Seattle Writing Prompts are intended to spark ideas for your writing, based on locations and stories of Seattle. Write something inspired by a prompt? Send it to us! We're looking to publish writing sparked by prompts.
Also, how are we doing? Are writing prompts useful to you? Could we be doing better? Reach out if you have ideas or feedback. We'd love to hear.
I love the Space Needle, but I kind of love it more like it is right now, under construction. They're updating the place, making the attraction more modern. The restaurant will have a glass floor on the rotating part, and the wire safety around the top will be replaced with clear glass, as well. It's all part of this $100 million renovation to keep the landmark popular for years to come.
During construction a 28,000 pound scaffolding was lifted into place. I think that scaffolding is so cool looking. It looks wrong, which is why I like it. Being so used to seeing the correct Space Needle for so long, to suddenly look up and see it altered somehow gives it an eerie feel.
That platform suspended beneath the observation area and restaurant? It looks like it was hacked into place by a group who took over the needle post-apocalypse, and are holding it as the high ground. They needed more room, so they added a story up top. Below, warring clans break Seattle into no-pass zones. But up high, one group holds the needle, and they're not going to share.
So, let's imagine a future where this is what's happening. And let's imagine that there is one clan that was eager to dislodge the high-minded needle people...
She had given him a book, an old paperback missing the cover: Romeo and Juliet. She said "it was the most romantic thing the before people made." From his bunk in the needle, he read it over and over, and remembered her face, when he encountered her on the raid. How she hadn't cut him with her knife — she had paused for just a second after seeing him — and he hadn't cut her with his, either. How they saw each other and felt something so electric that it could have cost either of them their life. Then, how they found ways to meet when they could. When he was on duty, say, and she could come and they would go into the old gift shop, now filled with generators and equipment, where there was a private place they could spend some time. And now, how he was finally going to do it when most people were asleep. He was going to escape by the stairs and join her and they were going to leave this ruined city to go live in the mountains.
Nobody could come up with a plan, and it was making Clan Leader Donovan very angry. "The needle people come down and raid our stores, and take it back to the sky! My daughter has run off with one of their pups. And none of you useless fucks has come up with a way to penetrate their defenses!" It was towards the back, the voice came. "I have a way." She stood, a 12 year old. Donovan's youngest daughter. "I have a way, but it will require patience." The men among them started laughing — how could a girl have a plan that could work? A young girl like this? But Donovan knew his daughter, and he shushed them. He knew how her mind worked, and whatever she was thinking, he wanted to hear it. "I got the idea from this book my sister used to have," she said.
Guard duty at night was always boring. She was at the top of the staircase, which meant anybody that got to her had already moved through three other guards, and got through the armored door. She could hear the guards below on the walkie-talkie, chatting about nothing interesting. But then a flash of light from down below. Something happening downstairs? But nothing from the guards down there, everything must be fine. No doubt, it was just a weird reflection. She closed her eyes for just a moment — something she allowed herself on rare occasion, a kind of test to make see if she could keep awake when she was tired — and she remembered the first time she was able to try pancakes. And she realized just how hungry she was at this moment, before she slipped off to sleep.
Sometimes his dad would take him to the roof, and they'd sit on the slope. "They filmed a movie up here once, in the before times, a long time ago. A man fell off the roof, was chased." They looked over the bay, the water lapping at the second story of the buildings by the bay. "Bands played up here once, they'd set fireworks off every year. People would visit from all over." He'd heard all these stories before, of course. "But I brought you up here because you're old enough to know the truth, now. About how we took this needle, and kept it. And about the biggest vulnerability we have." He looked at his dad, and nodded. "What do you think that is?" his dad asked. "Uh," he thought. "Water?" His father smiled and nodded. Proud that his son could figure it out.
Water was the biggest problem. They could run pumps all the day, but they had to keep it in cisterns at the base, where they could scavenge and collect it, or run it through the desalinator if it came from the bay. When they all started getting sick, at first they figured it was a bug going around, but after the first one died they knew it was something else. But they'd always figured the water would be cut off and they'd be held hostage — that's why they guarded the lines so well. They never thought the water would be poisoned, and now they had to come up with a new strategy for how to survive up there on the top of the needle.