Alrighty, today I'm going to provide you with the first line of your poem or prose and then you get to take it from there. Sound good?
Okay, here it is: The streets were thick with fog...
Fair warning: Mine got... a little long.
The streets were thick with fog, the still air was weighed down by the heavy stench of garbage left out too long, and the only sound that reached my ears was the hollow echo of my footsteps. Late nights in the city should never be that quiet.
I turned one corner, then another, and another. I had no idea what street I was on at that point and would never have found my destination if it weren't for the neon arrows pointing the way at each intersection. Their regular red flashing led me on, like an angry electric heartbeat that could not be denied. I didn't know where or why, only that I had to follow the arrows.
The final sign directed me down a narrow back alley. I hesitated before entering its confines, briefly intimidated by the increased concentration of the stench and fog which had been blessedly dissipated by the width of the streets I had been travelling on. But I went in - I had no choice.
After only two steps were taken I was forced to cover my mouth and nose with a silk handkerchief - I don't know if it helped any, but it felt better than doing nothing. I could barely see beyond the tip of my outstretched hand and my once shiny black shoes were gaining a new, much less pleasant polish. I emerged from the other end of the alley after what seemed like an eternity, stumbling and confused. There had been no more signs, no indications of where to go next.
But then I felt the new weight in my pocket.
I reached a reluctant hand into my right front jacket pocket, my fingers finding a plain white envelope that held only my name on the outside, printed neatly by a steady hand. I looked around me, out of habit only - someone would have needed to have been within six feet to see what I held - before opening it. Inside was a photgraph of my daughter, asleep on a metal operating table. With trembling fingers I turned it over to read the note on the back.
If you want her back in one piece, bring five million dollars to the Waterfront train station at 11 pm tomorrow night.
"Five million?" I asked the shadows around me with a raspy laugh. "For that self-centered princess? They can keep her."