A writing prompt

Here's a little piece that I wrote after posting a writing prompt in my classroom at F2K. I'm an intern in the Colin R. Onstad room for our wonderful mentor, maruxa, and yes, maruxa is not supposed to be capitalized :)

The first week of F2K is orientation and introduction, so mentors and interns often post optional writing prompts to keep their students from going bonkers until the first lesson is posted. The prompt is one I found online, but because this is F2K and many people submit and critique the work, we have to keep each entry to a maximum of 500 words. Personally I think that's great practice for a writer. It forces you to think carefully about your words and sentences. No fluff :)

Here's the prompt and my response to it:

Write about nature and include the following words: hard drive, stapler, phone, car, billboard.

Reclaimed by Josh Thornbrugh

Their trek through the forest had taken them the better part of the day.  Ben and Philip knew they were running out of time; the sun was already dipping down below the mountains. They trudged on in silence, intent on their task. Neither spoke until they came to the first landmark that Grandpa had told them about.

“It’s bigger than I thought it would be,” said Ben, craning his neck.

“And it’s right where Grandpa said it would be.” Phillip studied the strange object towering above them.  Vines wound round the post and covered part of the rectangle that sat above it. “What did Grandpa say it was called?”

Ben scratched his head. “A billboard, I think. Look, it has a picture of a talkie…er…a phone on it.”

“Why do you suppose it’s so big?”

“Grandpa said it had to be big so a car could see it from the…highway.” Ben looked back to the west beyond the meadow. “There!” He pointed to a barren stretch of ground that divided the fields. “That’s where the road was.”

Ben took off, tramping the tall grass down as he ran toward the road. “Come on, Phillip!”

His brother didn’t waste any time. Phillip fell in line behind Ben, tucking the leather satchel under his arm to keep it from flapping open. He didn’t want to lose the only artifact they’d found so far, a red Swingline stapler. He didn’t know what it was for, but he loved how it looked. After a bit of polishing, the bright red surface gleamed.

“Wait up, Ben.”

“Hey, look. You can still see some of the old road.” Ben stopped at the edge of the broken surface.

Phillip stood next to him. “So this is what the cars drove on to get to the big village?”



“Grandpa says they were called cities, Phillip.”

“Oh.” Phillip kicked a rock into a crack in the road. “Looks like the grass is taking over.”

Ben nodded. “Yep. We should follow the road. Be easier to find the depot.”

The boys jogged down the road, skipping and jumping over the cracks and holes in the surface. Wildflowers jutted up here and there, doing their part to reclaim the land. A gentle breeze flowed through the meadows, bending the tall grass like waves in the ocean and kissing their noses with sweet, earthy scents.

When they crested a rise in the road, they both quickened their pace.

“There it is, Phillip. It’s the depot.”

“Cool.” Phillip ran ahead of Ben.

Phillip reached the entrance first. He stopped and stared into the darkness inside.

“What’s the matter, Phillip?”

“Looks kind of scary in there.” His voice faltered. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Ben put an arm around his brother. “Don’t worry. Grandpa gave me a flashed light so it won’t be so scary.”

Phillip relaxed a bit. “That’s good. Now what did Grandpa ask us to find?”

“A hard drive for his apple.”

Phillip laughed. “Grandpa’s weird.”


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