I get inspiration from all over the place, I actively seek it out on a daily basis. Basically I’m a sniffer dog only my crack cocaine happen to be quirky ideas. Although I’m hard at work editing Keepers, I can’t help but ferret away at other projects. Currently I’m searching for location inspiration for a different book series.
I found something awesome recently in an article on the Atlas Obscurer, and I just had to share it. They found a ballroom built under a lake. You can check out the article here. The ballroom happens to actually be a smoking room, but they called it a ballroom, and that was enough to send my mind reeling. What if it really were a ballroom? The glass roof, now covered in algae would have allowed dancers to view the creatures in the lake while they danced. I almost have to squeeze my temples to prevent all the ideas falling out. I love this.
Your challenge this week is to set a piece of flash fiction under water. Write a story in less than 200 words. Paste in the comments or use a pingback and submit before 7th August.
As always, I am slow to respond to entries because I read and moderate everyone, you may find a delay before your story appears and before I comment.
Now, obviously I have cheated, my entry is WAY over 200 words, but it’s my blog and this was genuinely an accident. One of the books I have on the back burner is called The Firmament. A YA dystopian novel, based on the Flat Earth conspiracy. This ballroom image just happened to spark an idea for the ending of that book. So here it is:
The Firmament – Excerpt from the last few paragraphs of the final chapter:
The corridor narrowed so much it was barely wider than my shoulders. Alaric had said the claustrophobic halls were something to do with keeping the structural integrity of the ballroom. But even the thought of being this far under water made my breath catch. The walls brushed my shoulders like gentlemen bowing. Finally, my ears popped relieving the pressure in my head.
I approached the end of the tunnel. A soft melody that trilled like birds singing filtered off the dance floor and through the corridor. I glanced at my simple pink silk gown and felt underdressed. I’d spotted some of the women in extravagant Cinderella dresses before they stepped down into the tunnels. It was a mystery how any of them squeezed through.
I came to a sudden halt as the tunnel ended and opened into the ballroom. Gasping, I clung to the wall. The ceiling was an enormous dome made of the clearest glass I’d ever seen. I could see the ocean and a plethora of oblivious sea creatures swimming through a forest of rainbow coral. They were free to roam wherever they wanted.
Luscious satin curtains lined every wall. A stage sat on the far side of the dancefloor, with two ornate white thrones and a full orchestra responsible for the melody played. Shuffling across the dance floor, a swathe of women in elegant ball gowns and covered in jewels, tapped out a maze of dance patterns with military precision; their partners wearing tuxedo uniforms. It would have been beautiful if it weren’t for their identical expressions. Those flat eyes, emotionless faces and false smiles would haunt even my happiest dreams.
I’d never regretted anything in my life. Not fighting with my dad, deciding to break out of the Firmament or leaving everything behind. It had been three months since I escaped. Three months since I’d seen Luke. He would have loved this. I was selfish. A terrible friend too obsessed with my own stupid mission to see him.
As I stood on the edge of the ballroom, unable to enter because of the pain in my chest, I realized it was guilt; guilt because I regretted leaving Luke behind. Now, for the first time in my life, I saw him, really, truly saw him. The irony was, he wasn’t even here. I closed my eyes and visualized his shaggy hair, sparkly gaze and gawky expression. I’d thought him plain, someone I’d only ever love as a friend. But even in the fog of my memory, he seemed vibrant.
“Lexi, what are you doing?” Alaric said, jolting me out of my thoughts.
“Nothing. Sorry.” I shook my head clear.
“Your coronation is about to start.” He gripped my wrist a fraction harder than was comfortable, signalling it wasn’t a statement, but a command. Alaric had never given me cause to believe he would rebel. He was an ardent enforcer of the Society. But the wideness of his eyes, told me his grip wasn’t for control, but fear.
I would be crowned. Not because they demanded it of me, but because I saw that behind all the opulence, the extravagant lifestyles and the stilted smiles, they weren’t free either. Not really. They were just as trapped as I had been in the Firmament. I’d thought escaping would be the end, a new life. I was wrong. This was only just beginning.
If I wanted to free mankind from the Firmament, I’d have to free Alaric and his people from the Society too. But the only way I could free them, was to become one of them.
Sacha Black © 2016 All rights reserved
Now to last time and your entries for your WIP’s first and last lines.
First in Shelley Wilson:
Claws scratched at the cold rock just inches from his bare feet. The twisted limbs of these tormented creatures snaked through the bars of his cell as they tried to reach him. Starved and beaten, the monsters craved his blood.
Last Line (Not quite the last line as that would give away a huge spoiler!):
‘I’ve had help,’ she said, laughing as she climbed on his back, and settled herself behind his long neck.
on the radio
in the car when I was driving from work
the weatherman was chatting
to Ms Drive Time: …
our family can go all day
with just one flush
Barb in next with a first line and the end of the most recent chapter she’s written.
I always knew my office was haunted. I just never knew I was the ghost.
None of that prepared me to stand up in front of two hundred and forty thousand people and tell them that heaven is trying to destroy their city—and doesn’t mind if that means destroying them as well.
First line: Apparently, there was a time when humans thought vampires to be dead creatures, reanimated corpses with a thirst for blood.
Last line: Then I speak, the words coming out in a rush of breath. ‘I am Raven.’
Diana Wallace Peach In next with her WIP
First line: The ironwood pier below Mur-Vallis pointed like a sooty finger over the Blackwater’s swirling luminescence.
Last line: She understood the tantalizing impulse to wield her new power and so she would.
Lorraine Ambers next diving straight into the action.
The elfin girl wept violently as pain ripped through her stomach right the way up into her chest, as if something was shredding her from the inside out. She screamed into the night.
Almost the last line: (Well, ‘The End’ isn’t very exciting. Wink!)
‘Goodnight.’ She breathed, vanishing from beneath him. Leaving her scent and warmth in his bed. Soon she would never have to leave his side again. He rolled back onto the pillows.
Next in Geoffle with a first and last line from Buster and Moo.
First: Landen Powell coughed as she entered James Franks’ office.
Last: She glanced back at Mervin. “You two are the first to know.”
Jane up next with her current WIP
First: He stands behind me, enfolding me in his arms. It has become a habit with him, as if I would float away if he didn’t hang on tightly.
Last: In his arms I am carried, and in his arms I leave the world of pain and hurt and suffering behind a veil of sapphires and rubies.
Lloyd in next with these lines from his WIP
First line: The main character thinks, “I regret my part in one of the greatest tragic love stories in human history.”
Last line: at the end of Chapter 27 is currently: “I can’t live with the mental anguish that comes from losing someone you love.”
Mcclellanelias up next
First: Pre-dawn dark blanketed dormant houses on cemetery-quiet Organ Road. Sean Bergin watched digital numbers cycle on a track watch as a distraction from a kicking-and-screaming nicotine fit. It had been 30 minutes since the drug courier drove into the 200-unit-warehouse complex.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Toughie said, hands up. “There’s another option, here.”
Leti stayed Sean with a raised hand. “And that is?”
“Money never sleeps and I need new talent. How would y’all like a job?”
Ritu in next with her WIPs lines
First: “What’s it gonna be ‘cause I can’t pretend. Don’t you wanna be more than friends?”
Lara had had enough of this. She never thought she would be able to be strong enough to actually say it to him, but there it was.
Last: This really wasn’t panning out how she had planned!
Graeme in next, cheating by giving us first and last lines from both his WIPs
First: His master’s home was large and comfortable, but the messenger knew his place: outside, huddled in the cold night air.
Last: And Salin went.
First: Frank Gilman put his coffee down and stood up.
Last: He suddenly realised he was grinning. “I’ll be waiting.”
Next Lavinia with these two lines:
First: Curls of smoke dissipated on the frigid air before furious flickers could be spotted in her eyes.
Last: And in another life, everything would continue to be different.
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