Writing Prompt: “An Inanimate Object Starts Moving”

Jan - 07 2018 | By

Mom greeted me at the door with a hug. “Oh Joey! I’m so glad you came. Now quick, Kate and Eddie are already here.”

I nod and step into the house, setting my picnic bag on the kitchen counter. “I brought the condiments, like you asked.” Quickly I empty the contents of the bag: ketchup, spicy mustard, relish, mayonnaise, ranch…

I look up. I thought Mom was staring at me, but she is staring at the bottle of Ranch dressing I just set down. For a moment, I see a tear in her eye.

*Of course. There hasn’t been a bottle of ranch dressing in this house since Dad died.

“I’m sorry…” I stammer. “I can put it back…”

“No, Joey. He would want us to have it at our family barbecue. It was always our favorite… and how he’d draw little designs on his burger before eating it…”

Mom tears up again and walks out of the room. I follow her outside and place the condiments on the picnic table. My family greets me, and when my uncle Ben arrives with the potato chips, we drift toward the food table to fill our paper plates. Mom’s hand trembles as she reaches for the ranch dressing and instead grabs the ketchup. She squeezes it onto her burger, and then picks up her plate.

But for the briefest moment, I thought I saw the bottle of ranch rise, tip, and squeeze the outline of a heart in the center of Mom’s hamburger patty.

*I cheated on this one and went 10 minutes instead of five, because I wanted to finish the story. But this is where the actual five minutes ended.

4 thoughts on “Writing Prompt: “An Inanimate Object Starts Moving”

  1. Firestorm111 says:

    “An Inanimate Object Starts Moving”

    I am unnerved by the red painted ceiling, walls, and floor. The way it was splattered around gives an eerie feeling.
    I cannot even feel the cold chains around my wrists anymore, I try to flex my fingers but can’t tell whether they respond.
    From the ground she smiles sweetly at me.
    I stare at the the metal ceiling fan beside me and close my eyes willing someone, anyone to come find me. I resist the urge to let myself relax and allow my arms to be ripped out of their sockets.
    “Very well,” I hear her say almost dismissively through the blur. “I’ll ask someone else.” She walks towards the doorway.
    I feel a sense of dread, and a momentary relief. She has only placed her foot on the first step when she turns back.
    “Oops,” She says with a small giggle. “I almost forgot.” She flips a switch then proceeds up the stairs.
    I hold my breath but after a second of nothing differing I breathe again. That’s when I notice the formerly still fan beside me has begun to spin.

    1. Katherine Garvin says:

      Eww. Love the creepy ambiguity of the end.

  2. Yitzakh says:

    “An Inanimate Object Starts Moving”

    I didn’t mean to blow up the cabin, and I know the gas leak was NOT my fault. I’d only rented my uncle’s hunting cabin in NE Washington because I wanted to leave the world for a while. I wish it hadn’t come so close to having been permanent.

    I’d spent the days before using the old record player to listen through vintage vinyl’s while sitting outside, but it had been sparking lately for some reason, so I quit. The last record I’d put on was a single of the Bee Gees hit, “Staying Alive.”

    That night, when I came inside from the end of a beautiful sunny day, the cabin smelled strange. I couldn’t figure it out for a minute, then I realized there was a gas leak from the green rusty natural gas stove.

    I froze, and in the silence I heard the unmistakable click-whir of the record player. I made it back out the door safely, and took cover behind the tiny aluminum shed.

    I heard it all, “Ah-Ah-Ah, Staying ALIIII – BOOOOOOM!”

    1. Katherine Garvin says:

      Ooh. Creepy record player, I like it.

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