I love fiction prompts. I don’t work with them nearly enough, but some of my favorite things have come out of prompts I had in workshops. And since I’ve been struggling to figure out what to share here on Fridays, I figured hey! I’ve got some books with prompts in them. Why not pick some out and use them for Fiction Fridays?
So here’s my prompt:
“You wake up in bed. You hear the sound of a gun being loaded, or a vase being broken, or the door being kicked in. You start writing from the point of being woken up by a strange and dangerous sound. What happens next is up to you.”
(Feel free to play along in the comments! I’d love to read your work!)
My eyes were wide open and I didn’t know why. The silence in my bedroom was almost more chilling than any noise which could have awoken me.
Then I heard it: some distant noise, at least two or three stories below, of someone stumbling in the dark. My body went cold. They couldn’t have gotten in…could they? Did they know I was here?
My bedroom door opened and I froze, eyes closed though I knew my body was far too tense to be even pretend asleep. I had to hope it was someone else.
“Amelia.” And in just one word, my whole body flooded with feeling again, and I sat up to see Alaric’s wine-red eyes just barely visible with the dim light from the hall backlighting him.
“What’s happening?” My voice was shaky, and I hated myself for it; I wanted to sound strong. For him, if maybe not for me.
“You need to move.” His tenor wasn’t much stronger, and as he held out a hand to me, I could see a faint tremor in it.
“I…”I slid off the edge of my bed, looking for a shawl, my slippers, anything–but Alaric grabbed my wrist and pulled before I could. “Alaric?”
“You need to move. I’m sorry. We don’t have time.” Now I could hear the underlying fear, something Alaric almost never let come through in his voice. Once he’d gotten me out into the hall, he stooped and with a whispered apology, lifted me into his arms bridal style and bolted down toward the stairs. “We need to hide.”
“We? Both of us?” We were both whispering, though I couldn’t imagine our voices carrying anywhere at the speed he was running.
“They’re from the Wall.” My heart jumped into my throat again. “They know I’m in this house, and they know–or at least, they think they know–there’s an unlicensed Artist here. We can’t let either of us be found.”
“Where are we going?” I’d lost track of where we were; the walls were a blur. I always forgot Alaric’s training from the Wall until he had reason to use it. The only reason I knew we were still in the house was because I couldn’t see the sky yet.
“To a safe place. We’re meeting Dario there.” Suddenly we stopped, Alaric barely breathing, just in an alcove by the main door to the house. I went to ask something but before a sound could leave my throat, I heard voices from the other end of the hall and fell completely silent, shaking in my Mentor’s arms.
“Where the shit do these people keep their slaves?” one rough voice grumbled.
“Like I know,” a second voice shot back. “And keep your damn voice down. You know the traitor’s in here too. You want him to hear and give us away?”
Even if I hadn’t guessed, I would have known who the “traitor” was by the way Alaric’s hands tensed on me as they spoke. I hadn’t realized that he was still recent enough to the Wall that people working it would still remember him–but then again, hadn’t they told me that he was the newest addition, before me? I buried my face against his shoulder, trying to will him some of my…if not calm, then acceptance.
“Oh yeah…” A third voice chimed in. How many of them are there?! “You think we oughta bring ‘im back too?”
“Bring ‘im back or kill ‘im,” the first voice responded. “No sense in lettin’ ‘im wander around. C’mon. They gotta be upstairs.”
It was a tense moment or two before the group was definitely out of earshot, and Alaric managed to slip through the door and go bolting across the front courtyard. Please don’t let there be anyone else, please don’t let there be a sentry, please let us get there safe, I can’t let them kill him… And it hit me, that for all Alaric and I had worked together, and grown closer…perhaps in more ways than one, I’d never really considered the depth of that. Thinking about someone in your bed is one thing. Risking your life…was another. But it was true. If it meant that Alaric would stay safe with the Minett family, I’d let them catch me, and just pray they took me back home instead of…anything worse.
I truly loved him. With all my heart…with all my soul.
We had to make it through this.