A Treasure of Nightmares

person holding brown wooden chest

There is nothing more torturous than an agitated mind.

It’s like a treasure chest of unspoken riches

Selfishly guarded, every jewel meticulously analyzed

Accumulating over a short time–

Epiphanies, suspicions, fears, schemes–

Until it overflows

And the tortured realizes too late

That it was easier to open than shut.

Written in response to Patrick Jenning’s Pic and a Word Challenge: Experience ~ Pic and a World Challenge #313

“Because…the Neighborhood”

“Sorry, but we don’t deliver out there,” the woman on the other end said.

“Why not?”

“Because,” she stammered. “The neighborhood.”

Our call crackled with silence.

The neighborhood.

I stared out the tattered screen mesh that shielded my doorway from the neighborhood. My eyes met an abandoned home, probably housing squatters, across the way. An old air conditioning unit oozed black goop and white spray paint adorned the sunbaked fence out front.

Why would anyone want to come here? Not even the neighborhood’s inhabitants wanted to be here.

“I see,” I said and ended the call.


Picture: Abstract Surface by Anna Guerrero via Pexels


The sun boiled his sweat. Air was like a thick mass in his lungs and if it weren’t for its necessity, he would’ve expelled it like a lump of mucus. Tendrils of heat wafted from the ground and tickled his exposed, cut legs. Everything around him was alight except for a distinct shadow.

He focused on the clank of his pickaxe as he drove it into stone.

The shadow shifted as if aware that he’d taken notice. “Have you thought of my preposition? I can give you whatever you desire,” it said as it had for the last twenty years.

Has it really been twenty years?

The pickaxe droned on–clank clank clank–pieces of sediments tumbling to the ground.

“Warm bed, not the rock,” it continued. “Your enemies to take your place. All you need do is say you’re mine and I’ll free you from here.”

The pickaxe stopped mid swing. Twenty years toiling. Twenty listening to the shadow’s promises.


And it was all beginning to sound more promising.


Picture: Pickaxe by Samer Daboul via Pexels

Going out of Business

It takes a special person to be the failure of one’s lineage. To not only be the disappoint of ones current family, but also that of one’s distant ancestors.

Gregor would have to face all of them at the arcanum. He’ll have to stand there and let their digitalized minds know that the business they’d erected in the late 3000s and carried for a century, was going to die.

The particle wall to his office hummed to life as his robot assistant rolled in. The whirl of its inner parts were deafening. “They’re waiting for you sir,” it said.

“Here we go,” he breathed to himself.

Writing Dare #1: Make ‘Em Feel Something in One (short) Sentence

Sure, we writers have to do a lot to “sell” our work—but that doesn’t discount the power of the first sentence. The first set of words in your work determines if a potential reader will invest in you art or click away.

No pressure, right? Right. Lets have some fun with this.

This post is the first in a long series of “Writing Dares” meant to challenge you or (at least) encourage you to have some fun. I’ll present a dare every other week and then you complete it. But remember: you have to stick to the rules.

(If you’re a regular to my blog, you’d know that I post “Freewriting” prompts every so often. “Writing Dares” are not like my “Freewriting” prompts. These are for folks who want a little challenge.)

The Challenge!

Your goal is to construct five sentences that captures each of these emotions:

  1. Urgency
  2. Romance
  3. Wonder
  4. Confusion
  5. Sadness

The Rules!

  • Write one sentence for each emotion.
  • Your sentences can be no longer than 12 words.
  • Tell me how it went for you in the comments.
  • Post them on your blog or online space with a link to this post (optional)


Need inspiration? Here’s some short first sentences from the authors in my Kindle library.

Nefertiti’s Heart by A.W. Exley:

“There was something cathartic about wielding a crowbar.”

Ash by Jason Brant:

“I couldn’t get the blood off my hands.”

Strange Magic by James A. Hunter

“The piano keys bobbed and danced under the pressure of my fingers.”


Good luck.


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Okay, that’s it. Later! 🙂


Freewrite 11: Disconnect and Write

You’d figure she’d get a headache…

Quick! Grab a pen and paper.

Got it? Now distance yourself from every piece of technology in your home (cellphones, laptops, TV, teleportation devices, laser guns, etc). If it’s not deterimental to your health, leave it! I personally suggest that you take a field trip into the backyard or a local park.

Distanced? Great.

Get cozy. Write for fifteen minutes.


The point of this Freewriting exercise is to pull you away from all distractions (twitter, facebook, email, texting, your blog, so on) forcing you to do one thing: Write. Be hard on yourself! Don’t go back into your home or pick up any piece of tech until you’ve written something.

What should you write about? That’s your choice.


Freewrite #11 Goals:

  1. Get away from technology. (Go in the backyard, park, coffee shop—somewhere!)
  2. Write for fifteen minutes. (I suggest using a pencil and notepad)
  3. Don’t censor / edit yourself.


Once you’re done pat yourself on the back. You’ve just done one of the hardest things for a writer to do. If you want to share what you wrote on your blog—FANSTATIC! If not, let me know how this experience helped (or did not help) you in the comments. Good luck!

Freewrite 10: Using Articles for Fiction

You can use it for fanning yourself…right?

What do newspapers and magazine articles have in common?

Paper mache? C’mon, be serious.

That’s it! You could use them for your writing.

Lets say you run across a magazine article about an organization that gives away free furniture.

Why would someone give away free furniture?

Maybe the owner use to be homeless.

How did that happen?

They did something bad that caused them to loose their job and family.

Now that sounds like something interesting to write about!

Freewrite #10 Goals

  1. Find a newspaper or a magazine article that interests you (it can be online or off)
  2. Fictionalize it.
  3. Write it!

Post your freewrite on your blog! It’s your choice if you want to share the article that you used.

Freewrite #9: (For WriMos) In Just One Word


This freewrite will be an actual challenge!


Have you ever wondered how an author can take a 200,000 word project and reduce it to a 300 word blurb? It sounds like a real challenge and, from what I’ve heard, it is!

Many of us are finishing or have finished our NaNo projects this month. You’ll be using THAT project (or some current WIP) in this freewrite.


Your challenge for “freewrite” #9 is to:

  1. Write, in exhaustive detail, what your story is about. Simple!
  2. Rewrite that in 100 words
  3. Rewrite that in 10 words
  4. Put THAT in 1 word

You’ve got two weeks! Post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments.

*Last Prompt


Freewrite #8: (For WriMos) Under Pressure

Since it’s Camp NaNo I thought it would be fun to tailor July’s “challenges” to our NaNo projects. The following scenarios should only be thought of as fun exercises using your Camp NaNo character(s). Don’t feel obligated to actually include them into your manuscript.

When characters are put under extreme pressure, their actions says something about the type of person they are.

The neighborhood geek could actually be a courageous hero.

And the bully? A cuddly kitten!


Your challenge is to choose a character from your current WIP and put them in one (or more) of the following situations:

  • Stuck in an elevator with no way to contact anyone
  • Stranded and needs medical attention
  • Is a witness to a robbery in progress
  • They’ve just found out there’s a bomb in the building


Are they as great as Flynn??


You’ve got two weeks! Post it on your blog and leave a link in the comments.


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