Saturday, 23 January 2016

Starting Sparks - January

Ashley at [insert title here] and Emily at Ink, Inc. have had the marvelous, MARVELOUS idea of hosting a monthly writing prompt!

I. Love. Prompts. 
*heart eyes* 
AND this month's prompt IS:

I kinda almost did this with the last Summer Writing Camp prompt, buuuut not quite. And even if I did, we're going to DO IT AGAIN, because it's fun! :D Okay? Okay.

I picked Monster by Imagine Dragons. I wouldn't call it my favorite song (I don't even know what my favorite song is...!), but I do like it, and out of the options I'd gathered, this one made for the most interesting story. So enjoy!


“You’re so quiet, Elise.” Shepard warmed his hands on his paper cup of hot chocolate. We were walking along the edge of the carnival, by the docks, everything cast in the glow of the colored lights. The cheerful music and chatter sounded very far away.

Quiet? Yes. Hazard of the profession. I shrug and try to smile, but the smile that comes out is the practiced, fake one. My I’m-a-normal-person smile. Whatever "normal” means. 

“Is that bad?”

“No. It just means I never know what you’re thinking.” He took a sip of hot chocolate, and I mimicked him, watching him. All soft features and brown eyes and gentleness. There were no hard lines in his body, no slim hips or lean muscle. So unlike the men I knew. 

So unlike me.

He took our empty cups and tossed them in a wastebasket as we passed it by. We continued walking in silence. Then:

“So, what are you thinking?” 

And I wanted to tell him. What I was, what I’d done. What I do. 
But if he believed me? 
He’d run straight to the police, or at least, as far away from me as he could get.

We’d come to the edge of the pier. We were exposed here, and there was only one way back. Two if you counted jumping in the frigid water, which I wanted to avoid if possible. But we were alone.

I stared at the moonlight, bright on the water. A stark contrast to my dark thoughts. 
So dangerous. 
It was so dangerous to tell him. For both of us. 
But I’d been living in secrets my whole life, and I was tired. 

Besides, I probably wouldn’t live out the week. Why not tell him?


I turned to him, and I wondered what I looked like. Did the moonlight soften my sharp cheekbones? Lighten my dark eyes, make my dyed-black hair silver? 
Or did the shadows simply deepen the lines of weariness and premature aging around my eyes and mouth? Did my lean body make up for the harshness of my features? 

Did I look attractive to him?

. . . .What stupid thoughts.

I forced words out of my strained throat. “If I seemed dangerous, would you be scared?”

“What?” he tilted his head, a confused smile on his lips.

“You wanted to know what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that I want to tell someone what I am before I die. Someone who cares.”

“Die?” the smile fell away completely, and was replaced by a look of frightened concern. “What’re you talking about?”

My eyes remained fixed on the rippling moonlight as my mind filled itself with wretchedness. “I remember their faces. Every one. And I give some of my payment to their families. Does that make me different from the others?” I was barely speaking, my murmurs obscured by the waves.

I looked at Shepard. He still didn’t understand. How could he? I hadn’t told him anything yet, not really. My normally steel resolve, my cold detachment, was waning. 

One more. One final act of strength. One final act of violence. And . . . my gaze drifted down to Shepard’s lips, My one and only act of love.

Without giving either of us time to think, I stepped forward and kissed him. He was startled, and I was a little rough, I think, but I’d never had practice being gentle. I softened the kiss, and he accepted it for a long moment that still seemed too short when we finally pulled away. We stood there, staring at each other, breathing a little heavier than we had been, our breath hanging between us in the cool fall air.

“Elise, please talk to me.” Shepard pleaded, his voice a near-whisper, “I want to help you.”

“You can’t.” Tears tightened my voice, and I was shocked. I hadn’t cried since I was eight years old. The day this all started. “No one can. But it’s ok. I’m going to finish this. I’ll try and survive it, although I don’t think I can. But I have to do this.” I pulled away and started back down the pier, emotion quickening my silent steps. 

“Wait!” though he remained rooted to the spot, desperation tinged Shepard's voice, “Finish what? Survive what? Just give me a straight answer! Whatever it is, you don't have to do it alone.”

Dear Shepard. That thought surprised me as well, but as soon as I'd had it, I knew that’s what he was. He was my dear Shepard. Guiding me to the light. And I knew I had to tell him. Especially since I would probably never see him again.

I turned back, half swallowed by the darkness, and smiled. A real smile, but a sad one. My next words were soft, like I didn't want them to hurt him, even though I knew they would:

“I’m an assassin. But I don't want to be that person anymore. So I’m going to kill the man who made me like this.”

Then I was gone.


It's short, and I'm still not totally satisfied with it, but there you have it! For some reason, I found this prompt really difficult. Evidenced by the four half-written false starts from other songs that are tucked away in my Stories folder, and the MILLION times I edited this post.XD

Oh well. I did it, in any case. Yay me! :D

If you wanted to know how I got this story from the lyrics (but it wasn't a huge leap, letzbehonest), here's my little plotty notes!

Assassin story (Monster, Imagine Dragons):
-Ever since I could remember, everything inside of me just wanted to fit in (with whatever. Couldn’t, which ultimately lead to this life)
-If I told you what I was, would you turn your back on me, and if I seemed dangerous, would you be scared (talking to the only person she’s loved)
-I get the feeling just because everything I touch isn’t dark enough that this problem lies in me (the darkness of his world/life is bc of her OR that’s what she’d led to believe)
-I’m only a man with a candle to guide me (there’s a weak ray of hope)
-I’m taking a stand to escape what’s inside me (tries to/will refuse “bosses”)
-I’ve turned into a monster … and it keeps getting stronger (cares less and less about killing OR “bosses” threaten/blackmail/incentive/etc into temporary submission)
-Can I clear my conscience if I’m different from the rest (tries to care, tries to make up for it [gifts to victim’s family, charity donations, something])
-Do I have to run and hide (sometimes wants to turn herself in OR kill herself [won’t do this one, but might make for interesting conflict])
-I never said that I want this, this burden came to me, and its made its home inside (recruited and trained from young age, became the norm for her)


And there you have it. A glimpse into my brain functions. Just a little one, though! It's scary if you go too deep in there. o.0 You can see that there's a bit more backstory/detail in the notes than what I included in the story, but that's good, right? Or at least normal. 

Aaaanyhow, I can't wait to see what the next prompt is! Y'all should sign up, because reading people's prompt stories is the BEST. <3


  1. So I really love this. Like, super, super love this. I like how she tries to be normal by mimicking his movements in the beginning. And how it shows that she's not exactly gentle by the impulsive way she kisses him. Basically, I love how the subtle body language has so much character development behind it!

    That and I just love the story. And now I want to know what happens to her next. Because it doesn't sound like it's going to go well. :( I have, like, this super bad feeling that her boss is maybe going to turn out to be him.

    Please just tell me I am wrong, okay?

    Thanks so much for linking up with us! I always enjoy reading your prompt stories. :D

    1. EEEE! Thanks! XD I tried to make her personality and shall we say DIFFICULT upbringing come through in her body language. I'm fairly pleased with the way it turned out. X)

      Hahaha OMG! I didn't even think of that! What devious plot twists you have. XD But nah, I had more of a cheesy feel-good ending in mind. Shocking, I know. Exactly what the ending would entail, I don't know, but it was a happy ending, I know that much. X)

      Hehe no problem! I love joining up; these are so fun!! ^.^

  2. Love the song and this! Omigosh this was beautiful and super intense. Love the emotion in it.

    I used this song when I was writing my beast.

    1. Thanks!! I've never really tried writing a kiss before, so that was fun. XD I've never tried writing redemption-attempting assassins, either, so new territory all around. XD

  3. Oh, I really like this. I like it lots. It's funny, I took part in a writing prompt a few years ago and they picked the song for us, and we had to write a story based on Monster by Imagine Dragons.

    1. Aw, thanks!! And haha, that's awesome! What did you write about?

  4. Ooh, I like this! And I can totally see how you got this from the song. I've never tried writing a story based on a song, but it looks like fun. Maybe when I'm not editing I'll have a go at this. Also, I've never heard Monster before, but I rather like it!

    1. It was pretty fun! You should consider joining the linkup, if you've got time. They just put up the new prompt, too. X)

  5. Thank you so much for linking up, Rachel! I hope you take this idea further.

    I loved the opening paragraph. It really conjured a vivid picture in my mind which stayed with me for the rest of the story.

    I have to ask: was Shepard an intentionally chosen name? "My dear Shepard. Guiding me to the light." These lines made me think, irresistibly, of the one dear Shepherd, guiding us to the light ... is that what you were going for? (If not, your subconscious is genius!)

    1. Haha, I always love my prompt ideas, but then I never do anything with them. Ah well. At least they're archived here for me, if I ever want to expand on any of them. X)

      LOL I actually didn't even think of it at first, and then when I wrote the 'guiding me to the light" line, I was like oH MY GOSH!! XD If I ever turn this into a full story, I'll have to include a spiritual journey. X)