Tagged: animal

A Handful of Mushrooms

  • by Kentdozens of nails
  • impromptu vacations and picnics in the park
  • “Let us go and present ourselves to be killed.”
  • eventually they finished eating
  • my temples throbbing with excitement

Tune in next time part 226                           Click Here for Earlier Installments

A handful of mushrooms was more effective as an appetizer than a snack, but it was certainly better than nothing. I worried that the employees would be upset about me taking some without paying, but they just smiled.

I crammed the fungus into my mouth and chased after Cleopatra.

She held up one hand as I approached. She was probably checking for spies again, but I was distracted by her fingers. Each one had dozens of nails, a trait I’d failed to notice before. It was beautiful.

The stop at her apartment was very quick. Gordon kept asking to be let out of the bathroom. In Italian. Apparently Cleopatra didn’t speak Italian because she showed no sign she understood.

On our way to the hovercraft depot, we saw families of purple giraffes and levitating hippos having impromptu vacations and picnics in the park. Cleopatra was too intent on our travel plans to appreciate the scene. She was dragging me by the hand, so I pulled her to a stop and pointed out the amazing spectacle. One of the giraffes saluted me with his beer can.

“Oh shit,” Cleopatra said. “Those weren’t maitake mushrooms. Come on, we have to hurry.”

Turned out that what they were calling a hovercraft was actually a giant lawnmower. Passengers disappeared into it, and since they didn’t seem afraid I decided I wasn’t either. “Let us go and present ourselves to be killed.” Cleopatra just rolled her eyes. And we survived the boarding process, so I decided I could trust her. Her butt was fake, but she was honest about everything else.

Now I realized our vessel was not a mower, but a gigantic locust. There were others like it, all grazing on the reeds by the shoreline. Eventually they finished eating and set out over the water. I stood at the bow, watching the horizon, my temples throbbing with excitement.

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Rats. Why Did it Have to be Rats?

  • by jenstruck by lightning a month ago
  • hundreds of identical bathing suits
  • over the 4th of July weekend
  • and downright durable
  • “Do you know to whom you speak?”

Tune in next time part 187                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Rats. Why did it have to be rats? The only thing worse than their slithery hairless tails was their enormous testicles. Even if they didn’t manage to devour me, I’d waste precious time fighting them off. And that meant I’d have to touch them. Ugh.

“Move it,” I said to Yoda. From his dumpster-perch I’d be able to reach the roof and make my escape.

“Yourself you should blow,” the horrible little man said.

“Do you know to whom you speak?” I’m embarrassed to admit that was my best attempt at mimicking his backwards syntax.

An obnoxious giggle came from behind the rubber mask. I grabbed the ears with both hands, and tugged. The mask was stretchy and downright durable. I gave up trying to tear it off and instead used the ears as handles to yank the guy off the dumpster and fling him onto the filthy alley pavement. His giggles turned to shrieks as I vaulted up onto the garbage receptacle. The lid sagged under my weight like I was the winner of a hotdog eating contest over the 4th of July weekend. I reached for the roof, but the lid collapsed, dumping me unceremoniously into the trash.

I expected to find myself wallowing in rancid food, but the smell wasn’t any worse inside than it had been out in the alley. Digging around for something solid to stand on to help me climb out, I found nothing but hundreds of identical bathing suits, all singed around the edges.

I suddenly knew where I was. The Contrarian news had been wall-to-wall coverage of a bikini store that was struck by lightning a month ago.

Cold dread trickled down my spine. A notorious fire, swimwear, a strip club, a nearby airport. If Mother brought me to such a location, it could only mean one thing.

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I Had Never Heard a More Convoluted Backstory

  • by jenJust give cash.
  • arterial spray across her cheek
  • when her memory was fresh
  • Transylvania homicide detective Regis
  • put on his best clothes

Tune in next time part 157                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

I had never heard a more convoluted backstory, or a more unnecessary one. The plan Heinrich and Svetlana had concocted was really quite simple. Ugly, but simple, like the pig that put on his best clothes to pass himself off as human in the old Harmonious cartoon, “Transylvania Homicide Detective Regis St Oink-Oink Goes to Washington.”

Svetlana got into an argument with the bartender over the size of our tab. I knew that even when her memory was fresh, Svetlana was not what anyone would consider a math whiz, but I also knew that this squabble would likely end with the bartender’s arterial spray across her cheek.

I turned to Heinrich. “Just give cash. We don’t want to leave a trail.”

Heinrich slapped a few bills on the bar. The bartender snatched them up, leaving Svetlana looking quite disappointed.

“Hop on,” Heinrich said, gesturing to the harness under his shirts.

This was the first step in the plan. The hell of it was he wasn’t talking to Svetlana.

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This Was Not the First Time I Had Been Threatened With a Serrated Diving Knife

  • by jentangled in her sweater
  • staring at the sky, stunned
  • but she won’t let you
  • moving in slow, sensuous circles
  • enormous head start

Tune in next time part 143                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

This was not the first time I had been threatened with a serrated diving knife by a woman wearing only flippers, a skimpy bikini, and spiky metal eyelashes. I dashed for the exit, putting as many schoolboys between us as possible. Myxolemia’s flippers slowed her down as well, and by the time she got them off and fought her way through her crowd of admirers, I had an enormous head start.

I pelted up the stairs and into the walkthrough aquarium. The glass tunnel passed through the heart of the giant tank. All around me, glowing jellyfish were moving in slow, sensuous circles. All of the jellyfish in the Contrarian National Aquarium have been trained by my wife personally to dance in these hypnotic patterns. You can ask Fleur a million times how she trained them, and why, but she won’t let you in on her plans. Very secretive is my wife.

As I hurtled past the crowds of tourists staring raptly at the denizens of the deep, I tried to figure out why Myxolemia hadn’t passed along her message to me when she appeared at the hospital. Or when she turned up at the leather goods store. Was it possible that it wasn’t actually Myxolemia, but her identical cousin Aimeloxym?

I burst through the emergency exit and stumbled to a stop on the sidewalk, staring at the sky, stunned. The presidential zeppelin was hovering directly above me. Had Thor escaped his vegan captors? Or was this some power play of Mother’s?

I must have stood there gaping for longer than I realized, for suddenly Aimeloxym was at my side. She had tried to dress in a hurry – her metal eyelashes were tangled in her sweater.

She aimed her harpoon gun at the zeppelin.

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As Soon As the Airship Docked

  • by KentI spit it out.
  • “When the Stars Weep Blood”
  • out of touch (at best) and disgusting (at worst)
  • until it actually grows too hot to bear it
  • in her uncle’s yam garden

Tune in next time part 99                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

As soon as the airship docked we proceeded among hanging gardens and colonnades to what looked like a temple. At the entrance we were served ceremonial wine, and in keeping with tradition I spit it out. My research into Contrarian customs hadn’t included any of their medical practices, however, so I was interested to see how a pregnancy test would be conducted.

I should not have been surprised that it consisted of trial by combat. My opponent’s rabbit costume was something I felt I could legitimately find surprising. Another surprise was the music, death metal blaring over hidden loudspeakers, a song titled “When the Stars Weep Blood” by a band called Not Particularly who had been exiled from Contraria the previous year.

“Now we will find out if the rabbit dies!” bellowed Fleur’s father.

“Symbolically,” came John’s voice from behind the rabbit mask. “If you win the fight, that’s good enough.”

I grimmaced. Even knowing that the beliefs in Fleur’s homeland were out of touch (at best) and disgusting (at worst) I couldn’t convince myself this was something I’d really have to go through with.

My father-in-law handed me a large axe, and a net and trident were presented to John. The weapons looked real.

“Ready, set, DIG!” declaimed Fleur. I raised my axe in anticipation of a charge from John, unsure I’d heard correctly. But he attacked not me, but the ground. I chopped at the soil around my feet, trying to figure out the objective.

John scooped up a lump of something and ran with it around the edge of the temple courtyard. I kept hacking at the ground as I watched his progress. Before making it halfway around, he began tossing the lump up and catching it again, bouncing it from hand to hand.

“You must race with the yam until it grows too hot to actually bear it,” Fleur coached. “It’s like that game from your country, ‘hot yam.’ Of course you need to find one first!”

The tubers we unearthed reacted to air exposure, quickly bursting into flames if they weren’t quenched in a pot of water. Such pots were positioned around the courtyard, and our score was calculated by how many yams we deposited and how far we ran with them.

Fleur continued my education, telling the story of the young unwed princess who blamed her pregnancy on the hares in her uncle’s yam garden. My hands blistered from the heat of the yams as well as the inefficient digging tool I had to use. I had no idea who was winning, or what would signal the end of the contest.

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Aphrodite Snarled At Me

  • by jenme, I want a hula hoop
  • I consider you a rascal
  • burn the air you breathe
  • live long enough to get into space
  • without a hug and kiss

Tune in next time part 64                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

Aphrodite snarled at me, “I want a hula hoop‘s width between you and Svetlana.” She gestured with her gun. “No more, no less.”

She didn’t want me to help Svetlana, who was still being throttled by Heinrich, but if I moved too far away she wouldn’t be able to monitor both of us with her single eye.

I consider you a rascal,” she continued, “not a great threat. I will deal with you once the contortionist bitch is no more.”

Svetlana writhed beneath her former lover/sherpa, her lips a blue grimace, her eyes wide and angry.

Heinrich’s grip faltered and Svetlana drew a gasping breath. While Aphrodite was distracted by that I raised my hand and plucked a jellyfish from my hair. During my years developing the underwater excavation machine I had developed an immunity to jellyfish stings. I was counting on that not being the case for my captors. I flung the gelatinous creature at Aphrodite’s face, hoping to temporarily blind her, but my aim was off and it landed in her mouth just as she inhaled.

I knew from sad experience that man-o-war venom in your esophagus will burn the air you breathe, turning your lungs to fire, and making you doubt whether you will live long enough to get into spaces not built of agony. In other words, it was an effective distraction.

Aphrodite’s gun clattered to the floor and she soon followed it, gagging and coughing and clawing at her mouth. She drew Heinrich’s attention long enough for Svetlana to break free and somersault out of reach, gasping.

Should I take my chances and team up with Svetlana, or leave now, without a hug, and kiss my ass goodbye?

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My Eyes Were Full of Sand

  • by jenSure, it’s iconic and colorful and mesmerizing
  • impelling the machine uphill
  • it had been about eels
  • she was lost in the city
  • expressing his feelings by serious pantomime

Tune In Next Time Part 23                             Click Here for Earlier Installments

My eyes were full of sand when I opened them. I lay on the beach, blood still oozing from my leg wound. As I tried to get my bearings, I remembered the dream that haunted my childhood. I don’t know why, but it had been about eels, and I’d had it again just now, passed out on the shore by the pier. Sure, it’s iconic and colorful and mesmerizing to have a recurring dream, but those eels man, they haunt me.

I sat up in time to see John emerge from the crashing surf, still alive. Dammit. In his grip was my underwater digging apparatus. It seems that John escaped his sharky fate by impelling the machine uphill instead of down, and letting it drag him along behind it. Not for the first time I cursed my engineering prowess.

When John saw me laying there bleeding all over the empty metal box he began expressing his feelings by serious pantomime, his jutting middle fingers quivering in rage.

“Where is Tessa?” he bellowed, stomping up to where I was sprawled.

I knew Tessa was a terrible navigator. I knew she was lost in the city, hopelessly trying to find her way to whatever rendezvous she and John had arranged. My only chance was to send John the wrong way so that I could get some much-needed medical attention and then find her myself.

“They took her,” I lied through gritted teeth. “The ninjas took her.”

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The Himalayas Were Breathtaking

  • by jenwarm my numb fingers
  • to meet a yeti
  • “Don’t you appreciate my cuisine?”
  • — all those beautiful bullfrogs
  • threatening face of a Doberman

The Himalayas were breathtaking in the moonlight, but even colder than I anticipated. I rubbed my hands together over the fire to warm my numb fingers. This was the vacation of a lifetime, and while many in my group were here to climb Everest, I had a different objective: to meet a yeti. Tomorrow we would hike to base camp, after which we would go our separate ways. That meant a celebratory feast this evening, with plenty of food prepared by the tour company’s French chef.

“Don’t you appreciate my cuisine?” grumbled Henrí. “I brought the ingredients all the way from Marseilles packed in dry ice.”

I, along with my fellow hikers, stared at the display of grisly drumsticks, the webbed feet still intact. I don’t know what the rest of them were thinking, but I could not get rid of the image of the frogs they’d come from — all those beautiful bullfrogs slaughtered for their meaty little thighs.

I was hungry though, so I grabbed one of the frog legs and took a tentative bite. Before the flavor could register, a creature bounded into our camp. It was a large, hairy white biped with the threatening face of a Doberman. Well, the teeth of a Doberman anyway.

It could only be the yeti I’d come to see!

It plucked the frog leg from my hand and sniffed it, then shoved the whole thing in its mouth, bones and all. Such a majestic creature! I managed to get my camera out and begin filming as it gorged itself on the rest of Henrí’s feast. When it loped off into the night I had to make a quick decision. Would I return home to sell my footage, or would I follow the beast into its forbidding mountain home?

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Haus of Haunted Smellz

  • k-avatarbitten by a green lizard
  • just take rotten eggs
  • if you don’t want to cry today
  • painstakingly coded virtual replicas
  • no better than a haunted house

Video Game Review: Haus of Haunted Smellz

If you don’t want to cry today, don’t spend any money on this game. There’s not much to it, and it’s lame. You just take rotten eggs, well, painstakingly coded virtual replicas of rotten eggs, and throw them at things. The setting is supposed to be creeptastic, but it’s no better than a haunted house in the kiddie section of a milquetoast theme park. The ghouls in the mansion are easy to evade, but getting to level two without being bitten by a green lizard — which sends you back to the start — is nearly impossible.

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It Was The Kind of Memory

  • k-avatarmadly dig at your ears with a Q-Tip
  • endless chain of consequences
  • the submersible’s robotic arm
  • aka the Maine lobster
  • a solitary llama was squeezed in

It was the kind of memory that makes you want to madly dig at your ears with a Q-Tip, or with a fork, some implement that can eradicate it from your head. One little lapse that led to an endless chain of consequences and ever deepening despair, depths both figurative and literal. Allowing the code book to be thrown overboard, which meant the message from HQ couldn’t be deciphered and the ambassador’s questions couldn’t be answered. Now, a mile below the stormy surface, using the submersible’s robotic arm to retrieve the errant codex from the muck. Hoping to complete the task quickly and avoid a run-in with the armored patrol sub of Jack Rabies, aka the Maine Lobster. The ambassador knows more than he’s telling you, has some disturbing personal stake in the outcome. At his insistence, a solitary llama was squeezed in with you on the tiny sub. Fortunately, it knows how to operate the sonar array.


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