Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #167

BET YOU CAN’T do this writing prompt. Take the 10 random words below and, in the comments, crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story tying all of 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, we BET YOU CAN’T do those, either.)

  1. 10 
  2. Slow
  3. Walk
  4. Thank
  5. Drop
  6. Head 
  7. Joy 
  8. Moment 
  9. Think
  10. Remove

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.)

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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

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112 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #167”

  1. Cathy Miller says:

    I count to 10 as my frustration takes a slow walk through the madness of a computer crash during one of my busiest times for work. Forgive me if I don’t thank you, computer, that it’s not your fault, but the software that make me want to drop-kick it in its non-existent head, far into the next millennium.

    There is no joy at the moment in the Miller household so I think I will remove myself for another training walk where the closest thing to technology is the bell around a mooing cow’s neck.

  2. Shane Arthur says:

    “Hey Billy! Dat party was somethin’ else weren’t it? I think I’s in love with dat lady-gal, … you know, da one dat talked real slow and walked with a limp … da one dat thanked me for pickin’ up her spare tooth she done dropped out her oyster-haired purse. She’s a 10.”

    “Bobby, my head’s still spinnin’ from my second court appearance since we done got here.”

    “Billy, what was you thinkin’? I seen’t the pizza delivery guy get out his car, come up to da porch, and turn his head real quick when you jumped in, revved it, and tooked off.”

    “Don’t know what was in my head. I gots caught up in da moment, on account of I was trying to impress my own lady-gal … you know, da one makin’ fun of your lady-gal cause she didn’t have two teeth and chewin’ tobacco like she did. Anyways, I seent the car, and I knew I’d be a legend if I tooked it on a joy ride. Only thing was, I couldn’t get da car unstuck from first gear. Apparently, doin’ 50 in first gear removes da transmission, which apparently attracts cops.”

    “Well, at least I saved you a few pieces of pizza dat your lady gal threw up after she done dat beer bong filled with vodka, and before she went off with dat other feller. Look in da frig—da pizza projectiles is in a cup next to the cup with my lady-gals tooth dat rinsing in mouth wash.”
     

    • Anne Wayman says:

      ugh… the hangovers!

    • Cold pizza is nasty. Nice of Bobby to save some, though.
       
      My van was doing the stuck gear thing last winter. I’m glad I got that fixed.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Jeanette R. says:

        @Shane: These two hoodlums bring a smile to my face every Monday and Thursday.  I wish someone could draw them so we could have a comic strip accompanying the words.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Jeanette: Our own Kenn Crawford started the bumpkin theme here with one of his Bayou Billy stories. In his absence, and since I missed his story so much, I decided to create a country bumpkin spin off. Bobby and Billy were born. I’d love to see these characters in a comic. Odd as it may sound, I don’t have a picture of their faces in my mind. Kenn got one of his family members to draw up what he believed Bayou Billy would look like. Check it out: http://kenncrawford.com/bayou-billy

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Mitch: What’s your address. I’ll have Bobby and Billy take a look at that truck of yours. 🙂

  3. margaret says:

    If I walk real slow and drop my head..
    thank
    God I won’t trip on something dead.
    It only takes a moment get distracted
    and not see something that was car-impacted!

    CAL-TRANS should remove casualties of the road
    within 10 minutes of them being mowed.
    It gives me no joy to take a walk in the street
    and have to scrape the goop off of my feet.

    And the very worst, I really think….
    are the road-kill skunks, because they STINK!!

    (sorry, guys, dark…I know…it just came together that way! 🙂 )

  4. Anne Wayman says:

    10 mph seems so slow now, almost a walk. Thankfully I can drop that perception although my head finds joy in the moment. I think I’ll remove my fascination with time.
     
    Geeze I surprise myself sometimes.

  5. Wrote this one while on my morning conference call today.
     

    Remember To Love



    Remove the slow moment
    and thank the joy instead
    think with your heart
    not your ignorant head


     
    Just drop all the hate away
    look at things as if from above
    walk the talk and do it today
    conjure 10 more things to love

  6. Nikki says:

    It was just 10 slow steps and yet it felt like a 100-mile walk for Bobby, two years to the day since a car accident had cruelly crushed his lower limbs and left him immobile in a hospital bed. Overwhelmed by his accomplishment, he grinned at Amanda, his physical therapist, to thank her.

    He didn’t think that he would ever reach this point. He wanted nothing more than to tuck away this moment in that sacred place in his head. He would use it for times when he needed a simple drop of joy to remove his frustration and replace it with pure, abundant hope.

  7. This an interlude in the story of Cherrywood Heights (CCC #152, #153 and #166)

    Shekhinah was enjoying the slow walk toward the I-10 with his brother, Abaddon. They were licking cones of ice cream, replaying the latest scene with a philosophical furor that didn’t match their sedate pace. Shekhinah was shaking his head.

    “Where is the challenge, here? You’ve made him almost as universally evil as you! It’s almost all Yin.”

    Abaddon considered his words carefully. “Thank you.” He was filled with joy. “You see, I left choice alone. Had I obliterated it in him, he would have kicked that fat guy to death! My point has always been that it takes fewer muscles to be evil. Men are lazy, ergo …” He slurped contentedly on his rocky road.

    Shekhinah chuckled. “You do seem to be enjoying your moment in the sun. The quakes apparently sent all the faithful to their little man-made raptures. Those who could afford the fare, anyway.” He touched his brother’s arm, signaling him to stop. “But you haven’t had much impact on the less fortunate.”

    Abaddon looked at the Lord of Hosts incredulously. “Are you kidding me? They’re fighting like wild coyotes over the last deer in the valley.”

    “Survival is not a sin,” Shekhinah countered. “Have you noticed that they share amongst themselves? Mothers are expected to do that, but even the children are sacrificing for each other.”

    “Good point.” Abaddon resumed walking. “Although, if I weren’t so busy organizing my legions, I’d have those little bastards killing each other for blood sport. All I have to do is remove that nascent self-regulation chemistry.”

    “Now, that’s not nice.”

    “Of course it isn’t! That’s your department. ‘Suffer the little children, blah, blah, blah!'” Abaddon mimicked a preacher on crack, hopping around madly with eyes bugged out. “Whosoever – I say, EVAH! – causes one a these childrens, uh! to sin, uh! going to be, uh! answerin’! yes, lawd! to me, uh!” He stopped when his ice cream dropped to the ground.

    Shekhinah howled with laughter. “Don’t make me smite you. You leave those kids alone. I’ve seen the impulse disorders you’ve conjured. It’s cruel.”

    Abaddon beamed. “So, what do you think of my kissing sickness?”

    Shekhinah turned serious. “I’m going to be busy, very soon.”

    “You betcha. Every urchin and his kinfolk will be yelling your name. Hey! Check this out: the next time someone walks up to you and says, ‘This is my cousin’, ask him, ‘ how do you know?'”

    With that, Abaddon slithered away.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: These two characters are awesome. How do you think of this stuff? Which word did it for you today?

      • Thanks, Shane! I had so much fun with them the first time, I wanted to bring them back. This submission was one of the few where I wanted to write about Cherrywood Heights – even before the list came out.
         
        Luckily for me, the words were cooperative. Now the word that set up the whole scene was 10. Every time I think of the movie Are We There Yet? I hear Cedric the Entertainer rushing his family by yelling, “I-10 by ten!”
         
        So, that was the first thing that popped into my head. I-10 led to Cali and, there you go 🙂
         
        Cheers,
         
        Mitch
         

        • Jeanette Ruiz says:

          @Mitch. I’m late to comment cause I wanted to give your story the appropriate time and attention it deserves.  When I read your stories they are not only entertaining but they challenge me as a writer.  You are obviously a lover of words and your style is incredibly unique. This submission was brilliant.  I love how you humanized the characters by having them eat ice cream. Once again, we got a hot one here :)!

          • Jeanette, you’ve made my morning with this incredibly lovely compliment. Thank you!
            I do enjoy these exercises and, when a story line opens up, I get such satisfaction out of building it, chapter by chapter.
             
            CCC has allowed me to develop to the point where (with the help of all those Larry Brooks’ manuals), I can actually start a writing project from scratch.
             
            I hope that each of us continues to grow and be challenged by the wonderful art on display at the CCC!
             
            Cheers,
             
            Mitch
             

  8. Jeanette R. says:

    Tomorrow when I wake up, I will be a year older.  Some might say a year wiser. Some might say a year slower. But I give thanks for the time I’ve had on this beautiful planet. Many do not get the chance to live 33 years.

    Although my head is often filled with all of the negative things happening in the world at the moment, I do appreciate the wonder of this Earth. For every destroyed part of the world, there are natural wonders that take my breath away.  

    Something as simple as taking a walk can make you appreciate so many things.  First and foremost, the actual ability to do so…to be able to have the full range of motion of your limbs and to utilize all of your senses to truly enjoy the experience.

    In my previous life I was a marathon runner and my mantra was “I would run for those who can’t.”  I would think of this during the most difficult parts of a race and it would get me through.  How often do we give thanks for something as simple as being able to get out of bed unassisted?

    Every year, I take a vacation day for my birthday to remove myself from the daily grind and honor another year lived.  Not to dwell on the things I didn’t do, but congratulate myself for the things I did.  Not to worry that I didn’t drop those pesky 10 pounds but to be thankful that I was able to feed myself (quite well I might add).  I also take time to think of the joys of tomorrow because having the ability to blow out a few more candles allows all of us the opportunity to dream.

  9. Kelly says:

    1 RIDICULOUSLY SAPPY RANT-RHYME

    10 little traders, all in a row
    They don’t stop to think, ‘cause thinking’s too slow
    9 retirees, watching CNBC
    Once calmly read their quarterlies, now panic thrice daily
    8 baby boomers, drop their heads and cry
    They made it big in the good times, now the well’s gone dry
    7 years of bad luck, for years of mongering greed
    It’s not a bad tradeoff, but the whole world has to bleed
    6 tired Gen X children remember gas-lines, Nixon, VietNam
    Living it again with Schwarzenegger, climate change, Taliban
    5 GenY cynics walk away from the excess
    But living life in Farmville doesn’t remove the stress
    4 college students don’t know which way to go
    This is their great depression, even if we don’t call it so
    Spin around 3 times, click your heels and moan
    There’s no days like the good old days, though we had ‘em out on loan
    2 get through this it’s gonna be tough
    Lucky we’re made of hardy stuff
    Stop.
    Take a lesson from
    1 million babies who live their lives with joy
    This moment’s made for smiles and learning—Thank Heaven for little girls and boys.

    • Kelly says:

      I could have named it “Absolute drivel” but the CCC is a place for being non-judgmental.

      😉

    • Drivel drives dreams. There’s a lot to think about in your poem. Remember trying to decipher the Jabberwocky in English class?
       
      Nope, no such thing as drivel.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Kelly says:

        LOL! You are a keeper, Mitch! Originally I’d named it “More Sappy Truths,” because I was trying to put sincere musings into it, but it really came out sappier than intended.

        I thought about scrapping it, but the CCC is a warts-and-all place to me. Zap stuff out, edit just to get it the way it was in my head, y’know? No overthinking. I’ve written some stuff here that I adore… I admit with a touch of embarrassment that I go back and read my CCC Compilation page (that Shane made) myself just to glow about some of the good ones, on days when I need to remind myself that I do rock sometimes… but it either comes to me or it doesn’t–can’t make the CCC into a chore or the addiction will sour!!

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Kelly: I’m behind on updating that page. I promise I have not forgotten though.

          • Kelly says:

            Shane—Hey, I imagine you have one or two things in your life besides worrying about CCC pages. You does yer best an’ the rest waits! No biggie.

        • Kelly, I know what you mean. CCC-as-chore would mean forcing my story to fit the words. That only had to rear it’s head just one time for me to step back and say, “Whoa. This is supposed to be fun.” I wound up writing about Stone-age sex, that day. 🙂
          By the same token, zapping and editing is part of the craft. Like making a bowl out of clay. You can’t just slap that lump on the newspaper and call ‘er done! You just have to choose whether to make a bowl like you did in summer camp or go for the kiln-fired ceramic masterpiece.
          I would only feel embarrassment if what I wrote made me cringe. You should be your biggest fan! Heck, when I get some free time, I’m going to go back and look at some of your awesomeness. I’ve bought more e-books on the recommendation of the CCC. Aaron Pogue, Larry Brooks are my main purchases, but I’ve bookmarked suggestions from members, as well.
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           

    • margaret says:

      I love it, Kelly! Inspired!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kelly: It this doesn’t prove you were meant to write, I don’t know what does.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Kelly. Wow, wow, wow!!!!!  I deal with the stress of the markets all day and this poem so eloquently put the many emotions of our clients.  There are too many lines for me to quote you. I would basically just have to copy and paste the entire poem. Incredible!

  10. With a sullen walk that could be called slow by anybody’s viewpoint, the little boy marched back to his bedroom with a frown pasted across his face.

    He didn’t mean to whack his little sister on her head with the light saber. It just kind of happened.

    Drop it,” his dad scolded right before sending him off to his room. “Go sit on your bed and think about what you just did for 10 minutes.”

    It wasn’t fair! How was a kid supposed to play Star Wars without all the jumping and light sabering?

    He plopped down on the twin bed and stared up at the ceiling; the Jedi joy had vanished and he thought for a moment or two about how he could remove his stupid little sister from the galaxy.

    When the vision of a mysterious Jedi ship zoomed out of the darkness and swooped up his sister in one fluid motion, he grinned and chuckled, “Thank you!”

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Robyn: YOU MADE IT! Damn glad you did too, because that was super sweat and funny. Welcome to the addiction.
      We’ll see you Mondays and Tuesdays. Everyone welcome Robyn to the fun. Adding your name and url to the CCC Community Links page now.

      • Cathy Miller says:

        @Nikki and @Robyn-Welcome to CCC!

        Take on the challenging 10 and it’s a slow walk through creativity where you thank your lucky stars for the discovery of CCC. Drop on by with whatever’s in your head and write for the sheer joy of it. The moment is now and you will think there is no other place you would rather be. Once hooked, no one can remove you from the game.

        Welcome!

    • Alisa says:

      “It just kind of happened.”
      I’ve heard that explanation many times!

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Robyn. Welcome to CCC!  This is an awesome submission.  I love kids with big imaginations even if it comes at the cost of their sibling 😉

    • Hey Robyn, welcome to the fun!
      I loved this Calvinesque vignette. This is a super-duper line:
       
      It wasn’t fair! How was a kid supposed to play Star Wars without all the jumping and light sabering?
       
      Yep, it’s going to be fun around here!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  11. Alisa says:

    He counted his steps on the long, slow walk to the stage: 8, 9, 10. Counting soothed him. He’d never been comfortable with public speaking, and the joy of being chosen for this prestigious award was gone in a moment when he realized that a speech would be required.
    He stepped awkwardly up the stairs. The emcee flashed an enormous smile, shook his hand, patted him on the shoulder, and subtly removed a piece of lettuce that had dropped on his lapel.
    Gripping the wooden podium with white knuckles, he dropped his head and tried to think about the words he had so carefully practiced. The pause grew longer. People were beginning to fidget in their seats. He looked across the ballroom, filled with colleagues and their spouses, and tried to remember the words.
    “Th… thank you,” his voice squeaked. He paused for a moment, shook his head, and returned to his seat amid confused and awkward applause.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Alisa: I love this one. I can relate completely. I was a computer instructor. Getting in front of a class is tough. I got used to it, but even after that point, I had an anxiety attack one class. The company put me in front of a class I wasn’t completely ready for, and the class was filled to the max. Although I knew the material, I was sweating and found it hard to breathe and concentrate. I had to excuse myself and have a fellow teacher (acting assistant) fill in for me. I could not return and left the building. But, I bounced back, brushed up on a few areas I felt I was weak with and soon taught that class, no matter how many people were in it.

      • Jeanette R. says:

        @Alisa.  I totally sympathize with the character.  I too suffer from public speaking and I hate how I can’t control it.  I didn’t even notice the CCC words. Awesome job!
         
        @Shane. Good for you for overcoming your fear. Next time I have to give a speech I’ll call you 😉

    • Wow, Alisa. You painted a painful picture. I could feel the podium, pressing against my palms.
      I only wish Oscar winners would be so brief. 🙂
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  12. Frank Ruiz says:

    Hey, everyone.  You’ve once again enriched us all with your wonderful entries!

    Cathy, your unfortunate episode shows how much computers run our lives, so I applaud you for unplugging as a way to find some freedom from them again!

    Shane, if one tooth makes a lady-gal a 10 for Bobby, then would Billy’s girl be a 20? 🙂

    Margaret, I can totally relate to finding junk on my shoes I wish wasn’t there when I didn’t look where I was walking!

    Anne, my goodness!  Such a large amount of wisdom in such a small space!  Did you used to write for fortune cookies? 🙂

    Justin, your poem should be the mantra I chant in my own mind, as I think it would definitely help me!

    Wow, Nikki, great story!  If gratitude can still spring from someone who went through so much, then there’s definitely hope for us all!

    Mitch, this story leaves me so impressed, as the story of your post-apocalyptic world seemed so deeply-layered before, but has now grown exponentially with the inclusion of what could be actual gods in this world!  You could make an entire career out of exploring this universe you’ve created!

    Kelly, this is an awesome poem!  I can hear it as a song in my head.  Excellently organized!

    Robyn, cute story!  So many girls get in the way of the best light-saber motions 🙂

    Alisa, I’ve been that guy more times than I wish to admit!  Shane, that’s awesome that you overcame the same fears I’ve had in front of crowds.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome stories, everyone!

    • Frank, thanks for the compliment! I think I will spend some time in Cherrywood Heights 😉
       
      As always, I feel like we’re getting two submissions – one great wrap-up and one bangin’ submission.
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

  13. Frank Ruiz says:

    [Warning: this is emo!]

    When I look at the number “10,” I see so many things.

    I see it as the language we’re all speaking now: ones and zeroes; millions of them processed every moment.  It’s the foundation of our very interaction on this blog.

    I see the digital extremes of “on” and “off” that these symbols represent.  In doing so, I think of my own life: a chronicle of unnecessarily-polarized choices and the costs of not appreciating the nuances in between.

    Many of today’s posts have been reflections on giving thanks, and they remind me of the two voices eternally struggling within my own head: the hater and the lover.

    The hater feels empty of what he thinks is true substance.  He’s ravenous for the things he doesn’t have; angry at things never asked for taking up valuable space instead.  He’s aggression, resentment, violence and velocity.

    The lover is slower, serene, gratitude and joy.  Overflowing in consideration, he’s always ready to pour his boundless gifts into all containers that could receive them.

    The irony is that I can pour into all containers but my own, as the hater in me removes every drop like so much waste.

    These two seldom agree, each taking a mental hemisphere as their own.  Their battles only push them further apart, destroying bridges each could have walked toward the other with.

    With these two at constant odds, who wins out?  I suppose it’s a matter of perception, but with both my eyes looking forward rather than inside or back, I stay focused on what I don’t yet have, rather than the treasures already here.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: I bet you feel better after writing that don’t you! That’s what’s so cool about having an outlet for your Yin and Yang.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Frank. For the simple fact that you have these inner conversations shows that the “lover” inches a bit more forward than the “hater”. I appreciate your honesty and am sure that a lot of us can relate.  I know I can.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the great comments, Shane and Jeanette!

        Shane, I do feel better after getting that out of me, if for nothing else than to doubt whether or not this is how I really feel!

        Jeanette, I hope to make your words true about which one is winning inside of me!

        Thanks again, you two!

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Frank: My family and I have this saying … “It’s all good.” Every second is precious and fleeting. LOOK! Some just passed us, never to return! See what I mean? Live by It’s All Good and the volume of those two voices may just lower enough to allow you to enjoy some quiet seconds.

          • Frank Ruiz says:

            Shane, thanks for the great advice and for sharing your family saying.  I’ll definitely be giving it a try in my own life so I can start enjoying more of these passing moments!

    • Like I said … “Bangin’!”
       
      Introspection is a prerequisite for creative outlet. Lover and Hater need each other. The one leading the way merely presents your face for the day – for who here is 100% happy all the time?
      As you said, it’s a matter of perception and, you’ve given me some perceptin’ to do.
       
      (One final thought: eyes forward may also mean that Lover Hater are looking for new challenges on this journey called life. Treasures, though I’m sure you’re not talking about material possessions, are temporal snapshots of conquered challenges.)
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the great comments, Mitch!
         
        You’re right about the two definitely being needed, and their constant dance around each other is the Yin-Yang cycle of our lives.  I also like your outlook on what looking forward can be: our unified drive to keep growing through the new challenges we come across!
         
        I’m looking forward to your ongoing chapters in the Cherrywood Heights saga!
         
        Thanks again!

  14. Sean Murphy says:

    A zombie story, part 8
    Continued from CCC165

    He was being shaken roughly, his head whipping through a rapid arc back and forth as his brother’s hands clenched on his shoulders with a strength born out of panic. For a moment Grant flashed back to his childhood, Dave shaking him after he’d been caught spying on his older brother’s first date. He couldn’t remember the girl’s name. The absurdity of that thought finally broke him out of his trance, and he reached up to remove his brother’s grip.

    “Dave!” He yelled, startling his brother into a moment of stillness, “It’s ok, I’m here. Relax.” He was surprised to hear that his voice sounded clear and calm. He wondered if he was going into shock.

    Thank god.” His brother’s voice was trembling with barely suppressed panic, a marked contrast with his own. “I thought you’d gone brain-dead like everyone else. I was just dancing with this girl and then they all just drop-”

    “Wait-” Grant interrupted, his voice becoming harsh with eagerness, “You mean other people have.. passed out? it’s not just Emily?” Passing out didn’t seem nearly sufficient to encompass what he’d witnessed, but he could think of nothing in his experience that could accurately describe it.

    Dave looked down at the form in his brother’s arms, seeming to notice the vacantly starring girl for the first time. His voice became softer as he replaced his hand on his brother’s shoulder, this time squeezing comfortingly “Oh man… I’m sorry Grant. But it’s not just her. I was out there in the thick of it – everyone just dropped, like they timed it in sync. I thought it was some kind of massive joke that I didn’t hear about, but then I looked at their eyes-”

    “I know…” Grant’s mind was suddenly whirring away, his own eyes unfocusing as he processed this new information. His first reaction was an absurd feeling of relief, almost joy, that he hadn’t somehow broken Emily. A dark part of his mind had already been muttering something about squeezing butterflies too tightly, as if – no. He suppressed those thoughts, slowing his mind down to consider the facts.

    “Could someone have drugged the punch?” He asked his brother hopefully. The thought gained traction in his mind as it collected a swirl of facts. He knew that some drugs could dilate your pupils, though he’d never heard of anything like what he’d just witnessed. But if it was somehow a drug, maybe he’d been affected too. He hadn’t drunk a drop, but maybe Emily’s lips had held some remnant of spiked drinks. Maybe the sickening sensation of loss and wrongness nestling where she had lived in his mind was the result of a bad trip, and not an omen of worse things to come.

    Dave hesitated, seeing his brother’s eyes glaze over as  a manic look overtook his features. “I don’t know, Grant. I had at least three cups of the stuff. I feel kind of woozy, but the people who fell seemed like something else… I can’t describe it. Something feels wrong about them – really wrong.”

    Grant tried to ignore the lurch he felt as his brother’s words resonated inside of him. “Maybe you’re just naturally resistant to whatever it is. Were you the only one left standing?” He stroked Emily’s hair as he spoke, trying to find comfort in the familiar sensation of light silkiness.

    “I think there were others. Maybe about 10 in the entire courtyard still standing. I didn’t stop to talk to them, I came straight here. I wanted to make sure you were ok, and there wasn’t time-”

    “It’s alright, I get it.” Dave was rambling, Grant realised. It rarely happened, and he recognised it as a sign of true fear. Strangely, the presence of his brother’s fear galvanised his own mind into action. He forced himself to look into Emily’s eyes and see the girl he was falling in love with, suppressing the violent feelings of wrongness and absence that surged up as he met her gaze. He retreated into his logical nature. His emotions were suspect. If he’d been drugged, he would have to rely on the facts.

    Emily was in his arms. She needed his help.

    “Help me carry her,” it came out sounding like a command, but he didn’t have the capacity to soften it right now. “We can figure out what to do on the walk back to the car.”

    • Yay for the sophisticated Zombie story! Sean, this is so totally cool. I can see the scene you’ve lovingly crafted here.
      Can’t wait to read the next chapter!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: Great, great stuff. The suspense of when all these people will transform is killin’ me (in a good, zombie-less way). Write on.
       

  15. Rebecca says:

    Jane had to remove people from her Facebook page. The moment had arrived when it was time to say goodbye to narrow minded people who couldn’t respect the beliefs and opinions of others. Jane received major backlash from a status update and it was too much. She had no problem getting rid of these people because they didn’t bring joy into her life; they were mostly pain in the asses. She counted to 10 and held her head high as she clicked Unfriend and didn’t think twice about it. Jane was ready to drop these people for a long time. It’s not like they had anything in common besides being related by blood. And that wasn’t a good enough reason to keep them around. Jane wanted to thank all of the people who she unfriended for the lessons they taught her such as knowing when it’s time to walk away from a bad situation. Sometimes Jane was slow to learn her life lessons, but she eventually learned them.

    • Okay, major message here. That was awesome, Rebecca. Water might be thin, but it won’t give you a stroke, either. Love it!!!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       

    • Jeanette Ruiz says:

      @Rebecca I can seriously relate to this post.  The modern day purge.  Awesome!  I love the line about having nothing in common besides being related by blood. It took the story in a completely different direction.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Rebecca: Throwing in family as the people being unfriended was a nice twist. Write on. 🙂

  16. Rebecca says:

    @ Mitch … Thank you. Yes, a major message which has been building up for a few years now. Freedom has never felt so good.

  17. WOW! Why didn’t I join in before this? The comments I’ve received have really motivated me the last couple of days and soon as I figure out how to respond to each of you, I will! And soon as I figure out how to swap that little icon of a … what is that? … with my own, I’ll do that, too! Thanks for welcoming me, everyone. You might wish you hadn’t in a few weeks! 🙂

  18. Rebecca says:

    @ Jeanette … Thank you! I’m surprised no one has created a movie or television series based on the drama that can unfold on Facebook between friends, families, and strangers. I’m thinking about writing a fiction book based on my recent experience with Facebook aka The Social Network. Lol … :]

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Rebecca. You are so right about a movie or television series. I’ve heard of marriages ruined by FB. Write it!

  19. Rebecca says:

    @ Jeanette … I’m on it. Happy Monday!

  20. Rebecca says:

    @ Shane … The plot thickened after I wrote this piece. Facebook can be ‘tricky’ business when you mix ‘family’ into it. I wrote a blog post about it. Yikes!

  21. martha says:

    It’s 10 slow steps that walk us to the drop zone. We can’t stop to think, but we remember to thank our sponsor. It’s a battle that goes to war between the intellectual appreciation from our head to the inescapable joy of the heart, in living the moment, removing all doubt. It’s time to jump, eyes closed and arms open, ready to accept what comes.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Martha: Loved this. You heald back just enough to make me wonder about what you’re “really” discussing here. Well done.

      • KathleenL says:

        Martha — I agree with Shane… I have been above a traditional Drop Zone… yours leads to

        Intrigue

        … Bravo

  22. KathleenL says:

    “I will thank you to remove your hand from my backside before I hand you your head in your hands … boy,” she said sternly with distain as he hesitated like he has some right. “Least you think a I will not, “ she said looking him square in his shifty eyes, “… take a moment, reconsider, but make it quick,” she said calmly.

    Are those sparks coming from those green eyes? He wondered.

    “Man you better do what she says, it would bring her much joy to drop-kick you,” a man she’d known for years attempted to forewarn the intruder.

    “Walk ‘way, man, this is ‘tween her and me,” the slightly intoxicated horse’s backside said.

    “Slow and essay Isabelle, slow and easy,” the biker said with a chuckle to the five-foot eight-inch auburn haired gal. “10, 9…,” he added half under his breath.

    That is all it took for Isabelle to remove the overconfident drooler’s hand from her tush. Isabelle twist his wrist, by way of his his thumb. She wrenched it back toward his elbow while raising it above his head. The elevated friendly fingers made it much easier to equalize his five-foot eleven-inch frame as he lost altitude, descending to the ground, stopping when his knees met with the concrete. She held him there for a poignant 20 seconds, just in case there were more misguided would-be suiters looking on. She released her controlling grip on him with a quiet confidence.

    “Nice Isabelle, nice,” the leather and denim clad Harley rider said as she reached for her stein of amber hops before she turned on a heal, only letting her friend see her satisfied smirk.

  23. Sheryl says:

    Well not hard to see what is going on here! I personally knew those characters from the get go. Horse’s backside can only mean one person, by the time I got to the word slow, well I had a complete picture, by the end I knew I had back the correct horse!
     
    Well done!

  24. (:Smiley Extrodinare :) says:

     The 10-year-old girl walked slowly on the cobblestone path, watching the leaves drop from the trees.She dipped her head to the walkway,
    thinking…was there ever a moment of joy? Could she ever thank someone for being there?
     “Little girl.”
     The voice startled her. She removed her eyes from the path and looked up. A man stood in front of her, a warm smile on his face.
    “I hear its your birthday.”
     The girl hesitated, then nodded.
     “Happy birthday, then.” 
     The girl blinked. “Thank you. For being there.”
     “Oh…okay.”
     And the girl gave him a tiny smile and continued her walk down the path, once again lost in her thoughts.

  25. It is slow going, this little walk around the desk. I drop my head and stare at my feet, willing them to move. Up, up! I think at my right foot. Up, dammit! I breathe in; I breathe out. One… two… I brace myself against the handlebars and lift from the hip, swinging my foot forward an inch, maybe two. I lose my balance, start to stumble. A male nurse catches me, helps me steady myself again, shows me how to squeeze the handbrakes on this crimson walker with its snazzy silver racing stripes.
     
    “Thank you,” I whisper, as beads of sweat surface on my forehead. I did it once. And if I could do it once, I can do it again. Three… four… and a little voice in my head, not my own, adds, shut the door. The accident has shut the door on more things than I care to count. I will my left leg to move and say a quick prayer that the right will bear the weight if the left one decides to rise on command. I nearly trip over myself with surprise when it does. Five, six… pick up sticks… That used to be my nickname, because I was skinny as a stick person. Now, it’s likely to stick forever, because unless I can do better than this, I’ll be stuck with two sticks – two canes and leg braces – for the rest of my life.
     
    Seven, eight… I can never remember what rhymes with eight. Don’t be late? If only I hadn’t been running late. If only I’d left the house ten minutes earlier. If only… if only. Maybe the word I’m searching for is “hate.” I try to conjure up an emotion to go with what I remember of the accident, and some small part of me whispers, “Hate.” But hate’s too strong a word for what I feel when I think of the old man who was too drunk even to realize he’d hit another person with his ’68 Cadillac. I sigh, resigned to my fate. That’s it – fate.
     
    Nine, ten… I am so tired. Just ten steps have exhausted me, to the point where I just want to curl up in a ball on the linoleum floor right here in front of the nurses’ station and cry. And that’s when I see them – my husband and my baby girl, standing in front of the door to my hospital room. She stretches out her chubby little arms, and instantly removes all doubt from my aching body – it is with sheer joy that I begin to count: One… two…!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: YES! The sight of my daughter and son do this for me too. Captured perfectly.

      • I’m told to be glad of Versed. I do vaguely remember telling my loved ones, shortly after cancer surgery, that if there was ever a “next time,” they were to let me die. I actually had to use a walker for about a week, and was grateful to have my FIL’s “Cadillac” of walkers – the kind with fancy hand brakes and a seat, you know? And yes – my husband and kids are great motivators. Even if my “babies” are 23 and 15, now. You just can’t @#$% give up when they believe in you. So this was an easy bit of writing, actually – it’s not really “write what you know,” but “write FROM what you know.” If we only wrote what we know, we’d have boring books that reflected only a partial understanding of the world around us. But when we write FROM what we know, with a little empathy and curiosity thrown in the mix, it becomes something others can relate to, I think.


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