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Writers’ Dash Prompts for Week Beginning May 6, 2013

Published on Monday, May 6, 2013 by


am: aha

pm: surrogate


am: circumspect

pm: sacrosanct


am: pellucid

pm: clemency


am: sunset

pm: half moon


Friday is now our dedicated dash and drabble (100-word story) day, inspired and encouraged by our good friend Crap Mariner. Crap’s weekly challenge this week is ‘old.’ Try using both the dash prompt and the 100-word story prompt to create a Dash ‘n’  Drabble. Once you have your 100-word story feel free to add it to the comments section of this blog post as well as to Crap’s site.

am: outcry

pm: riot

Please feel free to add your dash pieces to the comments section of this blog post below.


I found #dailydash/#writersdash on Twitter, what is it?

The Writers’ Dash (#writersdash or #dailydash on Twitter) is a 15-minute free writing exercise held on Twitter, Facebook and Second Life® every weekday. At 5:30am & 5:30pm PDT we share the word prompt on our social media channels; the live event begins in Second Life® at 6am & 6pm PDT. Write whatever comes to you. Don’t fixate too heavily on what you are writing and disengage your inner editor – the key is for you to get the words on the page first; you can worry about editing later. If you are attending the live event in Second Life® there will be an opportunity for you to show your work to the other participants after the 15 minutes are up. If you are unable to attend the live event you can share your work on our blog. Just look out for the prompt post and leave your dash piece as a comment.

About Virtual Writers, Inc.

Virtual Writers, Inc. is a free online writers’ community first established in 2007 and committed to showcasing established and emerging writers in a range of interactive and immersive environments. Here we learn to experiment with digital, social and virtual world platforms to push the creative envelope and develop a strong, unique voice.

We provide a wealth of opportunities for writers to meet, share resources, access new markets, attend online writing events, workshops and interactive readings, and discover the best writers’ conferences, competitions, colonies and literary organisations.

If you want to become involved in an active writing community then visit us on Second Life® or our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, & Goodreads) and get interactive. To learn more about our services please visit the following pages (Premium Services, Free Author Services) or contact us through our online contact form.

Whether you are dashing in Second Life®, on Twitter or Facebook we welcome your dashes in the comments section below.

6 Responses
    • Aha…
      Aha…the light dawneth!
      What light?
      Where are my glasses?
      What day of the week is it?
      What planet am I on?
      What’s my name?
      Inspiration, where are you this morning?
      Aha….I hear you snoring.
      Maybe tomorrow.
      Franja Russell 5-6-2013

    • Aha
      This is a table set for tea.
      Chocolate biscuits and bunny chairs,
      A child and a bee.
      A bit of jam, a bit of ham,
      Blue, yellow, and red,
      Hanging from a tree.
      Grab a seat,
      Rest your feet.
      And feel, just feel, so free,
      Because this is a table set for tea!
      ©2013 Lizzie Gudkov

    • Surrogate
      About the only thing that would help me right now
      is a surrogate brain.

      Doesn’t have to be entirely sane.
      Just needs Smarts~more than a grain.
      And doesn’t babble things inane.
      Or ‘oft repeat the same refrain.
      Can’t be too vain.
      Or too plain.
      Or changeable as a weather vane.
      No heavy thoughts that need a crane.
      Or slippery ones lost down a drain.
      Shall I name it “Jane”?
      Franja Russell 2013–5–6

    • The Tumult Cards
      (see bottom pieces for Surrogate, Clone, and Circumspect

      Dante was always drawing Safe Passage and blank Time-Outs, until the first Tumult Card turned up. It brought real storms. Fresh tribulation. Ongoing trouble.

      Last time, a car crash, then two cracked ribs. Before that, an obscure company posting – a banishment overseas. But this time, Dante was determined to crash and burn, or crash through and end this cycle of bad karma, or what ever psychological self-sabotage was going on. Three tumults in a row! Could he break the bad cycle?

      Francine dealt. Dante turned his card over with trepidation and then, relief. It wasn’t ‘Tumult’. He’d drawn ‘Shadow’.

      The lights blew out.

      “Francine,” Dante called. “Joe, Krystiana.” No answer. “Hey guys, this isn’t funny.”

      But all he could hear was panting and growling in the shadows.

      “Alright, I’m done. You win!”

      There was the scratch of a match. Dante still couldn’t see much until the flame became a lit candelabra. He was shocked. A leopard, a lion and wolf were sitting around the table.

      Their eyes narrowed about to pounce and rip.

      Where was the door? No. He’d never make it.

      There was only one thing left that he could do. He reached for the deck and drew ‘Paradise’.

      Paradise Beach is a heavenly place for a deckchair and a piña colada beside it on a bamboo table.

      Composing a homily to sun and surf in his head, life seemed to have turned a corner since the last Tumult Card.

      Not for long. The Three sprang from the palms transformed in swimwear. Leopard Girl dropped a porno DVD on his lap, Lion Man thrust a hand mirror before his face and Wolf Girl fanned the deck before him like credit cards. Choose, their glaring looks said. Why leave Paradise after just arriving? They glared. Reluctantly he flipped the Heart Card.

      Dante landed on a dance floor. The neon sign throbbed, ‘The Heart Club.’ The topless girl in leopard skin miniskirt danced up to him, eyeball to eyeball. He felt a chill, but couldn’t help grinding hips with her.

      “Why am you here?” he asked.

      “To be eaten by desire, Dante.”

      Then he realised what the throbbing was. It was his heart. She dug in her red fingernails. Dante felt the moment of puncture, but couldn’t stanch the bleeding.

      “Help!” He cried, coughing up arterial blood.

      There was a Card tucked behind her ear. He grabbed at it, desperate. It was ‘Giant’.

      Dante heard music coming from The Brobdingnagian Brothers Carnival. Wobbling on giant stilts he stepped over the entrance. The crowds were ants. He would much rather be down there eating hot dogs and candy floss.

      While thinking this, the massive crowds began to unbalance him. Then another stilt figure stepped over the ferris wheel. It was a giant lion-head.

      “Why are they pushing?” Dante yelled.

      “Because they think you are vain and lofty,” the lion said.

      By now Dante was toppling over.

      “Help me!”

      The lion flicked a Card. Dante caught it in mid-fall. It was the Credit Card.

      “Good luck, sucker,” growled the blonde-headed Lion teller.

      Gradually he had emptied Dante’s $20,000 credit card in casino chips. Up $57,000 at first, it was gone. Dante was down to his last.

      He returned to the Black Jack table. Leopard Girl attached herself to his shoulder, ready to leap on any gazelle competitor grazing nearby.

      Turning up two picture cards, Dante hungering for windfall split them for a double Black Jack.

      Wolf Girl, the dealer slid over two. He turned them up. Cruelty and Pain.

      “Don’t be greedy,” snarled the she-wolf in her tux. “Choose just one.”

      She wore pants, jackboots, S.S. cap. The suspenders over a malnourished chest made her boyishly desirable. She sang and moved, leopard-sleek and didn’t flinch when his riding crop struck her. So far, prostitution and cabaret art had kept her from the gas showers.

      Obersturmfuhrer Dante Engel was not a bad officer, but to love a Jewess had to be negotiated through a masquerade of cruelty in front of other guards, just as her blank face hid her own affection. She bowed theatrically and offered him something tucked in the braid around her visor cap. It was the Pain Card again.

      Joy and suffering cohabit. Dante didn’t want to move from their bedroom into the spare room, but she left him no choice., Too accepting, forgiving he’d brought pain upon himself. To leave would be to lose — game, set, house.

      It was a matter of pride now. He cared what others would think, so endured their rough trade through the plasterboard. She tortured Dante with her lover’s leonine moves. He felt sick in the gut sitting at the mesa of the table cutting the deck of cards. He didn’t want to play, but fate spoke up. ‘Murder’ tumbled out as he shuffled.

      Dante looked down at the broken body in the pit. A flicker registered in the face.
      “You thought I could forget, Wolfgang? How you snatched my company, my wife and children? Remember our deal done by kerosene lamp? Poetic justice, isn’t it? You tripped into your own bear trap. The one you dug ten years ago.”
      “Take it all, Dante. Let me live.”
      “Aha? You think I care. I’m way too old. But I will play a last card for you.”
      Dante shuffled. The Surrogate Card turned face up.
      “Sorry. You lose.”
      Dante lifted the trapdoor and let in the wolves.

      The alpha dog tore at his throat, the she-wolf his genitals. The others attacked at each limb, ripping him like a rag doll. His neck was spurting red, but Dante was supra-conscious beneath the excoriations of pain.
      It should not have happened like this. Had he become his enemies’ understudy? Yes, the Surrogate Card had decided and this wasn’t a rehearsal.
      What circle of hell was he in? The leopard, the lion and the wolf were still at his heels. From the shit pit of bodies writhing in human ammonia, a black hand emerged holding aloft the Clone Card.

      “Ladies, you can change your spots through the Lady Leopard Sexercise Programme.”
      “Francine?” He spun around. ”I never thought I’d see…” and broke off…the once chubby face of his childhood sweetheart had been cloned by wall to wall video screens, She was the Wellness Goddess.
      Nothing made sense. Had he been saved from Hell, only to land up at this cheesy mall promotion with a Lady Leopard Lookalike Pageant just beginning?
      The future couldn’t be so random. The idea of progress had to exist.
      He tossed the Tumult Deck into the air.
      Each falling future was a Time-out Card.

      Time is a lion pacing the cage, losing it grip. The past might have been the tawny savannah of Africa, but its future was a putrid stall of thrown bones.
      Shocking, Dante thought. How nobility could be so reduced to an object of pedestrian pleasure pointing fingers, licking its ice-creams.
      Caged in his consciousness he was no different to the big cat. Sitting on the bench under a tree, he felt truly compassionate and remorseful for the first time. Heavens and Hells, Africas and zoo-purgatory. Were these destinations or stopovers? Wind shook down the leaves and the Power Card.

      Dante met his she-wolf on Tuesdays. The circle drummed them into the underworld. They met as Power Animals mated wolf-style, then the djembe rhythm returned them.
      Lycanthia Wolf had set up the Therian Support Group. She had come out as a wolf two years ago, but was much happier wolf after meeting her alpha.
      “Psychiatrists say we suffer from species dysmorphia,” she said, “but I think it’s past animal lives.
      Then a newcomer said, “I met in a virtual world. Now we are in a loving raccoon-hyena cyber relationship.”
      Dante listened, fiddling with the deck. Circumspection turned up.

    • Circumspect
      The writer took a look at the final version of his book. He inspected the front cover, the back. He flipped through the pages, noticing the heading of each chapter. The circumspect look on his face made the owner of the printing company sink in his leathery chair.
      “Anything wrong?”
      The man took a look out the window and pulled the collar of his coat up, tugging it against his neck. He stood like this for a few minutes. The discomfort in the room was palpable.
      “Have you ever written a book, Mr. Rourke?”
      “No, sir. I only print them,” replied Mr. Rourke, a slight trace of enthusiasm in his voice, in a feeble attempt to change the somber mood. “But is there anything wrong?”
      “It’s like a child. At some point, you must let it go.”
      Mr. Rourke nodded gravely.
      “So true.” It was getting late and Mr. Rourke still had two appointments till he could close his day and go back to Mrs. Rourke’s scrumptious dinner, the highlight of his day. He really didn’t have time for philosophical contemplations of a writer at the end of his career. He stood up. “So… Should we wrap it up and finalize the payment of the last installment?”
      The writer took a step towards the window, opened it and jumped out.
      Mr. Rourke was so shocked that he stood motionless looking at the open window, the curtains floating wildly. All he could think of was that he would never see that last installment and that this mess would be a never ending nightmare of police inquiries. Outside, people screamed and he could already hear the sirens approaching.
      He grabbed a copy of the book and opened it. Inside, the inscription said “The End”.
      Mr. Rourke found that a tad disturbing, considering the circumstances. He continued to the index and that’s when he realized that each chapter was a farewell letter to people the writer knew. One was even addressed to him!
      “If you are reading this with me standing by your side, that means you saved my life. You read this before our meeting and you talked to me about my life. Thank you.”
      Mr. Rourke sank heavily in his leathery chair and started to weep.
      ©2013 Lizzie Gudkov

    • Sunset
      A few shy white clouds roam the sky with the sun hiding beneath, the last warm caresses of a day gone by. And we linger on, looking into the horizon, expecting the hours not to end, while the afternoon slips through our fingers faster and faster. We close our hands, but the evening marches on, paving the way to the night. Tomorrow a new sunset will emerge, its soft warm colors framing our day. However that is nothing but poor consolation. We linger on, looking into the horizon, expecting the darkness to go away.
      ©2013 Lizzie Gudkov

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