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It's a trick. Get an axe.
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Discussion Starter #1
Back in January, I observed a Special Education high school classroom with an absolutely awesome teacher. His students participate in a daily writing challenge generated by a website at www.seventhsanctum.com. I have shamelessly ripped off his idea to use with my kids at home this summer as another way to keep our brains from getting rusty. Today we generated our random challenges to choose from, and narrowed the story elements to only two. I would humbly like to share my work with y'all. The challenge/elements I chose were these:

'The story must have a grave robber in it. The story must have a set of stairs appear in the middle.'

Here goes:

Cold rain pounded the old man's shoulders as he continued shoveling mud from the waist-deep hole in the fresh grave. A wealthy heiress had been laid to rest here, and he knew her lifeless body would be adorned with expensive jewels. Decades of a dishonest living had hardened his conscience into an existence of not caring that he desecrated countless final resting places to get what he wanted. The spirits of the dead, if they roamed the graveyard, did not affect him here.

Muscles burning, the old man barely slowed his pace in his drive to strike the top of her casket. Finally, his shovel scraped solid metal beneath. An angry downpour offered the only resistance to his ill-gotten treasure as rain sluiced down his whiskered cheeks and tattered coat while he dug mud from around the heiress's coffin.

At last he tore open the lid and exposed the corpse to nature's raging protest. The old man wasted no time stripping the woman of her shiny bracelets and earrings while the earth of her grave poured over the white satin in her last sanctuary.

Smiling at his gains, the man leaned over to take the last of what she never offered, a luxurious diamond necklace and ruby pendant that her husband had given her on their anniversary just months before his own death. Nearly giddy with the certainty of the many thousands these pieces would bring him, the thief reached around the lady's neck to unclasp the jewelry, and was frozen when a flash of lightning illuminated her wide eyes staring up at him; rain streaming from them like tears.

Truly spooked, he gasped and leapt up, his boots slipping on the wet metal which sent him crashing back against the wall of her grave. Too stunned to move for several seconds, his eyes were glued to her body that faced the stormy sky. When his wits returned, he clawed his way from her resting place and struck out across the landscape cluttered with weathered tombstones.

A set of crumbling, concrete stairs offered his way to salvation, an escape from the buried souls awaiting his judgment. The old man scrambled up the first few steps and stumbled on the fourth, a mistake that sent him sailing backward to a hard landing on the soaked grass. He broke his right leg on impact, and pain spiraled through every part of his body, forcing the air from his lungs and leaving spots in his vision.

The old man was helpless, left to lie there facing the dark storm with the same stark expression he had seen from the grave only moments before, when several pairs of bony hands closed around him, holding his body tight to the ground, sending fresh waves of nausea rippling through him. His desperate effort to break free was futile, his cries for help unheard, except for the woman he had violated, who against all odds was now tightening her grip around his throat from behind. He could not see her, but somehow knew it was her just the same, and died in pure terror, choking on the air that was squeezed from him while trying to scream an apology for all he had done.

The next morning dawned calm and cloudly, still shaken by the storm. A caretaker began his morning patrol, looking to clear any fallen branches or damaged tombstones from the night before. His eyes grew wide with shock when he spotted the man at the bottom of the stairs and rushed over to help. But no help could be given. The old man lay frozen in terror, strangled by a diamond necklace still wrapped around his neck.

Ha! That was fun. Thanks for reading. :)
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