Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #170

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. Stand
  2. Search
  3. Message
  4. Happen
  5. Follow
  6. Wonder
  7. Direct
  8. Shake
  9. Thick
  10. Rock

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

69 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #170”

  1. Anne Wayman says:

    am I really first today?

    Take a stand, even if you have to search for it. What you want won’t just happen. Folks aren’t thick. Follow your heart. Be sure your message rocks; speak directly. You’ll shake ‘em up. You are a wonder! 

  2. margaret says:

    “What would happen“, I’m scared to wonder,
    If the earth starts to rock and thunder?
    Should I stand under a solid doorway,
    or should I just wing it and do it my way?

    The safety warnings are clear
    in California we must have a kit near
    The message is quite direct
    because all it does affect.

    In advance we should pack all we need
    the smart ones will take heed.
    This kit I shall assemble and make….
    but how do I preserve a thick shake ?

    I’ll follow the basic outline,
    but there are needs that are only mine!!
    Flashlight, batteries, radio and water to drink…
    but I need some perks too (wink wink)!!  😉

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Margaret. We don’t get earthquakes in Florida but we may get a hurricane this week. As a new homeowner, I’m nervously watching The Weather Channel.  As usual, love the poem.  Which reminds me, I don’t have any perks to weather the storm either!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Ma: Haha! This one get me smilin’ more than usual. Thanks.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        You’re right!  Having kits with a little treat in them makes the prospect of having to use such kits all the more palatable 🙂

    • Margaret, this poem is so cool! The image of the earth rocking and thundering is intense!
      As long as I have a Dell variety puzzle magazine and a pencil, I’m good. 🙂
      I would opt for the mattress/bathtub combination – wait, that’s just for tornados, right?

      • margaret says:

        Thanks, Mitch…I’ve lived through at least three  major earthquakes, and numerous little ones. Thank God, I have not had anything catastrophic happen, just broken stuff. We keep hearing that we’re due for a “big one”, and keep praying we don’t get one….I’ll take a bunch of baby ones to diffuse the faults any day!

        • Do you actually get nauseated, like sea-sickness? (doing my research, LOL)

          • margaret says:

            Ha ha…not at all, and trust me, I get motion sickness riding in VW bug!   It’s just a scary rocking motion because you’re not sure if it is going to stop or get stronger with real damage. You have to just pray you are in a safe place when it happens and not on the street or a freeway overpass!

          • Margaret, oh, okay. As I thought about, I think this feeling comes from the swaying of skyscrapers. Which made me think: the best place to be during an earthquake is in an airplane. Until it tries to land on the buckled runway…arrgh!
            Thanks for clarifying.

  3. Jeanette R. says:

    Luisa stared at the makeshift lemonade stand outside her patio window. The cardboard was bent and twisted and lay limp on the floor. The sign was two feet away buried in dirt and rocks. You could barely make out the words.  

    “Mom, we should call them Lemonade Shakes. Oh, and we can say they are world famous cause I’m sure they don’t have them anywhere else in the world!”

    The drinks were made by putting lemonade in a martini shaker with ice and straining it into a plastic cup. Luisa was slightly embarrassed by having him use such adult equipment but was more impressed by his creativity.

    “Look how thick it comes out.  I wonder if people will like the stuff on the top.”

    “It’s called foam, honey.  I don’t think they will mind.  I’m sure they will just be glad that it’s really cold.  It’s been so hot these days. Remember what I told you, don’t stand directly in the sun. Always try to stay under the umbrella.” Her son would salute her and run off to resume his position.

    He never managed to turn a profit because he would give away the drinks to runners or people walking their dogs. He was definitely a people pleaser like his mom.  He would follow behind neighbors asking how their day was going and wave to strangers across the street.

    “Good morning, Mom.  Did you happen to hear the thunder last night? It shook my bedroom walls a few times.”  Luisa jumped at the sound of his voice.  

    “I didn’t hear a thing. I got a voice message from your grandmother, which I guess she left last night reminding me to close up the shed, which I didn’t.  Speaking of which, look what the storm brought out.”  Luisa pointed to the patio window.  

    “Oh, wow, my lemonade stand.  Jeez, that has to be at least ten years old.  Why do you keep all of that stuff in the shed anyway?”

    “So I won’t have to search this old brain for memories…I have proof.”

    • margaret says:

      Cute story, Jeannette. BTW, I would be terrified of a hurricane. I think we get very cavalier about earthquakes in California, because we are so used to getting little ones (there was one just a couple of days ago while I was on facebook and everyone was buzzing about it within seconds!)  It’s just “THE BIG ONE” that we fear!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jeanette: Such a cool, cute story. I can’t wait to set up a stand with my kids some day.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Jeanette, this story made me reflect on how quickly time can slip past us.  Even though I’m sure the Mother was simply enjoying the memory of her son at the lemonade stand, sometimes ten years can flash by just as quickly, and the jump from her memory to her son today was a wonderful illustration of that in your story.

    • Awww, Jeanette. This was lovely. That little boy turned out fine, I’ll bet.

  4. Shane Arthur says:

    “Everybody give a round of applause to our next poets … Bobby and Billy! Take it away guys!”

    “Hey Billy, I ain’t never done stood in front of a crowd!”

    “Bobby, my hearts beatin’, like it’s searchin’ for thunder clouds!”

    “Billy, I’m tongue-tied on account da message is stuck in my mind!”

    “It’s speakers block, Bobby; it happens when you follow da mimes!”

    “My mouth is dry, like a rock-thick oyster milkshake!”

    “Bobby, they’d directing us to say somethin’; the audience is gettin’ irate!”

    “No Billy, they’s waving they hands in front of they noses like they wonder …

    “Which one of us shit ourselves down under!”

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Shane, Bobby and Billy are such natural talents, they didn’t realize they were rhyming when talking to each other!  I always knew they’d be natural talents at something 🙂

      • Shane Arthur says:

        “Hey Billy, Frank there thunks we’s naturals. He don’t know they made that movie The Natural after us.”

        “Yeah, we was the extras cleanin’ da outhouse next to da ball field. He shoulda saw our credits at the end of the movie!”

    • Wonderfully wacky! The Summer’s best comedy duo! Limited front row seating, due to the fact they only bathe once a month. What the hey, bring your clothespins … you do not want to miss these two!
      Directed by some guy named Shane.
      Very nice – very Billy and Bobby.

  5. Not a poem today, instead I had been wanting to write a short story and this one is fictional but has a lesson for real life as it was influenced by things read in the news.

    Sarah followed her morning routine to the letter. It started with dressing in her running outfit before work and a desperate search for her iPod before heading out the door and locking it behind her. She happen to jog along the same path she always chooses at the crack of dawn when sunlight barely crests over the horizon igniting thick clouds with rays of hope.

    She was jogging and fiddling with her music player, looking for the playlist she selected the night before. Distraction kept her from noticing someone stand off to the side of the path next to a tree. Yet no hidden or subliminal warning went off to shake her attention, or she just simply didn’t have any gut feeling of danger.

    She couldn’t see the man direct his attention toward her, feel the way his eyes hovered over her body as if deciding she would be the next target. She was simply oblivious again when he started to follow at a good pace after she was a few hundred yards past him.

    When she did look up from her playlist the song blaring in her years, she simply tuned out the world and pressed forward in her morning jog. Beads of sweat accumulated in her hair and neck and slowly dripped down her shirt.

    Instead of hearing the mans footsteps as he ran closer, she heard blaring rock music. By the time she saw the shadow and shoulders of the man right beside her, she barely had time to wonder what intentions he had. Her heart leapt in her throat as the man came within inches of her personal space.

    Then it was over, the man ran right past her at a pace she would never have been able to match. Anxiety unleashed like a tiger escaping from a cage and she tore the earbuds off her had. The message was loud and clear, this was one sign she could not ignore and from now on she would be more aware of her surroundings when she went for a jog, and maybe keep a can of mace in her backpack too.

  6. Jen says:

    I shake my head and wonder, “How did this happen?” I stand, holding the thick pleather loop dangling from the ceiling of the tube, rocketing with the throng from our quiet, leafy neighborhoods into the throbbing mass of the city.
    A woman seated near me looks flatly into my face, her eyes seem to perform a search of mine. She says, “I don’t know.” And then I realize I had not simply asked this question of the cobwebs in my confused head but asked it aloud of the citizen strangers huddled with me.
    Her answer a direct reflection of my own. I follow the thread of thought backward, forcing aside the dance of balance, the battered leather case in my other hand thumping against my nyloned leg, my heels jammed into professionally pointy pumps. As I wind my way past the question, the present fades and I remember last night. My phone blipped with a message for the wrong woman, sent by the wrong man. His number, his facial icon smiling back at me next to his seven personal digits, asking if we were still on for a “meeting” at the “plaza.” And an icon we’d not used in our text messages. One with hearts and kisses.
    He pulled the same line they always use. That’s what pissed me off the most. Can he not be a little more creative? I knew then that his personal training sessions, which had seemingly done little to shrink his waist line in the last six weeks, were not really about shrinking anything…Stupid. Stupid me. Stupid him.
    I pulled the rock, the promise, off my ring finger. I called a locksmith and happily paid his overtime to change every lock on the house. While I was at it, I had him upgrade the door pulls to the polished bronze variety I had favored when we built the house and which he rejected as being too expensive. And I used his personal card. Not mine. When the locks were done, I put the ring on the front porch, secured the doors and went to bed.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jen: Fantastic!

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Jen.  My favorite line was “And then I realize I had not simply asked this question of the cobwebs in my confused head but asked it aloud of the citizen strangers huddled with me.”  It set up the scene beautifully.

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Jen, this story was awesome, and I love how your Protagonist took charge in the face of an earth-shattering revelation.  Having two lives won’t be as easy for the husband as he might think!

    • Sliding Doors spectacular, Jen! The English setting nails it, for me. “That sad, sad wanker!” LOL
      I love how she puts the ring on the porch.

  7. Frank Ruiz says:

    I remember standing proudly for causes I thought would improve the world; now I can barely stand up straight after my twelve hour days.

    I remember searching my University catalogs, excited at the choices therein; now I realize that, no matter what I chose there, all those classes didn’t have much to do with how I spend my days now.

    It used to be all about what kind of message I thought the world needed; now I can’t see the world past my never-ending task lists, and I’m as inconspicuous as the rest of my rat-racing ilk, never daring to raise our heads, much less our concerns.

    How did this happen?  Was it the road I followed, or does every path eventually lead to this same drudgery?

    I barely have time to wonder about my question; new stacks of work requests continuously pile into my Inbox.

    My idealism felt so strong as a youth.  I never imagined the weight of the world would shake its supports to the ground.  Even on those rare occasions when it wriggles free of its confines, new burdens rain down like an avalanche of rocks to trap and silence it once again.

    I used to see my future clearly; a direct, unobstructed path toward the horizon.  Now the seeds of doubt and chaos have grown into thickets I’d need a team of guides to get me through.

    It’s a sobering realization that my best days may be behind me, but with new days only bringing more burdens and less freedom, what other conclusions are there to draw?

    • Man, it sucks when you realize you took roads that take away life choices and you are not doing what brings you happiness.  This is a realization for far to many I feel.

    • Jeanette R. says:

      @Frank. Very honest and thought provoking piece.  I remember when I was in high school I used to say that by the time I’m 30, I’ll be making the big bucks and driving an Infiniti J30 (the “J” was for Jeanette, 30 my age :) ) But 30 came and went and no car (they stopped making that model so I could always use that excuse). So, basically you’re not alone. I find solace in creating new dreams and goals and working with what I have.

    • I’m as inconspicuous as the rest of my rat-racing ilk, never daring to raise our heads, much less our concerns.
      Frank, you are so there with this submission. I can feel that slight tug of what-if, the pull of maturity against the the reins of a child’s dashing unicorns.
      Rock on, Writerman!

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Frank: I conclude that these thickets are what you can transform into book ideas … and book deals. “Life, I see your chaos and raise you two!”

      • Frank Ruiz says:

        Thanks for the comments, everyone!
        @Justin: Yeah, so true!  The one major I now wish they had at school was “Psychic!”
        @Jeanette: Good point.  Thanks to you all on here, I’m also enjoying new dreams and tending to them, rather than staring with remorse at the old ones.
        @Mitch: Yeah, although I miss that child’s idealism, such dreams had to be tempered with reality in order to survive into adulthood and beyond.
        @Shane: Excellent outlook!  I can definitely use life’s complications as grist for the writing mill!
        Thanks again!

  8. Cherrywood Heights – Chapter 3
    Bobbi Martin pushed her plate away, full after just three bites. She was having second thoughts about doing a follow up with Abram; his unusually direct approach had unnerved her. He had laid it on thick, with that bit about contaminated water. Besides, disaster relief usually involved bottled water and purification tablets.  While she disagreed with that band-aid policy, she would have expected a better response from a pharmaceutical company, especially one working with FEMA. A cholera vaccine would have made more sense.

    As Bobbi fretted over this, she began to wonder if Abram was who he claimed to be. Maybe he was a carpetbagger, looking to fleece the government with medical services contracts that he had no intention of honoring. A normal search wasn’t possible, what with the collapse of the information highway, right along with its concrete namesake. She glanced around at all of the modern marvels of man, silenced by a mighty shiver from nature.

    Her gaze happened to stop on a water-logged telephone directory. Shaking her head ruefully, she jumped down off her stool, grabbed her plate and tossed it into the red sharps disposal container. She was about to lie down on her cot when a window shattered.

    Bobbi screamed. In the dim light from the half moon, now dancing off the shards and splintered wood, she could make out the giant rock that had been launched halfway into the waiting room. Fear had frozen her into place but now, curiosity thawed her rigid leg and butt muscles. Standing on tip-toe, she crept across the floor to the window.

    Half expecting to find a crude note tied to the stone, Bobbi was disappointed to find that it was unadorned. Still, it was obvious that someone had wanted to leave a message. She had no idea what it was but, while she may have been easily startled, she was more like the rock in her resolve. Swearing under her breath, she left the mess until morning light.

    • Frank Ruiz says:

      Wow!  Your sentence structure today was poetic!  I loved the following: “A normal search wasn’t possible, what with the collapse of the information highway, right along with its concrete namesake. She glanced around at all of the modern marvels of man, silenced by a mighty shiver from nature.”
      Right as I was being impressed with the sentence structure, a rock crashing through the window pulled me right back into the story!  Great work!

      • Jeanette R. says:

        @Mitch.  Awesome lines: “Fear had frozen her into place but now, curiosity thawed her rigid leg and butt muscles. Standing on tip-toe, she crept across the floor to the window.”

        I could literally feel her fear. This was incredible!!

      • Thanks, Frank! I did notice I was being a bit introspective. I suspect the miscreant sent that rock as much at me as at Bobbi 🙂

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Mitch: Excellent. Looks like we see the beginning one one hell-of-a-tough woman!

  9. Thanks, Shane! Yeah! Let’s hear it for Bobbi! 🙂

  10. Sean Murphy says:

    Sometimes I wish I was in the same timezone as the rest of you – I either stay up till 1:00 am to write when the words are posted, or I do it the next day at the very tail end! Still, it’s fun to read everyone’s contributions before I post 🙂
    A zombie story, part 10 (I should really come up with a name for this thing)
    Continued from CCC169:
    It wasn’t the punch. The impact of that truth hit Grant like something physical the moment they turned onto the wide riverside drive that was the most direct route to the hospital. He had allowed himself to be lulled briefly on the drive through the quiet side streets of student housing. Dave’s two-seater Mustang had meant Emily was wedged between the two brothers, her head resting on Grant’s shoulder. With his eyes closed, the familiar feeling took him back to normalcy; just so would she rest against him during a long study session, or lean in to whisper dry social commentary in his ear whenever he started to look bored at a party.
    The sight of the boulevard drove him from his pleasant memories with a shake. Even this late, there was always traffic here – the drive fed directly into several major highways, and was forever taking commuters home. But in front of them was empty road, filled only with the whispering of the river brushing against its banks.
    “They’re all just pulled over,” he heard his brother whisper in a strangely awed voice, “it’s like they’re waiting for something.”
    Only then did he see what he’d missed in his search for moving traffic. While the center of the drive was completely clear, the side was littered with cars. What struck Grant was the strange sense of calm the driver’s seemed to have exhibited in their last moments of consciousness. Whatever had happened to them, no one appeared to have panicked and swerved into traffic, or hit the brakes and caused a pileup. Instead it was as the entire commuting population had decided to take a smoke break simultaneously. Every driver had neatly pulled over, killed the engine, and then gone into the same trance as Emily. He felt a sense of sick wonder as his eyes roamed across the endless row of vacant humanity. They did, indeed, appear to be waiting for something.
    “I really don’t want to be here when it happens.” He’d meant to say if, but his brother’s tense nod confirmed that he was not alone in his sense of impending doom. It felt like a betrayal of Emily to think it, but he was rapidly losing any sense of control over the situation.
    “Should we still try the hospital?” The deliberate lack of inflection in Dave’s voice couldn’t hide his real question – could a doctor fix whatever was going on behind those empty eyes?
    “Where else would we go?” He asked harshly, voice thick with suppressed emotion. He couldn’t hide his own doubts from Dave, but his brother got the message. They would work under the assumption that whatever was happening to the raven-haired girl between them could be cured. No other thoughts could be tolerated.
    The conversation was broken before his brother could answer, as the dignified white rock wall that surrounded St John’s hospital appeared on their left. Dave indicated to turn in, then shut it off with a small laugh as he realised there was no one watching. Parking in the empty ambulance bay in front of the double doors of the emergency ward, they emerged from the car and lifted Emily out in unison. The emergency bays at the front of the hospital were empty. Whether they’d been out on call when it had hit, or were out responding to the emergency, Grant couldn’t tell. Either way, the front of the hospital was as deathly quiet as the university had been.
    He almost dropped Emily when Dave pulled open the heavy double doors and the silence was shattered by a wall of sound from inside. Shifting his weight to support her better, it took him a moment to filter the cacophony into a form he could recognise. From what he could tell, it sounded like every pager and medical alarm in the entire place was going off. He shrugged mentally, moving Emily through the door his brother was holding open. His exceptions of normalcy were rapidly declining – at least the power was still on here.
    One look around the waiting room told him there wasn’t much else to recommend the place. Any hopes he might have held for a safe harbour were quickly snuffed out as he took in the motionless, black eyed forms filling the chairs of the emergency waiting room. He heard Dave close the door behind them and turned to him, feeling lost. His plan hadn’t extended past getting Emily to a hospital.
    Dave seemed to sense his lack of direction, and gave him a “no worries” smile that managed to look unstrained. Walking up to the reception desk, he reached past the still form of the receptionist, and pushed the button for the PA. Taking the microphone off it’s stand, he spoke loudly into it.
    “Paging anyone still moving in this place! We could really use some help at the emergency bay – please get down here as soon as you can.” Turning the PA off, he turned back to shoot Grant a grin. “Sometimes the direct approach works best.”
    It seemed his brother was right. It was only a few minutes before the doors to the emergency ward burst open, shooting out a harried-looking figure in a white coat. As a saviour, he wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring. A tangled mess of brown hair complimented a slightly absent expression. Combined with the near-run he was travelling it, it created the impression of a slightly lost tornado. Upon sighting the two boys, he advanced on them quickly, pulling a small penlight from his pocket.
    “Keep your eyes open.” The terse command was Grant’s only warning before the light was shone directly into his left pupil. He managed to refrain from blinking, and after a moment the man made what could have been a pleased noise and moved over to Dave. Grant couldn’t help feeling put out by the abruptness of it all, but schooled himself to patience. This situation was enough to fray anyone’s nerves. Politeness might be too much to expect just now.
    “We need help for our friend,” he spoke out once the doctor had stepped back from a disgruntled Dave, nodding his head as if confirming an unspoken theory. Looking down at Emily’s limp form, the man nodded rapidly.
    “Yes, yes, we’ll get her in one of the free beds on the ward. Then you can tell me what the hell is going on out there. Follow me.” With that, he turned his back on them, muttering to himself about dead phone lines and unconscious nurses.
    Dave looked at Grant questioningly, but he could only shrug. Unlikely as he seemed, this was the only other human being capable of speech they’d seen in the last twenty minutes. Crossing his fingers, he moved to carry Emily through the emergency ward doors.

  11. Erik Maroon sat in seat 42C of his transcontinental direct flight from Rome to Dehli having a conversation with his friend Edward Stevens across the aisle.

    “Are you crazy?  John Cena does not need a title when facing the Rock at Wrestle Mania next year.  What’s going to happen when Rocky wins?  Is he going to take the title and wear it for the Tooth Fairy 2??” Erik mocked.

    “No!!” Ed responded, “He’ll give it back or pass it down or something.”

    “If I didn’t know you, I’d figure you were retarded.  I’m going to hit the head, you cool?”

    “Yeah, hurry up.  We’ve been up here for a couple hours already and I need to drain the main vein if you know what I mean.”

    “Dude, I’m starting to believe you really are retarded.”

    Erik stood up from his seat and stretched out for a second before walking back to the restroom.  He passed the group of college missionaries grouped together that boarded with him in Rome.  He smiled at a cute girl many years his younger and thought to himself what a shame it is about her commitment to follow God.  He talked to a few of them at DiVinci Airport in Rome and found out they’re going to be setting up churches in some of the villages during the summer months.  There was a lot of buzz between them on account the plane was now over Israel.

    They acted just like his Dad and Kaci.  He just couldn’t get behind them or feel encouraged by them after what he’s gone through and everything he’s lost.

    Not anymore.

    A male missionary started to stand before Erik approached his seat.  He sat back down to let Erik pass.  Their eyes locked.  Erik gave him a “what’s up” look, while he gave Erik a “stay out of my business” look in return.


    Erik got to the restroom and gave one last look down the length of the cabin before going inside.  He checked his phone and saw he has a message from Savannah.

    “Geez.. Come on chick.. I’m working!!!   De-Leted!!!”

    As he was deleting he got another message from the office.


    What the hell??!

    He  hears a scream coming from the cabin.  Erik bursts open the door to see all hell breaking loose.

    “FEDERAL AIR MARSHALL!!” Ed yells with a gun pointing at the male missionary with one of “his sisters in Christ” as a human shield.

    Erik draws his gun, identifies himself as an air marshal as well and demands everyone stay seated.  A hero from behind the “missionary” tries to surprise him from behind but is shot down by one of two more men sitting towards the front of the cabin.

    They rush the cockpit, plant a small explosive and blow the lock.  They kick the door open and Erik hears some yelling with thick accents followed by two gunshots.  The plane starts to shake as they enter the cockpit and slam the door.

    Erik’s eyes start to search the cabin to see if anyone else is involved in this.  Three people are already down and he has no control of the situation.  People are screaming and the plane he was in charge of just got hijacked.  He has to get it back.


    “SHE’S TOO CLOSE!!!”




    The missionary pulls a small gun and shoots Ed dead center in his chest.

    Ed falls.

    Erik watches as his partner of the past six years goes down.


    It feels like an eternity, but he regains his composure before Ed’s assailant lifts his gun in his direction.


    Unlike Ed, Erik didn’t think the sister missionary was too close, and now that he had a clear line of sight took “her brother” out with a headshot between the eyes.  A business man pulls her out of the aisle so Erik can get to the cockpit.


    It was was a warning of protection not a threat.  He didn’t want to shoot anyone that didn’t need to be.

    He steps over Ed’s body and that of the “missionary”.  The plane starts to make a sharp descent and Erik stumbles forward over the hero.  He approaches the cockpit, gun at a ready position.  Before he can get to the door, there’s a gunshot.  Erik slams to the side of the wall to avoid any gunfire.  Then two more shots almost simultaneously shoot off.  The planes almost jumps in the air and feels like it’s going nose first into the ground.

    He kicks opens the door to see the pilot and co-pilot dead as well as the two terrorists from self inflicted gunshots to their head.  Erik pulls them from their seats…


    Erik turns around to see the female missionary previously being held hostage standing six feet from the cockpit with a gun in her hand.  Her gun drops and she falls on her face dead.

    Down the aisle, Ed holds on to a seat as he lowers his smoking weapon.

    Erik sits at the controls to try to pull back and regain the altitude they’re losing.

    Nothing.  The sticks are dead and the ground is getting closer.  He thinks of how he failed.  His mind races to his family.  His father.  His mother.  He has to wonder if he’ll see her soon?  He thinks of Kaci and Michael.  He pulls back on the controls more letting out a scream of defeated anguish as there is still no change.

    He looks back into the cabin and sees the remaining missionaries out of their seats praying with people.

    You have to be kidding me.

    Erik laughed,  “We’ll it’s going to take a miracle from God to stop this plane from becoming a fireball in the Israel desert.”

    He pulled back in frustration and the plane moved.  In shock Erik moved it some more and it began to straighten out.  He was still descending and losing altitude too fast.  The ground was still getting closer.  They were still going to die.  There was no way around it.  It’s just a matter of where they died that Erik had control of.  He had minimal control of the plane and he was not going to let it crash in a populated area.

    The creeks became larger and could count the sheep in the fields.  He felt sorry what he wasn’t able to do.  He was sorry for how he left Kaci.  He always loved her and never stopped thinking about her, even when he was with Savannah.  He hopes he made them proud.

    Brushing the ground, Erik lets out another scream and pulls back on the controls.

    “I’m sorry God.”

    The plane slams into the ground and the grinding noise is deafening.   One of the starboard engines catches fire and explodes.  Friction from the ground cases the fuselage to burst in flames as the remaining engines explode.  The entire plane is engulfed in flame and screams in destruction as it becomes a rolling fireball in the desert.

    The plane no longer exists, only fire.

  12. KathleenL says:

    Confessions of a mommy moment by Isabelle

    I have searched
    my memories of what I thought would otherwise not shake this rock I have
    tried to become. I have tried to convince myself that I could withstand anything that came my way.

    “Wonder no
    longer,” I told myself – and yes, I too, like Bayou Bill, whom some of you
    know, did recognize myself … as I sounded so much like me. It was a direct hit in the … well; it was most
    like a direct blow to the stomach,
    in more ways than one. It took the wind right out of my sails.

    “You are, in fact, pregnant,” the nurse said to me, beaming,
    “about 13 weeks.”

    What followed was
    not what most folks expect….  I know it
    was not what I expected.

    I walked out into the waiting room to my husband and our
    10-month-old boy sittin’ in his lap.


    “Well?” he said raising to his feet.

    it is not something I am proud of… I broke down into tears.
    The message was unmistakably clear
    to me… “Pregnant! Again! OMG!”  But he
    who had one bloody goal in his life ‘have more kids than my dad’ (who has a
    goal like that anyways, especially when his dad had like — 10) thought it was
    a wonderful announcement.


    Not me. He happened
    to think a thick milk shake would help my mood… he was wrong
    about that too. I cried for two weeks. Then I just decided one day; told myself
    to “suck it up. Because if you ares gonna have this baby,(and I was)you did not
    want it to come out all pissed off at the world and cranky.” I admonished
    myself to get over it a couple of times. After all, it was my fault I did not
    get into the doc’s office for a re-upping of the prescription.

    Not to add… I shouldn’t of taken so seriously what was poked
    at me in fun. Sigh. Oh well. She now a teen ager and I am glad I choose to love
    her soon after the get-go.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Kathleen: That was such a wonderful submission. Made my day.

      • KathleenL says:

        Shane — Thanks!  As noted before… family can give rise to some good writing material.  And you know I love to make other parents smile about mommy/daddy moments. If my ditties bring back found memories for the reader… all the better.

  13. Sheryl says:

    Can you say deja vu? Today I stand reading the mail staring in disbelief the crap listed in this pending lawsuit. The message is clear, my brother-in-law is out for bear. He won’t stop until he has shaken up the entire family by suing anyone directly if they happen to cross his path.

    I wonder how long it took him to search the jail house law library to find some little tidbit lying under a rock for which to reek havoc? He has already proven that he can’t follow the directions of the court correctly and there is obviously no getting through his thick head that he’s tried this before and lost and not suppose to be able to do it again.  

  14. WriteR says:

    They stand in the threshold, their eyes on a silent search around the room. I direct my eyes to the floor, shaking myself nervously. I wonder what will happen. And I’m not the only one; the air is thick with worry. They seem to get the message, and their eyes follow me. I find myself entranced in their eyes; rock gray with flecks of gold. For a moment I thought we had hope. A moment. Then they unsheathed their swords.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @WriteR (Smiley): Welcome to the CCC. Love what you did with your 1st two submissions. What did you think of the exercise? And how did you find us?
      Everyone welcome WriteR to the fun. And if you have a website, let me know so I can add that with your name on our CCC Community Links page.

      • KathleenL says:

        WriteR — Welcome aboard. Hope the word-play addiction bits you too. Fast reading, well paced piece that makes me wonder … now what?

      • WriteR says:

        Thanks! The exercise is fun… 🙂
        I found you by typing “writing prompts” into the google search.
        I have a website: http:/customwritingprompts.webs.com.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @WriteR: No wonder you crushed this challenge. You’re a fellow prompter. Excellent. The world can never have enough prompts.

  15. KathleenL says:

    Sheryl –Way to go… us the CCC to get your stress worked out. This will make a great section of a Journal “How to Deal with Your Jailed in-laws”. Can’t wait to see more. (He is a looser.)

    • Sheryl says:

      Kathleen – Do you really thing there could be a best seller on “How to deal with your jailed in-laws”? I bet between the two of us we could write a good soap opera. Cuz we both know the criminals have far more rights than your average citizen. LOL.

  16. Well here I am again, late but hopefully still readable!

    Part 8
    The camera shot widened and the amount of blood on the floor surprised even Detective Reynolds. There had to be another victim somewhere, the guy on the tape was still very much alive and not bleeding. There was just so much blood.
    Mal watched more closely as the man in the white tabard lifted his scalpel and seemed to be saying a prayer to the heavens before he bent down and sliced the sole of the victims right foot from the heel to the toes. Blood welled in the deep cut and the victim screamed in pain.
    It was a wonder that the guys in the red tabards could keep him down. The man in white bent to the other foot and cut again. And then again. And again. And again. Blood welled and dripped onto the floor. The victim screamed and moaned and writhed in pain.
    That explained to Mal what happened to his feet. As tape played on Mal felt himself begin to shake with rage and desire for justice. Unspeakable acts of pain were being inflicted on the victim.
    Scalpel was followed by a large, rusty butcher knife. Another man joined the picture and waited for the man in the now blood splattered white tabard. The butcher knife descended and pierced the stomach of the victim. He screamed again and then passed out. The new man dipped a small silver bowl into the blood flowing from the stomach wound. He stepped over to the wall and out of the frame. Mal suspected that he was drawing the voodoo message on the wall.
    It was too bad that the camera couldn’t follow the man, but the small hole in the thick rock wall wouldn’t allow it. Mal swallowed the rising bile in the back of his throat as one of the red clad men stood and walked out of the frame, returning a moment later with a red velvet bag. The man in the once white tabard reached into the stomach cavity of the victim, his hand emerging covered in gore and clutching a handful of intestines.
    He directed the other man to open the bag and then they began pulling out intestines and placing them in the bag. It was about this time the victim woke up and screamed a long, drawn out scream of mortal death. The scream didn’t end as the last of his 28 feet of intestines were severed and tied up in the bag. The man walked out of the frame.
    The victim was still screaming and looking around, trying to search for something, anything to get out of his situation. Mal knew that he was dead at that point even if he still breathed and screamed. There was no hope for rescue. Nothing to do but die. Mal was upset that he couldn’t do anything now, just stand by and watch the rest of the tape.

  17. Kelly says:


    Yeah. I’m a little cracked.

    You’d have to be pretty thick not to notice it; I’m that artsy-geeky kid they thought was so weird in high school, all grown up. I’m this strange combo of extremely direct and accidentally standoffish. Painfully shy, even now, yet eager to share my wonderment at the world. I like to shake the trees. I like to move my tall frame among the world, and then rock things just a little.

    I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, as U2 would say back in those high school days… though with all my crazy heart I am constantly searching.

    I must like it that way. Always a little on edge. Always a little risky. What is life for if not to breathe it in fully and rejoice in it?

    I know, most of us try to conform some day, but I reckon I don’t conform any more than I did then. ‘Fraid it wasn’t a mask I happened to put on during my teen years; it was really me.

    So, yeah, there’s a message here. I’ve been hearing the “it gets better” thing a lot, and that’s pretty powerful. It does get better; you find the people who can enjoy your quirkiness or you find that people just care less about quirkiness at some point. But that’s not the whole story.

    To me the whole story is—it can be better right now, if you can accept yourself to the core. Not so easy, I know, but you’ll care a lot less about the idiots who talk shit about you if you don’t believe a word of it, than if you have doubts yourself.

    Like the schoolyard chant, be rubber—let ‘em bounce off you.

    Then one day, you move away from the shit-talkers, and you’ll be happily cracked, too. That, my nonconformist friend, is what life is for.

    The heck with the followers. They’ll never get the bliss from life that you and I do.

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