The Heart Surgeon


Another writing prompt that I’m probably not going to do anything with. I’m pleased to say there is one I’d like to keep working on, but this ain’t it.

The task was to write a scene of less than 200 words with an action, background, development, climax and an ending. Oh, and a doctor. Here’s mine:

Late one evening, my heart started racing and just wouldn’t stop. It was the second year of The Great Plague, and I was feeling isolated, overworked and under-appreciated. My long-distance relationship was growing ever more distant.

Since there was no-one around to tell me I wasn’t dying, I took myself to the emergency room. I was quickly laid on a table, slathered in goo, and returned to the waiting room. Eventually, blood still pounding, the doctor called me. He was a slight man around middle age, pecking at his keyboard.

 “Your heart is fine,” he said, turning to me. “But tell me, how are you?” I felt our eyes lock, and for one instant, he saw into my soul. I said I’d been a bit stressed, and felt a hot twinge of desire as his brow creased with concern. He prescribed me some Valium. Then, with a wink, he wrote his number too.

Three days later, we ran away together in his Honda Civic. We plan to change our identities and live off the land until it is safe to return to society.

The Tiger of Tokyo


I’m taking some writing courses online at the moment. Apparently I thought that tapping away at my laptop would make a nice change from… tapping away at my laptop. It has been a strange year.

I’m never entirely sure if I’ve followed the instructions correctly, but I’m enjoying it. This first prompt was to create a character with a want and a weakness, and use a list of twelve words to think of rising actions. You were supposed to include at least six words, but since I’m a glutton for punishment I got them all in (in bold). In reality, I suspect Milly would be quite oblivious to carrots and appliances.

The Tiger of Tokyo

When the offerings of her human had grown infrequent and eventually stopped, Milly had reclaimed her inner tiger, stalking the streets, committing to memory a detailed map of downtown Tokyo’s hunting grounds. Midnight tonight found her, as it so often did, in the filthy dark alley behind the chicken shop.

She had started the evening nosing around the fish market bins, padded through the empty farmer’s market and sniffed around under the bridge, finding nothing more enticing than a skip full of mouldy purple carrots and some abandoned appliances. The intoxicating aroma of chicken grease made it hard to pretend any longer: Milly was hungry.

The sounds of voices died down, replaced by clinking and scraping from within. And then, action! The back doors of the restaurant exploded outwards, and a human emerged with a transparent bag heavy with precious delicacies. Milly hung back as he hoisted the bag into a metal cage and went back inside.

The doors swung loudly for a few seconds, then were still. Cautiously, Milly approached the structure and leapt aboard. This was new. This came between Milly and her dinner. She hissed. Tail cocked, she walked in circles, first one way, then the other. She peered balefully down through the mesh.

It was then that she saw it: three metal rings and the bolt holding the cage shut. She dropped to the ground, braced her hind paws against the base, stretched up, and loosened the bolt. From there, she wedged her head against the lid and strained it open.

Three things hit Milly in quick succession. The first was a mouth-watering draft of chicken trash. The second was a giant black crow travelling at speed, its departure slowed only slightly by the weighty bag of chicken leftovers clutched in its claws. The third was the realization that she, Milly, the tiger of Tokyo, had been tricked.