Todays prompt is going to be a hard one. That’s for fucking sure. Mainly it’s because I have no energy today. I am just absolutely 100% out of it. But, such is the weekend.
A Year of Writing Prompts by Brian A. Klems & Zachary Petit
A Cold Where you (Fill in the Blank) Instead of Sneeze
“You’ve developed a cold, only to discover that instead of sneezing, you (fill in the blank) every time you feel like you have to sneeze. This side effect proves to create a fairly entertaining scene at the office during your weekly budget meeting.”
Terry clutched the phone in his hands, listening to the ring on the other line. With any luck no one would answer and he could leave a message on the office answering machine. That was his best bet to avoid today altogether. No one at work would understand.
Although, the line clicked and Sheila answered the phone.
“Morgan, Pollock, and Masters, Magician Bounty Hunter.”
Terry pinched his nose.
“Sheila, It’s me, I’m not going to be able to come in today. I feel terrible.”
“Oh no, that’s not good! Well we will miss you at the financers meeting. The head from the state is coming in to talk to us about funding. I’m sure Lowell won’t mind. You get better.”
“Thank you,” Terry said from halfway down his throat.
The line clicked and went dead.
Relief flowed through his body and that’s when he could feel it surge. Terry craned back his head, his mouth gaping, and he let out the loudest sneeze, but with it came a puff of smoke and a young child appeared from within.
The young lad stepped from the thinning cloud and looked around Terry’s unkempt apartment. Panic was beginning to blossom in his face, as his lower lip trembled. There would only be a few moments before the boy exploded into tears. A crying child was the last thing his neighbors needed to hear. They knew he lived alone.
“Hey, buddy,” he said in a sickening sweet voice, “It’ll be okay.”
The young boy wrapped his arms around his stomach.
“Where am I?” He said stepping away from terry.
“It’s okay,” he said, “This is all a dream.”
The boy’s eyes grew wide.
“Really?” he said, “I don’t remember taking a nap. I was shopping with mommy.”
“Yeah, you fell asleep under some coats. She’ll find you in a second.”
The boy looked perplexed.
“How do you know that?”
“Cause this is a special dream.”
Preceded by a large gasp, terry sneezed again and the boy vanished from the room.
“Thank the gods,” he said.
The last few sneezes had become even more infrequent and produced the most horrible of momentary guests. At least the kid disappeared before he could cry. The one woman shrieked so much the nosey neighbor next door came poking around to make sure everything was “okay.” Terry wasn’t sure that he had bought that it was tv program he had been watching.
Now without the worry of work looming before him, terry rushed to the kitchen and began to concoct a potion to end this magical mishap. It wasn’t entirely obvious where he had gotten the calling cold but he had it never-the-less. He must have gotten it when he had been on assignment in Southron and they raided that sorcerer’s drug den. It had been absolutely unsanitary.
He was certain that had been where.
The ingredients came quick to his mind. This wasn’t the first time he’d have to brew one. He had gotten the same thing back in school. Luckily, his parents could excuse him and no one would ever learned he was a blossoming magician.
Pulling the sage from the cupboard he could feel another sneeze building. He tensed his face muscles and refused to let it out. Though try as he might it had a will of it’s own and he blew. This time he conjured a flock of parakeets that fluttered furiously around his apartment.
“I can deal with this,” he said.
He bustled around the kitchen pouring each item into his battered black cauldron. He stirred it the appropriate amount of times until it turned a beautiful lavender and he knew it was ready. He couldn’t ladle it fast enough into a copper mug.
Just as the rim touched his lips the phone began to ring. He looked over at the caller ID and it was the offce number. His blood went cold and he sneezed again, dispelling the birds back to wherever they had come from.
He set the steaming cup down and answered the phone, pinching his nose as he did it.
“Hello,” he moaned.
“Tare, look I know you’re sick but Sgt. Errol is coming and I know he will be absolutely pissed if you’re not here. He is insistent that he meets you. He wants to meet the man who took down the Black Ranfort warlock.”
Terry moaned again.
“Boss, I would love to but I can’t-“
“Terry, if you do you know we’ll get more money than we could ever need to take down these filthy magicians. Don’t you want to be the guy named the man who eradicated all things magical?”
Not really, he thought.
“I would, yes. But I can’t even get off the couch, Rick.”
“Look, if you come in I’ll give you the raise you’ve been hounding me for.”
Terry gulped. That raise had been his mission the past two years. It would give him enough money to move out of the tiny apartment he lived in, that he now noticed was covered in bird shirt and feathers.
“See you in a few.”
Before Terry could argue his boss ended the call.
For a brief moment panick gripped his chest, but then the saw the cup gleam out of the corner of his eye. He chugged it and waited, but within only a few moments he sneezed again, producing a pair of old men playing chess, table and all. But he didn’t have time to explain, he hurried around his apartment trying to get ready. Although he didn’t want to look too good. He put on a white shirt, top button undone, a striped tie as slap-dash as he could get it, and a brown coat. He put on his glasses and messed up his hair and then tried to wrestle it into something decent.
By the time he was dressed and ready to go he sneezed again and the men disappeared.
He hurried as quick as he could and got to the office without a single sneeze. That would mean the potion was working. He just needed to trust his skill.
He climbed the steps to the fourth floor office just o wear himself out and appear more sickly. This wasn’t his first rodeo. By the time he entered the office he was sweaty, red faced, and breathing heavily.
“Terry! You look awful.”
He could barely speak so instead waved and nodded.
“Go right on in.”
He wound his way around the cubicles to the conference room and entered. Everyone stood, especially Sgt. Errol.”
“Son,” he said, shaking his hand, “I really admire your moxy. If I was as sick as you I’d have told my boss to go fuck himself and not come in.”
Everyone laughed nervously.
“This is why I wanted to meet you. You are the best. I’ve been keeping an eye on you. I knew you were something special. It’s guys like you that will take down this magical menace and-“
The sneeze built in his chest, which prompted him to swallow air.
Terry nodded as he cosed his eyes an concentrated.
“Course you are!” Sgt. Errol said, slapping him on the back.
Terry sneezed and in a puff of smoke appeared a man, bathing in a shower on top of the table. The water slowly trickled away out of the shower head, as the man looked out of the clear curtain.