Thursday Writers’ Postbox: Episode 2

Writing Prompts

I’m not big on them. I’ve encouraged my children to use them. I’ve read a good number of them. I’ve even thought, ‘Hey, that one looks okay.’ But actually taking up the challenge? Not so much.

It may have been the recent freelance work – where I’m given exactly three things to turn into 400 words – that made me more pliable. I’m not sure. It might have been the weird movie we watched the night before that made me fertile ground for a weird writing prompt. I don’t know. But a few weeks ago I actually went looking for one. And it was appealing. And I met it eye-to-eye.

Since the Writers’ Postbox is one of those just do it things, let’s try a writing prompt.

Just do it.

I saw a boy with a mysterious lantern that Saturday.

Take it away, Mildred…


Now don’t go and read mine until you’ve written yours. No rules. No length requirements. If you need something, then let’s say you have 10 minutes… Go! Just take that boy and make something happen. I’ll be here when you get back…










Okay. Here’s mine:

I saw a boy with a mysterious lantern that Saturday.

I woke as usual, at 5:42am, and went through the usual routine. Shower, dress, brush, eat. I read the usual devotions. I wrote the usual assignment. Everything was as it always was.

I went out for my usual walk, along my usual route, and at the corner of East and Now a young boy stood. He held a lantern, trimmed brightly even through the morning sunshine. It did not dangle by his side, but he held it up as though it were illuminating his way, as though he were looking for someone. But he didn’t move. He stood on the curb, as at the precipice of a cliff, waiting.

I walked on. My usual was being disrupted, and my liver felt it. Around the block I strode, unwilling to give any more thought to the boy and his mystery than I had already been forced to give. The houses were all where they were supposed to be. Nothing was out of place. Nothing was ajar. The birds sang. The crickets ran their tiny little legs together, an anthem to the morning. The grass was millimeters longer in every yard than it had been yesterday and a new crop of dandelions was unfurling for the days sunshine. Nearby a small lap dog—probably a schnauzer—barked. Only once. Only once.

I made my circuitous way through town, passed all the correct shops, with all the correct doors open and all the correct doors still closed. Everything was as it should be.

I turned back for home. The schnauzer barked again. And there was the boy. His stance had changed only in the shifting of his weight to the other foot. His eyes looked tired. I approached from the side, from a block away, for he was in my path, and I had no choice.

As I passed the dandelions of East Street, their background of brilliant, green, longer-than-yesterday grass, turned ashen. A veil was drawn over the sun, and the whole world went to twilight. The crickets paused and the birds quieted in confusion.

Ahead of me, the boys wrinkled brow loosened, his worry melted into the sidewalk under his feet, and he stepped off the curb, following the light into the darkness.

You know what? It was kind of fun. Kind of the thing that I might use every now and then on those days when I just need to rest fluttering fingers on keyboard and produce words.

How about you? First-timer? Old hat?

Go ahead and paste your words into the comments if you’re brave enough to put it out there raw. And if not? Then keep the words for yourself, and take a look back at them in a few weeks. See what reaction they elicit. You might be surprised.

‘Til next week,

* Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

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