Muse on Monday – July 12, 2021, Featuring “Never Leave the City”

Happy Monday! Scroll down to read Never Leave the City, a story based on last week’s prompt about a creepy pickpocket at the South Pole.

The challenge of Muse on Monday is to write a short story and use the prompt below. We’ve decided to eliminate the age limit on all submissions, so anyone can submit a story based on the prompt using this link for a chance to have it published next Monday when the new prompt comes out. It just needs to be appropriate for children or teens. 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! It can be in this form or anything else.

Also, do not forget about the Summer 2021 Young Writers Contest. To find out more about it, go to the Writing Contest tab at the top or click on the picture below.

Story Prompt: July 12, 2021

This week, the prompt is the first line of the story. Your challenge is to use the sentence as the first line of your story and then write the rest of the story.

They say all you need to make it in life is a good friend, and a million bucks.

And now, a story based on last week’s prompt:

Setting: Antarctica

Conflict: losing a phone

Genre: fantasy

Never Leave the City

Never leave the city, especially at night. That is the main rule in South City, where night rules six months of the year. We sit at the very top of Earth, the icy crown of the world—or on the very bottom on northern hemisphere maps. Inside the bubble of the city there is light and warmth and life. Outside is where the ghosts and spirits live.

But sometimes the ghosts find their way inside.

I am walking home from work, the stars of Mensa shining overhead. I feel a momentary chill in my pocket, but then it’s gone like a zephyr. I look up to see a pale shadow flitting down the side of the road. My phone is gone.

I take off running, knowing it’s a losing battle. Human pickpockets are hard enough to catch but the ghosts from beyond the walls, the lost and lonely creatures that live out in the wasteland—they’ve had too much practice in fleeing.

I reach the wall of the city, right by one of the main gates, just as if the thing is taunting me to follow it outside. Through the frosty triple glass of the wall, I see my phone lying in the snow. The screen flickers on for a second, like the glowing lure of one of those deep-sea angler fish. It is right there, just outside. I have access to the outer doors. I could slip out and grab it and be back before the cold even touches my toes.



“You’re late,” my wife says when I get home. “Why didn’t you call?”

“I lost my phone,” I say. I tell her what happened. That night, I order a new phone.

Because you never leave the city.

Especially at night.

Happy writing and have a wonderful week! Come back next Monday for another story prompt.

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