YEAR SEVEN

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Portal Button. Elongated rectangle. Rings of colored light emanate from the center. Inset on the left, an embossed square with the Storyfeather feather logo, a feather quill shaped like the letter "f" with a drop of ink hovering below its tip. The square has softened edges. To the right of the image, the character ">" then the word "Prompts." At top right, the word "Year." Below "Year," the numeral "7."

NOVEMBER 2019 TO OCTOBER 2020

Every year’s short stories (mostly) follow a theme. For Year Seven, I would choose a writing prompt from a book, an app, or a game. Sometimes a prompt wouldn’t work out, and I’d choose another. Sometimes I “cheated” and deviated by just writing a story based on a dream or a notion (and reverse-engineering some kind of prompt from that). 

Welcome to the seventh year of Storyfeather.


Below are the titles, primary genres, and taglines for each story in the order it was originally posted.

  • READ button opens story post where you can read the story.
  • GO TO THE END button jumps you to the bottom of the page. It’s a long way down, and depending on your device, important navigational links may be below the page or in the sidebar.


Digital drawing. Black silhouette of two figures in profile sitting across from each other at a small table. The figures both have their arms extended. The shorter figure, at right, holds the hand of the taller figure. They are seen through the translucent drawn back curtains of a window.  Rain falls past the window at an angle from top right to bottom left. Above the top fringe of the curtain is a glowing neon sign that reads “Psychic” at top, above the words “Palm Aura,” which both flank a hand, and below that the word “Reader.”

A man seeks the help of a psychic after he experiences an unusual haunting from an automated phone line.


Digital drawing. At center a tree that splits off to two main branches close to the base, and splits further out into gnarled bare branches that extend across the top half of the image. Under the right side of the tree is a swallow in flight, seen from the top.  The shadowy silhouette of another swallow appears in the background on the left side.

A prideful swallow is cursed and changed into the form that she finds most abhorrent, a tree.


Digital drawing. At center, an adult elephant stands facing forward, the left side of its body visible. Long shiny black tusks extend down from beside the trunk. The elephant looks down at the body of a baby elephant lying horizontally in front of it. The baby’s skin appears patched with dirt and the remnant of a broken white tusk. The hazy outlines and silhouettes of trees and a leafy canopy appear behind and around the elephants.

In life and beyond, the elephant king seeks only one aim, to protect his people from despair.


After a man stuck in the middle seat of a long flight wishes he had more room in his row, his wish comes true: his seatmates start vanishing.


Digital drawing. A humanoid figure standing with crossed arms, facing forward in front of a corkboard. The figure has right foot propped on the heel at the side, wears a satchel across the body, hanging from the right shoulder, and wears pants, a turtleneck, and a small-brimmed hat. The figure looks upward. Pinned to the corkboard just to the left of the figure is a sticky note labeled “Return Cathy’s Call (see email for #).” To the right of the figure’s head is a cluster of more push pins.

Sammy receives an unusual birthday gift, a smart device with a face, a set life span, and an unrelenting imperative to help.


Digital drawing. A humanoid figure with pale green mottled skin, white, bloodshot eyes with no iris, and a smiling mouth filled with long sharp teeth crouches amid shadows. The clawed left hand rests on the figure’s knees, and the right hand extends forward toward the silhouette of a sleeping human figure seen in right profile at the bottom edge of the image.

A family is haunted by a demon who collects the fallen baby teeth of the children, and who soon hungers for more and more teeth, even when there are none for them to offer.


Digital drawing. At left, a child seen from waist up and from the back, wearing a bright hoodie and a flower pin in short hair, with right arm bent at the side, and right hand holding a coin. The child stands in front of a fountain with a central goblet-shaped piece spouting water over the edge. A smaller goblet-shaped piece sits above the first, spouting water, and another piece that extends out of the frame spouts water down.  Small translucent fish swim in schools and clusters in the air around the fountain.

The youngest of three siblings makes a wish at a mall fountain, where unseen fish supposedly live, helping people’s wishes come true.


A young mage facing a difficult homecoming finds a treasure by the side of the road, a stolen treasure whose true owner she cannot find, and whose last owner is a terrible troll.


Digital drawing. Partial view of the bridge of a ship from a low angle, showing three people from the waist up. Foreground right, a person looking up and to the left with mouth parted. Center background, a person with hands resting on a wide flat panel and looking right. Background right, a person with arms stretched out to another panel, looking down at the panel. A porthole on the ceiling, above and between the heads of the background figures, shows a view of space.  Three support struts extend away from the porthole.

An inexperienced crew of administrators aspiring to be field operators are assigned to a distant star system, where they encounter a sentient nebula.


Digital drawing. At left, a chest seen from an angle with the lid partly open. A glowing yellow light bursts out from the chest. Several yellow birds, each surrounded with a glowing and sparkling light, are scattered in flight around the chest, one of them perched at one edge of the open chest.

The heiress of an unexpected fortune learns the cost of becoming too attached to her newfound riches after she is cursed by a magical vagabond.


Digital drawing. Right half, partial view of a dragon, facing forward, seen from chest up. Wings are raised but folded down. Head is curved down from a long neck. Two slightly curved horns extend from behind the eyes, which are looking down at the black silhouette of a human at bottom left, seen from the shoulders up. Behind the figure and the dragon’s chest is a bright light shining on a rocky surface.

A bard embarks on a quest to discover what it is that the dragons guard at the center of a maze made of the primal cosmic elements.


While authorities search for a tiger that escaped from the local zoo, a group of people take shelter in a diner, not really worried about their safety, until a stranger appears who seems to have been attacked.


Digital drawing. An alligator, standing upright and seen from left, stepping forward with tail raised, and holding out a top hat in the outstretched right forelimb. Behind the alligator is a hazy curtain of moss drawn apart to either side.  Strands of sparkling lights are set in the curtains. Behind the parted curtains is only shadow. At bottom edge are the silhouettes of the heads of various animals.

Every ninth full moon, the Reptilian Vaudevillians put on a spectacular show that for one audience member is a once-in-a-lifetime event.


When her auntie died, Subira inherited three things from her: a blessing, a curse, and a quest.


Digital drawing. A person in left profile, sitting in a booth, looking down at an open laptop sitting on the tabletop. The person’s hands are on the tabletop, right hand perched over the keyboard. In background is an empty countertop, above which is a sign or marquee with two sections displaying a menu with illegible characters except for one item, “Weltschmerz Special.” Above the menu is a sign that reads “Welcome to Thoughtsburger.” A hazy light glows above the person’s head.

A young journalist follows her latest lead into a quirky fast food place located in her dreams.


Digital drawing. At bottom center, a person seen from shoulders up, facing forward and looking down. Five hazy glowing lines are arrayed behind the person’s head. Each line leads to a depiction of an animal, seen as an outline filled with a different solid color. Clockwise from bottom left is a standing dog, a fish with body bent to the side, a bird positioned vertically with outstretched wings, a monkey sitting on a branch, and the head of a hippo emerging from water with mouth open.

In a desperate moment, a mage casts an unpracticed spell to save himself, but instead dooms himself to an eternal cycle of death and rebirth in forms that are not his own, that are not even…human.


Digital drawing. At bottom, three kids gathered around a computer monitor, all facing forward, two sitting and one standing behind them. They all look down at the screen. Behind them stands a banana plant bearing bunches of bananas just above the standing child’s head. Some of the bananas in the bottom bunches bear a streak of magenta color along the peel.

Three friends decide to do their science project on a forgotten novelty invention, a self-peeling banana.


Digital drawing. At right, middle ground, a two-level manor house seen from a corner. A tower with parapets is attached to one side. The upper level along one wall is covered with a series of blinds. Weeds grow in the foreground. Rain falls at a slant from top right to bottom left.  A distorted ghostly outline of the house is reflected at left, sharing an edge with the house.

A young woman finally learns the truth about what happened when her grand-aunty accepted a dare to knock on the door of a mysterious manor.


An inventor aiming to revolutionize cosmetics with her intelligent nanoparticle mechanisms, revises and refines her invention to serve a greater purpose.


Digital drawing.  Top center, the glowing disc of the moon under a dark sky. The bottom part of the disc is obscured by a Luna moth seen from the top, wings outstretched.  A thin string connects the moth to another, a small Cinnabar moth beneath, also seen from the top with wings outstretched.

A moth dreams of visiting the Moon, but is too small to fly all the way.


Digital drawing. Bottom left, black silhouettes of two people facing each other, seen from waist up. Behind them is the background of a starry expanse. Above the heads of the two figures are bright colored gases. At top right is a sphere, surrounded by rings in symmetrical orbits arrayed around the sphere.

When unexpectedly asked about their profession, a person accustomed to remaining unnoticed until needed debates how to tell the truth—spectacularly, or mundanely.


Digital drawing. Seen at an angle, the cover of a comic book. At bottom left a label reads, “Approved by the Kid Comics Alliance.” The last few letters of the last word are cut off. To the right of this is text reading, “They eat fear for breakfast…” with the rest of the words cut off. At top of frame is the word “Opossumillo.” Between the frames containing text is the image of a creature, seen from the left side, with the body of an armadillo and the head of an opossum, and a frill around its neck. The creature’s mouth is open. Caught in the mouth is a creature whose bottom is a long stem and whose top has two outstretched limbs and a head with spiky protrusions.  The face bears wide eyes and an open mouth.  The shadows of other similar creatures extend across the page behind the opossumillo.

Ah, the curious ways in which the wonders of our childhood manifest when we are older.


Digital drawing. Center left, a person seen from waist up, facing forward, with forearms resting on a table surface, right hand resting on the left. The person, brows raised, looks over at a device, partially seen lying on the surface at right.  Motion lines appear around the device. Faint shadows appear on the wall behind the person: a solid circle inside an open circle, tendrils, and the top half of a humanoid figure.

A nervous young job-seeker’s interview is constantly interrupted by what seem to be personal phone calls to the interviewer, but from different callers.


Digital drawing. Foreground bottom center, top half of a head facing and looking forward with wide eyes and raised brows. The head is framed by a spiky glow. Behind the head, view from a top angle of a maze.

An expert in the field of neurological mapping is the only person qualified to enter an experimental simulation and rescue her greatest rival.


Digital drawing. At right, a fully stocked refrigerator seen from an angle with the door opening out to the left. The top third contains a freezer section. Recognizable items in the door are bottles at bottom, milk cartons, jars, butter (labeled), and at top, ice cream and a bag of chicken nuggets (labeled). Recognizable items in the main compartments include vegetables, a carton of eggs, a covered bowl, and flat cartons labeled “pizza” and “pepperoni.” Text bubbles surround the refrigerator. The three at left read as follows from top to bottom: “On toast? I’m in,” “Time for tacos. Lime for tacos,” and “Saute in me!” The five at right read as follows: “Why wait for Sunday?” and “Scramble me,” “Poach me,” “I want to be a pot pie,” and “Stew us!” (four times).

Do the voices coming from the food in my fridge and pantry want to harm me, help me, or just…be?


Digital drawing. An elf man at left and an ogre woman at right sit across from each other at a small round table, barely perched on their seats, their bodies facing forward, gazing at each other. Both have long pointed ears. The ogre has two sharp teeth curving up at the corners of the mouth, and two short horns extending from the front crown of the head. The elf rests the left elbow on the table and the right hand on the left wrist. A stein sits on the table before the elf. The ogre rests the right elbow on the table, holding up a stein, the left hand propped on the lap. A plate with food and a fork and knife lie on the table. Above their heads and between them hangs a chandelier with lit candles casting down a soft light.

Longtime lovers the ogre and the elf each recall the first few days of their honeymoon a bit differently.


Digital drawing. A lemon tree full of lemons. At bottom right corner, a person holds a baby over their shoulder. The baby’s head is facing forward and obscuring the other person’s head. The baby’s own head rests on the shoulder, arms also loosely resting curled around the shoulder. The baby’s eyes, partly open, look down and to the side, and each contains a burst of soft light.

To help a young man seek his fortune and his purpose upon leaving home, his parents endow him with a parting gift, a basket of lemons.


Long ago, the human heart experienced an extraordinary change, all because one god wanted to find a quiet place to sleep.


Digital drawing. A cardboard box seen from one edge sitting on a tabletop. The box’s flaps are open. Inside, partly visible, is a sphere encircled by a ring. Extending out from beside the sphere are two thin limbs. One bends down and rests a three-digit appendage on the tabletop. Another extends through the ring and to the left behind the box, one digit visible on the tabletop. A thin tendril drops down over the corner of the box. Next to the box at right is a pencil holder containing several colored pencils. In front of the box is a glass globe ornament. A partly rolled tube of paint spills paint over the table edge from its uncapped opening. At left, several buttons are scattered over the tabletop.

The seemingly empty cardboard box that a student uses for a school project still contains something.
Something unexpected…and unnerving.


Digital drawing. An illuminated letter “D.” Contained within the letter is a bearded man, facing forward, standing beside the vertical curve, in stylized rays of sunlight, holding a baby in his left arm against his chest, and a dagger in his outstretched right arm. His dagger is plunged through the neck of a humanoid creature lying in right profile along the bottom curve of the letter. The creature is completely white. A long tongue extends out of the creature’s mouth. A white tail curls out of the bounds of the letter, ending in a tip that points up. The right leg is bent up so that the long toes of the foot are seen resting along the edge of the letter. The man’s cloak also extends in front of the letter, its fur hem lying out of bounds.

A desperate people once made a monstrous bargain with a demon, and monsters they became.


Digital drawing. View from inside a vessel. Two people, seen from the back, sit in chairs in front of a round window, a control console between them. The console bears a label with the letters “MAG.” The person at right pulls down on a throttle on the console. The person at left is pointing out of the window with the right hand and holding the first two fingers of the left hand on a wall panel at left. Cables hang down from upper right. In the cabin behind the pilots’ section, part of a monitor is visible. The monitor is labeled “Station 3” along the vertical edge. The horizontal edge bears the label “Science,” though the last two letters are cut off. Below the monitor is a container bearing an arrow pointing up along one side, and the letters “AGILE,” presumably the word “fragile” with the first letters cut off. The top of the container is labeled “MAG.” At bottom left corner, partially visible, is a display labeled “CAM19.” One of the triangular sectors on the display is labeled minus-five. At bottom the word “forward” is visible, and the letters “METRY.”

A small team of marine explorers searches for a treasure from an arcane myth, a jewel that fell from the heavens.


Digital drawing. A collage of nine images in a three by three grid. From top row to bottom row and left to right, the images are as follows. Closed eyes and mouth bearing heavy makeup. Outline of a human head from left profile, containing a glowing sphere where the brain would be. Black silhouette of a person on an outdoor stage, holding out their arms to their sides, with the silhouettes of spectators standing below. Stylized image of a woman from left profile, face devoid of features, holding up the left hand with bent arm, palm directed to the face. A symbolic image of a crown floating above royal robes. Stylized image of a woman in right profile, a mirror image of woman in left profile. A cave opening showing a pile of gold coins within and branches extending across the opening. A figure in left profile, kneeling on one knee, and holding one hand under a window of a structure. A disc bearing the symbol of the open eye.

A restless fairy creates a restless trinket with the power to grant its bearer three wishes, but as each wish is grant, the last wish fades away.


Digital drawing. View from inside an empty washing machine, looking through the window of the closed door at two people, seen from waist up, who are looking into the machine. The person at right holds a pile of folded clothes. Both are leaning down slightly, shoulder to shoulder, and have their brows slightly raised.

Two friends notice a mysterious new patron at their famed local laundromat, who always uses the same machine to wash the same few clothes the same way every time.


Digital drawing. Two humanoid figures facing forward seen from the waist up. At right a figure glowing orange and yellow with long flaming orange hair. The figure throws back the head with mouth open, left arm held to the side, right arm extending across the second figure and reaching behind that figure’s shoulder. The figure at left drapes the left arm around the first figure’s shoulder and holds the right hand at the first figure’s stomach. The second figure’s face is a cool white tinged with purple. A glowing purple-white halo rings the second figure’s head, which is tilted toward the first figure. They stand before a starry expanse. At bottom right corner is a fiery glow. At top left corner is a blue-white glow.

After the laughing Sun learns a terrible lesson about the power of her radiance, she flees the sky, and her sister, Moon, ventures into the cosmos to find her.


After a young drummer commits the crime of “creativity without a license,” her bandmate discovers a way to protect her and all other unlicensed artists.


Digital drawing. View from below the surface of a pool. Above the surface, a young man in a short sleeve tunic seen from waist up at a diagonal, gazes down. His face is reflected on the stone surface visible along the left and bottom edges.

When a young man sees his reflection in a pool as he has never seen it before, he is both mesmerized and suspicious.


A man keeps waking up in a sweat, breathless, and on the verge of tears, but he can’t remember his dreams. Then one day, he wakes to find something disturbing on his hands.


Digital drawing. A cat seen from its left side sitting down with tail curled in front. The cat’s head is facing forehead and resting on its forepaws. The cat is looking at a mouse. The mouse stands on hind legs in front of the cat. The mouse is turned to the right, holding forepaws together, with the tail stretched out to the right. A hazy glow surrounds the animals.

A mouse narrowly escapes a cat, and is later haunted by the ghost of the cat, who believes the mouse plays a part in the “unfinished business” of the cat’s life.


Digital drawing. Seven bands of vertical color from a rainbow with red at left and violet at right. At bottom, are the silhouettes of humanoid figures standing within each band of color and matching that color. The figures are seen from the waist up and are joining hands.

When the once-inseparable children of the Rain and the Sun quarrel and go their separate ways, they set in motion dire consequences for their parents and for the world.


An urban legend about a haunting phenomenon occurring in a little beach town becomes a news story when escalating incidents lead to the beaching of what appears to be a telepathic whale.


Digital drawing. At center, a girl seen from knees up and from the back, wearing a hooded robe or dress, and holding the right hand behind her back. The head of a pink carnation is held in the right hand. Different sections of the girl’s hair are of different colors and textures. In front of her at waist level, soft rays of light beam out at symmetrical angles.

A girl accidentally passes before a warlock who is laying a curse on someone, and wakes the next morning to find that the curse has fallen upon her instead.


Digital drawing. A woman at left, seen from knees up, stands facing and looking forward next to a multicolored jukebox. Her right thumb is hooked in her belt, which is hung with a few tools and devices, and her left elbow rests on the jukebox, arm bent.  One brow and the corner of her mouth are raised. In the background are splashes of color that match the jukebox’s colors.

 The inventor of a working time machine takes her closest friend on what was meant to be a quick trip to the near future.


A reporter and camera operator expect to uncover a hoax when they investigate sightings of flying pigs, only to find themselves on the path of a much stranger story.


Digital drawing. A zinnia flower in bloom atop a bed of leaves. From the flower’s center emerges the top half of a humanoid woman turned to the left of frame with her head and shoulders thrown back and her arms stretched out to her side. From her back there emerge two diaphanous wings. Bright beams of light burst out behind her.

When one flower asks for every passing creature to help her attain the gift of motion, she finds no luck, until she meets a cat named Serendipity.


Digital drawing. Two people seen from behind are flying through a green and yellow substance, leaving streaming wakes behind them. They are flying toward an airplane seen from behind in the background at upper right. The person who is to the left and slightly ahead looks back at and stretches one arm out toward the other figure. The other figure has both arms held to the side and close to the body.

Two passengers find themselves alone just after takeoff, on a plane that seems to be floating in some substance that the passengers can only define as being green and gold.


Digital drawing. Lying on a tabletop at left seen from one corner is a pizza box that’s slightly open to show a pizza with multiple toppings within. The box is labeled “Pizzapothecarium” along the front overlapping edge. The bottom edge reads “Supreme,” “Double Pepperoni,” and “Triple Sparkle.” Each choice has a box in front of it. A fourth option is obscured by a small bottle sitting in front of the box, with a label on a string attached around the neck. The edge of the box visible at right is labeled “Madeleine Miriam’s.” The top of the box, at a steep angle, shows a smiling woman from waist up holding up a pizza at shoulder level in the hand of her bent right arm, and resting her left hand on her hip. At right, four bottles stand on the tabletop. Two with caps, one with a cork stopper, and one with a glass stopper. One label reads “Essence T. Aquaticus” with further writing below that is illegible. One bottle is labeled with a number “1,” and another with the number “9.” Words appear above the numbers but only a few letters are visible.

During his first week working at a unique pizzeria, Ronnie encounters some uncanny late-night customers, who place an order for the rarest pizza on the menu.


A fearful and captive servant, who tends a menagerie of unique and captive creatures, is dazzled by the arrival of a most magnificent creature known as a hippocampus.


Digital drawing. At bottom standing on sand facing forward is a ghost crab with the left claw held up.  Above the crab from left to right are a pine cone, a wedge of watermelon, and a saucer and cup of tea with tea spilling out over one edge. A bright and speckled circle of energy arcs over the objects and below the crab.

To save her friends and herself from being eaten, a ghost crab enters a juggling contest with a devious and possibly unbeatable opponent.


Digital drawing. A stained glass octagon-cut gem at center, each facet a different color. The lines of the outer facets extend beyond the gem, forming rays around the gem, each ray a different color. The largest rays or sections contain symbols. The top section, the sun with nine rays; the left section, a five-pointed star; the bottom section, a flame; and the right section, a crescent moon.

When Baron Raven discovers a rare gem in his mines, he performs his duty by making a gift of the gem to his liege, King Monkey.


Digital drawing. View from inside a car at night facing the front windshield. At left, the driver’s arms extend toward the steering wheel, held in both hands. On the dashboard, the radio dial, air vents, and glove box are just visible in the dark cabin. Beyond the windshield is a narrow road, bordered by bare-branched trees. In the rearview mirror appears a hazy shadow of shoulders and a head.

Traveling on a road at night that cuts through the woods, one driver fears encountering dangers both natural and supernatural.


Digital drawing. View down a dark stony tunnel. Foreground left, two people in silhouette from shoulders up. One person holds one arm outstretched. One person at right holds up a flashlight, shining it down the center of the tunnel. The light illuminates a man some distance away, lying on his stomach, propping himself up with both palms on the ground. The man looks forward, his brows raised. Visible in the light, on either side of him are thick legs ending in feet with curved claws. The legs belong to a massive bear-like creature standing over him. The creature’s clawed hands are visible in the light. The creature’s head is facing right. Its jaws are open. One red eye is just visible in the dimness at the edge of the flashlight’s range.

A group of friends venture into an abandoned tunnel against the warnings of one of them, who senses there is something in the tunnel that won’t let them get to the other side.


Digital drawing. Partial view of an obituary in a newspaper seen from a slight angle. At right is the image of a woman seen from shoulders up, wearing a collared cloak, face in three-quarters profile facing right, one brow and one corner of the mouth raised, hair in a low bun at her neck. She holds up left hand beside her. The top half of a bat seems to be emerging from her palm. Another bat with outstretched wings facing forward appears just above her palm. At left, partial view of a column with text. The top reads “Obituary.” Below it reads “Edith Evilez.”  The following text is visible, with ellipses representing parts that are cut off as they are out of frame. “…vilez passed in terror and fright on the night of October 31…is yet to be determined according to one of three profane…she might have followed. She is survived by her faithful…ing and slightly malnourished assistant, her beloved pet…the partially sentient carnivorous pitcher plant that…otherwise fetid greenhouse. Sometimes joined forces…ogud and Ralph Rotneg. Gave stingily of her time and…ociety of Whisper-mongers. Was award the dishonor…allion for her work with wandering spirits. Served a…junior board member for the Pocket Goblin Company…in dental assisting, equine communications, and…Known for her collection of historical thimbles…corded by aforementioned faithful assistant were…Edith will be begrudgingly remembered by…mies for her stalwart efforts at frightening…the downtrodden, and the surprisingly delicate…the summer block party every year…one. Her passing being celebrated by all…manity, and goodness.”

The unexpected demise of a witch on All Hallow’s Eve prompts her faithful assistant to seek the answer to the question, “Who killed Edith Evilez?”


Per my tradition after finishing a year of stories, I drafted a “thank you” post for the Year of Prompts.