Microbookends gives you two words – a starting word and a final word – and a picture prompt that you have to incorporate into the hundred (give or take 10) word story. It also looks like a huge community has grown up around it, for Week 21 there was over 270 comments which means I will definitely have to make time to join in on the weekends. The prompt words were Old and Age and the picture prompt was this:
Old as the forests they are. But where the woods will grant you respect if you offer it first, these dark and dreadful ones shall not. Malevolence is their watch word. Those that slumber in hallowed places, desecrating them with their presence and defiling their sanctity invite them into their dreams, their hearts and their minds. Few believe that these days, but the poor fools who find themselves swarmed by them regret their mistakes. But by then it is too late. Monsters from long ago they may be, but their evil grip continues on even into our own age.
Happily, it placed second! The judge said:
I had to read this several times. I felt the need to study the words. It was so intense that it made the muscles in my back tighten. I don’t like thinking about such dark places and this writer brought me to those terrifying corners and held me there for what felt like an eternity. I still can’t shake this. The first two sentences are brilliant. I’ll carry them with me for a while. I’ll recite them to friends who will ask where I heard them. I’ll say, “Oh, someone from a writer’s group I belonged to years ago…” The fact that the writer never clearly tells the reader what the enemy is (“they, their, these, those, them, monsters from long ago”) makes the unidentified wickedness otherworldly and easier for us to think: my God, does this demon, with its “evil grip” reside in me? Of course it does. It’s part of being human. That’s the scary part.