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Day 26- You never know where you might end up. by Brenda

StoryADay prompt cover
Today's prompt from Brenda Rech gives you a chance to stretch your imagination

The Prompt

A misunderstood aristocrat wants to unmask an intriguing conspiracy behind a museum exhibit. It takes him to a place he never wanted to go.

Take your character to a different time, a different place. Do they go forwards, backwards or maybe even a bit sideways.


Brenda

Brenda loves writing short fiction and is working on her first novel. 2023 is the third year of her monthly newsletter – Thru the Window.

All her life she wanted to be a veterinarian and took all the right science classes in high school. But, her favorite class was English 300. The teacher was a poet, who loved Shakespeare, and gave funky, fun assignments for creative writing. She struggled through first-year university, her grades in organic chemistry were less than stellar, but her marks in Canadian Lit were awesome. It was suggested that she pursue an English degree and be a teacher. She quit university.

Fast forward. She got married, had two children and ran a successful consulting business with her husband.

Fast forward again. During a monster house move she wrote a blog with photos to send to people who wanted to know how the relocation was going.

Fast forward some more. She joined Story A Day May and has never looked back

Find more info on her website (which is still under construction – so wear a hard hat) https://wordpress.com/home/brendarech.com ,
A better idea is her newsletter. Thru the Window

Join the discussion: what will you do with today’s prompt OR how did it go? Need support? Post here!

26

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18 thoughts on “Day 26- You never know where you might end up. by Brenda”

  1. I wasn’t sure where to go with this prompt, but by last night I had nearly 1,100 words about an exiled aristocrat who returned to his country near the end of his life to visit a museum displaying a propagandized exhibit of his art.

  2. Writing to your own prompt is interesting. My story is about an aristocrat who is actually a dragon. He is trying to get the amulet back which would lead him to the cache of eggs that he needs to tend. I DO NOT write fantasy, so I am so surprised that this is where the story took me.

  3. I love this prompt! It inspired some unexpected depth to a character who has been occupying the fringe of my brain for some time. It felt good to “work with her” and send her on an adventure!

  4. Not quite sure how I feel about this one. Forty years after they were married during Woodstock, my secretly Vulcan character and his human wife find an exhibit of their wedding – except someone else is in the position of the groom…

    I really didn’t know how this one was going to turn out until I got to the end. It evolved over the course of the day.

    Great prompt, Brenda!

  5. It took longer to come up with an idea for this prompt. I wrote a 654-word story about a teenage girl. A new app on her phone allows her to transport herself wherever she wants to go.

  6. This one looked impossible at first and I thought, oh no, I don’t want to write about an aristrocat, but the more I wrote, the more twists came up. And it was fun to add details to the story like people riding in horse-drawn buggies, etc.

    It’s about an aristocrat who intuitively knows that the expensive painting in the museum that the townspeople are so in awe of is not an original. Turns out he painted it in a past life. His enemy, who knows it’s fake and is the one who says he found it, doesn’t like our hero spouting off saying it’s fake. People tend not to pay much attention to our hero because he has made bizarre statements in the past. Main character ends up killing his enemy after the enemy attacks him first. It’s then the original painting is found, guess where. No one ever discloses the painting was found, for reasons I will not explain right now.

  7. I’m really pleased with how this Story A Day is going this year. Another one down to my continuing story. I used Day 9 (Kingdom In A Jar) as my museum exhibit. And the hostility between my character and her dead husband’s father and whether or not the Jar should be on display at a museum. And who should get the royalties for it. Will my character be able to move in with the decision she makes. I haven’t written an ending yet.

  8. It was a cloudy day in the nation’s capital as 36-year-old U.S. Senator Jerame Callahan walked up the marble steps, eyes down, unblinking. It was almost a year ago when he was elected. He could remember it like it was yesterday.

    His whole family was celebrating, popping champagne bottles, confetti all over the place. His 2-year-old and his wife Sam came up to him for the warmest embrace after his speech concluded, marking the beginning of the rest of their lives full of happiness and most of all, money. He was exactly where he wanted to be that night, what he had always worked toward.

    But, today, he wished he could take it all back. His eyes welled up as he entered the American History Museum. Callahan breathed in deep, hoping the courage would come into his lungs so he could breathe out the truth. Once he reached the Declaration of Independence, he sat, finally lifting is unwavering gaze. How can I hold the burden of what I know to be true? He sighed, frustrated.

    That’s when he saw it. Behind him. Reflecting on the exhibit’s glass. His entire being wanted to react, to run, to scream. He sat there, trying to keep his breath from giving him away.

    We are always watching. It spoke without speaking. Callahan spun around, standing from the bench. They locked eyes as time slipped into something different, but the same. A misty white barrier kept him from his body, the version of himself still seated on the other side.

    “Why are you doing this?” he yelled at the creature.

    “We can’t have you spoiling the contract.”

    “Why are you doing this?” he yelled again.

    “That’s all your kind is here for. You can accept it and continue on or you can accept a different fate.”

    “I’m not a coward. People need to know wh-“ Callahan tried to stand up for us all.

    “What about Sam?” the creature replied to him. “What would she think about what you’ve been keeping from her and your daughter?”

    Callahan dropped his gaze again. Torn. Defeated.

    “You were there at the convention, you were there with Adams, Jefferson and Hancock.” Callahan confronted the creature.

    “Yes,” he said. “You are a weak race. In return for great wealth and protection, the elites continue to feed us ‘aliens.’ You can have it all, Jerame.”

    “Keep your secret?” Callahan said. “Work our people to the bone, no chance for freedom. This is America.”

    “Jerame,” the creature replied. “This IS America. This is why we created it. It is not yours to save.”

    “I’m not going to let you, I cannot let you.”

    The seated body of Callahan grew further away, and the light source seemed to darken. A spotlight on his body, the mist thickened, and he was stuck behind the barrier with no way back to it.

    “Suit yourself,” the creature said.

    Callahan watched as his body simply stood up from where he left it, soullessly continuing, an empty vessel to be filled by all the evil in the world.

    Callahan tried to scream, beating on the misty barrier, but nothing came out and his fists just bounced back at himself. He sobbed for eternity.

  9. The specificity of the prompt made this one hard for me. I finally came up with a contemporary count in some unspecified Eastern European country, who finds that the people mounting an exhibit of “Nationalist Art: 1623 – 2023” are aliens trying (in the worst sf tradition) to set humans at war with each other to clear enough space on the earth for them to immigrate. The twist, such as it is, is that the refugees that the human ultraconservatives who support the count despise have the same goal, and the count despises the ultraconservatives. I don’t think it quite works.

  10. This one was crazy. At first I thought that I would not come up with an idea for this, but then I wrote over 3000 words about an optometrist who has to travel back in time to the stone age, where he has to save his short-sighted forefather, in order for his own son to be born in the future. Once he has arrived in the past, he does not manage to give his “grandpa” a pair of glasses, but is instead saved by him from a dangerous snake. After his return to Clara, the woman who has sent him on his journey to begin with, he learns that the snake was necessary for his grandpa to kill and bring home, so that his competitor would choke on it and die, so that he would get the woman with whom he was supposed to have a child, the optometrist’s ancestor. Back home, our hero begins a relationship with Clara, who will become the mother of his child, the child whom she said would save the world – well, his world, as it now turns out.

    I think I will work on this story some more to see how it works out. It was the first time that I wrote a fantasy story and it was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to researching about the stone age and optometry.
    Thank you, Brenda, for this fun task!

  11. I wrote 433 words of what might be the start of another new story. Not sure it’s quite complete as a story itself, but it was a good stopping place after an hour of working on it, so going to call it done.

  12. The Story of The Missing Necklace :

    It was a busy Tuesday morning. Siddharth Chatterjee, the founder-owner of “The Chatterjees” asked his driver to have the car parked behind one of those stalls selling sweets and snacks, and got off the posh padro. He walked a couple of steps to what happened to be a majestic building in the mid-nineteenth century, bought the ticket to the museum from the counter near the iron gates and got inside the magnificent Cooch Behar Palace. It being a working day, there were not many people inside the the Palace-turned-museum recently.

    The Royal Palace of Cooch Behar, built in the fag end of the 19th century by Maharaja Nripendra Narayan of the Koch Dynasty, is famous for its architectural grandeur. The Palace, since its conversion to a museum, has drawn people from all across the globe. Siddharth wandered trom one room to the next and spent the next forty minutes, looking at some of those rare objects of great value. Finally, he found himself moving out of room 34 on the groundfloor into the small passage near the exit. His third visit to this museum, had been futile too. He didn’t find what he had been looking for, some clues about The Missing Necklace. The diamond necklace of the last Queen of the Koch Dynasty. Despite all the arms and weapons, the replica of the palace in a rectangular glass box, the murals and paintings on the walls of the Hall, the exquisite royal clothes made of gold and silver, he was about to leave, more doubtful and dissatisfied than ever before.

    “Look at the picture over there, Ma,” he heard someone chirping excitedly behind her.
    Turning his head, he found an attractive lady pointing to an elderly lady, equally graceful, possibly her mother – the picture hanging on top of the massive exit door.

    Siddharth looked up at the framed photograph of a very strikingly beautiful lady with the words written at the bottom:
    Rani Indira Devi (1913 – 1922) was the last Queen of the Koch Dynasty. Known for her unimaginable beauty and charm, she was married to Maharaja Jitendra Narayan. The King was exceedingly find of his wife ….

    Siddharth found the beauty of the Queen so bewitching that it was much later that he read the taped warning underneath the photograph :
    Keep safe distance. Photography is strictly prohibited.
    “God! She was so very beautiful!” Siddharth heard the elderly lady tell her daughter and couldn’t but agree with her assessment of the last Queen. He even wanted to tell her about the fondness of her husband bordering on the insane to indulge all her whims and fancies. The diamond necklace that King Jitendra gifted her, for instance, was estimated to be worth crores!

    He saw the younger lady pulling her mother out through the exit door. He was thinking of following them himself when he noticed the Guard with his back towards him in front of the other door on the right. The Guard, who hadn’t seen him, was whispering into his mobile :
    “There aren’t more than five people now. If you really want to do it today, do it now.”
    The way he was looking around briskly while talking into the mobile, made Siddharth suspicious. He just slid to hide behind the wall of the other door.
    “There are three ladies, a man and a kid. I don’t see any resistance from any one of them, in case they stay back. In fact, the man may have gone out by now.”
    Siddharth heard a crackling voice speaking something from the other end before he heard the Guard muttering, “Yah, the two of you can do the job without a hitch. And listen, DO IT FAST.”
    As the Guard got up from the chair, Siddharth darted across the passage up the stairs to Hall 16. There was no one in the room with all the handicrafts like statues of some of the royals, musical instruments and such stuff. He hurried up to the window to catch a glimpse of a lady with her son, followed by the mother-daughter duo out on the path in the middle of the well-maintained lawn, scampering lazily back to the gates.

    He noticed the two hefty, menacing-looking Guards heading towards the Palace only then. Soon they were inside. He hastened to hide himself behind one of those gigantic statues in the corner as he heard footsteps on the stairs. They came in and peeped in from the door.
    “All clear. No one in sight,” he heard one of them mumble out.
    On his knees still, Siddharth bent down further to place his ear against the floor. There was something going on. A fake fight? A tussle?
    Putting two and two together, he realised what was happening. The two guards were tieing the hands and legs of the Palace Guard who was prompting them to do it quickly.
    There was a complete hush for the next two-three minutes before he heard one of them say,”That will take care of the electrified wares. I have deactivated the Control Box. We can safely take Rajmata (the Queen) down now. The photo alone will fetch us millions. And if, by chance, the missing necklace is hidden inside the frame, even our grandchildren won’t have to work…”
    Siddharth heard the other Guard hiss at him, asking him to shut up.
    His guess proved right. They were proceeding to the exit door. One of them put the chair the Guard was sitting on, under the Queen’s photo.
    Why didn’t he look up at the framed photo earlier?
    They had it brought down by then, unscrewing, putting the hand in in order to detach the photograph from the frame. Then Siddharth heard them exclaim : “God! What a beauty! We’re rich, man. We’re ….”

    It was time for Siddharth to call 101.
    Let alone Lalbazar, the headquarters of the police in West Bengal, he was prepared to go to hell to save another curio from being stolen.

    The end

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