A Mad Scientist Approches You

A mad scientist approaches you with an offer: He has a secret potion that will help you get the thing you want most in this world—be it a person, a thing, an ability, etc. What you don’t know (and won’t reveal until the end of your story) is that there is one dire consequence (not death) from drinking the potion.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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379 thoughts on “A Mad Scientist Approches You

  1. kathleenmagner

    Pausing before the set of bronzed gates, Trent slid his thumbs along his backpack’s straps. Beyond the bars, a ten-story apartment complex rose. Plants hung off balconies, gauze curtains draped windows, and a trim jungle of tropical foliage colored the sandy landscape.

    A boulder of a man stepped from the security booth alongside the gate. “Can I help you?”

    Shuffling back, Trent put distance between himself and the armed guard. The taller brute’s graying hair countered the slabs buttoned beneath a navy-blue uniform and cobalt eyes shooting through the bars like icicles.


    Trent fumbled in his jean’s pocket for the tattered envelope. He held the addressed side, the one matching the complex, to the scowling guard. “I’m here to see Mr. Carver.”

    The lines crossing the guard’s forehead smoothed. Looping his hands at the belt already burdened with a walkie-talkie and holster, he smirked. “You’re a little late, kid.”

    The airport delays socked Trent’s gut as he stared at the envelope’s aged penmanship. “What do you mean?”

    “Everyone’s been looking to talk with him. So many Mr. Carver’s not seeing anyone anymore.”

    “I read about that,” said Trent. Smoothing a wrinkle on the envelope, he felt the letter inside, the one he needed to deliver before it was too late. He stilled his hands and lifted his chin. “This is different.”

    The guard crossed his arms, biceps bulging like runner’s thighs. “How so?”

    “I’m supposed to mention Marie Stapleton.”

    The guard’s smirk faded. “What’s your name, kid?”

    “Trent.” Trent gulped to clear his throat. “Trent Stapleton. I’m Marie’s grandson.”

    Half a dozen cars zoomed passed before the guard extended his hand through the bars, his fingers expectant.

    Trent clutched the envelope. “I want it back.”

    “You’ll get it back.”

    With a nod at the promise, Trent handed over the letter. The guard held the envelope by the edges, head bowed over the address as he reentered his booth.

    Hovering by the gate, Trent listened to the lift of a receiver, the punch of buttons, the quiet murmur of a polite greeting.

    “I know, sir.” The guard’s voice had softened with deference. “He’s got a letter from Marie Stapleton. Says he’s her grandson, Trent.”

    After a sequence of “Yes” and “No” the phone clattered into its cradle.

    Hearing the guard return, Trent raked his hands through his shoulder-length waves and straightened the lapels of his dress shirt. Through the bars, he reclaimed the letter the guard offered.

    “Head straight down the walkway,” said the guard, thrusting a trunk-sized finger at the apartment building’s main doors. “Go through the lobby to the first set of elevators. You know the apartment?”

    Trent glanced at the cursive on the envelope, the number clear and flowing. “I do.”

    “I’ll let them know you’re coming. Straight there and straight back, kid.”

    … Click here to read the rest. Any comments are welcome.

  2. DcTTre


    A mad scientist approaches you with an offer: He has a secret potion that will help you get the thing you want most in this world—be it a person, a thing, an ability, etc. What you don’t know (and won’t reveal until the end of your story) is that there is one dire consequence (not death) from drinking the potion.

    So I started to ask questions, I wasn’t sure about this… He might be a druggy dressed up as a scientist. But there was also that one thing that I’ve always wanted my whole entire life! To have he ability to have super powers like Thor.
    I could imagine all the good thing that I would do for this city.So I took the potion, the colour of the potion really put me off from drinking it but then again I really want to the be like Thor. I blocked my nose and closed  my eyes, I slowly picked up the potion and brought it closer to my mouth. I couldn’t do it! My mind was telling me not to do it.

    So I went back to my house only to notice that it had been robbed. I was in total shock. I looked to my left and saw the robbers. Right now I knew I had to drink the potion and go and get my stuff back from the mischievous robbers. I tried to take the biggest gulp as I could and BOOM!!! I felt way musclier and stronger. I looked in my hand and I noticed I had  Mjollnir, Thor’s hammer. 
    I  tried to pick it up but I couldn’t. Then I remembered that I had to focus really hard to pick it up. It took me about 30 seconds but by then the robbers had already got away.

    It sounded like the cops had been chasing them so flung my hammer in to the air which pulled me with it so I had a birds eye view of the city. I saw the cops and the robbers so I pointed my hammer at them and eventually I had caught up to them. I was so furious that I wouldn’t even have cared if I killed them. But I knew that it wasn’t the right thing to do. I stopped a few metres in front of their white and black van. It seemed like they weren’t slowing down and that they were just going to bump me or make me scared so that I would run off the road. 

    An idea suddenly popped into my brain, I was going to charge at them and just before they hit me I was going to jump up behind them grab the back doors and open them so that all my furniture will come out and no one will get hurt plus the cops are coming from he other side of the city so they will catch the robbers.
    After all that hustle and taking all my furniture back. Only now to realise that the consequence had struct upon me I had no toes!!! This was devastating. But then I realised that if I help the city I could get money from the council and with that money I could go and get plastic surgery and I could get my toes back

    That’s going to take a while though.

  3. area4hg2

    A mad scientist approaches you with an offer. He has a secret potion that will help you get the thing you really want most in this world-be it a person , a thing and abilaty etc. what you dont know (and want to reveal until the end of your story ) is that there one dire consequence ( not death) from drinking the potion.

    I wish to stop time and predict the future. As I predicted evrything changed I could see things when I snapped my fingers time stopped I went back to meet the mad scientist he told me beware I said ”why” It will have upps and downs. I did’nt beleive him I held his throa untill he died he fell on the floor like a duck who just got poached.

    There’s a mirror I look at my self I couldent beleive it I look filthy ”I’m an animal ” BOOM!! I see something, bright light I see some one I think I know him no its her suzzie my sister No no can’t
    need to tell her whats ganna happen to her but she’s in antartica “ring ring ring” hello who is it its me Rob your sisters boy freind some thing happened to her what shes been in a car crash is she alright no no shes not, docters said that hours to live.

    I got my gun BOOM BOOM I shot the mirror like I million times I got the gun put it on my head BOOM.

  4. area4hg2

    “I will give you my necklace “So I took of my necklace, it has a silver pearl dangling of it, the witch snatched it off me then the witch said “make a wish, drink the potion then your wish will come true” she said in a crackly voice. I whispered softly to myself “I wish I can talk to animals” Glug, glug, glug, I drank the potion. I felt a tinkling inside me, suddenly golden dust flew out of my mouth and I knew the magic is working.
    Slowly the witch said “why don’t you test it out?” I nodded I looked around then I spotted a white fluffy dog I went up to it and barked “woof woof!” (Hello there) then the dog replied “Grr…woof” (Wow! You can talk to me?!) “Woof” (yes I can) I was about to thank the witch when she stopped me she said “It’s a pleasure” suddenly there was a poof of purple and black smoke and she was gone… I ran home, up the stairs and yelled “meow meowww” (Tiger come here)there were soft footsteps then a cat came out of the shadow and spoke “meow” (hi ) meow meep.( I can talk to you now) “meeow” (awesome) I ran to my mum to say I can talk to animals now, but instead… “Woof, baa, moo, quack” is what came out of my mouth! I was SHOCKED I can’t go and find the witch now because she poofed away! Well at least I can still talk to my pet cat I thought to myself.

  5. area4hg2

    A scientist came up to me and gave me a secret potion that would give me something I wanted the most. When he left I ran in to my car and used the potion and chose to become immortal. I found a knife and stabbed myself three times and it actually worked. But just then there were Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornados, Volcanic Eruptions, Tsunamis and lighting it was the worst day ever until someone accidentally dropped dynamite in the Earth’s core. BOOM the planet blow up and the Earth was gone and now I spend the rest of eternity in space all by myself.

  6. area4hg2

    here read mine and see what you think 🙂

    “What are you going to give me?” the wicked witch snarled. “Hmm a love potion for your ware wolf potion?” I said “Deal” she said wickedly as I took the potion and went to my enchanted castle I read the bottle it says drink as I was about to drink it I wondered how am I supposed to drink it when I want my dog to be a ware wolf not me. Hmm “It must be for my dog but it says don’t give to any animal” I said to myself I didn’t bother, it said humans do drink so I drank it (what I didn’t realise that it actually said humans don’t drink!). “Wake up Lizzy” said mum “I UP” I shouted I woke up and went to the sink to brush my teeth when I looked up to look at myself I saw me with fur all over me, sharp dangerous looking fangs hanging down my gums , dark red eyes which show pure evil. I rushed down to the woods were the old wicked witch stood she wasn’t there but there was something left there, it was a note it said “Hello if you drank the potion keep reading the only way to turn back is to howl at the blue moon when it strikes 12:00. It was tonight I had to get ready I rushed home and just did my normal things trying not to get caught by my mum seeing me like this till bed time it was 10:30 I got up and snuck out I went to the highest mountain I could walk it was time 11:59 slowly behind me there was a shiny blue moon that was right behind me I was too busy looking at it I didn’t realise I missed it “NOOOO” I shouted I missed it now I have to wait 50 YEARS! I went home and sat in my bed and I said to myself “at least I can howl into the moonlight and remember my true self.

  7. laurentravian

    He strolled into my office, all confidence and hair gel. No one’s hair could look that freaky naturally. Not even Einstein’s. I glanced at him, determined to look unimpressed, and succeeded. He was an old guy, with a lab coat. I glanced at him, then likened him to a cartoon I had watched when I was a kid. He looked like an older version of Doctor Doofenshmirtz, from Phineas And Ferb. “Ah, Tiffany the historian. At last we meet.” I couldn’t help giggling. He could have been saying “Perry the Platypus” the way he said that. He waited for my laughter to subside, and I apologized. “Miss MacCoullan, I represent a company that has just developed an elixir to give one time travel abilities. As honored a historian you are, you were automatically our first choice.” Okay… “Why thank you sir but I-” “No, this will just take a moment of your time!” I smiled at the pun, then reached for the vial he offered me. I chugged it.I felt flat… then I blacked out. Next thing I knew, I was in a cartoon! The creepy scientist was back, younger and looking exactly like Phineas and Ferb. It was Dr. Doof. I mean, come on! The platypus in a Fedora was kind of obvious. But it was also kind of obvious that there was no way out. But when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. So I worked at becoming a lead character. I think I did travel back in time, to when I was a little girl. Oh well. Curse you Dr. Doofenshmirtz!!!

  8. Rivimiera

    Title: Fading Away
    Author: Rivimiera
    Word Count: 500 (exactly)
    Genre: angst, sentimentality?
    Rating: G/Pg
    Warning: none

    Surprising, that I remember the day that everything changed. Everything is fading away, memories that meant the world before, being forgotten.
    I remember how his hair fluttered in the breeze that day, how his eyes glinted while he earnestly explained a new serum he had created. When he asked if I would try it, I didn’t hesitate. He was my best friend, someone I’d known for years. He’d never ask me to try something if it wasn’t safe. Or so I thought.

    After it was over, after the fire had spread through my body, after I’d died and come back to life, it was like everything had changed. The way everything felt changed. I could see the nuances of the droplets in the air, could feel the fluctuations of the air pressure all around us. I could feel the tension building in the clouds above, could feel the charge of energy that comes before a storm. I could feel it all.
    When he saw my face, it was like something had changed. Like he had expected something great, something momentous, and he ended up with me. The look in his eyes darkened, the crooked smile disappeared, and with a shake of his head he left me there on the ground.
    He never came to me again.
    It took me a couple of weeks to get used to feeling things, knowing things, that had been invisible to me before. Soon after, I found that I could manipulate it, could change it and bend it to my will.
    There was no real purpose, no good or bad that came of creating a gust of wind here and a small shower there. But it became addicting. It was intoxicating, the power I felt. The connection I had with something that nobody else had, that nobody else knew.
    I began spending more and more time out in the open, and without even knowing it, I lost touch with who I was.
    I forgot what it was like to smile, forgot what it was like to cry. I only knew what a sunny day felt like, how rainstorms came to be.
    I forgot how to see things that weren’t water droplets and air pressure, how to touch things that weren’t puffs of cloud or gusts of air, how to smell things that weren’t ozone and rain, fresh and clear.
    I forgot how to be human.

    And so now, here I am, stuck up in the clouds, in the sunshine, in the rain, the storms, the thunder. I don’t even think I am human, I am simply part of the wind that caresses his cheek, part of the rain that smudges his reports, part of the thunder that interrupts his speeches.
    I am part of something that tries to remember, yearns to remember how to feel, but is quickly forgetting.
    At the moment, I am still part of something, can still be, can still exist.
    But I am fading away, and soon, I shall be nothing.

    [author’s note:] well..this I originally posted onto LiveJournal, and I decided to post it here from where I got the idea from. I hope you like it 🙂

  9. LilValkyrie

    I smoothed my hand over my belly as I listened to the peddler boast about his ‘miracle elixir’. I usually didn’t even answer the door to salespeople, but something about this peddler was completely disarming; I felt I could trust him at the same time as I was afraid of him.
    Whatever you want, he said, whatever you need, can be in this bottle. Through the screen door he smiled at me and I hesitated in dismissing him. Whatever I wanted? I was happy in my home, with my husband and my baby on the way. Whatever I needed? I didn’t need any more than what I had. I had the American Dream.
    But what if I was missing something?
    The peddler pulled the vial from his breast-coat pocket and dangled it before him like a bell. I watched the liquid inside slosh gently back and forth and asked myself, ‘What was missing in my life?’
    How far along are you? he asked, inclining his head to indicate my delicate condition.
    Four months, I replied. What harm could he do? He was a simple peddler.
    You have no qualms about bringing a defenseless infant into this violent world?
    I clasped my hands protectively in front of me. His father and I will look after him, I said, and he humored me with a sympathetic grin.
    Yes, but what happens when you both are gone? How will you protect him when you are not around?
    I frowned, concerned as a swirl of images rushed through my head of the evils of the world. There were things I knew that my child would not; things I had learned after they were too late. I could confer my knowledge on to my baby, I could make him aware of my mistakes and enlighten him to better paths than the ones I or his father had taken. How much grief could I spare him with this gift? He was remarkably insightful for a simple peddler.
    What must I do?
    The peddler’s smile spread from ear to ear and he cradled the tiny bottle in his palms. Simply make a wish, his honeyed voice cajoled, but be careful how you word it. Syntax is key when making wishes.
    I paused, making certain of my choice.
    And the price?
    What would you sacrifice for the benefit of your precious little one? Is there any cost you would deem too high?
    I shook my head in answer, and he gently passed me the bottle. Drink love, he whispered. I closed my eyes and threw back the bottle; the liquid inside tasted of strawberries and cream. I closed my eyes and wished.
    The ringing phone shocked me from my concentration. I looked up to find the peddler vanished, his boxes and bags gone from my porch. The phone rang insistently.
    What was the price for my wish?
    The shrill cry of the phone commanded my attention.
    Mrs. Johnson? It was the sheriff’s voice.
    It’s about your husband.

  10. sara


    One wish, to go back and not sign the adoption papers. To hold nine her month old son and say “No way” to the well meaning foster parents who offered to adopt him. Sofia leafed through the one album she had with pictures of her baby. Jesse James Morelli, her little outlaw.

    “Don’t you listen?” Sammy stared into the refrigerator, as if he expected something new to materialize. “Who’s goin’ to get milk?” He frowned, looking dumpy in his red terry cloth bathrobe and flip flops, hardly the hip North Beach dealer. “Earth to Sofia?”

    “Fine, I’ll go.” She tucked the album into a drawer and grabbed the apartment keys.

    What dire circumstances could there be? Her life wasn’t exactly charmed. Sure, selling a little weed to San Francisco yuppies beat working the factory swing shift, but still. . . Sammy was pushy and self- centered. They always ran the risk of getting busted. Barely made the rent each month. Sometimes there was money left over for dinner in Chinatown and a movie, or Jazz at Bajones in the Mission District. One year they backpacked in Europe. Sammy talked about a trip to Machu Picchu if he could get some crops going in Mendo.

    If she could have her kid back, how could she suffer? Poverty? She’d been broke most of her life. Spent her teenage years on the streets. She gave Jesse up because she was poor and alone.

    Sofia went into Café Italia on Vallejo, ordered espresso macchiato. She liked coming in here, speaking Italian, getting away from Sammy. The men were macho, tough, like her father and uncles. They’d tease her, “Bella. Like Sofia Loren.”

    Stay in 1996 San Francisco with Sammy? Selling bags of Mendocino County Indica, putting up with his shit? No kids, Sammy “didn’t want any brats.” Too many people in the world.

    Go back to 1978 and keep Jesse? Not let the Christian family change his name and keep him? To see her own face in Jesse’s face, and Tony’s face too. Her Mom’s eyes and her Papi’s smile. Her brother’s voice and her aunt’s laugh, her grandmother’s brown skin.

    Sofia left the café, walked the steep hills to Coit Tower, grateful that she quit smoking when she was pregnant with Jesse.

    All she had to do was meet some nondescript man and drink a potion. Go back eighteen years, get Jesse, and raise him. “But what’s the dire consequence?”

    As the man approached, Sofia realized what it was. She would not remember these years without Jesse, would not know what it meant to lose him. She would never know what she could have lost. She would be in Bridgeport, in the factories, raising a child alone, poor and tired. She would love Jesse, but sometimes he would feel like a burden. Her little outlaw. She would pine for a different life. A San Francisco life, a Jazz life, a free life.

    Never knowing how lucky she was. Magari.

    1. sara

      “A Mad Scientist Approaches You”


      by Sara Jacobelli

      In the story “Magari!” instead of going for the more magical aspects, I attempted to capture those moments in life when you regret choices that you have made. In Italian, the word “magari” means “perhaps” or “If only” or “I wish”, depending on the context. It can mean hope for the future, or regret for the past. Such as, “I will win the lottery tomorrow, magari!”

      It is interesting to see the different takes that various authors came up with for this writing prompt. I particularly like the Bobby Fischer story and its development of historical fiction. I believe the author could develop that into a longer piece.

  11. Szilvi J

    “The club was filled with sweating bodies and the drumming of loud music on every surface. It was alien, but at the same time inviting and accepting. It was extremely hot, most of the guys were dancing only in their underwear, and I was in a suit. The blue one, my favourite, I always wear it when I have a meeting. It gives me confidence. Anyway, this guy came up to me, he was nice and handsome; pretty young, too, probably in his early twenties. I felt a mix of apprehension and excitement, but I wanted to know which one would become stronger, and stay with me for the rest of the night. We went into one of the cabins, it was freeing as always. Don’t you think it’s funny, doctor? That I feel most free when I’m closed in a room so small most people would feel claustrophobic?”

    “So you had a good time then?” the psychologist asked.

    “Yes, and no. It was freeing and exciting, but I still can’t get rid of the guilt. Help me, give me something that makes my conscience clean.”

    The doctor stood up, and took a small bottle from his shelf and gave it to the man.
    “I don’t usually give this to my patients, as it’s still an experimental drug, but it might work.”

    The man drunk the content of the bottle, and left the psychologist’s office. When the evening came, he headed for the bar again. The same thing happened that night: he met a guy, he went into the cabin, he felt the freedom, and he felt the guilt. Nothing changed, he realized, the drug didn’t work.

    At dawn he went home, the house was silent and empty. He walked from one room to the other, but he could not find anybody there. Her nightgown was on the bed, laid out in preparation for the night. Their toys were scattered on the floor, as they left it. He started to get worried about where they could be at this hour.
    Going around the house in his search, a weird, gut-wrenching smell caught his nose, and he went to search for its source. It came beyond the bathroom door, and when he opened it, his heart almost stopped from the fear that ran through him like electricity. The tub and the sink were painted in red, and the smell was so strong that he couldn’t handle it anymore; he retched. With tears on his face and his heart in a knot, so tight he could barely breathe, he run outside. In his panicked rush, he tumbled over something. There was a shovel thrown over freshly delved earth. He collapsed then and there, and then he remembered: the bar and the guys, the psychologist and the drug, freedom and guilt.

    He pulled out a business card from his pocket, and put the digits into his cell. After a few rings, a familiar voice answered.

    “I don’t understand,” he said.

    “You wanted to get rid of the guilt. Now, there’s nothing to feel guilty about.”

  12. sagarica

    A man who looked as common as he did could have nothing to hide. At least this is what I thought when Dr. Studebaker cornered me in the halls after class.
    It was a cold evening and I was in a rush to get home that night.
    “Henry,” he called out. I stopped unwillingly.
    “Pete, I’m surprised to see you still here. Didn’t your last class end hours ago?”
    “Business has kept me here,” he responded somewhat excitedly.
    “Well, what can I do for you?”
    “I have been working on some research for some time now and I believe I have made a breakthrough. I was hoping that maybe you could come and see the results of my research.”
    “Pete, I would be more than happy to, but my wife is waiting for me…”
    “It will only be a minute.” I sighed. He was a colleague and I felt I could not refuse the request of a colleague.
    “What am I looking at?” I asked.
    “I discovered a meteorite some time ago and rather than leave it in the hands of those morons in the geology department, I decided to study it myself. I made a fascinating discovery in that meteorite, a kind of metal never before seen. This metal would resonate and hum against my hand, and when my heart sped up with this discovery, the metal began to vibrate even more. A metal that reacts to the beating of our hearts, think of the possibilities!”
    When we arrived to Dr. Studebaker’s laboratory, he fumbled for his keys. I knew he sensed my skepticism when he opened the door just wide enough to see his desk near the front of the room.
    “I have made that metal consumable, a liquid of sorts. You see, I believe this metal can answer our heart’s desire when consumed.” I looked at Dr. Studebaker as the meaning of his words hit me.
    “Are you asking me to drink your concoction?” I asked incredulously.
    “Think of what you will have been a part of when you do.”
    “Absolutely not,” I answered. I started to leave, but he barred my way.
    “I heard you have a little girl in the hospital.”
    My daughter was terminally ill with only a few more weeks to live. At night, the image of her shriveled corpse, veiled and still, had haunted my dreams.
    “Maybe,” I answered hesitantly.
    Dr. Studebaker entered the room and walked to one of the shelves where he pulled out a small bottle full of a clear fluid. He dangled it before me and I took it reluctantly from his hand and drank. It had a smoky flavor and burned slightly as it ran down my throat. Suddenly, a piercing sound filled the room.
    “What is that?” I shouted. Dr. Studebaker watched me disconcertedly.
    “Oh no. I was afraid of that.” By then I could no longer hear him. My head was filled with a ringing that wouldn’t stop.

  13. scriptosaurus

    I became abruptly aware that my arm had fallen asleep, evidenced by my forehead’s rapid decline onto my desk. Laughter and applause surrounded me as my face flushed and a tempered bump centered between my brows.

    “Mister Sowers.” The voice hissed from the front of the class.

    “Sorry, Professor Moore.” My timid reply.

    “There will be no sleeping in my class.”

    Snake like, he seemed to move toward me in the tone of a charmer’s grace. His approach meant my expulsion. I hated him.

    “This is the absolute last time.” He grabbed the back of my cloak and yanked me from my chair.

    “I promise it will not happen again.” Desperate. My guardians would not abide me getting thrown out of another facility.

    He stopped suddenly, ending his grasp on me. We stared at each other, unsure of what the next move should be. His learning cap covered most of his white tuff, but some did curl out and about from all directions. I followed the twists and turns it made flowing over his ears and stopping shot of his Master’s Collar. I always admired it. Then I felt his eyes. They were the scariest thing about him, piercing, green, and flickering with a ring of golden fire.

    “I do want to earn my Collar.” I feigned sorrow. “It will not happen again.”

    He laughed absurdly then screamed “It most certainly will not.” He magnificently charmed his way back to his desk, opened several drawers, rummaging through most, and flung a vial at me.

    I caught it. Looked at it. Studied it. And then drank it.

    “Don’t you even want to know what it is?” He hissed.

    “No” I said arrogantly and then made my way back to my chair.

    He was awestruck. “The first rule of surviving the Collar is knowing what you are doing.”
    He dismissed the class but held my gaze.

    Standing, arms folded, eyes on fire, “What you drank, young man, is a potion for idiots. You need a great deal of help to get through this world and that is just what I have given you.”

    I studied his words carefully.
    “Any wish you have will be granted.” He let it sink in.

    “”Wish yourself brilliant, wish yourself bold, wish to stay awake in class. I don’t care. Just do not…” and he hinged on these words “do not waste this opportunity. You will probably regret it the rest of your life.”

    My science professor left the room and I spent the next few hours at my desk, alone with my true desires.
    I held myself tight, closed my eyes, and wished to become the wisest man in all of the world.

    Feeling no different, perhaps knowing no different, something was amiss. Disappointed and cursing his name, I gathered my things and left the room.

    A student came running down the hall and caught up to me.

    “Professor Moore” he called out.

    “Yes” I hissed. And immediately I knew what I had done.

  14. PonX

    Thank you Jeanie! I’m guessing my main character’s vengeance upon the world would have been an approriate extension of the story. This word limit though

  15. theano7203@gmail.com

    Successful Technologies had given Melissa her dream job, but she had an eye on an R & D position. Upon arriving at work today a Gmail came across her computer informing her of an important meeting.

    Melissa turned to her fellow lab worker and asked, “Brad what you think of this Gmail I just got?”

    Taking a peek Brad responded with, “You just got promoted. Congrats. I have heard rumors though the owner is eccentric. Harmless, but eccentric.”

    Melissa left the office and nearly skipped to the elevator. Inside she pressed the five and waited. The doors opened in moments to the Gothic letters of Research and Development displayed across a set of glass doors.

    As she got to the doors they opened and a man in a white lab coat said, “We were expecting you.”

    He directed her to a set of double doors at the end of the sterile, white hall way. In through the doors she went and seated at a glass, and steel desk was a secretary who wore the only bit of color around.

    “Have a seat. Mr. Zimmer will be here shortly.”

    In moments an obviously senior, but silver gray fox of a man with a warm smile, twinkling blue eyes grasped her hand firmly and nearly picked her up out of the chair.

    “How are you darling? It is so good to see you again,” said Zimmerman.

    Melissa remembered what Brad said and went along.

    “I am well Mr. Zimmer and glad to have been considered.”

    He looked at his secretary and said, “This will not take long. Why don’t you go run some errands, Betsy?”

    Zimmer ushered Melissa through a lab door. On the counter lay a vial full of blue liquid.

    “Your work is impeccable, and I would like to have you here in R&D, but I need you to drink this vial. It is normal protocol. We have to minimize germs, and this liquid takes care of that.”

    Melissa thought that was odd since they dealt in technology not microbes. Since her coworker had told her of the owner’s eccentricity, in seconds she picked it up and drank it down.

    At first nothing happened. Then her breathing increased rapidly and her mind became confused. She began to panic.

    “Now, now my dear. The side effects only last a moment. Unfortunately its properties only last for a year before a person begins to become immune. Betsy is beginning to show signs of immunity though she will not remember–much. She has a new position, Melissa and you will be taking hers in all ways,” said Mr. Zimmer sinisterly.

    “Come with me my sweet one.”

    He went to the back corner of the lab and unlocked a door that showed a lavish bedroom.

    “We will get better acquainted tomorrow after the second vial. Right now I need you to go out to your desk. I have some paper work that needs to be done.”

    Melissa screaming inside did exactly what he said and knew she would tomorrow as well.

  16. WallyM

    Paul angrily slammed his fist against the desk, rattling his computer monitor and causing his keyboard to jump.

    It was an increasingly frustrating malady. A popular writing website periodically offered up creative writing prompts, subjects that the website’s members would use as to create stories of their own that they would then submit for commenting by everyone else.

    However, this wonderful source of merriment came with a catch: the writer was only able to use five hundred words. That’s it. That’s all.

    This is what frustrated Paul so. A moderately successful writer in his own right, he found that he was simply unable to formulate a story that was both passably entertaining while simultaneously being succinct enough to fit within the confines of the word limit.

    “Arrrgggh,” lamented Paul. “Five hundred words just aren’t enough! It’s too confining!”

    Suddenly, a small, trollish looking creature appeared on Paul’s desk holding a vial of greenish looking liquid.

    “Drink this,” croaked the troll in an appropriately ghastly voice, “and you shall never again struggle to write a five hundred word story. You shall be the best five hundred word story writer the world has ever known!”

    Intrigued, and apparently unconcerned by the appearance of a small, trollish looking creature on his desk, Paul took the potion and drank it.

    An idea for a story instantly came to him, an incredibly entertaining yet surprisingly compact tale. Paul quickly typed up the story, which came out to be exactly five hundred words, and submitted it to the website. The story was immediately showered with praise and accolades by the other members, some of whom enthusiastically pronounced Paul the single most talented writer of five hundred word stories that had ever lived.

    “Wow,” Paul excitedly exclaimed. “The commenters love it! It’s a big hit! Thanks, small trollish looking creature!”

    Paul returned to his word processor and his regular writing, satisfied and pleased. His satisfaction was short-lived, however, when he opened the story file on which he had been working before. To his surprise, what had been a sprawling, two thousand page fantasy epic had somehow been chopped off at one page, five hundred words to be exact, and abruptly ended with the phrase “WORD LIMIT REACHED.”

    Concerned, Paul opened another manuscript file and discovered that it, too, had been shortened to exactly five hundred words ending with the phrase “WORD LIMIT REACHED.” He opened another, and another, and another. All were now exactly five hundred words ending with “WORD LIMIT REACHED.”

    Then a horrible thought occurred to him. He created a new document in his word processor and began typing. Sure enough, as soon as he typed five hundred words the phrase “WORD LIMIT REACHED” appeared on the page and the keyboard became unresponsive, stubbornly refusing to send any more keystrokes to the screen.

    “Oh, no! What have I done?”

    “Now, Paul,” croaked the troll. “Did you really think there wouldn’t be a catch somewhere?”

    “My career is over! How can I possibly


  17. Jean_R

    “I am so lucky!” Jim strolled down the Washington Mall toward his Metra station in the late evening sun. “I have it all, trophy wife, trust fund, dream job in DC.” He checked out the leggy blonde as she jogged past and saw a homeless man filling his water bottle at the drinking fountain.
    “Hey, Mister!” Jim looked to see the homeless man heading for him. Jim gripped his briefcase tighter. He hated giving money to these people, but sometimes it was the only way to get rid of them.
    “I don’t have any cash”, Jim lied as he tried to hurry away. But the vagrant blocked his path.
    “Drink this and your wildest dreams will come true!” The man shoved his water bottle in Jim’s face. Jim tried to dance from side to side but the man countered his every move. “Drink it! You’ll see!”
    The man’s crazed eyes made Jim break out in a nervous sweat. “Here, have $20.” Jim fished around in his pocket for some bills.
    “No! Drink!” the man insisted.
    “It’s only water,” Jim thought. He took a swig and shoved the bottle back. “There, now let me by.”
    “Hey, whadya wish for?” the homeless man shouted at Jim as he brushed past.
    “To win ‘Best Costume’ tonight.” The homeless man burst out in laughter that seemed to echo off every stately building. The sound still rang in Jim’s ears as he entered the Metra station.
    Jim’s train was mostly empty but a woman sat down next to him. She appeared to be wearing her entire wardrobe and smiled a toothless grin at Jim. “Great,” Jim thought. “It’s my day for Crazies”. He pretended to read the paper.
    Jim dozed and awoke to hear his station announced. The woman was gone. In her place was a paper bag. Jim peeked in the bag and saw some white clothing. As the Metra Lost and Found was closed for the day, Jim took the bag home.
    Later, Jim’s curiosity got the better of him. He opened the bag and pulled out a long, white coat. The fabric was soft in his fingers and practically glowed in the bathroom lights. “This is perfect for tonight”, Jim thought. Also in the bag was a tall hat with an attached mask. “I am so lucky!” He put on the coat and hat and left for the party.
    Jim awoke with a pounding headache. The party was a blur. He shuffled out to the kitchen and opened his laptop to check the morning headlines. His cell buzzed on the table. SPKR of HSE was the caller ID. Jim jolted awake and answered. “Good morning, Sir.”
    “Jim, I’ll get right to the point. I’ve seen the pictures and I expect your resignation letter by the end of the day.”
    “Sir, what?” Jim stammered. He turned he saw his picture on the screen holding the ‘Best Costume’ trophy high. The headline read. ‘Drudge Report Exclusive: Congressman from Illinois seen partying as a Klansman’.

  18. Dan


    We had been at it for three hours but the medicine man wouldn’t explain the complete symptoms list. He claimed the full list was private information, that the chance of side effects was small enough for me to forget about it.
    He was a good doctor, I believed. No one else could get the kind of meds he could. I’m not necessarily a user, but when the medicine man recommends something he’s personally had a hand in, it’s worth a thought. But today, he won’t tell me something simple. That I can’t ignore. Why not the reaction list?
    “Come on man, I’m not going near it ‘less you tell me what it’s about,” I said.
    This only further angered him.
    “You will take this because you know it will benefit you.” He said. “It is time, and I have waited long enough.”
    My disquiet grew. I knew then that the medicine man wanted me for a specific reason. He would find a way to force me. I’d seen this side of him before, but never towards me. In the alleyway were we met, the covered space that saw no light from the street, the man seemed to grow into the dark. This place provided secrecy, but in this circumstance, it is the last place I wanted to be.
    The medicine man pulled a round pill out of a pocket in his jacket and held it out towards me. I could see the outline shining in the moonlight.
    I waited, thinking thinking thinking.
    “Now!” he said again.
    I took the pill from his hand, and swallowed it at that moment. I obeyed the doctor.
    “Good,” he said and then sighed. “In two hours I will return to this place, you will meet me here.” The man turned and quickly darted down the alleyway to the street.
    “Wait!” I yelled and the figure froze, then returned. “What can I expect?”
    A smile.
    “In two hours you will be docile. In two hours you will do as you are willed without your consent; you have no control anymore. Nothing you do until that time with change the outcome. You will be my subject, or prisoner, or soldier. I have many, and you will part of a group. Once you’ve taken the pill, you can be subsequently coerced into the next pills, so now there is no escape for you. There is no reason to resist. You will find enjoyment in your orders and the order of our group, and you will find success pleasurable.” He paused.
    “Maybe find something creative to do with the last hours in your mind.”
    A great weakness swept through me, but then, I found one more once of defiance.
    “What happened to you?” I said. “At what point did insanity because approachable. When did you make the decision?”
    “I am only a doctor.”
    The medicine man left, leaving me in the dark, waiting for the pill to take effect.

  19. catbr

    Another dull drab day at the diner. Ginger thought her life at Lou’s diner as a waitress was just her niche in life and had learned to accept it. The pay stunk and the boss was a pain in the ass but somehow the regular customers made it worth while. They made up for everything else that was wrong with the place. She had gotten to know all of them over the last 20 years and regarded them as family. Ginger’s husband had died just before she got the job at Lou’s and she needed work to make ends meet. Even though she had no experience at waitressing she was hired on the spot.

    “I might not have any experience being a waitress but I have more than enough strength to carry around those trays of food. After all, I had 4 boys so there was a lot of years of raising dumbells.” Ginger said jokingly in her interview with Lou for the position.

    “That’s funny Ginger. I like a sense of humour.” Grumpy old Lou was impressed. He knew if there was some laughter around the diner it might be good for business, so she got the job and started the next morning.

    “Waitress, could I get some coffee over here?” A strange looking man called over to Ginger. His white hair was sparse and messy looking like Einstein’s. He also had a large white moustache like Einstein.

    “Hold your horses mister. I was already on my way over to your table when you had called.” Ginger said with a glint of amusement in her eyes.

    “Actually I don’t really need any coffee. I have a sample of a potion that would suit you quite nicely.”

    “Are you trying to pick me up? I sure never heard a line like that one before.” Ginger laughed, but could see he was being totally serious. Something in the man’s eyes made him look humourless, almost lifeless.

    “After one vile of this potion is drank down, it enables the person to have one of their wishes come true. It costs nothing other than to report back to me about the results and to sign this small waver of acceptance. You understand, it is just for insurance purposes and petty little legalities.”

    “Yeah sure, I get it. All that legal stuff. You mean I only have to sign this little piece of paper and any wish comes true? That’s impossible.” Ginger narrowed her eyes at the stranger in disbelief, but at the same time was considering it. She was in debt for a big loan with the bank that would take forever to repay and was tired of living paycheck to paycheck in her rundown little apartment. Being wealthy was very enticing. “Okay. Give me the paper and the potion.”

    “Not so fast, you must sign the paper first. Then you’ll get the potion and your wish will come true.”

    Ginger signed the paper and was given the potion. Quickly she drank it and was instantly transported out of the restaurant into a huge beautiful mansion. The waitress uniform was gone. She was clothed in the finest designer outfit and shoes. Ginger was awestruck. She was giddy with excitement. Singing and dancing around the mansion she stopped short when she seen the stranger sitting in a corner on a chair. He started to laugh, a sinister laugh.

    “Remember about reporting back to me, that comes after you die. Enjoy your wealth while you can. You signed your soul away to the devil. See you in hell Ginger.”

  20. KDPalmer

    “Dr. Monta?” she called as she entered room 127.

    His head snapped up. Without warning he rose from his desk and crossed the room to vigorously shake her hand.

    “Yes, Loni. I’ve been expecting you. Come in.”

    “How,” she started, “I never told you my name.”

    “Didn’t you? Oh well, you’re here now. I’ve been watching you, Loni. I know what it’s like. Planning every movement to avoid the touch of others. Never feeling the warmth of another without flashbacks. Recoiling in fear from the slightest contact.”

    “I…how do you know? Who are you?”

    “That’s not important. What is important is that I can help you. I can make it all go away.”

    “How,” she said daring to believe it could be possible.

    “Drink this,” he said producing a vial of purple liquid. “And you can have it, if that’s what you want.”

    Without question she stanched the bottle and gulped the liquid before the Doctor could stop her.

    “Nothing happened,” she said in disappointment. “Why didn’t it work?”

    “It will,” he said with a sigh, “but I you didn’t let me warn you, there are consequences.”

    “What kind of consequences?”

    He shrugged his shoulders. “It varies for each subject. Only time will tell.”

    “I don’t care,” she insisted. “If it really works, I’ll take what comes.”

    She bid the doctor goodbye and returned to her room. That night she slept better than she had almost two years.

    The next morning she awoke to a double room in place of her single and her younger sister asleep in the next bed.

    “Hattie?” She said shaking her. “What are you doing here? Hattie wake up.”

    The girl stirred. “Let me sleep, I don’t have class until 10.”
    “Hattie I mean it, why are you here?”

    “I live here weirdo. Now go to class and let me sleep.”

    Through the window Loni could see snow falling on the white covered campus.

    “That can’t…. it’s May.”

    “What is wrong with you? It’s February.”

    Loni looked to the calendar on the wall, February 2014. Yesterday had been July 9th, 2012. Loni would be 24 now and Hattie 19, which explained her prescience at Rutgers.

    She ran to the bathroom and lifted her shirt. The scars were gone.

    She went about her day, strangely knowing where and when all of her classes were. Friends she somehow recognized hugged her and she didn’t recoil. At one point she looked down at her left hand to see a ring and thought of Grant without disgust or fear for the first time since the night that now hadn’t happened.

    When she returned to her room, she found it filled with police. A friend caught her outside.

    “Loni, it’s Hattie, she’s been attacked.”

    She ran into the room to find her sister lying bruised and bloody.

    “I,” Hattie said not meeting her sister’s eyes, “I told him you weren’t home, but he came in anyway. I tried to stop him. I begged Grant to stop.”

  21. Jazz Jamel

    “So what?”
    “Do you want it?”
    “Want what?”
    “The potion!” The man nearly screamed in frustration. I should’ve known. I should’ve guessed I was gonna be cornered one of these days, I should’ve guessed I was gonna be trapped in between a wall and a… mad ‘scientist’… and I should’ve known that as soon as my cousin said, ‘what could happen?’ that something would actually go wrong working here in Sally’s Mental Institute.
    Example one: My first day I was confused for a patient who looked a lot like me, put in a hospital gown, and tied to the bed until they found the real girl and had a worried doctor (i.e. my cousin)wondering around, looking for me.
    Example two: I was cornered by this crazy guy with hair sticking up in three different places and a pointy beard. As you can probably guess, I’m not sticking around for a third try…whenever I can get away from this guy. It probably wasn’t a good idea to make the man mad(though I can’t help but see I’m too late for that), and I think that turning the offer down would only result in something worse happening in the midst of this… conversation.
    “I think that-”
    “Do you or don’t you want the potion?” he asked interrupting me for the last time. A light of mischief glinted in his eyes that I hadn’t seen before. What was this pride? Did he actually consciously make something? He hadn’t just mixed a bunch of random odds and ends together ranging anywhere from mushed up cake to urine?
    I glanced at the cup of… liquid(?) and swallowed the approximate gallon of puke I had been keeping down because of the smell.
    “I don’t see how this… potion would help me to… accomplish anything,” Maybe I could get this guy back to his room. “but if we both sleep on it, I’m sure we could come up with someone who wants this…wonderful… concoction.”
    “You should taste it. It’s delicious.”
    “You drank it already?”
    “Yes, I made two cups.” He said triumphantly, allowing me the breathing space I had previously lost.
    “Now, why- ever did you do that?” I swallowed again and quickly led him back into the hall.
    “Slow down, it will spill. You must slow down.” I stopped and stared the man in the face. I must be out of my mind. I couldn’t just tell the man that he’s hallucinating, but I very well shouldn’t drink that… mess. “It will spill and you will never get your wish.”
    “What was your wish, did it come true?”
    “Yes.” He looked up from the cup, eyes wide in glee. “I wanted someone to tell about my creation. Someone to believe. It will only help you Jesse.” A cluster of green spots had surfaced on his crow’s-feet that I hadn’t seen before.
    “Mr. Starkenson, what is this?” I asked, my eyes suddenly aware of every cluster on his body. But the worst was his fingers. Tentacles?

  22. Justinmarquese

    This is my first time using a platform like this one. I didn’t think it would be so nerve-wracking. I’m a fairly inexperienced writer and thought finding a community to learn from, would be a great idea. Anyway, his is called “Coffee Shop Prophet”. I am not remotely religious; I just wanted to use the idea as a creative avenue to illustrate what the prompt requested. Thanks in advance.

    The grip on my coffee cup tightened, warming the cardboard-protected flesh on my hands, as I made eye contact with the firmly built man. I’ve never experienced that feeling of being star-struck before, but here it was, and there he was. The evangelist prophet Dr. E.B Fleck: the man that changed my life. The memories and feelings experienced through watching him on television, sprinted through my body. He walked among mere mortals in this costly, chained coffee-shop. His presence was electric. It was magnetic.

    I wasn’t much of a believer before but something about him made me reconsider. Maybe it was his story. He was a renowned physicist who was known the world over but wasn’t at peace with his choices in life. One day everything changed for him; he found something bigger. He found God. Maybe it was our shared experience of searching for clarity in life… maybe not.

    Whatever the case, here was my chance to thank him. Thank him for helping me to be freed from the prison I placed myself in. Thank him for helping me to see the connectivity of all things and what it really means to…I stopped.

    During processing what I would thank him for, a question came to mind. “What have I really accomplished through this new found understanding”? I’m still struggling. Now I was embarrassed. Yes, my life was better but I didn’t have much to show for it. The thought rushed out as fast as it came, and the man I idolized stood inches before me.

    He grinned. I produced a wince-like smile that was plagued with discomfort and surprise. We locked gazes. Neither one of us said a word. His smile broadened, and words fell from his perfect teeth. I was in a trance. “I know young man. I can feel your confusion. I can feel your hurt”, the evangelist whispered to me. Everyone seemed to disappear from the shop that smelled of cheap, over-price drinks.

    “He has a solution for you if you believe in his word. This world works in strange, unexpected ways but everything has an even trade. The lord works in balancing. Take this flask, James.” He knew my name, but I had no time to be shocked. I was still glazed-over by his overwhelming presence. “Make a wish but be warned, sacrifices will be made and there will be no turning back.”

    I quickly took the flask in my hand. I have no memory of how long I stood there but, when I came to, to thank the prophet or maybe question him, he was gone. Either way, I didn’t hesitate to ingest the content in the metal.

    My wish filled my consciousness. Everything went black. Everything went colorless. They didn’t exist anymore. I felt nothing nor did I desire to. No thoughts came in or out. I just…was. Whatever I traded, I had officially found my peace. I understood all things now. I was all things. I wasn’t resting, but my wish came true.

      1. Brian A. Klems Post author

        Hey Justin,

        I moderate the comments and often, if they are posted on weekends, they don’t get approved until Monday (because I’m off on weekends). I do periodically check in on my time off and try to approve, but that’s not the norm.

        Thanks for your patience,

        Online Editor

  23. fadingdawn2

    Walking down my favorite path near the stream to clear my head, an eerie old man approaches. My first instinct was to run, but there was something about his green and yellow flecked eyes that held me captive.

    “You!” he says. “I’ve been waiting for you. I can fix this.”

    “Fix what? Who are you?” I demand.

    “Never mind that. It’s your marriage. I can fix it. How would you like to be happy? To never have to worry about money again? To have him adore you and put you first the way you’ve always imagined?”

    “Whaa.. What do you mean? ” I stammer.

    “I have an ancient potion, it can make you a successful career woman. You will be wealthy and comfortable. It also acts as a love enhancer, booting what once was.”

    “Yeah, but what do you want from me?” I say, crossing my arms in defense.

    “Not a thing. Once you pour the potion on top of your head, the things I’ve told you will come to pass. You will be successful and rich, guaranteed. You will have an adoring husband. This is what you wish, is it not?”

    “Well yes, but”.. I interrupt.

    “But if you do not take the potion within the next half an hour, your chance will be lost forever!” says the man, his yellow glowing now in his eye.

    “Ok! OK! Let me think! I’ll meet you back here in 20 minutes.”

    “Do that,” he says whirling away.

    I walk into the shelter of the pine trees and pace nervously. Money? True love? It was what I wanted most! My marriage was crumbling, we were about to loose our home. I could fix it! I could fix everything!

    The man had said he didn’t want anything in return, these things were guaranteed.

    I run back to the stream, the old man appears from no where. “Well?” he asks.

    “Yes, Please! Please fix this! Make me rich, save my marriage!”

    “Ah a fine choice, indeed.” Says the man as he rubs his hands together and produces a glowing vile of serum. “Pour this on top of your head. The effects will be immediate.”
    “Nothing bad will happen?” I plead, stepping back a stride.

    “How is it bad to have what you desire most?” he croons, yellows in his eye glowing brightly, hypnotizing me.

    “Yes… yes you’re right, how silly of me.” I take the vile and pour it on my head and am immediately transported into some sort of time warp. I feel my body zooming intensely. There’s flashes of light and then…

    I open my eyes. Around me I’m in a lavish home. I’m dressed in silk with pearls hanging from my neck and ears. My husband is in the room with me but… he’s 92 years old!

    Time has accelerated by the potion! I look at my own hands I am 86! “Noooo!” I wail.

    The old man had taken my youth and made it his own, he fast forwarded my life. Yes I was rich and my husband doted on me, but my children were grown and gone! My own life was growing short.

    That evil old man with his glowing eyes! I drift off into a dazed sleep, a deep pain in my chest.

  24. beachwriter

    How often I wished I could be a crime fighter and be able to stealthily sneak up on criminals and thwart their plans. How sweet it would be if I could visit them and wreak havoc in their lives using magical powers. One morning, during a morning stroll around my neighborhood, I came upon a couple of thugs assaulting a lady out for walk with her dog. They quickly got into their car and drove off. We reported the matter to the police and soon a news reporter came out to interview us. The story appeared in the paper the next morning. The incident had shaken me, but I didn’t consider myself a hero. But, the thought came across again, what if I could sneak on criminals and not only thwart their crime, but their escape as well.

    A few days later, while doing my morning walk, I noticed an older and well-worn model car following me. Afraid that I might become a crime victim, I walked faster and turned at the next corner so I could be near a friend’s house in case I needed help. The car pulled ahead and stopped abruptly a few feet of ahead of me. An elderly gentleman stepped out. He was a medium build man and seemed to have a back problem as he walked, for he had had to turn his entire upper body to face me. He had deeply set and piercing brown eyes. His head was balding, with graying hair that was wavy and extending down to his collar. He said, “Hello”, and introduced himself as Eli. Eli said he had seen the news report about my heroic act and thought that his invention could help me in becoming a crime stopper. He said that his potion would allow me to shaft shape into anything or anyone I wanted. It would allow be to change into any color like a chameleon, to blend into any background. All I had to do was think of morphing into something I wanted for the moment. “Brilliant,” I said! Without thinking further of the possible ramifications, I said I would drink his potion and accepted it. It had a sweet taste of passion fruit and guava. Then, I imagined I was a rock and became one. Shifting back into myself, I saw small growths of hair on my arms, which I had none before. Next I tried morphing into a statue. That was easy. But when I returned to being myself, I saw that the hair on my arms had grown longer. Then looking into the side mirror of Eli’s car, I saw that the hair on my head had grown longer and that I had a hairy face as well!

  25. FaerieBlack

    So I realized after I wrote this that I didn’t add in the dire consequence…whoops. My first time doing a writing prompt, so I thought I would post it anyways…Really hard to stick to 500 words. Here goes:

    “You feel alone, don’t you?” the old man crooned into my ear.
    I was sitting on a park bench, lost in my own thoughts.
    It’s my parents fault I am sitting on this bench.. Demons of anxiety coiled up in my brain. I replayed bits of their conversation over and over. They didn’t know I was crouched on the stairs, listening to them until it was too late.
    “Divorce,” said my mother.
    Time froze. Waves of dread washed up behind my ears and prickled to my scalp. I felt cold and started shivering.
    My legs like ten ton weights; I stood up and descended the remaining stairs. I stood in the archway between the living room where my traitorous parents were plotting, and the door to escape.
    “Anna,” I recall my mother saying, standing, and flushing crimson like her hair.
    No words could come. I simply turned and walked towards the escape.
    “Anna!” my mother called, desperate, but I kept walking and I didn’t look back.
    Tumbling out of my thoughts, I stared at the man interrupting me.
    “You look sad,” he observed.
    “I’m fine,” I said. “Please leave me alone.”
    The old man regarded me for a moment before he sat down beside me.
    I looked at him incredulously and started to get up “Are you deaf?” I just wanted to be left alone to my thoughts, and this creep has the nerve…
    “I can help you,” he interrupted. “Please, just listen for a moment.” He held his hand up to silence me. His voice soothing, I found myself sitting back ready to listen.
    A small crystal vile was placed into my open hand.
    “What is it that you desire most in the world?” the old man’s voice was hypnotic.
    I wish to just fly away from here.
    “Whatever, you desire,” he continued. “Drink, and it shall be.”
    I stared at him and he smiled, crooked, yellowed teeth.
    But I didn’t want to listen to my conscious. I wanted what he was offering.
    Without hesitation, I unscrewed the cap and sniffed. It smelled like vanilla. I held the vial in front of my face and tilting my head back, downed it in one single gulp.
    It burned my throat, not something I expected, and I started coughing. My body felt warm, numb. I blinked a few times and the world was sparkling.
    There was a tickling sensation on my back and my arms broke out into goose bumps. I felt free, alive, and ready for anything.
    My giant, luminous, purple wings enveloped me. I caressed them as they fanned in and outward ready to release.
    The goose bumps disappeared and were replaced by diamonds. I too was glistening just like the rest of this beautiful world.
    I stood and I felt my wings stretch. I didn’t question, how or why, I just knew. Fluttering, the wings knew too. The carried me upwards and I was released. The dazzling cerulean skies awaited me and I was finally free.

  26. Jeanie Y

    “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” Jeanie Y’s Version…

    “I want to be God’s gift to women,” I said for the second time. Why did I have to repeat this? Isn’t this what all men want? The corners of his lips curled up, just slightly, giving him a Cheshire cat appearance. His eyes radiated mischief. He held the vial out for me to take. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true.” He nodded in agreement. I never really thought it would work, but, well, let’s just say I am in high demand.

    I need my secretary to keep track of who is who, on what night. The phone practically rings off the hook. She has even tried to get my services, but I have a strict policy against dating the office girl. She has even begged me, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere. The poor thing, I feel bad, but *wink wink* all you guys out there understand, hey, right?

    It seems like he just appeared one day, but looking back on it all, I think he must’ve picked me for a reason, probably saw the potential in me. I mean, who wouldn’t? Great hair, super-duper people skills, snappy dresser. Nobody looks better in a baby blue leisure suit than me! And I am pretty good with humans of the female persuasion. None of the other guys in the diner wink at the ladies, and you know how they love that.

    I did have a little dry spell there for a while, but mom said, “Don’t worry Waldo, you’ll catch a good one, ‘cause you’re a good catch. Just a matter of time.” Well, look at me now. I’m practically Errol Flynn! Who wants to catch one fish when you can have the whole school? Well, I am teaching class now and the wedgie-masters from Crescent High can have my leftovers.

    I am sure you want to hear about a typical date. After making dinner, I clean up. Why in the world do women buy Palmolive? Dawn works so much better on grease. Anyway, after the dishes, I will usually continue on to scrub the floors. Do women even see that dirt and grime that builds up? Then it’s time for the Dirt Devil, such a superior machine over a Hoover. I bring mine to make sure the job is done right. Usually by the time I get done scrubbing the tub, she is pretty tired, and it is getting late, so I rub her feet until she falls asleep. I whisper in her ear that I will finish the dusting before I go…

    1. DMelde

      Ha ha! Snappy dresser and he can wink! It’s easy to overlook all of that cleaning nonsense when a guy can dress and wink like that. God’s gift to women indeed! Great story. 😉

    2. Jeanie Y

      I believe I was too cryptic with this. The guy is a dork, but he has an inflated sense of self. That is why he was picked to drink the stuff, to teach him a lesson. The consequence is that he has the compulsion to clean, that is why the women call him. Cleaning is his service, not sex, as they would never call him for that.

      A woman’s idea of “God’s gift to women” is different than a man’s idea, and he finds this out the hard way. (in the story anyhow!)

      I don’t think I conveyed all this very well. Oh well…there is always next week!

      Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

      1. DMelde

        Hi Jeanie,
        I got where you were going with this. He was a dork who didn’t understand women at all. I think I was too cryptic in my comment, and I believe you converyed it well. I was joking around, but sometimes my humor makes other people groan. I look forward to you next story!

    3. Naomi

      Very funny, Jeanie! I love the build-up. The more the main character described himself, the more I was saying, “Ew. Ew!” The ending is a delight. He truly became God’s gift.

      I had to re-read the first paragraph a few times to sort out the “I’s” and “he’s.” However, that is possibly due to my needing more caffeine.

  27. PonX

    A vile frustration crept over his ashy, contoured face. Wisps of messy hair fluttered in the blossom-fragranced breeze. Anxious and fidgety, he carefully surveyed the picturesque scenery with manic curiosity – a tree here and a hill there!
    His bushy, arched brows hovered over the eyes menacingly. Those eyes; unnerving, mysterious and piercing. A relentlessly twitching lip rendered him a nervous wreck.
    He waited.

    “I will do it.” I broke the silence, finally.
    A faint grin displayed his evident relief and excitement.
    “Perfect! When do you want it?” he inquired, with a thick Russian accent.
    “As you wish,” he concluded, and then left.

    I sipped it slowly. Not necessarily to savour the taste but to grip the surreal reality. Soon. Yes, soon. I would possess immortality.
    Several intelligent minds had previously sought the sacred ingredient for it. All had failed.
    But I; I now owned it – immotarlity!

    Dr.Kovzinaski had discreetly informed me of his latest marvel invention two days ago. I was lured. Awed, also. He aimed to test it on me…”The Potion of Immortality”

    A violent spell of vertigo collapsed me. My sight dared to blur.
    “The results are instant!” I vaguely recalled him saying.
    My heart unremorsefully threatened to rupture my ribcage with its wild pulsations. A horrific sensation of some strange thing forming inside of me sped through my body. Then, a brisk twinge in the abdomen.
    Something tore through my skin!

    I struggled towards the mirror, crawling and impaled by excruciating pain. A vicious anger erupted upon seeing my reflection. I glared disgustingly at Dr. Kovzinaski who lay in a pool of deep-red blood with a knife lodged in his neck.

    I looked again at my reflection.
    Tentacles. Warts. Horns.

    1. Naomi

      I like the end result. It reminds me of something from Lovecraft. Very nice.

      Within the first few sentences, the main character is: vilely frustrated, manically curious, anxious, and fidgety. So many adjectives and adverbs, packed so tightly together. I think they slow the pace of the story.

  28. rob akers

    INFORMATION NOTE: Like half of the people in the Virginia’s, Kentucky, and Ohio. I am still without power. I am not sure if I will get to read any posts this week but I am sure they are all wonderful. Please keep the workers, the elderly and everyone else who is suffering in your thoughts. And a huge thanks to everyone who has opened up their houses to folks like me who are without. I am my family are like locusts, going to a house, eat all the food and then move on, Ha Ha.

    The one thing that is important after living without power for a week is that, we can all live without lights, food and gasp, internet. The important thing we don’t have in my neighborhood is water. In a true national emergency, water not food is the limiting factor. With that in mind, I am changing my personal survival plans and it is something for everyone to consider. Hope none of us ever have to survive a true emergency.

    1. Jeanie Y

      So sorry to hear this Rob. I wish you and your family quick resolution!

      I hate this Jimmy guy. Such a despicable character needs a good ass-whooping. I hope that is coming up soon—let’s see him fry!

    2. Naomi

      I’m thinking about you and your family Rob, and everyone else suffering with the heat wave/no power awful double whammy.

      I know what you mean about water. I live in Tornado Alley, so I keep emergency water around.

      I want to slap Jimmy into next week, and then try to scrub residual Jimmy ick off of my hands. Getting me riled up about a character so quickly — that’s some good writing.

      1. rob akers

        Thanks for the concern. I wasn’t trolling for sympathy just stating the fact that without water, there is no survival.

        Our power came on yesterday, Sunday so all is well in my world. They should have the state powered back up tomorrow. On to other matters.

        I am falling in love with the idea that Jimmy is a scumbag. Writing him is really helping me in other projects so look for more trouble from the Major. Thank you for your hate!

        1. Naomi

          Rob said, “I am falling in love with the idea that Jimmy is a scumbag. … so look for more trouble from the Major.”

          Hurray? 😉
          (I’m experiencing a classic instance of mixed emotions. Lol!)

          1. Amy

            Rob…glad to hear your power’s back on! What a relief, I’m sure! I enjoyed your story…love to hate that Jimmy!

  29. rob akers

    A Major Jimmy Everest Story

    25 December 2003

    Major Everest taxied the C-130 onto the parking spot at Balad Air Base. 35 miles north of Baghdad, the night air was still and all things being equal it was actually nice. The summer heat had long broken and the sky was crystal clear for the first time in a month.

    “Merry Christmas, turd eaters.” Jimmy thought as he watched the troops walk off the airplane. He laughed each time one of them hit their head on the door. The over/under was 7, he had the over in the bet with the Loadmaster and he was on his way to win another beer card. BANG, another troop hit their head and Jimmy laughed while clapping his hands.

    Opening the overhead hatch, he yelled at Loadmaster. “Your card is mine.”

    The Loadmaster was outside watching and knew he was defeated. He waved and shook his head in disgust. Once everyone was off the airplane, Jimmy made himself a Kool-Aid drink, grabbed a MRE and his bag-chair. He sat under the wing while the rest of the crew re-configured the airplane for cargo. Two, Air Force Security Force troops walked up to him. Recognizing them; he studied them closely before he determined they were still cool.

    “Hey Major.”

    “What’s up dudes?”

    “We need some more stuff and…..” Before he could finish, Jimmy jumped up from his chair and grabbed the Airman by the jacket.

    “I told you to never talk about this again.”

    “But Sir, we have done it 6 times already and we need some more supplies.”

    Jimmy released his grip. “You have done it 6 times? It has only been a week.”

    Airman Bryant started to laugh. “I know, I told you we was cool.”

    “Did you choose all different women?”

    “Yes, just like you said.”

    “Okay, tell me how you made it?” Jimmy swatted at a gnat near his ear.

    “We crushed an Ambien and put it into a half-full water bottle. Then we mixed in some Kool-Aid and shook it up added rum and gave it the target. We made drinks for ourselves minus the Ambien. Wait 20 minutes, like you said and the fight was on.”

    Jimmy took a deep breath. He had them hooked just like the guys in Baghdad, Kirkuk, Talil, Al-Takdum, Mosul and several bases in Afghanistan. His plan was working out well as long as he was careful. “Do you remember the price?”

    “Yes sir.”

    “How much do you need?”

    “We have 300 dollars.”

    Jimmy did some mental math. “Twenty Ambien at 10 milligrams each and 1 bottle of rum; let me get my supplies.” He returned a couple of minutes later with a helmet bag. It clanked as the bottles hit each other.
    He gave the guys their supplies and pocketed the cash. “Listen boys, this is a poor man’s roofie. Don’t forget the rubbers and stay in the dark areas because they might remember.”

    “Thanks, Major Rimes.” Jimmy smiled as they walked off.

  30. The Wall

    The bastard pulled the sack off my head. Darn light so bright I might as well be blindfolded again.

    “Where am I now?”

    My personal bastard, a scientist, drew in his breath. “My dear test subject. Like always, it matters not where you are. It matters only that you are ready for the next experiment. Are you?”

    I spat, “Now that I think about it, no. In fact, doesn’t really matter how much I think, I know that I’d rather rip your…”

    He raised his hand. As much as I hate him, I am at his mercy. He addressed me while looking away. “I am leaving to prepare the next experiment. Once the door closes behind me, your shackles will release. I suggest you move around a little. Some blood flow might help… well, it’s better that your blood flows out of you, than drips.”

    Sure enough, he closed the steel door behind him and the handcuffs fell off my hands. This was unusual. It wasn’t like I was going anywhere. Four walls, a ceiling, a floor, no windows, no vents and a locked door would make sure of that.

    I stood up and walked around. It was a dirty cell, cracked tiles, old paper, and what appeared to be old drywall swept to the corners. One lamp swung from the center of the ceiling. There was also a table. No weapons. No escape routes.

    I took a closer look at the table. There was a pile of junk on it. Magazines, old bills and blunt pencils were strewn across its surface. I actually laughed out loud. This must have been the closest thing my captor had to a desk. Nothing against it, I started to shift through it. Shift, as in find something useful and throw the rest on the floor.

    After about two minutes of sorting, I found something I couldn’t believe. A plastic baggy with one pill in it was stapled to a yellow paper. The scientist must have forgotten this was in his pile of junk on the desk.

    The paper read, “Serum Copy: store in back room for archival. Description: gives user what he/she wants most.”

    That was all I needed to see. I wanted to be freed from my insane captor, bottoms up.

    I closed my eyes, held my breath, and screamed as the rear wall of my cell blew open. I turned and saw an open field of green grass and blue sky. In the distance I could spot a town and a train station. I was free.

    The metal door to the room opened and the scientist stood in the entrance.

    I took off in a sprint to the town, but only made it two steps. I was not stopped by anything. I just didn’t go any further. I didn’t want to go any further. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with going to the town and being free, it just didn’t seem any more appealing than staying here, once I thought about it.

    The scientist cackled and gestured through the metal door, “Isn’t it time we continue our experiments?”

    “Well, I suppose so. I could be free you know. I found a pill…”

    “Oh, I know all about that pill. You asked it to set you free didn’t you? And now you don’t want to go free anymore? That’s the funny thing about those pills. They really seem to give you whatever you want, but something about it kills all the neurons in your brain that would otherwise feel satisfaction at receiving the thing you wanted. Makes life simpler, doesn’t it?”

  31. FaerieBlack

    So I realized after I wrote this that I didn’t add in the dire consequence…whoops. My first time doing a writing prompt, so I thought I would post it anyways…Really hard to stick to 500 words. Here goes:

    “You feel alone, don’t you?” the old man crooned into my ear.
    I was sitting on a park bench, lost in my own thoughts.
    It’s my parents fault I am sitting on this bench.. Demons of anxiety coiled up in my brain. I replayed bits of their conversation over and over. They didn’t know I was crouched on the stairs, listening to them until it was too late.
    “Divorce,” said my mother.
    Time froze. Waves of dread washed up behind my ears and prickled to my scalp. I felt cold and started shivering.
    My legs like ten ton weights; I stood up and descended the remaining stairs. I stood in the archway between the living room where my traitorous parents were plotting, and the door to escape.
    “Anna,” I recall my mother saying, standing, and flushing crimson like her hair.
    No words could come. I simply turned and walked towards the escape.
    “Anna!” my mother called, desperate, but I kept walking and I didn’t look back.
    Tumbling out of my thoughts, I stared at the man interrupting me.
    “You look sad,” he observed.
    “I’m fine,” I said. “Please leave me alone.”
    The old man regarded me for a moment before he sat down beside me.
    I looked at him incredulously and started to get up “Are you deaf?” I just wanted to be left alone to my thoughts, and this creep has the nerve…
    “I can help you,” he interrupted. “Please, just listen for a moment.” He held his hand up to silence me. His voice soothing, I found myself sitting back ready to listen.
    A small crystal vile was placed into my open hand.
    “What is it that you desire most in the world?” the old man’s voice was hypnotic.
    I wish to just fly away from here.
    “Whatever, you desire,” he continued. “Drink, and it shall be.”
    I stared at him and he smiled, crooked, yellowed teeth.
    But I didn’t want to listen to my conscious. I wanted what he was offering.
    Without hesitation, I unscrewed the cap and sniffed. It smelled like vanilla. I held the vial in front of my face and tilting my head back, downed it in one single gulp.
    It burned my throat, not something I expected, and I started coughing. My body felt warm, numb. I blinked a few times and the world was sparkling.
    There was a tickling sensation on my back and my arms broke out into goose bumps. I felt free, alive, and ready for anything.
    My giant, luminous, purple wings enveloped me. I caressed them as they fanned in and outward ready to release.
    The goose bumps disappeared and were replaced by diamonds. I too was glistening just like the rest of this beautiful world.
    I stood and I felt my wings stretch. I didn’t question, how or why, I just knew. Fluttering, the wings knew too. The carried me upwards and I was released. The dazzling cerulean skies awaited me and I was finally free.

  32. tdogg369

    I would like an opinion from the masses, please. I read the following statement a few minutes ago and would like to know what everyone thinks:

    “One of these people could hold my future in their hands…”

    My question revolves around using “one of these people” – one being a singular pronoun – followed by “in their hands” – their being plural.

    While I will agree the first sounds more colloquial, would it not be more grammatical to say, “One of these people could hold my future in ‘his or her’ hands…”?

    Is there a clause in the poetic license that makes the former more acceptable than the latter?

    Discuss 🙂

    1. Poweruser75

      well, “one of these” to me indicates the start of talking about more than one person making the beginning plural and thus having a plural ending is a correct match… but for “my future” is also a singular reference… then again, “One of these people” is a very strange sounding part… my, my what a conundrum… i would start all over with this one 🙂

        1. Poweruser75

          lol sorry, i commented on that without even knowing it came from someone’s written response to this weeks writing… that said, I did, in fact, go back and find this mysterious sentence that’s brought the world to it’s knees in utter maddening frustration (lol, just plain) and I found it fun to read! good job and as I am new here, I look forward to reading more from you and others 🙂 Please feel free to read and criticize (good or bad) my writings 🙂

    2. Egg

      This is from the Complete Stylist and Handbook, Sheridan Baker: ‘Watch out for the indefinite pronouns each, either, neither, anyone, no one, everybody, nobody. Each of these is (not are) singular in idea…. They all take singular verbs.’

      (I am guilty of using ‘their’ with ‘anyone’ in one of my comments, so I’m glad you raised the question.)

      Su@dreamweavernovels: nice moral to your story, and I liked how it flowed. I have no criticisms about what you’ve written, but to make it really personal, maybe you could have added a face or name or both to one of those people the character held dear, e.g., her child, husband, mother. Just an idea.

  33. Su@dreamweavernovels

    The Ultimate Exchange
    By Su Williams

    The summer writer’s conference was fast approaching. I’d scraped, horded and sold anything I could spare to make it. My pitch was perfect – sixty seconds to impress each agent. One of these people could hold my future in their hands, the publishing contract I so desired; put my name and my words in print; bring me the acceptance of my work that I so craved.
    I knew we can’t all be Stephanie Meyer, with hordes of slavering fans. It wasn’t just about having all those adoring fans by the thousands, but acknowledgement of the art of the written word. But still, deep down inside me I longed for the mob of approval. A girl can dream. Right?
    My social platform was in place, making connections almost daily from places all over the globe. So when I received a private message from a guy whose profile pic looked like a madman – a little like Einstein – it didn’t really seem all that unusual. Until I opened the message.

    “I am intrigued by the concept of your manuscript. While I am not an agent or publisher, rather a scientist, I have within my means to make all of your publishing dreams come true. There is no fee for my services only the willingness to submit to scientific genius. Sincerely, MS”


    The message niggled at me all day and followed me into my dreams. Six figure book deals, press junkets, flashing cameras and crowds of cheering fans danced in my head like manic paparazzi. All my publishing dreams come true.
    So it wasn’t surprising that at the crack of dawn the next morning I was signing into Facebook. “So tell me about this.”
    Almost instantaneously I received a new message.

    My dear, I am a lowly but educated scientist. I have experimented for years on a potion that will make your wildest dreams come true. I seek only a handful of volunteers to test my elixir. I assure you that all of its components are quite safe. I shall gladly send you a vile in exchange for your feedback of its efficacy. Sincerely, MS

    It was crazy. But I really wanted my name in print and those thousands of adoring fans. What could it hurt? I messaged him my address and two days later, I received a small box with an innocuous-looking glass vile with a clear green liquid inside. I downed it on the way to the airport. The taste was most decidedly not green, more like black licorice. As I stood in line to board the plane I received a message on my cell.

    My dear, one thing you must know before taking my potion. It tends to be conversely reactionary…in that, in exchange for all those loving, adoring fans, you will lose every person you love.

    My blood ran cold in my veins and I was swept up it a blizzard of grief. It was too late. I had exchanged the love of the masses for every person I held dear.

    To all the anti-Stephanie Meyer-ites out there. Sorry. But I liked Twilight. And apparently, I’m not the only one. What can I say? Confessions of a closet vampire.

  34. Adams21

    There he was again—standing on the street corner begging for change. Many times I’d seen him on my way home from school in his same homely clothing and ragged gray beard. This time, I noticed he was holding up a cardboard sign, which wasn’t his usual style. Curious, I approached him until I was close enough to read the words, “Please help. Funds needed to invest in magical potion. Sample provided.”
    I couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of his claim. I must have laughed loudly, because the old man abruptly turned his head and glared at me with a pair of dark eyes and ferocious eyebrows.
    “Are you amused, young man?” The man asked curtly, reaching into his coat pocket, which had the name Dr. Maverick Little etched onto it. He pulled out a small vial containing a dark red liquid and handed it to me. “Do take a free sample.”
    I carefully shook the clear container, observing the liquid’s viscosity. It looked like cough medicine, and it probably was. “What does this magical potion of yours do?” I asked.
    “Anything you so desire,” the man replied coolly. “What is it that you wish?”
    “As a kid, I always wanted to fly,” I replied. Not a very practical wish, but there was no point in overthinking it since the man was a nut.
    “And fly you shall, my friend,” the man said with conviction.
    As if it were some kind of dare, I quickly pulled out the cork from the vial and poured the cold liquid down my throat in one swift gulp. It tasted of maple syrup spiked with hard liquor, which made me squirm.
    The man looked pleased. “You will be impressed with this product. In fact, I believe you will come back feeling compelled to make an investment.”
    “Doubt that,” I muttered. I could barely get the words out of my stinging mouth.
    “Good day, sir. I hope to see you again soon,” the old man said as he turned his body and walked away from me, disappearing into the alleyway.
    I couldn’t help but ponder over this odd experience during my fifteen minute walk home. He certainly was crazy, wasn’t he? After all, I wasn’t flying home. I even tried flapping my arms for a while just to check, but the only result I got from that was a bunch of people looking at me funny.
    That night, I woke up feeling hot and sweaty. I thought I’d fallen asleep with my coat on, so when I tried to remove my coat, I realized that I couldn’t.
    I had no arms. No hands. A thick mass of black hair covered my body. The peculiar events of the past day flashed through my mind. “And fly you shall, my friend.”
    Horrified, I leaped out of bed and waddled to the mirror hanging from my bedroom door.
    And there—in the moonlight hue of my bedroom—was a black bird staring back at me.

  35. dblayne

    Blue. Roughness – oh, yeah, it’s under my cheek, a paper pillow case. The blue hospital cap has slipped down over my eyes. My mouth is dry and it hurts to swallow. The sheets are wet. Suddenly, I remember, pull off the cap, try to sit up. The room spins, I flop back on th guerney.
          “Doc!” I yell.
          “Yes, wonderful, you’re awake!”  She bustles to my side. She reminds me of my grandmother, except for a hint of wildness in her eyes I try to ignore.  
           “Did it work?!” I ask urgently.
           “Hold on,” she tapes a cottonball over the tiny wound in my wrist. “Go check, but easy, slowly, you had a bit of a rough time!”
           Wait!  I stare! My wrist is a dimple in a bloated forearm and puffy hand. The wrist I am currently staring at is in perfect proportion to the hand and arm it joins.  I realize that my whole body is changed – instead of the bloated sausage that I remembered inhabiting when I went to sleep, I have the physique of an Olympic gymnast. I startle, then begin shrieking with laughter as tears run down my face. I leap off the guerney, and Doc has to catch me as I overbalance and almost fall on my unfamiliar ass. In the full length mirror I run my hands over a body that weighed in at 298 pounds this am, but now looks to be about 118.The injection really worked! 
             I exhuberantly hug Doc. “This is incredible! Thank you so very much!” 
             “You are most welcome, of course, but for now, you need nourishment, my dear. You’ve lost a lot of fluids very quickly.” She bustles me over to a recliner, puts my feet up and starts fiddling with a bag of opaque fluid and some tubing. 
             “Am I supposed to eat here?” I ask. It seems odd.  
             “Now, there’s no need to worry, but I need to tell you something.” As she speaks, she pulls up my gown and wipes my stomach with some brownish fluid. 
              Dread fills me, and everything slows down.  
             As she works she almost cheerfully continues to speak. “You are one of the unfortunate minority to be affected by a little side effect.”
                “What side effect? Is it fatal?”
               “No, no, of course not! It’s just that, well, in some cases, along with weight loss there is a complete atrophy of certain structures in the body.”
              I swallow painfully, my mouth dry. “What structures?”
              “Well, in your case, there is only a strand of scar tissue connecting your mouth and your stomach. But it is easily possible to maintain yourself through a tube inserted into the new opening I have placed in your abdomen. Nicely done, I must say! It is accessed through the umbilicus, so unless you are looking for it, you won’t even know it is there. Shouldn’t be any trouble at all, and rather a fair exchange, don’t you think?  Hmmm?” 

    1. DMelde

      Hi dblayne,
      I like your story. “it hurts to swallow” foreshadows the consequence of her injection, which I like, and everything moves along smoothly. The only part I got stuck in, and this is probably just me, was where she stares at her wrist. Her arm and hand are bloated and then the next sentence says they are not. That threw me until I figured it out, but otherwise everything was good. Maybe combining the two sentences into one sentence “…dimple in a bloated forearm and puffy wrist, but the wrist I am currently staring at…” That would make it read easier for me. Thanks for sharing!

      1. dblayne

        I agree completely, it confuses me and I wrote it. That section was a casualty of the word count. I like the change you suggested, and maybe I will add (gulp) two words and tweak the whole thing so it reads as:

        The wrist I know is a dimple between a bloated forearm and puffy hand, but the one I am looking at is in perfect proportion to the hand and arm it joins.

        What do you think? And thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

  36. btalbot

    “Whenever you’re ready.”
    Brian hesitated, and then drank it. “Doesn’t taste like anything,” Brian said.
    “It’s not supposed to. How do you feel?”
    “Fine, I guess.” Brian paused, then immediately rushed out of the room. Dr. Shaw sat, and waited.
    Brian rushed to the car, where his buddy sat. His jaw dropped wide open. “You’ve gotta be kidding me!” Stan couldn’t move.
    “I can see! Take me home. Erica’s not gonna believe this.” Brian couldn’t wait to break the news to his wife. He hadn’t been able to see in two years—a work accident involving heavy fumes frayed electrical wires.
    Stan still sat, frozen. He was staring into his buddy’s eyes, knowing he was looking at a two years older (and balder) Stan for the first time.
    “Please take me home. She’s not gonna believe this.”
    All the way home Stan kept looking at Brian. Brian hadn’t given him ample time to absorb his friend’s new lease on sight. Brian had nothing else to do but wait in the passenger seat when it hit him—he started crying. He could see his wife again. He could look at her when she did the yard work, go to the movies with her, watch ball games with her, and see the woman he made love to again.
    Stan screeched the wheels up to the curb. Brian didn’t give him a chance to put it in park. He was out the door and up the grass, opening the front door as Stan turned off the ignition.
    “Brian, honey, is that you?” Brian ignored the panic in Erica’s voice. Whatever problem she had, Brian’s eyesight would cure it.
    “Honey, please! Oh my God, help me!”
    Still not quite over his renewed ability, Brian thought more and more about his wife. What’s wrong? She hasn’t been this upset since I lost my eyesight.
    “I’m in the bedroom. Come, now!”
    Brian nearly tripped around the walls getting to the bedroom. “What, honey? What is it?”
    “Oh, God, Brian call an ambulance. I can’t see. I can’t find my phone.”
    Brian dropped to his knees, his tears of joy turning to tears of anguish and rage. “What happened? Look at me. What happened?”
    Brain grabbed his wife’s arms. She dropped her head into his chest. Brian’s head shot up. He reached his hand into his pockets and grabbed a phone. Erica was still bawling. He yelled into the phone, “Shaw!”
    One ring sounded through the ear of the phone. “Yes?”
    “Shaw! My wife. She can’t see.”
    “I told you,” said Dr. Shaw. He sounded unusually calm. Brain knew Shaw could hear Erica through the phone.
    “What? Why? What did you do to my wife?”
    “Nothing. I told you, I can’t give it for free.”
    “What are you talking about? I paid you.”
    “No,” Dr. Shaw gave a weak laugh. “No, I forgot to tell you. Whatever you wish for—whatever you get—it isn’t free. What you get from the potion, you get from your love.”

    1. Pdomoniq

      Sad. But I liked it. And talk about a twist.

      It took me a moment to realize that It was Brian who was doing the looking here:


      But great story!

  37. radioPanic


    Myron arrived this evening a CHANGED MAN. Evolved! Shirt now stretched around the shoulders instead of lower, an unfortunate trait we’d shared since school. Below his shorts, actual muscles propelled him in his distracted path. I asked what program had yielded such a profound effect in a scant two weeks, damn the cost!

    He blinked, gaze darting as always. From his bag he handed me a Mason jar of brown liquid. He asked if Anna had been at the open mic.

    Anna! Fair of face, fair of form, uncanny wealth of soul; Untouchable.

    I told him She’d been blinking back tears at the last lines of Heart’s Long Winter. A full house, but I’d read only to Her. We talked after, shared a dim booth, talked poetry. Only contact she allowed was one solitary palm squeeze, after which she kept the table between us, face faintly sheened with distaste.

    Myron told me his transformation took considerably less than two weeks, that most of the intervening span since our last visit had seen Myron undergoing every conceivable battery of tests to confirm what he already knew, that his creation had no side effects. He said every physical trial brought forth founts of incredulity from his doctors. Every mental examination exposed no divergence from results prior.

    As usual, I’m paraphrasing M’s words, distilling his switchbacking thoughts to fit the page. (Moleskine ain’t cheap!)

    I swirled the concoction in the jar. It looked like a nice porter. I asked the natural questions: what is it, how does it work?

    What little I understood boils down to: it converts fat cells into muscle cells and relocates them. (Science!)

    I unscrewed the top and sniffed. Molasses and anise, primarily, and M told me these were added to make the mixture palatable. Alcohol, too, which M explained helped the active agents flow where they are needed.

    I asked one last time before he left: No side effects?

    He smiled and said only the best night’s sleep you’ve had in a long while.

    It’s 10:15, and I have downed the stuff. The 8 oz. of water I followed it with, as instructed, just barely neutralized the taste, like something Grandma might have prescribed for a cold. A pleasant buzz, and I suspect Myron is correct about the anticipated quality of sleep, if about nothing else.



    knock knocked till knockles bleed smorning at Mirons door.

    tertiary? meniscus—

    door opens M saw my wifebeater hung same s his firm round shoulders loose lower asked well it worked dont look happy why what wrong

    striations striated striate—

    …think i clutched clutch transmission fluid dynamics—

    clutched hair mine wild like his no comb time, told him there there there. told im i eye aye—told m i have VOICES!! IN MY HEAD!!!

    mryon blink blinker blinked, tips head like cat at mouse at catnip NEPETA CATARIA said after few seconds thirds forths fifths sixths

    …sed what, wait…doesnt everyone?


    put jurnal a way 4 awhile

  38. dcahill

    The pain coursed it way through my veins piercing my heart. It’s blackness consuming my sole. I claw at the ground. My fists full of dirt,grass, and blood. I scream to the heavens. “How can I live when you have taken my life?”
    The demon of sorrow has ripped me apart leaving behind a shell of a person. I lay on her grave,her marker my pillow.
    Carrie N Smith
    Mamas angle on lone from heaven was called home
    “My little girl,” I scream,rage spitting from my mouth like an erupting volcano.
    “I can help you my child,” came a deep voice form out of the darkness.
    My eyes opened to reviel a tall,pale man looming over me. His thin mouth was turned up,not necessarily a smile of happiness but more of satifaction. His huge round eyes shone of a high gloss black rimmed with a firery yellow that actually appeared to glow.
    “There is no help for me.” My voice was lifeless,machine like. “I am but a lost sole floating in the wind waiting on death to renuite me with my daughter.”
    As if I didn’t even speak he continued his voice strong and hard but his words were smooth as silk.
    “They call me the Scientist.” “The Scientist of Lost Soles,and I know your desire,” he purred. “But,my dear you must ask for it.” “I must here the words from your mouth.”
    “Carrie,” screamed up at him. “I wish for my Carrie to be alive.”
    His hands clasped together. Blinding red flames shot out from his fingertips. A blinding white flash exploded out from between his palms. He slowly opened his hands cupping in them a delicate glass vile. The liquid inside swirled as if it were alive.
    “You must drink from the vile and your Carrie will return.” “But be warned something will be taken from you in return.”
    The potion was warm,sweet like honey with a touch of sour lemon.
    The man faded back into the night from where he came, his words lingering in the air. “When all is done you will here form me.”
    I don’t remember falling asleep but I was woken up by the sweetest sound. ” Mama…” Opening my eyes I saw darkness. “Carrie?” My words I could not here. My hands reached out but I felt nothing.
    Panic surged through my body all I could here was the crule laugh of the Scientist.
    “Carrie has returned as I promised. I have allowed you to here her voice to confirm it.” “You have lost your sences as payment for your desire.”
    “You will never see her.”
    “You will never again hear her”
    “And though Carrie is now holding you in her arms you will never feel her.”

    1. Egg

      When the Scientist of Lost Soles came on the scene, I was waiting for all the shoes to turn up as the punchline. A spell check might help. The line, “You have lost your sen[s]es,” is actually a pretty good one. Keep at it.

      1. dblayne

        I apologize in advance for chiming in here, as I just joined yesterday, but I have to say, this is a good example of a situation where spell check would almost totally fail. The only word that is actually misspelled rather than misused is ‘sences’. Just saying. I really like this story, perhaps more with the misused words than without!

          1. Egg

            I obviously wasn’t clear in my meaning. When I suggested a spell check, I was certainly not implying that anyone should rely on a computer to do their thinking for them.

  39. williamf129

    “Sure. Who wouldn’t want that?” I looked deeply into the eyes of the “mad scientist”. What else could you call some Einstein-looking character who had approached you at the Hollywood Greyhound Bus station at one o’clock in the morning offering you a 750ml bottle of what looked like Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon and saying, “Drink this magic potion and the thing you desire most in life will be yours?” Well. A couple things here. One, I like Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon. Two, I’m a kind of what-the-hell kind of guy. Three, I have always wanted to fly. You know, fly – like a bird flies; an eagle, actually. So, here I am, soaring over the bus station. Been soaring now for about two hours. I’m getting tired, and it shows. “The mangy crowd around the bus station, which has been growing – the crowd, not the bus station – pointing and oohing and aahing with Einstein standing in the middle of them laughing his ass off. He yells up at me, “I didn’t say anything about landing!”

    1. radioPanic

      Really enjoyed this! Just a couple things stand out on the second reading.

      Neither the narrator or the Einstein ever actually mentioned what the wish was, I assumed it was silent and automatically granted by the potion. You could either have the narrator voice his wish, or maybe better, change the last line to say he never wished for the ability to land. Something like that.

      Also, this could be split into 3 paragraphs, once at “Well.”, and again at “So, here I am…” It’s a nice, concise piece, but good paragraph breaks can only help the flow. Good work!

  40. ele88

    It should have been a normal day, and it would have been, if I hadn’t decided to take that shortcut. I walked through the spooky woods with twilight approaching, and yet nothing abnormal happened there. Leaving the woods, I walked up an empty street. No cars drove on this road, at least not very often. As I walked by a brown house, I heard an explosion.
    I jumped. Looking around, I knew the only place it could have come from was the brown house. There was even smoke coming out of the window. No one else would be coming to help. The house might as well have been the only one on the street. All the others had long been unoccupied, their residents driven away. I rushed in to the house, hoping I wouldn’t find out what it was that had made anyone near this house suddenly decide to pack up and move away.
    In the house, I found a man, who, though his clothes were stained with soot, sat quite calmly in his chair and surveyed the broken beakers and test tubes. As I approached, not making any noise that I could hear, the man started to laugh. “You hear an explosion and you’re crazy enough to run towards it.”
    “You’re crazy enough to sit right where it happened,” I retorted.
    He laughed again. “Well, it’s not as if it’s going to explode again. Believe me, I calculated before I set it off.”
    “You mean you wanted this stuff to blow up?”
    “That’s right!” He laughed again. “How else would I get crazy people like you to come and meet me?”
    “I’m not crazy.”
    “Well, maybe you’re crazy enough to want to try my new potion? I know that you want more time to accomplish all you want in life.”
    “How would you know that?”
    “I can tell. I know your type. It’s easy to spot when you know what to look for.” He grinned. “My potion can make you live forever. You’ll never run out of time to do all that you want.”
    “What’s the catch?”
    “Well, I haven’t tested this batch yet. There was a small side effect in the previous batches. I hope that I have fixed it now, but I need one person to test it before I can present it to the general population.”
    I thought about it. Risking a small side effect must be worth it to live forever. I could do everything I had dreamed of. I drank the vial. As he had explained, I slept for several hours. When I woke up, he was sitting over me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I was unable to remedy the problem. You will be unable to stop moving.” I was already getting up and walking away. I couldn’t make myself stop moving. Soon, the loss of sleep started to make me crazy. I was forced to live, unable to stop to accomplish anything. I could live forever, but not a life worth living.

  41. DMelde

    I’m bored so I thought I’d write one more…

    “Fearless Leader, we steal secret potion from mad scientist! What do we do now?” Boris asked.
    “Give to moose and squirrel.” Fearless Leader replied.
    “Moose and squirrel? It maybe kill them.”
    “Yes, that’s my heart’s desire.”
    “You have a heart?!”
    With threats of Siberia ringing in their ears, Boris and Natasha left and went to a costume shop, where they dis—
    “Hey, you’re not our regular narrator!” Bullwinkle interrupted.
    “Well, no, I’m new.”
    “So, who are you then?”
    “I’m an unemployed writer from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.”
    “I’m from Frostbite too, neighbor!”
    “So we’re good then, me and you?”
    Getting back to our story, Boris and Natasha went to a costume shop where they disguised themselves as bakers, and they put the secret potion inside of a mooseberry pie, in order to lure our two young heroes—
    “Hey Rocky, did you hear that? He called us heroes!”
    “Shhh, Bullwinkle, let the narrator do his job.”
    “All right, but with this writing, he won’t win an award anyway.”—
    Ahem, to lure our two young heroes to their death. Using an old hot dog cart as a prop, they put up a handmade sign that said “Goodenov Beatery”, and then they waited for Rocky and Bullwinkle to walk by, as Boris and Natasha knew they would.
    “Look Rocky, food!”
    “Let’s get something to eat Bullwinkle, I’m starving!”
    “Hey mister, what do you have?”
    “Why, we have beets and vodka, beet bread, beet vodka and bread, and beet pancakes.”
    “Do you have anything without beets?”
    “Just this mooseberry pie.”
    “We’ll take it!”
    Rocky and Bullwinkle were starving, so they ate the whole pie. It wasn’t long before they starting feeling ill.
    “Gee whiz, Bullwinkle,” Rocky said, “you look like you’re turning blue.”
    “Well, wadda ya know, I usually turn green this time of year. Now that you mention it, you’re looking a little blue there too Rock. What are we going to do?”
    “We need to get some help. Hey, Mr. Narrator!”—
    “Um, yeah?”
    “Can you say we’re going to the hospital in an ambulance?”
    “Well, I’m not supposed to get involved…”
    “Okay, but just this once.”—
    As luck would have it, an ambulance happened by and took our two heroes to the hospital, where Doctor Boris and Nurse Natasha were preparing for surgery.”—
    “Hey!” Bullwinkle exclaimed.
    “Not those two again!” Rocky added.—
    Okay! Took them to the hospital, where Doctor Painless and Nurse Feelgood were waiting to examine them.—
    “That’s better!”—
    “How long have you been blue, Mr. Moose?” Doctor Painless asked.
    “Ever since this story started, Doc.”
    “Well, you two are in luck. Here, drink this.” Doctor Painless instructed.
    “What is it?”
    “It’s the secret antidote. Here, look for yourself.”
    Doctor Painless drew aside a curtain, and showed them a glass case filled with vials labeled “Secret Antidote”.
    “Gee, Doctor Painless, you must have a lot of patients who drink potions!” Rocky said.
    “Who do you think hired the mad scientist?” Doctor Painless said with a crooked smile.
    The End.

  42. Icabu

    Staring at the murky fluid in the small vial, I hesitated, half-afraid of the stuff and half-eager to down it. In the quiet of my own dining room, taking a deep, calming breath, I swallowed the ‘magic’ potion. Shuddering as the vile taste bit into my senses, I dug into my regally prepared meal, allowing the masterful flavors soothe my palate.

    Closing my eyes, I savored the essence of each bite of the rich flavors – no more bland diet and, more importantly, no more dining alone. The woman who’d entered my soul deserved a night of dining, wining, and other sinful pleasures. I, too, needed that.

    At the end of my rope, I had sought help in the small medicinal shops in Chinatown. Burying my dignity, I explained my affliction to every shriveled shop owner I could find. None had a concoction to help me. As I left the final shop, chin drooping against my chest in defeat, the most ancient looking person I’d ever seen approached me.

    “I have what you seek.”

    After a wire transfer of my entire savings account, I took possession of the vial with the promise of weekly deliveries to my home. While not a cure, I was assured of four hours of remission after ingesting a single dose – exactly what I needed for a romantic dinner and after activities.

    It had been so long since I’d dined in female company that I felt it necessary to waste this first vial on a test run. I wanted to make sure of the timing – the meal, the idle chit-chat, the romance. Then rush her home before hearing my most hated words in the English language: ‘Please don’t call me again, Roger’.

    As I swallowed a bite of lemon sole with caper sauce, I noticed the room darkening. Within seconds, velvet blackness surrounded me. Frozen, the mocking words of the ancient creator of the magic elixir echoed in my mind.

    “There is but a single side effect, which you cannot miss, but is as temporary as the remedy.”

    I hadn’t cared about a temporary side effect and dismissed it out of hand. Now, sitting blind as a bat, defeat weighed heavily upon my shoulders once again.

    I didn’t understand how blindness could be a side effect for treating uncontrolled flatulence.


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