Prompted Piece- Always Read the Label

Inspired by a prompt over at Featured Fiction, a blog which has a variety of brilliant and really unique prompts. I would definitely recommend checking out if you fancy writing something different 🙂

It’s unedited again, and was just for a bit of quick fun in a genre I haven’t tried before 😀





Sentence starter: We fed on blind adventure, devouring each course it laid.

Suggested genre: Action-Adventure// Subgenre: Spy-Fiction

Featured Words: Wheel, Camera, Picture

Suggested Theme: On the surface your new assignment is a walk in the park. The fun starts when you dig a little deeper, and discover a secret even you can’t put back in the box.


Always Read the Label


We fed on blind adventure, devouring each course it laid. Well, that was until the course laid out, opened its jaws and swallowed us whole.

My God, what had we uncovered…


Half an hour earlier.

“You know, I really hate guard dogs.” Max groaned, doubling over and resting his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

I chuckled. “Yeah, well, I don’t think they like you much either.” Swiping my thumb across the screen of my iPhone, I noted the clock speeding down its blazing green numbers quicker than I would have liked. “At least they didn’t sniff us out. Come on, we only got half an hour before Coltan gets back.”

Max nodded, straightened himself out and then we both dashed through the formal gardens, the once lush green foliage of the topiary hedges dyed an inky black by the midnight sky.

Coltan Hunter, tycoon and billionaire. Two traits I didn’t like in a man; both tended to turn anybody, male or female, into a greedy, manipulative jerk with no thought of others. But his personality wasn’t my problem, his monopoly over the vitamin pill market was.

Corporate espionage had failed when the company I was hired by couldn’t find anything on Coltan’s new wonder drug and their infiltrators had been discovered. So, in the end, they’d resorted to real espionage, hiring me and Max to break into Coltan’s manor house and take a peak in his most private office, where there had to be something on the pill everyone had suddenly gone crazy for.

Dressed in a rather cliché, black, form-fitting suit, I could dodge the laser alarms and pressure plates with ease. Coming to the towering white stonewall of the house, I leapt upwards, grabbing onto a drainpipe, which sprouted from the ground and all the way to the top floor and our goal.

Max grunted as he followed up behind me, shuffling his muscled bulk up the- surprisingly sturdy- pipe. “I really hate drain pipes.”

“You don’t like anything, Max,” I said, shuffling my feet up before attempting to the same with my hands, my knuckles whitening as I gripped on for all I was worth. “Did you even consider what would be involved in becoming a spy?”

“Yes,” Max said, and as I glanced over my shoulder I caught a flash of a grin.

I rolled my eyes. “Apart from the women and money?”

His grin fell.

The window was ajar when we reached it, no bars or apparent alarms to hinder us any further. Clambering inside, I took out my can of spray, the contents hissing out of it as I pressed the button on the top.

No lasers.

I frowned. Something didn’t feel right.

Max didn’t have the reservations I did, flicking a triumphant smile my way before heading further into the shadowed room. “Sometimes we get lucky, it’s like spinning a fortune wheel and seeing where it lands,” he said with a shrug, after I explained my worries over there being little security.

I sighed and stared about the room, trying to settle my building nerves. It was a spacious office, with bookshelf-lined walls, a carpet so plush my boots sank into it, and a giant mahogany desk sitting pride of place in the centre.

As Max shuffled through the papers splayed on the desk and whipped open drawers to investigate inside, I trailed around the room, still searching for hidden tripwires. Between the bookshelves, hung at regular intervals, were photos and diplomas; the photos were of a balding Coltan posing with a variety of high-up officials, and the diplomas detailed the many degrees he’d accumulated from various universities.

“Weren’t we supposed to find the ingredient list for Coltan’s new pill?” Max asked from behind me. I tore my eyes away from a picture, Coltan’s captured image leering out from the frame, and nodded at Max.

He was hunched over the desk, a manila folder in hand and a brow lining his chiselled face. He thinned his lips. “I think we just found something so much worse.”

“What?” I huffed and traipsed to his side, conscious of the bleeping in my pocket, my iPhone yelling at me that we had only minutes before Coltan returned from whatever charity function he’d been attending that night.

But the timer was forgotten as soon as I glanced down at the folder, the stark white papers blazing with red ink.

I couldn’t even take a gasp of shocked breath as I stared at it. “My god…” I breathed. “This isn’t a vitamin pill.” I flicked my gaze up to Max, his face drained of colour.

The white paper and red words were lost as a streaking pain pierced my side.

I hadn’t even heard the guards open the door, but I felt their bullets slice through my body. Slumping to the ground, I gritted my teeth to bear the searing pain like fire in my lungs. I stumbled to find the camera on my phone, desperate to send a photo of the file to someone, anyone!

But it was too late.

The last thing I remember was the rich carpet hugging me as I spluttered my final breath.


13 thoughts on “Prompted Piece- Always Read the Label

  1. Gripping stuff, Mishka, and I sooo want to know what that pesky little pill actually was. I enjoyed the relationship between these two men, it stood out, as did the lovely descriptions and the tense atmosphere of the piece. I’m so impressed you weaved in so many of the prompts too. Thanks for your contribution – a thoroughly enjoyable read 🙂

    • Harliqueen says:

      It was such a brilliant prompt that I had to write something, even if I hadn’t done the genre before 😀

      Thank you so much for the kind words 🙂 It’s really nice getting back to writing prompted short pieces.

  2. Reblogged this on Featured Fiction and commented:
    I don’t know how she manages to weave so many of the prompts into one story, but Mishka has done it again. Check out this piece for week 23.

  3. Showing how to do a prompt response with style! Very impressive to weave so many of the parts into the story. Brilliant atmosphere and descriptions too! 🙂

  4. Cassie says:

    Argh!!! What did they uncover? Will they both die?
    I want more *pouting like a toddler over here. Great & gripping short story.

  5. Aether says:

    For a genre you don’t really have much experience in, you really did well here. Nice to see you creating short stories again.

  6. I love this. I am desperate to know what was inside that little pill. Also the underlying commentary about the tyranny of the tablet (the kind you swallow including their sales pitch, not the techy kind) world. Thank you for creating such a treasure from my sentence starter. 🙂

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