How to use these story prompts for your own writing:

  • This story prompt is to inspire. Do not plagiarize.
  • The prompt’s location could be a location in a story prelude or in a scene in the main story, itself. Experiment. Change the setting.
  • Derive a new character from this prompt.
  • Derive your new character’s main story problem from this prompt. Is this prompt a prelude to future problems? 

 

Barn at NightAn ashen moon above gave off a dull yellow glow like the color of some drunk’s eyes, the kind of clammy-handed perpetrator who weakly protested being pulled into the Ironville station for disturbing the peace.

But the sickly light prevented optimal visibility as the woods opened. Judy ran toward what looked like a timber-framed barn, common to these parts of Connecticut. Tall grass and dark tendons of ivy clung to a nearby field-stone wall. Some kind of graffiti polluted the top of its gritty surface.

Where the wall terminated at the barn, a shadowy figure stood dead still by two hinged doors. She regretted not checking the battery charge on her tactical flashlight as the last of its beam quit.

Judy’s breath came in tight bursts as she forced her legs into a walk, her leather chukka boots squishing in wet footing, pulling at her soles, a sucking sound with each step forward. She carefully un-holstered a standard issue Glock 22, her heart now the only thing audible. The gun’s rubber grip collected sweat from the palm of her hands.

The shadowy figure didn’t move.

Despite only the pale moonlight, Judy’s eyes quickly adjusted, her vision having grown more accustomed to darkness after working for a few years on a night beat. She could make out that it was a scarecrow, the kind of thing used to scare away crows and blackbirds. It belonged in a field, not here. And it clutched something in its straw hands.

A soft wind brushed against her skin, carrying a faint smell of gunpowder sulfur and blood.

The reaction was immediate: Goosebumps crawled up both of Judy’s arms.

Earlier, a tow-headed girl had been stumbling along the road. When Judy had stopped her patrol car to assist, the child had dropped a toy bear before running off into these woods. That toy wore a hideous, toothy grin and smelled of sulfur and blood.

Just ahead, a scratching noise could be heard from inside the barn.