Writing Group: A Kindness (PRIVATE)

Hello everyone!

Over here in the States, we’re standing on the precipice of something that represents golden gratitude to a lot of people (although maybe the historical precedents aren’t quite there…). Give us another few weeks, and we’ll all be stuffing our faces, spending too much money, and acknowledging for a rare occasion how wonderful it is that we are so very comfortable and so very happy. And there is a lot to celebrate.

So, in order to acknowledge the goodness of the cosmos for showing us what kindness it does…

This week’s prompt is:

 

A Kindness

 

RULES AND GUIDELINES HAVE CHANGED! (again)
Read them below to participate! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

I know we’ve got Turkey Day on the mind here, but anything to do with gratitude whatsoever works for this prompt even better. Don’t feel obliged to include flightless birds of any variety, indulgent banquet spreads, questionably-treated natives, or brazen colonists in your story at all.

Instead, think about what departures you could take. A kindness could also be a mercy, the decision to take pity on someone less fortunate. Kindness can also be begrudging, something one does whether or not they really want to. My favorite angle on this at a glance is a tiny, insignificant moment, though. The sort of kindness which goes unsung, but warms you for the single moment you experience it. A gift left on a pillow. A chore done on your behalf. An important date remembered.

We got a lot of realistic fiction last time, and I think this prompt leans in that direction pretty hard, so take it on as a challenge: how can you represent a kindness in a more fantastical or supernatural light? (but of course, if you’d like to write something realistic, definitely go for it!)

Have fun basking in the warmth of this wholesome thing… even if you decide to write something less than wholesome! Wherever you take it, we’ll be grateful just to see your creativity.

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Friday at 7:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit, and get ready to help each other improve their confidence in their writing, as well as their skill with their craft!

Rules and Guidelines

We read six stories during each stream, three of which come from this public post, and three of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected from among the top ten most-liked of each post, so be sure to share your submissions on social media and with your friends!

  • English only.
  • Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
  • One submission per participant.
  • Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
  • Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
  • You must leave a review on two other submission to be eligible, and your reviews must be at least 50 words long.
  • No more than 350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
  • Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name)
  • Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
  • Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
  • Please format your submission as “Submission Title” by Author Name and be sure to separate paragraphs. (Example Submission)
  • Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission live on stream and share it on our social media sites. You will always be credited as the author.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

 

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ArkansanDragonWilliam MaitlandrevisisLily/SpiderlilySamantha Realynn Recent comment authors
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Samantha Realynn
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Samantha Realynn

Pain, by Samantha Realynn

I forced myself inside of my home, my body screaming with each step. I bit my lip and tried to steel myself against the pain as I closed the door and shuffled inside. I struggled out of my coat, letting it fall to the floor behind me as I used the wall to drag myself on. I tried my best to ignore my cramping stomach as I hobbled past the kitchen. I’d collapse before I finished any food. I needed to sleep first. Today had been too much.

My muscles screamed at me as I inched along the wall. I was desperate for my bed, but I had to fight the urge to hurry as fast as my shaking legs could carry me. One misstep and I’d be spending the next day on the floor so I focused on making each step as carefully as I could. It was slow going, and tears were running freely by the time I reached my bedroom. I hauled myself onto my bed, the massive spike in pain and too sudden relief making me sob into my blanket, my vision going grey. My muscles burned and refused to move. If there was any mercy, by tomorrow I’d be able to move enough to get some food. At least I wouldn’t be spending the night on the floor again.

The next morning it was slow-moving, but at least I had some mobility. I sat up, pushing the blanket aside and swung my legs over the side and paused, looking down towards my feet. My shoes sat neatly beside my bed. I stared, then turned to the blanket I had woken up wrapped in. I hadn’t been able to manage that last night, had I? I slowly nudged myself to the edge and stopped. The glass of water on my nightstand was chilled and sitting on a plate was a muffin and my medicine.

I lived alone. I should have wondered who had done this and why. But the muffin was warm, and for once my muscles ached a little less.

Lily/Spiderlily
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Lily/Spiderlily

Purr, Submitted by Lily/Spiderlily

“Please, Sir.” He reached out for my coat, and I pulled it tighter around me. “I’m so cold.” He said. “You must have so many.”

Indeed, it was a cold night. That was exactly why I was keeping my coat. “Get your own.” I snapped at him, before rushing past to go home.

“You could have helped.” Buzzed Dracobee at my ear. “You still have 568 good deeds to fulfill before you can return to Heaven.”

“Maybe I like being fallen, Dracobee. Did you ever think of that?” I grumbled under my breath. The last thing I needed was one of these humans seeing me talk to a dragonfly.

“I’m only saying.” Dracobee said. “You don’t seem to enjoy it here. I thought you might try a little harder to make it home.”

“I’ll find my way to Hell before that happens.” I told him right as we turned the corner to my apartment.

I went to my room and fell into bed. Dracobee flied over my closet in circles. “You do have a lot of coats.”

I sighed. “Fine. If you insist, I’ll take the old beggar a coat.” I opened up the closet and pulled out my most beat up coat before hitting the street again, Dracobee close at my shoulder. I searched for that man for a good, cold fifteen minutes until finding him in a back alley. His back was turned to me. “Hey!” I called to him, and when he turned I saw what he had been crouching over.

It was a mother cat, shaking as she curled around her kittens. The man noticed my staring. “They’re cold.” He said. I looked to the coat I had brought, moth eaten and full of holes, and tossed it to him. I saw the smile at the edge of his mouth. He had turned to me to say a thanks when I hit him with the jacket I’d been wearing. “Give one to the kittens.” I told him, and left.

“Well,” said Dracobee. “There’s one off the list anyway.”

“No,” I said. “That one’s on me.”

ArkansanDragon
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ArkansanDragon

“New Neighbors” by Magan (Legends of Dracora series)(350 words)

No one entered Everstorm willingly. It was deadly exile; even elemental spirits feared it. The violence of untamed weather varied, but it was never calm in that ring surrounding Dracora. The cold increased the further one went out, and the air thinned, turned poisonous. Beyond was the lifeless desert Void, red in rock, sand, and sky.

Skyrunner, the cheetah, and Hazelnut, the flying squirrel, knew this, but the two beastfolk were young, and many things had fallen from beyond the dome of dusk-blue sky, landed out there over the past month. They were too shiny in Skyrunner’s telescope to be meteorites, and not even a dying dragon would go into Void.

The two beastfolk wore winter garb, glass orbs covering their heads–Hazelnut’s idea–attached to hoses and giant air-filled waterskins on their backs–Skyrunner’s addition. Everstorm had lessened enough for them to enter, seeking wreckage of the most recent metal roc.

The mysterious craft had been struck by lightning, torn apart by wind. A young female had been thrown clear, other passengers crushed in the fall. They all looked like scaly apes at first glance, furless except their heads, and no signs of magic. Primates lived over the sea, unseen for decades, but these clearly weren’t Dracorian. Where had they come from?

The survivor’s helmet had shattered, scaly armor torn and bloodied, but she would live. Sky and Hazel carried her back to safety. Frightened as she was, the star-ape didn’t fight them, too weak perhaps, or in shock.

The beastfolk removed their helmets once close to home, unaware of the gravedigger tree until its deadly lure-smell caught them.

Hazelnut had time to cover her nose, but Skyrunner got the full siren scent, staggering towards the tree’s death-trap with the wounded ape’s litter still harnessed to him.

The human astronaut stirred, alerted by Hazel’s panicked attempts to break Sky’s trance.

Pain and blood filled Skyrunner’s nose, reality returning with it. The strange ape had somehow gotten in front of him, smashed his nose with her fist, before collapsing again.

The beastfolk continued with their guest, wondering why she hadn’t merely saved herself.

revisis
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revisis

“Musings of an Old Man” Submitted by: Exce

A fresh breeze blew across the mountain top, and the old man pulled his red scarf closer as it rustled through his hair.
The man’s red hair had gone white with age and his tanned skin was furrowed with wrinkles.

His callused hands rested on his legs as he closed his eyes, allowed his head to fall back for a moment as he embraced the tiredness that seemed to have taken hold in his bones. The boundless energy of his youth felt like a distant fantasy now…

The man was shaken from his thoughts of the past by a cold nose brushing his fingers, and when he opened his eyes he saw the massive frame of his loyal dog. Once black fur having gone blotchy with white, even this massive beast wasn’t immune to time.

“Neither of us is gonna get any younger huh…” Resignation crept into his voice as he petted the dog’s soft fur with a sigh as it made itself comfortable.
Below them the winds drove away a thin veil of mist, revealing the buildings of a farm below.
It was a peaceful image, all his worldly possessions in one place. He couldn’t keep a smile down when he thought about what his younger self would think.

He had spent most of his early life seeking revenge… once successful, he had scrambled to find his place in the world, only to eventually build one. After all those years of death and blood, peace had been all he wanted.
And to his own surprise he had found it, years of calm living… Sometimes he questioned if he deserved it.

But now he had grown old and could feel his body struggle more with every new sunrise.

Once he had barely slept, pursuing his enemies across the surface of the planet… then he had tried to up for lost time by working his own farm…
Now he just took each day as another kindness, living them as they came.

Because there were not many sunrises left in the life of this aged monster…

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William Maitland
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William Maitland

“Release”
By William Maitland

Hardpan stretched around the road as far as the eye could see. Despite the crippling pain in his knees, Gerald pressed on. His legs were feeble twigs, shaking light fresh-plucked guitar strings on every step. One cruel blessing, though, was that there wasn’t much weight left for them to support. He wheezed breath through his ragged throat when he saw the silhouette approaching him.

Release, he thought. After all my world-wide wandering, finally, release.

“Mister!” He said, before another coughing fit tore at his lungs. “Hey, Mister! Hey!”

The approaching stranger didn’t change pace; just kept walking.

“Sir! Help a sick man, please!”

He stopped. “What?”

“Please… please hear me–” but he started coughing again. Blood flecked out.

“I hear.” The shadow of his hat hid his look of abject horror. Good.

“You can tell. Seen it before, have’ya?”

“Enough times.” The tone implied he’d seen more than once, and once was more than enough. “Wasting plague. Just you?”

“Hah. That’d make it easier.” Another cough, with a wheeze. “No… no, this bastard plague got my wife, too. And my son. And half the damn cows.”

“Comes through like a storm.” He sighed. “I can get you to a doctor if–”

“No, no. Fat lot of good that’ll do me after this long.” The withered man stretched his back, the vertebrae crackling. “Do the honors, would you? Let a man die on his feet.”

The stranger drew his sixgun, and pulled the hammer back. It hung in his hand, at his side. “You’re sure you want this?”

“Yes. I’ve been out here… waiting for my angel… to whisk me off the ground.” He turned in the direction of the sun. “Do it.”

The stranger raised his gun. “We now lay you to rest, Mister…”

“Gerald. Gerald Gray.”

“Mister Gerald Gray. Brought low by the gun of Harlow.”

“Wait–”

BANG. Twin arcs of blackened blood flew from the exit wound, like the wings of an angel. Gerald was lifted off of his feet. In his last conscious moments, he felt he was flying, not falling.

The stranger kept walking.