40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Donald’s Discombobulation – Lenka Dvorakova (40 minute story)

Photo prompt Ladies with knivesNote: This story was created in 40 minutes in one of our writing sessions. The story is based on a writing prompt which is the photo that can be seen above. 

Donald’s Discombobulation  Lenka Dvorakova 

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, with blue skies and a gentle breeze, and Donald thought life couldn’t get any better.

And then the murders started.

The pharmacist was the first one. They found him behind his desk, a knife sticking out of his back. Then the schoolmaster, with his head almost separated from his body, found by the janitor in the hallway. When they discovered the corpse of the bookstore owner in a puddle of blood, the town started to panic.

A serial killer, obviously. But why? Why here? Why now? And most importantly, who’s going to be next?

The next one was the notary.

All of them killed with a knife, and there was a clear pattern: all victims were middle-aged, married, respected and well-off. But the murderer never took anything. Except for their lives, that is.

The murders stopped with the butcher. Five crimes, five victims, five knives.

The police closed the case after some time without ever finding who did it.

The life in the town was never the same. Even years later, the air smelled of blood and people feared to look each other in the eye. The bookstore never opened again, and the new pharmacist never understood why people preferred traveling across the river to get their medicine.

All these years, Donald wondered why he was spared. He always suspected he was supposed to be victim number six. He was just like all the other victims, a wealthy doctor, middle-aged, respected. And his wife was in the picture, too.


40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Tyler – Anna Marie (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 ‘jump’, shout’, ‘dig’

Tyler – Anna Marie
Every family has a black sheep – not the woolly, bah-bah-ing kind, but a member who sticks out. And in my family, I’m that black sheep, because I hate heights. In fact, I can’t handle it. My family, on the other hand, lives in heights: My grandfather was in the Air Force. My grandmother was a sky-diving instructor. My father is a long-distance pilot. My mother is a stewardess on long distance flights (that’s how my parents met).
And then there’s me – the only child who hates flying, catapulting, bungee-jumping, sky-diving, you name it. It’s okay to like your job, but it’s different when you impose your passion to spend a few minutes in mid-air every weekend on a child who cannot handle it. When I confided in my friend Mei, she told me that there is a Chinese saying that if the mother eats an excess of something, the child will reject it – and this only validates my theory that even though my parents contradict that my mother sky-dived or even bungee-jumped when pregnant, my fear of heights is only the result of their excessive passion. I’m so sure they’re lying.
There was no way of me escaping from our family weekends out in the countryside where everyone (except me, of course) would have a grand time performing sports that require a large amount of space between land and person. My grandfather would pilot our small family plane while my grandmother would make sure the parachute vests were intact on my parents’ bodies. Then she would slide open the side door and on her count, my parents would dive into the sky. I was too scared to jump, or even stand next to the open door, terrified that the baby blue air will suck me out of the plane like dust from beneath a couch. I felt increasingly as worthless and unwanted as dust on these trips, especially when my family insisted on me joining them in the sky, but always giving me a disappointed look when I whimpered and hid in the corner, refusing to get off the plane.

Everyone believed that my exposure to heights would eradicate my fear, but it did the opposite as I instead crouched in the corner and embraced my knees, imagining that I am a rock on soft grass, growing out of the sweet, sweet earth.
I remember the first time my body found itself in the middle of the sky. I was about 6 years old when my grandmother tied me to mother’s aerodynamic body that was shaking in strong anticipation of the fall ahead.
“Good luck, darling baby, I’ll see you down there!” my grandmother caressed and kissed my head, inside of which was an innocent mind that believed my parents’ words that the “flight” will be fun.
“We’ll be like birds!” my father said and I felt my mother’s chin lift as she smiled. I think I giggled in excitement, picturing us roaming the skies horizontally like the parrots in the Rio movies. My mother leaped forwards into the sky and I was suddenly facing yellow wheat fields. After a while of falling, I screamed:
“Fly left! Fly left!” My mother didn’t reply, unable to hear me through her laughter. “Fly! Fly!” I shrilled at the top of my poor lungs and still we were heading downward in the same direction. I imagined my 1.30cm-tall body hitting the ground and my legs, arms and head flying out in different directions – and that was enough to make my brain shut down.
My parents found their child sleeping on my mother’s chest.
“How cute!” my grandmother laughed.
“She’s a natural!” my father exclaimed joyously. They all thought it was a successful first trip, but it didn’t take long to realize that I was not asleep from adrenaline overdose, but unconscious from the shock. When my family became aware of this, suddenly I wasn’t cute anymore – I was the family embarrassment. Really, how can the daughter of a pilot and stewardess, the grandchild of war aviators and sky sport enthusiasts, be afraid of heights? No one could understand. My parents took me to a psychologist who listened to their complaints with a slightly amused smile and then gave them the following advice:
“Get Anna a dog.” My father almost spat out his tea and my mother stopped him from bursting words by placing her hand on his knee and squeezing it. She then calmly asked:
“A dog? How would that help?”
“Animals have therapeutic powers. If you get a dog that is into such… high-adrenaline sports (my father sneered, whispering under his breath “it’s a lifestyle”), chances are that your daughter will feel less stressed and see the dog as her companion.” My parents looked down on me, a blonde 7-year old drawing whirly green trees and colourful lines representing flowers while the skies were black and full of sad/angry faces. “Give it some thought, thank you for coming in today.”
My parents didn’t need much time to think – they are very determined, highly productive people and immediately they began their research on adventurous dogs. On my 8th birthday, I received a sibling and my family a new member – a French bulldog named Tyler.
At first I was thrilled about Tyler – until he became the new family favourite when he literally jumped off the plane the first weekend we took him sky-diving. Grandma had just finished dad’s parachute vest check-up when Tyler leaped off the plane.
“Tyler!” my father yelled, the rest of us just looking down at the shrinking dog silhouette. My parents nodded at each other and dad immediately took off, using his post-Easter body weight to navigate through sky in direction of Tyler. We cheered when we saw my father expand his arms and catch the bulldog.
I expected everyone to teach the dog a lesson – he did jump off the plane intentionally, it wasn’t like the air sucked him out of it! I thought the dog was suicidal even. But the rest of my family? They thought Tyler is a hero!
“Such a cutie!” grandmother said.
“He’s a natural!” my parents laughed as they strongly patted and caressed Tyler’s head, his already loud breathing intensifying from pure joy of being the centre of attention. Everyone loved him, but with that leap, he became my nemesis, my enemy. And right there and then, I no longer found him cute and I began constructing a revenge plan.
[The following section is added after the writing session]
On a Sunday afternoon, my family was showing Tyler various photos and videos of sky-diving. I found them ridiculous, talking to a stupid dog as if he was a person! I escaped into the garden and hid behind the tree. I crouched down, my hands searched for rocks to throw while my eyes were blurred from frustration and heavy thought. My left hand finally grasped a stone that I then threw into the earth right in front of me. The collision left a small hole – and in that instant, I realized: dogs are diggers! How about I convince Tyler to have a passion for digging that would make him no longer interested in the skies? My 8.5-year old mind was ecstatic and I congratulated myself on such a brilliant idea. I decided that I must have the dog only for myself to carry out my plan that I obscurely named “Make Tyler a Digger so I Am the Family Favorite Again”.
The next day I returned home early when my grandparents were still out playing bridge and my parents were abroad. Tyler was chewing a bone in the living room. In the midst of this activity, I snatched the bone away from him and ran into the garden, hearing the dog nails tapping against the wooden floor right behind me. I reached the flowers and crouched down, looking into Tyler’s shiny eyes. I lifted the bone into the air and asked:
“Would you like your bone back?” The remainder of Tyler’s tail wriggled. “Then dig it up!” I threw the bone into a prepared hole in the ground with one hand, the other sweeping the prepared pile of dirt over the treat. I immediately threw myself back, expecting the dog to push me aside to access the covered pit, but… nothing happened. Confused, I looked at Tyler – who wasn’t there! I was alone in the garden. Bewildered and constructing another plan in my childish mastermind, I heard approaching pawsteps. I turned my head in direction of the sound and faced Tyler and a half-eaten chocolate bar in his jaw.
“Hey! That’s mine!” I complained and automatically reached for it – but Tyler growled and galloped around me with unexpected speed. Before I knew it, he began digging a small pit behind me and he dropped the treat into it. I was about to tell him off, but he looked at me with narrowed eyes and that’s when I realized that he’s proving his dominance. We stared each other dead into the eye for a while, but then I felt something land on my nose, something with small feet that were moving upwards – a smudged, small entity that I could only identify when I crossed my eyes… A spider! I was about to scream when Tyler jumped on me, pushing my body back, and licked the 8-legged insect off of my tickling nose.
I laid there in a trance until I realized that Tyler saved me. I looked at the bulldog who now just watched me with kind, shiny eyes. I smiled at him and he wiggled his body, jumping towards the buried treats. Together, we dug up our bone and chocolate bar and with our hands and paws greasy from dirt, we consumed the treats, sitting next to each other.
And that’s when we became real friends.

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Young & Beautiful – Lenka Dvorakova (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: Picture 1: An attractive young woman wearing glasses; Picture 2: A pot of tomato soup

Young & Beautiful by Lenka Dvorakova

“Ok, 7 PM at your place 🙂 CU then.”

She keeps staring at the display, the text burning into her brain. Her heart skipped a beat, and her palms suddenly get sweaty. She knew this would eventually happen, but now that it’s here, she doesn’t feel ready. She checks the time. She’s got 4 hours to go.

“Evelyn? I have to leave now. Would you reschedule the afternoon meetings?” As she passes through Evelyn’s office, she can feel her disdain.

“I need to find a new assistant,” she thinks, “this is never gonna work. It never did and it never will.” Evelyn, the best assistant ever, that was what Mr. Parks told her when he was retiring. Yeah, sure. To him, certainly. The always loyal, trustworthy, discreet Evelyn, who was probably in love with Mr. Parks for the whole 25 years that she worked for him. Could they have had an affair?

The elevator opens, and she presses the lobby button. Why are there always mirrors in elevators? She looks at herself. Oh, yes, she does look good. Perfect hair, perfect makeup. She doesn’t really need glasses, but she got them when she was promoted. She thought they would make her look more professional. Now that she looks at herself, she realizes she might have chosen a different type. She admires her reflection. Damn sexy, she thinks, and then she smiles. Nothing that Evelyn, the spinster, can ever appreciate.

As she leaves the elevator downstairs, she realizes that she doesn’t have a plan. Being young, beautiful and successful is not enough today. Today she needs more than that. Today she needs perfection, and not only in the beauty department. She needs to show that there’s more to her than her looks and her successful career.

When she had people over for dinner before she ordered pizza and everybody was happy, but that obviously wouldn’t do today. She has to cook. Something special. Something… home made. Something that shows who she really is.

She stops at the supermarket and walks aimlessly in the aisles for a while. She checks the lobsters (no way) and the artichokes (fancy, but … no) and then, as she sees an old lady picking tomatoes with her shaky hands, it strikes her. Her grandma’s tomato soup. That’s it! That’s the perfect dish for tonight, traditional yet surprising, spicy and refreshing at the same time.

The rest is easy as pie. There are not many meals she can make, but this is the one she could make blindfolded, although she hasn’t prepared it for … how long? A decade? Or two?

The clock chimes seven, the soup is bubbling, and as expected, the bell rings. She drops two basil leaves in the pot for decoration and opens the door.

“Hey, mom! So glad you finally get to see my new apartment!”

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Red – Maria Karamanoglou (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: A picture of a red ruby and a picture of a woman holding a syringe. 

Red – Maria Karamanoglou

Red as blood.
Red as rubin.
Red as passion.
Red as your hair, spread on my pillow.
Red as your lips, that left a mark on mine on a Wednesday afternoon.
Red as an apple, Eve’s apple, for which I longed and which you never gave me.
And then the red became pale, worn, tired.
As your cheeks out in the cold.
As your eyes, after so many tears.
As the blanket I used to cover you with on the couch.
As the candy you liked and that I brought you when you could not go to the shop anymore.
And then white.
White like your skin the last time I saw you.
Like my house, without your red in it.
Like the harsh shine of the needles you would try to hide.
Blinding white, like the light you followed never to come back.

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.”

40 minutes stories · Short Stories

Hippie Farms – Roderick Mitchell Jr. (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 ‘radio’, ‘hippie’, ‘farms’

Hippie Farms by Roderick Mitchell Jr.

Sean looked at the barren patch of land he inherited from his recently deceased dad and let out a long sigh of exasperation. Acres and acres of dirt with only the barest glimmer of possibility were laid out before him. The land wasn’t unmanageable, soil quality and yield had never been a problem, but the work involved to make a decent living off of whatever was produced was a counter-encouragement to starting the entire process.

So naturally, the question became: what should he grow?

Sean walked across the old wooden planks of the farmstead porch, the ancient timber creaked underneath even his marginal weight, and turned on an old AM radio. As he tweaked the dial, the somber voice of a woman cut in and out of the static before it resolved into something much closer to clear.

“34598278,” she said, and then five heart beats later, “9902485.”

Sean closed his eyes and took in the sound of her voice as he breathed in the crisp nighttime air of the country side. As far as he could tell, and he expended a lot of energy thinking about the subject during his youth, the numbers were absolute nonsense. Theories abounded regarding their ties to soviet spies or american black ops operations, but he never subscribed to any of that. The entire purpose of the station was to have a laugh at people who constantly sought a deeper meaning into things.

Instead, he used her voice as a tool to meditate.


He pulled out a joint he had rolled earlier and lit it, drew in the smoke until his lungs felt ready to burst, and then exhaled at a steady pace.


The numbers were always 8 digits long. His dad’s cancer ate away at him for eight years. Calling it a coincidence was a stretch. There was no significance to the information, just an idle thought that he took in with a drag and exhaled with a long sigh.

But eight was a good number.


He looked out at the field again, his eyes transforming the barren expanse into eight distinct plots for each crop he planned to grow. It was plausible. The trick would be to find crops that were always producing a yield each season. Speciality organic crops that could be sold at a premium. He didn’t need much money personally, but the cost of maintaining the land would be high. A lot of farmers went into debt just paying taxes on land they already “owned.”


Another puff, another sigh. What about one crop that was grown cyclically? He could plant one crop in one plot, wait for it resolve, and then grown another, and another, until every 2-3 months he was pulling in the dough. He shook his head. The wait would be too long and he’d run the risk of not having enough yield soon enough to turn a profit. How had his dad done it? Growing corn every year and watching as his livelihood got trademarked, patented, and then sold back to him for more than the profit he’d gain in the first place.


Sean turned up the volume on the radio and stepped off the porch while kicking his shoes off of his feet. The cool feeling of grass met his soles before gradually turning into dirt as he walked onto the farmland. The somber voice of the woman still reached his ears, even from much farther away. He took another drag. His dad always hated his habit. Then he got cancer. Sean could still remember the day his dad gave him the news. He had to drive in from the city and was bitter about it. The internet was around exactly for situations like that.


It was sunny outside and his dad was sitting on the porch looking at his crop with a haggard expression. Sean had walked up and sat down next to him, wary of the silence. Finally, his dad looked at him and asked without any trace of irony, “Got a joint? I hear it’s good for cancer.” Sean rolled one up, lit it, and took a drag before passing it to him. And that was all they ever said about the subject. For the next eight years, Sean would drive down every month and give his dad enough to get through the worst of it, and before soon, the worst was so bad not even that was enough.


What was he trying to accomplish? Did he really want the responsibility of a farm? The crushing weight of debt and unease at what the future would bring? Did he really want to live life away from the city he knew and loved for dirt and squalor? If being close to his dad was the only reason, in all honesty, he couldn’t even feel his dad’s presence here. Whatever the answer was, if he didn’t try, he would probably never find it. One year. Two Years. Three years. Even eight. Until he tried everything he could, he’d never really know what he wanted out of life.


Sean took in one last drag and threw the remains of his joint to the ground. As it fell, the seed of an idea took root in his mind and sprouted into full bloom.

He knew what’d he farm.

40 minutes stories

40 minute story: ‘Cat’astrophic Events – Polly Story-Lebl

Note: This story was created in one of our writing sessions based on writing prompts.


Its hard to imagine the world before everything disappeared from all of the computers, phones, and internet. It was insane actually. One day people got up and there was nothing on the computer.  It didn’t even turn on. There was nothing on the phone, no numbers, no pictures. It was if it all just vanished into outer space.


How could this ever happen?  Who was responsible for this catastrophie? She knew. She had seen it coming for quite awhile. The internet had literally exploded all of the information on itself. She knew one day people would be so traumatized by the news that they would all log on to one cat video and it was just enough to trigger the shut down.


She wasn’t sure when she stumbled on to the feature.  Perhaps it was when she was stoned and had been watching hours of cat videos that she became aware that she was able to read the cats thoughts. Every cat video was telling her something. It was telling her that she should warn the people that ‘they’ didn’t like being made fun of. ‘They’ have finally masterminded a way to stop the insanity of people trying to find new ways to tease them just for the sake of filming.


The problem was, however, that every time she tried to warn someone about the cats, they would just laugh and show her another video. She also knew that a day would come soon that no one could stand to deal with life’s real issues and the only way they could feel better was to watch a cat video. She realized that this was the new addiction to calm people’s anxieties.


The days before the event that changed the world forever, she smoked a lot of pot. She didn’t want to watch them, but she had to figure out if there was something she could do to communicate with them. She even put on some cat ears and whiskers and filmed herself and posted it to you tube. She had a few views, but of course they were her friends and family. No cats.


One night, she thought maybe after getting high, that she could try to watch dog videos and see if they could help turn this impending doom around. Unfortunately, nothing came through. People just didn’t care that much about cute doggie videos enough to crash the internet.


The night before the world went crazy, she came across the cat video of the baby kitten sneezing and its arms would raise up above its head. It was so damn cute. She watched it a few more times and then she saw it. It was the number of views. It was not just increasing a few views at a time, but literally millions at a time. All at once, she realized it was the end of the world as she knew it. Her computer went blank. She picked up her ipad and it showed only an apple. Nothing more. Same with the phone.  She wasn’t sure how she would live. She wasn’t sure how anyone would live.


She felt sleepy, but at the same time couldn’t process reality. She didn’t even know how she would get up each day. She stared at the ceiling for hours. Trying to replay that cute kitty, but it was gone from her mind. Only emptiness remained.


When she began to wake up and make sense of her thoughts, she realized her kitten had been sleeping on her face. The sun made her sneeze and the kitten’s arms quickly went up.


40 minutes stories

40 minute stories: Plushy and genre



Writing prompt: Writers were given the plushy toy (seen in the photo) and a random genre. The following stories were created in 40 minutes. Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section.  

Story 1: Arthur the Seal by Vanessa Motyl

(Genre – Thriller)

Arthur the seal has been living in the village for a very long time.

He knew everybody there, from the oldest lady at the hospital to the baby born the previous month. And everybody in the village knew him, the wise brown seal, who wore a scarf also in the warmest summer day –  “I need to protect my throat from the wind”, he always said. “You will understand when you get 89…”.

Arthur had a brown fur, a bit ruined by the time, but still shiny and soft. Also his teeth were strong like when he was twenty, they were still able to crack nuts and cut nylon threads – nobody considered them harmful though. Nobody, until that Christmas.

Do you remember the baby born the previous month? Poor thing, he didn’t see his 30th day. The screams of terror of the mother have been captured by the snow, but not her memories: how could she be able to forget the terrible amount of blood pouring from the wounded body of her little son?

“We will keep investigating, madam “, said the police. “But we are almost completely sure that your baby’s death was caused by… teeth. Very big ones”.

The only one to have so strong teeth was the poor Arthur, unable to provide with an alibi for the evening when the child died. He tried to defeat himself, but it was useless: the police arrested him, as soon as the DNA test confirmed that his teeth were the responsible for the murder. What reason could he have had to commit such an awful crime? “Yes, granny, what was the reason?”.

“The age likes to make fun of an old body; when it comes to the brain, you never know which tricks the mind could do”.

Story 2: Saul and Pepa by Debbie Liebenberg

(Genre – War drama)

The room looked liked a frilly marshmallow wrapped itself in toilet paper floral designs. She said they kept everything ‘nice and cushy’ so the seniors wouldn’t hurt themselves. They’re just like giant toddlers…barely able to stand, swaying, drooling, not to mention the smell of musky powder badly disguising shitty diapers.

It was my first day on ‘playtime duty.’ I was told to make sure the seniors play nice together, to pick them up if they fall and make sure no one steals the others’ fruit cup. It all seemed fine today.
A group of old boys sat and played poker with each other. Ernie’s dementia made him believe that he was smoking an actual cigar. I’d even be called to change his filthy ashtray. Of course the ashtray, the ash, the cigar, and Ernie’s sanity were completely non existent, but I played along.
A group of old gals sat and spoke about the neighborhood gossip. Francis had been flirting with Ray again, that 60 year old slag. Oprah only gave the audience free books instead of cars, that greedy bitch. And the fruit cups had less fruit everyday.

Sir Saul kept to himself though.

He would sit at the window and stare out for hours. No one knew what he was looking at or looking for, they dared not ask the decorated war hero either. If Sir Saul had something to say he’d bark it at you like a drill sergeant. And dare you not address him as sir! You’d quickly find yourself at the receiving end of a voice so harsh and powerful that it made a machine gun sound like a tap dancing two year old. Sir Saul wore his military uniform everyday, ‘can’t ever let your guard down’ he would say. He had spent most of his life as a soldier. All of his family died in the war. Non one ever came to see him. Despite his injuries and hi loneliness, he sat in his wheelchair like it was a throne.

I walked over to take a closer look at what he was doing. His medals reflected the sun and blinded me as I approached. I could barely make out the brown furry object on his lap. He half concealed it as he stroked the fluffy little thing…wait! It must be a dog! That’s what Sir Saul’s been hiding all this time! He didn’t want us to see his furry little friend, he knows it is forbidden.
I decided to approach slowly and speak softly so as not to embarrass him. As I got closer he suddenly lifted the animal and started chewing on it. I heard a whimper and started running to save it as fast as I could. I managed to pull the poor puppy from his jaws but as it fell free a terrifying shriek escaped Sir Saul’s mouth! His eyes filled with terror. His lifeless limbs shook with shock. “Pepa! Pepa!,” he shrieked! I froze. 

Soon another nurse grabbed what I now realized wasn’t a puppy but a old chewed up walrus plushy. The nurse quickly handed Pepa to Sir Saul and Sir Sault silenced his screams by stuffing it in his mouth.

I quickly realized why Sir Saul spent so much time with his back to the room. It was to hide his screams. Pepa the walrus was the only comfort he had.

As the nurse rolled Sir Saul away, she shot daggers at me and strongly advised, “You never, NEVER, separate Sir Saul and Pepa!”

Story 3: Mindy and Humbert By Maria Karamanoglou

(Genre – Horror)

To tell you the truth, I never really liked Humbert. I don’t even know how he got here; I just saw him one day among my little sister’s toys, a worn-out little intruder, with black scratched plastic eyes, a stupid red scarf, his left nostril missing, and naked patches all over his body. It was not a premonition, I just hated that Mindy would prefer him to all the new shiny toys I brought her whenever I got home from college. I suppose this was already paranoid. But it got worse. Sometimes I would catch with the corner of my eye a malicious smirk on is face – which is funny, since he didn’t even have a mouth. Once or twice I found him in the middle of the living room, without obvious reason why he should be there. I swear to you, it was like he was following me. And that time I went to say goodnight to my sister before my night flight, I was sure I saw him eyes gleaming red in the darkness of her bedroom. It went on like this for years. When all the other toys moved to the store room, he was still there, firm above her bed. When she went to college, she took him with her. And when she disappeared without a trace…Well he was not in any of the boxes our parents brought back from her dorm room. Never saw him or her again. I’m a grown man now, almost old… but I still get the creeps whenever I look at our old pictures and see him in some corner of them. In all of them.