I’ve been asking my fellow Saturday Writer friends to challenge me. They have taken up that challenge…to challenge. Me.

The idea was for each of us, once a month, to come up with a prompt – anything, a picture, a sentence, song, smell – and write a short story based on that prompt.

The first prompt was a picture of a little girl in a red dress sitting in a field of ivy. I studied it, tried to read the face of the girl and see what she was thinking – you know, deep profound writerly stuff – and came up dry. I decided to dream up my story by some other means. Keep in mind that anything I dream up is going to turn out a little twisted. That’s just how my brain works. The girl in the picture was sweet, angelic and innocent. My story was not.

The second prompt was a sentence, a quote. Alone, it didn’t seem significant, just an idle quote about relationships. Hmm. Again, twisted brain goes into action…out pops a story about a “black widow” woman collecting the bodies of her ex boyfriends in a web in her basement.

Third prompt was the theme song from Dark Shadows. Not everybody is familiar with the classic vampire soapie from many, many, many….many, many years ago but those who are can hear the song in their heads right about now. I didn’t want to do anything vampirish. That would be too cliche, but I couldn’t get the image of a creepy gothic mansion out of my head. The story ended up being about the mansion as the main character…a living, breathing character. That was fun to write.

So, at this month’s meeting I told my fellow writers to really challenge me this time. I’m beginning to think they don’t love me anymore. What they gave me this time is going to be hard. They had that evil gleam in their eyes when they gave it to me…yep, they want me to fail this time. I can’t let that happen. They will not beat me!

What is the prompt this time?

It’s two-fold.

Porcupine quills and a lilac bush.


What the heck am I going to do with that?

Oh, wait a minute…I think I’ve got something. Hmm, can you kill somebody with a porcupine quill? And if you buried their body under a lilac bush, will it hide the smell of decaying flesh?

Naw, I’ll keep thinking. I’ll come up with something.

Lilac bush…porcupine…do the two even live in the same region of the country together?

Who’s idea was this? I definitely think they don’t love me anymore.