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Concept Art Writing Prompt: Fish Among The Trees

Illustration for article titled Concept Art Writing Prompt: Fish Among The Trees

In this week's writing prompt, twisting tree trunks and girls in dresses coexist with giant, luminous fish. Tell us what kind of world this happens in and what is going on in this illustration.


"Dance in the Forest" is by artist kakotomirai, who has both a portfolio site and a deviantART gallery. As always, we invite you to write your own story inspired by the image above and post it in the comments.

We first spotted this illustration on r/ImaginaryLeviathans.

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The smell of the taco truck was making Sal's mouth water. He knew he had about twenty minutes to get his food, eat and head back to work. Plenty of time.

"Hey, Mr. Bradshaw. The usual?"

Sal walked up to the ordering window and nodded at the young man counter . "You know me. Also, can I get a -"

The world went black.

A roaring noise rushed into Sal's ears as he felt himself being pulled forward. As if a rope was extending from his chest and someone one the other end of it was yanking as hard as they could. He tried to scream but no sound came out. He tried to flail but there was no floor, walls or ceiling to bounce against.

Then a moment later light came.

The ground found Sal's feet. Sound came rushing in. Birds chirping. Insects buzzing. The smell of grass and wet wood followed.

Sal began to hyperventilate. Gulping air out of panic as he spun around.

He was in a forest. A forest that he had never seen before.

He took a step back trying to take everything in. The place was vast. He could barely see the sky through the canopy of trees. He looked down at his feet. They were bare when only a second ago he had wingtips on. He noticed his clothing had changed as well. Going from a suit and tie to what looked like a burlap robe.

"What the sam hell...?"

"Oh, my God, it worked!"

Sal looked up. There on a tree stump in front of him was a girl. A girl he knew.

His sister.


The girl hopped off the stump. She was dressed in a similar robe as Sal was wearing. Only hers was made out of silk and flowed around her like a spider's web.

She clapped her hands like a giddy child, "It worked! It worked! The spell worked!"

"Spell? Rebecca..."

"Hush. Hush. Hush. Let me explain. You know how last year I took some time off to go backpacking through Europe?"

Sal was silent.

Rebecca did not wait for a further response. "Well, big bro, I found a coven of witches. They were actually Australian witches on vacation too but still witches none the less. Fastforward a few months, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah and now I am part of the coven. And this is my first big spell casting. It's a summoning and a world construct!"

Sal blinked.

And blinked.

And blinked.

"I am not standing in L.A. in front of a food truck any more, am I?"

"That's where you were?" She slid a hand across her forehead in a mock gesture of relief. "Phew! That's good to know. I knew it was around lunch time in California and you are like clockwork. I thought this would be the perfect time to show you this spell. Any later or earlier and I was worried you would be in traffic. Nothing like summoning your soul here and letting your body crash over there."

"Wait, this is just my soul? This is the ghost version of me?"Sal poked himself. He felt solid.

Rebecca reached out and poked her brother in the belly. "Despite you being able to do that, yeah, your body is standing outside of a food truck. Probably drooling all over the place. Looking like a zombie."

"Jesus," Sal groaned. "Someone's going to either steal my wallet or call an ambulance thinking that I am having a stroke."

Rebecca shrugged. "It's L.A.. Probably both."

"And what do you call this world, Rebecca?" Sal gestured all around. He jumped back. "Holy shit."

Two gigantic fish swam by. Their scales shined like full length mirrors. Their mouth open and closed like draw bridges. One of them cocked its head at Rebecca.

"Good morning, Ms. Bradshaw." The fish's voice echoed like an elephant's trumpet.

"Good morning, Mr. Oscar!" Rebecca yelled back with a wave.

Sal watched them swim deeper into the forest and vanish into the shadows. He turned back to his sister. "You created them?"

Rebecca shrugged again. "I created everything here."

"Why Godzilla fish?"

"Why not?"

Sal shook his head in disbelief. "Rebecca, it's a good thing that you have a hobby. And it's good thing my brain shut down the moment I was swept in here because I would probably be having a seizure right about now from overstimulation. I mean, Jesus Christ. A witch. My sister is a witch who summoned me to show off her forest world with big ass cod in it."

"Actually, they're non-descript fish..."

"Whatever, little sis. The point is, I need to get home."

Rebecca frowned. She started at her feet. "You're not proud of me?"

"Proud of you?"

"I created this whole thing. Sure, it's a tiny pocket realm. But still. It's my pocket realm. And I was able to bring you here. That counts for something, right?"

"Fine, good, gold stars all around."

Rebecca sniffed.

"Oh, no, no, no," Sal grabbed his sister by her shoulders. "Don't cry. I am sorry if I am being a dick. Look, I don't mean to but I wish you would have given me a head's up on being a witch. A text message. A tweet. Instagram it. This's all too much."

Tears began to line the young woman's eyes. "Am I scaring you?"

Sal sighed. He was such a sucker when it came to his sister crying. He pulled her closer and hugged her. "No. You could never scare me. You could grow three heads, a crown of horns and cloven hooves and I would still think you were adorable. Look, how about you send me back and we meet up face to face. Where are you, anyway?"


"Japan?" Sal made a face. "Yeah, yeah, I can move something around my calendar this week end and fly over to see you." He pulled back and looked at his sister. "Would you like that?"

"Or I can get the girls to teleport me to your house."

"Your coven can do that?"

"We save so much on gas that way."

"Okay, then. How about meeting me for dinner tonight. I'll make lasagna."

"Veggie lasagna?"

"Veggie lasagna, it is."

Rebecca began to dance on the balls of her feet. "Then I'll see you around eight. Oh, we have so much to catch up on."

Sal laughed. "I bet we do."

Rebecca smiled. "Bye." She jumped up and kissed her brother on the forehead.

The world went black again.

A moment later Sal blinked. The sun was back. The smell of tacos was back.

"Mr. Bradfshaw!" Carlos the owner of the taco truck had Sal by the shoulders and was shaking him.

Sal raised his hands. "I'm good. I'm good. I'm good." He checked his pocket. His wallet was still there. "I'm very good."

"Are you okay? What happened?"

Looking around, Sal saw a small crowd had gathered around him with extreme curiosity. A flush of red came to his face. "Power cat nap. Latest yuppie thing. Sorry about that."

Carlos let go of the man. "I was about call 911."

"Yeah....glad you didn't....look, let's act like this never happened. Just give me my usual, please. Actually, make that one taco instead of two. My sister is coming into town tonight. It's going to be a long dinner."