February Word Challenge, Day 27

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are button, verse, ambiguous, passport, bundle.

Chosen word for free association: all
(I’m going to try to write something that makes sense using all of the prompt words.)


“Now, I don’t take too kindly to bein’ hornswaggled. I don’t recall the terms of our deal bein’ ambiguous, and I definitely don’t remember giving you a passport to anybody’s quarters.”

“But Captain Reynolds, I was just …”

Mal held up his forefinger. “A-bup-bup-bup. You don’t talk right now.” He leaned down and looked in the thief’s eyes. “I’d just as soon have you out of my ‘Verse, but I reckon off my boat’ll do. So you grab your bundle and button your coat up tight. You’re gettin’ off at St. Albans, and it’s a might bit chilly there.”

Mal turned and walked toward the stairs. “Zoë, tie him up and let him contemplate the meanin’ of his actions.”

“W-what season is it where you’re dropping me off?” asked the thief.

“Winter,” said Zoë, pulling his hands behind a pole. “It’s always winter on St. Albans.”

Mal called over his shoulder. “Don’t worry; we’ll give you some of Jayne’s coffee to keep you warm.”

From the balcony above came, “Hey! Don’t be givin’ away my coffee!”

Mal looked up. “What? I’m not gonna give him the good stuff!” He smirked at Kaylee and climbed the stairs.

February Word Challenge, Day 26

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are pain, shrimps, herb, copier, van.

Chosen word for free association: pain
physical, emotional, feeling, heartache, loss, longing, missing, release, alive, need


(Trigger Warning: intentional self-harm)

She eased her fingers into the steaming curtain of water spewing from the showerhead. Not bad, she thought, but it needs to be hotter. I can barely even feel that. She nudged the outside collar of the shower fixture a little further to the left. The central water in her apartment building was entirely unpredictable, but it was worth a shot. “Please, please, please …,” she whispered. She felt the warmth increase on her fingers and hand. “Yes!”

She pushed her arm further into the water, felt it scalding her skin. She pulled it back out a little; it was already getting red. Good. That’s just right. She turned and slowly backed into the shower stream, letting the liquid fire coat first her calves and legs, then leaving stinging streaks as it rolled down and around her ankle to molest the fresh skin on top of her feet. Then the pain hit her lower back and flared down her crack to her rectum, blossoming outward like a rose in time-lapse. Slowly, slowly, she eased further back into the water, careful not to scald the fair skin of her back too quickly. She gritted her teeth and hissed through them as she breathed in, eyes closed, head turned to the side. God, I need this.

As the pain climbed up between her shoulder blades, she rolled her head forward, letting some scalding water run around her neck and down her chest. Rivulets of lava, in her mind. She turned her torso slowly to the left, then across to the right, painting her back a uniform red with the showerhead. She looked down, and could see the clear division on her side between the raw, pink skin of her back and the near alabaster of her ribcage. I’d better stop, she thought, but continued standing under the fiery rain until she could feel the temperature of the water dropping. The water was still probably too hot for other people, but it wasn’t hot enough for her any more.

She stayed in a couple of minutes more anyway, letting the dropping temperature cool her skin a bit. Then she turned off the water and carefully toweled herself dry. When she looked in the mirror, she could still see bright red on her back, and some red streaks down her chest and onto her belly. She took a selfie. Her proof; proof that she had felt something.

Not that anyone would ever know, of course. She just had to prove it to herself.

February Word Challenge, Day 25

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are rose, shopping, high jump, mistake, waltz.

Chosen word for free association: waltz
3/4 or 6/8, dance, twirl, rise and fall, frame, The Band, Walt’s, walltz

“We’re going to make a waltz, the biggest waltz you’ve ever seen. All the finest waltzers will be there. That old guy on Dancing with the Stars? He’ll be there. He doesn’t know it yet, but he will. And we’ll make the orchestra pay for it. We’ll make ’em pay. Look how they dress, and at all those instruments. They can afford it. Don’t believe the fake news about them; they have money pouring in. This waltz is going to make all the other waltzes look tiny. It’s going to be huge!”

February Word Challenge, Day 24

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are estate, whistle, gang, riot, loft.

Chosen word for free association: loft
balcony, toss, float, high, left, lift, luft (German)

Lofty Himalayan peaks stand
Silent, snowy sentinels
Reminders that we humans are
Merely temporary.

When we are gone, they will remain,
As will our damage.


February Word Challenge, Day 23

(If you’re wondering what this is about, read this.)

My five random words for today’s exercise are mouse, pyramid, turf, passport, parliament.

Chosen word for free association: pyramid
power, scheme, Maslow, apex, illuminati, Egypt, Mesoamerica, Maya


(A quick note before I begin this. This is a writing exercise, not a well-researched, submitted article. What I’m going to write about is from a specific culture, and I’m sure I will get details wrong. I intend no offense to anyone. It’s just an exercise in creativity.)

Ninety-One steps. Even for Aapo, a young man in his prime, they were hard steps. Tall steps. His legs and lungs burned. But he would not stop. He would not be the weak one. He would meet Kukulkan with open heart and life’s blood, and his people would live another year.

Ninety-One steps, now done. His thighs, knotted in cramps, shook. Only the dais was left. He raised his quivering leg and levered himself up and onto the cold stone, where he lay, panting. Strong hands picked him up by the limbs. He felt the chill of stone again, on his back and calves. He closed his eyes.

When he opened them, he would see Kukulkan.