I have a book called Complete the Story and it has 150 interesting writing prompts. I recommend it to anyone who often faces writer’s block. I am going to try to do one every other day. This is day 26, and prompt #51 in the book. UPDATE: If you read this before, in this spot I said that every part would be 650 words long as a challenge, but I now realize that some days I don’t have as much time, so I’m taking it back.
Prompt: When you’re the only family living on that side of the mountain, you learn how to keep calm, work hard, and go with the flow. One morning, Mom, up first as usual, walked into the living room and let out a startled, “Oh!” as a hot air balloon landed in our front yard. “Land” is a bit inaccurate, it was more like…
When you’re the only family living on that side of the mountain, you learn how to keep calm, work hard, and go with the flow. One morning, Mom, up first as usual, walked into the living room and let out a startled, “Oh!” as a hot air balloon landed in our front yard. “Land” is a bit inaccurate, it was more like stumbled and tumbled across the grass, nearly falling off the edge of the cozy ledge.
“Oh!” she screamed again. “Vincent! Charlie and Scarlett! Wake up!” and she hurried outside in her nightgown.
Dad walked groggily down the beige-carpeted stairs and yelled back, “What’s the matter?” But his wife staring in both awe and horror at a beat-up hot air balloon, which he saw just then out the window, was pretty self-explanatory. He ran outside, just as bewildered as Mom, and they both stood there a moment, nervously watching the vehicle, as if it were going to jump out at them at any given moment.
Nine-year-old Scarlett woke up to the hollering with the vibrant sun seeping through her blinds. She yawned and carefully stepped over her younger brother, who was still sprawled on their bed, fast asleep. She heard her parents’ familiar voices (well, there were hardly any other voices to hear anyway where she lived) outside, so she opened the blinds, crawled onto her desk and peered out the window. She blinked and looked again, but sure enough, there lay a majestic hot air balloon, and the small figures of her parents were a few feet away.
Scarlett whirled around and shook her brother awake. “Charlie! Wake up! There’s a surprise in our yard!”
Seven-year-old Charlie loved surprises, and at this his eyes fluttered open excitedly. His sister knew his weakness. “Come on!” she exclaimed, and he hopped out of bed. He began to make his way toward the open window, but Scarlett grabbed his arm. “No,” she said. “That’s where the surprise is!”
They flew down the stairs and through the door. Their parents turned at their arrival, and Dad asked, out of other ideas, “Do you guys have any idea where this came from?”
“No,” said Scarlett.
“Is there someone inside?” Charlie inquired simultaneously.
Mom began, “Doesn’t look like there’s anyone–“
“Ooh! Yeah, what if there’s like someone trying to escape, and they crash-landed here?” Scarlett interrupted.
“No, no!” squealed Charlie, his voice rising and falling with excitement, “I bet there’s aliens inside!”
Scarlett reasoned, “But hot air balloons are our invention, not aliens’.”
Charlie harrumphed and said, “But the aliens could’ve stolen it.”
“Guys! We don’t think there’s anything inside,” interjected Dad.
“Check,” was simply all his children replied.
He sighed and carefully walked around the balloon to the opening of the basket. “Um…hello?” he called into an empty balloon. Dad reached inside a bit, and then turned back. “There’s no one there.”
“Ooh, cool!” Charlie cheered. “It’s ours now!”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, not so fast,” Dad began, but Charlie was already crawling inside the overturned basket.
“Whoo!” he exclaimed.
“I wanna turn!” said Scarlett, running over to the hot air balloon, but before she could grab for the basket, it flipped over and stood upright. She stopped in her tracks and muttered something under her breath. Her parents’ eyes were wide as plates.
“Whoa!” Charlie said unsteadily as he was lightly tossed around by the basket standing back up.
“Careful, Charlie!” Scarlett screamed, frightened. “Please don’t fly away!” At the thought of this possibility, Charlie’s face went pale and his eyes grew even wider than his parents’.
“Don’t worry,” said Mom. “Hot air balloons don’t work unless they have–“
Just then, the balloon slowly lifted off the ground, and Charlie shrieked for help. His family reached up high as they could, but it was no use, and they watched helplessly as Charlie drifted away from their mountain, the only place he’d ever known.