Odd Prompts

Odd Prompts: Wonderland Snip


A little bit, out of order. This is backfill, since the scene following it appeared on the blog a few weeks ago. Working this prompt in was a huge challenge! 


Johns climbed in the passenger side, and buckled in. Shelby shot an exasperated glance at him, then looked back up at Elzbet, who was standing on the porch. 

“Are you sure you won’t come?” 

They had not seen any signs of anyone else in Elzbet’s house, other than the ludicrously outsized pistol in the bathroom. Johns had muttered to Shelby while they stood in the kitchen, and Elzbet was still in the hallway. 

“It could be hers for all we know, or her late husband’s. It’s not evidence, we’re not going to take it. And we aren’t going to make her go anywhere she doesn’t want to go.” 

As Elzbet refused to come with them, and why, really, would she? 

Shelby shook her head in frustration. She had a bad feeling, but that was all there was. Reluctantly she climbed into the driver’s seat and started the unmarked vehicle. Johns popped his seat back a notch or two, getting comfortable. 

“Are you going to nap?” Shelby asked, her exasperation clear in her voice. 

“Why not? It’s a long drive, and I ain’t got nothin’ else to do. Unless you want to hear my secret theory about the connection between The Who version of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and Twisted Sister’s.”

Shelby, having just pulled out of the driveway, slowed to a halt to allow a small goat to cross the road. She shook her head. She was still having trouble believing this bucolic paradise existed almost in the heart of the ghetto. How on earth the city sprawl had not managed to overtake this place… 

“I don’t want to hear about your classical music, old man.”

The music conversation had become a long-running joke between the two of them. He, doing his best to educate her, and her, doing her best to pretend she’d never heard of any group he brought up. Which was easy enough, because half the time she didn’t know what he was talking about. 

“The who did a twisted sister?” 

Johns chuckled, “sounds funny when you put it that way. Nah. The Who version was from the rock opera Tommy, about a generation before the Twisted Sister version. And really, they are like two opposite songs. The Who was talking about some really dark and twisted stuff, man. Like, slavery and forced violation of someone’s personhood. The Twisted Sister… now, that was an anthem to freedom.” His voice got admiring, “rebellion and rock and roll. Can’t ask for more than that. Plus, it’s catchy.” 

They reached the end of the road. Shelby put on her turn signal, getting ready to make the turn onto a more normal-looking street, lined with houses in varying states of disrepair. 

Shelby was never sure, later, exactly what had hit them. It happened as she was turning out from the small farm road onto the bigger road. It spun them around and flipped them over before they finally wound up with the car on the porch of the dilapidated house at the corner of the roads. She only knew that much because she’d been told later. At the time she’d had a confused impression of flipping around like a ragdoll, Johns cursing colorfully, and then it stopped. Everything stopped. 

For a couple of minutes, although she wasn’t too sure about that, either. Whatever had hit them had vanished again, because when Shelby was fully aware, she was flopped up against the airbag that had deployed next to her, her ears ringing, but no other sound besides that. She turned to look at Johns, who was hanging upside down and alarmingly flaccid. 

Shelby reached in her pocket for her cellphone, but it was gone. It must have flown out on the impact. It could be anywhere. She’d seen too many automotive accidents where every small loose object became a projectile and was later found in the darndest places. She struggled to undo her seatbelt, difficult with all the weight she was putting on it. 


This week’s prompt from the More Odds Than Ends group came from Leigh Kimmel, with “Both The Who and Twisted Sister recorded songs with the title “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” The secret connections behind them…” 

I prompted AC Young with “The little child reached for the treasure she’d seen glimmering in the bottom of the tide pool. Behind her, her mother…” 

You can read their prompt responses, and more, over at the Odd Prompts blog! and you can send in your own prompt to oddprompts at gmail dot com, and play along with us. New prompts every Wednesday, perfect for whetting your imagination.