Writing Prompts

Word Prompt: Try | Story Prompt: from the book “The Strangers” by Katherena Vermette

‘The damn swing had squeaked for as long as she could remember. A good gust of wind and the thing squeaked around, so loud you could hear it in the house. Whenever someone got on it, it practically screeched. By the time Margaret came along, her brothers had already wrecked it. The seat was splintered, the paint chipped away. Jumped on it so much it hung low, like the branch it was attached to would snap at any moment. She hated it. The chains were always cold, no matter what the weather. She’d grip them as best she could, pump her little legs to try and make it go. It never went much. It was a swing for little kids, babies, and by the time she was five, she felt she had already outgrown it.

Everything was like that in her family, messed and tired by the time she got it.’


(June 3, 2023 Excerpt)

She paused at the edge of the shadows, watching the moonlight dance on the riplets of water flowing over pink gravel in the shallows, and sat on a large stone they’d placed there. The stone was cool and dry but not cold, and it quickly warmed to her body temperature as she watched the water.

After a moment — or was it longer? — she heard a rustling in the leaves on the opposite bank. She remained still as she watched a porcupine move slowly into view, quills highlighted by the moonlight, looking like gleaming armor. She could hear their dry rattle as the gentle creature ambled slowly to the water for a drink. Then, about the same time as the porcupine was sated and had sat back, there was a movement farther to the left and the bright eyes of a red fox appeared! She held her breath as she looked from porcupine to fox, but perhaps a truce had been called. The fox joined the porcupine at a healthy distance on the waters edge and stooped low over front paws to softly lap at the water.

Her breathing slow and steady and with half-closed eyes, she began to hum. Soft and low, like a mother might hum her feeling of contentment to her children playing nearby. From across the water the fox looked over at her seated on the rock, tilted his head quizzically, and said quietly to the porcupine, “How do you suppose she knows this song?”

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