Elizabeth: Short Story Play Along

I didn’t get a chance to give Friday’s story prompt and random words a try until this afternoon, but I figured that it’s never too late.

My sprint-timer went off before I finished, so I’m hoping maybe someone else will feel inspired to add a little more to the story, like we did with the Scottish story a few months ago.

If not, I may have to see if this Friday’s words inspire some further action.

Anyway, without further ado, here is the start of the story of a character in week 2 of quarantine, including most of the words flavor, terror, meat, daffodil, deceit, doctor, captivity, playtime, crystal, graffiti, boredom, boast, hiss, casino, ammonia, and applause.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong

Daffodil Masters McWhorter blew an errant curl of auburn hair out of her eyes for the millionth time and dealt two more cards in her latest game of Casino.  It was week two of the nation-wide quarantine and she was miles beyond boredom.  No shopping.  No bars.  No friends.


Captivity was definitely not her catnip, though if she had to be stuck somewhere, it might as well be the McWhorter Estate.  Boasting ten bedrooms, two ballrooms, a library, and a variety of specialty rooms for games, music, and other pursuits—not to mention the acres of outdoor gardens, the maze, the lake, and the follies and grottoes—even with no staff in residence, staying put here could hardly be considered a hardship.

Though of course, all she wanted to do was get in her car and go.


“Hey Daff, have you seen my stethoscope?” her brother Mortimer yelled down from the upstairs landing.

“Linen closet, third shelf, right-hand side,” she answered without bothering to look his way.  She abandoned her card game—she was losing anyway—and walked to the sideboard to refill her wineglass.  Not that there was much to choose from.  Her father had pretty much drained the wine cellar before his untimely though wholly expected demise a year ago.  Her hand hovered over the last remaining bottles, finally reaching for the crystal decanter of Lurgashall Rose Petal wine.  It didn’t really taste like roses, but she liked mild flavor and the way the wine sparkled in her glass when she held it up to the light.

It was certainly better than the pumpkin wine she had tried the day before.

She heard Mortimer thunder down the main staircase and followed him as he made his way toward the library, his white lab coat billowing out behind him.  “Why are you dressed like a doctor?”  She leaned against the open doorjamb and watched him attach his iPad to a tripod in the center of the room.

“A little FaceTime playtime with Marguerite”, he said with a smile and a wink as he gave the tripod a final adjustment and stepped back.  “Can’t let the relationship whither from all this social-distancing.”  He pointed to the glass in her hand with the end of his stethoscope.  “Drinking in the mornings now?”

“God yes.”

“Good.  Maybe that will give me an edge in this afternoon’s jousting session.”

“Not again.”  Daffodil looked down at her forearm.  “I’m still bruised from the last time and the cut from the suit of armor has only just begun to heal.  How about table hockey instead?”

“But you always win at that.”  Mortimer gave a huge sigh before agreeing.  “Fine.  But I get to choose tomorrow.”

Before she could answer, there was a beep from the iPad and then a playful voice asked, “Is the doctor in?  I have something you need to look at.”

Daffodil rolled her eyes and scurried away from the library, but not fast enough to avoid hearing Mortimer’s reply and the sound of applause, before the door was firmly shut.  She aimlessly wandered around the house, bored out of her mind and wondering what stay-at-home introverts did all day.

Surely she could find something entertaining in this old pile.

Attics or cellar she wondered to herself as she continued her wandering.

The cellars had struck terror into her heart when she was a child, thanks in part to the deceitful tales of moaning ghosts and hissing snakes her brother loved to tell, not to mention that creepy little cold room off to the side where her grandparents used to store cured meat.   Or bodies.  Or whatever.

The attics might be more promising, what with at least five generations worth of trunks, furniture, and who knows what else.

What to do, what to do?

# # #

So, what happens next?

Anyone up for the challenge of continuing the story?

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Short Story Play Along

  1. I didn’t finish it, either, although I think I used up all the remaining words. I think there should be another chapter here, because what happens to Mortimer? Much less Daffodil. Still a mystery. And I apologize for taking a rather traditional route with this opening. Once you said “attics,” Elizabeth, I had to go there…
    The attics might be more promising, what with at least five generations worth of trunks, furniture, and who knows what else.

    What to do, what to do?

    Attics it was.

    Daffodil headed for the stairs. The higher she went, the narrower they got, from the second floor guest rooms to the third floor servants quarters, until finally the staircase was barely wide enough to accommodate the steamer trunks she knew her great-greats had stored up here in the family pile.

    Still, she wasn’t fully prepared when she finally emerged, dusty but triumphant, in the eaves. The place was full of stuff: dress mannikins, a rocking horse, old student desks, and conveyances of all sorts—ancient baby carriages, bicycles, a unicycle, and a tipsy-looking pogo stick.

    Even the steamer trunks, boasting travel stickers like well-heeled grafitti.

    Sneezing from the dust she’d unleashed, Daffodil lifted the hasp on the first trunk and flung open the lid. Then she sneezed again as the sharp odor of ammonia hit her nostrils.

    What was that? Cat pee? Or something else?

    She didn’t want to find out.

    As she dropped the lid, she spotted an old lantern sitting on a dusty pie-crust table by the dormer. Its engraved brass was dulled from years of neglect. Even in its disuse, it was pretty.

    Daffodil picked up the lamp and gave it a rub with her elbow, revealing a warm, flowing surface. And then a giant whomp of smoke billowed out from its elaborately curved spout, blinding Daffodil and obscuring the corners of the attic.

    When the dust cleared, a tall, bearded, fat man, wearing a turban and some kind of nightgown-thingy sat cross-legged on the floor, yawning.

    Who on earth was he? And what the hell had just happened?

  2. Pingback: Elizabeth: A Stranger Comes to Town – Eight Ladies Writing

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth: “A Recipe for Disaster” – Eight Ladies Writing

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