lost to find my niche, but here I am, unexpectedly joining the throng of bodies and loving every second of it.

    1. Thanks Sarah! I really enjoyed this piece; such an interesting way of interpreting "lost"... having often moved house myself I can relate to that feeling of homelessness when the empty building supposedly called home isn't even unpacked. There's some humour in the sense of 'sanctuary' being found at the Year of Honour Roll Celebration Dance, too, for me. Thanks for contributing!

  4. Lost

    I'd never considered the sense of loss. My only thoughts were focused on being commercial, selling as many pictures as I could. That I would view each completed work as a child, imbued with my own DNA, never entered my head. Yes you want them to spread their wings and fly the nest but departure is painful, always.

    To win, I have to learn how to lose.

    So to compensate I search for traces. Those flecks of cerrulean blue on the arm of my glasses for instance, that was my Galician landscape; that blob of lemon yellow still lingering on my laptop mouse, the flamenco dancer portrait. Tucked up in a jiffy bag and jealously guarded are my preliminary sketches for a wonderful abstract I painted. I poured my soul into that and away she flew. The buyer could see what I could see, so that gave me comfort, but I have only finite resources. Each time it happens a little piece of me is eaten away, forever lost.

    To live, I have to learn how to die.

    by Derek Dohren

    1. A wonderful piece Derek. I think anyone who has written or created anything and 'sold' it can relate to how this feels. I love the originality and unexpectedness of this piece (and I feel honoured to own one of these self-same pieces of your art in my home). :) Thank you


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