Happy May everyone and welcome to Muse on Monday!
The challenge is to write a story of your own based on the prompt below. If you’re 18 years old or younger, you can submit it using this link for a chance to have it published next Monday when the new prompt comes out. You just need to submit it before 12:00pm EST next Sunday.
If you have an idea for a prompt for a future week, please send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! It can be in this form or anything else.
(click the headings of each prompt for a description of it.)
Story Prompt: May 3, 2021
CHARACTERS: a swimming star
OTHER ELEMENTS: any
And now, a story based on last week’s prompt:
- Setting: a cave
- Conflict: running away from a monster
- Other elements: a plastic shopping bag, quicksand, a cow
The Monster of Eidolon Cave
The light of my flashlight beam was rusting orange as the batteries died. I was about to die.
I had entered Eidolon Cave to look for the monster that lived there. I never thought I’d actually it. I had turned the corner to come face to face with a dark and hideous something before I had turned and ran. The creature had followed ever since, not fast, but never stopping.
I was getting desperate to find some way out. I moved faster and immediately tripped on a snag of rock and went sprawling. The clatter of the flashlight hitting the stone floor echoed around me. And then I heard the growl behind, coming up from somewhere below. What was worse was the tinkle of breaking glass and the sudden darkness as my flashlight went out.
I was about ready to despair when I saw that the cave was lighter up ahead. I might actually be able to escape. I scrambled up and limped as quickly as I could along the passage.
There was no sound behind me now, which was almost worse. I could imagine feeling at any moment hot breath on my neck and claws digging into my back. I came to a hole in the ceiling where sunlight came down in a spotlight onto the cave floor. There was as circle of plants growing and water falling in a lackluster semi-circle.
Something white was caught on the ground. I went over to it. A plastic shopping bag. As grotesque as the garbage looked, it was a reminder of civilization, a rational world outside with no monsters.
I started to move on, when I found my leg stuck. The soggy ground closed over my boots and every time I tried to pull one out, it only pushed the other foot further into the muck. The plants were too small to hold on to and just pulled out of the ground when I grabbed them.
I heard footsteps behind me: hard, alien steps clicking on the stone floor. Then came the exhalation of breath and a low groan. I shut my eyes and prayed I’d die quickly.
When death failed to appear, I opened my eyes and swiveled my head. A cow was standing a few feet away, calmly eating the plants.
I tried to laugh but the sound that came out was more like a sob. Was that it? My “monster” had just been the echoes of a cow wandering around the caves? That would serve me right for filling my head with stories and getting so worked up. I had passed so many fantastical stone formations down below. It must have been one of those I had mistaken for a monster.
“Hey, come here,” I said, using my best friend-of-cows-everywhere voice. If I could get it close enough to grab, it would pull me out. The cow looked up lazily. Then it took a step closer.
I was up to my knees by the time it had wandered close enough to me. I leaned over and grabbed it around the neck. The cow snorted in surprise and tried to pull away, but I held on for dear life. Slowly it dragged me out of the quicksand and back onto the stone floor.
“Thank you!” I said, letting go. “I am so glad I met you, my dear monst—”
There was a roar and an explosion of slimy black fur that seemed to come from all around. Yellowed fangs and claws flashed like topaz in the sun as the cow was bowled over and covered.
I finally collapsed three kilometers from the cave mouth, the bellows of the dying cow still ringing in my ears. I spent the next week looking behind me and avoiding the dark and vowing never, ever to return to Eidolon Cave.
Good luck and happy writing! Come back next Monday for another story prompt.