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Cookie Break

Writer, stationery addict & occasional cat pillow. Adorer of all things cute. Tea and pasta fanatic.

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A-Z Name Prompts – H

monday-promptspiration

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s time for another writing prompt, chosen by you! 🙂 This week, the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who voted 🙂 As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to borrow it. If you publish your interpretation please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Hosea

(m.; salvation)

My dear Hosea,

before you set fire to this letter please read it first. Pretending this isn’t happening won’t make it go away. Your father and I didn’t raise you to be an idiot.

I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you in person. Your father and I didn’t anticipate things would escalate this soon. I really hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but since my letter has been delivered to you it must mean I’m dead.

We have done everything we could to prepare you for this. I know you won’t feel ready, but you have to be. I hope you can find some reassurance in the knowledge that there isn’t a person alive now who’d embrace what I’m about to tell you and feel up to the task.

We’re not from Earth, Hosea, but we are Earth’s salvation. Go to London. My contact will find you. I know you’ve been preoccupied with New York recently, and there’s a reason for this, but please, don’t go anywhere near America. Go to London, and speak to my contact. She’ll explain everything, I promise.

I’m sorry I can’t explain more in this letter. It’s too dangerous to have all our secrets spelled out on paper, so you can go ahead and burn the letter now.

I wish this could have gone differently. Your mother wished for me to train and lead you in this; I hope she won’t be too cross that I failed before we could save everyone.

Give my love to Lily.

Forever yours,

Aunt Emely

Hosea crumbled the letter into a ball and threw it at the wall. What a load of fucked up rubbish! If he was so important, why had neither his Dad nor Emely ever mentioned it before? The letter had to be her final joke – and one hell of a tasteless one at that!

Hosea rummaged through his drawer until he found his passport. He packed it away together with his wallet in a backpack he threw over one shoulder.

He was eighteen years old, not eight. He was too old to do as his aunty said, final wish or no.

Hosea locked the door to his apartment, and called a taxi to the airport. There was a flight to New York in two hours.

He’d definitely make it.

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

A-Z Name Prompts – G

monday-promptspiration

Today’s prompt is going to have to be a very quick one due to time reasons (I’ll explain everything on Friday…It’s very exciting/terrifying!).

Thank you as always to everyone who voted for today’s prompt! The winner is…

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to use it. If you do and publish it, please link back here so I can be nosy ^-^

***

Garner

(m.; gathers grain)

“What do you say in your defence?”

I didn’t look up. I’d really fucked up this time. What could I say? The failure of our colony was my doing. No amount of ignorance, no matter how much hope I’d felt at my find, would change that.

“Speak up, Garner!”

I forced myself to do as Jackson, our leader, said, but it was hard to make eye contact with the five council members before me. Their faces were red, covered in pustules, and gaunt – my doing. All of it. Even my Jenna had died because of my mistakes. Our youngest was too weak to move.

“I have nothing to say in my defence.”

We were the first human colony on this planet. It was a small colony, only one hundred people strong, but that made my job all the more important – to scout our surroundings for edible fruits, nuts, and any seeds I could find. The seeds I had brought back a month ago had scanned as save. Why had everyone fallen ill? They had been supposed to save us, not destroy us.

Jackson sighed. “I’m sorry, Garner. You know the sentence. You are to be hanged at dawn.”

I knew I was missing something, but I hadn’t figured it out since the first people had fallen ill, and my mistake had become obvious. I had eighteen hours before dawn; eighteen hours to figure out what had gone wrong. Could I figure it out from behind bars? I had to try.

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

A-Z Name Prompts – F

monday-promptspiration

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s time for the next bit of writing improvisation! ^-^

This week’s prompt, chosen by you on Twitter, is…

Thank you as always to everyone who’s voted. There may not be many of you, but I appreciate it ❤ Also thank you to everyone who pops in every fortnight to read my little prompts!

I didn’t get as much time to edit it this week, so I apologise for any errors I might have missed. Normally I’d try not to publish a first draft, but sometimes life just gets busy. I hope you’ll still enjoy it, anyway 🙂

***

Filia

(f.; friendship)

Filia no longer feels the sticks under her feet, or the wet moss tickling her toes. A month ago they bothered her – especially the moss, when it touched the space between her toes – but she’s as used to them now as she is to the old handkerchief she keeps in her pocket.

Her mother doesn’t know she still sneaks out at night. Filia is only eight years old, and too young to go adventuring on her own in the nearby forest at night. But Filia goes anyway, because Filia knows something the grown-ups don’t.

Out of breath, she comes to a stop at the clearing. A small pond takes up most of the space, surrounded by wild flowers and even some mushrooms.

She breathes in through her mouth, hoping it will help her catch her breath faster, but all it does is make her exhale in squeaky tones. Her asthma makes running difficult, but Filia doesn’t mind. Not when she comes here, under the moonlit sky.

“You should be more careful,” says the tiny voice behind her. She sounds giggly tonight, and Filia laughs as she turns around. She likes it when her friend is giggly. Her fairy is more fun that way, and will likely play with Filia for a couple of hours.

“I am careful,” says Filia. She rummages around in the small bag she has strung across her shoulder, and pulls forth the cheese crackers she took from her mother’s pantry. Her mother only prepared them early that day. They still smell fresh, and of strong cheddar. “Here.”

Her fairy friend reaches out with her tiny arm, and takes the too-big cracker into her tiny hands. Her small wings flutter harder from the effort.

“It smells funny.”

Filia laughs. “That’s cheddar. My Mum puts it into everything these days.”

Her fairy – the creature never introduced herself to Filia; or rather, she did, but her name was so long Filia couldn’t pronounce it – sniffs the cracker some more, then gently gives it a lick with her green tongue. Her forehead wrinkles, but moments later her bright turquoise eyes widen even more.

“Do you like it?” Filia asks. They are her favourite, but her brother doesn’t like them. Cheddar isn’t to everyone’s tastes, her mother insists. She thinks her brother is just stupid for not liking something so tasty.

Her fairy friend inspects the cracker as she rolls the bite around inside her mouth. Finally, after a moment of intense thinking, she nods. “I do! Do you have more?”

Filia shakes her head. “No. Not tonight.” She has to be careful when she removes them, or else her mother might notice and then Filia would have to explain what happened to her crackers. Filia knows instinctively that her mother wouldn’t believe her about her fairy friend. Grown ups never do. “I can bring you more tomorrow, maybe, if I’m careful.”

“No.” Filia has never heard so much force behind her fairy friend’s voice. It frightens her, and the little hairs on her arms stand uncomfortably. “I’m sorry. You can’t go back tonight. I can’t let you.”

“Why not?”

“It’s not save, you see.”

“No.” Filia doesn’t like her father very much. He hits her, and the threatening look he sometimes gives her when her mother isn’t watching terrifies her. But she doesn’t want to run away.

“Have you ever had a sleep-over before?”

“No. Daddy doesn’t allow them.” Filia thinks for a minute. Her father isn’t here now, and as long as she’s back in her bed by 7am he wouldn’t find out. She’s sure of it. “But I’d love to have one!”

Her fairy friend smiles, her eyes glint with the promise of mischief in the moonlight. “Then think of it like that! Like a long sleep-over! Come with me.”

“Where are we going?” Filia is excited. She has wanted to have friends stay over for years, but she is too scared of her father to suggest it again. But her fairy friend is made of magic, and can make anything possible.

Her fairy friend smiles, and disappears behind a rose bush.

“You’ll see.”

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

Promptspiration #4

Monday Inspiration

It’s already time for the final prompt given to me by you! Time flies when you’re having fun 😛 I apologise for being a week late. I wasn’t well last Monday and vertigo made it impossible to look at my screen. So many people in my library had the same thing that it’s officially been dubbed The Library Cold 😀

But let’s get on with it, shall we? 🙂 This week’s prompt was given to me by my SO, who found it on Reddit.

What will happen on Mondays from now, you ask? I had a few options, but was especially tempted by something I found on K. J. Chapman’s blog Writerly Bookish Stuff (check it out if you haven’t already – inspiration and great writing abound!). I’ll be using my book of baby names for my prompts, start at the letter A and then work my way through the book until I’ve done the whole alphabet. I’ll be using one name from each letter, chosen at random. I’m not sure yet how I’ll decide whether I’ll use a boy’s name or girl’s name since my book is split in the middle. Rolling a die, maybe? Bi-weekly Twitter polls? I’m open to ideas 🙂 (Honestly, though, would you guys be up for bi-weekly Twitter polls?) The first baby name prompt will be posted next week.

As always, if the prompt speaks to you and you’d like to give it a go, please do! Please link back here if you join in so I can be nosy and read your interpretation 🙂

***

All humans are made sterile at birth and can gain fertility at 18 if they pass a simulated morality and IQ test administered by an AI. Suddenly several generations later no one can pass the test.

“What do we do now?” I ask Luce. She’s been doing this job for longer than I have. If she doesn’t have an idea… Well, I don’t. I guess humanity as a whole is doomed? Can’t say I want to be the one who made our downfall possible.

“What do you mean?” she asks, leaning against her desk and sipping at her coffee. I can smell the vile stuff from where I’m standing, but then our office isn’t that big.

“Come here,” I say, and wait for her to stand next to me. I can just about smell the faint scent of roses on her, underneath the strong waft of caffeine. “See this, there?”

She nods, brows furrowing. “I see. That is a problem. What do we do indeed.” Her eyes have become distant, her voice quiet. “I guess we’re gonna have to hack the system.”

What? You can’t be serious!” Manipulating the AI that determines who’s allowed to have a baby and who isn’t is treason. There’s a reason this system exists. If we ignore it, bypass the security and– I shiver. It is treason.

Luce raises her eyebrows at me, but sips her coffee as before. She’s far too relaxed given what we’re discussing. “Of course I’m serious. You can hack this shit, right?”

I lied when I applied for this job. They needed a hacker, a senior hacker, and I knew just enough to fake my credentials for when they ran their backup checks. I was shitting myself the entire first year I worked here, thinking that surely by now someone had figured out that I was a fraud, but nothing happened.

I never studied anything so ferociously in my entire life in such a short amount of time.

“I can,” I say, steading myself by gripping the edge of the table. “But this isn’t like faking your son’s grades so he can get into his dream college, Luce. If anyone finds out what we’ve done, we’ll be exiled!”

Luce snorts. “If we’re lucky, you mean. Look, you can either hack this, and the human race can continue, or we’re slowly going to die out.  You know what leaving things as they are would cause?”

I do, but I don’t want to think about it. “Civil war, eventually.”

Luce nods. “We’re not that stupid, Eric. Sooner or later they’ll realise that class rooms are empty, that day cares are too quiet and too tidy, and that no one is applying to college and university anymore.”

She’s right. If I do nothing, I doom humanity, but if I do what she wants me to anyone would be allowed to reproduce again. There are good reasons we have this system.

I open the bottom drawer of my desk, and throw all the pointless, filler paperwork onto my desk to get to the bottle below. I unscrew it, and take a big swig.

“You had this under your desk this whole time?” Luce asks, and I blush.

“Funny thing to fire me over considering what you want to me to do.”

She walks over and takes the bottle out of my hands. “I’m not firing you, you idiot, I want in!” For a moment we’re both silent while Luce stares at me. I can’t tell if I’m blushing because her eyes are scrutinising me or because of the whiskey. “So, what will you do?”

I’m going to regret this. “I’ll hack it. Give me an hour, two max. Think you can buy me enough time?”

She doesn’t even hesitate. How can she be so comfortable with this? “I can. Hurry up, though, will you? If the managers ask for a random surprise inspection I won’t be able to keep them away.”

I smile, but my hands shake. “When has that ever happened?”

“Don’t jinx it, Eric.” Luce sounds worried now. Actually worried. She’s not as calm about this as I thought. “Now, get to work,” she says and slips out of the office, closing the door behind her.

I guess I have work to do.

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

Promptspiration #3

Monday Inspiration

Happy Monday, everyone! 🙂

It’s time for another prompt, given to me by you! Today’s prompt is another prompt given to me by K. J. Chapman, and comes straight from her writer’s block-defeating book Prompt Me!

As always, if the prompt speaks to you and you fancy having a go yourself, feel free to use it. If you do, please link back here so I can be nosy and have a read through your interpretation ^-^

I don’t have much time this week, so I’ll set my timer for twenty minutes and will run with what that gets me. Ready… Set…

***

“Why are you hiding behind my curtains?”

“Because under the bed is taken?”

“Excuse me? How many of you are there?” I stare at her – the girl that insists her name is Stardust, and who looks like no girl I’ve ever met with her bright silver eyes and cascading silver hair – and can’t quite pull myself away from her gaze. I knew this was likely going to end in madness when I took her in, but what choice did I have? She looked so foreign, and lost, when I found her floating on the lake that night. I couldn’t just leave her.

I wasn’t thinking straight. If I did, I might well have passed out. It’s not every day you meet a star.

Unless, of course, she’s lying, and she isn’t actually a celestial body given the shape of a human child. I suppose there’s that option.

Star stares right back, her bright eyes finding me easily in the darkness of my cabin.

“Well? How many of you are there?”

She brings her right fist to her lips, and pouts. The only thing missing is a teddy bear with one ear missing, and the picture of a scared child who just suffered a nightmare is complete.

“There are many.”

“Define many.”

She begins to count down on one hand, then moves onto the other. Star cocks her head to one side and thinks, then: “Gazillions and Trazillions!”

“Wow!” I say, realising now that she’s joking. She has to be, right? “And they are all under your bed?”

Star giggles. “Nuh-uh! They are everywhere.”

I sigh. This isn’t what I expected when I fished the girl out of the lake. I hoped for a reward, preferably money, but I can’t exactly take her to the police. “So how many under the bed?”

“Just two,” she says, her voice so quiet I don’t know how I’m hearing it. Must be celestial magic, or something.

“And you’re scared of them?”

The movement is tiny, but she nods.

“Why? Are they different to you?”

Star’s bright eyes look very far away, and I wonder for one brief moment of insanity if that’s actually possible. If she’s really a star, I mean. How far can her soul reach?

“They are going to dark.”

I shiver. That I’ve heard of. Stars that go dark over time. They die, same as everything else, and then they burn out or explode or something, and they take everything else around them with them.

I really wish I paid more attention at school. Or at least didn’t drop out and run away. Who’d have thought it’d come back to bite me one day?

If she was telling the truth.

I’d have taken her to the police by now if they wouldn’t call my parents, too. What’s the point in running away if you’re going to walk straight into the next police station three months later?

“What do you mean, they’re going dark?”

Star gets up, and takes my hand into hers. Her hands are tiny compared to mine, but oddly warm, and comforting. Even though it’s perfectly dark in my room I can see while she holds onto me.

She walks me over to the bed, and suddenly I don’t want to see what’s underneath.

Star sits down, and pulls me with her. For someone so small she has a surprising amount of strength.

She stares into the space below the bed, and I follow her lead. Four bright eyes shine back at me. They are children, just like Star. They are beautiful, luminous, and if they are human kids I’m gonna eat cauliflower every day for the rest of my life.

And then, the star-child on the right looks right into my eyes, and I’m unable to move while his frightened gaze holds my bewildered one. “Run.”

I’m not imagining it. They really are glowing.

My limbs almost move on their own when I jump up and run, pulling Star with me out of the building. Just, she seems faster than me, and we reach the lake in the forest within an impossibly short time.

All I can do is watch as my shabby cabin bursts into flames, and lights up the forest clear as day for a brief moment. Then it simply burns.

The small, new life I made for myself burns.

Star clings to my arm, the fingers of her right hand back at her lips as she leans into me. I’m lost for words. This definitely isn’t what I had in mind when I fished her out of this pond, but I think I deserve some credit. Not like I could have imagined two stars that look like children blowing up my cabin when I found her.

“What does it mean?” I ask, fearing her answer.

“Darkness.”

“Can I stop it?”

Star shrugs, and pulls me away from the flames devouring everything I have left in life.

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

Promptspiration #1

Monday Inspiration

It’s time for the first prompt given to me by you! Who’s excited with me? 😀

In case you missed it: A couple of weeks ago I asked you for your favourite prompts, or something improvised. While the post is a couple of weeks old now you can still submit your prompts, so go ahead if you’ve got something!

This week’s prompt comes from the amazing author and blogger KJ Chapman, who shared a prompt from her Prompt Me book. A free sample 😉

As always, if the prompt speaks to you feel free to borrow it! I’d love to see your interpretation, so please let me know if you do so I can be nosy ^-^

***

What would you do if scientists discovered the origin of love and offered a cure for it?

“Don’t do it, Jacks.”

I nearly shake my head and cover my ears in a childish attempt to not hear my Mum’s pleading. I know it’s mean, but she’s too old-fashioned to understand how far our medical advances have come. What does she know about this? Of course she’d say no.

Katie took the love potion, and she’s fine.

“Don’t tell me what-” I catch myself just in time before I’d sound like a whiny teenager. I’m thirty-five years old, for God’s sake, I don’t need to give her any more ammunition.

“Please, Jacks. You don’t mean it.”

Her use of my old nickname, short for Jackson, after her grandfather, makes me hesitate. Something I’ve buried deep inside me screams at me to listen to her, but the pain hurts too desperately.

“I do mean it.  What do you know? You’ve always loved Dad. You’ve never been in my situation.”

Mum places her cold hand on my warm arm. We always had our intense body heat in common – people used to make fun of how we were burning up from the inside, how our passion and compassion was just that strong. Now her hand has lost the heat, and it drives home how old she really is.

Dad died two years ago, and I haven’t seen her cry since the funeral. Maybe she lost more than tears when he left.

“Come here,” she says, and pulls me into her arms. She cradles me like I’m five years old again. I want to resist, tell her I’m too old for it, but I know she wouldn’t listen. It’s harder to just admit to myself that it feels nice to be held. To be comforted. “Did I ever tell you about Murphey?”

I pause. Mum has told me about so many of her old friends, some of which go back to her school days, but I don’t remember that name. I shake my head, and enjoy how it feels when my head nestles into her shoulder.

“No, I don’t think so.”

Against my head I can feel her nod. “I met Murphy when I was eighteen. Oh, Jacks, how he smiled at me that day! I’ve never forgotten that smile. The one that instantly made me feel loved.”

I pull away to look into her eyes. I need to know if she’s kidding.

She chuckles. “I married your father when I was twenty-one, Jacks, but he wasn’t the first man I loved. You didn’t think I was that prim and proper, did you?”

Again I want to cover my ears and shake my head. My Mum’s romantic experiences aren’t something I want to think about, no matter how old and presumably grown-up I get. Instead, I stare at her.

Again, she laughs. “I loved your Dad, and I still do, but before him I loved Murphey. I still love him, too.”

There is so much sadness in her voice that it hurts me. How has this never come up?

“What happened?”

Her smile falters. “My parents. Your grandparents were good people, but they never understood love the way I did. I’ve never quite forgiven them.”

When she doesn’t say anything and her eyes glaze over with memories, I nudge her. “They didn’t like him?”

I remember the first time I brought Michael home. Mum and Dad adored him from the moment we came through the door, but the cold glare my grandparents accosted him with is still with me. Unlike Michael.

Mum shakes her head. The amount of pain in the movement breaks something inside me, and tears at my already existing pain.

“No. They didn’t. Murphey wasn’t rich, like us. His parents had very little money, you see. What little they did have his father gambled away, and his mother smoked like a chimney!” That wistful smile is back, but only for a second. “They were the sweetest people. They had problems, but who doesn’t? They never tried to hide it, and they accepted me into the family. Not many poor people did back then. They looked at us like we were from another planet.”

I nod. Nothing much has changed there. “So did they forbid you from seeing him?”

“At first. We found ways, of course. My parents were furious when they caught him sneaking into my room. I had been introduced to your father by then. It wasn’t proper for me to see other boys.”

“What did they do?”

“They offered Murphey a job abroad, in one of their factories there. They said his Dad could work there, too, and his mother could get the medical help she needed. Her lung wasn’t doing so well.” Mum looks away, and I don’t try to face her. “They knew they couldn’t turn it down, but of course Murphy did. Told me he’d rather be poor if it meant he could be with me. He looked for a job for a while, but eventually he had to accept that no one would hire him. My Dad’s influence. Murphey was clever.”

I’ve never heard about this side to my grandparents before. I was told that Mum’s marriage had been love at first sight, and that my parents had been a match made in heaven. I didn’t realise how much of that was lies.

“They took the job. His father urged him to take it, told him his mother needed the treatment. It was hard physical labour, but Murphey was strong. Eventually he gave in, and accepted.”

“Why didn’t he come back once he had money saved up?”

My Mum smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “I was a married woman by then, Jacks, and pregnant with Katie. He knew there was nothing left for him here.” Her expression grew dark. “His mother, Edith, died two months after they moved. I haven’t heard from him since.”

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t want to be rude and change the subject, but I had to know. “What does this have to do with me taking the Love Potion? You of all people should know how much it hurts!”

“Because, Jacks, I grew to love your father. While our relationship wasn’t love at first sight as you’ve been told, I did love Katie and you from the moment I knew I was pregnant. You’ve made my life such a joy.”

I frown. “Michael and I didn’t have that option, Mum. We’re both men, remember?”

“Oh I know, silly! But you could adopt. You still can. And you never know who you might meet tomorrow.”

It isn’t good enough. “But it never stops hurting, does it?” The pained glitter of tears in her eyes is proof enough for me.

Mum takes my hand into hers. “No, Jacks. It never does. But one day it won’t be the only thing you feel. There’s still room for joy and happiness in your soul. And pleasure.” She actually winks at me. “Oh, come on now, like I don’t know what you chaps get up to! I was young once, too, you know.”

“He left me, Mum. For a woman.” How am I supposed to just get over that? I can’t even fight for him.

“I know, Jacks. I’m not saying it’ll be easy. If you take the Love Potion, you’ll never feel what you felt for Michael again. Do you remember that time you brought him home to introduce him to us? Your first kiss? Your first-“

Mum!” But she had a point. All those moments were great memories. If I paid for the Love Potion, I’d never make more. Katie took it, and it erased more from her than her love for men. Her passion is gone, too. She isn’t the same Katie I grew up with.

“Don’t do it, Jacks. Please.”

I nod, more to myself than to her. I have a tough decision ahead of me.

“Why don’t you try to find Murphey now?” Mum isn’t that old, and Dad’s gone. I hate the idea of her never falling in love again.

She doesn’t look at me when she speaks. “I did, last year. He died ten years after he accepted the job.”

————–

For all other writing prompts, check here.

For CookieBreak’s homepage, click me.

All writing belongs to the author, Sarina Langer

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