Volume 1 Prompt 34


The quiet of the world as it turns from night to day. The light just before sunrise, dim and yet somehow everything is visible, still but visible. Emptied streets, shuttered shops, a lone runner.  A few birds stir but hold their songs until the great star shows itself again, as if they are unsure that the cycle will continue to repeat itself. There are lesser stars still in the sky, minor in their distance and influence. The moon seems listless, already fading. A young woman looking old sleeps on the bus stop bench, torn tights and black leather boots, her purse serving as a pillow. For her, dawn is not a beginning but the end of a long night of flashing lights and dizzy laughter, of hoping strangers would be anything but. The first bus of the day approaches, its driver used to collecting stray people. The sky shifts from lavender to pink and the birds let loose their pent-up melodies. A new day has dawned.

This week, include dawn in your stories, whether it be as setting, action, or person. Dawn can have many different meanings: I want you to choose one to weave into your story.

As always, 500 words or less. Submit by Thursday, November 15th here.

Volume 1 Prompt 33



For this week, let’s include a tree. Or trees. Include a primeval forest if you like, or perhaps a petrified one. You do not need to anthropomorphize them into characters, though you certainly could if you wished. Perhaps they are magic, perhaps they are giving, perhaps they are rotten, perhaps they contain treasure. Or perhaps a tree just casts a shadow in a bedroom where a woman lies weeping after being forsaken by her lover. After all, trees exist in the background of our lives, only coming to our attention when they blush into beautiful pinks or crush a garage during a hurricane.

((Oh, and I included the Japanese up there because it just seemed appropriate: it is the kanji for ki (tree) and mokuyobi (Thursday). ))

As always, 500 words or less due on November 8th by 8 pm EST, submission guidelines here.

Oh, and the podcast is on the way (it is hard to record in a house crowded with people and with night construction banging along outside my window for the past week) and I will contact the two author’s for the next podcast today.

There are still a few days left to nominate a story for The Pushcart Prize. I have received a lot so far but would like to hear from as many readers as possible.

Okay, writers, get cracking.

Week 27: Prompt

Hello there.

This week’s prompt is brought to you by regular contributor Sunil Sharma.
To quote him directly (so you can get the full feel of the prompt):

The Voice
Heard on a bus, train, tram; or radio show or on phone or an ad on TV. Voice that leaves one mesmerized!

So have at it, dear writers. Let’s “hear” what you can do.


Week 24: Prompt


A little late this week because, well, Mondays. Yesterday was a bit more tiresome than usual due to my classes starting up again and the fact that I am from Jacksonville. It has given me a lot to think about, regarding gun rights and violence and racial disparity. I will write about it elsewhere but essentially I am just saying, I absolutely lost track of time. It happens.

This week, due to my own hectic schedule and a suggestion from a contributor, I am changing the rules a bit. Double-double, two weeks, 1000 words. This prompt is very specific. Write about someone who is the last of something, anything you like, but something. Like maybe they are the last hot dog seller or the last member of a royal dynasty. Think about how it would feel to be the last of something, to know that no one after you will do what you do or think how you think. Once you figure out what your character is the last of, then I think the story will practically self-construct.

In a few days, I will make an announcement about some changes to Mercurial Stories but until then, focus on your stories. With so much time and so much space, I am expecting great narratives from you all (or as we say in Jacksonville (aka Jax), y’all).

Get writing.

Week 20: Prompt

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Turns out, if you Google “small town”, my hometown is right there on top.

I look forward to seeing your stories and if you have any suggestions for tomorrow’s playlist, add it in the comments.

Week 19: Prompt: Oh, those summer nights…

untitled(15)Hi there.

Well, now that we got off to a terrific start, let’s keep the (flash fiction) party going.

This week’s prompt is SUMMER NIGHT(S), inspired by the heat wave that is baking my adopted homeland right now.

As always, 500 words or less submitted by Thursday at 8 pm EST to mercurialstories@gmail.com. And please include a short bio with your story along with any website/social media links you wish.

I look forward to reading your stories!

Oh, by the way, I am considering doing a small print of the best stories (nominated by the public then blind judged by a small panel of readers). What do you think of this idea? Let me know in the comments or by sending me a message at the email address above.

No. 11: Prompt

Hello and welcome to our eleventh week of flash fiction writing here at Mercurial Stories. This last weekend I bought a mood ring, a thin band that changes colors with my mood (okay, really it is my body temperature but it’s still pretty and entertains my students and children). I was fascinated by mood rings when I was a little child, believing it to be a real stone capable of shifting colors like the horse from the Wizard of Oz (also thought that was real).
There is something about remembering your past wonder that is intriguing so for this week’s prompt, I want you to remember something that you used to believe in as a child and write around that. You can write about your disillusionment or not but try to use your own personal, prior belief in something magic, something ridiculous (like how I used to think there was an American Indian tribe living in Walt Disney World- I was absolutely gullible). And then, like always, let the story go where it wants.

As always, 500 or less words due by Thursday 8 pm EST. Submit using whatever format suits you to mercurialstories@gmail.com.
The playlist will be up tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing your stories. Now let’s get cracking.

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