Well, today I came across a writing prompt that triggered a little story. These prompts from Writer’s Digest can only be 500 words long to post on their website, but my story was (of course) longer. So now I have two versions: the original and the severely-cropped version which I posted on Writer’s Digest. The longer version I’ll share with you. I didn’t quit follow the prompt, but it’s the same general idea, which I used as a start.
Here’s the prompt:
You’re on a golf course taking part in a fundraiser to cure a disease that’s near and dear to your heart. On the 11th hole, you hit a ball into the woods. While searching for that ball, you see a white rabbit that stops, looks you right in the eye and says, “Follow me.”
And here’s my story:
Having lost both parents and siblings to heart disease, I was not about to give it a chance to take hold. Switching to a low-fat diet and careful monitoring of my cholesterol were the only first steps; I also swam and biked and had now taken up golf. And for someone who had absolutely no interest in chasing a tiny white ball around manicured lawns, it turned out I wasn’t half bad. So now here I was at the heart-disease fund-raiser, studying my position on the 11th hole, half-listening to the argument between my partner and our caddie.
“Pssst, Helena,” someone whispered.
I looked around. No one in sight, just a thick clump of bushes. I turned back to my badly-positioned ball, mopping the sweat from my face and neck.
“Helena!” the voice said again, a little louder and more urgently.
Still nothing in sight. I strode over to our bags and snagged a fresh water bottle. Carly’s tirade was now criticizing both the caddie’s competence and my own golf skills. Tommy looked at me pleadingly, but I shook my head and returned to my ball, emptying a third of the water bottle in one deep gulp.
“Ignoring me isn’t going to help,” the voice said.
Irritated, I turned in a slow circle, searching the landscape. It appeared when I faced the bushes again. A rabbit. A big white rabbit, standing upright on its hind feet.
Great. Just what I need. Heat stroke.
I took another slug of water, and poured the rest of the bottle over my head. I instantly felt at least ten degrees cooler, and with a sigh of relief, addressed the ball.
“Helena! Come here! I need to talk to you!”
A glance over my shoulder proved that not only was the white rabbit still there, it had left the shelter of the bushes and was coming closer.
I had to stop and look then. It was wearing traditional garish golf-attire: vivid green-and-orange checked pants, a blue-and-pink striped shirt, and had a fluorescent purple-and-gold golf cap in one, er, paw.
I leaned the golf club against my chest and rubbed my eyes. Felt a tug on my clothes. Cautiously opening one eye, I looked down. Yep. Still there.
I dropped the club and held out my hand. The rabbit took it. His, er, hand was exactly how I would have expected it to be, warm and dry and fuzzy.
“C’mon,” it insisted, tugging urgently. “It’s important. Do you think I would have come out to talk to you if it wasn’t?”
With a shrug, I followed the apparition into the bushes.
“Took you long enough,” said another voice, this one coming from a big gray tabby cat, which looked remarkably like my late brother’s fat pet whom I’d inherited.
“She wouldn’t come,” the rabbit growled.
“Well, let’s go. They’re waiting.”
“Who’s waiting?” I asked.
“You’ll see.” And that was the last word I got out of them until we reached the deep woods a hundred yards away from the golf course.
“Looking good, Hell,” said a familiar voice.
“Jack?” I had to rub my eyes again, but yes, it was my brother, standing there as large as life.
“I’m glad to see you’ve been taking care of Whiskers, but I wish you’d made a will specifying what was to be done with him.”
“A will…?” Oh, no. Not after all the work I’d done to lose weight and get in shape. Fearfully, I looked back to the golf course. There was a human shape collapsed on the ground beside my ball.
“It’s okay, dear,” my mother said. “We’re together again.”