The Desk of Professor West

A professor at a small college has gone missing. His typically cluttered desk is found completely bare, drawers empty, except for a letter addressed to someone he’s never met before.

Music: “Monochromatic Stain” by Nicholas Jeudy

[Video Description: “The Desk of Professor West” Trailer. Duration, 33 seconds. Music, “Monochromatic Stain” by Nicholas Jeudy. Digital drawing. View looking down at a weathered antique desk, composed of a tabletop and a hutch with a central cabinet, various slots, a dome top, and drawers, one of which, at left, is open and empty. The whole desk and hutch appear empty except for an envelope lying on the tabletop. The envelope bears a wax seal. Just above the open drawer is a butterfly in midflight seen in three-quarters view, trailing two afterimages and a soft glow of light that suggests its flight path. At right, a hand emerges from out of frame, holding by the blade what appears to be a dagger with a cross guard whose ends curl down and a handle resembling a spiral horn. Title card with the words “Short Story” and “Genre: Mysterious Myth,” is displayed at top. First line of tagline appears at bottom. A background block appears behind the line as the title card fades. A watermark of the word “storyfeather” appears over the image. The first line fades and the rest of the tagline sentences appear and fade. Tagline reads: “His typically cluttered desk is found completely bare, drawers empty, except for a letter addressed to someone he’s never met before.” A line from the story appears and fades, reading “A letter addressed to me.” The last lines fade and the image blurs as the story title appears at center, and a text card appears at top that reads “Available to Read Now” A watermark of the site URL appears at bottom right and fades at the end.]

Welcome to Year 9 of Storyfeather

Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. This year, I will turn the Wheel of Fiction to help me decide what to write. There are thirteen spokes on this wheel. Eight are occupied by the eight themes from the previous years of stories. One is a prompt to turn the wheel again. One is a wildcard (hmm…curious). And three are covered only in question marks. I suppose I’ll find out what’s beneath those questions as we go along.

Welcome to the WHEEL OF FICTION

The Wheel of Fiction turned and it landed on PROMPTS. As I was flipping through the chosen book of prompts, I could have sworn I passed one about describing all the items on a desk or something. I tried and rejected a couple of prompts.  Then I thought about what it would mean if someone with a terribly cluttered desk suddenly had a completely empty desk, except for one item.  I did a 1.5-minute audio recording of a quick brainstorm.  Deciding that I felt sufficiently intrigued, I flipped through the entire book and found the prompt I’d probably seen.

“Close your eyes and open a drawer in your home or workplace. Select an item and write a murder mystery using this item as the murder weapon.”  So there is an item, and there is a mystery, but no murder (I think).

Source: A Writer’s Year: 365 Creative Writing Prompts by Emma Bastow

[Video Description: Duration, 8.5 seconds. Choice wheel made on the Spin the Wheel application. Thirteen spokes or slices in various colors, labeled as follows, clockwise from the top: Objects of Power (the “of Power” is not visible), Prompts, Definitions, Turn Again, Elements, Creatures, S.T.E.A.M., Wildcard, Revisitation, (alternating question marks and apostrophes), Challenge, Draw!!!, (question marks). The title at top reads “The Wheel of Fiction V2” and below that the words “Spin the wheel.” Below that is the date of the spin, 3/12/2022. At top left corner is a flag icon labeled with the letter “F.” This represents a function of the application which interferes with true randomness by reducing the probability of receiving the same choice twice in a row. The wheel turns and lands on PROMPTS. As the wheel stops spinning, a butterfly appears at the center of the wheel, seen from top flapping its glinting wings.]

Genre: Mystery, Mythology


Portal Button. Elongated rectangle with rings of colored light emanating from the center. Text appears over the rings, reading "Storyfeather Year 9" and below it in larger font, "Wheel of Fiction."

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