Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s post is brought to you by Val Muller, author of The Scarred Letter, the YA reboot of Hawthorne’s original. This month, you can purchase the novel, or any other Barking Rain Press title, for half off: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/ .
Today’s prompt is a challenging one: it must include “a unicorn hunter,” “a planet inhabited mostly or entirely by cats,” and “a glitter gun.”
By Val Muller
Lizzy shifted in her seat, and all eyes turned to her. Of course she would be given the squeaky desk. She froze in place, and eyes returned to their papers. Lizzy sighed. Taking the SAT was bad enough; having to sit perfectly still for a bazillion hours made it that much worse.
To think of all she could be doing with this time—and money. Going to the movies. Taking a hike. Daydreaming. Doodling. Sleeping in. Not that she couldn’t daydream or doodle here, it’s just that Mom wouldn’t approve.
“No daydreaming this time,” she said. “You need a higher score for college.”
Last time Lizzy had done fairly well—until the fifth section. Then, she got lost in a daydream, doodled her way across the test booklet, and argued with the testing coordinator when she wasn’t allowed to take her beautiful drawings out of the room with her. Something about testing security.
The testing proctor was finished speaking, and an electronic timer started its sadistic countdown at the front of the room. Might as well get started. Lizzy turned to the first reading passage. It was some kind of memoir, no doubt followed by impossible questions:
On Saturday mornings, the neighborhood was plagued by caterwauling children. They must be rehearsing to be future circus clowns or…
Lizzy chuckled to herself. Caterwauling. She had no idea what the word meant, but the images in her head amused her. Before she realized it, her pencil was drawing in the margins of the passage. It was a tiny planet—like the one The Little Prince lived on—and it was inhabited entirely by cats.
She drew them with long, flowing manes—the kind horses would have. And some had horns, like unicorns. There was the Head Cat, a prince. No, a princess, she decided as she drew a bow.
Her mother’s voice echoed in her mind, redirecting her to the passage:
…or Lords or Misrule. Spawn of the working class, the kids would make their way down the hall to the front stoop below, where they would disrupt my sacrosanct space, their untamed forms showing through my gossamer curtains…
Lizzy chuckled again. Gossamer. She had no idea what that meant, either, but she liked the sound of it. Gossamer. Goose. Glitter. Another chuckle. The proctor raised an eyebrow, and Lizzy concentrated on her drawing, adding a glitter gun.
Not the kind of gun one might use when crafting. No. This one actually shot glitter. It was shaped like those vintage 1950s ray guns, the kind that looked like it belonged on The Jetsons. But it shot glitter, which she speckled all over her page.
But she couldn’t just have a glitter gun without a shooter. Who, on a world inhabited by cats, would be carrying a glitter gun? The passage provided her response.
…And yet I couldn’t leave them alone. I couldn’t go into the back rooms and ignore them. Their very presence, irascible. Like a hunter, I stalked them…
Ah! So it was a hunger, then. A unicorn hunter, no doubt, drawn to the mysterious planet by the strange horned cats. How disappointed he would be as he realized his targets were cats and not unicorns. Would he shoot them anyway?
Lizzy smiled as she watched her hand draw the answer for her. Before long, the entire passage was covered in doodles, a planet of cats exploding in a ball of glitter in the First Great War of the Unicorn Hunter. He never had a chance against all those claws.
A shrill noise at the front of the classroom sounded, calling time for the first passage. Lizzy looked at her paper and sighed. She’d read about a paragraph of the passage and hadn’t answered a single question. Her scores on this test would be no better than the last. Mom would be so mad.
Parents and colleges—they never appreciate creativity when they see it!, she thought as she flipped to the math section, taking inspiration for her next doodle of the Planet Isosceles and the race of creatures called the Pi.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
RC Bonitz: http://www.rcbonitz.com
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: http://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/