40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Compass – Miguel Trindade (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: The words ‘always smiling’, an object (a compass) and the song ‘Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald.’

Compass – Miguel Trindade

The dog seemed like always smiling.

It was rather curious, no one knew exactly why. The dog appeared many times by the door of the bar for food and company.

As far as I knew Tuna, named for no special reason other than preferring that fish over anything else, didn’t belong to anyone.

The owner of the bar a friend of mine, began to call him that two weeks after the beginning of summer.

It was hot as hell. And everything seemed to move slower.

Even the few cars that arrived at the village. They were followed by a twist of head from Tuna and immediately return to rest, with his head between his paws.

I looked at the time. The train was leaving tomorrow.

I felt with no energy, but I knew it was what I ought to do, Tuna was going with me, I had a tent, 2 grand in my pocket, one litter of water and a compass. With Plus the rest and my notebook it would not total for more than 8 pounds at my back.

I was as ready as I would be, to change my world, go swim at the lakes, and maybe, who knows, come back from the other side. From the West a few years later.

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

The Stopped Watch – Debbie Liebenberg (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on the following writing prompts: The words ‘blind in one eye’, an object (a stopped watch) and the song ‘Summertime – Ella Fitzgerald.’

The Stopped Watch by Debbie Liebenberg

An old man gazes out of a window as his grandson searches for a connection.

“Grandpa, your watch stopped working, here let me…”

“I know it stopped,” the old man barked as he snapped his wrist out of his grandson’s compassion.

“Oh, I, I thought you didn’t realize because…”

“BECAUSE I’M BLIND IN ONE EYE! Don’t be daft boy. I was born with this blindness.”

“Then why the stopped watch grandpa?”

“It’s a reminder Johnny, a reminder of when my life stopped.”

The young man sensed sorrow but he couldn’t let the opportunity to connect go by, “what happened?” he asked.

The old man interrupted his daydream with a sigh. As he closed his eyes he turned his face towards his grandson and began.

“It was 1945, summertime, and the living was easy. I was back home after months in the trenches. Our squad had been sent home for supplies and secrets. The war had been excruciating and it wasn’t over. I knew I would have to go back into battle soon and I didn’t expect to return. So many had died son. So much blood. The children…”

The old man seemed to crumple as he recalled the memories but then his spine shot up as he remembered…

“I decided to go out one night, enjoy the music as if it would be the last time I could. I went to the jazz club down at the docks and Ella was singing that night. My god was she beautiful. Her ebony hair mimicked her waving body as her voice bellowed beyond the borders. Her eyes glistened with enough hope and happiness for the both of us. Every man in that room wanted to be with her, and every woman wanted to be her. As she swayed and swooned her way through the crowd, the spotlight guarded her personal space, until suddenly, I was in the spotlight too. Ella put her feather boa around my neck as she sang the final words, “hush, little baby…don’t you cry.”

Good thing the spotlight turned away at that moment, because all of everything overwhelmed me at once and cry is exactly what I began to do. No one but the most noticeable girl in the room noticed. And she understood. She wiped my tears away, kissed my forehead and told me to wait for her at the back entrance at 9:00.

That was the last time I looked at my watch:8:25

As the moment passed I imagined our life together. I would run away from the war and we could soak up the summertime in love, in happiness…but then, “Sergeant Wilson!” the commander’s voice shattered my dream instantly. “They’ve launched a surprise attack. We need to leave at once.”

And just like that grandson, my life stopped, just as my little stopped watch and became nothing more than emptiness in a hard shell.


40 minutes stories · Short Stories

The White Dove Museum – Jakub Dohnal (40 minute story)

Note: This story was created in one of our writing sessions based on writing prompts. The prompts for this story were the words ‘drug dealer’, ‘fish’ and ‘museum’. 

The White Dove Museum by Jakub Dohnal

Frank has never heard of the White Dove Museum. Not until he needed it the most. He had no idea such place can even exist. And at this very moment, he still doesn’t have any idea what to expect from it.

He was born four years ago to one of the most renowned households in the country. And the very same person that brought him to this world, was about to take him off it. But the person has decided to give Frank one last chance. And so, he was sent here.

As he got through the main entrance, having no idea what to expect, he immediately got dizzy. Miserable looking creatures everywhere around him. Broken wings, dirty feet, missing eyeballs…he didn’t know where to turn in order to escape the misery surrounding him. And so he flew into an adjacent room, only to get stopped in his track right in the doorway. Beautiful white statues everywhere. Some looked new, some a bit older, but all of them were completely untouched. Frank began to shake and feel the urge coming back.

But then, he felt someone lightly touching his tail feathers from behind. Frank frightfully jumped up and turned to see who approached him.

“Welcome to the White Dove Museum.” A confident, wise voice ringed from behind the man’s white feathery chest. “I’m Mr. White.”

“Who are you? What is this? I…didn’t expect this.” The words seemed to fall out of Frank’s beak and just shatter on the floor.

“I’m Mr. White. I am the director of this institution. And this is our ‘Temptation room’ for little birds like you. If you want to stop doing what you’re doing, you gotta learn how to say NO to your drug dealer.”

“Hold on…” Frank interrupted him “why is everybody so miserable out there? This place is beautiful!”

“Well, I’m glad you say that”, Mr. White responded calmly “but not everybody was sent here in their own will. And everyone you saw in the main lobby has a heartbreaking story in their lives. I think you’ll get to hear them all.”

Mr. White grabbed Frank by his wing and dragged him to a big hall with about two hundred chairs and a stage. “It’s time you share your story, Frank”, Mr. White said encouragingly.

The lights dimmed and Frank reluctantly stepped on the stage. In the crowd, you could hear nervous cooing, excited peeping and the occasional rude chirp.

„Hi, I’m Frank.“

„Hi, Frank!“, everybody replied.

„I have never been so ashamed of myself as I am today.”, he started to speak with a shaky voice. “I tried to keep clean so many times, but every day at work is just so tempting. I end up slacking, I end up destroying art and I end up pissing off people that are supposed to love and appreciate me.”

He stopped for a very long moment and looked around. It was difficult to make eye contact with anyone in the crowd, because all their eyes were facing sideways.

He took a deep breath and said more comfortably: “This was a line that I was told to deliver today. And I don’t know why. Can anybody tell me what is this place?”

A very fat albatross with a stick of smoked fish sticking out the corner of his beak stood up:
“Frank, thank you for your story. This is the White Dove Museum. A mental hospital for birds and other avians. It’s good to say what your owner told you to say, but perhaps you could tell who you are and what do YOU actually want.”

He straightened his chest and spoke up with confidence.
„I’m Frank. I am a homing pigeon. I shit on valuable art on my job. It’s makes me happy and I can’t help myself, but my owner thinks it’s disgraceful and wants to put me down. But I am a homing pigeon. And I want to go back home.”