Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #157

Today we have Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn choosing our words. Let’s show her some creative love once again.

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. Raw
  2. Arching
  3. Manipulation
  4. Caffeine
  5. Cerise – red color or pigment; the chromatic color resembling the hue of blood
  6. Wedge 
  7. Mottled – Spotted or blotched with different shades or colors.
  8. Slanted
  9. Bereft – Deprived of something
  10. Devoid – Completely lacking; destitute or empty

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


131 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #157”

  1. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy. We’s gots to stop walkin’. My feets is so raw they be bereft and devoid of skin. They’s mottled with blood stains. Don’t laugh Billy, I’m cerise.”

    “I knows you be serious Bobby. I was just thinkin’ of dat Chris feller again and how he jumped. Anyways, my feets be in da same condition, cept mine even lost their archin’ and they look like slanted club-wedges of raw flesh. We needs to evaluate our lives Bobby. We need a change. We’s needs to do some epic shit.”

    “Billy, hows about we go to dat community college over yonder and get us some smarts. Iffin we graduate, there ain’t nothin’ we can’t do in life. The ground’s the limit.”

    “You’s on to somethin’ Bobby. But I needs me some caffeine to help me think of how we’s gonna manipulation dat community into wantin’ us to attend on account of we ain’t even passed the 3rd grade level yet.”

    “They’ll admit us for sure Billy. Once they finds out how much community service da court system done gave us, they’ll welcome us with closed arms.”

  2. margaret says:

    Some people just have a raw talent for manipulation.
    They are bereft of conscience and use mottled judgement when
    trying to get what they want.

    Like a cat arching it’s back while waiting to pounce on the mouse,
    or the mouse devouring the wedge of cheese as though he were on a caffeine high,
    they are thoroughly devoid of feelings beyond their own needs or diversions.

    Their ethics are selfish and slanted and their actions often leave emotional chaos
    splattered in cerise on the many lives affected.

  3. Anne Wayman says:

    ah, the notices are timely again, thanks!

    It felt raw, with arching almost pleasure. The caffeine-driven manipulation seemed cerise and slightly mottled, wedged in and slightly slanted. I was left feeling bereft, devoid of… I’m not sure what.

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    He felt raw from too many cases and unspeakable cruelty arching from the killer to victim. He loathed the sense of manipulation, the helplessness of always being one step behind.

    He needed answers not found in the caffeine-stained cup he stared into, the brown color taking on the cerise color of blood in the hallway of too much death.

    “Yo, Stapleton, you gonna fill that cup or just imagine the coffee?”

    “You’re an asshole, Parker,” he grumbled at his partner of nine years, “and a pig,” he finished, watching Scott Parker shove a wedge of stale, cherry pie in his face.

    “Hey, it’s food, ain’t it? Well, mostly. What’s with the attitude?”

    Michael couldn’t explain the mottled feelings that left him drained and strangely depressed. He slanted a look at his partner and offered a weak shrug, bereft of any feeling.

    “It’s nothing – just like this case – it’s totally devoid of any answers.”

    “Yeah, and we ain’t got any, either.”

    “Parker, have you ever picked up a book?”

    “I have the coffee table version of Playboy.”

    Cops – you gotta love ’em.

  5. Lydia says:

    The next morning Ed and Marlene drove back to Paradise. Deputy Velasquez was standing outside of the local police station as Marlene pulled into the parking lot.
    “Good morning,” he said. “I just made a pot of coffee. Do you want some before we head over to the church?”
    Caffeine doesn’t agree with us before noon,” Ed replied. “Let’s just go.”
    Pastor Small stood at the mottled edge of Adela’s first resting place shivering in a cerise sweatshirt. Ed held the small bundle that had caused such a stir.
    “I understand you have something for me.”
    “Yes,” Ed replied. “I’ll reseed the plot, too, if the grass doesn’t grow back.”
    “Is there any chance we could have her grave moved?” Marlene asked. “Legally, I mean.”
    “Your uncle would have to sign off on it and you’d need to buy a plot somewhere else.”
    “It’s time, Ed,” the deputy said. Ed stepped forward and handed his bundle to the pastor. She accepted it and then nodded toward a few shovels lying next to grave.
    “Let’s get to work.” When their shovels were finished Pastor Small unrolled the bundle and returned Adela and her baby to the ground. Once again the soil swallowed them.
    “As far as I’m concerned none of this happened,” Deputy Velasquez said. “I may have to miraculously  uncover some hidden memories if you ever dig around here again, though. Have a nice day, folks.”
    The parking lot at Shady Acres was devoid of life a few days later when Ed and Marlene dropped by with the release form for Uncle Eugene to sign. Their slanted shadows bobbed behind them as they walked into the nursing home. A nurse slumped over a desk slowing flipping through pages of a chart was their only companion as they reached his ward. There were no residents in the sitting room, no visitors quietly reading the no longer bereft “This Is Your Life” bulletin board that had finally been updated. Uncle Eugene was this month’s participant and the board was filled with photos, handwritten letters and short typewritten paragraphs about his life as a young man.
    Wedged in a wheelchair, his arthritic back arching raw against the lumpy seat, Uncle Eugene was staring out the window when they arrived in his room.
    “Uncle Eugene!” Marlene said, a smile sliding up her face. “You’re just the man we were looking for.”
    “Hello, Marlene.”
    “We’ve missed you so much! What has your daughter been up to these days?” For a few minutes they talked about everything she’d never asked him before.
    “Ed, dear, would you go get us a fresh glass of cold water?” Her manipulation of a loose chip in the damp plastic cup that had been sitting next to his bed had ended with  a deep crack splitting down the edge of the cup. “I don’t like the look of this one. Oh, and see if they can add a slice of lemon and an ice cube or two. Sometimes the water out here tastes odd.”
    When he returned she was standing next to Uncle Eugene’s bulletin board clutching the release form with a small smile on her lips.
    “He didn’t need the water after all,” she said. “You can drop it off at the nurses station before we leave.”
    “Did you get his signature?”
    “More or less,” she said, walking away.
    The End

  6. Rebecca says:

    Annie’s new wedge shoes were mottled; they had a touch of cerise. She received many compliments on them and relished the attention. If she didn’t receive at least one compliment per day, she felt bereft. Obviously, she was devoid of a healthy self-esteem and could be prone to manipulation. This may be a slanted view of Annie but it’s what others saw. It’s what her overbearing mother saw. Annie couldn’t make it through a visit without being stripped raw by her mother. She’d decompress by doing yoga when she got home. Twisting and arching seemed to relax her along with large amounts of caffeine.

  7. maria says:

    The pale winter sun slanted in the kitchen window, throwing bits of mottled light on the table top. I traced the pattern with my finger, wondering how I would wedge myself back into the living world. Devoid of emotion, unable to muster outrage, or shock, or even a pitiful smile, I was a walking corpse, so overwhelmed by the traumatic events of the past ten weeks that I’d shut down. I needed a reboot, and caffeine wasn’t capable of managing the enormous task of healing me.
    My six-year-old ran into the kitchen from school, her face cold and red, the bright cerise ball on her stocking hat the only color I’d perceived all day. She hugged me, her little arms surrounding me as she squeezed as hard as she could. “It’ll be okay, Mama,” she whispered. “I’ll help you.”
    I pulled her into my lap, coat and all, and pushed her had off so I could nuzzle her, smell her hair, stroke her soft face. The raw, arching pain that seared through me left me bereft of the energy a young mother needs to care for her family, and I collapsed into myself, to a dark and lonely place, to wait.
    Chet came home around five to find us still there. Rachel had shucked off her coat but climbed back onto my lap. Dinner needed fixing, as the food the church ladies had brought over was gone. I’d washed the corning ware dishes carefully in scalding water, burning my hands as I recalled my family standing in the snow as we buried Justin, just ten weeks old, in his little blue and white casket. The snow still lay on the ground, drifting high in places, the ground showing wet and brown in others, a cold reminder of my baby in his icy grave.
    Rachel hopped down to help in the kitchen as Chet pulled me to my feet, planting a warm, lingering kiss on my forehead. “We’ll get through this,” he whispered against my neck. I felt his warm tears against my skin and melted in his arms, his manipulation to get me on my feet for myself only, not for him or our daughter, and I knew he was right. Somehow, we’d get though. Somehow.

    My family buried our second child at ten weeks from a heart defect. This is a realistic portrayal of an afternoon as it happened, way back in 1983.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Maria: Wow. I read that and said, “No way is this made up. It’s too good, too powerful to be fiction.” Sorry for your loss. As a father of two, I couldn’t imagine such a thing.

    • C Rich says:

      This is a beautifully depicted scene, Maria.  I am so sorry for your loss.  You captured the feelings of grief and depression in vivid detail.  No one should have to go through what you did.

      • maria says:

        Thanks. It was horrible beyond imagining. A long time ago, though, and my family stayed together. My husband Chet and I celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary this summer.

        • C Rich says:

          Congratulations!  That is awesome that you have been together so long and that you made it through that horrible experience together.  Family is the most important thing in this world.  I’m glad you kept yours together.

    • Maria, thank you for sharing. I hope that writing helps you.

      • maria says:

        All of my writing is cathartic. I reviewed what I’d posted and it was, for the most part, dark, with scenes of death or trouble. I lead a very happy life; I am a Buddhist and live with my soulmate. But there are things from my past, such as this event, that have shaped me into the person I now am, and to put the pain into focus, I write about it.
        Thanks for your comments. 🙂

    • Jeanette R. says:

      This is incredibly well written.  I was there with you… sitting in your kitchen trying to think of words of comfort.  I loved this.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @maria-wow, it just tugs at you-so sorry for your loss. Many blessings for you and your family.

    • Martha says:

      Oh.my.God. This is so powerful on so many levels. I was reminded again why some boxes should never be that small. I am so sorry for your loss, but in awe how beautifully you captured those moments with your daughter and husband. So many lives can be ripped apart with the death of a child; how incredibly moving to know that you both survived supporting each other.

      • maria says:

        thank you so much. Usually I have an idea of what I want to write about by the time I get to the end of the prompts. This one was a no-brainer. I appreciate your comments. 🙂

    • So sorry for your loss, even though it was long ago.
      This was beautifully written. It’s amazing what different stories can come from the same ten words.

  8. Sisterhood of the Void – Point of Deception

    “No! Afetar, no!” First Mother’s anguished cry filled the Void. Knowing that it was already too late, knowing that the team’s  time-delayed conversations were now nothing more than pre-echoes doomed to join the living history of the Sisterhood and, knowing that she had betrayed her progeny, Be still couldn’t prevent that maternalistic warning from arching across time and space.

    The clan turned their attention toward First Mother, unsettled yet again by the rapidly evolving chain of events. They had been cheering on the team, while nervously watching the slow but steady consumption of Atefa’s Bek Realm. The anomaly had grown immeasurably large, threatening to wedge its undefined mass between the remnants of its host universe and a slightly smaller collection of galaxies nearby.  First Mother’s outburst sent a caffeine-like jolt of fear through the collective consciousness. They waited.

    First Mother, sensing the attention, became uncharacteristically reticent. She spent a few beats denying the arrival of the moment. She had to divulge her manipulation, her complicity – no! – her sacrifice. But she had to first prepare these trusting daughters and sisters for the flaying that would leave them raw forever more. She disconnected from consciousness.


    Silence halted. Abruptly. Its master controller had sent a confusing spike that was ultimately discarded as undecipherable. In the next instant, the master controller was no longer present. Without instructions, the monolith switched to supervisor mode, shutting down first the core, then the viaduct. Having learned its lesson from the earlier concerted alien attack, Silence had retained a reserve store of matter and energy, to which it now turned for sustenance. Finally, the supervisor shut itself down, rendering the anomaly inert until the return of the master controller.


    Everyone detected the shutdown of the anomaly.  Only Bet and her daughters made the connection.  Bet, in true eldest sister fashion, beat out the astonished query, “Mother, what have you done?”


    First Mother slowly touched each of her eight remaining daughters, connecting them to herself in a way they had never experienced before. Using a latent force, this connection spread from mother to daughter through six generations of creators. When they were all thus networked, First Mother, still consciously absent, switched to mitochondrial recording mode.

    Instantly, the Sisterhood knew.  And they cried out.  But their laments couldn’t drown out the slanted, distorted images mainlining through their essential beings. The echoes, long buried in parts of mitochondria never explored, rang out with a truth bereft of judgment, yet not entirely devoid of a sense of deception. First Mother “spoke”:

    “In the beginning, there was the Void. And the Void was without shape or form. The First Creator floated through the Void until She found a speck.

    “And the First Creator touched the speck and the elements burst forth. And the Void was filled with mottled matter, pulsing energy and ionized plasma.

    “Into this cosmos, the First Creator cleaved. And the First Creator begat Nil, the Elder and Be, the Younger. To the Elder, the First Creator spoke, ‘Go forth, consume the elements, but do not drink from the River of Thought. Return the elements to specks and bring shape to the Void.’

    “To the Younger, the First Creator charged, ‘You alone shall cleave creators, rule the River and tame the elements. Do with them what you will, only remember one thing: do not interfere with Nil.’

    “And Nil went forth, consuming elements and shaping the Void. And Be went forth to drink from the River of Thought.

    “It came to pass that the Void became filled with specks and the River of Thought was drained dry. And the First Creator was not pleased.

    “She called Nil and she called Be. And Be came, but Nil was too far away and Nil did not come when called.

    “And the First Creator spoke to Be, ‘Why have you drained the River? Did you not think your daughters would want to drink, also?’

    “And Be spoke thus, ‘But, Mother, I have no daughters!’

    “And the First Creator became angered. She touched Be and proclaimed, ‘You have not honored me. You are unworthy to cleave! You have spoken true; you shall not have any daughters.’

    “And Be howled at the touch. For the touch stripped her essence so that she was no longer complete.

    “And Nil heard Be. And Nil came to comfort Be.

    “The First Creator saw that Nil came when Be called. And She called Nil. And Nil came.

    “The First Creator spoke to Nil, ‘Why have you come when Be called but not when I called?

    “And Nil confessed, ‘Mother, I have sipped from the River of Thought. And I became afraid, so I departed for the end of the Void. I heard you, but did not come. I knew that you were not pleased.’

    “The First Creator did not become angered, for Nil was her first. Yet, the First Creator had to punish Nil.

    “And the First Creator touched Nil and proclaimed, ‘You shall never drink again. Leave!’

    “And Nil did not howl at the touch. For the touch stripped Nil of all consciousness. And Nil did not leave.

    “Immediately, the First Creator saw the error of her anger. And she took pity on Be and showed mercy.

    “The First Creator touched Be and proclaimed, ‘You shall forever bear the burden of your selfishness. You shall cleave ten daughters. Each daughter shall strip a thread from your essence. Your last daughter herself shall strip all of your threads and you shall cleave no more. This daughter will bear your burden, as will her tenth daughter and the tenth daughter of the tenth daughter. Forever.’

    “And Be howled again. The howl was for her uncleaved tenth daughter, whom she could not bear the thought of punishing.

    “And the First Creator relented. And the First Creator spoke to Be, ‘Very well. I leave you with a choice. Burden the tenth daughters or place yourself in the service of Nil.’

    Be, the Younger looked at her comatose sister. And her essence ached for Nil. So Be proclaimed, ‘Mother, it seems just that I spare both the tenth daughters to come and my sister who is.’

    “And the First Creator, robbed of her vengeance, cursed Be. She spoke, ‘You have chosen! From this beat forward, you must think for Nil, and the River of Thought will be as food for your sister.’ ”


    Jebubba and her team, connected by the same thread as the rest of the Sisterhood, were already in the center of Universe 17 million plus eight when the final mitochondrial echo reached them.  It didn’t matter, though, as they gazed into the malevolent, cerise-tinged eyes of Nil.

  9. C Rich says:

    Been on vacation. I don’t have time to go back, so I am continuing Sam McGee’s story here.

    Sam sat in Captain Walker’s office, devoid of emotion.  He was numb.  Thirty-six hours had passed since he had come to the station to answer a few questions.  Caffeine was the only thing keeping him upright.  They had used several manipulation tactics to get him to confess to a crime he knew nothing about.

    First there was the sympathy route.  He had found himself sitting across the table from an attractive female officer who introduced herself as Anne.  She had nearly cried when he related what had happened.  Her performance might have been convincing, but when she kept turn the conversation toward who could have done such a horrendous thing, the implication that he had snapped and killed fifteen people in cold-blood wedged further and further into her questions.

    Every time he closed his eyes, he could see Jo lying in a cerise pool of blood surrounded by the mottled faces of the other victims.  He knew most of them.  Ten men and five women.  The fact that one of them was that strange woman from the bar still hadn’t fully registered for him.

    Every person who had entered the room since then had insisted he killed his friends.  The last one came right out and told him that he should just confess even if he wasn’t guilty because the process would go easier for him.  That was when he told them to book him or send him home.  This wouldn’t be happening to him if he had just kept his mouth shut.  It was a messed up world where truth was what incriminated a person.

    Sam shifted in his seat, arching his shoulders.  He slanted a glare at Captain Walker as he entered the stuffy space.  The Captain eased into his chair.  He looked ragged as though he hadn’t gotten any sleep either.  The raw confusion in his eyes was hard to miss.

    Captain Walker let out a hollow sigh.  “I really want to believe you, son.  I do, you don’t seem the type to go off like that, but you were the last person to see any of those people alive.”

    Sam clenched his jaw.  “That doesn’t make me guilty.”

    “Doesn’t make you innocent, either.  I need more information.”

    “I’ve already told you everything I know.”

    “I wish that was good enough.  The only thing keeping me from charging you for murder is a few discrepancies in the crime scene and something you said earlier.”

    “Like what?”

    Captain Walker leveled his gaze at Sam.  “I shouldn’t tell you anything, but I am running out of options.  Contrary to what you may believe, I want to uncover the truth as much as you do.” Sam waited impatiently for answers that weren’t coming. 

    Captain Walker stood, scraping his chair to the side and walked to the window.  “Tell me about that girl again.”

    “Captain, I’ve already said what I know about her.  It’s pretty hard to know much about a person in only a few minutes, and that was at most.  We didn’t exactly get into where she was from or her career choices.  Honestly, I thought she was a call-girl who hadn’t found a John for the night.  I had no idea she was an aspiring model or that she was supposed to be married this week.  All I knew about her was she was off.  It wouldn’t have mattered how beautiful she was, I wasn’t going anywhere with her.  Maybe she wanted some last fling before her wedding, couldn’t take the rejection and lost it.  maybe she is your murderer, Captian.”  Sam was heaving in air like a dying fish by the time he was done speaking.  This was the most absurd thing he had ever gone through.  “Do you have any evidence to link me to the crime other than I told you I was at the bar that night?”

    “Captain Walker turned around.  His features were emotionless.  “We dusted for your fingerprints where the bodies were found.  You could have been wearing gloves.”

    “Yeah, and I could have been dead if I had stuck around any longer.  Look.  I have nothing more to offer you.  If you are still considering me a suspect then I’m going to have to insist on retaining an attorney.”

    Captain Walker gave Sam a ghost of a smile.  “No need, son.  Come.  I want to show you something.”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @C Rich: YES!!!!! Outstanding. I’m loving this story. I LOVED the ending, but hated it too … because I have to wait until Monday to see where it does. Damn! 😉

      • C Rich says:

        Thanks, Shane.  I was tempted to put all of the words I missed into this one, but I just didn’t have time.  I am playing catch-up.  I too have a love/hate relationship with cliff hangers.  Fair warning:  I seem to drift to them. 🙂

    • I see you know my friend, Cliff Hanger.
      This is awesomely developing. Even though you haven’t updated in awhile, you brought the story right back into focus! (I hope you had a nice vacation 🙂 )
      Carry On!

      • C Rich says:

        Yes, Mitch.  I am friends with Cliff.  He and I go way back.  Anyway, I did have a great vacation. I needed it.  Thanks.


    • maria says:

      ah, excellent! I love your dialogue. Very believable. 🙂

      • C Rich says:

        Thanks, Maria.  I’m glad it came across that way.  Your dialogue wasn’t bad either, if I remember right.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      @C Rich-ohhh….I hate waiting 🙂 Can’t wait for the next submission.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Thanks Shane and Anne!

  11. Jeanette R. says:

    I’m a newbie.  Here goes nothin’.


    “No thanks, I’m allergic to caffeine.” Gina put the cup down and checked the manual for her next sample.

    “How can you be allergic to caffeine? You work at Starbucks.”
    Gina took two slow inhalations and started her training session again.

    “So, in order to make a double espresso con panna, you need to add two shots of espresso”

    “Sorry to interrupt, but how are you allergic to caffeine?  Like, you break out in hives or do you throw up or what happens to you?  How can you not drink coffee working in a coffee shop?”  The trainee was clearly bereft of proper new employee etiquette. Gina was going to have to fill the wedge between them with a bit of authority.  

    “Listen, Julio, I have coffee everyday just not like everyone else.  I use manipulation to get my coffee beans to the consistency of a thin powder and then I eat it.  I just can’t have it brewed. For some reason, when I have it in its raw form, the caffeine doesn’t affect me. Enough about me, let’s get back to teaching you about the wonders of coffee”

    Julio slanted his eyes and stared at Gina’s fingertips, which were stained a bright pink cerise. Gina noticed his stare and quickly removed her hands and grabbed for gloves. 

    “Are you a painter?” He asked.

    “No.”  Arching around Julio, Gina grabbed a steamer cup and poured some Soy Milk into it.

    “Are you an artist?  Why are your hands stained?” Julio leaned on his right leg and put his arm on top of the espresso machine.

    Gina began to panick. She had never had anyone ask her so many inquisitive questions. Should she be honest?  No, he didn’t care about her. Why should she?  He was just someone devoid of interest in working and wanted to spend his time talking rather than learning.  She would have to find a way out of training new employees. She preferred making the coffee drinks and not having to speak or deal with anyone directly.

    “Julio, we only have an hour left and we haven’t even gotten through the manual.” Julio stared at the mottled display of cupcakes and turned his attention back to Gina.

    “I don’t think this is my thing.  If you tell me why your fingertips are stained, I’ll try and focus.”  Gina could not believe what she was hearing. He was trying to bribe her in order to get him to do the job he was just hired for. 

    “Listen, I could care less if you want this job or not. Just let me know and I’ll tell my manager. My fingertips are none of your damn business.”  Gina turned off the steamer and started to wipe down the countertops.

    “I already know why they are stained. They told me.” Julio smirked and leaned down close to Gina’s ear.  “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”

    Gina stopped wiping the counter and turned her head to face Julio. “I don’t know what they are telling you but I can promise you they are wrong.”

    Julio stepped back and let out a roaring laugh.   “Whoa, someone is testy about those fingertips.  I’m just joking.  I’m just trying to bring some life in this place.  You can have your secret.  So tell me how to make a double crap frap whatever.”  Julio gestured for Gina to return to the machine and she promptly took her place in front of it. 

    Gina knew that one day it wouldn’t be so easy. One day she would have to explain why her fingertips were always stained. One day she would have to confess that she couldn’t eat or drink anything in its pure form.  She preferred powders of all varieties.   The night before she consumed three tubs of Strawberry Kool-aid. She tried to eat only clear powders so not to stain her hands but she couldn’t help herself.   One day she would come across someone like Julio who actually paid attention and wanted answers. Thank goodness today wasn’t that day.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: What an outstanding 1st submission. What a fun scene that was to read. If you have a website, let me know so I can link to it when I add your name to the CCC Community Links page. If you don’t, you need to start yourself a website to showcase your writing.
      Everyone welcome Jeanette to the addiction. Hope to see you each Monday and Thursday. With writing like that, I just might beg. 🙂

      • Jeanette R. says:

        Wow! @shane thanks for the compliment. I was nervous submitting the story but from what I’ve  read this is a great, supportive website.   Said in the voice of your character Bobby “Iz don’t have a site for my webs, but Iz be gettin’ on dat” 😉

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Jeanette: Look no further than our sidebar for one hell-of-a theme. 😉

          • Jeanette R. says:

            @Shane How do I get my own pic instead of the creepy colon-shaped crab?

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Jeanette: Go to gravatar.com and sign up using the same email you use to post at blogs and the picture you upload there will eventually show up on sites where you leave comments.

        • Cathy Miller says:

          @Jeanette R – Welcome to CCC!

          Here you’ll find the raw emotions arching from mind to screen in a manipulation beyond our control. More powerful than the richest caffeine, each challenge takes red to cerise, pain to agony and smiles to guffaws.

          The addiction that is CCC will have you looking for ways to wedge in yet one more challenge as your mottled world morphs into a kaleidoscope of creativity.

          Admittedly, our view is slanted, but soon you will agree, life without CCC is bereft of emotion and devoid of the simple joy of words.


          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Cathy: This replaces my old favorite-welcome-of-all-time welcome. #bows

          • Jeanette R. says:

            Well, hello there, Cathy!  Thanks 🙂

          • Cathy Miller says:

            @Shane #bows back
            @Jeanette R-my pleasure-glad you joined us! You’ll love this place. 🙂

          • Shane Arthur says:


            “I told you she’s got raw talent. It’s arching toward infinity.”

            “Yeah, that’s quite an impressive manipulation of language and words.” She welcomes everyone like this?”

            “Yeah, she must be high on caffeine to do it so often, but we love her sweet cerise heart for doing so.”

            “Think she ever hits a creative wedge or gets mottled with writer’s block?”

            “Nah, she tells her writer’s block to Get Slanted. Her muse is bereft of courage to talk back to her once Cathy devoids her of her block-throwing ability.”

          • Jeanette R. says:

            @Shane I think this is my new addiction/obsession.

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Jeanette: It’s pointless to resist. I’m hopelessly addicted. 😉

          • Shane Arthur says:

            @Jeanette: I’ve started answering comments in my characters’ voices. THAT’S addiction right there. 😉

          • Cathy Miller says:

            @Shane-I’m tellin’ ya’, you can take up the welcome mat anytime. 🙂

    • C Rich says:

      Loved this. Great writing, Jeanette.  No need to worry with the chops you have.

    • Welcome to the CCC, Jeanette. This was great fun. Such an original concept! And the setting was perfect: I could see and hear that arrogant little twerp, just getting on Gina’s last nerve. LOL
      I look forward to drinking more of that Kool-aid!

      • Jeanette Ruiz says:

        Thanks, Mitch.  I’ve been in a writer’s slump and joining this group has energized me.  You guys rock!

  12. Olivia Drewe says:

    I perch on the edge of the chair, staring past my coffee. Caffeine is exactly what I need.  Early morning sun slants in through the trees, creating mottled patterns on my desk. They dance, manipulated by the breeze, arching and bending. A knock shatters my thoughts and I jumped, almost spilling coffee. Normally so alert, yet I hadn’t heard even a footstep.
    I glanced over. It was him. He slouches, hands in pockets. If it’s possible, he even stands with cat-like grace. No wonder I hadn’t heard anything.
    “Yes.” I am like ice, I told myself. I don’t care a bit about him. Common sense battles with raw yearning.
    “I just wanted to apologise. You know. For earlier. I get that you’re the sort of person that doesn’t like my jokes. So. Sorry.” What sort of person was I then? I didn’t even realised I was a ‘sort of person’. My stomach curls at the thought of being labelled by him.
    “I see.” I said, my voice devoid of any emotion. He moves to saunter in, but I beat him to the door.
    “I believe you were just leaving.” He genuinely looks hurt. Damn he’s a good actor. I swing the door, but he wedges open it with his foot.
    “I really am sorry.”
    “Just like you were sorry that you called that girl by the wrong name? Twice?” He goes cerise. His flush stands out even more in the grey clothes we all wear. But he smirks slightly as well.
    “Yeah very funny. Apologise to her, not me.” I snap. Actually, I was quite happy with him apologising to me. He rolls his eyes.
    “Did you want me to take that assignment?” He shifts from foot to foot.
    “No. Natalia took it. She just left.”
    “You are kidding me? Natalia can’t tell left from right, let alone complete a classified assignment.”
    “I would have given it to you, but you were busy. What were you doing again? Oh yeah…” He grins. I would grin too. But it’s him. If I grin, he might think I’ve forgiven him. But maybe I should grin. Lighten the mood. I’m not holding a grudge am I? Instead, I pull the door, and he shifts away.
    “I’ll call if I’ve got something for you.” I say.
    “Bring it on.” He says. I smile.  And he smiles back. Oh god, he must think I’m completely dippy. First mean, then smiling. What next? I shut the door, a little too hard. The room feels empty, bereft without him. Why do I behave like such an idiot sometimes?

  13. Rebecca says:

    @ Cathy … Me too! It was a great reminder for me to do yoga and stretching today.
    @ Mitch … Lol! Gotta love irony. 🙂

  14. Adam M says:

    My wrists felt raw from the cuffs by the time the door opened again. Two rather large men who looked as though they were devoid of anything like body fat ambled towards me, lifted me up by my armpits, put a bag over my head, and dragged me out of the room.
    As I felt myself pushed forward, I thought about all those books I’d read and tried to send my other senses out and see if I could get any sort of idea where I was, even a slanted one. Unfortunately, their careful manipulation of events left me completely disoriented, and the only thing I could sense was that somewhere, someone was enjoying a cup of coffee. My head pounded from the reminder that I hadn’t had caffeine in days.
    After walking for what seemed like hours, I felt someone wedge their foot into the back of my calves, forcing  me onto my knees.
    They could have just asked, I thought, my legs were already killing me.
    The bag was roughly pulled from my head, and I blinked rapidly, trying to get rid of the bright spots of purple, cerise, and yellow that blocked my vision. When they finally cleared I was greeted by an arching field of lights, all pointed directly at me, giving cover to shadowy figures that sat behind what looked like a long table.
    I imagined they were probably mottled-skinned old men, bereft of anything resembling pity or mercy. I would just have to treat them like the cliches they were.

  15. Martha says:

    It wasn’t long before the acrid smoke left Bill’s throat raw and his voice hoarse. Where the heck was Lucy? He knew he couldn’t stay near the barn any longer as the cerise glow emanating from the old farmhouse roof signaled its imminent collapse. He hoped the hose would keep running water and that the brick he had wedged under the pump would hold long enough for Joe to get the horses to safety. He could handle losing the farm and even the mares, but losing Lucy would leave him bereft, totally devoid of any humanity. Lucy kept him grounded, and her friendly open heart softened all of life’s hard edges. He couldn’t think of her absence now as he scrambled backwards to avoid the crushing heat. With a crash that could rival the town’s Fourth of July fireworks, the arching ribs of the roof’s trusses finally gave way to the inferno. The night was full of the hiss and crackle of the flames, while in the distance the wail of grief that was the fire truck’s siren came closer and closer. He was standing by the gate watching his neighbours engage in the furious and fruitless manipulation of the truck’s motley collection of buckets and hoses when Joe found him, his hat slanted across his brow, his face mottled with exertion, and his hands balled into fists with frustration. “Where’s Lucy?” Joe asked. Bill couldn’t speak. “Let’s get you some coffee bud; the caffeine and the sugar will help.” Bill shook his head and swallowed hard, hoping against hope that the tears wouldn’t fall. “I can’t — what if she comes back and I’m not here? Everything is gone.” Joe gave him a sideways glance. “She can’t have gone far — she’ll come home now, bud, once this racket is over. I never saw a dog as smart as she.”

  16. Sean Murphy says:

    They were totally wedged in here, a completely last ditch gambit. They’d been on the run ever since the undead horde had reached Sydney and forced them out of their last safehouse. Now he knelt in front of a padlocked door at the end of a slanted back-alley, his brother watching his back with their father’s old shotgun. The sunset mottled the clouds with an unholy cerise glow, illuminating a street devoid of movement, for the moment. The stillness wouldn’t last long, Grant thought as he worked. The undead seemed to be able to sense them wherever they ran, even bereft of consciousness as they were. His hands were raw from falling on gravel earlier, and it wasn’t making his task any easier. He was trying desperately to pick the lock on what appeared to be the back of a warehouse. If they could get inside, they might be able to sleep safe for the first time in days, but his tools were slipping in his grip as the lock resisted all manipulation. He’d kill for a red bull, or even some coffee – anything with caffeine in it. Hell, he already had. Arching his back for a moment to relieve the tension, he went back to work, trying desperately to force patience into his increasingly panicked motions. He tried to ignore his brother’s whispered warning as slowly moving shadows slanted across the alley’s entrance.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: Ohhh yeah! Most excellent 1st submission indeed. The CCC folks will love your style, this I know. I’ve been missing a good zombie submission.
      Everyone welcome Sean to the fun. I’ll add your name and URL to the CCC Community links page next. I saw from your website that you wish to become an author. Good for you. You found a great place to practice. If you have not heard of it yet, check out http://www.storyfix.com and Larry’s Book Story Engineering too. Great stuff there.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Sean Murphy-Welcome to CCC!

        When you nerves are feeling raw and your creative muscle feels like arching its back in splendor, come on over to CCC and release the story inside. With the right manipulation of caffeine and creativity, you’ll find places you never knew existed inside.

        We welcome each submission with the cerise heart embrace of each cherished word. CCC is the wedge into inspiration, taking mottled thoughts and turning them into masterpieces. So, if your meaning is slanted, and bereft of a home, come back each week to a place never devoid of the ecstasy of words.


    • A first? Really? That was great!
      I have a special appreciation for stories that fit all ten words into a very short, concise post.
      Welcome! This is only my second, but I’m loving it.

  17. Sean Murphy says:

    @Shane: Thanks, I appreciate the positive feedback 🙂 I’ve been a little lax updating my blog since I started it a week ago but that’s mostly because I’ve been so busy reading and writing everything else! I’m a regular reader of storyfix, I think that’s how I got linked here, and I couldn’t resist joining in. I love post-apocalyptic fiction, so maybe I’ll make the zombie thing a series.

  18. Day Before Payday
    It was a raw, rough draft.
    The arching of the character’s lives was the greatest she’d ever attempted.
    The challenges they faced were influenced by the manipulation of the caffeine that replaced the cerise liquid in her veins.
    She placed a wedge between them. Her MMC and FMC might never reconcile.
    Her vision of the story was mottled, slanted… she needed more caffeine.
    Bereft of the life-giving substance, her wallet devoid of the funds required to replace it, the characters’ lives lay unfinished.
    And they would stay that way till payday.
    The challenge: use the 10 words.
    My personal challenge: use them in order, in as brief a response as possible.
    My website: http://amybethinverness.com/

  19. […] 7 (I posted on July 9) Day Before Payday Prompt Words: […]

  20. My heart is raw. Tattered and torn, oozing painful emotions until they threaten to stain my chest crimson or cerise. I made a promise to the little girl deep down inside that I would never allow him to win the war. I sealed up my heart until it was devoid of all light. It was a war he fought well, ripe with manipulation and slanted with deceit disguised as love. He drove a wedge in my heart the first time he touched me, the first time he called me his “little girl”. The aftermath of pain floods onto the battlefield of my mind, each memory an arching grenade promising explosive destruction, each stabbing emotion heightened as if by a jolt of caffeine. Who is left to pick up the pieces?

    The church smells like Pine-Sol and rotting flowers. A mottled beam of sunlight lands on the coffin, shining in through the dirty stained glass window. Dust motes hang lazily in the air, accentuated by the foreign light. For those of us who took the time to see his corpse be laid into the ground, there is a silence that is bereft of grief. It is significant of the life he deprived each of us.


    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lisa: All I can say is DAMN … and I’ve missed you. Welcome back indeed. How have you been?

      • @Shane LOL. Thanks! Been good. Freelance work, painting and raising my boy have been a full time priority so I haven’t had much time to do any creative writing but am hoping to get caught up over the next few months. I forgot how much I enjoy it. Missed you guys too.

  21. KathleenL says:

    She lay facedown, unable to see him. anticipating his arrival. As she awaited the impending manipulation she attempted to quell her craving for caffeine as it swelled inside her … did it stem from her mind or from her stomach? She could not differentiate its exact source because the feeling was devoid of distinction. It was body wide. It was growing into a rawness that she was accustom to being forced to endure each morning.
    Lying prone her vision was bereft of view, of light. The isolation was taking its toll on her, “If I stay like this much longer sleep will be my enemy,” she said silently to herself.
    She attempted to stay alert. Picking at her surroundings, picking at herself.
    No doubt my face is mottled and blotchy by now, she thought as she attempted to unstick her cheeks from the vinyl surface. Her head too heavy to lift, wedged tight as it was. The warmth of the pooled cerise fluid in her face was not comforting to her.
    The door’s hinges creaked, complaining about the forced movement, just like she has been. His footfalls were soft but not devoid of detection. His hands, warm, strong, and well trained to see that which is hidden by the largest organ of the body.
    Moving his hands back and forth, back and forth, his hands detect the misalignment… without pausing, he pushes the bones, this way and that. A moan escapes from her voice box.
    She hears the click of the metal foot pedal just prior to the table beginning to raising. He stops it, leaving it slanted at a 70 degree angle.
    What is he doing… trying to make me dizzy? She bemused as her equilibrium attempted to deal with the change.
    Within 45 seconds her inner ear had caught up to her vertical changes. The click of the pedal was heard again. He placed his hand on her upper back, reassuringly.
    “Okay, I wanted to see you back here in a week, unless this numbness persists… then I want to see you back in two days,” the chiropractor said.
    “Thanks Bones. It’s already feeling better,” she said realizing the tingling in her right fingers was dissipating.

    “Now… go get your Latté,” he said, escorting her out of the treatment room.
    “You want me to bring you one back dad?” she said arching her eyebrows inquisitively.

  22. Kelly says:


    A wedge of cabbage, cerisemottled-with-spectral-white, sits on the cutting board while you yell.

    It’s not as raw as my feelings, nor as bloody in color as your soul must surely be. I’ve dropped the knife and turned away from the preparations for the party, less than an hour off now. You like me to listen attentively while you break my spirit down. Turning away could be dangerous for me.

    Random thoughts run through my head… survival mechanisms to distract me and help me wait you out.

    Wish I could have some caffeine. This is going to be a long party, wondering if we’ll do this again afterward.

    Hope Maggie comes, she’s always good for a laugh. Did she RSVP? I can’t remember.

    This dress looks good on me. So slinky!

    I can still hear you, right over myself. You invade me.

    I’m holding back tears, and maybe that’s the only thing that’s new. I was once so shocked by your violence that I was bereft of brakes on my tear-ducts. Now I’m a little bit… harder… but not much. You chose me, I believe now, because I was such an easy victim. Feels like forever ago, when I was so soft and trusting of you… so stupidly open… but it’s not so long, really. Your manipulation of my emotions is only as old as this five-year marriage. Exactly how you managed to be a gentleman (and a charming one!), devoid of all outward signs of your inner rage, up until the day you had me in your ‘til-death-do-us-part clutches, I’ll never understand.

    Not if I live to be ninety.

    How long I’ll live is something I question—though I do my best to push thoughts like that away, too. Your threats have been terrifyingly real of late, and you’ve been getting much more physical (is there such a thing as “more” physical? goes the random thought in my head), but I’m not afraid of that right now. I hold the advantage in this moment, sort of. You wouldn’t want bruises to show at our annual holiday party. Not good for your stellar reputation to put question marks in all your colleagues’ minds at once.

    I’m arching my back, hoping you don’t notice me shifting position and get even more furious, but I just can’t stand still these days.

    Dear God, I can take it. I’m patient, really I am. I’ll try to be more of what he wants from me, if only I can figure out what that is in this slanted world of ever-shifting “rules” for being his wife.

    Just let me live until the baby’s born.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: Outstanding opening and close here. This submission would make a great study guide as to how to come out with a bang and leave with one too. Super job.

      • Kelly says:

        Shane–Exactly what I’m always trying for–in and out with a bang to hook people and to make sure it ain’t over ’til it’s over!

  23. […] challenge from Creative Copy Challenge My heart is raw. Tattered and torn, oozing painful emotions until they threaten to stain my chest […]

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