Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #276

Today we have our own Cathy Miller choosing the words. Cathy is our Welcoming Queen.

This is a writing prompt. Bet you can’t do it! Take the 10 random words below and crush writer’s block by creating a cohesive, creative short story! And remember: after (if) you finish entering your submission into the comment field, 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. Ridiculous
  2. Sublime
  3. Anarchy
  4. Glasses
  5. Business card
  6. Headsets
  7. Lighthouse
  8. Raisin
  9. Wine
  10. Initials

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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110 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #276”

  1. The initials on the pink business card were in that ridiculous Comic Sans font.
                      P. E. B.
    CRANIUM CORRECTIVE CONSULTANT

    Phil E. Buster was peddling his trash on the down-low after his narrow escape from the law.* That principal had called his bluff, as well as the authorities. Now, he was hoping to unload an oversupply of Zen Tranquility emulsion. It was really just sweet, cheap wine, mixed with Karo brand corn syrup. The small group of potential salespeople were listening to his pitch.

    “The over-medication of today’s youth must be fought at every turn. If you can convince the daycare centers in your territory to try a case of Zen Tranq for 30 days, you’ll earn a whopping 40% commission. You can cash out or reinvest in a pallet. The wholesale price…”

    “Excuse me, sir, how many boxes are in a pallet?” A timid old lady in the front row had interrupted the spiel.

    “Six boxes, ma’am. Two dozen bottles per box. One gross of product with a retail value of 150.00. Now, the wholesale price is 67.00, which means your potential profit is 83.00 per pallet.” Phil knew that a couple of smart-asses always attended these types of business opportunities, so he made sure that his numbers added up. He could gloss over the mechanics, but he wanted to entice the greedy into buying him out. He didn’t have to wait long.

    A fat, bald man, with wire-rimmed glasses squeezed onto his face, piped up, “So, you’re saying we can get the pallet for 57.00 after selling one case? Why would we do that, when we can just buy a pallet and make the larger commission?” Several heads nodded in confused agreement.

    Phil smiled. “Well, you certainly can do that, sir. Most of my salespeople don’t venture outside of their neighborhoods, and there are only so many daycare centers they can reach. Besides, in this economy, I try to make the buy-in as affordable as possible.”

    The be-spectacled man grinned ferally. “Hell, man, if this stuff is as good as you say it is, I can sell it all day long!” He whipped out a checkbook. “Where do I sign up?”

    Anarchy ensued, as the other prospects clamored for their share. Phil silently thanked his shill for that sublime performance. By the end of the night, all but two pallets had been sold off.

    ***

    Milo Wilson couldn’t believe his eyes. The little old lady had walked into the lobby of the Little Lambkin Lighthouse Daycare Center, clutching a bottle of pink fluid. He watched as she spoke with the receptionist. When the receptionist waved him over, Milo tried not to stomp and snort smoke. Instead, he held out his hand.

    “Hi, I’m Milo Wilson. I run the Lambkin Lighthouse. How can I help you?”

    “Hello, Mr. Wilson. I’m Henrietta Ketcham. May I have a moment of your time?”

    “Certainly. Come into my office.” Milo led her into a small room that looked more like a supply closet than an office. He offered her a hard plastic chair before sitting down behind his badly scarred desk.

    Henrietta launched into her script. Halfway through, Milo held up his hand to stop her. She looked at him hopefully.

    “Henrietta, may I call you Henrietta? Please tell me you didn’t fall in with that snake oil salesman, Phil E. Buster?”

    Henrietta smiled. “So that’s what ‘P. E. B.’ means. He was so secretive at the meeting. But he is a very nice man. Calls himself a cranium corrective consultant. He cured one boy who had suffered a spinal cord injury.”**

    “Well, I don’t know about that, but that nice man cost me my job and nearly got me sent to prison for dispensing that swill without parental authorization. If it’s the same crap, you and anybody else selling it have been ripped off.”

    Henrietta’s smile morphed into a frown of disapproval. “How dare you! Just because you had a bad experience, don’t try to poison the well for the rest of us. We can’t all get cushy jobs like you, you know. If you don’t want to hear what I have to say, just say so!”

    Milo, out of respect for his elders, held his tongue and managed to look contrite. “I’m sorry, Henrietta. You’re right. Go for it. But, before you leave, I want you see how Lambkin handles hyperactive kids.” He guided her out of the office. They walked a dozen yards toward a closed door. Milo asked her to look through the glass.

    Henrietta peeked into the room. She saw forty-plus toddlers sitting in a circle, wearing headsets and eating raisins from plastic bowls. Their eyes were glazed and they rocked back and forth, seemingly in unison. She stepped back toward Milo, a question forming on her lips.

    “Lil John. Playing Git Low in an endless loop on their little iPods.”

    Henrietta ran out of there as fast as her old legs could carry her.

    *[CCC #207!]
    **[CCC #915! Woot!]

  2. Liss Thomas says:

     
    A ridiculous grin inhabits my face.  Yesterday’s sublime memory lifts my spirits. Our initials are permanently etched in an oak tree.  We watched waves crash against an abandoned lighthouse while we clinked glasses of wine.  Well, we pretended it was wine.  We walked the surf until our toes raisined in the cool waters.  I remember it all but the smile soon falters.  Sound seems sporadic like faulty headsets and sight dims the full rays of the sun.  Anarchy against the rules does not diminish their sting.  My human sleeps in endlessness beside me and surrounded by flowers.  Their fragrance muted and color browning.  A business card peeks through the blooms like an odd petal and sorely out of place.  I feel a pull taking me away.  It is a relief. 
     
    Blue light swirls around us, envelops us.  Voices call to me, calling me home.

    Wait, I can’t go home, not now…No!
     

  3. Cathy Miller says:

    @Mitch -LOL at Phil E. Buster. 😀 Never in a million years would I take those words and come up with this. Your mind is so fascinating, Mitch. Have you been swilling that pink stuff? 😉

  4. Enjoyed writing this one, I have had similar mishaps though not this exact one depicted.

    Formal Lunch
    In a ridiculous situation
    handing over a business card
    fancy initials shining
    no headsets block the crashing
    whole room noticing immediately
    a lighthouse beam of attention
    sublime anarchy as glasses fall
    blasted raisin revenge in disguise
    as wine stains sleeves and tablecloths
    my formal lunch never forgotten 

  5. Cathy Miller says:

    We shake our head at the ridiculous

    And clasp the sublime satisfaction

    That we know our way is better

    From flower power anarchy 

    To horn rimmed glasses without lenses

    We are sure we invented it all

    The business card has gone viral

    And headsets are a new body part

    As we redefine the way we work

    Our lighthouse reach for discovery

    Leaves convention in a raisin form

    That once was the wine of success

    Embraced by the initials of forgotten time

  6. Anthony Smits says:

    Nelson stepped forward. “Maybe it’s ridiculous to think we can best the feii. But I’ll join you. A bit of anarchy would be sublime.”  He looked around at the twenty or so townspeople who had come with him to the meeting. “Take off the hero-worship glasses. The feii are killing us – is it for the world’s good? Don’t matter to me if it is. You want your unborn to stop dying? We came to fight. We’ll do it better with Micah, and his allies, than without.”
    Wain scowled. I’ve come this far, so maybe, but I don’t see how we can achieve anything. Not against feii magic.
    It’s not magic, muttered Micah. It’s science.
    “Whatever. We’ve got two feii turning against their own – one just a baby – and a bunch of jaguars. And us.”
    Micah’s hands strayed down, caressing the leather pouch in the centre of his belt.”You don’t see how? Is that on your business card, Wain? Go home then. I believe we can win, I always have. And I’m going to bring Briar home.” He stopped as tears blurred his vision; she was beautiful and it was time. 

    He pulled free from their entwined caress; she sat up as he stood and picked up his satchell.  He took out his creation and unwrapped the covering. Briar half rose, a question in her eyes. What was he doing? Her hair fell across her face and she swished it away as he held it out in two hands. 
    She gasped. “You want to wreath me?” 
    Micah knew he grinned, knew what she would say next. His eyes linked with hers in their moment.

    Wain ripped it away. 
    “I’ll think about it.” 
    A few of the men shuffled in their places, visibly unsure. A gust of wind seemed to tug away another layer of commitment. Those with the new crys-holding headsets wore them awkwardly.  
    It wasn’t Briar’s voice. Micah roughly rubbed at his face. Lead! He took a deep breath and faced them again.
    “Anyone else who isn’t committed? Go home too. Feii governance may have been fair once; it isn’t now. But we’ll only win if we believe we will; this is a contest for control.”
    He had to win them. And he had to not think about Briar; he would lose it and they would sense weakness in him and give up. We’re lucky; we have an advantage. We must win to survive. And we will. A lighthouse for man.”
    Micah looked hard at Wain. “Extinction is coming, one raisin child at a time…” He knew that had to hurt; Wain’s Beth had miscarried three. You came because you wanted a piece of hope. I’m pleased we met up with you all. We have more chance in numbers. If you prefer, sit here and drink wine till sunset, it won’t be long coming.
    Micah looked at each of the men in turn; a swift search of their doubtful faces. “I’m carving my initials in our future, starting tomorrow. Who’s with me? Those who are, come with us at dawn.” 
    He turned, not allowing his despair to show until his face was away from them. And he went to find Aneiru. She would be with the jaguars.

  7. Sean Murphy says:

    I sit, staring at the sunset from my little table atop of my lighthouse, flipping business cards onto the table. Idly hoping that one of them will fall just so, the light hitting it at the perfect angle that would make it all seem concrete, my ridiculous venture transformed into sublime reality. No matter how they fall, I can’t seem to see my future writ large in the initials lettered there in raisin-black ink. Leaning back into my chair, I give up, sipping cheap wine as I take in the view that’s been mine alone for over a year. If I succeed tomorrow, I’ll have to share this view each night. Funny that that’s what my mind goes to, but there you have it. The past few weeks have been anarchy, and giving up the solitude of my lighthouse tower has become less appealing now that my rose-tinted glasses have come off, showing me how hard this will all be. A pair of teenagers pass on the dirt track far below, their headsets blaring loudly enough to carry tinny whispers up to my castle-top. Sighing, I wonder again if inviting the world into my hideaway is a good idea after all.

    • Sean, this is really cool. You worked those words magnificently – an actual lighthouse, too!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Sean: We need to see your back more often. This character seems a tortured soul. MORE! 🙂

      • Sean Murphy says:

        Thanks @Shane and @Mitch. I’ve been having trouble writing recently, as without the nudges from outside pressures, like a weekly lesson or commitment, I just don’t seem to feel the urge the same way I do with, say, my guitar. Then I realised my CCC emails seem to have been largely misplaced recently, so I thought I’d come back here to find that nudge again!

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Sean: Do you write songs? Seems like a great middle ground when you don’t feel like writing the novel.
          Hell, I have a song I want someone musically inclined to help me with. I don’t play an instrument so I can’t put it to sound, but I have lyrics and the basic beat. Let me know if you’d like to work on it. It’s a country themed song.

          • Sean Murphy says:

            I haven’t gotten to writing my own songs yet, but that’s the way it’s progressing. I play a pretty decent blues/country/rock guitar if you want to email me what you’re working on.

  8. […] Creative Copy Challenge 276 […]

  9. “oooh… this wine is just extremely, supremely sublime…”, Amy slurred past the half empty wine glass. Todd tried to ignore the fact that this was the most ridiculous date he had ever been on and forced his concentration on the small spilled wine drop on her left breast. If he tilted his glasses to catch the right light, the stain looked a little like the country of Italy.

    Todd met this red-headed bombshell at a ‘Toilets ‘n’ Tubs Tradeshow’. She was bopping along in her own little world while checking out the headsets for the ‘Toilet Tunes’. Bumping into her, he winked, and handed her his business card. On the front was a lighthouse with his company’s initials wrapped around it – T.N.T. Todd’s Nightlight Toiletry. His product was a toilet paper holder with a light in the center so you “never lose your way during those midnight runs”. “Call me”, he mouthed silently to her before he walked away.

    When Todd arrived to pick her up for dinner and a movie, he had a very bad feeling about the night to come. She tripped on the sidewalk on the way to the car breaking the heel of her shoe. While he expected that she would turn to go back and get new shoes, she just giggled and threw the 6 inch spike into her purse and continued with an up and down wobble to the car. Her purse itself was the largest bag he had ever seen, next only to a hockey bag. This neon pink accessory was studded with glittery stones to spell out “Raisin’ Anarchy” “Are you a raising hell kinda girl?” he asked pointing to her bag. She tittered, “No silly, my son’s name is Archy.”

    He finally realized he would not be taking her home for the night when she tipped the remains of her meal into her purse instead of asking for a take-out container. 

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lisa: OH MY BLEEPIN’ GOD! This has to be THE best submission ever from you. I KNOW you laughed when you wrote this. You better have, because you just gave me one hell of a good laugh. Such a great visual on that lady bobbing up and down while walking!  Come back more often Lisa. I miss you.

    • The date from helpless laughter. This was total fun to read!
      You know I loved “Raisin Anarchy”! That was great!
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

  10. Lynne says:

    Sublime disinterest is what she wanted to say when Lisa was asked by Maggie Brown, the ninth grade history teacher, what she thought about the lighthouse.

    “Isn’t it wonderful?” she said, instead.

    Raising her head to peer over the top of her glasses, Lisa pretended interest in the red and white candy-striped cone. West Quoddy Head was cute, she supposed, if you were into lighthouses or if being at the easternmost point of land in the country mattered to you. It obviously didn’t matter to very many of the group of students she was with. Looking around, Lisa spotted Ben and Janie carving their initials into rocks. Dougie and his gang of troublemakers were busy dangling Keith over the edge, amid hoots and threats to drop him into the sea below. Marybeth and her sidekicks, Annie and June, had dutifully collected headsets from the nearby Visitor Center, nodding and exclaiming over the commentary only they could hear.

    “Wow!” Marybeth excitedly proclaimed, “We’re at 44 degrees, 48.9 min. North Latitude. Just wow!”

    What the hell is there to get excited about that? Lisa shrugged. Let Ms Maggie Brown deal with them all, she had better things to do.

    Almost as if she had heard Lisa’s thoughts, the redoubtable Ms Brown yelled, “Dougie! Quit raisin‘ hell and get over here. Now!”

    Uh, oh. Lisa glanced up again and recognized that expression on Dougie’s face. His lower lip thrust out, brows lowered, shoulders slumping-trouble was on its way. This could be fun.

    “Make me!”

    “Yeah, make him, you old bat!”

    The chant started up and anarchy reigned as Lisa stayed where she was, sitting on a rock, observing the recalcitrant students egging each other on. Keith, meanwhile, scooted back from the edge and clambered to his feet. Lisa tried not to smile as she watched the history teacher square off against Dougie, the class bully.

    “One thousand words on the history of the West Quoddy Head lighthouse. On my desk at 9am tomorrow, or it’s a fail. And, I will be calling Coach.”

    That seemed to work. Not! Lisa shook her head as the other boys’ grumbling increased.

    “Oh? Didn’t I make myself clear?” Ms Brown scanned the faces around her. “I want one thousand words from y’all. All! And one more word from any of you and I will,” she emphasized, “add another five hundred. Now, am I clear?”

    Afterwards, as the chastened students mumbled their way back onto the coach taking them all back to school, the history teacher leaned towards Lisa and said, “I don’t know ‘bout you but I can’t wait to get back, get home, and grab a bottle of wine“.

    Not me, Lisa thought, palming the business card that she had been pondering over all day. Taking her seat, she pulled the card out of her jacket pocket and re-read the note on the back…

    “The idea of you being a teacher is ridiculous. I’m holding the position for 24-hours. Call me.”

    Taking her cellphone out, Lisa cast one last look around her class. Then she punched in the numbers printed on the card.

    • Hmm. I’d have to agree with that note. Excellent storytelling, there, Lynne. I know someone who might appreciate reading this.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Lynne: Great job here. I can imagine this so clearly because I believe my daughter’s first teacher up and left just as your character seems ready to do.

    • Lynne, I didn’t see that coming. Excellent story.
      Is public education hopeless?
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

      • Lynne says:

        Thanks for the comments everyone – much appreciated. 
        @Mitch: I have no idea. When I saw the words in this challenge I remembered seeing a photograph of that lighthouse in Maine. This triggered the idea for a story around a school trip to visit the lighthouse. All this comes only from my imagination. I have no experience with the US school system at all and don’t know any teachers. Both my daughter and myself attended single-sex schools so even the behaviour of teenage boys is a mystery to me. I had fun dreaming it up though :-) 
        I’m gratified (but also a tad horrified) to realise that my fiction might be hitting close to reality for some teachers. 

  11. Kathleen K says:


    BRAVO Miss Cathy!
    Here is my play with your words:

    “It is ridiculous how I can’t read this dam business card without my glasses!” Isabella said to herself as she squinted. Squinting was not enough. “Lighthouse Anarchy … is that what it says,” she began questioning herself.
     
    “Raising Cane is our main goal,” she heard through the headsets she was wearing.
    “Why I am wearing two sets of ears? How much wine have I had?”
     
    She looked at the goblet… it was ¾ filled with crimson liquid and looked sublime against the glittering backdrop of stars.

    “Girl… Get Up off of the ground!” she was yelling, silently to herself as she noticed the initials on the glass… CMW… they were her stalker’s. “Get up… run, run…”

  12. Briony Coote says:

    Theresa had taken one look at Coast Smugglers Café and thought it was a rather ridiculous place to have a business lunch – it looked like something the Pirates of the Caribbean would hang out rather than respectable businessmen. But Fred had known what he was doing when he selected the place. The canny owner of the Coast Smugglers had picked a very sublime location for it. The café overlooked the old lighthouse and the craggy cliffs, and the cawing seagulls in the distance. The owner had built his café to revel in the nostalgia of the days of sail, and the anarchy of smugglers and wreckers who once plagued the coast. The nostalgic, rugged marine setting gave a dark ‘rough it atmosphere’ that brought out the romantic streaks in its patrons. They would soon shed any formalities as they yearned for the romanticism of sails and Jolly Roger pirates. And Fred wanted romanticism, not formality, for this particular lunch. 

    Fred patted his stomach. That shipwreck soup and braised halibut he’d had were magnificent and was thinking about the rum and raisin flambé –but then changed his mind. There was something more important. He must find his pluck and take the plunge.

    “So how’s me hearty? Ar, ar!” Fred laughed, trying to ease the tension in him as Theresa cleaned up her plate. 

    “Avast there, you scurvy knave!” She smiled.
    Fred raised the wine bottle. “Fancy another, me lovely?” Theresa nodded and he filled their glasses with more pinot noir. “So here’s to…what shall it be?”

    “Not to that new line in headsets you’ve just brought out. Do that again and I’ll make you walk the plank!”

    “Oh, no, nothing like that…” Fred hesitated – but the moment had come. “Just a moment, me lovely, while I find it.” Fred fumbled in his pocket and brought out his wallet where he kept all his business cards. He pulled a card out.

    Theresa was puzzled. “Business cards? We’ve already exchanged those.”

    They had, but they had not exchanged this particular card –it was inscribed with the initials F. A. loves T. M. There was a beautiful gold ring attached that was worthy of any pirate’s treasure.

  13. K says:

    I had such a hard time on this one.

     Cloaked subservient sentinels filed into the chamber with sublime synchronization. Though resembling monks, their actions deemed them unworthy of that title, seeing as one of them toted a tiny, spectacled girl. Sharon winced, witnessing as the stolid guard tossed the child onto the stone floor. Her glasses slipped from the bridge of her nose and clanged dully against the ground. For a moment, only breathy hiccups reverberated in the room. Then, the leader of the pack, seeming to snap back to his senses, stepped closer to her. Crushing the object underneath his foot, shards of glass burst from its wired confines, scattering in the small area. He raised his hand and shifted the girl’s head to face him. Tears glimmered from the corners of her eyes, threatening to fall yet again. Sharon struggled against her constraints to no avail. Defeated, she craned her neck to the left and spotted nearly imperceptible letters etched onto the wall. Sharon widened her eyes at her sudden realization. What was thought to be the word raisin proved to be incorrect, considering the circumstances. To confirm her suspicions, she turned her attention back to the matter at hand and observed the victim’s mannerisms. The girl kneeling on the ground scrambled back, evading the shrouded figure. Sharon caught a glimpse of a scar running the circumference of her neck. She raised her arm to her face and sneezed onto her sleeve near her wrist. 
     
    Rai S., the girl whose initials scraped across the grey slabs of stone surrounding the chamber, dared not to lift her eyes from the ground and swiped the back of her hand across her face. She, who once graced Sharon’s presence with a smile and bolstered her faltering fortitude, exhibited none of her resilience. Instead, her expressions admitted such fear that it caused anger to fester in the pit of her stomach simply by watching from a distance.
     
    Sharon ground her teeth. Yanking on the cuffs encircling her wrists, the metallic surface reacted when her skin grazed them and singed her wrists. She heaved a breath and ceased movement. Forced to play spectator in this farce, Sharon watched as the cloaked guard strode toward the girl. He knelt on one knee and studied Rai with the curiosity of a scientist probing his subject. Rai stared up, having no choice with his burdening fixation. As soon as he parted his lips to speak, the potent scent of wine nauseated Sharon.  
     
    “You,” he addressed Rai. He wagged a finger at her. “You know that woman back there, don’t you? Even helped her, didn’t you?” Unresponsive, Rai merely blinked. “Look here-”
     
    “Tao, the girl’s mute,” a member of the congregation in the background mentioned. “You do know that, right?”
     
    “Oh,” the figure closest to Rai, Tao, brightened, “now, I remember. Surely had some fun with the young blood.” A few of his allies shared a laugh. Rai wilted, her head dropping to shield her eyes filled with utmost shame. “Raise your head, and look up at me.” The girl refused despite his request commanded with an underlying authoritative tone underneath his drunken slur. How dare they, Sharon thought, putting two and two together. She questioned the ridiculous contrivances acted upon by these “formidable” ranks, if assaulting children supported that argument. 
     
    “Look at me, Rai,” he snarled. Unable to fathom a person defying him, Tao struck Rai across her face. A mangled whimper erupted from her as a result. Her hand travelled to her cheek and touched a certain place. She winced. Sharon sucked in a breath. That pitiful excuse for a human being slapped the girl with so much brute force, he injured her. Sharon hated this. She hated that injustice was wrought before her eyes, and she could nothing, powerless against the opposition. Tao extended his hand toward Rai. She leaned away from him and turned to her right. A wave of reproach surged inside Sharon when the girl’s eyes flitted to meet hers briefly. Her almond shaped eyes swam in tears, and her mouth parted as if a scream desired to crawl out from that mutilated body yet remained trapped in the recesses of her throat. Shivers ran down Sharon’s spine. At this junction, she decided on wagering the remainder of her time here to prolong the girl’s.
     
    “Wait,” Sharon mouthed. Tao spun around, searching for a specific person. Once his eyes settled on Sharon, her resolution had been fulfilled.
     
    “Rai, you know Sharon. Don’t lie.” He ascended to his feet and approached Sharon. She saw Rai  refuting the claim by violently shaking her head. “Dear Sharon,” Tao crooned, stroking her unkempt hair. Extreme abhorrence replaced sympathy. Sharon bared her teeth. He appeared unfazed by repugnance directed at him percolating from Sharon. “Next time you attempt to relay a message, try to be subtle.” He cast a final look before snapping.
     
    “Prepare for the staining!” a husky, feminine voice decreed. Sharon’s knees buckled, overwhelmed by trepidation.
     
    “St-staining?!” she muttered, keeping her volume to a minimum. Tao provided no further clarification until he neared the exit.
     
    “For aiding and abetting the fugitives with their insidious escapades to overthrow the Sovereign, Rai Stromer, age thirteen, will be sentenced to death,” announced Tao as if performing a monologue. “Commence the staining.” One of the sentinels on the shorter side drew the door in, revealing a young man with headsets planted on his ears. Resting in his hands, a rectangular device glowed, the lock screen intermittenly flashing with flecks of black and red. The iPod had been infiltrated. Aaron, the newcomer, gripped a scythe in his other hand. On cue, he plodded toward Rai, his eyes clouded with some sort of mist.
     
    “Aaron!” Sharon shouted his name, hoping he would recognize her. Possessing no ounce of cognitive ability to even discern any movement made by the guards and sound, he continued at his steady pace. “Aaron, don’t! It’s Rai, remember? You can’t!” Sharon panicked, tugging against restraints. Albeit the electric currents burning through the top layer of her skin, she concentrated on her current objective: saving Rai. Before she made any progress, the sound of metal striking a surface echoed throughout the room. “No!” Sharon, expending the rest of her energy, yanked the chains and liberated herself from the cuffs. Almost sprawling to the floor, she steadied herself instead of collapsing. She glanced up to find that Aaron hit the ground with the intimidating, crescent blade. Rai had sprung up in mid-air above Aaron and sprinted toward the exit. Sharon, analyzing the events thus far, then jogged toward the exit left defenseless and ajar in the time Aaron froze in confusion. But as things finally seemed plausible for Sharon’s gamble, Aaron materialized besides Rai with the instantaneity of blinking. Sharon accelerated, pinning all of her irrational hope that she would make it though acknowledging Rai’s exemplary speed and distance. 
    Sharon’s temples palpitated as the scythe embedded itself in Rai’s torso. Disorientation caused the following chain of events to be blurred or even blotted out. Expressionless and impassive, Aaron drove the blade farther in through Rai. The tip protruded from the girl’s back. Sharon cradled her head in her hands to contain the inundating guilt and pain coursing through her. Blood flowed from her enormous wound onto the ground. Crimson carnations stained the ground, leaving remnants of this encounter in this chamber. Rai slumped to the floor with the scythe still firmly fixed in her. Heaving slow, hesitant breaths, her eyes drooped as she exhaled her last breath. Upon witnessing her death, Sharon shifted one hand to cover her mouth. She wanted to scream, to admonish the cult held accountable for the death of Rai, an innocent child who had been through hell, survived to prove her worth, then tried to rebuild her life prior to the Event. Her eyes flickered to Aaron then concentrated on Tao, a sneer twisting on his countenance. 
     
    How could such anarchy be blantantly printed on the government’s business card and not be thoroughly investigated? How could the Sovereign, the one who was responsible for the downfall of his country, be the lighthouse that everyone sought to be guided by?
     
    What was logic?

  14. maria holt says:

    can someone tell me how to paste from wordpad? I can’t seem to get it to paste. Thanks!

  15. maria holt says:

    Rain sheeted down the wide expanse of the brick edifice, allowing no more than a glimpse of its finery. Built in the late eighteenth century, it was constructed to withstand the vagaries of weather endemic to the Highlands. Nothing short of anarchy, I mused, could threaten it.
    I pulled my glasses once again from their leather case and read the business card: Daniel Sparrow, Attorney at Law. Specializing in matters of Estate and Probate. Recomended by a contact at MI6, Mr. Sparrow seemed the answer to the nagging question of how to dispose of the property I had inherited from my late wife, Virginia. The fact that I had killed her was of no importance; it was a man of peculiar cunning and guile that I needed to secure the will in my favor and keep the estate from falling into hte hands of her brother, Patrick.
    I sipped my wine as I watched the rain, reflecton on Patricks’ and my last meeting, when he accused me of poisoning my dear Virginia, waving a ridiculous notion about that she’d planned to divorce me. It was true, but she died, unfortunately, before the papers could be signed. A chuckle rumbled deep in my throat as I recalled Patrick’s initials on his calling card: POS. Patrick Odysseus Smyth. POS indeed. Patrick was an aristocratic fool if he believed the world wouldn’t link him to the image invoked therein.
    So lost was I in my musings that I had failed to notice the car door open,and only turned at my driver Rupert’s gentle clearing of his throat to see the squall had passed. Still, Rupert held an enormous umbrella open and after closing the car door, walked behind me, holding the umbrella over me lest a stray droplet fall onto my suit. He didn’t know that I’d been a caretaker of a Scottish lighthouse for several years, until a fall and a broken leg prevented me from ascending the stairs of the crumbling structure. And you really haven’t been rained on until you’ve been rained on in Scotland. Trust me.
    Rupert opened the massive door and we were met by a small raisin of a man seated behind a ornate antique desk. As I was whisked off the meet Mr.s Sparrow, I spied Rupert seated in a chair by the door, his headset still in his ear. He smiled blandly and closed his eyes in a feign of sleep.

    Mr. Sparrow turned as I entered his office, the metal of the silencer glinting in the weak sun that filtered through the trees outside his window.
    Our eyes met. There was no time to run or to protest. The muffled ‘pfft’ sound reached my ears after the pain of impact, somewhere in my chest, as I collapsed to the floor, limbs askew. Rupert’s anxious face appeared above me. He didn’t speak, but I knew he’d paired with Sparrow against me. With POS Patrick. Then rough hands pulled me away, down the deserted hallway, leaving a thick trail of blood on the parquet floor. Before darkness enveloped me, I wondered at the sublime pairing of a driver I’d known for years and an attorney I’d never met, and marveled anew at Virginia’s reach, and her grasp on me, even from the grave.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Maria: This is so damn good! You should be writing books too!

      • maria holt says:

        thank you. What about it is good? I can’t seem to be organized enough to actually write a book all the way through.

        • Shane Arthur says:

          @Maria: 1st answer: We’ve done 277 prompts, and I’ve read about 10,000 words worth of submissions for each challenge. And I edit, so I know good writing when I see it. 2nd answer: great flow, great word choice, great voice. Generally an entertaining read.

    • Intrigue, murder and double-cross. All the ingredients for a delicious thriller.
      Never doubt yourself, Maria. You rocked it out!
       
      Of course, I’m biased: I love me some MI6 and wicked Englishmen. LOL
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

  16. I arrived early to the reception. Glasses of rasin colored wine line the table. A portly man in a tan suit with a purple tie had also arrived early. He introduced himself to me as he handed me a business card with his initials and a lighthouse with enormous ears streaming light. I was so engrossed by the ridiculous graphics on the card I failed to catch the gentleman’s name, only that his company provided headsets for museum audio tours. I rudely interrupted Mr. Purple Tie at this,
    “Did your company do the audio for The Anarchy exhibit.”
    “Yes, sublime wasn’t it,” he replied. “It was a shame the main attraction was stolen and the exhibit was closed. But my company also did the audio for the replacement exhibit on The Battle of Flodden.”
    Mr. Purple Tie who must have been of Scottish descent continued on about the heritage of the Scots for sometime, but my mind drifted to the to The Anarchy theft. It was this case that kept me up at night.
     

  17. […] by Holly Jahangiri Inspired by Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #276. Challenge words include: Ridiculous, Sublime, Anarchy, Glasses, Business card, Headsets, […]

  18. It was nothing but a chance meeting – a ridiculous collision, really – right there in the crosswalk. He, tall and elegantly dressed, headed east on 5th and Nelson; I, crossing west, lost in Rachmaninoff. My surround-sound headset and VR glasses muffled the din of diesel-driven rust and distracted me from the taudry press of suited shoulders and greasy bare arms. Immersed in the sublime, I barreled headlong into a solid wall of male pheremones and quiet power.

    I lost my balance; he steadied me before I could pitch diagonally onto the Yellow Cab stopped just four inches over the white line. Saying nothing, but raising one eyebrow rather dramatically, he presented his business card. I studied it for a moment. I flipped it over. The card was blank – completely devoid of text, not bearing even even a monogram with his initials engraved upon it. At the questioning expression on my face, he smiled, gave a little bow, and continued as if we had never met. I sat down at the bus stop and flipped the VR glasses back on and tuned the headset to Tchaikovsky. I glanced at the card again. A word leaped out at me. Anarchy. I laughed. The whole concept was ludicrous – like turning old raisins into wine. The time for anarchy was long past. Anarchy was the quiet gasp of the dying nonagenerian riding out the pain of a guttering life on an IV drip.

    Anarchy? What for? We had sold our privacy and freedom for the promise of security and comfort; few doubted the wisdom of the bargain. It was no great hardship. We had VR to alleviate the boredom and let us experience the catharsis of imagination. Tech would get us through each day, our senses blunted, our tired limbs repeating the same dull movements, over and over. Somewhere, someone was tapping into my thoughts even now, gauging my galvanic skin reaction, my brainwaves, my pulse. I wouldn’t take the bait.

    Breathe in…2, 3, 4, 5. Out…2, 3, 4, 5. I flipped a switch on the headset, dialed into an audio program called “Sherpa’s Trek,” and guided imagery whisked me away to Tibet. A gong sounded. As darkness fell, a lighthouse appeared on a far mountain peak. Anarchy, the wind whispered.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Holly: Welcome back! I’ve missed you. How are you? So nice to see your words grace this place again. I’m reminded of how much I’ve missed your skilled pen. Come back more often, and if you want to choose the words, let me know. I know you love torturing CCC folks with some tough words. 😉

    • Yeah, Holly! This is fun. I keep thinking, “Holly ought to add this to the Hugo site…” after every submission.
       
      Perhaps you will hold off and turn it into a novel?
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

      • Maybe I should? 

        Not sure why I didn’t – maybe I wanted to see what sort of reception they got. Strangely enough, I did NOT set out to write sci-fi either time. I think the wheels are definitely turning in the right direction now. 

  19. Shane Arthur says:

    How utterly ridiculous this sublime anarchy. Our glasses are full; lobbyist business cards abound. Don’t they know we’re deaf wearing these headsets when money is the lighthouse that sets our heads to vote as their money pleases? We’re dried up raisins promising wine – we shall put our initials on their 401k and eat it too.

    • You make me weep. 

      Now I remember where I’ve been. Please don’t let me go back there. Let me stay here and create  worlds.

      :) 

    • Anthony Smits says:

      Well written Shane. A tight use of those words. Sobering, too. Reminds me of my American years. 

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Ant: Thanks. I remember seeing an old movie where British colonialists were eating, carrying on, and being marry while all around them a revolution was underway. Bullets were flying all around them, walls were falling down, but they were oblivious to the concern. When I read the word anarchy I though of this movie.

    • maria holt says:

      Shane, thank you for your frank appraisal of my writing. Now, how can I parlay that into a book? I know all about story structure (thanks to the great book of the same name,) I know grammar, can find great words, etc…But I can’t seem to find a story I want to write about, or find a good beginning when I do think I have one. I wrote a fanfic for Twilight (174,000 words long) and I loved that as I like the supernatural theme, but EVERYONE has done one. Where do I go for true inspiration?

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Maria: I’ve only written one book, but that’s non-fiction and will come out in a month, so I don’t feel fully qualified to answer that question. I can tell you that story generation is something I’ve told Larry he should expand on in addition to story structure.
        I’d say, imagine you only have so many heartbeats left to life (which should be easy because it’s true) and you can only write one book, so you have to choose a story topic that effortlessly flows from you. For me, when I finally get around to it, that book for me would be an end of days type of drama, or a comedy. And I’ll start by filling in the Tent Diagram that Larry has.

        • Maria, and everyone else who struggles with finding that one story:
           
          I have only one suggestion: do one hundred of the prompts here. Over time, the combination of practice and access to polished writers at play will rewire your brain.
          When I think back to CCC #106, all I had was a desire to write. I was beyond frustrated that I couldn’t do anything longer than a short story.
          But, because I love to write, I just played. And played. Until one fine Monday in May, I played with CC #140. In a semi-autobiographical cleansing, I vented my frustration on those ten words, not once, not twice but three times!
          In that third pass, something woke up in me. It whispered, “You are ready. Tell the world about me…”
          Your story is gestating. Give it time.
           
          Cheers,
           
          Mitch
           
           

          • maria holt says:

            thank you. I know it’s true, that 10,000 hour thing. To get better at writing you have to write. I’ll do the prompts.

      • Shane Arthur says:

        @Maria: P.S. Have you seen the link I put together about this very subject? http://www.creativecopychallenge.com/storyfix-cliffsnotes/ this one being the most relevant I believe: http://storyfix.com/the-most-important-questions-in-storytelling-and-the-ensuing-two-questions-that-allow-you-to-answer

    • Shane, you’re channelling our Frank Ruiz, eh? Excellent commentary. (check out http://www.azrainman.com)
       
      Cheers,
       
      Mitch
       
       

  20. Rebecca says:

    Sometimes you have to leave the business card at home and enjoy the gorgeous weather. Take off your headsets and glasses and go outside and play. Visit a winery and drink a fine wine. Buy some grapes and make your own wine and raisins. Put your initials on it. Take vacation the eastern part of the U.S. and visit a lighthouse or two. It’s ridiculous to think that it has to be all work and no play. If you don’t, you may experience anarchy. Do something sublime before you burn out.

  21. Hi Shane, I think the 10-word writing prompts are a fantastic idea! I’d definately like to participate. When will you post the next batch of words?


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