For this story, I used the random word generator at for inspiration. I randomly generated two words – ‘fireplace’ and ‘signs’ – and wrote the story based around them. It was a fun way to get a story idea, and I hope to use it more in the future.

Here’s the story.


“Strange to imagine that a couple hundred years ago this was one of the most important things in life, especially this time of year,” said Wally as he motioned toward the fireplace behind him before expertly folding his tie.

“Hmm,” said Laura. She looked quickly up from her book, at Wally and then at the fireplace, and she wondered why she felt startled.

“Only way people had to keep warm,” he continued. “No central heating, none of that. Just a fireplace and blankets. Makes you think.”

“Sounds kind of nice,” said Laura.

Wally laughed. It was a hard and grating laugh, and it wasn’t his. “Not at all. You know how hard those people had it,” he said. “You can’t romanticize the past.”

Laura nodded. He was right, of course. He usually was. But still she stared sadly at the old, discolored bricks behind him. Then she watched him walk briskly toward the front door.

“Have a good time tonight,” she said tentatively. Wally’s gait slowed for a moment as she spoke. Then Laura saw him open the door slightly, slide out it, and close it quickly behind him, as if to avoid releasing any extra cold air toward her.


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