Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ten Prompts

Bear with me, folks. I tried writing on a completely different topic earlier tonight, but my thoughts are otherwise preoccupied by work. What's worse is that whatever space I have in my head that's not being taken up by my office schedule is being occupied by various story fragments. (Yes, I'm still trying to write something for any number of venues -- PGS, the Palanca Awards, and so forth.)

So, for the lack of anything else to write about, I give you those bits and pieces that I can fish out. They're all various prompts for mysteries and crime stories of a sort, and I've tried to keep away from supernatural elements wherever I can. There's no guarantee that I won't use any or all of these, but you're free to take them and do as you like.

And yes, my mind really does work like this. Sometimes I fear for myself.

1. The parents of a family with nine children (all of juvenile age or above) are found dead in their own bedroom, both having been killed by means of a sawed-off shotgun. Evidence shows that they were murdered in the middle of the night by someone in the same house, possibly by one of the nine... except that none of the others was awakened by the obvious noise.

2. Murder victims begin appearing in the Ermita area at the rate of one victim a day. Strangely enough, each of the victims is found naked and missing a single body part. The prime suspect is a deranged surgeon who is obsessed with creating his own Frankenstein's Monster... and the situation is turned on its ear when the surgeon produces an ironclad alibi and offers to assist the investigation.

3. A chemistry teacher in a high-profile school is found dead in her own laboratory. There is nothing that clearly indicates a cause of death, but the expression on her face implies that she died of fright. The body is about three days old and is in a state of decomposition... despite the fact that she had attended all her classes for the past week.

4. The head embalmer of a funeral home is found dead in his own workplace, hooked up to a massive container of Formalin. Evidence strongly suggests that he was killed by a corpse that had earlier been wheeled into the same funeral home.

5. Young people between the ages of 16 and 26 are being reported missing at an alarming rate. Further investigation discovers that all of the victims had seen the same movie at the same theater during its limited run... and the last showing of the movie is expected to take place later this evening.

6. An insurance tycoon dies and leaves his fortune to be divided evenly among his children. Tensions flare, however, when not one but three people show up, all taking on the identity of the dead insurance tycoon and laying claim to his entire estate.

7. A prominent politician is found dead on the floor of an infamous brothel that specializes in sado-masochistic sex practices. Evidence, however, not only shows that the politician was not killed at the place where his body was found... but that the man could have masterminded his own kidnapping and execution.

8. Three men ambush a small-time businesswoman while she returns from the bank with her company payroll. Strangely, the payroll money is untouched and completely intact -- from all indications, the robbers only took the engagement ring from her finger. The victim is gravely injured by the attack and resides in intensive care, unable to communicate to the investigators.

9. Scraps of human skin are found attached to the frame of a massive piece of artwork submitted for a national competition, and the artist is nowhere to be found. The next day, one of the competition's three judges -- a national artist and erstwhile critic -- disappears.

10. A writer is found dead at his own study table, in front of an incomplete copy of his newest novel, which may hold clues towards the identity of the killer. As events unfold, however, it becomes clear that the work is heavily plagiarized from another author's existing work -- an author who was also murdered in the exact same fashion.



jeff reiji said...

FYI Sean, I quoted you twice. =)



Sean said...

Reiji: I picked up the first one, but the second is new. Ironically, it looks like I hadn't unsubscribed to the mailing list in question yet -- but I did correct that oversight just now.