You’ll find six paragraphs below taken from the middle of a story. If you’re in the mood for a challenge, copy these paragraphs to a Word document and print it. Put the document in front of you, grab a pen, and close your eyes. Now lower your pen onto the page. That is your sentence. Build a story around it and post it for us to enjoy.
The trail wound up the mountainside. Hardwoods of oak and maple shared space with evergreen spruce and pine as Amelia rode higher. Rocky outcroppings loomed around her, forcing the trail to arc and double back. The rocky boulders made Amelia feel small again, some as high as the trees, with their gray shoulders, roughened by jagged lichens.
The boulders had frightened her as a child. Their looming weightiness had seemed coiled and ready to suddenly unwrap themselves, develop arms, lunge for her, and crush her in their embrace. When younger, she had been able to reassure herself by glancing at her father leading them on his fine gray horse or back at her mother, wrestling skillfully with her rambunctious black mare. Amelia had been fairly certain back then that her parents could prevent the boulders from revealing their threatening hidden selves, but she’d always been relieved when they’d reached the cabin refuge where her great-grandfather Tessor had spent much of his life.
The rocks’ intimidation was a child’s memory. A much more real threat pushed Amelia and her thoughts along. Civil war raged over her empire. Better to be thought dead. Better to disappear until she could figure out what to do. What to do.
Amelia shut down that thought and instead worked on tolerating the frustration that simmered inside as her horse picked its way slowly over the rocky path. She could only hope she had outrun the danger behind her. When a child, she’d accompanied her parents on five of their infrequent trips to Tessor’s one-room hut. Each time she’d rejoiced that guards, advisors, and servants had been left behind at the foot of the mountains. She alone was allowed to accompany the king and queen.
When they wound their way up the mountain trail, her mother’s shoulders always lost a bit of their rigid self-control. Her father grew less quiet, sometimes chatting or humming a tune. Her parents often pointed out landmarks to each other with smiles and stories, letting the memories of a happy past recapture their attention and reinterpret recent troubles.
Amelia remembered how her own heart always soared when the cabin came into view. She’d opened wide to the wish that their mountain visit might work its magic on them all. Soon the stresses and strains of court soon drained away. Her mother and father held out their arms to each other. The war of words, the angry withdrawal, and cold reproaches over hurtful words dissolved like fog beneath warm sun.