Clarion Call #8: Star Hound

What does the phrase “star hound” call to mind?  Don’t think too hard; don’t judge; just write until the words stop, and share the results.

Feel free to go back and look at older prompts, as well; you are more than welcome to try your hand at the “expired” ones if you find them interesting.  By the way, if you find one sort of prompt more inspiring than the others, or have an idea for a different type, feel free to email me at blog@the(x) [with the (x) replaced by the name of your favorite writing workshop] and let me know!

There are only two rules for Clarion Calls:

  1. If you choose to try the assignment, do not read the comments section before you post yours.
  2. This is a critique-free zone, and that includes critique of your own offering.  Save your analytical skills for Mondays with Lynda.

With that in mind, I invite all of you to give it a try.  At the end of the year, I have a special honor in mind for the person who most often posts an answer to our weekly Call.  So have fun, and stay inspired!


17 thoughts on “Clarion Call #8: Star Hound

  1. In swift and sombre silence, the ship slices through the soundless seas of space.


    It has been weeks by their reckoning. The vast emptiness of nothingness that sprawls before them does little to assure the growing sense of failure. Yet he stands. There amidst the busy and bustling bedlam at the bridge, he stands:

    A rock, immovable.
    An avalanche, inexorable.
    A mountain, eternal.

    The crew look up to him for guidance, for direction, for any word of encouragement in their seemingly unending manhunt.

    Yet he still stands. Alone, eyes locked and piercing forward for his prey. And the crew wait. Terrified.

    But the hunt presses on, he is the bloodhound of the emperor, and nothing can escape him. All know the reputation of the hound of the stars, and if not in his words of cheer, it is in this iron clad image that they take solace.

    And the ship presses onwards.

    No idea if it makes much sense. But the “star hound” brings to mind some sort of grizzled and battered veteran of some intergalactic war of sorts. And similar to how the dog on heraldic arms symbolizes loyalty, I imagine the “star hound” to be an officer of extremely high caliber and loyalty to whatever cause he serves.

    But that’s just me.

    1. A perfect example of how an ambiguous phrase can free the mind to go on its own path. Welcome, and thanks for sharing with us!

  2. Glynn Douglass, star hound, stalked the lonely moor, back hunched under his thick woolen coat. Head down, his keen eyesight peered into the dark shadows beneath the gorse searching for the faint shimmering of fallen stars. Moonlight silvered his wild hair. His gift for finding the stars was legend. Some said he smelled them, some said he was part star himself. No one really knew who he was or where he called home, only that his solitary figure could be seen each night, rain or clear, searching for the magical souls of the stars on the moor.

      1. Thanks. I flashed on the story of the starcatchers with the prompt. The name escapes me but I think it was by Neil Gaiman. I’m really enjoying these prompts.

  3. Not since she was fourteen years old had Stacy felt so much shame. That was when her friends took her to the mall at Christmas time to sit on Santa’s lap. She was much too old of course, but Santa’s helper was a hot, sixteen year old boy.

    “What are you going to ask Santa for?” the boy asked with a smile.

    “You’ll see,” she said playfully. As she stepped forward to sit on Santa’s leg, which was much thinner than she remembered, she blurted out her savvy response. “I want a Sony Walkdiscman.” Santa’s eyes glazed over and he handed her a lollipop. As she walked back past the boy he motioned her forward. She smiled at him knowingly.

    “By the way, it’s just ‘Discman’,” he said. Stacy kept her smile frozen on her face and walked away.

    Now she was forty, and standing in line at the mall once more to see her favorite soap opera star.

    “You’re a star hound,” her friend said accusingly. “You’re only here because you think he’s hot.”

    Stacy brushed aside the remark. “I like his work.”

    When it was her turn she stepped forward with confidence and extended her hand. “I just love your performance on ‘One Life worth Living’.”

    The star smiled and handed her an autographed photo. As she walked away, blushing, her friend pulled her aside.

    “By the way,” the friend said quietly, “His show is called ‘One Life to Live’.”

    1. As a Los Angeles native, this was actually the first interpretation that came to my mind as well. That, or someone like Benji or Lassie. 🙂

  4. You can track anyone, if you know how it’s done.

    Sure, there’s the usual tricks. Premieres, award shows, “accidental” sightings. Places of work, places of leisure, places of business they frequent when the cameras aren’t rolling. Back doors, side doors — a minirecorder and a friendly face can do wonders.

    Thing is, sooner or later they get wise to all that. Try it once too often, one bit of gossip too damaging — then the security gets rough and the sources get shy, get fired or worse. Start that war, it gets ugly fast.

    But the big stars. The ones who tour in person, system to system to system in a week subjective. The ones who draw planetary crowds for one in-person show. The ones people wonder how lightspeed keeps them so young.

    There’s one sure way to get them.

    You need a private ship and a hyperlight distress call. Two, to be extra-safe, but rig a deadman switch to the second and pretend it isn’t there. If all goes as it should, you’ll never need it.

    If you do, the war’s caught up with you, and I hope I’m out of the game before it does.

    You find the loneliest spot on their longest jump. (If you can’t figure that out, stay home and watch the gossip shows.) You plant your ship by that spot and wait for them to show. When they’re the nearest thing to you, trigger the hyperlight.

    It’s a federation crime to ignore a distress call.

    They pick you up, and you’re golden. If you can’t pry gossip from a captive source, you shouldn’t be in the game. You get to your port of call, you file your story, you pick up your ship from salvage and go your merry way. They won’t say a thing. They won’t want anyone else to hear how you got to them. If you’re smart, neither will you.

    But keep that deadman switch handy, all the same. You never know just when it’s going to be war.

    1. Welcome back! It’s so interesting to see what two words can bring forth when planted into a creative mind. 🙂

  5. A tiny sphere travels 2,570 times across the sky.
    There’s a dog inside.
    Cold. Unseeing now.
    But a dog nonetheless.

    The first to see the blue planet.
    Except dogs are colourblind.
    Leashed to an orbit, unable to run to the stars.

    Laika, you waited patiently.
    But now earth is whistling for you to come home.

      1. Cheers!

        Style-wise, this is something completely different for me – but then these exercises are to have a play, so it’s gratifying that the attempt has worked for you.

        I first heard about Laika in my late teens – it’s one of those stories that stays with you forever.

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