Prompt: 031. dinosaurs

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Prompt: 031. dinosaurs

1. Scientists clone extinct animals, including dinosaurs.

A. The designer pet industry began with the cloning of beloved animals that had died, then eventually spread to people custom ordering animals that had never existed before or that had gone extinct. Which resulted in the development and spread of mini-dinosaurs with the brains and loyalty of dogs.

One minute nature was respected and normal, and the next there were people walking their Doberman-sized raptors on leashes or letting their miniature saber-tooth tigers sleep on their front porches. Every day new pets were appearing on the market and the demand continued to climb with the price.


2. It was insulting to be called a technological dinosaur by someone young enough to be his grandchild.

A. It was insulting to be called a technological dinosaur by someone young enough to be his grandchild. That it was somewhat true only made the situation worse in his mind.

For the first time, he felt old. And he didn’t like it.

The thought festered in the back of his mind for days, eventually culminating in him experiencing his first midlife crisis.


3. Working in a factory that made plastic dinosaur toys had never been a life plan.

A. Working in a factory that made plastic dinosaur toys had never been a life plan. It was a life derailment. It was the result of too many things happening too close together for the budget to keep up. It was a desperation job.

Yet ten years later, it was the same dull factory walls and the same job day in and day out. It was a soul leaching experience that paid enough money to cover the bills, but not enough to plan for anything better.


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Prompt: 030. poison ivy

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Prompt: 030. poison ivy

1. Poison ivy ruined the last day of camp. Who knew someone could be deathly allergic to poison ivy?

A. Poison ivy ruined the last day of camp. Who knew someone could be deathly allergic to poison ivy?

They’d all taken part in rubbing the inside of his pillowcase with poison ivy. They’d thought he’d wake up itching and have to go home covered in medicine and taking oatmeal baths. Instead they’d found him the next morning with a swollen face gone slack and blue, the skin around his eyes, nose, and mouth crusted with blisters.


2. Thinking back on five years of summer camp, every memory was ruined by the same annoying kid. Always whining and complaining, always stumbling and falling and causing medical emergencies, there was never time for anyone else to have any fun. And then there had been the incident with the poison ivy and the freshly washed laundry.

A. Thinking back on five years of summer camp, every memory was ruined by the same annoying kid. Always whining and complaining, always stumbling and falling and causing medical emergencies, there was never time for anyone else to have any fun. And then there had been the incident with the poison ivy and the freshly washed laundry.

Everyone had been affected by Ben’s foolishness that time, even the camp counselors. He’d gotten poison ivy on every tee shirt and pair of underwear that went through the wash that day.

The last two weeks of camp had been spent miserable and itchy, especially once the supply of calamine lotion and oatmeal ran out.


3. It was a harmless prank. A little poison ivy in a pair of underwear and laughter all around. There was no reason to get the police involved.

A. The arrests were made during fourth period. Three sophomores and one freshman were cuffed and dragged out of school by the police on charges of bullying, physical assault, and attempted poisoning. All the students and teachers came out into the hall to watch it happening before the principal ordered everyone back to class.

Once they realized what was happening, the four insisted that it had been a harmless prank. They’d put a little poison ivy in a pair of underwear. It was supposed to be funny. There was no reason for anyone to call the police.


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Prompt: 029. snakes

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Prompt: 029. snakes

1. It was the sound of hissing that woke her. Then came the rasp of scales against the comforter. And in the darkness she realized that her bed was full of snakes.

A. It was the sound of hissing that woke her. Then came the rasp of scales against the comforter. And in the darkness she realized that her bed was full of snakes. She could feel them shifting around her, rubbing against her legs and arms.

Her breath hitched and caught in a silent open-mouthed scream. Her heart was pounding hard in her chest. Her every muscle drew into a tight line and her body went rigid on the bed.

A snake slithered up and across her right thigh to settle over her pelvis.


2. All he remembered about the man that attacked him was the tattoo across his chest of two snakes twined around a broadsword. Everything else was lost to the concussion and shock.

A. All he remembered about the man that attacked him was the tattoo across his chest of two snakes twined around a broadsword. Everything else was lost to the concussion and shock.

He’d woken in the hospital with the memory of nearly six weeks completely wiped away. It was still disturbing to think that he’d woken up dozens of times during those weeks, had had conversations and made connections with the people at the hospital, and now he didn’t remember any of it.

He was simply looking forward to the day when they would release him to go home.


3. “Well, it looks like you’ve got a nest of snakes in the crawlspace under your house. You’re gonna have to call someone to get rid of them, and no one’s going to be working on your pipes until you do.”

A. “Well, it looks like you’ve got a nest of snakes in the crawlspace under your house. You’re gonna have to call someone to get rid of them, and no one’s going to be working on your pipes until you do.” He hitched his belt up. “I’m real sorry, but we don’t mess around with rattlers.”

The yellow sheet he tore off his carbon notepad and held out had a scribbled phone number and a printed name on it. “Call them. They’ll clear out your snake problem and won’t try to bankrupt you doing it.”


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Prompt: 028. dragons

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Prompt: 028. dragons

1. It was said that the Lands of Always Summer were ruled by dragons that could take on human features to seduce beautiful youths and maidens.

A. It was said that the Lands of Always Summer were ruled by dragons that could take on human features to seduce beautiful youths and maidens. They would come out of the South with flaring wings to take on human form when their feet touched ground, garbed in silk and finery no mortal could match. Their voices were said to be overpoweringly seductive; a single word and a human’s will would be subverted.

They said a lot of things to excuse away their fears and weakness.

Every year strangers came and more and more of their young people went away. There town was dwindling to nothing. That was the truth of the matter.

But this year he–Martin Matthews!–would rid them all of the dragon scourge.


2. The stolen passwords got them past the outer defenses and into the Hoard; the secure stronghold of Baetheron the Black, the Dragon with the smallest Territory in all the Earthly Domains.

A. The stolen passwords got them past the outer defenses and into the Hoard; the secure stronghold of Baetheron the Black, the Dragon with the smallest Territory in all the Earthly Domains.

It was said that he’d begun his reign as a human and had earned his position in the Hierarchy. He had the most to prove, and his ruthlessness was becoming legendary. But they were being paid quite a lot of money to test his defenses and steal a bauble for their client.

The fortune they were making on this job was worth risking his wrath.


3. Dragons are a highly intelligent species with a penchant for stealing young maidens.

Dragons are a highly intelligent species with a penchant for stealing young maidens. It’s not known why they prefer young female humans, but it was a weakness hunters didn’t hesitate to exploit.

Dozens of dragons met their end when they accepted the bait of seemingly helpless women left as sacrifices. They would land to take their prey, and the dragon hunters would leap out of hiding to slash through leathery wings and stab into the tender flesh between breast and belly.

Only lately have the dragons become wary of the maiden baited traps.


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Prompt: 027. mount

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Prompt: 027. mount

1. The little girl looked equal parts terrified and exhilarated as the groom helped her mount the horse.

A. The little girl looked equal parts terrified and exhilarated as the groom helped her mount the horse. Her mother stood off to the side, her smile wide even as her fingers had a white knuckled grip on the fence post.

She’d vowed that her little girl would do all the things she’d only dreamed of growing up. It was why she’d striven so hard to succeed in her life and career–she’d gotten pregnant and realized that she needed to do better. She wasn’t alone anymore, there was someone counting on her.

They’d come so far, from living in a studio apartment that shared a bathroom to having their own house, bought and paid for. They never had to worry that paying the electric bill would short-change their grocery budget. They weren’t rich, but they were comfortable enough to afford a day trip to a local horse camp and one-on-one riding lessons for her daughter.


2. He mounted the stairs one at a time, pausing to catch his breath when he needed to. Cracking half his ribcage was the most painful thing he’d ever experienced, and even while healing his ribs still hurt.

A. He mounted the stairs one at a time, pausing to catch his breath when he needed to. Cracking half his ribcage was the most painful thing he’d ever experienced, and even while healing his ribs still hurt. He was lucky to be alive, and he knew it.

The unsub had had him dead to rights. But instead of killing him the creep had broken his ribs with a mallet, and while he’d laid there helpless on the floor, the unsub had leaned real close. And sniffed his hair.

Just thinking about it gave him the creeps.


3. Squaring her shoulders and putting a firm expression on her face, she preceded to mount the stage and approach the microphone. There was a whole roomful of people wanting to hear what she had to say.

A. Squaring her shoulders and putting a firm expression on her face, she preceded to mount the stage and approach the microphone. There was a whole roomful of people wanting to hear what she had to say.

She’d never felt so important or terrified before in her life.

“Hello, excuse me.” She tapped the microphone to test that it was working. It was, and her little taps sounded LOUD. She drew in a deep breath. “Welcome everybody. Unfortunately Mrs. Lanchester couldn’t be here this evening, but she asked that I take her place to introduce our talented young singers.”

The curtain lifted to reveal three bleachers full of young people dressed in white shirts and black pants. They were arranged by height with the tallest in the back row.

“First we’ll have a performance, and afterward we can begin the bidding.”


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Prompt: 026. wristwatch

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Prompt: 026. wristwatch

1. She stared at the wristwatch with a sense of dread. Her ears filled with a buzzing sound as they spoke.

A. She stared at the wristwatch with a sense of dread. Her ears filled with a buzzing sound as they spoke. Trying to say that he was dead. That he was never coming back to her. That she would never get to say goodbye to him.

When the officer tried to hand it to her, she took a step back. She crossed her arms in front of her and shook her head back and forth. As though not accepting that the watch was his would somehow make everything all right again. He would come walking through the door, smile at her, and tell her that there’d been a big misunderstanding. He was fine.


2. “Somebody stole my grandfather’s watch. It was in my jewelry box and it’s gone.”

A. “Somebody stole my grandfather’s watch. It was in my jewelry box and it’s gone.” She looked around the room, trying to catch a glimpse of guilt on any of her three roommates’ faces. But she didn’t see anything but dim interest.

She could tell that they were already disregarding what she had to say. They didn’t even have enough respect for her to give her a minute of undivided attention. Her grandfather’s watch, an heirloom from her family, was missing and not a single one of them could even pretend to care.

It made her angry.


3. He checked his wristwatch one more time. There were only ten minutes left.

A. He checked his wristwatch one more time. There were only ten minutes left. It made him nervous. Things could go wrong so easily.

He stared through the windshield at the building across the street. He wasn’t sure what his contact looked like and he was worried that he was going to miss her.

Until he saw her.

And realized that anyone that missed her had to be blind.


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Prompt: 025. ants

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Prompt: 025. ants

1. After the death of the old queen, the worker ants broke into factions and fought to ensure the succession of their chosen queens.

A. After the death of the old queen, the worker ants broke into factions and fought to ensure the succession of their chosen queens. But in the course of fighting, they lost track of what they were protecting and all of the queens were killed.

The colony was left queenless and doomed to a gradual death.


2. There were little black ants all over the kitchen counter. Lines and lines of them marching back and forth with specks of sugar and other crumbs.

A. There were little black ants all over the kitchen counter. Lines and lines of them marching back and forth with specks of sugar and other crumbs.

For a long moment, she stood there and stared. Then the realization of what she was seeing broke through her shock and she hurriedly grabbed a paper towel and the spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner.

If the ants came into her home, then that was where they were going to die.

“Eat lemon scented chemicals, ants!”


3. ‘To my deer ants’ the card read, and the child looked so hopeful holding it up.

A. ‘To my deer ants‘ the card read, and the child looked so hopeful holding it up. What else was there to do but to smile and take the card?

“Oh, thank you so much. It’s wonderful,” she gushed, leaning down to give the kid a hug. “You’re a really good artist.”

“T’ank you!”

“It looks like you put a lot of work into this card. I think you deserve a reward.”

“Really?”

“Yep,” she said, popping the “P” a little to earn a giggle. “Would you like to help me bake some cookies?”

“Yeah.”


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Prompt: 024. wasps

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Prompt: 024. wasps

1. There were wasps attacking the beehives. Decapitated heads and shredded wings were scattered everywhere.

A. There were wasps attacking the beehives. Decapitated heads and shredded wings were scattered everywhere. It was a disaster.

He picked through the wreckage, killing any wasps he found, but it was no good. The queen was dead, as were most of her workers, and the hope he’d put into having honey and beeswax for the future.


2. There was a wasp nest on the side of the house, hidden under the eaves. They could see them crawling in and out; flying around their nest as they enlarged it.

A. There was a wasp nest on the side of the house, hidden under the eaves. They could see them crawling in and out; flying around their nest as they enlarged it.

The wasps had had time to build their nest as it was out of the way. It probably would have continued to be overlooked if one of the wasps hadn’t stung two-year-old Charlotte on the cheek. Her howls of pain and fear as her face swelled up to twice its normal size wasn’t something any of them were going to forget any time soon.

It was a heck of a way to discover that she was allergic wasp venom.


3. The soldiers looked like wasps in human form–strict, stern, and highly aggressive. They wore their uniforms like the power and the threat they were.

A. The soldiers looked like wasps in human form–strict, stern, and highly aggressive. They wore their uniforms like the power and the threat they were.

People on the street stood aside when the soldiers passed through and were careful not meet their eyes. It was safer to seem unchallenging, especially as the soldiers’ were armed and looking for a fight.


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