<3 Description - 21 Prompts - Final with Answers

The prompt number directly follows the passage addressing it.


“Food’s ready,” Theo said. He sat on his folding chair hunched forward, his elbows resting on his knees. He held a wooden bowl in one hand and shoveled a glob of mushy cooked beans into his mouth with a spoon.

Bek followed him outside the tent (1) and took a seat on the ground next to the small cook fire he’d built. She sat with one eye on the tent, on Kid’s sleeping form, and the other on the larger fire (distance) away, on the six remaining Horns that gathered around it. (2)

The pack had stripped the hide off their kinsman’s carcass and tied the lanky dead Horn up on a spit over the fire. The rising red of the morning (3) blended into the flames reaching (4 – personification) up to char the animal’s remains.

Bek watched as the pack performed the funeral rites of her latest kill. (5) One down. One of those monsters sent to its end by her hand, but six of them remained. She sat up straighter. She’d killed it, but not without effort. The exertion from the past days’ vigilance throbbed through her limbs. (6)

“Eat,” Theo said. He shoveled another glob of food in his mouth. He’d noticed her distraction. “They’ve got their meat. They won’t look Kid’s way.”

Bek exhaled relaxing the tightness in her shoulders.

She turned to the source of his messy food. The smaller fire in front of her hosted the humans’ dinner, some mixture of beans and rice Theo had overcooked.

“Better one of them than one of us,” Bek said. She scooped some of Theo’s simmering dinner mash into a wooden bowl he’d set out.

He turned his head to look over his shoulder, eyes wide, brows up.

Bek followed his gaze over toward the pack, but they were busy. Arzi, their leader, the big mean one, had torn her jaws into the first bites of her dead underling. The others followed suit. Bek could hear them as they chewed, (7) hacking off pieces of their kinsman’s cooked carcass with teeth as long and sharp as knives. Their lips smacked, teeth gnashing together.

She’d sleep tonight with nothing between her and six sets of flesh-rending teeth but the thin fabric of Theo’s tent. (8)

Theo looked back at Bek and leaned forward a bit. “You can’t talk like that,” he said, his voice low. (9)

She watched as his face pinched in genuine worry, (10) as though the peril lay in her worldview and not between the teeth of the half ton monsters devouring one of their fallen brethren.

“Your master finds me amusing.” Bek stirred the unappealing mush in her bowl. (11) Her stomach growled against her will.

“For which I’m thankful,” Theo said. “But I had to convince her to let me keep you and I’ll be sad if that work goes to waste because you cross a line.” (12 – saying)

“Sure.” Bek shoved a spoonful of food into her mouth. She could behave. She could tread lightly if it kept Arzi pleased. But she’d only do it long enough to steal back her spears, (12 – not saying) only long enough to buy the chance to drive one of them through that beast’s gloating maw. Just like she’d done to the one on the spit and the three others whose horns topped her spear shafts. (13)

The smell of burning hair (14) wafted over from the larger fire. The pack had cut their dinner’s pelt around his long neck, leaving fur on the skull. The first Horn she’d burned had stunk like that. (15) The hairs melting and shriveling back from the flames licking up the beast’s flank.

She chewed the bean mush crushing the grains of rice in her molars. (16)  She forced the bland mixture down against the stench of cooking Horn.

“You hate how meat smells, too?” Theo eyed her as he chewed.

“It’s the hair not the meat.”

Theo put his bowl down and pulled a small bundle from his pocket as though she’d reminded him of some errant thought. He unwrapped a vial from a small rag, popped the cork, and dabbed some of the container’s contents onto the cloth. He rubbed it against the fleshy part at the base of his left thumb, leaving black streaks of grease pen on the cloth.

The tallies. The marks she’d noticed on his hand when he’d tended to Kid.

“You clear it when you feed them?” Bek asked.

Theo looked up at her and smiled. “I get fourteen marks. At fourteen days, a Horn starts to starve.”

“Then what?” She knew. She wanted him to admit it.

He shrugged. “They eat me. Make for home.”

“Sounds safe to me.” (17)

His grin widened. “It hasn’t happened yet.”

Bek chewed to keep from scoffing. (18)

“You’re welcome here. You’re safe,” he said. He shrugged. “Or not, but you’d be on that spit now if you weren’t here with me. Four hours for fourteen days is a good trade.”

She couldn’t argue with that. She looked toward the tent at the bundle of blankets on Theo’s cot.

Kid slept. Her covers rose and fell with her even breaths.

“And Kid’ll feel better real soon, trust me.” (19 – Character want: Theo) He nodded at the pack he kept full of medical supplies. “I know what I’m doing.”

Bek needed him to be right. She needed his words to be full of some substance other than his ego. Kid needed to be on her feet before they could run. (19 – Character want: Bek)

She wished she could trust his promised safety too, but Theo would have to draw another grease pen tally on his hand tomorrow evening.

Theo stood and stretched his arms up into the air. He let them swing back down to his sides. “I’m turning in,” he said. He moved toward the end of the tent away from Kid. “You’ll want to try and get some sleep.”

He looked up at the reds emerging on the horizon. “It’s rough, at first, sleeping during the day.”

Bek nodded, only partially listening. She’d turned her attention away over to the larger campfire and the coal-dark female Horn lying with her two front feet crossed in front of her on the mossy earth.

Arzi’s yellow eyes had been trained in the direction of the Mediator’s tent for a few minutes now, the Horn having eaten her fill and lost interest in the meat of her kind.

“You’ll get used to it,” (20) Theo said. He smiled and ducked into the tent.

Arzi’s lips pulled back off her razor teeth into a grin.

“We’ll see,” Bek said.

(21 – Throughout)


Bonus Lizard:

fabc6a882fcd203fc01d2b4304b644e1

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