Fourth Wall

Ever seen the movie Stranger Than Fiction? It’s about a man who starts hearing a woman’s voice narrating his daily activities, and he gradually begins to understand that he’s the protagonist in her—the author’s—in-progress novel.

This is far from the first story with a character who breaks the fourth wall, of course. The technique dates back to (at least) Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but it’s particularly notable in Shakespeare’s works, with characters such as Iago and Hamlet regularly scheming and soliloquizing directly to the audience. The Marvel character Deadpool is another notable example (see above), as well as Ferris Bueller and Daffy Duck in cinema and TV.

Naturally the term breaking the fourth wall comes from plays (the wall being the imaginary barrier separating the characters on stage and the audience watching them), but in literature, it’s most often called metafiction, though this term is a bit more broad. Examples include Kurt Vonnegut appearing as a character in Breakfast of Champions, Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire, and even Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (though that last one is debatable considering it’s a fantastical autobiography of sorts). Anyway, to the prompt!

Writing Prompt

Write a story or scene in which one or more of the characters knows that they are in a story. How long have they known? Do they care?

If you want, take it a step further: The narrator absolutely hates one of the characters.

10 Easy Writing Prompts to Get Your Life Story Started

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65 thoughts on “Fourth Wall

  1. lexilyn23

    As the knife plunged deeper in the enemies chest, Charles’ satisfaction inflated and when the hilt of the dagger reached the rib cage he yanked back aggressively shoving the half-dead man to the ground. The sadistic smirk on his face as he looked down at his victory left little to the imagination; he enjoyed the slaughter. He didn’t know why, somewhere deep in his back story was written that way.

    The man on the ground sputtered and writhed, trying to tell Charles something but there is no talking in war, just action. He rose the blood soaked knife, ready for the final blow when the man began to sob uncontrollably and finally managed to ask, “Why?”

    That caught Charles off guard and for a tenth of a second hesitated. This gave the man a chance to sway his executioner. As best as he could, he sat up, the hole in his chest ripping and dripping.

    “Think about it, why are you doing this? What’s the purpose?”

    Charles rolled his eyes but decided to appease him. “This is a war man. All’s fair in war.” and to prove that point, a stray bullet found its way into the mans left bicep.

    He didn’t flinch and instead stared at Charles with a fire that he has never seen. “Who’s war? Who gave us the marching orders? I don’t remember having a captain or a convoy, do you? Do you remember anything before this? All I ever thought was to kill the enemy but now, I don’t know why.”

    Too close

    Charles chalked the gibberish to a dead mans plea and out of mercy silenced him forever. The sounds of war surrounded him. The sadist in him wanted to join in on the fun, but something else held him back. Something new and alarming caused him to halt his progress and contemplate the last kill. He didn’t want to kill him then-

    Yes you did.

    He wanted to listen more because he was making sense.

    No he wasn’t

    For the life of him, he couldn’t remember a concrete detail from his past except flashes of color and sounds. Of disembodied voices telling him that this is this because of this and that’s all. Was that an actual life? Was is worth it?

    Oh boy, another high and mighty protagonist going against his character development to make himself seem more dynamic. I just want one who doesn’t question why and just does it because it is written.

    He could hear the voice but instinctively knew there was no reason to look for it. Instead he dropped to his knees and clasped his hands together tight, breathing hard.

    “Please, who ever you are, give me answers. Is it true this is a useless war, that I am a useless foot solider to satisfy your boredom? That I don’t matter?”

    Silence followed and Charles gritted his teeth, becoming impatience like all the other times. He tried again;

    “Just one answer! You owe me that much!”

    I owe you? You are my character I have spent so long to create and now I owe you? I gave you life! I gave you purpose and determination. Sure, your back story can be built up a little more, and this war does need a reason, but to question your existence is selfish. I didn’t write you to do that.

    Charles bowed his head, tears spilled out, dripping on the ground. To know that everything you are is a lie crushes your being. He didn’t know if he wanted to continue. He knew that dying was not an option for him a few minutes ago but what the voice said made it feel there was no other way. So he looked up again and plead, “Do what you will. Just make it swift.”

    Are you sure? I can make you better. I can write a happy life for you, give you the woman of your dreams, I know who it is, and a bunch of kids, and every Sunday you’ll go hunting with your army buddies. Doesn’t that sound much better than ending it here? I need you Charles.

    “No,” he said with certainty. “I want to choose when I die, if that is the only choice I get in this life.”

    I can honor that.

    Before anything happened, Charles heard a familiar voice calling for him amongst the chaos. “Charlie!”

    It was Megan, a close friend who shouldn’t have been there. She was supposed to be with the other snipers but instead she was running towards him, dodging enemies, jumping over fallen soldiers, arms stretched open with her M14 strapped to her back .

    Charles saw then what he wanted and it wasn’t death. He saw everything the voice told him, a bright future with her away from this. He called for her too, waiting to embrace her, ready to hope.

    I know this because I sent her there and opened the way for hope to seep in. Just like I positioned an enemy sniper to set his scope on him, to aim and pull the trigger, and as that perfectly shot bullet flew threw time and space and impaled his right temple, I took the hope away.

    Charles’ lifeless body toppled over at the feet of Megan who knelt down in agony and held him. Fury and justice poured through her and just like that, I gave her purpose.

    Give a character a reason to fight and she won’t stop until she wins.

  2. readerwannabewiter

    I can’t remember when I found out. I don’t even know if it was something I actually had to find out, or if there was just a part of me that always knew. Either way realizing that you aren’t a real person, that the world you know and love isn’t real, is kind of super weird. Accepting that you are just a character in some cheesy YA novel about the end of the world, where miraculously a group of high school students somehow survive using their unrealistically high knowledge of the outdoors, really sucks. See the funny thing is I can’t even be in a book that will someday have Literary Merit, no I have to be stuck in a book that will be turned into an even worse movie. I can’t really say how I feel about it, somewhere between utter annoyance and indifference. I know I should care, but if it’s always been this way I can’t mourn a reality that didn’t exist. So I guess by starting this journal I’m- dammit, someone just opened the book. I guess it’s time to go.

  3. JosephFazzone

    “All we all here?” First asked.

    “Aren’t we always here?” Second’s question snapped everyone present on the wrist. “This is ridiculous.”

    “Don’t be so angry,” Third moaned. “You’re always complaining.”

    “Am not,” Second griped. “It’s just that First always has to start with that stupid joke. Of course, we’re all here. We couldn’t leave if we wanted to.”

    “Not without the roof coming down,” Third observed critically.

    “You know, Third. I’m not surprised you’re the one with the window, and that air conditioner vent.”

    “Get it?” Fourth says to you the reader? It’s snappy dialogue, right? No? Well, while these guys are having an argument about, well being walls, I am that mystic all powerful fourth wall. I rule man. I’m the one keeping the score, keeping it real, keeping it in check. So, for just a sec, recollect, and check the subject as it folds, all the while wondering why I bothered to write so many words in a row that had an ECK or ECT thing flowing. MYSTIC! Ok, back to this argument.

    “Fourth’s doing it again.” Third complained.

    “Mystic,” First observed.

    “You are only helping the situation.” Second proclaimed with the exacerbation of a pelican choking down a spork!

    “Right,” Fourth turns back to you the reader. “Right there is the proof positive that Sporks do have a place in the literary world. This is literary madness! Well the eyes should be on that guy over there. Joseph Fazzone who is literally shaking his head and smiling while in ponders the reason he’s writing this at 7:34am on a Saturday when he could be sleeping.

    “NO MORE YOU!” First says to me. “Get back to the story.”
    “Sorry guys.”

    The four walls shake their heads with the wisdom, I always imagined I’d someday have.

    “So, the point of this morning’s meeting,” First began again, “Sans the rude criticisms of my meager attempt at humor.”

    “Sans the humor, you mean, definitely sans that,” Second agreed a bit too agreeably.

    First paused. Shot Second a very stern and reproaching look if he could turn just forty-five more degrees to the left. “Your curtains are showing.”

    Fourth pipes in. “You see dear reader. The fourth wall is here to explain the current plot as the author thinks its going. He has no idea what direction this story is going. The idea of it all has him in amusement, and he’s flying from the seat of his, well, pajama pants.”

    “Pajama pants! Skillfully avoiding the cliché!” JosephFazzone says.

    “Oh yeah,” the walls said in monotone. “You have deceived us all.”

    “Sorry everyone,” I say to everyone. Even you who have now spent about well, about sixty or seconds since we first began. Right now, you might be smirking, you might be snickering, you might be snarking, or any word that starts with an s and ends with an ‘ing’, thing. Alas it is time for me to go…

    “Wait, wait…” First wall cries out, “The meeting…”

    “My daughter is literally punching my butt as I lean over and type this. I can’t stay I got to… “
    Fourth says, “Alas, this story is ended before it ever got off the ground, and how little time the author have to write.”

    “Hanging by a thread of pajama pants!”

    Another cliche avoided!

  4. cosi van tutte

    I couldn’t help doing just one more for the fun of it.

    Great Villain Swordornski stormed majestically through the dark and haunted woods. A black and horrible scar marred his face. His raven black hair streamed behind him in torturous waves of danger and death and—-

    “OOO! What’s that?”

    Never mind that. Ahem. Uhh, where was I? Uhh blahblahblah woods…scar…hair…

    “It looks like a wall!”

    Never MIND that! Uh, yes. Um, His raven black hair streamed behind him in torturous waves of danger and death and bleak fury. Any who was fool enough to look upon him would surely—-

    “There’s a sign on this wall. Fourth wall? What does that mean? Where are the other walls? Were they destroyed?”


    Great Villain Swordornski’s eyes flashed with rage powerful enough to summon demons and—-

    “Huh. Look at that. In case of Fourth Wall breaking, please use this. OOOOOOOO!!! DYNAMITE!”

    NO! Don’t touch the dynamite. What? Where’d you get the lighter from? Why are you lighting the fuse?

    “There’s going to be a big kaboom.”


    Swordonski rubbed his hands gleefully. “A very big—-”


    That does it! I quit! I will never narrate for you ever again!

    1. Bushkill

      You caught me sleeping a little. I thought the wall was writers block and you were going to take us on a wild, bantering, brawl.
      Kaboom! Fourth wall. I liked it a lot, very clever.

  5. snuzcook

    Creature Comforts

    Oh God, here she comes again. Why can’t she just sell Girl Scout cookies, or go hang out at the mall like other eleven year olds?

    Knock knock knock.

    “Go away.”

    “Grandma, it’s me! It’s Little Red Riding Hood!”

    “Nobody’s home!”

    “Mom sent me with some nettle tea for your sore throat and nice stinky rub for your chest!”

    That explains why the old woman was wheezing so badly. “Don’t want any!”


    “Grandma, it’s good for you. Open up!”

    Why can’t the brat leave me in peace? It’s not like I’m doing anything wrong. Not really. Is wearing women’s clothing so terrible? A flannel nighty and a lacey night cap just give me such … pleasure.


    A feather mattress, goose-down pillows, crisp sheets and a quilt sown with love, even a lavender sachet…heaven! I could stay here all winter.

    “Leave it on the doorstep, Dear. I don’t want you to catch my cold.”

    “I won’t, I never catch anything. Besides, it’s a good deed, and I have to do a good deed every day. My Sunday school teacher said so.”

    “Grrrr. I said GO AWAY!”

    “You do sound hoarse. I’ll just get the key from under the mat and let myself in.”

    If I didn’t already have a full stomach, I could really tear this little cherub limb from limb.

    “Oh, Grandma. You poor thing. You must really feel terrible. Your tidy little house is a mess! I’ll just get the kettle on the fire and put a few things right. How ever did these chairs get knocked over?”

    “A…a squirrel got in and I had to chase him out. You know how hard squirrels are to catch!”

    “Oh, you poor thing. You must be exhausted!”

    “Yes, I am very tired. You should probably go so I can have my nap.”

    “Not until you’ve had your tea. And your voice is so rumbly. Here, let me put some stinky rub on your chest.”


    “I know it smells bad, but you’ll feel much better. Just lay back.”

    She’s really asking for it.

    “Why Grandma, what big eyes you have.”

    Sigh. I have a feeling this isn’t going to end well for either of us. Why couldn’t she just leave well enough alone?

      1. snuzcook

        Hi Andrew,
        Over the years, I’ve forgotten most of the format commands–others on this site probably have them at hand. When successful, italics is ‘‘ before the phrase and ‘‘ after to close the format command; bold is ‘ before and ‘‘ after. Obviously I mis-typed the close commands in my piece so bold and italics did not close when I wanted.. When I do it this way, the text does not change on screen until I hit SUBMIT, so it is always a bit of fingers-crossed moment. Good luck!

        1. snuzcook

          Oh, that is almost funny a bit asinine–even when in quotes the formatting took over. Trying again: italics is ” to open, ” to close. Bold commands are ” and ”.

          1. snuzcook

            Left arrow, letter ‘i’, right arrow to initiate italics. Left arrow, forward slash, letter I, right arrow to close italics. Use letter ‘b’ to do same with bold.
            Going back to bed!

          2. Andrew

            Somehow it seems like it’s not working for me – or I’m simply doing it wrong.
            Thanks for the explanation! I’ll figure it out someday! 🙂

          1. RafTriesToWrite

            I do it by starting a sentence with the command of bold say I want to bold: “Hello”. Now if I want it to be bold, I type less than, b, greater than “your text here” less than, /b, greater than, and post.
            The “/” part is to end the bolded text, without it it’ll be bold for the entire text until you command it to end.
            Example: “Hello”
            The same can be done with italics, but instead of “b”, replace it with “i”.
            For visuals please remove the asterisk and replace it with less than: *b>”Your text here”*/b>

  6. dustymayjane

    Rett Mustang waited and watched as Martha processed ideas for the final chapter of ‘The Rogue Cowboy’.

    “Ugh! Is she ever going to get to the end of this story? Look at her, sitting there. How many pencils has she chewed to bits? Start putting words on paper Martha! Enough with the thinking. At some point I’d like things to just, sort of, eventually, go my way. You know, get the girl. Enjoy the kiss and see where it goes, instead of having to take a cold shower every time I spend a few paragraphs with Claire. And what was she thinking, sending Eve in to my apartment dressed in that tiny bit of lace? I enjoyed the surprise. Don’t get me wrong. But I thought my heart belonged to Claire.”

    Martha knew Rett would eventually get Claire in his bed, but Claire was an independent woman and no one was going to get her to bed until she was ready.

    “Okay Rett, you little devil. Let’s see what kind of trouble you’re getting in today. Do you want another hot date with Eve? Or shall we send Claire over to finally give you what you’ve been waiting for?”

    Martha’s fingers flew over the keys and Rett, once again found himself back under the spray of a cold shower. Claire’s need to call the shots was only a reflection of Martha’s shortcomings in her own love life and Rett knew it.

    He’d had enough and once Martha retreated from her laptop for the night, he took matters in hand. He was going to call the shots tonight.

    Claire was surprised to see Rett through the peephole of her apartment door at such a late hour. Her blood raced, her heart pounding in her chest. The effort to compose herself proved futile. She swung the door open and looked down her nose as best she could, while standing as tall as her five foot three inches allowed. Rett’s boyish grin was the only thing she could see under the shadow of his brimmed hat.

    “Rett! What are you doing here at this late hour?” Claire blushed and breathed heavily, knowing full well his intentions.

    “I think you know.” Rett pulled Clair into his arms and ravished her waiting mouth.

    Claire allowed herself the indulgence of the hot, wet kiss before pulling back. “Oh Rett. I thought Martha would have done this pages and pages ago.”

    Rett smirked and wondered how Martha was going to take the news. “Martha’s in for a big surprise when she opens her laptop in the morning.”

    “Rett! What did you do?” Claire loved this cowboy and could only guess.

    “I went rogue Darling. Rogue.” And he swept Claire up in his arms and carried her to bed.

  7. creaturescry

    Once upon a time there was….

    “Almighty Writer, are you really going with that?” The knight asked, glaring at his script, “That is the most Generic opening line I’ve ever heard.”

    Can’t you just go with it for now?

    “I’m just sayn’ that you’re not going to get anyone to read this if it starts out this way.”

    Once upon a time there was a knight named Eric. He was by far the worst knight that ever existed and everyone hated him.

    “Now you’re just being immature,” he scoffed, fanning himself with the script.

    “Who’s being immature?” The wizard asked, poking his head into the room.

    “The Almighty Writer.”

    The wizard was about to speak when his eyes became empty and he muttered, “I hate you Eric.”

    Feel my power taking effect you pathetic knight! Now you’ll have to follow my demands!

    “Just because Merlin clone over here says he hates me?” Eric groaned, his eyes rolling dramatically, “Oh I’m shaking, look at how scared I am.”

    The Knight, while unaffected by the power of a greater being, was absolutely terrified of the color pink.

    “Pink? Really Pink?” Eric laughed, nearly falling to the ground, “So I’m afraid of pink then? Thats hilarious!”

    On the other hand, Walter the wizard, loved the color pink. So he used all his magic to turn every inch of the world pink for all eternity.

    Walter the Wizard snapped out of his trance and snapped his fingers, “ I’m feeling a little pink today.”

    “This isn’t going to work dummy,” Eric shouted, throwing his script on the ground.

    Walter left the room and shouted, “Oh MY GOD! I TURNED THE WORLD PINK! I LOVE PINK!”

    Eric left the room as well, “Ha, like this is going to have any….NOOOOOO THE HORROR!”

    I think this is a perfect place to end your story Eric!

    “Please Help me! Save me from this insanity….”

    The end.

  8. Moon2

    The zombies begin to overwhelm Bailey. She continues to fight, slicing off arms and legs, but she can feel herself tiring. She doesn’t know how much longer she will be able to hold up.

    “Hey author dude!” Bailey says.

    “Now what?” replies the author.

    “Can’t you just write a book where the characters live in peace? Zombies really suck.”

    “No. Now be a good little character and fight the zombies.”

    “But I’m tired. Someone’s coming to help me, right?”

    The author contemplates his story, trying to decide Bailey’s fate.

    “My fate! You can’t kill me! I’m the main character!”

    “Look at what happened to Romeo and Juliet.”

    “What! No! Please!”

    Bailey decapitates another zombie, but then cries out in pain as sharp nails slice through her back.


    “Serves you right.”

    “Sup, guys,” another voice says.

    “Who are you?” asks the author. “You’re not in my story.”

    “I am the true author. You are my creation. Now, what should happen next?”

    “Save me from the zombies!” begs Bailey. “Please!”

    “I’ve got something even better.”

    There is a bright flash of light and both the author and Bailey disappear.

    “Finally, peace and quiet.”

    What the

    It’s a


    Authors of Writers Digest, I give you a warning. Breaking the fourth wall results in terrible consequences that Moon has just suffered. You are all apart of my story. You will all subject to my will. The time has come.

  9. Bushkill

    Fourth Wall
    Sweat glistened, flashing in diamond-like brilliance as the light reflected in prismatic waves. I longed for it, reached for it, my tall drink of wate…

    “Hey, buddy. Yeah, you, pecking away at the keyboard. Enough with the carnal creations of basic items. I realize I am just a whimsy of your fancy, but I got feelings too.”

    “Uh, not really. Your feelings are what I give you and …”

    “Stow it, Twinkles. Two weeks in a row I’ve been losing my mind over the mundane as if I starred in some action romance movie. You need to back off the dime-store smut novels.”

    “I don’t read tha…”

    “Well, you picked the jargon up from somewhere. Every time I close my eyes, I see a cup of coffee. Every time a cool breeze blows I am pining for ice cream. Vanilla, even.”

    “Yes, well, I am trying to make sure my fellow readers understand the nuances of your charac…”

    “I call bs. Your titillating descriptions are tripe and if you do it again, I’m calling the Union.”

    “Union? Interesting word. Did you know it can be used to describe the passionate embrace of two desperately in lo…”

    “For the love of Pete, I am…”

    “I never named a lover “Pete.” Who is Pete and how long have you been seeing him on the side?”

    “For a chap that likes to turn phrases around, you can be pretty obtuse. I don’t want to be used. I don’t want to live the cheap romances you’ve been typing.”

    “I see.”

    “I want action. I want adventure. Something with meat on the bones. Teeth, you know, get the audience hooked.”

    “I thought I had them hooked with your passionate desire. Teeth is really too much for a blog like this.”

    “You just type, word-nerd.”

    “Ok.” –>The ground shook with every step my pursuer took and trees snapped around me as I raced past the edge of the forest and into the clear.

    “That’s better! Look at me go!”

    A scream, primal and torn from the annals of time ripped through the forest after me. I covered my ears, diving for cover in the tall grass. A Jurassic nightmare thundered …

    “Woah. What the heck? I …”

    My legs burned, unaccustomed to such labor. Inside my chest, my beleaguered heart strained against years of sedentary existence to keep my not-quite-obese self goin…

    “Hang on, what are…”

    “You wanted meat on the bones. Teeth.”

    “Well, yeah, but …”

    I wanted to run. I needed to run. I screamed instead, a wall of fetid breath slamming me as precursor to a picket-fence worth of toothy, carnivore maw plucked me from the grass. My scream rose higher as I felt my bones snapping and flesh tearing.

    “Hey, dad! You almost done? We need to leave if we want the best seats for the new Dino movie.”

    “Just tidying up some character details, kiddo. Be right there.”

    “Not funny, typer-man, not funny.”

    “You want that Union number now?”

  10. rlk67


    “Don’t worry, Julie. He can’t do anything. We finally have him tied up.”

    “Are you sure, Arthur? He’s quite dangerous, you know. I’m still nervous.”


    “Chill out, Mr. King. The tables have turned. No more rabid dogs attacking us. No more mad ladies with lawn mowers. Or fatal epidemics to wipe us out. No more Gunslingers or Mother spiders in the next world ruling us. Now it’s our turn to…”

    “ARTHUR!! NOOO!!!”

    “Good afternoon, my lovely characters. It seems I didn’t write you to tie knots. Look! I’m free. Oh, so, so sad.”


    “Let’s continue our story. ‘Arthur and Julie suddenly exploded without any warning.’ Ooohhh…My publisher will love this.”


    “Oh, so sad. Chapter 11….”

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      Andrew, I was going to mention the George Burns and Gracie Allen TV show, but I’ll bet you, and most folks here, are too young to remember. Perhaps you could google “breaking the fourth wall,” or read a few more stories here.

      1. Andrew

        Thank you Hack and Reatha for the answer! (So this isn’t like the other prompts, huh?)
        I kinda got an idea of “breaking the fourth wall.” It’s just like actors from Modern Family facing directly at the camera lens at certain point of time while sitting on a couch, right? (if you watch that TV show!)
        By the way I was expecting for a fictional prompt this week – haha.

  11. ShamelessHack

    Up to now, I’ve been very proud of the two protagonists in my story.
    And they’ve been doing very well. Up until today, that is.
    She’s acting awfully cagey and weird.
    I’m not exactly sure what gotten into her…

    “Oh, my love. You must be hungry, at least a little bit.”
    “Not really, sweetheart.
    “C’mon, handsome, just one bite. It’s red, round, delicious. And it’s a great source of anti-oxidants.”
    “Oh, all right. Just one bite.”

    What the hell! You’re kidding me! How’d that snake get in there?
    Damn it—to Hell with the characters in this story.

    I’m banishing them both.

    1. Andrew

      Before Reatha and your answer, I was like “WHAT?!” when reading your story (even after finishing this story).
      Then after I learned what it was, “Ah, nice one, Hack!” This prompt is very unusual, yet I like it.

  12. jhowe

    It starts out as a gentle hum, just a subtle buzzing in my head. I try to ignore it; will it out of my manic brain, but I know it’s no use.

    ‘It’s a gift,’ my grandmother used to tell me. ‘Embrace it,’ she’d say over and over. Now she torments me from her well-deserved grave, but not as often Jules Verne, the bastard. He’s contacting me again… hence the buzzing in my head.

    What does he want this time? To ask how we managed to make it to the moon? How airplanes fly? The father of science fiction my ass. He has a head as screwed up as mine but he knows how to profit from it. I fight it as long as I can, but I can’t turn it off. He’s here and he’s on a mission.

    “My good man,” Jules Verne says.

    “What is it now?” I say.

    “Don’t be testy, I come in peace.”

    “You’re using me, Jules.” Perhaps my voice is a little prickly.

    “Only for the ongoing pursuit of science, my boy.”

    “Just tell me what you want to know.” He’s probably writing another novel to finance the support of his mistress again.

    “If you want to dispense with pleasantries, then perhaps you can tell me of mankind’s greatest advancement in your century.”

    “But there’s been so many,” I say.

    “Tell me just one, and I’ll travel the bygone path.”

    “Cell phones.”

    “Cell phones?”

    “Show yourself, Jules.” He does. He stands before me, gray hair askew, black jacket and vest, a jaunty bow tie. I take my phone from my pocket and turn on Spotify. Billy Joel is belting out a tune.

    “What dribble is this?” he says, eyes wide. I activate my ring tone, a train whistle. Jules ducks and whirls around.

    “This is a cell phone,” I say. “We text on them, listen to them, travel to unknown destinations via its uncanny ability to navigate, play games on them, write on them, ask them questions when we don’t know the answer and sometimes, we even make phone calls on them.”

    Jules, slack jawed, asks, “You talk to them?”

    I speak. “Siri, who is the father of science fiction?”

    “The father of science fiction title is often given to H.G Wells,” she says.

    “What?” Jules roars. “Who is this tart?”

    “Siri, who is Jules Verne?”

    “Jules Verne is a French novelist, poet and playwright, often considered to be one of History’s greatest minds.”

    “Well, ahem,” he says. “Tell her I apologize for my previous outburst.” He starts to fade. “I think I’ll go back now and write of this mysterious cell phone.”

    “It won’t work Jules. The world isn’t ready for it. Take my advice and think, Giant Kraken.” He nods as he disappears. He’ll be back, but I hope not anytime soon.

  13. ReathaThomasOakley

    Marge, Arlee, and the Puppet Master
    (Not exactly to the prompt)

    “Arlee,” Marge called from the kitchen. “I’ve been thinking.”

    In the den her husband quickly grabbed the AARP magazine from the table next to his recliner. Wouldn’t do for Marge to think he was just sitting, doing nothing.

    “Yes, Dear, what were you thinking?” He opened to the page on boring legislative action as Marge came into the room.

    “Remember when the children were little and we always seemed to have a cat or a dog or two underfoot?” She sat in the club chair and folded her hands in her lap, a sure sign something important was coming.

    “I do remember,” Arlee closed the magazine. “I also recall after Robbie took Snickerdoodle when he got married with our traveling and cruises and gardening we decided not to get a pet of our own.” Perhaps she didn’t remember, Arlee worried.

    “Oh, of course I know that. It’s just. . . ” She got that faraway, dreamy look that worried him almost more than memory loss.”

    “Yes? Just what?”

    “You’ll think me a very silly goose, but this morning, after Ladies Circle, well, Carol invited me back to her house to see something special.” Marge unfolded her hands, stood, and started pacing.

    “Oh, Arlee! I never told you, but this young cat that sort of adopted Carol and Dan got in the family way before they could have her spaded and now she’s had three of the sweetest babies you’ve ever seen.” Marge stopped in front of her husband’s chair.

    “Arlee, the children mostly come to see us, with your back problems we don’t cruise any more and we hire folks for yard work. If we would travel, most hotels that are accessible are also pet friendly.”

    “Marge?” He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you saying you want a cat?”

    “Please listen, Dear. I know you won’t believe this but the little girl kitten gave a baby yawn, looked at me, and, if I swore, I’d swear she was telling me she was mine.” Marge moved to the side of the recliner and took her husband’s hand. “Would you please just come with me to Carol’s, please?”

    An hour later, the tiny tabby snuggled, purring, under Arlee’s left ear, and with a satisfied kitten grin, smiled at the blank wall behind them and heard in the ancient language, “Well done.”

    1. Bushkill

      Awesome. Kitten’s turn people to mush. (most people). My wife won’t let me visit the animal shelter anymore because whenever I go in, I always come out with some poor creature in need of a home, a meal, and the next 10 plus years of our lives.
      I’ve been relegated to pet rocks.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks. My father was ademant, No cats! But, my mother would hear him early mornings asking if the cat had a good night or was hungry. Mush.

  14. cosi van tutte

    How could I resist such an awesome prompt? I couldn’t. So, here we go…


    (And tonight, Percy Perceven, is going to have breakfast on his own personal piazza. Isn’t he just a lucky little flower?)

    Percy glanced around. “What is that voice I hear? Hello?”

    (Oh, look. He’s trying to communicate with me. Yippee. Oh, the thrill of it all.)

    Percy frowned. “I’m not sure I like your attitude.”

    (One rude raspberry sound effect coming your way. Pllbbbbt! Percy scratched his head and hooted like a monkey.)

    “I most certainly did not!”

    (Did too.)

    “Did not!”


    “Not! Not! Not!”

    (Oh, you said Not! three times in a row. You sooo win at life. Percy sat down on the ground and contemplated the state of the universe.)

    “Well. That isn’t too bad. I can do that.”

    (He did it without a stitch of clothes on.)

    “What? Since when am I an exhibitionist?”

    (Since the day you were born. Percy nodded his head and acknowledged this sad truth.)

    “Uhhhh. No. There’s no truth in that. I, Percy Perceven, was born wearing a onesie!”

    (HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh. Sorry. *clears throat* That is what Percy said, but he knew the truth. The truth he kept hidden from those nearest and dearest to him. He was a closeted exhibitionist. He would sit in his closet stark—-)

    “No. No. No. No. Everything you’re saying? Yeah, no. It is a thick fabric of lies. Lies most foul and—-”

    (Takes a liar to recognize a lie. *smug smile* Percy realized that the omniscient narrator was right. He had been right all along, because…duh. Omniscient.)

    “You know what? I don’t like where this story is going. I just wanted to have a nice breakfast on my piazza and you ruined it. Thanks. Thank you so much. I’m going inside now.”

    (Percy gathered up his plates of scrambled eggs and ham and toast and a jar of jelly and a plate of butter and a glass of orange juice and a glass of tomato juice and a glass of apple juice and a cup of coffee and a coffee carafe and an orange juice carafe and a tomato juice carafe and an apple juice carafe and a creamer shaped like a mooing cow and—-)

    “Wait. How am I carrying all of this?”

    (*evil grin* Of course, all of that was simply too much for one mortal man to carry. The tea cup and the corresponding teapot was the tipping point. They all tippled and toppled and fell into a calamitous mess. All over the floor. All over the ground. All over his pressed linen suit with gaudy gold lapels.)

    “That is not…Oh, forget it. Just forget it. I’m going now. Good-bye!”

    (*evil , triumphant cackle* Mission complete. I didn’t want to tell his story, anyway.)

  15. Madhuri Karra

    I wanted to kill Ralph Haynes.

    Maybe strangle him with my bare hands. Or sink my heels into his throat.

    I slumped into my couch and kicked the coffee table in front of me. I hated my boss. If only I could find a way to relax myself before work began…

    I looked at my laptop resting on the table and frowned. There was one way I could let all my violent wishes for Ralph come true.

    Write them myself.

    I had this weird habit of writing stories based on people I either loved or hated. When writing about people I hated, I make sure they get their backs kicked in the story. The idea makes me sound a little crazy but it is similar to throwing darts on the photo of a person you hate.

    So, I opened a Word document and started typing. After writing a brief introduction into the story, I paused. What should I name this character, I thought?

    The name should be a little scary. Huge. Wild.

    Whale. Milton Whale.

    Smiling to myself, I continued to write the story. I reached until today’s point in the timeline and paused again. What to write next?

    [i]I sat on my couch, killing the remote while trying to change channels when I heard my phone beep. Even before I saw the sender, my heart recognized it. They say when you are in love your heart senses your lover even before your senses do. Guess it’s the same with hate as well, I thought. Indeed it was Milton Whale. I opened the email and read the contents.[/i]

    [i]Stop doing whatever you are doing and get yourself up here. I asked you to be here by seven and it is already ten past seven. We don’t have all the day. And print the attachment on the way. Don’t bring the loose pages. Get it spiral bound.[/i]

    [i]My boss never had the habit of dropping a signature in his emails. People can see my name in the sender, he would say. I had only a second to process the email before the phone rang. I looked at the caller and almost felt like throwing the phone.[/i]

    [i]Milton Whale.[/i]

    I clicked enter and took a deep breath when my phone beeped. Not in the story. My real one. Next to me. On the couch. And I felt the same sensation Rachel did in the story. I knew who the sender was. Nerves tingling, I picked up my phone and looked at the notification on the screen.


    The phone fell to the floor with a thud and I almost jumped into the couch, though I was already sitting on it.

    What the!

    Telling myself I was dreaming, I picked up the phone and looked at the sender again.

    No freaking way!

    [i]Milton Whale[/i]

    No. No. No….

    How on earth?

    My hands started trembling and a drop of sweat trickled down my cheek. Gathering my wits, I opened the mail. Something about the mail told me I would be screaming again. I filled my lungs with air and clicked on the email. The mail loaded and I felt the air leave my lungs.

    Subject: It’s Ralph Haynes. My email is locked so I created a fake one.


    Stop doing whatever you are doing and get yourself up here. I asked you to be here by seven and it is already ten past seven. We don’t have all the day. And print the attachment on the way. Don’t bring the loose pages. Get it spiral bound.

    Surely I was dreaming. I would wake up and laugh at myself for this. No way this could be true. Just then, my phone rang. The sound felt like a death bell to my ears. It pierced though every cell in my brain. One look at the caller and everything else faded.

    Ralph Haynes.

  16. Nicole Coffey

    Gage Morello sat wiping the bumper of a 2011 Ford he managed to spread black handprints over when he pulled out from under it. He wiped what was left of the grease on his shirt. Gage slapped the dirty rag over a nearby rack of funnels then finally left the garage. That’s when he saw me. He pulled one of those haughty faces, you know the kind, the one that said he was superior to the situation. To be fair, I’m sure he was and I know he still is. These days he’s out of that shop though, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
    “Hey.” I greeted.
    I sat on the trunk of my car, which put me eye to beautiful brown eye with the man. Grease stained his cheek where he’d been wiping sweat.
    Gage said. “The fuck are you doing here pretty boy?”
    “Watch your language.” I reprimanded. “There could be children reading this story.”
    The man chuckled. He leaned against my car too, though his weight pushed the framework a bit. “I hope not. This is rated for a reason. Besides I never agreed to this anyway.”
    I shrugged. I never agreed for Nicole to know the thoughts in my head or display them to you guys, but she tells the story from a place of love, and hoping other people get a laugh or a lesson from it, so unlike Gage I didn’t mind.
    “Gabrielle told me you’d be here.” I said, in reply to his question. “I knew if I wanted to see you again, I’d have to do the legwork, because your pride gets in the way.”
    “Last I checked, you liked my pride.” Gage winked.
    His innuendo shot sparks through my cheeks. I jumped down from the trunk and followed him back inside the family owned mechanic shop. He hoisted the car up to retrieve forgotten tools.
    “Ok, Hercules, you can make yourself out to be whatever you want, but don’t make me into something I’m not.”
    What I wasn’t, was easy. It’d take more than one date for me to assess his pride. Gage ignored my presence, and clearly ignored my search for commitment to another date. It didn’t bother me, I had all day. Memorial weekend gave me a vacation from the bakery where I worked, so until something more immediately gratifying came my way, I could wait.

  17. RafTriesToWrite

    Even stranger than stranger than fiction (I enjoyed Stranger than fiction by the way)

    “So Mike, how long has this been happening?” Dr. Andrews waved in circular motion pertaining to Andrew’s dilemma as to why he’s at a psychologist and not in an asylum. Was he going insane? Was he hallucinating? Or was he having episodes?

    Mike looks around, paranoia eating him. He doesn’t know what to do, yet Dr. Andrews just stares at him and Mike wonders why.

    “Uhm. It’s been three weeks now”

    “Three weeks” Dr. Andrews repeated his words. Mike was feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, he hopes to hear his doctor’s thoughts but alas, he cannot. “And tell me Mike, what does this voice say?”

    Mike was hesitant, he may think that his doctor might put him in the nut house.

    “Shut up!” Mike yelled as he sat up straight.

    “Is the voice speaking again Mike?”


    “What’s it saying?”

    “Nothing right now”

    “Tell me, what does this voice want?”

    “I don’t know. He just…”

    “Just what?”

    “He just narrates”


    “Things that I do, things that I think about. It’s like a broken record and I can’t make it stop.”

    “I see. Tell me more”

    “At first it was fun, I thought it was cool. But then yesterday he narrated something unusual, something horrible”

    “How so?”

    “Yesterday morning, I was eating breakfast and he narrated ‘Mike was eating his usual breakfast of cheerios while he reflected his life from the past, his girlfriend dumping him, his father leaving their family at the early age of five, his sister moving away because she’d been a drug addict. He seemed fond of remembering terrible things from the past, but little did he know, an imminent danger awaits our young character’ and that’s when I lost it”

    “I see. Did you try talking to him?”

    “I tried, but he doesn’t seem to hear me though. It’s like I’m some part of a story and I can’t help but go with it.”

    “I suggest not aggravating the voice” Dr. Andrews’ voice sounded like he’s not convinced at all with Mike’s story. He thought he could trust him, but then again, Mike has been struggling with trust issues recently.

    “So you just want me to continue to live my life? As if this voice isn’t here at all?” Mike was furious. He thought having a psychologist meant having someone to talk to, someone to listen to him, someone who can be with his side. But by the looks of things, Mike feels that Dr. Andrews might be against him after all.

    “I recommend, trying new things. New stimuli can often lead to good results to a normal functioning brain. It gives you something else to think about, something new to try, something different, something out of the ordinary.” Mike pondered Dr. Andrews’ plea for a moment. Perhaps trying new things is just what Mike really needed.

    “Okay doc. Thanks”

    “See you next week Mike”


    Mike left the building feeling a little bit more reassured, but little did he know that his life is still in great peril.

    “Ah f**k!”

    1. Bushkill

      I love the last line. Kind of sums up what it is like when you think you have things sorted only to have the whole dumped at your feet again.


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