writing prompt

Writing Prompt: Staffing Issues at the Bureau of Imagination

I found this writing prompt on Reddit:  You were a Monster Under the Bed and you were good at it, but some staffing issues have forced you to become an Imaginary Friend.

Of course, the second I saw it I had to start writing!  It’s late here, as you’ll hear me say often, sometimes my job doesn’t leave me with much time for writing.  So I just thought I’d get on with the story!  Hope you enjoy!


Writing Prompt: Staffing Issues at the Bureau of Imagination

“I’m so fired.”

I stared down at my new assignment.  Emily.  A pretty little girl with brown hair and a smattering of freckles across a small nose.  She liked ponies and rainbows and unicorns.  She was currently dreaming about a kitten wearing a pink dress.

How on earth am I supposed to be her friend?!  

Skittering over to the tall mirror I took in my green tentacles, darkly glowing eyes, and fangs.  Fangs!  Are they insane?!  Something between a cough and a cry came out of my mouth.  My version of a laugh.

I glanced back over at Emily.  I should be scaring her right now.  I should be shadowed under her bed and slowly pulling her blanket to the floor.  I’d grab one ankle and give a quick yank to startle her awake.  I’d then wait and let her shiver in bewilderment as she wondered what had awoken her.  Then, when she finally gathered her courage to reach down for her missing blanket, I’d grab her searching hand and give another yank.  She’d probably scream, bringing her parents in for the first of many trips that night.

I sighed and let those fond thoughts go.  For no… today I was to be an Imaginary Friend.  An Imaginary Friend!  I didn’t know what my superiors were thinking!  For a thousand years I had been an MUtB.  Monster Under the Bed was all I knew!  Apparently things were not going well at the Bureau of Imagination though and they were looking to make changes.  Shake things up.  Make kids believe again.  If they wanted to get kids believing again they needed to hire more staff, not keep cutting good monsters!

I snorted then froze when Emily mumbled in her sleep before rolling over.  I forced myself to relax, rolling my tentacles to loosen them up.  MUtBs were meant to be felt, not seen.  The kids needed to feel my breath on their necks, the coldness of my tentacles against their skin, the knowing of something in the room with them.  The knowing, but not the seeing.  The closest an MUtB ever came to being seen was a shadow or the glow of eyes.  Not anymore though, at least not for me.

As an IF, I had to be seen by the assignment.  I shuddered at the thought.  A child hadn’t seen my true self in over a hundred years.  I had miscalculated how deeply asleep a seven year old boy had been and he had seen me on a night of full moon when his room was softly lit.  It had taken him years to fully recover and I had nearly been fired!  Now they wanted me to be seen?

I didn’t know what my boss was thinking, but I had no choice.  Morning would be here soon and I would have to start my new assignment.

I slid back towards Emily’s bed, figuring I may as well get it over with and greet her first thing when she woke up.  I rolled my many eyes.  This was going to go well.

I was just passing a short table with a bunch of art on it when one my tentacles accidentally knocked some papers to the floor.  Some of them stuck to my appendage and lifted them in exasperation.  Well that’s just great!  What kind of friend ruins someone’s hard work the first time they meet them?  

I peered closer at the drawings.  A slow smile spread across my lips, revealing my sharp needlelike fangs.  I glanced in delight at Emily and then back at her artwork.

Drawing after drawing revealed that though she was into ponies, unicorns, and kittens, Emily was also into… monsters!  Monsters were drawn and colored just as much as kittens and rainbows!  And though the monsters were drawn with appropriate amounts of blood and destruction, they were also drawn with butterflies and drinking tea.

And… oh look, that one has tentacles!  Sure a couple tentacles were wrapped around a screaming boy (I’m almost positive it was a bully from school that was mentioned in her file), the other tentacles were giving a little girl a bouquet of daisies.

I lovingly straightened the mess I had made of her artwork, then watched Emily slowly start to waken.  I found myself looking forward to this assignment just as much as when I was an MUtB!  This was going to go well!




I hope you enjoyed this short story!  Please feel free to leave comments below.  I do welcome constructive criticism in the comments, but please give me more than, “I didn’t like it”.  Don’t be afraid to tell me it sucked, but tell me why you think it sucked!  And, of course, if you did like it, I would like to know that too.

And if you liked this writing prompt, and feel inspired to write a short story of your own, please feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to highlight your story in a post of it’s own!


Please don’t mind the mess.

Jessica Signature2


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  1. How cute!

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