Embracing the Possibilities

As Zac mentioned in his last post, I’ll be stepping in here at Promptly–and trying to suppress my envy!–while he’s out enjoying a much deserved vacation. I’ve heard some people say that it takes them several days to truly let go and transition into “vacation mode.” Not me. My favorite feeling on vacation is the one you have right at the beginning, on day one, with the whole trip stretching out before you—all those possibilities. In a way, it’s sort of like facing the blank page with that blend of uncertainty, expectation and excitement—you can hesitate, or you can dive right in and see where it leads you.

This, then, is the inspiration for today’s prompt. What will be your inspiration for completing it?

Happy Writing,
(On Twitter: @jessicastrawser / @writersdigest)


You consider the stranger’s odd request and decide to agree. What do you have to lose? And just like that, you’re not alone on your adventure.

Share your response in the comments field below!


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6 thoughts on “Embracing the Possibilities

  1. Baron

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  2. Mark James


    If you like writing from prompts, buy "The Writer’s Book of Matches". Playing with matches was never like this.

    Even if you don’t like writing from prompts, these are so good, that you could use them to explore a twist in your plot if you’re feeling stuck or not sure where to go next.

    It’s small, portable, and just too much fun to be legal.

    Hey Zac – it IS legal isn’t it?

    This book is the best thing to happen to me since . . . well. . . since they undid the restraints and let me write for an hour a day.

  3. Mark James

    A body shimmered into being beside Stryker.

    “Got a gun I can borrow?” the stranger said.

    “Sorry. I only got the one. You want a knife?”

    “Wow. Extra knives and only one gun? You made your kill with a knife?”


    Stryker looked past the stranger who’d beamed in next to him. “Where’s the extraction scout?”

    The stranger’s face turned so red, he looked like the victim of a flash burn.

    Stryker made a face. “They sent me a rookie?”

    “Top of my class, Sir.”

    The assassin resisted a strong urge to push the cadet off the cliff. “Great. Stay out of my way. I’ll try not to kill you.”

    The rocks at their feet shivered into balls of dust. He grabbed the back of the cadet’s coveralls and pulled him down. “You bring a radio?”

    “Not exactly, Sir.”

    Stryker turned his head real slow and looked at the cadet. “What’d you bring besides your pretty face?”

    The man paused a second, his eyes went distant, like he was listening to someone talk in his ear. “Telepath, Sir.”

    “They sent me a Head Talker, unarmed – fresh from the academy? You graduated when – ten minutes ago?”

    “They didn’t send me. You’re a legend, Sir. I volunteered.”

    Stryker pinched the bridge of his nose, like he suddenly had a headache.

    A fireball exploded over their heads.

    Both men flattened themselves to the dirt and threw up shields that fended off the fire. They crawled to a nearby hole in the cliff too shallow to be called a cave.

    Stryker felt the cadet pressed up against him, shaking like he was lying on a high voltage wire. “What’s your name?”


    “Tell me the truth. How many missions you been on?”

    “Including this one?”

    Stryker waited, silent.



    They eased down the rocky slope. The fire from above held up. They were too close to the cliff wall to be good targets.

    Billings looked around, like he was listening. “They’re under us. We have to go down.”

    “Down where?” Stryker said. “Nothing but craters on this rockpile.”

    They slipped and slid down the mountain, sending pebbles and dirt ahead of them.

    Stryker’s right foot landed on air. He teetered on the edge of a crater so deep, the tech heads thought it went to the core of the planet. All the holes on this ball of rock were like that.

    Billings shoved him. Stryker dropped his gun, grabbed at air, then they were both falling.
    No, Stryker thought. Not falling. Floating. “You wanna tell me what’s going on?”

    “On our way to the extraction point, Sir. They said I had to do it like this ‘cause you hate pits. Our ETA’s around ten minutes.”

    “Who sent you again?”

    “Volunteer, Sir.”

    “Right. Garret did this to me. I get out of this – swear by the Gods – he’s a dead man.”

    Stryker let himself hang in the anti grav field. He pressed his hands to his body, checking his knives, thinking of Academy Director Miles Garret.

  4. Lynn Campbell

    Harley stared at the Craigslist page long after she sent the confirmation details. She knew nothing about this Ali woman, and what if she turned out to be a stick in the mud? Already, it seemed like she had a tight schedule planned for her part of the trip, and Harley was no real planner. This whole road trip had been planned on a whim, and the only reason she was taking someone — Ali — along was because she needed someone to split gas money. As it was, they’d be doing a lot of washing in rest stop bathrooms and sleeping in the van.

    "Wow, I’ve just signed up to cross the country with a total stranger. Christ, Annie, what have you done to me?"

    But she had no choice, she had to get away.

    Sunday dawned bright and early, but Harley already had the van packed, leaving room on the left for Ali’s stuff. She hoped Ali wasn’t one of those kitchen sink packers; they were following a tour, and had to move in and out and fast. She was getting impatient, though Ali wasn’t late, not yet. Harley just wanted to get on the road already. The sooner they left, the sooner they’d be hanging with the band. Wouldn’t Annie be surprised.

    A silver Jeep drove up, the driver a darker-skinned man with a bright smile. Someone hopped down from the passenger side. Obscured by his Army duffle, it took some minutes before Harley saw their face, and well. Wasn’t that a surprise. Ali was a man.

    A very fine-boned, fragile looking man, but definitely not a woman, at least not biologically. His smile echoed the brightness of the driver as, with a wave, he took off.

    "My brother. And I’m Ali Said."

    "Like the character on Lost," Harley said.

    Ali tilted his head to the side, frowning, but shrugged. "More or less."

    "Who says that?" she asked, holding out her hand for the bag so she could pack it with her things. "More or less? It’s seems like a way of saying nothing."

    "I do," Ali said. His teeth flashed again, and for a moment, he looked positively wicked. Delicate, but still very handsome. Harley sighed a little in envy; the word delicate had never been one used to describe her.

    "Are you ready to go?"

    "Almost," Ali said. "But first I must pray."

    She suppressed a groan. So not only a dude, but a religious dude. Harley was not impressed.

    "Do you accept the lord as your savior?" he asked.

    "Um, no. Look, I’m not sure this is going to work, I…"

    "Just kidding. C’mon, let’s get this show on the road."