Tag Archives: spooky

Writing prompt: Submarine day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Submarine day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.  Because St. Pat’s would be too obvious!)


The sub was beginning to stink. It reeked of sweat and mildew. Jansen had been short-circuiting the timer on the air-lock. It was his fault, I knew it. We wouldn’t get fresh air for another month, and the filtration system was already going at max.

Something long and tentacled swam past my window. I knew why Jansen rushed the air-lock—there was something wrong about this planet. The little submarine felt like an oasis in a wet desert, a safe space in a world of monsters. The survey had revealed some large native lifeforms, but our sub, which apparently resembled a good meal, brought them out in numbers we couldn’t anticipate.

But the company said it was alright, and we had signed contracts, so we would stay until the next crew arrived.

Construction was behind schedule. The initial design specs were insufficient in light of the lifeforms in the ocean. If one of the large ones rammed the base, the original design wouldn’t take that.

Another creature, head like a folded umbrella, long like an eel, swam by. Several of its eyes blinked. I wondered if it could see me.

Writing prompt: Feeling spooked while camping

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Feeling spooked while camping”

I’m not really a camper. But still, I couldn’t turn down an invite from a friend to go camping in the newly opened Blue Ridge preservation area. Even with trees designed to sequester radiation, no one but researchers and workers had been allowed in for nearly 200 years, after the one that missed DC. Now my researcher friend had passes for the soft opening, and what could I say? The Appalachian Mountains were nearly 500 million years old, and I’d never seen them except in pictures of spooky decaying ruins—Monticello falling into the Earth and the old Blue Ridge Parkway cracked beyond recognition in some vids online.

Jaden set up the tent. He’d camped before, but not in this area of course. Tonight and this week, 500 people tested the park, carrying dosimeters and basically giving things one last look-over. I helped Jaden build the fire that night, and I imagined eyes watched us from the trees. I’m sure they weren’t, and I focused instead on what a tricky cooking medium fire and charcoal could be. I couldn’t even tell the cooking temperature.

Insects began as twilight grew deeper, unnerving and yet exciting. These must be the eyes I imagined watching me.

Writing prompt: “A ghost in the building”

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“A ghost in the building” (For Halloween!)

Anitra loved her apartment building. It sat between campus and the downtown, and was still elegant. One day a year, however, she didn’t love her apartment—Halloween. Something must have happened, once, over its ninety years standing, that imprinted into the bones of the building. And every Halloween it happened again. She didn’t know if she could bear it again.

This year she’d thought ahead. She was going to stay with the Johnstons in the suburbs. She would help hand out candy. Twilight fell, and she pulled into the Johnstons’ driveway. “Damn, how did I forget my backpack?” She reversed the car and drove back. It would be fine. The elevator man’s demise didn’t play out until later in the evening.

She retrieved the bag from her apartment. She took the stairs. Even on good days, the manual elevator doors spooked her. Some day, they might not slide open when they ought to. She went back to the Johnstons.

“Anitra, I can’t believe you’re afraid to stay in your apartment alone on Halloween,” Marci Johnston said, ladling out spiced cider. “I thought you were an independent woman.” She smiled wryly.

Anitra laughed. “I am, I am. It’s not the apartment I’m afraid of—it’s the fact that every year…” she lowered her voice and set her mug on the table. “You won’t believe me, but every year, the ghost corpse of the murdered elevator man roams the hallways.”

“No way!” Marci smiled broadly. “That’s so cool!”

Anitra shuddered. “I’d just rather avoid it this year.”

“You say he was murdered?”

“That’s the legend,” Anitra said, not liking where this was going. “Apparently it was never solved.”

“Then we have to solve it!” Marci cried, spilling her cider a little.