October 5th, 2021

meow, cat, Siamese, catty

Writing Challenges

This week's Odd Prompts writing challenge from More Odds than Ends was from Becky Jones: Maple Avenue was always weird. Today it was raining in ten foot increments. Dry for ten feet, rain for ten feet.

This suggested the Big Messy Project, and specifically the Hidden or Secret City that our protagonist visited when she discovered a connection between two versions of the same pet store she'd once imagined.


Back to the Secret City

Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised that there would be a connection between the hidden settlement in the bottomland by the North Fork and the Secret City. I'd already encountered plenty of strange distortions of both space and time while traversing Sly Fox's secret tunnels. Half an hour's walk could take me twenty or thirty miles, or take me from Saturday to a school day. So why shouldn't I be surprised that ducking into a basement could bring me back out here, in the city that existed somehow coterminous with the north end of our farm, accessible at certain points but not otherwise connected?

The last time I'd been here, it had been late afternoon, but now it was night. On one hand, it did spare me the weird quality to the light, reminiscent of the time a few years ago when the wildfires out west were so severe the smoke reached the stratosphere and covered the sky over the Midwest with a strange haze. On the other hand, it meant I was walking through a darkened city, most of its stores closed, the only illumination the streetlights overhead.

As I turned the corner of Clam Street and Maple Avenue, I stepped into a sudden downpour. Startled, I ran to the shelter of a nearby door, only to realize that in that brief run I'd gone right out of the rain.

Looking down the street, I realized that the rain was falling in a very specific pattern. Every ten feet it would start up, then stop, then start up again. It seemed as if someone were fighting over the sprinkler system, except that I could see the raindrops coming down from above the streetlights.

What fresh madness was this? Something Sly Fox had worked up – and if so, what was his interest in the Secret City?


I'd had plans for more, but with the demands on my time of the past weekend's convention, I was doing well to get anything written at all. One of these days I'll have to start knitting all these pieces together into something coherent.

I did manage to write a story for this week's Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Writing Challenge, but it wasn't one of my stronger ones. I'd intended to take it a different direction, but I was running down to the wire and didn't have the time left to trim out enough to make room, so I ended up with a hint of magic and lost opportunity.

As always, if you'd like to participate in Odd Prompts, just send your prompt in to oddprompts@gmail.com to be assigned a prompt of your own. Or if you're not up to the commitment of trading prompts, you can always check out the spare prompts and see if any of them tickle your creativity.

There will be a new word and picture prompt up at Indies Unlimited on Saturday. Until then, the polls will open tomorrow for voting on the Readers' Choice Award, and will close at 5PM on Thursday.

In the meantime, keep writing