Tag Archives: vironevaeh

Writing prompt: National Weatherman’s Day

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

“National Weatherman’s Day” (This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts.)

I turned on the news. I took my shower and I brushed my teeth. There had been two homicides overnight, unusual but not unheard of in this town. In fairly suburban neighborhoods. Something domestic I imagined.

The weather outside was crisp. The dew point was low. No clouds in the sky. That always irritated me. The absence of clouds is boring. No stratus, cirrus, or anything. Just blank. The weather station by the front door confirmed the low dew point and said it was 58 degrees. The morning sun glared at me on the commute, and again I wished there were clouds.

“Marty, did you hear?” It was Terry, the senior weatherman, the guy who went on the screen. I just did calculations and measurements.

“Hey Terry, you’re all sweaty and red. You should get into makeup.” It wasn’t the first time he’d come to work hung over.

“I guess you didn’t hear then.” He lowered his voice. His eyes were wide. “Those two homicides overnight? They were weathermen.”

I laughed. It was the only reasonable reaction. I was incredibly jealous of Terry’s job, but I knew well enough that few others cared about it. It was just like him to make a couple of murders all about him. Maybe he’d had more than booze the night before.

“They were,” he defended. “Ed Street from channel 5 and a guy that does the broadcast on a little station in Springfield.”

“It’s a coincidence, I’ll give you that.”

“A Milwaukee weatherman died in hunting accident last night. And in Orlando a guy died in a car wreck.”

I shrugged. “So are you going to do the weather or not?”

He puffed. “Of course!”

“Then get to makeup, you look like a piece of raw meat.”

He glowered. Then he nodded and scurried off.

*

The phone rang before my alarm chimed. It had to be work, it was the only contact that could override my do-not-disturb setting.

“Marty?” It was the producer. “Terry’s dead.” He’d fallen down the stairs. Drunk I bet, no doubt fretting his conspiracy of weathermen. I was going to do the weather today. I was passingly sad to hear about Terry, but it was my big break.

I hung up the phone. Not knowing what else to do, I turned on the radio and hopped in the shower. A weatherman in San Francisco had died.

Suddenly I was less excited to do the weather.

Writing prompt: Puzzle day

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

“National Puzzle Day” (This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts.)

Cyn reached the front door at 12:03. She keyed in her entry code. Instead of turning blue, the key pad turned red and displayed a string of text. Who had the lowest average with over one hundred home runs?

“Damn,” Cyn spat. She hadn’t meant to get home after midnight. Some of the puzzles were solvable, but some, like this one, were ancient nonsense. She looked around the street. A few other bewildered people stood at their doors. It was a dangerous night to be on the street. Thousands of other people like her would wander the street. Police cars would challenge their operators too.

Every member of the city dreaded puzzle day. That’s what they called it. Exactly every 400th day, everything that worked smoothly the other 399 days would torture its users.

“Why does this happen?” the inevitable lament would arise. They lived in an ancient city of wonders. Most of the time, they took the functionality for granted. But not on puzzle day.

Cyn started toward Elbie’s house. Public transportation was out of the question. All of their questions were antique unit conversions. It was still quiet this time of night. She’d never been out on puzzle day, but like everyone else, she’d read enough.

Writing prompt: Measure your feet day

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

“Measure your feet day” (Technically, today National Blonde Brownie Day, but I care zip about them and drew a huge blank. So I opted for tomorrow’s, measure you feet day. This list is an awesome source of completely silly prompts.)

“Measure your feet today!” the full-page ad screamed. David had seen this ad, heard this commercial, for weeks, though he’d done his best to ignore it. It was weird that a hoax had so much money.

The shoes of Tutankhamen’s have been found! Top scientists indicate that his reincarnation is living today in our great nation. Measure your feet today… are they regal?

*

“Did you measure your feet?” Andy asked at recess before school.

“No. I’m not simple.”

“I guess there’s no way you’d be regal.”

“Nope,” David said.

Andy twitched. “Come on, where’s your sense of imagination? I’ll do your homework for a week if you measure your feet!”

David sighed. “Well, okay.” There wasn’t any advantage to buying into the hoax, but he could get behind not doing homework.

One of the other schoolboys, in the midst of this craze, of course had a tape measurer that he would loan out for a nickel. Andy paid it and gave David the tape.

As Andy instructed, David measured the length of his foot, the distance around his foot at the arch, the length of his big toe and the length of his second toe. He reported the numbers to Andy.

“Nuh uh!” Andy erupted. “You’re still messing with me!”

David was confused and growing annoyed. “I played along with your stupid game, are you going to honor your part or not?”

“You made those numbers up!” Andy grabbed the tape and David’s foot and proceeded to measure, too fired up to be squeamish now.

“Those numbers…” Andy trailed off. “You have to tell the New Tut organization immediately! Those are all the numbers!”

*

After Andy told David’s father about the measurements, there was no way he could avoid going. His mother dragged him to the regional center. The waiting room was filled with other boys, and even a few girls. Art work of feet in the Egyptian style adorned the wall.

Writing prompt: National Hat Day

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.

Writing prompt: Jump forward in Nano and write (again)

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts. Find me on NaNoWriMo as Vironevaeh!

“For Nanowrimo: Jump to a new section and write” (Yes, again… I am just catching up after falling behind over the weekend. I’ll think of something more original next week.)

 

There was a knock at the door. It was Uncle Oraeus and a woman in a lab coat she didn’t know. “Jainus, just who I was looking for,” Oraeus said.

Jainus had a sinking feeling. Since she’d moved to the big kids house, she wondered when this conversation would come. She was growing up, and the other kids had already gotten to it.

“You’re old enough to have a Vitsen now,” Oraeus said. “You know what’s involved?”

Jainus nodded, but that didn’t stop Oraeus from explaining. “We’ll move your brains to your feet, and then convert your skull to an apartment for a Vitsen companion to live in. It won’t hurt. The surgical part is the easy part, really. Learning to get along with a Vitsen is the hard part. And you shouldn’t run for a while until you learn to soften your gate. Concussions are serious business,” Oraeus said nodding with his eyes closed.

Jainus was fighting enough to Jonnelt’s Vitsen Agartha, which seemed determine to make her feel inferior. It would buzz right by her ear when she was reading or say something unsettling. Jainus had always been told that Vitsens were advanced creatures, unknowably advanced. Creatures that had helped her people many, many times, extended her lifespan, and opened the galaxy for trade. Knowing Agartha, it was hard to imagine. Agartha seemed petty and spiteful.

“Do I have to?” Jainus asked.

Oraeus frowned. “You know you don’t, but you wouldn’t want to disappoint your family.”

Jainus sighed.

“You won’t always have a Vitsen.” Oraeus opened the door behind his own ear, showing the vacancy. “Just at this age, and occasionally when you’re older. As one of the favored families, it’s important that you start to understand Vitsens. You’ll find them really annoying at first, but you’ll get used to it, I promise. I even miss mine. We annoy them even more, I’m afraid. They don’t like being away from their mountain, you’ll learn. But they recognize they importance of the exchange, and so do we.”

Jainus couldn’t think of any way to say no. She nodded, then excused herself to go take a walk along the beach. The Vitsens’ home, Mount Vit, loomed to the north.

Writing prompt: Jump forward in your Nano project

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

“For Nanowrimo: Jump ahead to some future part of your story that excites you and write about that”

Gainarain went into the room. Jainus could hear him speaking over the link, but she couldn’t make out the words. They sounded serious, as Gainarain so rarely was. Everything seemed so serious these days. Terran sat next to her on the couch nearest the door and leaned against her, trying to eavesdrop as well, but also seeking company.

Gainarain stopped talking and came back out. “The queen’s been deposed,” he said.

“Deposed?” Jainus said. In an instant, too many ideas filled her mind. Was there still a monarchy? If so, who was monarch? And if not, who would rule and what would become of them? Terran clearly did the same calculations, she could feel him grow tense and adopt that wide-eyed look that until last week had been reserved for especially large insects.

Gainarain saw their faces and seemed to register their fear. “Oh, no, it’s not a coup or anything. By Terrigan, her brother,” Gainarain said.  “Things shouldn’t change too much otherwise, but of course it’s a big deal.”

They all nodded, but Jainus at least couldn’t calm down enough to figure out the ramifications of it.

“Why?” Dielel asked, dancing her bear around a miniature chair. She didn’t understand any of it, but she saw everyone else’s unease, which prompted her to ask questions.

“Well,” Gainarain said. He seemed uncomfortable. Jainus had a sense it was going to be something personal to them, rather than something for the whole planet. “Terrigan’s your great-grandfather. The next in line after him is your grandfather, and next after him is your mother.” He stopped as if the conclusions were obvious. To Jainus, at least, they were not. She looked around, confused.

Tempest took on a superior look. “We’re directly in line now, not some distant relation anymore.”

Gainarain looked pained. “Yes. So this means no more wandering off of the safe zone, and a lot more supervision. Especially right now, that we’ve been attacked and we’ve changed monarchs.”

Tempest stopped looking superior. “So nothing fun,” she sneered.

Gainarain rolled his eyes. “No, nothing fun.”

Writing prompt: An elderly diatribe

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

“An elderly diatribe”

“The children are not ready to inherit this planet. By their age, I had my second doctorate and a dozen papers. It isn’t their fault that no universities exist on this compromise of a planet, and yet none do. They are experienced at excavating and earth works and weatherproofing, but so was my general contractor in Seattle. I would not choose to leave the fate of a civilization in her hands.

“The young will say, who, then? Us. It still has to be us. The masters of physics and chemistry and psychology and metallurgy and meteorology. These aren’t fields where hunches suffice.”

I paused. I rubbed my aching, weary hands. My grandmother hadn’t looked this bad at 110, and I was only 80. So many from my generation had already died. We didn’t have real universities, and we didn’t have real hospitals. These things hadn’t occurred to us when we left Earth, full of vigor and zeal. Now what I wouldn’t give for an anti-inflammation treatment at an Appalachian spa.

We would have to hand over the reins at some point. But everything seemed so perilous still. Food supplies were a constant concern, weather still dominated every day, and the foggs were still deadly in the east. As my generation died, the next struggled to replace their skills. They were failing.

Writing prompt: Farming the Death Valley

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

“Farming the death valley”

 

Dad said I was a hero. Mom wouldn’t speak to me. I was going to go farm in the Death Valley, so neither of their reactions were really at the top of my mind. I went to the City Works, excited and nervous.

“These are the seeds you’ll take. I see you’ve done work in the local farms, so you probably know what you need to. Still, we have a training course for you. The conditions in the valley are a little different. Wetter. You’ll have to watch for rot more, but things grow there.” The representative spoke in slightly awed tones. Everyone seemed to.

“Different conditions… and different critters,” I remarked.

“Yes, different critters. That’s part of the course. I… didn’t want to be grim. You know most of the farmers survive, come back very profitable. The valley is supposed to be beautiful, like a paradise.”

“Most. So… more than 50%? How much more than 50%?”

She looked away. I snorted softly.

“It’s a good thing to do,” she said, with softness that spoke of conviction rather than the propaganda associated with her office. My sister went.” She paused, and I felt like she didn’t return. “The yields they can get in the valley… people like you keep children from starving.”

“That’s not why I’m doing it,” I said.

“Well, that’s not up to me,” she replied. “But we try to prepare you for the valley as best we can.”

“It’s mist. It comes in under the doors and takes you in the night. Is there a preparation for that?”

She looked away again.

The slow and steady

Over six months ago, I challenged myself to do 100 illustrations of my city of Vironevaeh, the fictitious city that is the unspellable namesake of this website. I would build my world in myriad ways, practice art, and create some beautiful scenes. On Thursday, I finished the fiftieth color image. I have images of city streets, markets, pets, agriculture, constellations, architecture, pastimes, clothing, family, and weather.

50-74

 

Eventually, I will have descriptions for each of them, and a place on the map. Eventually there will be at least 50 more. It’s a lot of work to do for something that probably won’t mean much to anyone besides me. But Vironevaeh is a city at my side for over 17 years, and it will mean a lot to me. I am so pleased with my progress. Here are a couple of my favorites:

006-small

A man showing a child constellations in the sky. These constellations are of Abenn the hermit and Peep the mouse, who hid away on Neva the spaceship. These legendary figures are the subject of my recent and free fairy tale The Lonely Man on the Ship. Sharp eyes may note that the people here are blue and green.

008-small

 

Children running with a kite in the countryside. A pretty typical scene even here on Earth, except for the lovely purple Vironevaehn sky. Also the fact the fog in the valleys behind them could be brain-eating. All in normal day!

Soon I’ll bind up a little fun book of my favorite ten illustrations, but for now, I’m basking. Onto the next milestone!

Writing prompt: add a cat to an existing universe

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

“Add a cat to an existing universe”

When the Founders left Earth, they brought a variety of animals, kept in suspended animation, for the founding of their eventual colony. Sheep, cows, horses, pigs, all the big animals that civilization used to get started, along with some smaller ones like chickens and dogs. The only animal out of suspension was Andine Kenda’s black cat Nyx. It prowled the hallways of the Neva, and it was clear that it owned that ship more than anyone.

The cat lived with Andine after Founding—in the city at first, and in Mt. Vit during the rains. After Andine was killed, she was taken back to the Neva, which then went to Naenia. Nyx refused to get off the ship on Naenia, and lived out her remaining 5 years as the terrifying spook of the ship. Stories recount engineers repairing parts of the ship encountering the black beast, and with the scratches to prove it.

Eventually all creatures slow, though. Her body was found, curled up as though sleeping, outside the room that was once Andine’s. In Vironeaveh, black cats are creatures of wonder and energy. On Naenia, they’re little demons that bring you bad luck.

(Just got back from vacation and with a cold, so this one was a struggle. But if I write now, I can always write, and that’s important!)