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 do one every Tuesday and Friday. This is day 31, and prompt #51 in the book. Below, the red is the initial prompt and the rest is what has happened in previous parts.
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 their front yard. “Land” is a bit inaccurate, it was more like stumbled and tumbled across the grass. Soon, the whole family was awake, gaping at the strange, empty balloon. Seven-year-old Charlie happily climbed in, and to everyone’s surprise, the basket tipped upright on its own and he began to slowly float away. He landed in the middle of nowhere, and was determined to find people. So he marched down the hill, confident, and a little excited to start his first journey. He found a stone in the ground, removed it, and fell into a hole: through dirt, water, and finally, nothing.
Charlie carefully stood up on the nothing. It was difficult, but he managed to balance on his feet, arms spread out to help. Charlie looked around and, with the dim light shining through the water, he could see that the sides of this hole were made out of bricks, and therefore slightly bumpy. I might be able to climb that, he thought. So he took a wobbly step forward. And another.
Charlie was almost to the wall. He placed his foot on the nothing, but to his terror, there was something.
He fell once again, and this time crashed onto hard ground after about seven feet. He had reached the end of the hole.
Charlie dragged himself to the wall. There were no more bumps. He had no way of getting back up. Adventures were not as fun as he thought. Charlie sat against the wall, buried his head in his arms, and sobbed.
When every tear had been drained out of him, he looked around at his little place. It was dark, but his eyes had adjusted by then, and he could now see, very faintly, a small cave. It was not much taller than him, and he was short for his age. Charlie crawled over and found that it was in fact a tunnel! He was hesitant at first, not knowing where it led to, but in the end, he went in, knowing this was his only way out.
The tunnel was short. It only had a few turns, and soon there was another wall.
This time, a metal ladder was attached to it.
Charlie whooped with joy as he scaled it two steps at a time. When he finally emerged and the harsh sunlight hit him, he collapsed blissfully onto the grass, closed his eyes, and let himself breathe the clean air for a while. But soon, he made himself get up and keep trying to get home. “I will never pull anything out of the ground again,” he stated aloud. Then he added, “Except weeds.”
Charlie walked only a few steps when he remembered his balloon. He whirled around, and saw that it was floating several yards up, straining against the pole. “Oh my gosh!” he exclaimed as he sprinted toward the hill. He avoided the patch of dirt (which now had a little hole in it) way more than he had to. Charlie stopped at the pole, breathed on his hands, and slid his way up. It took a few tries, but he managed to get to the top. He climbed onto the T and once he was sitting there, he gripped the rope and hung on it. Charlie moved forward, dangling by his hands, and he used his feet to get up over the side of the basket. After cheering, he realized that now he didn’t know how he would get the balloon to go. Charlie didn’t have anything to cut the rope with, and even if he did, he might need that rope later.
Sighing, Charlie found himself back on the rope, sliding down. He untied the knot and the balloon promptly rose higher. He clutched the rope and climbed up. However, he was not a very good rope climber, and it was a big struggle. But by the time he was halfway up, the balloon was high in the sky, so giving up was not exactly an option.
Finally, he plopped into the basket and breathed a sigh of relief. He watched his lively world below him for a while, and suddenly the awful dropping thing happened again. At least this time, he knew (hoped!) he’d be fine. Thankfully, he was right.
Charlie jumped to the ground and was delighted to see the little village just a ways away! He tied the balloon again to another T-pole that had sprouted while he was looking at the village, and then he set off.