Lazy Afternoons

I’ve found a new (to me) writing prompt to give a shot at.  The word to use in a short story on Trifecta this week is:

wretched adjective \ˈre-chəd\

1: deeply afflicted, dejected, or distressed in body or mind
2: extremely or deplorably bad or distressing <was inwretched health> <a wretched accident>

3: being or appearing mean, miserable, or contemptible <dressed in wretched old clothes>

The requirement is to use the third definition, and keep the piece at no less than 33 and no more than 333 words.  I hit under 333, after taking an axe to some of the 500+ words I started at.  I am absolutely covered in the woodchips of discarded words today.  I wonder if anyone else finds the task of keeping within word limits similar to transforming a full-sized oak tree into a potted bonzai?

I’ve decided to see how many pieces of the Necessary story I can do based on prompts.  Like knit squares, maybe one day they’ll all get sewn up into a blanket.  Or discarded to the dishcloth drawer.  To catch up, go here, and then there.  This one is also set within the other world of Necessary.  I thought of it mainly to paint a bit more of a picture of ways in which there is not the same as here.

We lounged in the shade of a willow, its deep red fronds swaying in the breeze. I pulled one towards me and stroked the feathery indigo leaves.

Joanna smiled, holding a frond by my face.

“You could totally pull off blue hair.”

Me? My parents would freak!” I raked a handful of my hair down in front of my eyes, staring at and through its veil, letting the blue light filtering through the branches tint it. “You think?”

“Sure thing, Cousin It.”

Joanne levered herself up and pulled a hank of hair out from my face. She pulled the willow out of my hands again and said, “I’ll show you.”

She made a fine braid in my hair and plucked a leaf. The entire frond writhed in her fist and Joanna released it with a surprised cry. It whipped viciously at her face and hands, leaving red weals wherever it struck.

We scrambled out from under the tree as every branch erupted in a flurry of enraged movement.

Following close behind us was a furious indigo skinned woman, her thick red dreadlocks lashing about her.

“You come ‘round cuttin’ my tree, little girl?” she spoke in a Trinidadian accent, her long, knobby fingers gripping Joanna’s arm. “You best be ready for consequences!”

Snakes of hair rose up in readiness to strike, and Joanna whimpered.

“NO, please, we didn’t know! We’re sorry!”

The woman cocked her head, sharp eyes narrowed at me.

“You’re from the other place?”

I nodded and she growled in disgust, turning back to Joanna.

“Here’s your only warning: Don’t be pluckin’ things from trees here – We don’t like it!” A single thick frond of hair jabbed Joanna in the forehead for emphasis.

She released Joanna and turned to glare at me. She tugged sharply at the braid still hanging by my face.

“You’d look absolutely wretched with blue hair.” She smiled. “Streaks, maybe.”

I tugged thoughtfully at the indigo braid as we left the park and irate tree behind.

Next Post


  1. You continuously blow me away with your imagination. Great job!

  2. This is fantastic! How do you come up with such crazy ideas? Good on you for keeping up with these writing prompts!

    I too have a problem with sticking within a word limit. It’s next to impossible for me, actually. One professor even wrote the words “long-winded” on one of my unversity papers. I thought it was awesome.

    • My essays were always longer than the required limit… not always the best thing, to stand out as ‘that student who made me read for an extra hour, on top of the 40 other essays I had to grade’, but it’s really hard to be more consise sometimes.
      as for coming up with ideas… vivid, sometimes terrible dreams 😛 And an immense desire to live somewhere more interesting than earth-as-it-is 😛

  3. 🙂 I feel like I in some way helped with this, which is a bit ridiculous 😛
    Love it 😀

    • because of your recent adventure in hair dye? yes 🙂 I love how that turned out on you!

  4. This will make me reconsider the next time I try to break off a limb from a tree. Wonderful dialogue.

    • thanks, happy to hear it worked out well.
      It would be really traumatic to have a tree yell at you for pulling off a leaf! just think of how farmers would handle their now wrathful crops 😛

  5. I love how you had the tree reacting like that. So unexpected and created a fabulous image in my mind!

    • thanks! I love the idea of trees having control of their limbs. Like the Ent from LOTR, only a bit less aggressively moving.

  6. I absolutely did not expect the snake, and from the snake, I absolutely absolutely did not expect the woman! That took me completely off guard, much as it must have the cousins. I felt fear with them and relief that they got their only warning.

    • I was more aiming for the tree limbs being snake-like, but I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  7. Thanks for linking up with us and welcome to the challenge! I loved the change of pace in the middle of this. A serene, quiet afternoon with two cousins enjoying each other’s company suddenly turned on its head. Great imagination and great story telling. I hope you can join us for the weekend challenge too.

    Check out our ‘Meet Your Fellow Trifectans’ tab on the website and let us know a bit more about you. Great to have you on board.

    • thanks. You guys have a great collection of writers posting responses to your challenges, really enjoying reading them.
      I’ll try to post an introduction soon!

  8. Very imaginative. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: