Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.
“National Hat Day” (It’s true, January 15th is National Hat Day! This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts, such as the Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day)
“That is the ugliest hat in history,” Sita giggled.
Alma giggled too. It was an exercise in atrociousness. It had scraggly feathers sticking out at inharmonious angles. The fabric was threadbare in inexplicable spots. The pattern of the fabric was a loose checker, with the pattern misaligned at the seams. At all. It was several sizes too big, and clearly meant to fit snugly.
Alma shrugged. “I guess it’s a conversation starter.”
Sita shook her head. “No. I’d take one look at a person wearing that and I’d be out of the room. A person wearing that hat has bedbugs and halitosis, and those are the better aspects of their personality.”
Alma tried to laugh, but couldn’t manage. “In all seriousness, it called out to me. I feel like it belonged to someone I knew, or that by holding it I know the people who wore it.”
Sita frowned. “Okay, whatever. Is it for a Halloween costume?”
“No,” Alma said, troubled by the depth of her feelings for what objectively was a horrific hat with nothing that should appeal. “Ah, dammit, maybe I’m just feeling the stress of exams. If an offensive looking hat should cheer me up…” she shrugged.
Alma set the hat on the table next to her bed. She was repelled by it, but fascinated. It still smelled faintly human, and the front band bore a section darkened inside by sweat.
She dreamt of the hat. A strange rumpled woman wore it, the sort of woman who would exist more in fairy tales than real life. Her clothes suited the hat, inappropriately threadbare and likely assembled by someone with severe sight deficiency.
“Alma!” the woman said, a command more than an address. Alma woke in a cold sweat. The hat remained on the bedside table.