Random Prompt Word Ficlet

I’m doing something different for my Flash Fiction Friday post this week. Instead of an image I’m going with randomly generated prompt words. I’m also not limiting myself to precisely 100 words.

Years and years ago when I first started writing, I published a few stories at Torquere Press. Back then we all had LiveJournal accounts, and the TQ authors could sign up to host the Torquere Social Community on LJ for a day to promote their books. One of the things the authors would often do is put out a call for prompt words early in the morning then produce a bit of flash fiction using those words then post it later in the afternoon.

Needless to say, the first time I hosted—terrified introvert that I am—I organized the hell out of my day and had all my posts prepared well in advance. Except, of course, the prompt word ficlet that I’d talked myself into committing to. Couldn’t write that, obviously, until I had the words.

I was scared shitless the first time, thinking I’d choke and not be able to write anything. Turns out that prompt words are exactly what I need to get ideas flowing. It was downright fun. I kind of miss the challenge.

screenshot-2016-11-01-15-47-59I thought I’d see if I could still do it, so I went to https://randomwordgenerator.com and asked for fifteen words. To the left is a screen print of the words it gave me, and below is the ficlet I wrote using them.

It’s a lot more serious and depressing than most of my writing. Blame the words, not me.

registration – waste – honor – funeral – agent – hiccup – maximum – restrain – queue – prosecute – jury – review – understand – delay – suitcase

Jason shivered as the chill in the small waiting room penetrated his bones. How much longer would he have to wait?

All he wanted was to get on with his life. No more delay. Just do the right thing then move on to wherever Agent Foster took him to begin anew. His suitcase was packed, his goodbyes were said, he was ready to go.

Closing his eyes, Jason leaned his head back against the wall. He didn’t want his mind to queue up a review of the conversation he’d had with his mother the previous night, but as with most things lately, it was out of his control.

“It’s your funeral,” Mom said, her voice flat. “But you’re throwing your life away. It’s such a waste.”

Her fists clenched at her sides as if she were trying to restrain herself from crossing the room to knock some sense into him. She choked back a sob, turning it into a hiccup.

“I have to do it, Mom.”

“Why? I don’t understand why you need to testify.”

“For Matty.” A tear traced its way down Jason’s cheek as he thought about his boyfriend. His love. The man he’d thought he’d spend his life with. They’d been so excited, talking about which classes they were going to sign up for at college registration the next day. “For honor. Because I couldn’t live with myself if Matty’s murderer walked free because I was too chicken shit to go in front of a jury and testify against that bastard.” Jason was determined to do whatever it took to bring the maximum penalty down on the man who’d walked into that restaurant to murder two people. Poor Matty hadn’t been a target. He’d been “collateral damage.”

“They can prosecute him without you. They can get one of the other witnesses. There was a dozen of them!”

“Mom, I’m just starting my life. The others are all older. Established with jobs and kids. I hate that I’ll never see you again.” Jason sniffed loudly at the thought of losing his mother, too. “But witness protection would have been a much bigger deal for any of the others.”

The snick of the door being unlocked and opened brought Jason out of his reverie. Agent Foster appeared in the opening. “You ready to get this done?”

Jason took a deep cleansing breath and blew it out with force. He nodded and stood up. “Past ready.”

7 thoughts on “Random Prompt Word Ficlet

    1. I haven’t decided yet. I want to imagine Jason moving on with his life and finding love again without ever having to deal again with the drama in his past. Alas, that would be boring, though. This sounds more like a story that would be up Amy’s alley! 🙂

  1. I liked this. I almost see the bigger story waiting to be written. I especially like the motivation: he is young and starting his life…That’s quite the powerful idea, considering he is entering the witness protection program with a new identity. What is he keeping, and what goes? He mentioned honor and the imposibility of living with himself…Thanks you for sharing. I hope to see more of this. 🙂

    1. Thank you! 🙂
      I’m starting to envision a possible story for this. I’m inclined to want it to be more about difficulties with Jason having to lie about his background, and his suspicious behavior (avoiding social media and pictures) causing trust issues in a new relationship rather than the story becoming a thriller with the bad guys tracking him down.

  2. Exactly! My mind went to the lies and starting his life, as he said–or as the random words made it to be. I didn’t even thought about the bad guys tracking him down. oops. I skipped the bad guys altogether– the legal system working as it was supposed to, and the key thrown away after them, I guess…I would be waiting for the story then. Thank you.

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