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Iara's Writing Corner-Prompt Challenge!

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Iara Warriorfeather:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (sorry George Lucas), TypingWithPaws had a short story challenge posted here...

Taking a cue from this, I'd like you to challenge my writing skills! Starting with a one sentence or one word prompt you provide, I will write a furry themed short story around it and post it here. Only one sentence or one word prompts will be accepted, not both!

Thanks for reading, and I hope I will get some interesting responses!  :D

Completed Stories-In Order of Appearance
Trust is not a scalar
Beware the whispers, for they whisper lies
Humans Encounter Furries
The loud explosion jarred him awake and nearly out of his tent
Through the Arctic
I found a tail/it's so weird when you do that
He shattered his femur...

Works in Progress

Ok, here's your first word:  bakery

Iara Warriorfeather:

An icy cold wind whipped through the busy streets. He tugged on his scarf, unfurled behind him like the flags on a sailboat’s mast. He pulled his overcoat tighter around him, and kept on, making his way past dozens of others in a hurry to get to work. His hot breath curled around him as he walked briskly. He noted typical city furs—well dressed foxes, scrounging rats huddled on the sidewalk near a lit trashcan for warmth, warbling pigeons fluffing up to prevent the cold from seeping into their skin. For miles the same furry folk scowled and shuffled past, unable to meet his eyes or give him a pleasant hello.

He hated the big city, although he’d lived in one for a quarter of his life. He laid back his ears and snarled a little as the cold wind made its way to his ochre spotted fur beneath his winter wardrobe. He hated feeling as cold inside as it was outside—not one fur was warm and approachable, not one wanted to know who he was much less how he was feeling. A raccoon stumbled into him as he made his way past a hot dog cart—“Hey! Watch where yer goin,’ will ya?!” the raccoon barked. He lowered his gaze and kept moving forward, not even bothering to apologize anymore—it seemed like big city furs enjoyed being cold, cruel and self-serving. That, and he disliked the fear in their eyes when he looked at them.

He was a jaguar, far from his beautiful, rugged villa, lost in an urban jungle which seemed all the more vicious as the years went by. Not once had he felt accepted and very little kindness was given him. He sighed, keeping up his pace lest he get howled at again by his boss. He’d been chewed out a lot at work, especially as the holidays approached—time off for others meant double the work for him.

It was then, when he longed for even a taste of home that a scent wafted on the breeze, tickling his whiskers and making him pause his reckless, frantic pace. The other furs on the street milled around him, in just as much of a hurry to scuttle into their cubicles and type away. He lifted his head a little, taking in the scent again. He closed his eyes.

Bread. Freshly baked bread! His heart nearly skipped a beat. How long has it been since I even tasted it?

He noted a side street he rarely took, due to the construction near the area. He walked through the crowd, fighting a way toward the virtually empty side street. The scent of the bread grew stronger, mingled with cream cheese, frosting, and warm chocolate melting on a stove. His tail twitched eagerly and his eyes lit up in anticipation.

He stood at last in front of an adorable bakery, with a giant pink frosted cupcake sign over the door. In the center of the sign was the name of the bakery—Cupcake Sprinkles Tasty Treats. On either side of the bakery were dilapidated businesses—to the left was an old printing company, to the right an abandoned tailor. A few mice and rats scurried past, but no other furs were in sight. He hesitated at the door, looking at his watch. I have just enough time to grab a bite to eat…

He gently pushed open the door. The chiming of tiny bells announced his presence to the busy bakers inside.

The bakers stopped their work as he entered, shaking his fur and reveling in the warmth inside.

Mice. The bakers were all mice. His smile didn’t appease them as he approached the counter. He unwound his scarf and opened his overcoat, batted around his pockets for his wallet.
The bakers scurried into the kitchen, their hushed squeals belying their terror. This was a big cat, and mice were doubly afraid of big cats as they were housecats. They huddled together in the center of the kitchen, their smocks and frocks coated in crumbs, powdered sugar, and pawprints laced with frosting of all colors.

“What do we do?” one wailed. “Where did he come from?”

“We can’t let him eat here! He’ll frighten our kittens!” another chimed in, holding her shivering little ones close.

“We should talk to Cupcake, she’ll know what to do!” one courageous mouse suggested. The others nodded, their whiskers quivering in approval.

A baker poked his quivering nose over the counter, his eyes wild with fright. “We’ll…we’ll be out in a minute!” he squeaked. The jaguar smiled despite his sinking heart, expecting this reaction by now.

“Take your time,” he sighed. He grabbed a copy of the local paper and took a seat by the window, watching the empty side street begin to fill with city furs. He read a few dull articles slowly, peeking over the top every so often at the nerve-wracked hosts.

Hoofbeats clomped on the tile floor. The jaguar looked up, and set down his paper.

A beautiful pastel pink unicorn, all smiles, reached out her hooved paw to shake his. She had a blue, lavender and pale yellow mane and tail, and sky blue eyes. Her apron was in the shape of the cupcake sign outside, with the same coloration. Her nametag was glossy silver, shimmering in the morning sun.

“Hi, I’m Cupcake Sprinkles,” she beamed. “Welcome to our shop! It’s unusual to have visitors, much less exotics like yourself stroll in these days!” They shook paws. He noted how strong her grip was, despite her diminutive stature—she wasn’t much taller than her employees. She leaned into him to whisper, “Pardon my employees…they tend to freak out when we have visitors. They mean no harm, and will warm right up to ya once we put ‘em to work!” She winked at the last part, and he grinned. “What would ya like?”

“Just a croissant and some hot tea, please,” he grunted. The unicorn wrote his order quickly on a bright pink notepad. Her head chef, the male mouse the jaguar had encountered before, snatched the order and bounded into the kitchen, calling it out.

“Make yourself at home,” the unicorn nickered. She turned about and went into her office, shutting the door behind her gently.

The jaguar returned his attention to the rest of the bakery. It was clean, warm and cozy, with plenty of chairs and tables. It reminded him of an old time soda shop, and he figured it was renovated from one. The floors were teal green and the walls a bright pink, like the cupcake on the sign outside. Before he could take in any more details, the head chef arrived with his meal.

“Thank you, so much,” the jaguar murmured, and handed the mouse a ten dollar bill.

The mouse’s eyes went wide. No one had tipped him in ages.

“Sir, would you like change?” he suggested. The jaguar smiled before he sank his teeth into the hot bread.

“No, go ahead, keep it.”

The mouse fled into the kitchen, wriggling in joy.

The jaguar sighed. The bread was just the right texture, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. It melted into butter the moment it touched his tongue. He wiggled his tail in approval. He ate it slowly, drinking his jasmine tea and savoring the silence. He was surprised how quietly the mice worked, and thought it a nice touch. So often his workplace and home were interruptions waiting to happen—bright lights, yelling, papers in his face, noisy neighbors, and the train rattling by on the tracks. But here, in the warmth and quiet of the bakery, he felt…comfortable. He felt he could be himself again.

He finished his croissant, and the dregs of his tea. He sighed. He began to bundle himself up, preparing for the cold, stressful day ahead, masking his true self once more.

Suddenly, he felt a tiny tug on the corner of his overcoat. He ignored it at first, and then the tug was more insistent.

He looked down, locating the source of the tug.

A tiny mouse, very young and a soft gray, held out a big cupcake in her pink dainty paws.

“Mister, thank you for stopping by our bakery. We don’t get a lot of…of…”

Her mom, a slightly larger gray mouse standing behind her, whispered the word in her ear.

The little mouse continued, “…business and we really, really like you. So here! Enjoy!” She scurried off into the kitchen with her mom in tow, leaving the cupcake in his paw.

He stared at the cupcake, which was clearly crafted by the little mouse, with its multicolored, messy frosting and crumbly cake. Tears filled his eyes as he remembered being a cub, running along the streets he once called home to the local bakery, and then running back again to the villa before his parents woke up at dawn.

I’ve always been on the run…

He continued to stare at the cupcake. The bakers poked their muzzles past the kitchen, glancing curiously at him.

The jaguar stared out the window of the bakery glumly. He then took a swipe of the frosting and sucked it off his pawpad gingerly.

The little mouse wiggled her nose in excitement.

Why should I go on being miserable, when I have the choice to be happy, even for a moment?

“It’s funny,” he murmured, more to himself than the bakery. “Being here…reminds me it’s okay…to slow down once in a while and enjoy myself. You accept me…for me. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” the little mouse peeped. Her eyes grew wide as he gulped down half the cupcake all at once. She giggled, and scurried off into the kitchen to make more.

The jaguar decided spending a little longer at the bakery that day won’t be such a bad thing…because he felt that by accepting himself at last, and leaving room for fun, he really did belong in the big city after all.

Since Kobuk gave you your first word, I'll give you your first sentence.

Try "Trust is not a scalar.".  If that sentence doesn't make a lot of sense to you, I can elaborate on the meaning behind that choice of prompt (I deliberately omit it here so that you have the option and opportunity to interpret it however you wish).

(On a side note, you ninja'd me with your response to Kobuk.)

Iara Warriorfeather:
Sorry about the ninja, RedYoshi!  :-[ I will work on a story around that sentence asap.  (:


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