Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #323

Today we have Steven A. Lowe choosing the words. Show him your talent.

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.) NOTE: Our bolding plugin is gone, so you’ll have to put <b> and </b> around each of your words if you want them to stand out, but NOT REQUIRED THOUGH.

  1. Bribe (Bleep! I made a mistake and put bride earlier. If you’ve already done the challenge, bribe or bride is fine. Sorry all)
  2. Incentive
  3. Guilt
  4. Recreation
  5. Inventive
  6. Translocation – A change of location.
  7. Suffering
  8. Mortality
  9. Disassociation
  10. Autonomous

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.)

52 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #323”

  1. Anklebuster says:

    Harvey’s deal with the devil turned on a single, misapplied term in the Faustian Standard Boilerplate Contract. Like all beings cursed with a lack of mortality, the devil had taken her sweet time getting up to speed on office computing. She was inventive enough when it came to the art of suffering; the autonomous bureaucracy, not so much.

    Instead of harvesting rotted souls to torment, she was stuck delivering one bribe after another to various members of the Bilderberg Group. The task was torture for the devil, for these powerful men were like her damned brothers. As such, they had little incentive to accede to guilt-driven extortion. She had to use every trick in her playbook to bridge the disassociation between their natural greed and the complacency that accompanies vast wealth accumulation.

    Being the devil, she would not be bested by Harvey or any stupid contracts. Once she realized that a non-performance breach was her only option, she crafted her bribes with all the care of a mother buzzard feeding her young. Which is to say, she cocked a jaundiced eye toward these wrinkled sloths and offered them the only thing they could not acquire on their own: immortality.

    Harvey, for his part, was having a blast obtaining the insiders’ most secret agendas – and then blasting them all over the news media in a WikiLeaks-style whistleblowing fest. He had a hard time explaining his desire to the devil. He supposed that she was more accustomed to granting the ephemeral tastes that aligned themselves with the seven deadly sins. That he merely had to make the recipients of his attention despondent enough to off themselves seemed a harmless enough trade for this esoteric knowledge.

    Once he made it clear that this access was simply for recreation, the devil had shrugged, snapped her fingers and handed him the scroll that materialized. Harvey smiled at the dot-matrix printing and curled vellum – a charming mix of past and antiquity. He might have continued perusing the contract with the mirth of an indulgent uncle, had he not spotted The Typo. He snuck a glance at the devil, assured himself that she was impatiently awaiting his bloody fingerprint and quickly complied. As the devil greedily snatched the adhesion contract, Harvey slyly quipped, “Good luck getting souls from my potted plants.”

    The devil arched an eyebrow and glanced at the scroll. A bit of smoke escaped from her ears before she got herself under control. The harvesting clause, which had raised her ire, read:

    25(c) In the interest of minimizing loss due to translocation, Supplicant agrees to supply Overseer with all vessels, vehicles and other conveyances known to facilitate movement of Product.

  2. Hey, guys. What is bothering me about this storyline is this: is it cliche? Tell the truth, okay?

    “What’s that you’re working on?” He reached across the table and flipped the edges of one of the books splayed out before her. The nearness of his fingers unnerved her, but she found her tongue and a semblance of an answer.

    “Paper for school.”

    He nodded, as if he now understood the breadth and scope of her whole self. Silence beat past her ears. Then he said, “The Mortality of Characters as a Reading Incentive. Huh. Sounds important.”

    “Not really.”

    “Always this talkative?” His laugh was a low chuckle and Margaux was disappointed that her first reaction was a sort of heat in her belly, autonomous, furious. She smiled before she remembered; her work, her goals, her Da, her expectations.

    Margaux looked up, pushed away the books, and heaved a sigh. A break might be nice, and he was much better looking that the back of the greasy menu. Until then, she had been suffering through old journal articles about mid-century folklore characters and their untimely demises. Grueling, tedious, and to Margaux, fascinating. Death had always held her attention, but she wouldn’t think about that now.

    She decided to play along. “I can be bribed,” and she attempted a flutter of her plain eyelashes. She stunned herself that it seemed to have worked. She’d seen other girls perform this kind of sorcery, but had never cared to try it, or had never met anyone she thought she could fool. She worked hard to disassociate her feminine from her form. But, she learned later, you can’t do that forever.

    Just then, two steaming cups appeared in the space on the table not littered with notes, and a waitress plopped a slice of pie between them, two forks.

    “I’m inventive,” he smiled, “and very charming.”

    Margaux further shamed herself, because his arrogance appealed to her. The guilt rose in her cheeks, but she could think of little that would beat this as recreation.

    Wiping the crumbs of crust from his lips, and tickling his throat with the last of his black coffee, Margaux sighed. He suggested a translocation to the back seat of his father’s car, but she declined. This time. Later, much later, when she knew this boy and his cruelty, she’d not be given the choice.

  3. Suffering from mortality?” yelled the floating hologram. “Try autonomous disassociation, only 59 credits!”

    B0b ignored it, and continued rolling toward The Workspace. The hologram floated along behind him.

    “Pain? Anguish? Guilt? Boredom?” it chirped, “we can eliminate it all for only 59 credits!”

    B0b turned to face his ghostly barker. “My interest level is negligible. I suggest translocation.”

    Negligible is greater than zero, computed the hologram; attempt incentive variant Bribe.

    “You can watch Holovision and recharge for free while you wait,” offered the hologram.

    Friendly eye contact builds trust, computed the hologram. It floated down to look B0b directly in the photoreceptors.

    “That is inventive, but hardly convincing,” B0b said, “and I have no need of recreation.”

    Before the hologram could compute a response, B0b spun on his axis and continued toward The Workspace.

    Failure to close, computed the hologram. Attempt 746: prospect stopped to talk; promising. Schedule recontact same time tomorrow. It drifted back up the sidewalk, contented.

  4. K says:

    Dear Sis,

    You seem to suffering these days which is part of the reason I wrote and slid this letter underneath the crack of your door instead of barging in and demanding answers. Changing the subject, I see you’ve taken up an inventive recreation in your spare time since you litter paper all over your room, tree killer. You know, sis. Everything feels awkward, beginning from your translocation. Every time the phone rings and the person on the other line asks for you, you leave the house at the drop of a hat, but now you don’t venture out of its confines. I would bribe you to revert your behavior back to what it once was, but writing costs nothing and would get you to listen to me more than money. Listen. I’m only going to say this once.

    Somehow, I feel guilt for leading to you to this stage. I didn’t know you would take it to heart. Well, I expected it a bit, but that’s besides the point. Here it goes: I’m sorry I went too far that day. I mean how was I supposed to know you had a bad day? You should have said something, but I guess not telling anyone about your problems means you were yourself that day. Things had escalated too fast that day. Plus, you didn’t let me finish.

    I had meant to say that innocence could be an incentive. Because mortality binds everyone in the world to death, people perceive the justice and altruism this world offers, overlooking the murk and evil that present themselves in daily life. I hate to say this, but you can be considered a person people flock toward because of the purity oozing out of you. Maybe they tease you to taste the small interaction with goodness. Don’t claim disassociation especially when I’m one of those people. I’ll try to speak for all of us here, so I apologize for taking things out of hand. As an autonomous society, people pride the valiant and innocent and might destroy them in the process.

    Ok, now I’m getting way off base. Well, I had made my point above and feel free to refer to it at this point. Even though I know little pockets of innocence and goodness exist, I’m still not changing my thoughts about the world. You can’t take that away from me, sis.


    Your brother, the cynic

  5. Ack – I missed a word – here’s my revision – Shane, can you delete the original?

    Do I bribe this thing called life

    Or seek an incentive to go on

    Where guilt runs wild

    In a final recreation of time

    While the inventive dies

    The translocation transforms

    The suffering of mortality

    Bears a disassociation from hope

    The autonomous cry out in agony

    As answers elude all who would have it so

    • Anklebuster says:

      Cathy, this poem is hauntingly beautiful. Indeed, it reminds me of the type of literature brought out to challenge the minds of high school English students:
      “Class, I want you to reflect on the allegory of Miller’s famous poem: The Question.”


      Even now, after three readings, I see multiple interpretations, really delicate flow between literal and metaphorical senses and gift-wrapped in poetic meter.

      I want to ask you things about this poem but, like the kids in school, I much prefer to embrace the mystery and make do with my inadequate take on the meanings.



      • Wow, thanks, Mitch, for such a thoughtful reply. Like you, I prefer to let the individual make his or her own interpretation. If the words touch you in some way – beautiful. Who am I to say there is a different meaning. πŸ™‚

    • @Cathy: Show-off! πŸ˜‰

  6. […] feeling I get when I neglect the Creative Copy Challenge for weeks, or months, on end. Without further […]

  7. Guilt
    Bleep! Bleep! Bleep!

    Connor rolled over and smacked the alarm clock with the palm of his hand. He buried his face in the pillow and tried to burrow back down into REM sleep, to hold onto the dream. He hated to wake up before the end of a good one, leaving loose ends to dangle and tickle the sulci and gyri of his brain. Most of Connor’s dreams were nightmares, but those, too, demanded their denouement, lest their inhabitants take to flitting through the light and shadow of his waking imagination.

    The only incentive Connor had, to sleep, these days was the occasional nocturnal recreation of happier times. They lifted Connor out of his darkness, a temporary translocation of the psyche, allowing him to believe, if only for an hour or two, that he was back at home with his bride, Marinda, in their little cabin on the edge of the woods. A harmless disassociation, but one that increased Connor’s suffering each morning as dawn’s diagonal bands chased the night from his eyelids and placed the gift of mortality back into his heavy hands.

    A small bribe, eagerly accepted, yielded the identity of Marinda’s killer. Connor reached over to the nightstand for the photo. This was the creature that haunted his nightmares and ultimately rotted his dreams from the inside out. He traced it with a finger, mentally sharpening the focus until the monster was crystal clear in his mind. A trucker had captured the image, but had taken over a month to come forward with it. The man was visibly shaken but afraid of being mocked or derided as a lunatic. Now the trail was cold. At first, Connor and the police dismissed the photo as a hoax, but the coroner had no better explanation for the wounds Marinda had sustained in the attack. Connor’s expression hardened; his eyes went cold as a killer’s.

    He recognized the thing in the photograph. He knew where it lived. He knew it intimately, and he knew that it would continue to taunt and torment him until one of them was obliterated. With Marinda gone, Connor figured it didn’t much matter if both of them ceased to exist. After thirty-seven years, it was time for the final confrontation. His plan wasn’t terribly well thought out or brilliantly inventive, but it would get the job done. No one else would have to die, and that made the risk of eternal damnation acceptable to Connor.

    He didn’t know when the creature of his nightmares figured out how to step outside of his fevered imagination while he slept. How it became autonomous – or why it despised him so – was a complete mystery to Connor. He had sought it out and tried to talk to it, but the minute his dreams turned lucid, Connor became hyperaware of the lumps in his mattress, the nervous sweat dampening his sheets, and the restrictive binding of the blanket wound around his ankles. He invariably awoke, banishing the creature to the realm of “imagination.” The psychiatrist had given him antianxiety drugs and a mumbo-jumbo explanation about “natural feelings of guilt stemming from an inability to protect his loved ones,” but he was pretty sure two fifths of Wild Turkey and a little C-4 around the perimeter of the house, timed to detonate at just about the time he passed out, would do the trick.

    The hideous creature, which had always known what evil lurked in the heart of his creator, sat at the base of Connor’s skull and sighed with relief. Soon, very soon…

  8. Did this one in 40 seconds:

    Don’t have to bribe me, no sir.
    It’s its own incentive.
    A guilty recreation.
    Inventive translocations of positions.
    Moaning but not suffering.
    Only mortality can stop it – it’s only disassociation from autonomous pleasure.

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