100words 100 days Day 87: Open a book to the 153rd page. Look at the third line. Make that the start of your story.

Every feather in its long tail had a decorated eye.

But that wasn’t the only reason the dreamcatcher was the most eerie thing I had ever seen. It exuded a translucent plasma-like quality similar to a ghost or a jellyfish. And in its centre, nestled among the threads wrapped around a discarded bangle, was a very large spider, the brown, furry kind. It had already begun weaving its strands across the hoop.

Everything about the dreamcatcher made me feel like it was observing me, preparing to snare me in its little web, and hold me in a world that was not quite real and not quite imagined. Whoever had made it had done so with the intention of subverting the true purpose of a dreamcatcher, with the express intention of making me feel the negativity that seeped from it.

If only I could reach it to take it down!

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Day 88: A meal with the five people who have inspired you the most

Day 84 100words100days: explain yourself to your parents (fiction/non-fiction)

Dear Mum and Dad,

When I was younger, you didn’t want me to care so much about those outside the privileged inner circle. Now I’m older, and you wish I cared more.

The thing is, I’m not going to be able to do things at the pace you did them. I might never do the things you did. I might do many things you didn’t.

I might spend my whole life “finding” myself. I might never truly know what I want. Or want what I know. Or I might want the things and people and experiences you don’t approve of or don’t fathom. Or, at some undefined point, I might want exactly the kind of life you want for me.

I need support from you. I am still an idealist, hiding under covers of cynicism, waiting to throw them off and dance in the rain while the sun promises a rainbow at an opportune moment. But my idealism is fragile. I don’t need you to be the voice of my worst fears- I have inhabitants in my mind who prepare me for the worst foreseeable outcomes always. I need you to tell me that in some places the sun does always shine, and the conditions are just right. I’m nearly at the start of my fourth decade, but I still need you to tell me things can be okay, that the world can be a wonderful place. I want to believe that it can be, and if you say so, I know I will.

I’m finally coming to terms with things I can’t change- my height, for instance. The fact that I allowed other people’s ideas of what women can and cannot do to define some of my major life choices. I know I can’t hold you responsible for issues like these- and I’m working on that. In my own way. In my own time.

Much love,

FED

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Day 85: Why MOOC’s do (or don’t) work

Day 81 100words100days: Life as a native (child of the soil)

I can point out to you the places where the houses my ancestors lived in once stood. I can show you land that once belonged to them, that has been lost for better or worse.

I know the names of my grandparents’ grandparents and the villages they came from.

I can list the countries they travelled to, the places they worked in, far away from their homes, sometimes eking out a living, sometimes doing fairly well.

I might not speak the “native” language very well, but I bleed rust-red and salty, like the mud that supports fruit-bearing trees around my home, trees planted by people whose names have been lost, but whose auras still linger.

I do not currently live there, but what happens to my quasi-village still affects me.

I dream of home, and a better world, and me in it.

Day 82: Write a story for a younger cousin (0-10)

Day 79 100words100days: write a story for a younger cousin, in the age group of 11-15 years

“There are no adventures left to have,” said Cousin number 9. He flopped down on his bed with a melodramatic sigh, like all was lost.

Eyebrows raised,  Cousins 1-6 looked up from their game of Monopoly. (Cousin 2 briefly considered if she had enough money to put a hotel on Pall Mall.)

“What?” asked Cousin 9. “There are no islands that have not been discovered; Space is not exactly a frontier anymore; time travel doesn’t exist-” a sharp intake of breath from some cousins, and a roll of the eyes from 9 “- and there are no battles to fight.”

Cousin 1 regarded the disillusioned youngest one very seriously. She raised herself up on her elbow, and said “Then make your own adventures. You could learn a skill that only few know, and use it to travel the world.”

Cousin 2, understanding what her elder sister was trying to do, added “You could dive into your own imagination and fish for pearls of adventure there.”

Cousin 3 put a skinny arm behind his head. “You could see what the state has to offer that you haven’t seen before.”

Cousin 4, holding her Monopoly piece-the iron- aloft, said, “You could read about the world’s religions and see which one works for you.”

Cousin 5, the eldest brother of cousin 9, rubbed the scar under his eye. “You could float with the current and see where it takes you”

Cousin 6, cousin 9’s only sister, put a hotel on one of her properties. “You could build something for yourself.”

Cousins 7 and 8 had come in from helping their father wash one of his buses.

Cousin 7 shrugged at everyone, but mainly in the direction of his little brother. “You could be like Dexter- the scientist, not the murderer.”

Cousin 8 pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “You could put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

Cousin 9 moved over to the bed where the bigger ones were, picked up the dice, rattled them in his fist, threw them and waited to see what they would turn up.

*

Day 80: write the text of a Mad Lib, leaving out adjectives, pronouns and half the verbs

Day 75 100words100days Live long and prosper- a blessing or a curse?

Live long and prosper, said the man with the funny ears, holding his hand up in what I hope was not some vulgar sign, before he vanished before my eyes in a ray of what I can only describe as light of some supernatural kind.

Fifty years later, and I am still alive, while all my friends and family- those I was close kin to- have passed on.

I live in a beautiful large house- one that is almost a castle- bought with money I made by the sweat of my brow.

I have lived long, and I have prospered and continue to prosper, but to what end?

My life is shallow, hollow, incomplete.

If the man ever comes back, I will tell him to change his parting words. I think something along the lines of “Be happy” would be most appropriate.

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Day 76: Write the story of your grandparents (fiction/non-fiction)

Day 70 100words100days: Write a mystery in which the words ‘silver’, ‘pen’ and ‘green’ all play a prominent role

“Uncle Ted’s been murdered!”

“What! That’s absurd- I saw him just yesterday at the farmers market!”

“No, but it’s true. Mummy sent me a Whatsapp picture of  him in his chair. It’s rather gruesome- his head is lolling on one shoulder, there’s drool in a dribble down his sweater, and his eyes are glassy and wide open, like he was shocked to see his killer. The police are all of a dither trying to figure it out- they think he might have been poisoned”

“Why don’t you show the picture to my Aunt Mabel? She’s got this uncanny knack for figuring things out.”

Young Ted turned slowly to the oldish lady sitting in the next pew. She smiled at him serenely, a veritable Downton-dowager Maggie Smith.

She took the phone from him with age-spotted hands along which rope-like blue veins ran like ship’s rigging. With two dainty fingers she zoomed into the picture of the deceased Ted.

“Oh my dear,” she said softly. “I am so sorry for your loss. But your uncle wasn’t killed. The police are right though- he was poisoned. Do you see? No? Let me explain: last night was quite windy. The window opposite your uncle’s desk was open, and you an see how the wind has messed things up. It looks like there is an unfinished note on the blotter. He obviously took a break to get something to eat. Don’t look so uncertain, dear. It says so in his note. When he came back, the wind had blown his papers around, so he sat heavily upon his chair with frustration. He didn’t realise that his silver pen had fallen, nib up, into a gap in the chair. When he sat on it, the nib stabbed him, and the green ink- which is probably an older and possibly highly toxic variety- got into his bloodstream, poisoning him.”

Young Ted stared at Aunt Mabel.

“Grandfather had given Uncle Ted his antique silver pen”, he said slowly “and Uncle Ted recently bought what he claimed was ink from Napoleon’s escritoire-in-exile. We thought someone had ripped him off…”

Aunt Mabel patted young Ted on the arm. “There, there, dear. Go tell the police they ought to do a tox screen for any poisons that might be found in 19th century ink. And tell them to look for a bruise or small discoloration on one of your uncle’s thighs.”

When young Ted had left, Aunt Mabel’s niece turned to her and said “Aunt Mabel, I think you should right a book.”

Aunt Mabel’s face was sphinx-like. “Do you know, my dear- I think I shall.”

*

Day 71: Write about one religious topic ( but not a controversial one)

Day 68 100words100days Favourite character from children’s literature- Charlie Bucket: his life after Wonka

Once upon a time, I knew a magician. He could create fantasies out of food and food to fill fantasies, he would dream up the most wondrous concoctions, he would constantly find ways to surprise.

He built an empire and still made sure that he looked after his people. And the people of his people.

He gave his life’s work to someone he placed great faith in, without knowing all that much about him. He travelled through space, and battled Vermicious Knids for that person.

He could not have set a better example.

Today, we lay to rest a friend, a mentor and a master. Willy Wonka, you will be missed.

We will do our best to continue your work and grow your legacy.

And since I am absolutely certain that Mr. Wonka would not have wanted us to mourn his passing but to celebrate his life, I would like to request all of you, Oompa loompas and everyone else, to dry the tears from your eyes, and help yourselves to whatever sweet treats you’d like.

As for me, I think I will nibble on a Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight

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Day 69: Having an eco-friendly wedding in India

Day 65 100words 100 days: write a Bond-type story titled ‘The Man who couldn’t stop sighing’

After a bit of a hiatus so I could get into the groove at a new workplace, I’m back. With something half-Bond, half-Powers.

I thought that today would be a good day to get back to my 100 days, being the birthday of a very close friend of mine. Khuxall zolmdis MC!

*

“Here we go, Mr Anyrupee. This is the man I saw on the island of Ahm-ausum last week. He was talking to the Professor for the longest time. Do we have any intel on him?

“Why no, we do not. What could he possibly have been talking to the Professor about? Is there some new international conspiracy we have not been kept in the loop about? Could it be communism? Socialism? Fascism? Botulism?”

“I don’t know.” Secret Agent 047 stroked her chin, making a beard with her long fingers. “I even looked at the Professor’s Facebook profile to see if there was any mention of him, but there are just pictures of her feet and the water off the island.”

Mr Anyrupee looked intrigued. He made a mental note to check the Professor’s profile later. He did love pictures of water and feet.

Secret Agent 047 walked over to the glass wall that separated Mr Anyrupee’s corner office from the tech treasury. The scientists there were working on yet another anti-gravity device. “The only shred of information I got about him was that he was depressed about something and could not stop sighing.”

Mr Anyrupee keyed the word sigh into the search bar of the MS Access file he’d created when he joined the agency. He gasped when a result finally popped up on his screen.

“Agent oh four seven- that man is the double agent Silent Cyrus. Quick- take that very expensive amphibious car and go find him.”

A few fight sequences and a bomb threat later, Secret agent 047 had bedded Silent Cyrus and brought him in to justice.

*

Day 66: Write an educational piece for a tween/teenager

Day 64 100words100days Write a stream-of-consciousness version of a job interview

237 words

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Would it be alright if I came in bright lights ohmigod such bright lights dry scalp oh God is there dandruff in my hair there just might be May I sit down please thank you here’s my CV oh wait you don’t need it because you already have a copy sitting right there

Yes I have worked in this field before why are you asking these questions when it is all on that paper in front of you my God these lights are bright sweat trickling down my back tickling me making it hard to be serious but I need to be serious

Tell you about me Who am I Why are you asking these existential questions I am a reader a writer a thinker you don’t care what should I say I worked in a role similar to the one you want me for oh wait you won’t say you want me but you do I can see it

Should I ask for water it might make it easier to talk to you

No it wouldn’t it feels like you just have me here because you have to you already have someone else in mind don’t you don’t you

Thank you for having me I hope to hear from you soon yes an email is fine of course two weeks is not a problem I look forward to it yes thank you have a nice day

*

Day 65:write a Bond-type story titled ‘The Man who couldn’t stop sighing’

Day 52 100words100days write an apology (fiction/non-fiction)

217 words

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Dear Humans,

We would like to apologise for conducting experiments on you for all this time; yes, since the very ‘dawn’ of mankind. We wanted to see what would happen if we replicated certain conditions from our planet on yours, and surprise, surprise- the creatures were not so smart as their makers.

You have repeated your mistakes as individuals, as groups, as a whole, umpteen times.

We still believe that there might be some good in you, which is why we do not destroy our experiment and begin anew elsewhere. (Also, we do not have the weapons of mass destruction that would be needed. Rest assured, neither do any of the countries that you accuse of possessing such troubling equipment. Nor are there any inter-galactic highways being built in your vicinity a la The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And we most certainly do not believe in culls, which are a monstrous fantasy made up for that movie, with someone ascending )

Our plan now is to retreat, but keep an eye on you. We really hope you realise your potential soon.

Wait a minute- you are the disappointment! Why are we apologising to you?

Oh, never mind.

Sincerely,

The Aliens (of course, we exist!)

(P.S. Evolution hasn’t stopped; we’ve just put it on hold for a while)

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Day 53: Write an acrostic spelling out ‘smartphone’