Bi-Weekly Story Prompts

June 21 – July 5, 2023 Writing Prompt “Figure in the Stormy Sky”

Theme: Figure in the Stormy Sky

Your story must start with these two lines:

“A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing.

Then we saw the figure of a winged specter, looming high in the night sky, we watched it slip through the slit in the storm.”

Required Elements:

  • none

Word Count: 1200 (1246 including the required words.)


Next Prompt to be chosen by RM York

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69 thoughts on “June 21 – July 5, 2023 Writing Prompt “Figure in the Stormy Sky”

  • Adrienne Riggs
    Signing in! YAY! We are back. I was having serious withdrawals without this group. Let’s get back to writing!
    • Carrie Zylka

      Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  • Welcome back everyone. Signing in for this one. I will try my hand at a genre I do not usually write. Looking forward to reading your stories.
  • Ken Frape
    Hi All,

    I was really pleased when this popped up in my inbox today, the Summer Solstice.
    I hope to get something in and reconnect with you guys who were so much a part of my life for the past few years.
    Ken Frape

    • Carrie Zylka

      Glad to see you are still around!

  • Can’t wait. Like Addie and Ken, this little thing I’ve been part of for the past TEN years was sorely missed.
    • Carrie Zylka

      Here’s to 10 more.

  • ilyaleed
    Great that we are coming back on deck. I am working on my story. Glad to see all these old faces, eh, pens lining up to write again.
    • Carrie Zylka

      Me too!!

  • Vicki Chvatal
    Hey guys, I missed you all.
    Not sure if I can participate in this round, but glad the group is back on.
    • Hi Vicki absolutely lovely that you are back too. Missed our lovely group and working on a story. Hope you guys in Israel are all good. Love and lots of it from Aussie land in the central goldfields of Victoria. 🙂
      • Vicki Chvatal
        We’re actually back in Melbourne, Ilana. The whole moving countries/ continents thing is the reason why I may not find the time to write.
        Hope you’re feeling better.
        Be glad we don’t have to use actual ink anymore – otherwise yours might have frozen solid in its inkwell. 🙂
  • Hi Everyone! It’s good to see this space is back! 🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏 I’m kind of rusty, but I’m planning to participate!
    • Carrie Zylka

      Good to have you back, looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  • Ozjohn66
    “The Angel of God”

    “A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing.
    Then we saw the figure of a winged spectre, looming high in the night sky, we watched it slip through the slit in the storm.”


    “Did ya see that Jimbo?”, Frank blurted out in excitement.

    “What? I didn’t see nuffin at all Frankie”, Jim let out in response.

    “The big flash and the ‘Eavens opened up and an Angel swooped down, flashed all dem lights and then disappeared back in the ‘Eavens”, came the flood of words from Frank.

    “What, you must be crazy or dreamin’ or sum-fink, I didn’t see ‘nuffin”, Jim retorted, somewhat snarkily.

    “But Jimbo, we was looking outta da same wind-a and ya musta seen it”, Frank almost crying. “ How can we both look outta there and you look but cannot see?”

    “How can ya look and see stuff that ain’t there?”, Jim quipped.

    “It was there, it ‘appened. It did, I swear. I ain’t religious but me Granny took me to church a bit when I was a young’n and I know there is sum-fink up there”, Frank responded with almost a tear of disbelief in his eye.

    “Me Ma, was bit of a churchie too but she said that ya don’t haft go to the ‘Ouse of God to pray or believe, and I think she was a bit of a nutter at times, god bless her soul”, Jim continued.

    “‘Ow can we be lookin’ the same place and the same time and only me seeing it? Ya musta seen it”, Frank almost trembling with shock.

    “I swear to the invisible man in the clouds I didn’t see nought. Maybe it was just the storm, a bit a thunder and lightnin’ or bad weather, all clear now though”, Jim snapped.

    “It ‘appened, it did, I am not making it up, ya gotta believe me old friend Jimbo”.

    “I didn’t see it but Frankie if ya thinks ya did then I guess ya did, that’s what mates are for, eh?”

    “Sure is, now, what do ya think it was, I know ya didn’t see it, but help me make a bitta sense of it all”, Frank elaborated to gain support from Jimbo.

    “Like I said Frankie mate, it coulda been the weather and ya thought it were god speaking or sendin’ a message to ya”.

    “I do get messages from ‘im at times, but usually through me Ma or the radio, he lets me know from a song or such”, Frank shrank into himself as he uttered those words.

    “‘Ow long’s this been going on Frankie mate?”

    “Ages, maybe years, not too sure, but they are getting more often now, these dreams or visions or whatever they are. I am getting lots more of ‘em than I ‘ave ever before”, Frank continued.

    “What is god telling ya Frankie old mate??”

    “Nothing bad Jimbo, just that I am spreading his words and will hafta believe in ‘im and make everyone else believe in ‘im too”.

    “It ain’t working on me, I don’t believe and I ain’t gonna neither, ya ain’t gonna make me see that stuff Frankie”.

    “Ya don’t make ‘em believe but they believe because they feel it too. Like I said, I ain’t religious or nuffink, but I think he does speak to me all the time”, Frank spoke the words and wanted Jimbo to believe them too.

    “Maybe we should get some shut-eye, it is late and the storm has come and gone, I am kinda knackered Frankie”.

    “How can I sleep when I have a message from above that I don’t figure at all. ‘Elp me make sense of it jumbo, please”.

    “It ain’t my message, and I don’t know what it means, you gotta work it out for ya’self”, Jim stated matter of factly.

    “Great mate you are, not. I cannot sleep until I know. This is the best sign he sent me so far, usually it is just a word or two, a song, a sign on the post, graffiti, but this time, he sent an Angel”, Frank really wanted his mate to believe him.

    “Maybe it’s ya time to go. Maybe he’s calling ya Frankie, to meet him, just go why don’t ya and let me sleep”.

    “Haha, funny man, I have so much to do before I leave this place, I am only young, younger than you and Jimbo my work is not done yet’.

    “Well do it quietly, I need me sleep. I have to save the world too ya know, I am Superman after all. Hahaha”, Jim quipped.

    “Joking with me, make fun of me, why don’t ya. Go to sleep Mr Bruce Wayne, just in case the Commissioner calls for your help tomorrow, I’ll have Alfred wake you”, Frankie offered with some sarcasm.

    “Very funny mate. You get some sleep too, it is late and you too have to save the world”, Jim wanted to sleep.

    “When it is me time, I will sleep, for now I have planning to do”, Frankie ejected emotively.

    “Very well Frankie, I am off to bed now”.

    “Sweet dreams Jimbo old man”.

    “Cheers Frankie”.

    The hall clock strikes the hour of ten and the jangling of keys is heard approaching them from the corridor outside. It gets closer and closer and louder and louder.

    The room door swings opens after a quiet knock, and in walks Rosie. Two cups on a small tray.
    “Good evening gents, time for your night sedation”, Rosie offers to the silence of the room.

    They both take the cups and swallow without objection. Rosie then leaves them and heads off back down the half-lit corridor to the staff station for handover to the oncoming night shift.

    • Adrienne Riggs
      Loved the story, John. The age-old debate related to faith. To believe or not believe. You had me fooled until the end. I never guessed these men were in a hospital or asylum setting. The dialogue was great.
      • Hi Ozjon,
        This story really made me smile. I like the way you gave the dialogue such character and the patois, if that is the right word for the men’s chat, was really well done.
        You certainly hit the brief in a clever way.
        Ken Frape
    • Phil Town
      Cracking dialogue, Ozjohn. Really well done. It’s a very well illustrated depiction of faith coming up against a brick wall (there are none so deaf as those who will not hear). The ending is a nice twist but a bit disappointing maybe if we wanted Frankie’s vision to have been real! 😉 (But maybe it still can be real?) I love the transcription of the pronunciation, locating the characters in terms of class and education. Having said that, neither of them will have the erudition to express the opening lines (the ‘we’ of the prompt). The story starts in the past (‘blurted’) and ends in the present (‘offers’). Really nice take on the prompt.
    • One of your best, OzJohn in my humble opinion. Well done, and as Phil said, cracking good dialogue although I did stumble with sum-fink as a sub for something. Otherwise great story, good use of the prompt and good writing.


    • marien oommen
      Great story there, OzJohn. Loved it. The dialogue, the setting. Faith vs disbelief.
  • Ozjohn66
    Hey Carrie,
    Forgot to put the name of the story… oops. I called it “The Angel of God”. Can you edit it and add it?
    I tried to write outside of my comfort-zone genre, but not sure if it really worked.
    Needed to post soon as a busy few weeks ahead and I may have missed the deadline.
    • Carrie Zylka


      • Ozjohn66
        Thank you 🙂
  • Adrienne Riggs
    Divine Intervention
    By: Adi Riggs (1,170 words)

    A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing. Then we saw the figure of a winged specter, looming high in the night sky, we watched it slip through the slit in the storm. A figure bathed in brilliant light, clothed in white, sliding effortlessly through the atmosphere, too bright to focus on as it disappeared into the clouds.

    I glanced at the woman in the bed next to me. She was also staring out the window at the impending storm with wide eyes.

    “Did you see that?” I asked her. My body was quivering with emotions I could not put words to.

    She nodded. “An angel. It was beautiful. What does it mean?” Her voice was almost a whisper.

    “I don’t know” I whispered back.

    My arms were wrapped firmly around my belly and my eyes focused on the sky. I seemed to see a stream of light moving through the dark storm clouds dispelling them. The threatened thunderstorm became a light rain instead, the watery drops falling gently and running in streams down the glass of the windows.

    We both fell asleep to the sound of the falling rain. I awoke in the early morning when the nurses made their rounds. I still felt tired. It was hard to sleep here.

    Sitting up, I stared at the rain, entranced, until the beeping of the machines I was attached to penetrate my consciousness. As awareness of my surroundings came back to me, the tears sliding down my cheeks matched the rain falling outside. Wonder and awe gave way to fear and uncertainty once again.

    I eased myself back on the pillows and took a deep breath as I glanced at the machines beside me. All the numbers looked good so far, no alarms going off, and I could see the heartbeats holding steady. My heartbeat measured in rhythmic undulating lines that repeated reassuringly. The tiny red heart at the bottom also blinked rhythmically which was extremely reassuring.

    I looked over at the woman next to me again.

    “I’m Carole” she’d said. She was lying in her bed, her eyes closed, her hands gently rubbing the mound of her stomach. She seemed so young and tiny even though she’d said she was in her twenties. She had a husband built like a football player and they made a cute couple. She seemed blissfully happy, and he was obviously besotted with her. It was only when she opened her eyes that uncertainty crossed her pretty face. She watched the machines with the same intensity that I did. Pushing her blond hair back from her face, she looked at me as she continued to caress her abdomen.

    “He’s going to be ok, right?” Worry creased her brow.

    I tried to smile. I was older, with what the doctors called “a geriatric pregnancy”. This girl was looking to me for reassurance.

    “You look young and healthy” I said, “we will pray for the best.”

    I didn’t know what brought her here and I was afraid to give her false hope if there was something wrong with the baby.

    She smiled. “Thanks Cheryl, I appreciate it. It’s just that I worry so much. But seeing that angel gives me hope. I believe she is watching over us!”

    Her husband walked in, and her smile grew brighter as they kissed, and he grasped her hand. This was their first baby, and they were excited. Why should something go wrong? Carole had confided that they knew it was a boy that they were going to name Bradley, which was her maiden name.

    As I watched them together, her words about the angel made me stop and think. When I saw it, I was awestruck at the sight. But when the angel disappeared into the clouds, fear clutched my heart again. Carole felt that the angel gave her hope, and I was fearful that the angel was here to take carry my baby away from me.

    I quickly turned over on my side to hide the tears burning in my eyes. I heard Carole telling her husband about the bright light in the storm and the angel we had seen. I held my breath as I listened for his response.

    “Darling! It’s a sign! Our son will be safe with God watching over both of you.”

    I was amazed. He believed her! Their faith was strong and palpable in the room. What was wrong with me? Where was my faith and when had it wavered? Placing my hands on my belly, big with child, I knew when.

    After the birth of our first child, a son, I’d had several miscarriages and an ectopic rupture that nearly took my life. Each time the pain began and the blood flowed, taking the tiny body of another child with it, a piece of my heart was torn away as well. The hope and joy given with each positive pregnancy test was eventually crushed by the four cruelest words ever heard – ‘There is no heartbeat.’

    I stifled a sob as I cradled my unborn child with my arms. I was so close this time! If my baby held on a little longer, she could be safely delivered. I closed my eyes and prayed fervently. I felt guilty for blaming God for my previous losses. I know He would not have taken my babies if they could have lived. It was not for me to know the reasons why.

    As I prayed, I felt a warmth cover me and the fear ease from my body. A bright light shone behind my closed eyelids.

    “Look at that!” Carole shouted.

    I opened my eyes and turning, saw her pointing toward the window which was bathed in brilliant light. The sun was shining white in a clear blue sky, outlining a large single cloud in silver, shaped like …

    “It’s the angel!”

    I sat up, gazing at the sight. At that moment, my child gave me a healthy kick and began to move around in my womb. It was the most I’d felt her move in weeks. My hands traced her movements as my husband Dave walked in.

    He held his hand up to shield his eyes from the blazing light coming through the window.

    “What’s going on?”

    “Come here!” I said excitedly, grabbing his hand. “Feel this!” I placed his hand on my stomach so he could feel the baby’s kicks.

    “She’s moving!” The look on his face made me laugh.


    Three weeks later …

    Dr. Spivey examined our newborn daughter carefully before handing her to my husband. Tightly swaddled in pink, her blue eyes stared deeply into her father’s.

    “Congratulations! She’s perfectly healthy.”

    “You’re sure?”

    He smiled. “Positive. I can tell you now. The truth is, I wasn’t sure this little one was going to make it. She’s a miracle!”

    Dave handed the baby to me. “She certainly is!”

    “So, what is her name?”


    • Hey Adrienne,
      Yet again another beautiful story. I liked the characters that you built through the simplicity of it all. It was like I got to know them well.
      Well done.
      • Adrienne Riggs
        Thanks John!
    • Hi Adi,

      It’s good to be partly back. Here but no story this time from me.
      Your story is a fine and suggests a certain set of beliefs that come through strongly.
      It also has a perfect ending, one that we would all hope for every mother,
      Well done,
      Ken Frape

    • Phil Town
      That’s a lovely story, Adi (and I’m glad it has a happy ending!) There’s a lot of faith in that room. (I wonder if Carole’s baby makes it…). You are also a person of faith, I believe? (Cheryl thinks that ‘ours is not to reason why – it’s God’s will’ in relation to her lost babies, but I would want to know why. It seems so cruel.) There’s some really lovely description at the beginning, flowing on from that in the prompt. If I could offer a tiny criticism … I think that the story could have ended at:

      “She’s moving!” The look on his face made me laugh.

      … with maybe a little suggestion of the happy near future at that point, the angely cloud still floating outside. The jump forward (‘Three weeks later…’) feels a bit of a wrench for me, with the spiritual hope of the ward replaced by cold (though welcome!) fact. But that may just be me.

      Really warm story, though.

    • Adi, so good to see you back. Tell you what – If I had started to read this story without knowing who was writing it, I would have known it was you in the first three paragraphs. I knew, just knew, that when you turned away and rolled to your side (I say you rather than your character) you were going to wrap an arm around your tummy and hug that little ‘angel’ growing there. As sure as God made little angels, I recognized the writing and knew where the story was going with the exception I wasn’t sure if it was going to end badly or wonderfully as it did. You had me guessing right to the end. It’s your groove Adi, and you do it well.


  • Phil Town
    Hi, All. Good to be back!
  • Phil Town
    “A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing. Then we saw the figure of a winged specter, looming high in the night sky; we watched it slip through the slit in the storm–”
    “What’s a specter, daddy?” Sophie interrupted, frowning. “Is it like ‘spector Trousers – you know, the Policeman in that story mummy read me the other night?”
    “No darling. A specter–”
    “And if it is, how come he’s got wings? Is he going to a fancy-dress party?”
    “No, a spec–”
    “And isn’t that a bit naughty?”
    Sophie’s father was about to put her right on the specter/inspector confusion, but the latest question intrigued him.
    “What’s naughty?”
    “That. Saying the ‘spector was blooming high. That’s a naughty word, isn’t it? ‘Blooming’?”
    Her father laughed.
    “No, no. You see, you misheard that. It’s not ‘blooming’, it’s–”
    “Hey! We’ve got a teacher called that.”
    “You’ve got…”
    “A teacher. Called that: Miss Heard.”
    He was very confused now.
    “Miss Heard?”
    “Yep. She teaches the year below us. Danny down the road has her. He says she’s very nice. Not like old Miss Dunphy.”
    “Yes, well … shall we get back to the story?”
    “Okay. I’m a bit lost, though. Can we start again?”
    Her father gave a deep sigh.
    “All right. Listen carefully, then. A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds swee–”
    The father placed his finger heavily at the point on the page.
    “What is it, Sophie?”
    “You know the other morning?”
    “What about the other morning?”
    “You got really angry?”
    “Yes, I remember. What has that got to do with–”
    “Because I spilled my milk?”
    “Yes, I remember. But that’s okay. No harm done. Now–”
    “Milk’s runny!”
    “What? You mean it’s a liquid? Like water? Like juice?”
    “Yeah, runny, like those things. But light isn’t runny.”
    “No, well. That’s…”
    He was beginning to lose the will to live.
    “So how can it spill through the clouds?”
    “Well, you see, that’s a … I mean …”
    He was searching for a graded way to explain the literary device which would be accessible to his daughter. But a glass of wine was waiting for him downstairs. He decided to cut his losses.
    “You’re right. My mistake. I misread that. It should be–”
    “That’s another one!”
    The man’s shoulders slumped.
    “Another one?”
    “Teacher. Miss Rhett. She teaches the year above us. Danny says–”
    This time her father did the interrupting.
    “Be that as it may. A crack in the sky opened … LETTING light through billowing clouds swee–”
    Her father shook his head; seven years of law studies and five years of practising had not prepared him for this. Nor had his wife, who was normally responsible for story-telling duties.
    He realised this was a little curt, but he was rapidly moving past caring. And Sophie didn’t appear to have noticed.
    “I like that!”
    A ray of sunshine – rather like the ray that spilled … emerged … fell out of the crack in the clouds!
    “I’m glad, darling,” he said. But as soon as the words had passed his lips, he knew that now he’d need to find out what his daughter had liked, if only to capitalise on it for future story-telling.
    “Er … what? What is it that you like, poppet?”
    Sophie dragged a pillow out from behind her.
    “Describing clouds like pillows. ‘Cos they are, aren’t they?”
    She held the pillow up and moved it slowly over her head, as if it were scudding across the sky.
    Her father realised the confusion and was about to correct her misapprehension. But as that word passed through his brain, he burst out laughing. ‘I wonder’, he thought, ‘If there’s a Miss Apprehension at the school?’
    “Why are you laughing, daddy?” Sophie asked with a bemused look on her face. “Did I say something wrong?”
    “Yes,” he began then quickly corrected himself. “No, no, darling. Clouds do look like pillows. You’re right.”
    Sophie beamed, pleased with herself. Her father picked up where he’d left off.
    “… letting light through … PILLOWY clouds, sweeping across the thunderous–”
    He froze, staring at the page. He guessed to himself what question would come now. He was spot on.
    “How can clouds sweep? Have they got brooms?”
    Her father made a superhuman effort to close the book calmly and lay it just as calmly on the bedside table. He’d got to the point where he thought that perhaps a bit of sarcasm would help – not Sophie, but him.
    “Yes, they have brooms. Didn’t you know?”
    “Coool!” Sophie breathed.
    “Now, sleepy-sleep time, okay?”
    “Okay, daddy.”
    He leaned over to kiss his daughter on the cheek.
    “Nighty-night. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
    But Sophie was apparently juggling with the revelation that clouds had to perform cleaning chores.
    He moved to the door and turned off the light, leaving the door open, as was Sophie’s preference.
    As he went downstairs towards what was now going to be a stiff whisky, he could hear his daughter back in her room, obviously still amazed, though mumbling sleepily.
    “Brooms! Coool!”
    • Hey Phil,
      Another brilliant interpretation of the prompt. Loved the dialogue and banter of the father and daughter. Well worth further reads. Thank you for the great storytelling.
      • Phil Town
        Thank you, Ozjohn!
    • Adrienne Riggs
      Brilliant story Phil, as always! I laughed all the way through. I’ve read/told those kind of stories to my grandchildren many times. They never end the same way twice! I end up closing the book and going wherever the child’s imagination takes us! With Lucian it’s usually somewhere with dinosaurs. With Nick, we have to erect buildings to get anywhere even if we are hunting frogs or climbing trees. Great take on the prompt!
      • Phil Town
        Funny to hear about your grandchildren, Adi. I don’t have kids to read to, but I’ve been reading a lot of ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ strips recently, which informed the dialogue a bit, I think.


    • Hi Phil,

      It’s nice to be back, even though time ran out on me and I didn’t get a story in. I started one but my sit-com writing course took up much more of my time than I expected.

      Your story, rooted in the real experience of many parents and grandparents, was so true to life. Those endless questions that we feel we must answer but then they lead to further questions. Who can blame a tired adult for making things up? Isn’t that where the best stories come from anyway.
      I love this story and will try to vote now. Hope I haven’t missed the boat.
      Ken Frape

      • Phil Town
        Shame you couldn’t get a story in, Ken. Really intrigued by your ‘sitcom course’, though! 🙂

        Thanks for the nice words. See my comment to Adi for what I think informed the dialogue (as I don’t have kids or grandkids of my own).

    • “The meeting of the Phil Town Bi-weekly Story Appreciation Group will now come to order. Yes, Janice, you have your hand up.”
      “How does he do it story after story?”
      “Your question is well taken. I don’t know how he does it. Smoke and mirrors perhaps.”
      “Yes, Paul, you have a question?”
      “How does he manage to take the prompt, twist it, pull out a golden thread and weave it into the story line so seamlessly?”
      “Ha, if we all knew how he did it, then we’d all blooming do it ourselves, now, wouldn’t we?”
      “Are there any more questions regarding this week’s story?”
      “It’s not a question, but rather an observation.”
      “And what would that be, Roy?”
      “I just damn glad we get to meet again and have the opportunity to put our own stories up and see how they fare against the man, himself. I’ll be ready for him this next two weeks, I think. And all those other pesky writers who keep showing up, I’ll be ready for them, too.”
      “You just keep thinking that. It’s what brings us all back.”
      • Adrienne Riggs
        Loved this Roy! How does Phil do it week after week? It’s a gift! I’m ashamed to say I haven’t written much of anything since my shoulder surgeries in January. Too much pain, physical therapy, anesthesia fog, and lack of motivation and ambition. Just seeing the group back together was enough to inspire a story! Let’s keep this going!
      • Phil Town
        Thanks, Roy! That was fun. And too kind.

        (Digitally blushing.)

      • Phil Town

        Just some teething problems, I think. (Or may be just on my computer?)

        • When we want to comment by replying to a post/story, the comment box opens right at the bottom of the page, so that we have to scroll back up to re-read/reference the post/story. (Could open two windows, I suppose, but seems a bit awkward.)
        • The ‘like’ button doesn’t seem to work.

        • As others have mentioned, the voting page was a bit jumbled.

        (Your headaches begin again! 😉 )

      • marien oommen
        That’s a good one, Roy. Like the humor.
  • marien oommen
    O my goodness… did I miss this group or what? Was baffled at what made it go away for a while.
    Looking for a fabulous revival with fresh insights.
    Quirkiness permitted, I hope.
  • Carrie Zylka

    I was working on a story and then the holiday weekend got away from me.
    Hoping to get a fresh story in next prompt!

  • Sorry I am a bit late, got pulled into a meeting and I’m just now getting able to post the link!

    Ok writers!

    Time is up and it’s time to vote!
    Remember you must vote for your story to count, since there are only 3 entries – writers…please vote for yourself in 3rd place.

    Here is the link to the voting page:

    Good luck to all!

  • I’m just throwing this out there for your discussion. I waited until it was too late to enter a story that would count, because I really didn’t want this one to count for a vote. You’ll understand why, hopefully, after you read it.

    Pegasus Reborn
    by RM York

    A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing. Then we saw the figure of a winged specter, looming high in the night sky. Janeen, Rick, and Pamela watched it slip through the slit in the storm, their eyes filled with both wonder and concern.

    “Did you see that?” Janeen exclaimed, her voice trembling with excitement and trepidation. “I never thought I’d witness something like this in my lifetime.”

    Rick nodded, his gaze fixed on the disappearing figure. “It’s extraordinary. But what does it mean? Why would such a creature visit our world?”

    Pamela, ever the pragmatist, voiced her doubts. “Maybe it’s just a figment of our imagination. A trick of the storm and our longing for something extraordinary to happen.”

    But deep down, all three knew there was something more to this encounter. They felt it in their bones, a sense of urgency that gripped their hearts and refused to let go.

    Driven by a shared conviction, Janeen, Rick, and Pamela embarked on a mission to warn their fellow citizens about the impending catastrophe that awaited the Earth if they continued to pollute the atmosphere, the ocean, and the land. They knew it would be a daunting task, for apathy and disbelief had taken root in the hearts of many.

    Their first stop was a community gathering where influential figures held court. Janeen approached the podium, her voice steady but infused with a plea for change. “Friends, fellow citizens, we stand at the precipice of irreversible harm. Our actions have consequences, and if we continue down this path of destruction, we will face an Earth ravaged beyond repair.”

    She spoke passionately, her words resonating with a few in the crowd who had harbored their own doubts. But the majority dismissed her as an alarmist, drowning her voice in a sea of ridicule and indifference.

    Undeterred, Rick stepped forward. “We’ve seen the evidence with our own eyes. There is a truth that cannot be ignored. We have a responsibility to protect our planet, to preserve it for future generations. If we don’t act now, we risk losing everything.”

    Pamela joined in, her voice filled with a mix of desperation and determination. “Look beyond your skepticism. Open your hearts and minds to the possibilities. We can make a difference if we come together, if we take steps to change our ways.”

    But their pleas fell on deaf ears. The audience mocked them, dismissing their words as mere fearmongering. Disheartened, Janeen, Rick, and Pamela retreated from the gathering, their resolve wavering under the weight of discouragement.

    Returning to the place where they had first encountered the winged specter, they found solace in its presence. With a mixture of desperation and hope, they conveyed their struggles and their desire to make others understand. The specter listened, its piercing eyes filled with compassion.

    “We have tried,” Janeen said, her voice tinged with exhaustion. “But our efforts seem futile. How can we convince them?”

    The specter’s voice resonated with wisdom. “Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. If they refuse to listen, you must find a way to show them the consequences of their choices.”

    Inspired by the specter’s words, Janeen, Rick, and Pamela hatched a plan. They decided to organize a demonstration, a visual representation of the catastrophe that awaited if no action was taken. They sought to create an incident that would shake people out of their apathy and force them to confront the reality of their actions.

    With the specter as their guide, they journeyed to the heart of the city, where they positioned themselves near a bustling intersection. As the crowds flowed around them, the trio unveiled their grand gesture—a tableau of a world ravaged by pollution. They wore gas masks and carried banners depicting a future Earth scarred and lifeless.

    The spectacle caught the attention of passersby. People stopped, their curiosity piqued. The vision before them was haunting, an eerie glimpse into a future that could become their own. Whispers spread through the gathering crowd, and soon, a hush fell over the intersection.

    Janeen stepped forward, her voice clear and resolute. “This is the world we are headed towards—a world devoid of life, where the consequences of our actions come to fruition. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power to change, to alter our course, and protect the Earth we call home.”

    The impact of their demonstration rippled through the crowd. Some scoffed, dismissing it as theatrics, but others felt a spark of awakening within their souls. Seeds of doubt were sown, and in that moment, the potential for change hung in the balance.

    The story of Janeen, Rick, and Pamela’s demonstration spread like wildfire. It sparked discussions, debates, and self-reflection. It ignited a flicker of hope in the hearts of those who had once turned a blind eye to the warnings. The fate of the Earth now hung in the balance, teetering between the apathy that had taken root and the awakening of collective responsibility.

    As the winged specter disappeared into the crack in the sky, leaving a shimmering trail of light behind, the outcome remained uncertain. The choice rested with humanity, with each individual deciding whether to embrace the urgency of the warning or continue down a path of destruction.

    The story had reached a turning point, and the ending remained nebulous. The fate of the Earth still hung in the balance, waiting for humanity to decide its ultimate destiny.


    This isn’t my story, but it is my story. I’ve been on ChatGPT toying around with AI and wondering how long it’s going to take before books (probably already have been) are published with the author having about as much writing ability as a 4th Grader.

    By the way, this is the fourth story I’ve done this way for this subject and it gets better each time. This isn’t Hemingway yet, but I’ve got a feeling asking the right questions and giving the right directions would produce some fairly credible literature.

    How do you feel about it? Below are the directions I gave to AI for this story. Frankly, I think we are all doomed as wannabee writers. AI does it quickly. This story took longer to write the directions than it did for ChatGPT to write it. It’s free, easy, and very interesting to play around with. What are your thoughts?

    Write a story starting with this paragraph: A crack in the sky opened, spilling light through billowing clouds sweeping across the thunderous, dark ceiling of a storm brewing. Then we saw the figure of a winged specter, looming high in the night sky, we watched it slip through the slit in the storm. Use 1200 words. Use dialogue. Include these characters, Janeen, Rick, and Pamela. The winged specter is not Pegasus. It has come to warn the people in this dimension of the catastrophe that awaits the Earth if they continue polluting the atmosphere, the ocean, and the land, with chemicals and continue using fossil fuels. Janeen, (a female) along with Rick (a male) and Pamela (a female) attempt to warn their fellow citizens but are met with derision and apathy. They return to the creature for guidance. They convince the winged creature to prove to the others what can happen. Create an incident that will convince the people that it is now or never. To wait will destroy Earth as they know it. Make the ending nebulous as if things can still go either way.

    Pretty scary, huh?


    • Carrie Zylka

      I’m torn – I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I’ve been experimenting as well. There are youtube tutorials that walk you, step by step, through writing a whole novel. That’s pretty crazy to me but it’ll never match your novel idea perfectly, so you still have to copy edit.

      BUT you can tell something isn’t written by a human. Your story reads like a climate change campaign, not a story. There’s no humanity, no warmth to it. Plus, it wasn’t in your style.
      If you wrote 10 novels and your 11th when written by AI your readers would be able to tell and would lose complete faith in you.

      That being said, I think the tool is useful as well.
      I use it to start a blog post sometimes. Otherwise I just sit there and try to figure out how to start it:

      I typed: Five places along the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin to go fishing

      It responded with:

      Sure! Here are five places along the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin where you can go fishing:

      1. Castle Rock Lake: Located in Adams County, Castle Rock Lake is a 13,955-acre reservoir that offers great fishing opportunities. You can catch walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, and musky here.
      2. Lake Wisconsin: Lake Wisconsin is a 9,000-acre reservoir located in

      I typed: what is the release process to promote update sets in servicenow?

      It responded with:
      1. The release process to promote update sets in ServiceNow typically involves the following steps:
      2. Development: Create or modify configuration items (CIs) in a development or test environment.
      3. Create an Update Set: Once the changes have been made, create an update set to capture the changes. An update set is a container that holds configuration changes that are made in a ServiceNow instance.
      4. Test: Test the update set in a testing environment to ensure that it works as expected.
      5. Approval: Submit the update set for approval by a designated approver. The approver will review the update set to ensure that it meets the organization’s standards and requirements.
      6. Deployment: Once the update set has been approved, deploy it to the production environment. This can be done manually or through an automated deployment process.
      7. Validation: Validate the changes in the production environment to ensure that they were deployed correctly and are functioning as expected.
      8. Post-deployment testing: Conduct additional testing to ensure that the update set did not introduce any unintended consequences or errors.
      9. Closure: Once the update set has been deployed and validated, mark it as closed to indicate that the changes have been successfully promoted.

      It is important to note that the specific release process may vary depending on an organization’s specific requirements and policies. Additionally, ServiceNow provides various tools and features to help automate and streamline the release process, such as Change Management and Release Management.

      It saved me at least one hour of having to really think hard about the steps.
      Easiest SOP I’ve ever written!! hahaha

      So I think it has its uses, I also think people are overthinking it. I mean, after all….it’s no different from hiring a ghostwriter. They’re still NOT your words.

      • Carrie, I agree. The thing I think you can do, and I did it with a fellow author with whom I exchange stories also, (most have never graced these pages, but some have) and I didn’t tell him what I did. What I did do, however, was take a story after AI followed my instructions and then modified it to fit my style. And it worked. My fellow author (a published and very good writer) couldn’t tell the difference. When I fessed up, he said, “Damn, I didn’t even notice it.” In fact, he said it was one of my better stories. The secret was to let AI give me some fresh insight on the story I wouldn’t and didn’t think of. And, it had some classy lines that I really liked. So, I took it and completely modified it. It worked fairly well.

        But, I agree with you wholeheartedly except I think you can modify it enough so people won’t be able to tell you are getting some excellent assistance, and a great time saver.


        • Carrie Zylka

          Most definitely. I think it opens a world where someone might have a fantastic idea for a story, but they’re just not that good of a “writer”. You can be a world-class novelist and still need a ghostwriter/cop editor/proofreader etc. AI does all that for you.

          I wonder if an AI vs the Author contest would go over well.
          Everyone writes a story without AI and then inputs all the parameters and has the AI write a similar story.

          We could all post anonymously as not to give away our style.
          AuthorAA: Story #1 and Story #2.
          AuthorBB: Story #1 and Story #2.

          And try to tell which one was written by AI.

          That would be an interesting experiment.

          • Ha. That is an EXCELLENT IDEA. If you like, we can do it with this one, or maybe it’s best to wait until everyone has a chance to experiment with AI a bit before tackling that project, but I’m in when you do it. For sure.


            • Carrie Zylka

              Let’s wait. Maybe I’ll send out a couple newsletters. “Here’s the crazy contest we’ve come up with” and then “here are some tips for programming the AI machine to generate exactly what you’d like”. And then, “here’s the actual contest.”
              That could be really fascinating.

              • I like it, and thanks for the change.
              • Hi Carrie,
                I’m up for this new concept. Haven’t even looked at AI so would appreciate any tips to get me started. I would love to see how AI dealt with my favourite stories.
        • Carrie Zylka

          I tell you one thing though – it was always tough writing/narrating/posting a unique story on A Creative Mind Fiction Podcast every other week when I traded off with Alice. Doing one every single week is impossible.
          AI has written 6 very, very good short stories that I might narrate and publish. Make up an AI pseudoname name like “Amira Comhrá”.
          Maybe I’ll just ask Chat what it would like as a pen name!!

          Me: what would your pen name be?

          “As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or a physical presence, so I don’t have a need for a pen name. However, if I were to adopt one for the purpose of creative expression, perhaps I could go by the name “Quillius AIberius” or simply “Lexicon.” These names evoke a sense of literary expertise and the power of words, which aligns with my purpose as a language model.”

          ……..well then.

          Me: If I were to narrate a story you generated, for a podcast – what name would you like me to use?

          “Since I am an AI language model created by OpenAI, you can credit the story to “OpenAI’s Lexicon.” This attribution acknowledges the source of the content and maintains transparency about the origin of the story. Thank you for considering sharing the generated content on your podcast! If you have any specific story in mind or need assistance with anything related to it, feel free to let me know.”

          ….I’m getting more creeped out by the second hahaha

  • Carrie, The first time I voted (there is a glitch somewhere, as all the choices are double imposed over other sentences) I hit one on the > signs and it suddenly blinked and said I voted for Angel of God in every category and sent it on. I revoted (again with the glitch, but was able to pull it off) and the second one was sent correctly. Just letting you know that your winged specter may be messing with the voting.


    • Hi Roy,
      Same happened to me with the voting page. I think I got there but can’t say for sure.
      Ken F
      • Hi Ken, good to see you back, old chum.Hope to see a story from you. I’m already working on mine. I have an inside track as I got to choose the prompt.


        • Hi Roy,
          I will certainly try to get a story in for your prompt.
          See you soon,
      • Adrienne Riggs
        I prefer the drop down selection but am willing to go with whatever is chosen. 🙂
        • Carrie Zylka

          I think I do as well.

      • I choose which ever one is easiest for you to do. If I had to choose, Drop down is just fine. The buttons will work, however.
  • Carrie Zylka

    Just waiting on votes from Ozjohn66.

  • Carrie Zylka

    Alrighty folks!
    Slow start to the relaunch of the website – I was bummed to see some of the folks that used to contribute unsubscribe from the newsletter I’d sent out.

    But we had a really strong start to this prompt.
    It can only go up from here!!

  • Carrie Zylka

    And without further ado…. here are your 1st and 2nd place winners with the difference of one point!

    1st Place: Divine Intervention by Adrienne Riggs
    2nd Place: Misunderstandings by Phil Town

    The Angel of God by Ozjohn66 was disqualified. I emailed him a reminder but did not receive a response.

    Congrats to all on a solid start!

    The next prompt is up – July 6 – July 19, 2023 First Line Writing Prompt “Fire”
    Good luck!!

    • Congrats to All three, actually especially the two winners. Good stories by both and I was torn. The writing was excellent in all three, I think. You might want to tell us who got dialogue and character. Just an oversight, I suspect.


    • Phil Town
      Congratulations, Adi! Off with a bang!

      Shame about Ozjohn, though…

      Hope we get more stories next time.

  • Phil Town
    (Sorry – repetition of a comment made further up – my fault.)

    Just some teething problems, I think. (Or may be just on my computer?)

    When we want to comment by replying to a post/story, the comment box opens right at the bottom of the page, so that we have to scroll back up to re-read/reference the post/story. (Could open two windows, I suppose, but seems a bit awkward.)
    The ‘like’ button doesn’t seem to work.

    As others have mentioned, the voting page was a bit jumbled.

    (Your headaches begin again! 😉 )

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