Myths and Monsters · Writing

Writing Prompt

I must be feeling more like a human. Things in my brain are starting to work again. I am occasionally asked by non-writers where ideas come from. Honestly, not that often lately because I don’t talk about writing as much anymore to non-writers (boring people is a great way to STAY socially distanced). But still, occasionally it happens. Since my brain is making connections again, I can give a writing prompt and even explain where/how it came to be.

So, I sleep with my bedroom windows open, and my room faces the street. My street is ridiculously quiet most of the time (I often worry I’m disturbing people when I holler at the dogs, or when Ragnar barks incessantly at someone walking by). At 0530, it’s as quiet as the graveyard at the end of the block.

This morning, I heard someone using a door knocker LOUDLY next door. It was still dark. The dog in the neighbor’s house howled at the noise, and of course I’m sure they weren’t awake when the racket started so it took some time for someone to get to the door. There was no shouting, no fist on the door, no doorbell: just repeated forceful door-knocker-banging and the howling dog.

So I’m lying there listening, and it occurred that if this is some sort of trouble I’m next in line. By trouble, I mean if someone is in trouble and trying to get help, I’d be the next house over if no one answers next door…I did not immediately assume it was a Bad Guy. Then I wondered if it WAS a Bad Guy, and he’s in trouble. Or is he trouble for ME (which had me go through the standard litany of “if this is bad what will I do” steps in advance, because years ago when I was on a city commission I had to go through “active shooter” training. The Police Captain at the time said people freeze in place when they are in fight/flight mode and have NO idea what to do next, but you don’t necessarily have to have BEEN in a situation to know what to do next. That’s what training is for: in hopes you’ve thought about it or practiced it enough times that even if your brain says “WHAT THE HELL DUDE” your body will do what you’ve practiced. (Ok this was years ago and that is NOT the direct quote, it’s my memory’s interpretation of a much drier speech.) Anyway, that’s probably an unnecessary tangent, but it was a step in what can loosely be called logic my mind traveled through today.

My brain likes to take unrelated things and create mashups, particularly in that half-awake state, so as I was dozing off I thought “well obviously it’s the neighborhood vampire and it’s THEIR turn to host him for the day. The sun’s coming up soon, I hope they answer.”

Now…there’s an idea.

And there’s your writing prompt, should you choose to accept it: you’re new to a totally normal, quiet, suburban neighborhood and a vampire bangs on the neighbor’s door at 0530.

Are they still alive the next day? If so, do you bring it up? How do you find out the door-banger is a vampire? Why is s/he here? Why is s/he not eating the neighborhood and/or why is s/he protecting it? Why is there an agreement for daytime safety, what IS the agreement, and are you next? What does the vampire look like? What’s his/her name? What’s his/her backstory?

This is where they come from: some random event mixes with another random event or bit of trivia or something that’s been lurking in the subconscious for a while, and suddenly I get neighborhood vampire cake and a buttload (fyi: “butt” is a real term of measurement for wine, you can look it up, so a buttload is technically a term of measurement) of questions.

It’s not even 10am yet and I have a buttload of (figuratively) wine-soaked questions and vampire cake. You are welcome to wonder what’s wrong with me: please let me know if you figure it out.

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