Prompt piece for Write or Die project
The alarm’s strident tone woke me from a deep dreamless sleep. I leapt up, heart running a thousand miles an hour. I swung off my bedcovers. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something white fall. I had nothing white in my house. I have always hated the blankness of it. Suspicious, I leaned down and picked up what looked like a flower. Its center was yellow and a part of it tinged with a dark maroon stain. Blood was what I thought. After chastising myself for jumping to conclusions, I was struck by a thought — Who could it have been? It had to have been my roommate. No one else had access to my room. I spent all day staring daggers at him, hoping he would confess. But he didn’t say anything. I went out for my nightly pint and in the wondrous embrace of alcohol, I forgot all about the flower.
I was drowning in air. I kept gulping it down, but it refused to enter my lungs. A loud wail resounded and I opened my eyes. It was the alarm. I was in my own bed, my covers over my face. I jumped out, switched off the alarm and stepped on a flower. It was just like yesterday, except the maroon stain was a little larger. Like yesterday, I threw it on the living room sofa and went to make coffee. Placing a flower on a sleeping person made absolutely no sense and I wasn’t about to waste my time thinking about it.
I was encased in mud from my neck downwards, unable to move. A great falcon flew down. I ducked as much as I could. Its talons drew great gashes on my head. I screamed in pain. The falcon made a second pass. This time, it grabbed my head in its talons. One claw pierced an eye as it tried to fly away. It beat its wings, but my neck held strong. It screeched loudly, determinedly. I woke up with a crick in my neck. I sat up, banging the alarm to stop its wailing. A single white flower with a red and yellow center sat on my bed.
This was stupid. I got up angrily and went to confront my roommate. He was in his room. I barged in, flower in hand. He put his hands up and said, “Man, stop bringing those funeral flowers home, will you?”
“What funeral flowers?” I asked, confused.
“The one you’re holding.” He looked at my baffled expression and continued, “No idea where you’ve been getting those, mate, but can you please keep it either in your room or in your car or wherever.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because they’re supposed to be bad luck. And I don’t need anymore,” he replied brusquely and turned away.
I walked out, confused. Who else could it have been?
I was splayed out like the Vitruvian man, except I was standing. A large octopus was holding down my arms and my legs. It slowly began to pull my limbs. My body curved outwards. Burning pain radiated from my shoulders and hips. I screamed. The octopus continued to pull. I thought my limbs would pop out any minute. A narwhal zoomed towards me like a torpedo, its pointed snout aiming for my heart. I heard a buzzing as it neared. Then, I woke up.
I felt around, and there it was — the flower. I’d learnt yesterday that were called chrysanthemums and had been, in olden days, used only in funerals. The yellow of this one’s center had almost disappeared under the red. Remembering my first thought, I flicked out my tongue and let it rest for a second on the red stain. My tongue immediately noted the metallic sweet taste of blood. Disgusted, I threw the flower away from me. It sat there, menacing against the dark green of the carpet. I got up, used a tissue to pick it up and tossed it out through the window.
I was shaking. I had to find out who was doing this.
I woke up, clutching the flower in my hands. The center was now fully red. I stared at the flower. The red shimmered, an angry yellow slit opened in the center. A universe peeked at me within the slit. A floating orb, looking eerily like an eye came into view and paused. Spikes pierced my hand where it clutched at the stalk of the flower. The eye opened. It had woken up…
Annie Caldwell, Nicole Willson, Tamyka Bell, you have been entered to the Hell of the Dead by me. To escape to the Living Hall, you will have to recreate this piece in your own words or extend it as part of the Write or Die collaboration. Failure to comply will leave your name and soul in the Hell of the Dead.
Editor’s note: This is the main prompt. You can reinterpret this story, extend it to the deepest, dungiest places of your imagination. The end is in your hands. For more details, see