On yet another stormy night, Chebk and I gathered the gang to attempt another art writing prompt. Unfortunately the weather was going to wreak havoc on any watercolor attempts (i.e. everything would take too long to dry) so we tweaked our art prompt a little and sketched with a rainbow array of Sharpies instead. Using this prompt generator, we were given the following to draw:
- Consuming blood
- Impending doom
- In the mountains
Dark, dark prompts! Here are everyone’s pictures:
Look at those weird, dark pictures. After finishing the drawings, we picked each other’s names from a bag to see who would write a story for which picture. Here are Chebk and my stories for your reading pleasure:
Chebk (Sanjiv’s picture, green)
The trees were everywhere.
He shook his head and bowed under the torrential rain that fed them. Through the dark haze and wet wall of rain, he knew that the green planet flourished. He didn’t know how or when, but once, humans had ruled this planet.
They had a plan, when this all first started: that they would somehow stop the rain and keep it for themselves. For awhile it had worked, but one day, the drought broke and it broke before the plants did.
Some how, Mother Nature had found a way to survive through it all; she always seemed to win in the end.
When they first arrived, the humans, they had created a planet like the one they had lived on so long ago. Elder Sam was a name that lived in infamy– in the man’s head — as the first one who noticed them.
The blood-sucking angels.
He had put a spigot in the trees, hoping to collect some of the sweet sap within them to create the sweet nectar of his youth, but instead there were swarms of them. Hailed as an alien species, humans sought them and quickly collected as many as they could. What the humans didn’t realize is that they weren’t at the top of the food chain.
The ‘angels’ as they became known, were a method for the trees to stop the hurt. The trees were carnivorous. It was the trees at the top of the chain.
Slowly humans began disappearing, following their angels along their paths of doom. Once you got too close to a tree, there was no going back. And they grew. Devouring a human could keep them fed for years and from then, they seeded the earth, growing, spreading, consuming.
The humans tried their plan, cooling down the planet, draining all waters from the sky. Many died from dehydration, but along with them went the trees. The damning trees.
They fell and forests that had sprung up overnight were now receding.
But here he sat. The last human on the face of the planet. His parents had been tenth generation botanists — the most common profession of the planet. They saw the signs that the rains were coming, the humidity in the air, the unstoppable force that haunts a planet.
They hid him away, salted the earth, kept land malnourished and refused to let him see another soul. No angels any more.
But here he sat, alone. What kind of life was it, alone, in the rain, and staring at the trees that never got closer, never went away.
The angels flitted on the other side a few trees down. All it would take was a step into the forest.
Cheri (Hoshi’s picture, blue)
The mill creaks.
From the porch, it is easy to see the approach of men and women alike, young and old, in packs and pairs and frightfully alone. She combs out her hair there, drawing out black strands, twisting and twining. Her legs splay beneath her robe, white and dangling. “Hello,” she greets. “Good day.” They smile at her from the road.
There is a shrine further up the road. The villagers past the valleys and ranges make their pilgrimage with the first shoots pushing up through the snowy ground. She traces the sight of their lanterns up the mountainside. Some nights the wind whispers like a prayer.
She likes the travelers that stop best. They tell their tales, ask their questions. She trails her robes over wooden floors coated with strands of glossy black hair and offers them bitter tea. Often she longs for rain, for the nights when visitors will stay. Sweet words and offers of rest are usually all it takes. Sometimes she can tempt them even with clear skies.
When evening rolls in, offering a crisp moon and cold-bright stars, she closes her doors. No more sitting on the porch. On nights when she is alone she retires. As a hostess, she throws on all the lights, puts together the best meals she can offer, modest tidbits of foraged plants and steaming hot rice.
They taste best with bellies full, after all. She tucks them in, little dumplings. By morning there is a slick of red along the slippery floors. Strands of blackest black float in the puddles. She likes leaving crimson footprints up and down the hallways. She’ll save the bones for stew. Future travelers will need to stop in and the spring nights are still so cold.
She draws water from the river and bathes her feet until they are white and dangling from her porch once again. Lazily she smiles at the children that run past the house, shrieks lost in the rush of the water nearby. A man in a straw hat spots her and blushes, turning away. She leans back on her hands, her robe inching its way up her thigh. The dawning light has a warmth that doesn’t reach her bones.
She looks up at the murky skies. It’ll be rain again tonight. The grass grows hardily from a cracked ground.
The mill creaks.
Are you inspired? (Or repulsed? We were also both.) We hope to continue this series in the future with different mediums so thanks for reading! Do you use prompt generators or art to inspire your stories? Tell us about it! Got a prompt or rec for us? Let us know in the comments!