Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #119

Today we have, Camille Gooderham Campbell, choosing our words. Camille is the Managing Editor of Every Day Fiction, a magazine that specializes in bringing you fine fiction in bite-sized doses. Every day, EDF publishes a new flash fiction story that can be read during your lunch hour, on transit, or even over breakfast – you can read the daily story online or subscribe by email or RSS feed.

Writing prompts cure writer’s block. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying them together! And remember: after (if) you finish, highlight your words and click the bold button to make them stand out and help you determine if you forgot any words. (If you’ve missed previous writing prompts, do those too.)

  1. Coral – A rock-like deposit consisting of the calcareous skeletons
  2. Soul 
  3. Glitter
  4. Vile – Loathsome; disgusting
  5. Absinthe – A green liqueur having a bitter anise or licorice flavor and a high alcohol content
  6. Whip
  7. Passion
  8. Fail
  9. Report
  10. Shield

NOTE: Don’t copy and paste from MS Word. Use a program like notepad that removes formatting or just type in the comment field itself. Also, finish your submission, THEN bold the words. Thanks. (And don’t forget to tweet this and share it with your friends.)

Resources you should check out:
Thesis: Best Damn Theme on the Web
Collective Ink Well: Personalize Your Thesis Theme
Third Tribe Marketing: Marketing done the right way
Story Structure Demystified: Best damn writing book out there


243 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #119”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey, Billy. What’s your favorite restaurant?”

    “My soul’s got a passion… my pants done got an itchin’… for the Golden Coral, Bobby! Mmm, Mmm! Them servin’ plates is as big as shields, and the gravy done glitters on my tooth when I smile. Ain’t like those other vile places like Ruby Wednesday’s and Out-House Steak-Backs.”

    “I ain’t the smartest whip in the toolbox, Billy – matter of fact I done failed 1st grade three times when I was thirteen on the account that I was absinthe 102% of the time and didn’t get no report card, but I’m sure that Corall restaurant is spellt with two ones, that second restaurant is called Ruby Thursdays, and that third restaurant is in Austria so ain’t no way you done ever ate there.”

  2. Tanja Cilia says:

    He spat.  The vile taste of the absinthe all but made his soul explode. He had never reckoned the experimental still  would fail.  With a passion he didn’t even know he possessed,  he kicked down the camouflage of branches acting as a weather-shield, from the entrance of the cave. Despite what the brochures said, life on a coral atoll was bereft of glitter – go figure that it was not gold, either. He decided to whip up a dessert from prickly pears and goat’s milk and content himself with that.  He would send the report  later. He’d have to use Morse code because the solar panels of the dynamo had not generated enough energy for his laptop.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Tanja: That was so very cool! I’m left smiling and wondering. What happens next! Give me more of this tale.

    • margaret says:

      Good “Lost” story, Tanja…(or is it “survivor”?)

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Ma: Speaking of Lost, my mother-in-law is great friends with John Locke’s wife. I’ve been to about 5 of their parties over the past few years. Cool stuff.

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        Oh no, not again… I have to admit I never watched Lost or Survivor, either.  Yes, it seems I lead a very sheltered life…. but my medium is radio… in fact I’m listening to it now, too. I rarewly watch television. It bores me and irritates me. The pictures o9n radiop, as we aficionados say, are far nicer.

    • Chris F. says:

      I really like this!  And especially great job being so succinct!  I’ve only done a few of these, but notice that I tend to meander all over the place before finally stumbling into the ending…

    • Laurie says:

      I love it, yet it reminds me somewhat of where and how I live…  off-grid (solar), in a desert so we have the prickly pears and the neighbors provide us with plenty of goat milk!  LOL!  Too funny and too close to home!  LOL!  🙂  Excellent!

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        Thank you!
        The leaves of prickly pears, dried in the sun, make good fuel, no?  I love prickly pears… they taste a bit like kiwi, only much much better; the white ones are my favourites. Here they grow wild but they are also sold by street vendors. Lack of rain and hot sun makes the flavour really concentrated. From goat (and sheep) milk we make cheeselets. Like ricotta/cottage cheese, but not in clumps.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Tanja-  I like the way you lead my mind into so many different direction, I hope you keep moving forward with this one.

    • Yay! That was great! So many questions come to mind…
      I loved this!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Tanja-captures you from the start-will there be more?

      • Tanja Cilia says:

        Whether there will be ‘more’ depends… I read the words, work on something totally different, and then go back to them and the story would have meanwhile written itself, so I nevcer know what it’s going to be like, or about. Doing it deliberately means I’d have to think about it.
        You’ve reminded me that one of my kids used to make sure his school essays were different chapters of the same novel, indeed; I think it’s a good idea.

  3. margaret says:

    He ordered roses colored coral,
    but if this story has a moral
    It’s that you cannot restore glitter
    when you have let the passion wither!

    He did not shield her soul and heart
    from his actions vile and words not smart.
    As though absinthe clouded his decisions,
    his choices widened their division.

    You cannot whip up renewed love
    and think she’ll  see you as a pure dove
    when all along you’ve failed to be
    her “white knight” she so wants to see.

    I am happy now, though, to report
    that she dumped this asshole, dumb and short
    and found herself a hunky guy, 
    who became the apple of her eye.       

    (p.s…..he bought her flowers all the time, not just when he F’d up!) 😉

  4. Aaron Pogue says:

    There’s a quiet little residential street in one of the nicer neighborhoods in Boulder, Colorado. It’s the kind of place you’d love to live, with big, neat houses all in a row — kids playing politely in manicured front yards, friendly little dogs wagging their tails as you pass by (too polite to come sprinting over to you, but happy to see you nonetheless). In the distance, behind the houses, you can see the sunlight glitter on the snowy mountainside.
    There’s a house — one among the many, and you’d hardly notice it if you didn’t know to look — but there’s a house halfway down the street with two pretty little stories done up in white siding and coral trim.
    If you were watching at just the right time, you might get to see Eric Barnes come home from work. It’s tricky (unless you’ve got the right credentials). One moment, there’s not a soul in sight. Then maybe the front door opens, maybe Theresa Barnes comes out on the porch and looks toward the street with a big welcoming smile. She waves.
    But if you turned to see what she was waving at, you’d find nothing. You can zoom in close and watch her eyes, though, and you’ll see them tracking someone up the short flagstone walk. You can see the warmth and love in them, and it blossoms in her smile as she says, “Welcome home, honey.”
    At that, surely you’d pull back, turn, to see just who it is. And still there’s no one there. You might think maybe the recorders have failed, maybe some glitch is dropping her visitor from the record, but this isn’t that kind of neighborhood. The recorders around here are expensive, and the public record is perfect.
    Eric Barnes isn’t on the public record, though. He’s far too important. He’s got his own fancy little shield, and a dedicated expert whose only job is to make sure he doesn’t show up on anybody’s report. Not when he’s on the clock, anyway. Not at the clinic, and not even on his commute. The man’s invisible, right up until the moment he steps up onto his front porch.
    And then he pops into existence. Like the crack of a whip, one moment there’s nothing but Theresa’s bright-eyed expectation, and then the next moment the man steps out of empty air to wrap his arms around her.
    He’s handsome, and looks young for his age. He’s famous, too, and that doesn’t hurt. Oh, and he’s brilliant. This is the guy who cured cancer — years ago now — and now he’s working on bigger things. Much bigger.
    “How was work?” Theresa asks him, even though she should know better.
    His smile fades, and his embrace loosens. He looks around, eyes flitting to a couple of the nearest recorders, but with all the houses on this street there have got to be hundreds close enough to eavesdrop on his happy little welcome. If you were looking really closely, you might see a sudden, deep weariness in his eyes.
    And all of that passes in a moment before he answers her with a voice of well-faked sincerity. “Amazing! I think I’ve finally worked out a problem that’s been bugging me for a couple weeks now. There’s some pretty vile side effects of basic metabolism, but I’ve almost got a handle on them. This should really help people.”
    There’s a passion behind those last words that’s real. He’s burned up his whole life helping people. He’s burned up, and burning out. There’s certainly a thrill in being a hero, in being the man who cured cancer (and now the man who cured aging), but it takes its toll. Like absinthe. Like heroin.
    He’s been invisible for fifteen hours today, and that’s just barely over his average. Tomorrow could well be eighteen. Twenty. Because the more time he spends at the clinic, the more lives he saves.
    For now, for this moment in time, he’s genuinely happy to be home. He wraps an arm around his wife’s waist and pulls her toward the door. She rests her head on his chest as they walk, telling him about a new recipe she’s trying for dinner, and then they step through the door…and disappear.
    Unless you’ve got the right credentials, anyway.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Aaron: Outstanding sfuff as usual. Sounds like this could be part of another book, no?

    • Chris F. says:

      Very nice, Aaron!  Rich and multilayered.  I really enjoyed this.

    • Karetha says:

      @Aaron:  I likey!

    • Laurie says:

      That is sooo awesome!  I loved your story!

    • margaret says:

      Compelling and textured tale of a workaholic for humanity.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      OMG! One story and I’m hooked! Are you by any chance part of the Fringe network? This was a cool read, and I’m definitely grabbing a hold of your Ghost Targets: Expectation

    • Aaron, this is simply beautiful. I just grabbed the free kindle reader and a copy of your book.
      This is a giddy experience! I can’t wait to read it.

      • Aaron Pogue says:

        Thank you, Mitch! You’ll have to let me know what you think.
        Also, in case you didn’t see when I told Ember above, be sure to grab Gods Tomorrow first. Expectation is the sequel.

        • Thanks for the tip. I was already into the first chapter of the sequel. I had to tear myself away.
          I like your style!

        • Aaron – I just read the paragraph where the title came from. I read a chapter or two whenever I’m taking a break. Gods Tomorrow is a fantastic work of art! I have to watch what I write, because I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience for anyone.
          You’ve certainly made a case for the Kindle. I have the free PC version on a laptop, which is pretty much like having a giant Kindle 🙂 I can get so wrapped up, I forget I have to get back to work!
          This is definitely a cautionary tale – oops too late! Facebook is going there, isn’t it?
          Interestingly, I got an email today from a friend who works in the VA prisons system. He asked me about a program for Offender tracking, since he thought I could write it. Here’s a snippet of my response:
          The first thing I want to mention is that National Crime Information Center is the first place to look for these types of inter-agency collaboration projects. When I worked at Philly PD, I was amazed to learn of the different programs supported by NCIC.
          It turns out that there is a wider system in place – I just discovered it today while searching for NCIC links for you:


          CJIS is even more comprehensive – and, supposedly, accurate – than NCIC. Having said that, it may be overkill. I remember INLETS. Do you use that? I wasn’t authorized to do much more than check criminal histories via terminal queries.

          Anyway, the reason for these national initiatives is that each state typically has its own record-keeping systems. An offender with records in multiple states has a unique ID at the state level. You may recognize it as the SID. The only number that ties all these records together is the FBI number. (At least it was the case when I worked LOL)

          I believe that any successful inter-prison tracking system is going to have to be based on a national tracking reference ID.

          Now, it occurred to me that you may be wanting a system that is limited to the state level. In that case, the SID would be the unifying record. The company who creates such systems might do a fair job if they devote enough resources to understanding the movements of offenders throughout the prison system. However, they would have to do this for EACH state. Ugh!

          When my supervisor approached me with the idea of creating my database for other local departments, I balked. I already knew that their methods of storing information would have to be mapped to my database and I was not savvy enough to handle such a task.
          My intimate understanding of both Law Enforcement procedures and database programming allow me to enjoy and appreciate the authenticity you’ve brought to Gods Tomorrow. I love, love, LOVE how realistic it appears that people would willingly subscribe to Midas, Hippocrates and the like.
          You’ve nailed the future, dude. You’re also the inspiration for waking up my own future society. I know I’ve got to work hard to make it authentic, so I’m learning from a master.
          Total win.

  5. Chris F. says:


    Overseer Tritonius glared, rotating all six of his bulbous eyes to focus his full attention on me.  The crimson cilia on his forelegs undulated violently in a display of arrogant irritation.  The piercing shaft of his whip-tail hardened in preparation.  I watched drops of neural poison form at the tip, a sticky, deadly glitter that shimmered in the harsh light of the Overseer’s chamber.

    I felt a tremor in the deepest part of my soul.  The previous two agents had not lived long after admitting their failures.

    Tritonius’s vocal aperture vibrated.  “Please continue your report, Agent Skartus.”  His words were soft, lacking any hint of passion, but the menace underneath was palpable.

    “I have successfully infiltrated the planet’s inhabitants, Overseer,” I said, hoping to emphasize any positives.  “Our successful conquest is only a matter of time.”

    “Yes, yes.  You have already expressed this opinion.  But what facts do you present to corroborate it?”  The Overseer’s whip-tail began to sway.  “Your predecessors also displayed this groundless optimism.  I need more than empty words.  What proof do you have that you will not fail also?”

    I struggled to remain calm.  Tritonius’s cilia waved quicker, and the air of the chamber filled with the sharp, vile odor of his anger.

    “I have not failed, Overseer.  Success is imminent.  But it will take time.  It is a challenge.  Our pre-landing information was…lacking.”

    “In what way?  Is the form you inhabit inaccurate?  Are you not able to walk among them without notice?”

    “Yes, Overseer.  Our design is correct, and our technology is working well.  I can project myself into the bio-shell with no loss of control, and I easily pass for one of the inhabitants.  They do not see through our shield.”

    “Do they detect you leaving the shell?  Are we at danger while it is uninhabited?”

    “No, Overseer. The inactivity of the bio-shell is taken for normal sleep by the inhabitants.  There is no risk there.”

    The whip-tail swayed wider. The poison began to drip off onto the twisted coral of the Overseer’s resting bed.

    “Then I hear no reason for failure.  You will succeed or you will suffer the consequences.”

    I fought the urge to flee.  “Yes, Overseer. But, you see, the form we use–”

    Tritonius finally raised his voice as he interrupted me. “The form is sufficient to accomplish our goal. If there is failure, it is because you are to blame.”  The whip-tail swung past me, much too closely. 

    I fled immediately and returned to the projection chamber, trembling with fear as I strapped myself in. I would do everything in my power to achieve success.  I must.

    The machinery whirred to life and I felt the disorienting tug as the projection began.  I was swallowed in a blinding light, and then I was suddenly again in the bio-shell, lying prone on a smooth surface and feeling the coolness against my cheek.  As I worked to gain control of the remote body, I heard the familiar female voice from far above me.

    “John!” it shouted, echoing all around me.  “Come look at this stupid cat.  Passed out right in the middle of the hallway and dead to the world.  I think it got into the absinthe again.”


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris F: You’re on fire with this one. That’s one hell of a write indeed!

    • Tanja Cilia says:

      This is brilliant.  Serves them right for not choosing a dog’s body dogsbody!

      • Chris F. says:

        @Shane:  Thank you again for the very kind words. 

        But, as with yesterday’s bone-headed extra-highlighted word, I again notice some errors.  Amazing how intense proof-reading beforehand can totally miss something, but then they just jump right out at’cha once the thing is posted.  ;^) 

        First, “the menace underneath was ‘palatable’.” should be “…was ‘palpable’.  That changes the image considerably, eh? 

        Also, the line “The Overseer’s ‘whip-tale’ began to sway.” Should be “…’whip-tail’…”   I guess that just goes to show that one can make a tail of himself when he whips out his tale too quickly.  ;^)

        @Tanja:  And thank you, too!  But I’m not totally convinced a cat isn’t the perfect disguise — ours has certainly taken over our house.  She’ll let us continue to live there only under the condition that we keep feeding her.

    • Wow, that was amazing in a strange, slightly scary kind of way, you totally pulled me into that world

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you Stacey!  That’s very kind of you to say and I really appreciate it.
        Strange and slightly scary was definitely what I was going for.  And hopefully with that ending twist that I love in short stories; and hopefully given with a dash of my somewhat-warped humor, too:  They’re going to conquer the world while posing as a house-cat???  What’s their ultimate weapon going to be — the hairball of death???  ;^)

    • Laurie says:

      I so love it!  What awesome writing!  Very inspiring to read all these great writings!  Very inspiring!

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you Laurie!  I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
        And you’re right — this place is filled with talented and inspiring witers.  I’m thrilled to have found it!

    • margaret says:

      I like your sinister alien, Chris.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Chris I especially like the way that you gave these characters very intentional feelings and emotions you’ve got a really cool imagination!  


      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you, Ember!
        I have no idea what any real aliens might think or feel, but any good story for us humans has to have an emotional conext that we can all relate to.  The best science fiction is that which has the setting only serve as a backdrop for the inner sotry — that has to resonate with the reader on an emotional level.
        Not that I think this piece is anywhere near ‘the best science fiction’, but I at least strive to have all my stories, regardless of genre, first have a basis of emotional connection.
        I know have a long way to go, but it is awesome to find a place where I can bumble blindly towards improvement among such talented and supportive fellow writers.

        • Ember Bianco says:

          Chris that element of emotional connection is what sets you apart and essentially what makes your Sci-Fi stuff so unique its already  great writing! Don’t be so hard on yourself your futher ahead than you think.

    • Chris, that is some effective story-telling! I was feeling the terror of the interrogation!
      Funny how we humans just don’t have a clue what’s going on in our own homes.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Chris-Loved the ending-:-) this reels you in-hope there is more on the way!

      • Chris F. says:

        Thank you, Cathy.  I’m very happy you enjoyed it.
        And while this will go into the vault to stew for a while, there may be some larger story that ultimately comes out of it.  I’m currently working on the rough draft of my first novel and would also like to build up some short stories to try eventually submitting.  I’d like to one day at least see something I’ve written published somewhere — you know really published.  Where they actually pay me, LOL!
        But in the meantime, I plan on sticking around here and periodically polluting Shane’s site with my quasi-literate spewings.  So you do have that to look forward to…  😉

  6. The Starman had haunted the village for ages. He descended from the heavens every fortnight to abduct ripe virgins, his wispy form GLITTERing with whiteness.

    Everything he touched, save the virgins, burned.

    The villagers had fought him in many ways, but had FAILed. They had conveyed the rest of the virgins into rivers and snow mountains, hoping the Starman’s light would die if he ventured into the water and snow. But the water had boiled and the snow had melted instead.

    Now all the virgins, save GLEWEN, had REPORTed to the village hall where they had been deflowered so the Starman didn’t take them. Glewen had sworn she’d only bed a man who stirred PASSION in her bosom.

    She shivered in the chimney where she hid. The screams of the frightened assailled the air.

    Suddenly the roof burst into flames and over her hovered the VILE white being. She gasped.

    He swung his ethereal WHIP and it entangled about her. Then he flew into the sky, pulling Glewen with him. She yelled as the village tailed away below.

    Before long, she passed out.

    She woke to find herself in an islet–the type pirates were banished to with only a bottle of ABSINTHE to sustain them; a CORAL reef–with the being.

    He came to her. “Find the SHIELD.”

    “The shield…?” Thank the gods. He wasn’t going to kill her.

    “The portal to the underworld. The evil here has blinded my eyes to the shield so it can keep me here and wield my soul.”

    Glewen’s eyes wandered and saw a hanging misty mirror. “There!” She pointed.

    Without uttering another word, the Starman breezed through it and vanished with the mirror.

    Relief visited Glewen.

    But then she looked around her. Water spread from horizon to horizon. That was when she realized what she had done.

    She had set him free, only to take his place. Perhaps that was what had become of the other virgins taken. And heaven, she had no food, and the coral reef was devoid of life.

    She sighed. Soon she’d die of starvation and her SOUL would become the next Starman.

  7. Anne Wayman says:

    My back feels like bleached coral, my soul longs for something other than glitter – it’s vile! Absinthe won’t whip me into passion. Love has failed I’m sad to report; my shield is restored.

  8. Mr Smith
    I remember the first time I laid eyes on Violet, or V as she preffered to be addressed. She had been standing louchly against the lockers assigned to seniors, in the most vile coral dress, with thin spaghetti straps. She had the good fortune of having long slender arms that went up to meet the most peachy decellotage. As my eyes finally descended apon her face, in an instant I felt my whole world collapse.
    There was something exquisitely delicate about her, but when I looked into her eyes I saw a soul that was old, tough and scarred. I watched her as she released her fragile neck, and gave forth a laugh that was low and hoarse and dipped in the madness of absinthe. She was beautiful.
    My mind wandered to imagine her naked. Covered in glitter, languid and youthful. My fate was sealed. From the very moment I saw her face, I knew I was destined to fail.
    You see, a  man can jostle, and fight with himself. Try and whip his ego into submission. But I can faithfully report, that when a  passion that tastes like the juice of the forbidden has been ignited, there is little he or anyone else can do to shield him from the consequences of his own actions.

  9. Chris F. says:

    Very nice!
    I like the juxtaposition of the shield being ‘restored’ against the mournful and broken imagry of the rest. It adds that litte twist that really caught me.

  10. Julia Martin says:

    I sat down to edit the Xelo Company Report. I knew it would be bad, but it was awful, just awful.
    Earlier in the day when I met with the woman in charge of communications at Xelo, she practically whined.
    “Can’t you just do something to whip it into shape?” The gaudy coral and gold necklace that resembled a shield hung heavily around her neck. She pushed the report across the desk toward me. “I need it on Monday.” The necklace sent a glitter of rainbows shimmering down her arms to dapple the desk.
    I glared at the pile of papers in front of me. Working for corporate America was sucking the very passion out of my soul. But to fail at delivering on deadline? Not an option. Disgusted with the report, but more with myself, I pulled open my desk drawer and reached for the Absinthe. I pulled off the cap and took a long pull of the vile green liquid.
    What the hell had my life become?

  11. sefcug says:

    Well, here is my try in inverse order (5 is 1st, 6 is 2nd, 4 is 3rd, 7 is 4th, etc.):

    An Embarrassing Situation
    While drinking absinthe to whip up his courage to deal with cleaning up the vile fruits of their illicit passion, Arthur noticed a faint glitter in the distance.
    He failed to search his soul before deciding to report the sight. If he had performed such a search, he might have realized it was just a shield around the coral reef. He had just unnecessarily brought attention to the messy food fight, for which he and his fellow gluttonous seahorses were responsible.
    Moral: Do not leap to conclusions, as they can cause great embarrassment.


  12. Karetha says:

    Her soul was shielded, shrouded in shadow, like an eel hiding in a coral reef.  Many tried to break through, to whip up some passion, only to utterly fail.  Rumors floated around that maybe she had witnessed something vile, a heinous act too terrible to report.  I stood by the bar and watched her eyes scan the room as she sipped her absinthe.  The glittering fabric of her dress failed to reflect any sparkle in her eye.  I resolved to make an honest effort to draw her out, then I left the bar and strode across the room to confront her.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Karetha: Love the S iteration in the beginning. And you should continue this scene with another. Well done.

    • Laurie says:

      You all are really inspiring and yet I am starting to feel that I may not be good enough to be writing here!  This is awesome sounds like a great start to a story.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Karetha – I ditto Shane, and to me this sounds like the beginning of a real good mystery.

    • Very nice opening chapter, Karetha. That’s my subtle code for “more, please!” 🙂
      We must know what happens next!

    • Chris F. says:

      Wow, great opening!  I’m really interested in learning more!!!
      Like the woman — why is she so remote? What’s the cause?  And then, if she seems so locked and isolated, why does she put herself in such a social situation like a bar?  And the protag?  What drives him to go after someone who is so unapproachable?  Ego, or compassion?
      Bottom line:  I liked this and want ‘the rest of the story’!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Karetha-flawless-great story!

  13. Tiffany Hudson says:

    Jenny screamed. She came running into my room covered in glitter.
    “Whats the matter Jenny?” I huffed
    “Can’t you see this Coral? I can’t go out like this!” She whipped her hair and glitter fell over my black desk.
    “Yeah it’s terrifing” I laughed.

    “Coral, get a life” She hissed.
    “Only when you get a soul” I said still laughing.
    “Ohh, fail” my best friend Sam laughed from the open doorway.

    “Great, beat up of the freaks” Jenny smiled sweetly.
    “Now you aren’t having any absinthe” He shrugged
    “She was going to?” I asked, annoyed.
    “Of course not she’s the vile queen of the house” He kissed me on the cheek as he laughed at her.
    “What are you the servant?”

    “Of course not, I’m princess Corals human Shield.” I looked up at him. His eyes glintered and the old crush I had on him came rushing back. The passion I use to feel jumped back up.
    “I wouldn’t want you getting hurt” I whispered into his chest. He looked down smiling that beautiful smile. I lent up and kissed him gently on the lips.
    “Okay, gross.” Jenny squealed, no one would believe she was nineteen.
    “Nothing to report” Sam said dreamly and kissed me back.

    • Laurie says:

      Sounds like a romance story brewing!  What an awesome way to pull it all together!

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Tiffany – you had me intrigued all the way through what a great story line.

    • Tiffany, this sounds intriguing. I hope you plan to give us more of these characters.
      I had to LOL at Coral’s demotion from queen to princess 🙂 I hope Sam didn’t really mean that!

      • Tiffany Hudson says:

        @ Mitch, thanks. I do. I’m bit behind at the moment so i’m going through all the challanges and carring on with Coral and Sam’s story. In my mind Coral is Sams life, he realy does love her. 
        Thanks for reading it. 

    • Chris F. says:

      Really liked how this evolved through Sam’s interaction with the characers.  It starts with a conflict over clothes or whatever and blossoms into a love story between the protag and Sam.  Very nice development in such a short space.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Tiffany-love these characters!

  14. Laurie says:

    He was drinking that vile absinthe again! She could never stand the taste and the next morning she also felt as if someone had taken a whip to her. It never seemed to fail no matter what she said that David was determined to drink that disgusting stuff! Especially with the report that came out saying it tasted like turpentine and had a similar effect on the body. She couldn’t believe he would still drink that stuff! It seemed if he could get drunk he didn’t care what it did or that she had to shield herself emotionally from his hurling insults that came at her soul after he started drinking. Certainly it did not leave her feeling any passion for him- not when he was in that state of being. She reached up and fingered her coral necklace. It had provided Jan with much emotional strength and helped keep her in touch with her soul. It made her feel as if her inner self shined like glitter and helped her from staying bitter as she watched what he was doing to their relationship and to his own body and soul.

  15. M.Sherlock says:

    She led me to her private room, puckering her coral red lips and cracking her whip with the kind of passion which suggested that even if she found me to be a vile person, she would still have fun tonight. I discreetly scratched my face in a manner to shield my face from anyone who might know me. The girl sensed my awkwardness and told me that the absinthe in her private room wouldn’t fail to loosen me up. At first I thought this undercover report would be the best job yet, but now I was starting to doubt myself and my ability to hold together under pressure. Once she had set me down on a red velvet chaise lounge and loosened me with a drink, she began to look at me with a kind of eye that no normal or kind soul could give. She moved about the room with the grace of a feline and the flowing slither of a serpent, closer and closer until I could see the flecks of glitter on her browned skin. A great feeling of excitement and fear rushed through me as I sat underneath such a notorious killer.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @ M. Sherlock: Welcome to the CCC. That was such a good read. You came out swinging with your 1st CCC submission. I welcome you and hope to see you every Monday and Thursday when we run these challenges. What did you think of the exercise? Always curious.
      Everyone welcome M Sherlock to our club. Adding your name and url to our CCC Community Links page now.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @M. Sherlock-Welcome to CCC!
        Here the words flow into a coral reef of soul-deep glitter. The vile sense of rejection is banished and bathed with a warm welcoming wave, like the first smooth sip of the finest Absinthe.

        Each week we whip up our passion, take up the challenge, and are secure in the knowledge we will not fail. So report back when you have the need and we will shield you from any doubt of success.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Woah! M.Sherlock – Fantasy or Fiction or dare I ask – Welcome to our Chamber of fun! Great neat story!

    • Jesse says:

      It’s a lot of fun here, and so many wonderful folks.

    • Welcome to the CCC, M. Sherlock. I agree with everyone, this is a knockout first submission.
      Here is a hint I hope you heed: some of us do a series of related posts. LOL. I want to see what happens next!

    • Chris F. says:

      Excellent!  Lot’s of great threads in just this little piece — both the protag and the girl have multiple layers and both seem to have something to hide:  A killer?!? An undercover report?
      You give the reader much to want to learn more about — nicely done.

  16. Jesse says:

    She knew her coral-colored lipstick would ignite his sleeping passion.  The whip and the fishnets with glitter had never failed to do the trick.  She pulled out all the stops – his favorite perfume, a little music, some candles.

    He wasn’t the least bit interested.  He attempted to use the office year-end-report as a shield. His heart and soul could not be convinced that an evening alone with his wife was just what he needed, even though they hadn’t gotten a sitter in over six months.

    She saw that her efforts were leading no where, and that this would be another night spent in worn-out flannel pajamas, reading her newest Elizabeth Berg novel.

    She turned to the tray of snacks.  She’d even thought to artfully set out caviar.  It wasn’t her favorite.  She hated the vile stuff, but he could never resist.

    She looked at her man, sitting on the edge of the bed, pretending to read his paperwork.  She turned back to the tray, downed the fish eggs with Absinthe, grabbed her pajamas and headed for the living room.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jesse: Powerful…sad…well done. More please.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Jesse – You seem to have captured that sad moment like a Polaroid picture – Good job!

    • Karetha says:

      @Jesse: This scene was heart-wrenching…you captured the emotions so powerfully!  Good stuff.

    • Jesse says:

      @Shane, I love it here, and always hope to get back more.
      @Ember and @Karetha – thanks for the kind words.

    • Ain’t that a….!!! This is so good, Jesse. You got me wanting to slap some sense into that callous man. Thanks for sharing this wonderful entry.

    • Chris F. says:

      Wow — what fantastic, economical writing.  So much emotion, delivered seamlessly in just a few words — beautifully done!  I was completely pulled into this scene — it seems so deceptively simple, but there is a LOT of depth here.
      And most importantly, you leave me wanting more:  How did their marriage come to this? Why is he ignoring this woman who seems eager and willing to do anything he wants?  I’m eager to keep reading — the best compliment I can think to give to any writer.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Jesse-grabbed me from the very 1st line.

  17. Ember Bianco says:

    The moment was surreal; the water, crystal clear in some spots and deep turquoise blue not but 50 feet away. The beauty of the Coral reef magnified by the gentle current that washed over it, shown with pristine brilliance. This seemed like paradise, with the most sensational chromatic colored birds dancing above, even the glitter from my dress bounced off the sun’s rays with such vibrancy; it made the whole panoramic view seem like a magical place dreamed up in a Disney fairy tale.  But we were far from a fairytale; the more familiar I become with my surroundings the more awake my soul had become to realizing that something horrible had happened, and the more aware I became, the more vile the presence of disaster had become.

    Trying to piece things together, as if to shield myself from blame, I wondered if Robert had followed protocol, did he fail to report… Or maybe it was just too much Brandy and Absinthe? Absinthe, known to be one of the most mysterious aphrodisiacs of all time, may just very well have been the culprit of our demise. Caught up in the passion of the evening, we didn’t take notice to that danger that began to swell around us. Regaining a full sense of consciousness, I begin to recall the events of the night before. The sea was filled with a passion all of its own, late in the wee hours of the morning, we must have sailed off course and the ocean started to take on a fury aimed directly at Dark Star (Our tiny sail boat).  As the sea continued to beat against Dark Star like a whip to a herd of bulls, Robert and I hunkered down as best we could, apparently it was not good enough; and that is the last I remember of the evening. With the sun beaming down directly upon me, getting warmer as the day goes on; shipwrecked, I start to wonder “Where exactly am I?” “And where is Robert?”

  18. As part of his campaign to distance himself from his necrophiliac forebears, Anubis IV rarely copulated with corpses. He also shunned funerary practices, preferring to study the art of restoratives. He was an expert pharmacist of poultices, elixirs and balms. His most recent concoction had found its way into the strips of cloth that would soon revive the Briton. She lay comatose upon the bed in the crude chamber of the Queen of Ipil.

    Anubis IV was very proud of this balm. Two kites of finely crushed coral, folded into the soul of one ostrich hatchling and mixed into a hekat of boiling absinthe had enough power to knit bones, remove spiritual impurities and galvanize palsied muscles. Luckily, for extreme cases – like being blown across the Pacific Ocean from Iowa to the Philippines – the formula worked with a double measure of crushed coral. Anubis IV waited impatiently for the annoyingly intractable Queen of Ipil to finish sponging the grit, blood and caramel topping from the mangled body of the Briton.

    Muttering under her breath, the Queen of Ipil sloppily tended to her charge. Using the sponge more like a whip than a blotter, the Queen of Ipil swiped at the burnt skin, attacking it with the same fervor that readily removed the embedded foreign bits. Great chunks of charred flesh soon littered the bed sheets. It was not lost on the Queen of Ipil that this new soiling intermingled with the glitter of spent passion – evidence of the fleeting moment of weakness of her mortal fortitude. Regretfully angry now, the Queen of Ipil lashed out in the only way she dared – by mistreating this unknown interloper.

    “Enough!” Anubis IV snarled dangerously. He marveled at the vile reek of his supplicant’s tortured thoughts. Discarding her mental mewling as so much rotting garbage, he focused on the opportunistic damage she was inflicting on the Briton. “She has been sponged sufficiently. Apply the dressings as I have instructed you. Take care to shield her eyes with the jelly of petrolatum before you wrap her face.”

    “I know how to handle burn victims, you cur. I’m sure your little witchy brew will not fail to heal the deepest wounds on our flying lechon baboy!” The Queen of Ipil had a sense of foreboding that enabled her fatalistically callous attitude. Even in her grave state, it was obvious that the Briton was a superior physical specimen. Just the type for a horny dog, she thought sourly. A sudden wave of despair overcame her. With the resignation of a cast-off lover, she carefully dressed the Briton, completely binding her like a living mummy.

    Anubis IV was pleased. This woman might yet be useful, after all. As long as the odoriferous report from her ruminations retained a modicum of respect and fear, he could control her. He did agree with her on one thing: she was being replaced. The Briton would make a fine help meet.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      And the Saga continues! …fav phrases of the moment   rarely copulated with corpses.…  He marveled at the vile reek of his supplicant’s tortured thoughts.  …. little witchy brew  Mitch -so many lines so little time…  great stuff as usual

      • Thank you, Ember! These three characters have taken up residence in my home 🙂 The saga continues apace!
        I like your faves, too! I’m working to understand Mr. Anubis better.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: A most excellent of tales. YOu have me guessing with that last line. 🙂

    • Chris F. says:

      …see my misplaced, orphan comments after Camille’s post below…

    • Great story Mitchell, always enjoy reading your work.  I don’t think I caught the last part of this story.

      • Thanks, Justin! As I mentioned to Shane, help meet is a Biblical term from the book of Genesis. It means helpmate. Interestingly, in checking a few online references – non-verified, mind you 🙂 – I found that there appears to have been a misunderstanding of the original Hebrew.
        The crux of the misunderstanding is based on the power relationship between the helper and the helpee, so to speak. The Genesis translation implies that the helper, Eve, is subservient to the helpee, Adam. According to these sources, this is incorrect. They state that the correct translation makes no such hierarchical distinction. Indeed, the Hebrew word is supposed to mean “counterpart”.
        Since I don’t know ancient Hebrew, I can’t comment. However, the cool thing is that, if counterpart is the proper translation, then Anubis IV had better watch out!!!

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Mitch-good to know Anubis IV has some standards – rarely copulated with corpses 🙂 Another great addition!

  19. Thank you so much for letting me choose this prompt’s words for you. It has been a privilege to follow this amazing community for the day (I’ve been checking back and reading avidly all day), and I’m so impressed by all the creative and unique stories you’ve come up with.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Camille: Sorry about the moderation delay on this comment. Thank you for choosing the words. As you can see, it spawned quite a collection of great submissions. Choosing words is like a gift to me.

  20. Chris F. says:

    Intriguing. I feel like there’s much more going on here than this scene presents.
    Perhaps that’s because, as a CCC noob, I have not read any of the prior entries that Ember’s comments imply came before this scene.
    But at any rate — even thrust newly into this, midstream — I find much to enjoy.  Your lyrical turn of phrase. The cryptic, yet captivating, characteriations.  The fascinating dynamic between the characters.  The hints that the setting is both ancient (“Anubis”, mummification-like burial preparations) and modern (“Iowa”) — are we in the past, present, or future? An alternative reality, perhaps — either of the author’s or possibly even inside the madness of one of the characters?
    Intriguing — I am left with many questions, and am eager to read more. Nicely done.

    • Chris F. says:

      Gahhh!!!  I did it again!!! Gotta be careful which “Reply” I hit.  This is supposed to be in reply to Mitchell Allen above.

    • @Chris re: Anubis
      First, thank you so much for sharing your feedback! I try to make each “episode” stand on its own, with back-references for foks who are following from the earlier challenges.
      This is a post-apocalyptic setting. Note that this character is a descendant of Anubis. I like the inference that this is an alternate reality born of my own madness. In fact, these exercises are practice for a story I’m developing 🙂

  21. Sorry I am late, was a very busy week.  Here is my contribution today and it is a poem:

    Feeding Time
    Vile creature with no soul lurking
    while victims travel in schools together
    glitter of the golden coral, their only shield
    and ocean currents whip past the innocent
     report of threats, their test to fail
     frenzied passion of feeding pursues
     blood stains the ocean the color of Absinthe

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Justin: I think this is my favorite poem from you.

    • Hey Justin, your poetry always makes me think!
      For some odd reason, I got the stark image of a school bus! “Golden coral, their only shield”.
      This colored the whole poem. Now, like some misheard lyric, I can’t get the proper picture.
      Isn’t that weird?
      I think it’s cool that you can whip these up in minutes!

      • You are actually right on, before I titled the poem (which I always do after I write a poem) the first verse I couldn’t decide whether it was looking like it was to be about a predator of children, but as I started writing it it changed.  It is somehow my poem process.  I was originally going to reference school as a place, but changed it to “traveling in schools” as fish swim in schools.

        • Wow, cool! I think that is fascinating, your process of creating a poem. I’m more of a technical writer of poetry: I have my topic and I shoehorn phrases into the stanzas. That’s why I love double-crostic forms.
          Thanks for sharing!

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Justin   – Whatever your original intentions were I got the overall latter intentions and for a 2 minute piece, this had depth to it,  I as well thought it was a really good poem.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Justin-well worth the wait-excellent!

      PS-I’m even later-as usual-that work thing keeps getting in the way. 🙂

    • Chris F. says:

      Wow, Justin!  That was fabulous.  Such imagry and emotional impact in your deft choice of words.  I love how you wove the prompt words into a seamless, interconnected whole.
      In literary terms, you righteously rocked and totally pwned that poem!

  22. Anne Maybus says:

    The palette dances with coral and cyan though the paintbrush lies still and alone.   Sunlight pushes its way through grimy windowpanes to sprinkle glitter across a canvas which has been tossed into the corner like rubbish. 

    I step closer, my nostrils filled with the smell of linseed and dust.  A slash of paint cracks across the canvas like a whip of passion. 

    Where is he?

    Outside I can hear the high giggle of dancing girls as they skip along the narrow street towards the Moulin Rouge.

    I walk across the dusty floorboards, kicking aside the paint stained rags that lead to the chaise lounge where his models usually recline.  Though I see traces of makeup left on the headrest, I fail to the painter.

    A report echoes from the next room, taking me by surprise.  I’m not alone.  He is in there, trying to shield his soul with a vile coating of absinthe and smacking the table with the fast emptying glass.

    “It was rejected?”

    He took another sip from his glass and looked up at me from under his eyebrows.

    “I paint for myself, not the Salon.”

    He reached for the bottle and I knew he would be there for the rest of the night.

    Outside, the giggling went on…

  23. Cathy Miller says:

    Colorful fish glided through the long, grasping fingers of coral in the animated world of the sea. Here the soundless peace brought comfort to a troubled soul. Rebecca would take this glitter over the plastic world of Hollywood anytime.

    She left the vile place in search of who she had been, who she hoped to be again. The absinthe-colored seaweed undulated as if prelude to a whip of passion that this world did so much better. The ocean treasures would never fail Rebecca like so many in the outside world had. By now the report was out and Rebecca wondered how long her watery shield would stem the tide of the agony left behind.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Cathy: That’s so cool. I’m left wondering what is this report? Why does it matter? When will i learn of it. Write on.

    • Ember Bianco says:

      Cathy – such a torn soul what a sad story, but like Shane I need more info J

    • Chris F. says:

      Great scene-setting.  Tremendous use of language to subtly drop hints and evoke story-questions to pull us in — where are we? Why is Rebecca troubled? What report was out? What agony left behind?
      Excellent work, Cathy!

  24. The salesbot confided in me, “All that glitters is not sold.”

    I shielded my eyes and cloaked my soul. All that is vile whips passion like a coral reef whips a ship on the shoal.

    The salesbot followed me, quietly. “Click SUBSCRIBE for a free special report,” it whispered.

    Absinthe + Virtual Reality = Fail.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Steven: Your best one yet! I love when I have to keep saying this with you guys in here!

    • Chris F. says:

      Wow.   What a tightly-constructed, fun, creative piece.  Love the imagry and imagination. “salesbot” — fabulous word.  “All that glitters is not sold” — extremely witty pun and perfect in context!
      Very nicely done!

  25. Thus far, the evening promised nothing but brain rot and the slow death of hope. I smiled at Chester and silently vowed to remain a spinster to the end of my days. As he droned on about nothing vague and everything in particular, I glanced about the room. My head was on autopilot, nodding like a bobble-head toy at what seemed appropriate pauses in Chester’s monologue. Now and then, my eyes flicked back to be sure of the contentment in his – to be certain I hadn’t missed a cue in our vapid little dinner theater scene.
    As my eyes circled the room for the five hundredth time, they came to rest on a tall, dark, intriguing figure of a man. Our eyes locked. I felt a hot breeze caress my face. It whipped buried passions to a frenzy – brought them glittering to the overbright surface of my own eyes. I saw all this reflected in his. And suddenly, I stood – knocking the chair over, carelessly. It took Chester a moment – and then I saw the shock, the horrible breach of civility, written on his face. “Daria?” he asked, turning to gaze at the man who had so thoroughly entranced me. “What’s gotten into you?”
    I had no answer. I only knew what I longed to have gotten into me. I crossed the room; I don’t even recall my feet touching the floor. The next thing I remember was sipping Absinthe in a candlelit room. All my shields were down. Our conversation seemed terribly profound, at the time – some vile debate over whether coral had a soul – or souls – or whether tiny, one-celled organisms were capable of attaining grace. “Consider the green sea slug,” I remember saying. “It steals photosynthesis from the plants it eats.”
    “But then, if we concede that it has a soul, has it not damned itself to an eternity in Davy Jones’ locker by breaking the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal’?”
    Oh, me Israelites, but I was drunk. I failed to report to work in the morning, and now – dear God – I’m trying to figure out how to get out of this cedar-scented box. My heart thuds dully in my chest, and my thoughts turn to blood…the only thing that will slake this accursed thirst.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: DAMN! Your best yet! Take a bow. Fantastic.

      • Why, Shane, you’re such a delightful reader – so easy to please! 🙂 I kind of felt like I was channeling the cheesiness of every pseudonymous writer of vampire bodice rippers… but I’m glad you liked it. 😉

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Holly: To me it was channeling the sadness of being trapped inside a hopeless relationship. Powerful.

          • Now that’s deep. Green fairy playing the Muse today, Shane? 😛
            Sorry – there’s something about vampires and romance/erotica that bring out my silly side. It’s rather incongruous, but there you have it. One minute the writing’s emotional and profound – the next, it veers off into the ridiculous.
            You might enjoy this: http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/innocents-demons/12451949
            “To Follow in Their Footsteps” is a fun little vampire tale. Most of my friends have either loved or hated it – it’s not my usual thing, but it makes ME laugh. I think I was channeling a cheeky, geeky, teenaged girl who just happened to, you know…well, just read it. 😉
            A whole book full of my quirky short stories and twisted endings.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Holly: Thanks for sharing that. What has been your experience with Lulu? I’m sure the CCC crew wouldn’t mind hearing that story.

          • Shane, thanks for letting me share that here. I found Lulu when it was still in its infancy, and published my first book there as an experiment.
            I strongly believe no writer should have to pay to publish – unless they’re truly self publishing, dealing directly with a print vendor, paying only the reasonable and customary costs of book production. There IS a difference between being your own publisher and falling prey to vanity press.
            Having said that, I strongly believe that just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Just because you know how to perform a tracheotomy using a Bic ballpoint pen doesn’t mean you ought to try it if your child’s choking. If you lack any of the necessary skills to bring your book to market – including writing, proofreading, editing, book layout, print specifications, binding, cover art design and creation, marketing, advertising, publicity – maybe you should hire a professional to do some or all of those things.
            I bought one woman’s book on Lulu – she’d written a glowing review of one of my books – and discovered that the kindest thing I could do was to keep my mouth shut and consider my purchase a reciprocal treat. Her book of “short stories” consisted of a tepid retelling of common urban legends. The first half was in a nice, readable big print – the second half was in something like 72pt type so that only about 10 words fit on a page. Talk about artificially inflating your page count – and costs! Obviously, this is the sort of thing that gives self-publishing a bad name.
            I do like the fact that Lulu costs authors little or nothing – it’s largely do-it-yourself, but includes a free storefront, so there’s no need to process orders, ship books, etc.
            The ISBN on the eBook linked above cost me NOTHING. I did the conversion from .doc to ePub using Sigil. (Helps to understand HTML, XML, and CSS – if you do, then creating ePub isn’t hard, just slightly tedious.)
            Anyway, go check it out – Lulu is very author friendly. Naturally, the cost per unit is higher – it’s print-on-demand, and that’s still one of the realities to deal with. But the upside is, no inventory – no garage full of books you can’t get rid of. 😉

    • Chris F. says:

      Great story-telling!  Super use of characterization.  Fabulous scene-setting.  And a great twist at the end, skillfully given with just enough information to get the message!
      While I’ve become conditioned due to the deluge of ‘he’s so dreamy” vampire stories to normally turn up my nose at the first hint of one, I truly LOVE how well you were able to work it in here, and I would gladly keep reaing.  Not only were you able to pull me in, you were able to overcome my bias in doing so — tremendous!

  26. Chris F., thanks! I have overdosed on vampire fiction – from Bram Stoker to Anne Rice to Laurell K Hamilton. I like my vamps evil but attractive, preferably with some shred of humanity clinging to their conscience (yeah, I like my bad boys to be a LITTLE troubled by their bad selves) – Nosferatu might as well have been the boogeyman. The dude was just seriously UGLY. But why we assume the undead would be any MORE attractive than they were in life – what ARE the odds that Death becomes us all? – I will never understand. I guess vampires just “turn” the most beautiful, leaving the rest of their victims exsanguinated and dehydrated in back alleys. Nature wouldn’t require they be “the fittest,” I guess – after all, they’re DEAD. Well, undead. But that’s just a technicality.
    Have you seen any of the series “Being Human” (either BBC or US versions?)? I’m finding that rather amusing. And the vamps look pretty much like they did in life – good mix of passably attractive to downright homely. I’d want to be a ghost, I think. They can teleport. And the whole werewolf thing – naaah, that’d be my last choice, for sure.

  27. Kelly says:


    A Brief Story of Passion and Heartache

    I failed to report for duty at the CCC last Thursday. And Friday. And… and… and so we arrive at today.  Not because I couldn’t whip up any passion for it; not because the task has lost its glitter; definitely not because I drank too long at the abisinthe drip down in old N’Awlins.


    No, not because of those. While the sky turned coral, day after day, I watched the sun set and cried; though my soul belongs to Shane and his fabulous story-starters, I failed to carve out enough time for even the briefest of creative briefings to the CCC world.

    Oh, vile work! I need you, but again you shield me from my heart’s passions!

  28. Jesse says:


    I can totally relate. *hic*

  29. […] To see the submissions of others, or to participate yourself visit Creative Copy Challenge #119. […]

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