Sunday, January 29, 2012

Auntie Tara's Short Story Prompt

Auntie Tara ... aka ... Tara from Tara Tyler Talks has come up with a monthly writing challenge for her blog followers.

I don't know if I can or will participate every month but I gave January a try.

January's prompt: write a short story of 750 words or less including these four words: EVIL, CROWD, HARP, WATERFALL.


“What about a xylophone?” the salesman asked.

“No. That won’t work at all. She played a harp. It needs to be a harp.”

Perhaps he needed me to say the word ‘harp’ in a different language because he didn’t understand me in English. I only stopped in this jewelry store on a whim figuring it would be too small to carry what I was looking for. Now, I was pretty convinced that was the case.

“I see a French horn and a piano but no harp.”

“Thanks for checking for me. I guess I’ll have to head up to the mall,” I said turning towards the front door.

“Wait! Is this a harp?”

I walked to the counter he was hunched behind and tried to make out the pins beneath the grimy glass.

“I do believe that’s a harp. Can you bring it out to show me?”

“Sure. It’s old so be careful.”

“Of course. Sterling Silver. Great condition. Clasp still functions. But, there’s no price tag on it.”

“I can check the book but I think its $100.”

“It’s not encrusted with gems. Just silver. I’ll give you $30."

“It’s antique. $80.”

“It’s been in your store cabinet long enough to develop a layer of dust an inch thick. $40.”

“You’re the one who wants it. $60.”

“I’ll give you that. $50 is my final offer.”

“You’ve got a deal.”

I paid the salesmen and he placed the pin in a small velvet bag before he handed it to me with my receipt. I left the store feeling triumphant. I had the perfect gift for my father’s new wife.

A little silver polish and elbow grease to spruce it up and I could give it to her at her fiftieth birthday party. William, my father, had an elaborate celebration planned for his new love. He had chosen a very special restaurant and booked the Rainforest Room.

He was exceedingly excited when he told me, “Dana, it has an indoor waterfall and live exotic animals behind glass in the same room as the party! She’s going to love it!”

Arriving back at my apartment I gathered the items I would need. Newspaper for the kitchen table, the silver polish, some clean cloths and cotton swabs. After reading the polish instructions I began to carefully clean the pin.

It seemed to warm in my hands as I rubbed the polish around with the cloth. The metal was very beautiful once the coating of dust had been removed. Flipping it over I noticed there were small words printed on the back. I couldn’t make them out and had to find my magnifying glass.

Bain ceol as an saol.

“How the hell do you say that?” I wondered.

I continued working on the pin using the cotton swabs to clean the individual silver strings. All the while my mind was trying to pronounce the strange words.

Pleased with my work I used a new cloth to remove all the excess polish. As I gave it a final swipe the foreign words simply formed on my tongue and I spoke them aloud.

“Bain ceol as an saol."

The kitchen lights flickered above me. The harp pin began to glow softly in my hands. A warm breeze lifted the hair off the back of my neck and the air sizzled with electricity.

I had just a moment to wonder if I was being electrocuted when a thunderous clap sounded from the other room. I dropped the pin and hurried down the hallway. Standing in my bedroom doorway was the most beautiful man ever created.

Tall, broad, built by the gods. Face chiseled from stone. Hair as dark as a winter’s night. Eyes as green as the thickest forest.

Dressed all in black he looked deliciously evil. He wore heavy boots over tight pants. His shirt lay open to reveal a large expanse of golden skin and a single tattoo on his chest of a harp.

“And the crowd goes wild,” I mumbled under my breath.

“My name is Kieran. You’ve called to me, Dana.”

“I did?”


He stepped from the doorway and now stood inches from me. Looking up at him I was giddy. He smelled of the ocean and heat radiated from him giving me goose bumps.

“What did I say?”

“Bain ceol as an saol. It means, reap music from life.”

“That’s beautiful.”

With one more step he had me backed up against the wall. All his hard plains fitting against my soft curves.

“You're beautiful. I’m here for you. Whatever you need or want.”

His mouth captured mine in a soul searing kiss that left me boneless and breathless. As his lips trailed down my neck, setting my whole body on fire, I prayed I would remember to pick up a nice gift card for my step-mother.


  1. She may not even make it to the party, so wouldn't worry about the card!

  2. Be still my heart or other places. Nicely done. And I laughed.

  3. Hey! it's been a while, thanks for stopping by. I like this, I might give it a try, but 750 words is a challenge, nicely done.

  4. awesome job! you could use that for the "is it getting hot in here" blog hop =) spicy! ayayayeee!

  5. Dressed all in black he looked deliciously evil.

    I really liked that line as it opened up my senses - sight and taste to the scene. And then, at the mention of boots, I could totally "hear" them against, say, the hardwood floors as he moved in. (^__^)

    I also love the sarcasm: I only stopped in this jewelry store on a whim figuring it would be too small to carry what I was looking for. Now, I was pretty convinced that was the case.

    Oh, how often have I stopped in a store figuring I was safe from the pressure of finding (and then buying) what I'm really looking for because they don't have it? Haha!

  6. Alex - Ha! You're thinking what I'm thinking!

    Suzanne - Thank you!

    Jessica - Welcome! Thank you. It wasn't so bad once I got in the dialogue! ;)

    Tara - Thank you! You said 'keep it clean' so I didn't let them go any further!

    Keru - It sounds like you liked it and I appreciate your thoughts! Thank you!

  7. Wow. That was a hot ending! Where can I find a harp like that? I love your writing style. It's fun, witty, and nicely detailed. Great job. :) New follower here.

  8. Christine - Wow! Thank you. I'm glad to hear that. Those word limits force you to pack information densely. Welcome!


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