A Meerkat Original

At the beginning of the month I posted this picture as a writing prompt. I decided to write a scene with the characters from my WIP, since it’s a good writing exercise to write your characters in random scenes, plus it’s easier than trying to come up with new characters for one shot. You can interpret the pictures how you want, but this is how I used them:

4:00, Tipi, Bee, Fish, Fear, Plane, Rainbow, Balance, Dragon

If you write your own story based on the above, send it to stories@theliteratemeerkat.com. If I really like it, I’ll post it here.

I decided against giving you any background on my characters, because I’d like to see what sort of impression you get from them just based on the scene. I’ll probably be using them for a lot of my writing prompts, so you’ll get to know them better if you keep following along. Now on to the story!

Four O’clock Fears

Four o’clock in the morning is the worst possible time to be awake. It’s too early to get out of bed, at least for any sane person. But it’s impossible to enjoy going back to sleep when dawn is looming just around the corner. Emily supposed she could text Ty. He enjoyed mornings, even when he had no real reason to be up. In Emily’s mind, that only confirmed her theory that all morning people were insane. Of course, four was early even for Ty, but she didn’t see that as a good reason not to wake him up. What good was having a best friend if you couldn’t bug him whenever something was bugging you?

Can’t sleep.
Are you sure I can’t just crash with you for the next week?
Matt wouldn’t mind.
I’m sure I could convince Aunt Meg.

What is wrong with you? It’s 4!

Emily smiled, glad to have finally gotten a reaction out of Ty. But as she contemplated what the day ahead held, the smile slid from her face. I don’t want to fly.

Brian’s parents will be insulted if you back out.

No they won’t. They’ll be hurt. Which, Emily had to admit, would be much worse. Her uncle’s parents tried very hard to include her in all family events. And even though she’d never managed to bring herself to call them Grandma and Grandpa, she appreciated their efforts. Just not when it involved flying across the country for a family vacation in the Rocky Mountains.

Flying is nothing to be nervous about. It’s safer than driving a car. 

In my family that doesn’t mean much. A car crash was the whole reason she was being raised by her aunt and uncle.

Nah, you’re good. Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Unlike most people, Ty never froze when her parents were brought into the conversation. Probably because he had lost his parents, too. It was a pretty lousy foundation for a friendship, but there was no denying that the common ground between them had helped forge an unshakeable bond that had lasted from preschool to high school, and showed no signs of dissolving.

Or maybe it’s better not to tempt fate.

Come on, flying is cool. Dragons fly.

Dragons don’t exist.

Neither does fate, but I let that slide.

Besides, Emily continued, dragons are terrifying. Proof that flying is terrifying.

Lots of harmless things fly. Hummingbirds.

Are you kidding? The way they zip around with that long, pointy beak is awful. I guarantee you someone has lost an eye to those things.

I don’t think that’s ever happened.

I’m sure it has. It was just probably so long ago there’s no written record.

Yes, it’s a little known fact that paleolithic man shaped his first club to fend off the ferocious hummingbird.

Exactly. But at least he didn’t have to worry about being launched into the sky by some mysterious force.

It’s physics, not witchcraft.

Potato,  potato. Emily frowned at her phone. That didn’t work so well in a text.

Potahto. Ty corrected.

Whatever. I’d rather face a mastodon than a plane.

I don’t think you’d do so well without modern conveniences.

I did fine on that camping trip with you and Matt last summer.

That wasn’t camping.

We stayed in a tent.

It was a tipi.

Which is really just a big tent.

Yeah, at a campground with shower and bathroom facilities on site.

Rustic ones.

Which you grumbled about. That and the bugs.

See, another flying menace!

Lightning bugs aren’t a menace.

Bees are.

Honeybees are vital to our ecosystem.

They still sting.

Bumblebees don’t.

Fine, you found one thing that flies that doesn’t want to hurt us.

There are tons. Butterflies. Robins. Fish.

Fish don’t fly.

Flying fish. Look it up.

They jump.

Falling with style?

Exactly. Emily yawned hugely, perfectly willing to snuggle back in and try to catch some more sleep. But Ty wasn’t finished.

Maybe you’ll fly right over a rainbow and land in a pot of gold.

More likely I’ll fall right out of the sky and land on a witch.

I think you’re more in danger of being the one the house lands on.

Shut up, Toto.

See? Dorothy would never talk to Toto like that.

She would if he was texting her at 4am.

I’m sorry, who started this conversation?

Me, and now I’m ending it.

Nope, I get to decide when it ends.


Because you woke me up.


No you’re not.

How long are you going to keep this up?

Until I decide we’re even.

I could just turn my phone off.

You could, if you felt like admitting defeat.

He knew her too well. But that went both ways. I’ll buy the milkshakes when I get home.

I’m listening.

And I’ll come to your next wrestling match.

You always do anyways.

Fine, I’ll be nice to Melissa for a week.

You are desperate.

I really am.

Fine. Good night.

Thanks Ty. Emily rolled back over in bed and closed her eyes. Maybe four o’clock wasn’t always such an awful time to be awake.


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