What exactly is this?
On August 28, 2019, I discovered #vss365.
This is a daily, one-word prompt posted on Twitter. You can find it by searching Twitter for #vss365 #prompt. Then tweet your ‘very short story’ including the tags #vss365 and the prompt word for that day.
Here are some of my Very Short Stories posted under my Twitter account (@NielsKeira), with the prompt in bold and italics.
September 19, 2019 – Cavernous
On my first climb my safety line slipped. I began to shake.
“It’s not as cavernous as you think. Just 8 feet to me.”
“And 800 to the bottom.”
I trusted him, and I made it. I forgave him for not tying off my line too. But I never climbed again.
September 18, 2019 – Infatuated
My youngest has taken to throwing big words into conversations. Yesterday, she told me my shoes were just scrumptious. Today, she claimed to be infatuated with my spatula.
“Really? Why?” I asked.
“Um, cuz it’s … carnivorous?”
September 17, 2019 – Carnivorous
“No, not that way.”
“Why not, dad?”
“I was once stalked by a carnivorous beast. I knew it was there, because all my hair stood on end.”
“Very. And when its cruel eyes met mine…”
“It was our cat,” my wife said, ruining my story.
“She’s a beast!”
**** Another post — Same prompt ***
Science. The shitiest reason to deploy a ground crew.
“Carnivorous, retractable claws,” the biologist noted.
“Like a lion?” The twisted carcass made him want to heave.
“Like an elephant?”
“Definitely.” He leveled his weapon at the beast.
September 16, 2019 – Euphoric
I lean against the wall, euphoric as I track his movements. In minutes he’ll be mine.
He’s leaving. I place my glass down to follow. Our paths will cross in 5, 4, 3, …
A waiter blocks me. Scowling, I push past, but the target escaped.
September 15, 2019 – Amber
Most days, he seems normal. Just a kid coming ’round to play. Then there are days like today, when his irises glint amber, his reflexes are too quick, and the anguish in his eyes turns my stomach.
He’s not human. But he’s still my friend.
September 14, 2019 – Somersault
Later, I’d cherish the memory, but back then I hated being stuck with her. I’d wanted to hunt for fossils.
“Watch me!” She rolled on the grass.
What was that supposed to be, a somersault? I shrug. As always, my disdain failed to temper her spirit.
September 13, 2019 – Lunar
We met at a lunar women’s circle. I didn’t know what it was, but I went because I was new and wanted to meet people. By the next new moon she’d committed suicide. I still feel the loss of a woman I barely knew. I wish I could’ve helped.
September 12, 2019 – Floodwaters
I’m pregnant and the only woman on the dev team. So, phew, no birthing stories, right?
“She was just huge. And I come home it was all over the floor, like floodwaters, so I thought, ‘Her water broke!’ Turns out a pipe burst.”
September 10, 2019 – Uprooted
They were called the uprooted. Citizens sent to internment camps ‘for their own protection’ then robbed of their land. The profits from those illegal sales were then used to pay for their own imprisonment. I cried when I edited that report.
September 8, 2019 – Comet
Cara left the shack, her home of 75 years, without a second glance. Stepping into the cool night air, she joined the throng of people staring into the darkness.
To the humans, the streak in the sky marked the return of the comet. For Cara, it was a ride home
September 7, 2019 – Serendipity
“Fortune smile on us today, boys.”
The man’s filthy boot brushed against my arm. Gasping, I retreated further into the stowage.
“Why’s that, Cap’n?”
“Serendipity.” The name was carved into the hull of my father’s boat.
“Let’s see what riches she holds.”
September 6, 2019 – Daybreak
Rolling to her side, she rested her hand on his chest. If only she could stop time, but daybreak could not be dissuaded.
“A classified mission?”
“Yeah.” She kissed him slowly. A silent good bye.
A week later, bleeding out, she would wish she had voiced it.
September 5, 2019 – Crystallize
A century had passed since the atrocities had been committed. Looking back, none could say when the plan had taken shape and begun to crystallize. Nonetheless, tacit agreement bound the four of them. She was ready—tomorrow there would be a reckoning.
September 4, 2019 – Horizon
It never occurred to her to be frightened. When the tires spun, spraying loose gravel, she’d clenched her small fists. “Stupid!” It was the worst word she knew. She squinted at her step-dad’s car, a dot on the horizon.
“Mom will kill him for this.”
September 3, 2019 – Mystery
Jenny poked me. “You gonna do it?”
“I don’t know. One minute he hates me. The next he’s asking me to go to Spain. He’s an enigma, a complete mystery… Would you?”
“Yes! For sure.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Think fast. He’s heading this way.”
September 2, 2019 – Love
After 280 days of waiting, I knew I would love him the moment I saw him, but I hadn’t realized the heart-wrenching, all-encompassing depth of it. I also hadn’t anticipated the agony, the fierce pain. But he’s worth any cost, my little love.
September 1, 2019 – Gloaming
With the gloaming came the dark stillness that we sought. Standing at the water’s edge, we waited. Feigning patience, I reached for her hand as the sea lapped at my feet.
“Look, a blue sparkle.”
The luminescence. I lived for this.
August 31, 2019 – Forever
“What?” I must’ve heard her wrong.
“I said I’m having an affair.” She turned to leave.
“Mom, wait.” I grabbed her arm. “You can’t drop that bombshell on me and leave. Is it Dave?”
“Of course it’s Dave.”
“For forever. I’m done talking about this.”
August 29, 2019 – Million
“What are our chances?”
She dragged her gaze from her clasped hands to the horizon. The light glinting off the water hurt her eyes. Was it foolish to still hope that they’d be rescued? There was one flare left. It was still possible.
“One in a million.”
August 28, 2019 – Somewhere
I hated how she pulled on my hand with her sticky fingers. “Where are we going?”
“It’s somewhere near here.”
Liar. I rubbed my hand on my thigh. “I’m going back.”
“No wait! It’s here.”
I froze, my eyes locking on the twisted form. A shipwreck.