Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #131

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. Hail
  2. Attached
  3. Profound
  4. Stuff
  5. Log
  6. Blow
  7. Catch
  8. Test
  9. Certain
  10. Block

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


116 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #131”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    programming note: In our sidebar, we have an ad for Third Tribe Marketing. Sean and I are members. I wanted to let you guys know that Friday they are closing to new members and when they reopen the price will triple, so check it out if you have any interest in Internet Marketing. In short, the prime benefit of this membership site(among many) is access to the big dog Internet Marketers who started it – Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Chris Brogan, and Darren Rowse. If you ever want to get noticed by these people, you’ll have a better chance if they’ve seen your name inside their playground. I don’t promote much of anything, but this program is worth it.
    Now on with the CCC show.

  2. Shane Arthur says:

    “Dat’s profound, Billy. Those mountain oysters you’s eatin’ are bigger than softball-sized hail. I’m amazed dat bull was able to keep them attached they’s so big and heavy.”

    “They’s big indeed, Bobby. His stuff probably just dragged on the ground making an indentation dat looked like someone draggin’ a log. That’s why bulls is a bit testy and always stompin’ their feet and blowing smoke out their noses.”

    “He probably always got it catched on sticker bushes he walked by, huh Billy?”

    “One thing’s for certain, Bobby. This one I’m enjoying right now got his caught on a choppin’ block.”

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    The hail pounded down on the attached roof creating profound sound, the stuff of logs and bogs and blowing sky high. Catching the icy particles on my tongue was a test of certain audio fears that used to block me.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne: Wonferful: profound sound, the stuff of logs and bogs and blowing sky high. Great rhythm and alliteration with this line. I keep saying it over and over, enjoying it more each time.

    • I agree with Shane, you are ability to weave the words into such a tight paragraph and make them fit so perfectly is amazing.

      • Anne Wayman says:

        Thanks, both of you… do either of you see commercial application to this skill?

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Anne: I believe doing these challenges primes our minds to see connections between seemingly unrelated topics and will allow us to find unique angles to copywriting projects.

        • I have been looking for a way to monetize my poetry for years, other than doing an occasional sponsored post which I use to inspire a poem (see example: http://www.wandererthoughts.com/blinded-again/) I offer advertisers the ability to sponsor my poems for my poetry game, but rarely have takers.
          Ultimately I think writing a book and selling your own book is the only major way to monetize, I did get my poems published twice in contests, but nothing that won awards.  Hallmark and other greeting card places have staff they just pay to write, few take outside freelance poets from my attempts.

        • Chris Fries says:

          Unfortunately no, but soon you’ll achieve true Zen mastery and ultimate enlightenment:
          You’ll be able to say everything with absolutely no words at all.
          So you got that goin’ for ya…  Which is nice.

    • Go, Anne! This is a rapalisciously prosaic treat! (Don’t ask, I just made it up, instead of saying AWESOME)

    • Chris Fries says:

      Fabulous as always, Anne!!!  I love your word-weaving wizardry!!!

  4. I finished today’s poem which set a kind of camping trip ruined type of theme. Decided to rhyme it a bit too, could work as a kid friendly poem as well.


    Attached to the wild, warmed by coals
    profound event to test, the hardiest of souls

    Stuff of irony, a storm fraught with hail
    certain this test may be one you might fail
    Why blow in this storm, instead of a fog
    block more dreadful than a bump on a log

     No shelter for cover, probably catch a cold
    this is your reward for an adventure so bold

  5. Kifayat says:

    I hail from a city in the UK called Brixton but I do not find myself attached to the place because I was not brought up there.
    I have profound respect for people who have a lot of stuff to do at work in the UK but still find time to log onto their computers after a day’s hard work to contribute to forums and sometimes read the news online.
    It was such a blow therefore when I noticed that some of my regular co-subscribers to a forum were unable to do so because they experienced a power cut in their neck of the woods.
    I thought I would catch it on the news since it was a big issue but lo and behold the major TV station in the city was carrying out a test on their signals which according to them was more important than carrying news about certain areas that experienced power cuts in their blocks.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kifayat: Welcome to the CCC. I loved your first submission. Great peek into the life of this character. Hope you join us every Monday and Thursday for more challenges. Everyone welcome Kifayat to the addiction. (ps. Do you have a website? I’ll add that to our CCC Community Links page with your name.)

    • Welcome to the CCC, Kifayat! I like how you chose to use hail and attached.
      I hope that, after a hard day’s work, you’ll have time to hang out at the CCC!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Great entry — Charming and witty!

  6. Kifayat says:

    Hi, thanks for making me feel welcome. Rebecca Sebek posted the link to this site on facebook and I decided to check it out.
    I’ll add my site on the next challenge (I only have 1 post there at the moment!).

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kifayat: Wait till you see @Cathy’s welcome for you. 😉
      I added your name to the CCC community Links page. I’ll just add the url later.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @Kifayat-Welcome to CCC!

      Through snow, sleet and the hail of criticism, nothing keeps us from our CCC. Soon you will be as attached to this sweet addiction as we are. CCC has a profound, lasting effect – the stuff made of legends.

      Somehow it’s easier to log on to our computers each morning, knowing that CCC is patiently waiting for our return. If you are looking for inspiration or just a reason to blow off work, trip on over to CCC and catch the latest challenge.

      There’s no entry fee, no test – just an invitation to fun and laughter that is certain to brighten your day and make it all worthwhile. So, block off your work just twice a week and join us in the magic of words.


  7. Tiffany Hudson says:

    I looked up at Sam. The profound anger he had always had torwards Alfie had gotten worse.
    “I’m sorry.” He weeped as he crouched down by my side. I strocked the back of his hand.
    “I’m okay. It’s alfie I’m worrid about.” I explained quitely
    “You are always worrid about Alfie! God which one of us are you going out with? Me or him?” He shouted at me. I felt the blow like a ton of bricks and I was certain it wasn’t going to stop there.
    “Neither.” I whispered.
    He stopped. He looked like i had thrown a log at him.
    “Coral.” He made it sound like he was dieing just saying my name.
    I stood. Kissed his forehead and walked away from him.
    “Coral door!” My dad bellowed. I trugged down the stairs and found Alfie on the steps.
    “Hey, you okay?” I asked as I hugged him.
    “No. You broke up with my brother.” He kept his arms around me. “Get dressed. You have a test today.” I nodded and walked up the stairs with him following.
    “Your going to watch?” I asked slyly.
    “Better than staying out in the hail. Anyway I am going to basicly be attached to you. Sam would never forgive me if I let you get hurt.”
    “Is he going to be there?” I asked sharply.
    He nodded.
    “I’ll keep you away from him. Marla and Rachel have been informed.” He grinned like a child. And I started crying. Sam had the same smile. I was a wreck.
    We got to school. After a while.
    “Coral.” Marla cried. Rachel behind her as always.
    “Hey guys.” I whispered.
    Rachel hugged me sympatheicly.
    “So hows stuff?” Marla asked innocently.
    I swallowed tears. I blocked it out.
    “Coral don’t catch the love bug.” James Sommen laughed as he walked by.
    “Isn’t that a song?” Rachel asked laughing.
    I laughed with her.

  8. Julia Martin says:

    Writer’s Block.

    There was a catch in her breath when she answered the phone. Of course she knew it was Dad before she even looked at the caller ID.

    In the profound silence that followed, her question was answered. Her brother had died that morning. Of that she was certain before Dad said it out loud. And in that test of the moment, all the stuff that she carried: the weight and the hate and the grit of the day, it all fell away.

    The hail would pelt and the wind could blow and the log could fall off the fire. But that? All that was attached to reality–not this. She stood in the absolute truth of the moment: her little brother was dead. And as tragic and senseless as that reality was, in the end it was all that made sense.

    Goodbye Tony.

    • Julia, very profound writing. I’m feeling it through and through.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Julia: Your most powerful submission yet. Damn! Fantastic!

      • Julia Martin says:

        Thanks….and unfortunately this one is not fiction…. maybe that’s why.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Julia: That’s a damn shame. Sorry for your loss.

          We did a remembrance post some time back of a fellow CCCer who experienced a death in the family. If you’d like, we can use one of the off days to do the same for you if you think you want to and think it would help. Let me know.

          • Julia Martin says:

            No that’s ok. I’m working through it. We were estranged, due to his multiple addictions, but the death was quite sudden — within days of diagnosis — from cancer. Tragic on so many levels. I feel really very guilty, in retrospect, writing about it here (so please remove it if you want to), but it truly helped. Thank you all so much for all your kind comments and for just letting me write. I appreciate it so much.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Julia: Guilt about writing has no place inside CCC. The only guilty writing is when you fail to write. Write anything you fell like here, especially grief.

    • Anne Maybus says:

      That’s so sad, Julia.  Very well written and heart moving.  I have 4 younger brothers and they are very precious to me,  I feel your pain.

    • Chris Fries says:

      Extremely heart-wrenching!
      Very moving.

  9. sefcug says:

    Here is my submission for today in reverse numerical order, and using today’s word of the day as number eleven.
    A Teacher’s Admonition
    When grading tests with essay questions, I feel the need to block out certain categories of test questions, to enable me to catch plagiarized information.
    Some teachers would blow off the importance of doing so, while others might just log the stuff for use against the student at a later date.
    There is profound reasoning attached to both options, which can be found in greater detail elsewhere. Do your own research on that, as there is no room, nor any desire on my part, for a long discussion here.
    Administrators hail the catching of plagiarized material, as a method of removing unwanted students, to make room for those really interested in learning.

    Be careful of what you use for essay test answers, as you can easily deplete the trust you have built up if you plagiarize.
    This is a complete work of fiction. I am not, nor ever been, a teacher or school administrator.

  10. The exploit was crude, but effective. Molten Hail – aptly named – melted through firewalls before freezing servers. The only survivors were hardened servers specifically designed to test every byte passing through their ports. It was one of these computers that Jeremy was analyzing when Bertha walked into the lab.

    “Hi, Jer. What do we have?”

    “Hell if I know, Bird. This is some nasty stuff we’re dealing with, here. This Rayotech IX was in the process of being hardened and didn’t have all the security rings enabled. All I know is that the damned thing got past the outer firewall and mutated three times in the kernel! To keep them sorted, I’ve assigned the name Mikhail.A to the first known version of the worm. The other two are dot bee and dot cee.”


    “Well, from what I can retrieve from the event log, the vector appears to be the NTP port. Specifically, Mikhail.A enters the host via a mode 7 packet spoofing the address of a timer server. Rayotech hadn’t updated this computer’s NPT config file yet, so the kernel daemon was not restricted from responding to this address as legit.”

    “Spare me the techno-babble. I simply need the differentiating characteristics between the mutations, so that we can begin to roll out some kind of preventative measures.”

    “Sorry, Bird. Rayotech connects with an NTP server to synchronize all their clocks. What’s cool is that the 64-bit timestamps have just enough room to deliver a 32-bit instruction or data, along with a 32-bit flag that signals to Mikhail.A. Apparently, the flags are set to randomly rebuild a tiny executable service in the kernel with full permissions. I call this mutation Mikhail.B. Rayotech doesn’t catch these because of the nature of timestamps – it looks like noise with no discernible pattern for signatures. It’s genius!”

    Bertha sighed. She was just going to have to sit through this litany. She pulled up a chair and sat across from the enthralled technician as he continued detailing the attack:

    “At some point, one of the flags signals the Mikhail.B daemon to start executing. I have no idea how this happens but, the result is that this sucker starts probing the host for vulnerabilities. The log shows attempts to cause a buffer overflow in the ‘get item function’.” At this point, Jeremy pushed a copy of the log over to Bertha, showing the highlighted entry:
    ntp_control:ctl_getitem() function
    Bertha glanced at the sheet, nodded perfunctorily and pushed it back. “You mentioned a third mutation, Jer?”

    “I’m getting to it. The trouble with this hack is that it didn’t bother trying to cover its tracks. The baseline security protocol was alerted as soon as the buffer overflow failed. It sent out an alarm but, because the entire infrastructure was not in place, only minimal safeguards were activated. I think the Rayotech IX was overconfident because the overflow had failed. It had no idea that it should keep monitoring the daemon! Exactly two microseconds later, MikHail.B successfully penetrated the actual hardening software and attached the Mikhail.C  code.”

    Bertha sat up straighter. “Which module in the software was affected?”

    “I’m not certain,” Jermey Shrugged. “This isn’t some script kiddie at work. The code is polymorphic, using encrypted memory pages to hold portions of its instructions as a data-driven utility. That’s what’s so neat. Mikhail.A never stopping working! It rerouted its random bit stream to the compromised memory area and started building the random looking 32-byte packets there. And, get this – Mikhail.B didn’t stop, either! It continued looking for vulnerabilities and replicating Mikhail.C in other places. If this computer had been on the main net, the worm would have gotten loose rather quickly. I see fifteen vulnerabilities that it exploited.”

    Bertha gasped. “Fifteen!”

    Jeremy nodded enthusiastically. “From the size of the Mikhail.C code at each flashpoint, I can determine the precise search order of the Mikhail.B engine. We’re going to nail this sucker!”

    Bertha got up and prepared to leave. “Good job, Jer. Keep me posted.”


    Bertha carefully transcribed her meeting with Jeremy. She had her own names for the variants, though.  She really liked the collective name given to this worm by the security community. But, what Jeremy didn’t realize was that his Mikhail.A, which she called Meteor, was designed to blow up on the security radar of targeted systems. When they attempted to block Meteor and succeeded, they would either quarantine the code or decide that the threat level was too low for follow-up.

    This is precisely why the NTP vector was chosen. It was impossible to assign a threat level to random noise! As she detailed Jeremy’s forensic analysis, she marveled at how easy it was to inject Jacob’s Ladder into the system. Jeremy had called it Mikhail.B and this was the most profound part of the worm. Sure, it had the standard polymorphic code and 256-bit encryption. But Jacob’s Ladder also had a ram-based code page that allowed for dynamic reprogramming from the continuous time synchronization stream. NTP was designed to discard packets that were obviously incorrect. However, Jacob’s Ladder monitored all packets and was able to build code from those discarded bits!

    Finally, Jeremy’s Mikhail.C had really been code-named Ebola. This was the so-called freezing hail. It was cruder than Meteor, but, really, how elegant does one’s hammer need to be?


    The seedy motel room made her flesh crawl. She couldn’t wait to deliver her report, collect her money and be gone. In a moment of true paranoia, she told her controller that she was registered in room 202. In fact she was across the courtyard in 217. Now, sitting in the dark, she peered out of the filthy window every 30 seconds, looking for the pizza delivery car that would signal the arrival of her controller.

    She need not have bothered. When the car arrived, with a Domino’s magnetic sign haphazardly sitting atop its roof, the driver merely honked and flashed its lights at room 202. Slipping out of 217, she ran in a crouch toward the driver’s side and tapped the window. Startled, the driver whipped his head around and relaxed when he saw her gaunt face.

    “Ivanka! You shouldn’t sneak up on people. Why the cloak and dagger, eh? Get in.”

    “No, Pieter. I’m handing you a transcript. Where’s my money?”  She held out an envelope, which he snatched and threw on the passenger seat.

    “My, my. No sense of decorum. Here, then. Fifteen hundred with a four hundred daily limit.” He handed her a plastic card with a magnetic strip on the back. “Can you at least give me the highlights?”

    “It works. You won’t need to bother infiltrating Schriever Air Force Base. The timestamps are undetectable, so manipulating the source would be a waste of time. However, once all systems learn to restrict spoofing, Molten Hail will need to find another way to assemble Jacob’s Ladder. Also, it’s not a good idea to keep that redundancy code active. They are able to determine the order of failed attempts and will probably be able to reverse-engineer Jacob’s Ladder if you give them too many chances. That is unlikely, since it uses the Blowfish encryption scheme, but why give them any ammunition? If you must be redundant, you should at least randomize the attack probes.”

    Pieter raised his hands in mock surrender. Laughing softly, he said, “Okay, okay. All that’s above my pay grade. I just need to know if Operation Ancient Sunday is a ‘go’.”

    “It’s a go.”


    On 11, November, 2011 at 11:11:11, a stream of pulses from time synchronization servers around the world began sending erroneous timestamp packets that were picked up by many computers polling port 123. A large number of these computers were running UNIX systems with unpatched configuration files. In a matter of minutes, these vulnerable computers had a new program running in their kernels. All it did was change the system date to 7F FF FF FF.

    In the next instant, those computers reset to 13, December, 1901.

    Ancient Sunday destroyed almost every network on the planet.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitchell: So when’s the movie coming out? Turn this into a book immediately. Outstanding.

      • Thanks, Shane. I’m practicing. I’m practicing. There are elements of these challenges that I want to work into a longer story. I’m learning just how much work goes into getting these details believable enough – and where to gloss over 🙂

    • Chris Fries says:

      Excellent, Mitch!
      I love this techno-thriller cyber-spy vignette!  U-DA-MAN!
      Any particular significance to the 12/13/1901 date?  Other than it was old enough to FUBAR the networks?

  11. sefcug says:

    Wow! That is all I can say.

  12. Chris Fries says:

    Alright — I’m going to try and serve this up in smaller pieces.  Maybe it will be easier to digest this way… So this one is only 730 words (part 4 was over 1,500).

    The Look of Murder — Part 5

    As I came through the doorway from the hallway into a large kitchen, there was another scream.   It was the maid.  She had her back against the wall and was staring out through the French glass doors across from her.  A shattered pile of dishes was at her feet. She saw me come in and pointed outside.  “He was there.  He had a gun.”

    I looked through the window.  An attached sun room was on the other side, dark and filled with shadow, but I couldn’t see anyone, only a door standing open to the darkness outside.  I’m normally not the type of guy who boldly rushes headlong into danger, but I pulled the French doors open and bolted through the sun room to the patio behind the house.  I wanted to at least catch a glimpse of whoever the maid had seen.  Fortunately, I wasn’t greeted by a hail of bullets, but I still didn’t make it past the patio.  My shin collided with a concrete bench and I stumbled, my arms flaying as I fell, and cursing loudly when my knee hit the stone block edging along the patio.  I was certain I’d broken my kneecap.

    So much for the heroic knight protecting the damsel from distress.

    I hobbled to my feet and gingerly put weight on my left leg to test my knee, then limped around the grass, peering into the shadows of the tree-lined property, but there was no-one in sight.  I paused at a stack of firewood near the row of bushes at the back of the yard and leaned against it, gripping the top log to take the weight off my knee. I looked in all directions, but saw nothing and heard nothing.  If the maid had really seen someone out here, they were long gone.

    I headed back, returning through the sun room into the kitchen.  The maid was sweeping the remaining shards of the broken china into a dust pan.  Margaret wasn’t in the room.  The maid looked up when I walked in, favoring my sore knee.

    “Did you see him?” she asked.

    I shook my head.  “No.  Nobody was there.  Are you sure you saw someone.”

    She stood straight and looked at me, one hand on her hip.  “I know what I saw, Sir.  He was big as day.  Had on a black coat and hat, and was peering in at me with wild, evil eyes.  And holding a pistol big enough to shoot an elephant. Liked to scare me to death.”

    “Well, there’s no-one out there now.  We’ll make sure to lock the doors.”  Profound advice from the master detective.  “Where’s Mrs. Thurston?  Is she all right?”

    “Missus went to call the police,” she said.

    I limped towards the hallway as the maid locked the doors to the sun room.  When I reached the entryway, Margaret was again coming down the stairs.  My concern over the intruder was interrupted by my enjoyment of watching Margaret descend.  The gentle sway of her hips was mesmerizing.

    “I phoned the police. They’ll be right here,” she said, shaking my mind away from the naughty stuff I’d begun thinking.

    “I didn’t see anyone outside,” I said.  “But your maid is certain she saw someone with a gun.  I’m not sure.  It might have been anyone.  Maybe a reporter who’s gotten an early scoop on the death of Mr. Thurston and wanted to get some pictures or something.  You’ll probably have carloads of reportes outside by morning.”

    She reached the bottom of the staircase then looked down.  “You’ve torn your pants,” she said.  “And your leg is bleeding.”

    “It’s nothing.” If I couldn’t be the defending knight, then maybe I could impress here with my tough-guy shtick.

    “Well, Mister Sharpe, it looks like we’re safe for the moment.”

    I cringed inside, figuring this is where I get the brusb off. 

    She turned and lightly gripped my arm.  “But would you be willing to stay for a short while?  At least until the police arrive?” She let me down the other hall to an ornate sitting room. 

    She took a seat on a stiff-back couch and I took the seat next to her, happy as a clam to stay right there.  I knew this would eventually blow up in my face — the poor broad’s husband’s just been knocked off, and I’m hanging around like a dopey teenager hoping to get a date with the star cheerleader. 

    Not good, Sharpe.  Not good at all.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Chris: Loved it! And she’s back to being Margaret again. Seduction is impossible to avoid now. 🙂

      • Chris Fries says:

        Thanks, Shane.  I appreciate the positive comments.  I have some key plot points in mind that I want to get to, but keep getting sidetracked as the prompt words send me off on tangents.  So this may take a little longer to finish up.
        Or I may just get bored with the whole story at some point and whip out a lame ending like:

        “…and then I woke up from that weird private eye dream.  Too bad I never got to see how it turned out, but I had to get out of bed and start my day…”  ;^)

    • Too short! Arrgh. LOL. Just kidding.
      At any length, this is an enjoyable tale. I’m looking forward to the next instalment.

      • Chris Fries says:

        Too short?!?!  LOL!
        Glad you liked it, Mitch.  And since at least you and Shane seem to enjoy it, I guess I’ll have to stay with it long enough to give it a decent, fully-resolved ending.
        So next up:  We get to meet some more suspects…

  13. Anne Maybus says:

    Every time I read the submissions for a challenge they blow me away. The clever approaches and amazing use of words is really inspiring.  It spurs me on to try new things.

  14. margaret says:

    It is said they deliver even when there is hail,
    but they could stay home, and keep the damn mail!
    I never get any letters or cards most profound….
    what usually comes is bills and junk mail by the pound!

    Though sometimes I like circulars with coupons attached,
    and disks from my Netflix I pray are not scratched.
    The stuff that accumulates I am certain will grow
    unless I catch it before down the block it can blow!

    As a test I may try making fireplace logs
    or recycled toys to play catch with the dogs!
    At least they will enjoy playing “catch and retrieve”
    Me?…..I’d like regular checks to receive!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ma: I never would have thought someone could work these words into the topic you did. So creative and cool.

    • Margaret, That was fun! You brought back memories of reading The Cat In the Hat.
      I love the sing-song pacing and colorful images.
      Well done!

    • Chris Fries says:

      Awesome fun, margaret!  I love it!
      Circulars and flyers? That form of junk is quite stale;
      Nowdays all the happening spam is delivered by e-mail.
      At least the old stuff you could use to mayhaps line a cage,
      But the electronic trash has no purpose ‘cept to enrage!

      The junk-paper logs could be burned to relive chills,
      But the only logs you get now are the ones from blue pills;
      Or lotions and creams that are supposed to enlarge,
      If only I give them my credit card for an outrageous charge!

      • margaret says:

        HAHAHAHA!!! Love it, Chris….thanks for playing along so adeptly!
        Where I live we have many small, independent markets.  I probably get twenty to thirty circulars weekly for markets, businesses, handymen, gardeners, etc.  My piece was inspired by all of the ones I didn’t catch that are strewn all overy my porch right now that I have to clean up.  Such waste!!

    • Very creative and fun, and I feel the same way about my GameFly discs that you mention about Netflix discs not being scratched.  Ironically, I had a package delivered from work where a chocolate tower was sent to me a few days ago.  All the chocolate was melted, ruined from being in the UPS truck too long.

  15. Anne Maybus says:

    The hail beats down outside my fogged up window, batterin my garden into submission with its ferocity.  There is a certain comfort in being huddled into my blanket but the cold still dances around the fringes.

    A log moves on the fire, sending sparks showering upwards to catch the warm air current before they disappear into the unknown.  I would have welcomed even that flicker of heat on my skin.  What a waste.

    This winter is a test for many.   We’ve become attached to the easy life and having to make do without power is challenging our habits.  We can’t just flick a switch and see light or feel warmth.  Instead we have to block out the cold with thick window coverings and stuff rags under the doors to keep out the draughts. Nothing seems to save my fingers from the icy bite, even so.

    It’s a profound change to the way we live and even though the outages are short term, they keep on rolling around.  It seems to be my turn to be without power more often than most. 

    I would welcome the warmth of another body next to me but there is no one home. 

    Outside the wind begins to blow and the hail responds in excitement.  I wish the hands on the clock would pick up their pace, too…

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne: I always love your style. There’s always some passion in these, and I can relate to the power thing. We live in the outskirts of town and we’re always last to get power back. Luckily we have a generator, but if it’s raining or snowing outside during an outage, we can’t use it since we don’t have shelter for it. Cooking food on a fireplace insert lip with small pans and tin foil is an experience.

    • Chris Fries says:

      I LOVE this, Anne!!!!  What a great opening scene, and some fabulous story-questions raised:  Why are there more power outages now?  Why is this character alone?  What is the protag waiting for?
      A wonderful sense of waiting for something with a slightly ominous hint underneath — this would work extremely well as an intro to something like a near-future sci-fi piece, or a horror story, or even a contemporary novel about a crashing economy, or war, or other political upheaval impacting the life of out protag.
      Fabulous job, Anne!

      • Anne Maybus says:

        Thanks, Chris.  The recent floods through the eastern part of Australia led to lots of rolling outages and this was in my mind as I wrote.  It does feel as though there is more to write – what happens next doesn’t bode well!

    • Enjoyed reading and used to feel like that about the cold when I lived in a city where it used to get cold enough to hail and snow.  You can feel the character’s isolation and loneliness.

    • Mike Jackson says:

      @Anne – I really enjoyed this.
      Isn’t it strange how we all share this dislike of winter and the freezing cold. As I read your words I almost felt myself shivering and my teeth chattering! The one thing that keeps us going is that promise of warmer days to come – how many of us have wished that the ‘hands on the clock would pick up their pace’.
      Here in the UK that is beginning to happen – the days are getting longer and slightly warmer and the promise of Summer, sunshine & warmth is just around the corner.

      • Anne Maybus says:

        Down here in Oz we are into Autumn and the temperatures are dropping.  While I’m not in an area that sees snow, we do get our share of hail and crisp cold morning.  Those mornings are here already.

  16. Mike Jackson says:

    My friends told me how lucky I was. They all saw him as the perfect catch. Nobody was really surprised when we married that January less than six weeks after we had first met. He’d been keen that it should be a quiet, registry office wedding apparently he didn’t believe in all this church stuff. It turned out to be a beautiful day. The hail that had been hammering against the roof during the brief service lay like snow on the ground when we came out. It gave a real wintry look to our wedding day photos. The only downside to the day was my parents not attending. They had made it very clear from the start that they thought we were rushing things. Mum made out she’d taken a profound dislike to him and did her best to try and put him off marrying me.

    The police log showed that mum phoned our local police station nineteen times in the first three months of our marriage with claims of bullying and domestic violence. Each time the officers turned up at my door I was able to assure them that everything was OK. On the odd occasion that someone noticed the bruising Imanaged to block their questions with my plausible explanations. In the end I had to stop all communication with my parents, in particular my mum. At the same time the police warned her about wasting their valuable time.

    The dream man that I first thought I was marrying turned out not quite as I had expected. Despite that I have become very attached to him. I’m not sure I would call it love but I definitely feel something for him and now feel more certain than ever that he is the man for me.

    At first he had proved to be a real test of my patience but now I’ve got him well under control. In those early days he tried to stand up to me. He even had the audacity, at first, to hit out when I attacked him, hence the bruises. He soon learnt that each blow that landed on me would lead to more dire retribution on my part. He now knows better. I sometimes wonder if he regrets the day he married me and wishes he had taken more notice of my mum’s warnings.

  17. Kelly says:


    Must every word be profound stuff? I work all day, y’know. Sometimes I can’t catch the energy to test my breathing with a blow to a candle, let alone block your view or log a mile in pursuit of you, to be certain I’ve got your attention. I’ve attached my very finest “Hey, you” to the wave and the jumping up and down, all in vain—

    —so what the heck do I have to do to hail a cab around here?

  18. Anne Maybus says:

    Kelly, that’s a great story.  I loved it.

  19. Troy Worman says:

    The images rained down on me like hummer-sized rocks of hail mottled with characters yet unwritten, a toe-tag attached to each, inscribed with an epitaph.  Nothing profoundStuff. Log words. Mundane lexiconica. Sterile. Empty. Parching. Each rock harder to swallow than the last. Until finally, mercifully, I choked out.

    “Welcome back,” the woman’s voice was vaguely familar–as if long since dreamt.

    I looked up at her through bleary eyes. She was wearing nothing but a black tee shirt with the words “blow me” printed across the chest.


    “I’ll give you a chance to catch your breath,” she said as she stepped into her pantsuit and left the room.

    A moment later she returned and handed me a translucent blue capsule and a glass of kool-aid.  “This shit is beyond test-grade,” she said, “certain to kill your block.

    I knew the drill. I popped the pill and drank the kool-aid.

  20. meek willed says:

    I ran to try a make sure I was not going to be late for drama.
    I manage to get there just in time to be told  “I’m going to test you, guys on the profound art of mime” by MR Andrews he gave us a small amount to discuss ideas for what we were going to preform on the runways like block.  
    MR Andrews ask if any one was will to go up and when no one raised their hands he started pick people at random.
    The first person to go up was a boy who did an act that was half way between being hit by a hail of bullets or lightning bolt  followed by a thin girl that did the famous act of walking against the wind and she actually looked as if she was being blown away.
    Next was my turn as I got up Dean (the kid i got on most with in drama) shot me a thumbs up an I approached the block uncertain of my acting skill i stepped up on to the block and began to act like i was chopping logs  giving  each a couple of hacks before miming putting a new log on then after a  couple I pretend i heard someone call and walk of the stage trying not to trip over someone’s stuff as i went back to sit next to Dean who now had to get up for his turn and as he did he stumbled.
    I tired to catch him but I was too slow an after he had hit the grown with a thud I offered him a hand up and he went up and did an acted likes he was looking after a very energetic dog.
    Dean seemed pritty attached to the dog even if it was imaganary.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @meek: That was funny. For some reason this reminded me of when i was a computer instructor and had a panic attack. What an odd day that was. This brought me back there.

  21. Tanja Cilia says:

    It was a lot of stuff, that’s for certain. He’d grown attached to the collections, however – proving that he was, indeed, a chip off the old block. This was his litmus test. Could he catch his breath again, given the profound blow that life had dealt him? Would the people hail him as a hero, or would he fail?  Log on to this site for next week’s episode if you want to know what happened.  

  22. It was Christmas Day. It should have been a time of celebration. Of profound joy and childlike wonder. But for me, that morning hailed the arrival of sadness, pain and regret.

    It started with a loud bang, stirring me from my slumber. I might have covered my ears with the blanket and just rolled over, trying to block out the noise and go back to sleep.
    But that sound had jarred my insides. I wasn’t immediately certain what it meant, but I knew one thing: it couldn’t be good. My pulse thudded as possibilities flashed in my mind. Was there an intruder in the house?

    I forced my stiff body out of bed and padded into the kitchen, barefoot. And then I saw her: my Beloved, lying on the floor in an alarmingly unnatural position. She was alone.

    Something lodged in my throat as I took in the sight. The force of the blow had knocked her on her side and there was a mess on the floor next to her. I cringed, seeing the stuff that should’ve been inside her splattered on the cold tile floor in a way God had never intended. Strangely, I couldn’t look away from the gruesome sight. It was all surreal. I kept thinking that when she’d fallen, there’d been no one to catch her.

    Sinking to my knees at her side, I placed my hand on her motionless form. She was still warm. Questions plagued my mind. A single word floated to the surface.


    I hadn’t seen it coming. I wanted to scream “Why?” but the answer was right in front of my face. It hit me with enough force to knock me on my backside.

    All those years she had served me faithfully, never once refusing my demands or even asking for a “thank you.” I’d used her selfishly and never questioned her feelings. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her. I’d always been deeply attached to her. I needed her, for Pete’s sake!  But now the truth stared me in the face like the thug it was: she hadn’t felt appreciated.

    There was so much I wish I had said. So much I never told her. And now my regret would have to stay logged away forever, hidden in the recesses of my heart. It tried to escape now through my eyes in long wet tears.

    If this was some sort of test, I had failed miserably.

    And all I wanted was fresh rolls for Christmas dinner, I thought miserably, staring at the busted bread maker on the floor. I looked at the cord that was still plugged into the outlet, and shook my head, wondering how she’d managed to walk herself off the counter.

    Giving her one last pat on the side, I sent her a final farewell.

     So long, old girl.

  23. […] is my submission to Creative Copy Challenge #131 to see the other submissions, or to submit one of your own, just go to the link. I have used the […]

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