Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #372

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. Lamplight
  2. Damp
  3. Spotted
  4. Pavement
  5. Wistful
  6. Punch
  7. Chemical
  8. Insert
  9. Beneath
  10. Format

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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66 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Creative Copy Challenge #372”

  1. Anklebuster says:

    Jürgens left Pyotr’s remains to dissolve in the chemical punch. Clean-up was beneath him, though he would have preferred to avoid glancing at the damp pavement while he encrypted his notes from the interrogation.

    The lamplight flickered. Dancing shadows evoked a wistful memory of nuclear-powered halogen bulbs. Jürgens shook his head violently. His work would bring technology back to Earth. Those technocrats wouldn’t get away with plundering the war-torn planet. He and the rest of The Agency would track down that colony ship!

    Indeed, it was Jürgens’ brilliant analysis of intercepted messages that led The Agency to Pyotr’s pitiful network. The insurgents had been very sloppy, making no attempt to hide the fact that they had wanted to speak to the news media. Jürgens had spotted Pyotr trying to insert an envelope into the mail slot of an abandoned residence. He’d captured Pyotr, retrieved the message and spent six months figuring it out.

    What he had learned was that Pyotr was just one of thousands of disenfranchised, low-level scientists that had been excluded from the plans of the technorati. Until tonight, neither Jürgens nor The Agency had been aware of an exodus. Information networks were the first casualties of the global conflict.

    Urgency welled up in the pit of Jürgens’ stomach. Encoding his report was a cumbersome process and, if he deviated from the proper format, he risked being shot as a spy. As sweat drenched his ill-fitting clothing, Jürgens reconsidered divulging Pyotr’s rambling confession. Why take the chance of miscoding the babblings of a madman? Yet, if he reported nothing, Jürgens would have no justification for the insurgent’s disappearance from the holding pens. Jürgens ripped up his report and began again.

    The sunset of the Information Age had ushered in a new Dark Age—one marked by paranoia, rather than ignorance.

    • Cathy Miller says:

      Mitch, this made me smile ~ Dancing shadows evoked a wistful memory of nuclear-powered halogen bulbs. and I loved this line, too ~ The sunset of the Information Age had ushered in a new Dark Age. Brilliant! 🙂

    • Nice once again Mitch…dissolving in the “chemical punch” is classic mobster, and I look forward to seeing more of Jurgen…

      • Anklebuster says:

        Thanks, Justin. Those prompt words really planted that image in my head – I was going to embellish it with spotted – simply because that’s where my mind was. It’s not often that most of the words lead me right where I need to go.

        Jürgens has a few more appearances, I’m sure 😉

        Cheers,

        Mitch

    • skrastev says:

      Mitch, I am not sure if you dream these or you have one hell of an imagination, but I really really enjoy reading them.

    • bbanne says:

      Mitch, I would never have thought to combine the words chemical and punch. Brilliant! I am always inspired by your work.

    • kathleenMK says:

      Mitch,
      Good addition to your story!
      Clean-up was beneath him made me chuckle as my mind was still hanging on to …remains to dissolve in the chemical punch.

      Keep it coming.

      Kathleen

      P.S.
      Can you go in and check to see if Dan Dry’s setting, on his first posting, here, below, included the box being checked on
      Notify me of comments via email. He’s a newbie to our group I invited and ….
      Thanks, Kathleen

      • Anklebuster says:

        Thanks, Kathleen. These words were so much fun to use.

        If you or anyone else knows how to alter the notifications from the WP dashboard, please let me know. I haven’t got a clue. 🙂

        Did you have a chance to ask Dan if he did check the box? The easy solution is for him to leave another comment 😉

        Cheers,

        Mitch

  2. annew says:

    Mitch… seems like we’re entering the new dark age of paranoia now… or might be… your story is, I’m afraid, prophetic.

    • Anklebuster says:

      Yikes, I hope not. I do agree that paranoia is at an all-time high, but I am hopeful that the general tendency of masses at rest to remain at rest will hold.

      Cheers,

      Mitch

  3. annew says:

    I paced the pavement, ready to punch someone or something out. Slowing I stood beneath the lamplight, my anger driven sweat making me feel damp. As the rampant chemicals in my brain cooled, I wistfully thought of what might have been. I had finally spotted the reasons my manuscript was rejected. I’d gotten the format wrong and failed to insert a comma.

    And I promise I did this before I read Mitch’s story!

  4. Cathy Miller says:

    Lamplight shadows stood guard over a deserted path. Fog wound its damp fingers around buildings darkened for the night ahead. It was the perfect scene for murder.

    Lieutenant Michael Stapleton hoped to change the script on the city’s latest serial killer. Dressed in black with a baseball cap tugged low over eyes surveying a killer’s playground, Michael’s gut knew tonight was the night.

    His partner, Detective Lucas Scott, slouched in the passenger seat, may have looked bored but Michael knew better. His quick, dry wit hid the soul of a cop. One who had seen the worst man had to offer.

    “Twelve o’clock.”

    Michael followed his partner’s gaze and spotted him. Sole-creped shoes made a silent journey over the cracked pavement toward the shop’s blackened entry. Above the shop, the new owner slept with a wistful, innocent smile caressing her dreams.

    She did not know she had been stalked. For weeks. But Michael knew. He and Lucas would be damned if the killer got away with another vicious attack.

    With a silent nod, Michael and Lucas circled the building. Breaking glass was a punch to the silent night as Michael took off running.

    “Police. Get your hands up. Scott, he’s rabbiting.”

    Lucas rounded the building in pursuit. The killer had a long lead but Michael was closing fast. Racing through a littered lot, the killer vaulted over decaying trash. Michael saw him head for an abandoned warehouse.

    Gun drawn, Michael flattened against the side of the building. A chemical stench slapped his senses in repugnant reply.

    “This is the only way out,” Lucas panted.

    The rusted, windowless structure laughed at the thought of prey, an insert in a cage of no return. Or so Michael hoped.

    “There’s no way out, Andersen. Come out with your hands up.”

    Gunfire peppered in response.

    “Don’t you think this is a bit sudden,” came Lucas’ droll reply from beneath the shield of Michael’s body. “You know this isn’t my first rodeo.”

    Michael’s reflex action sprang from memories of a partner he could not save.

    “Don’t get any ideas, Scott. Let’s figure how we get him out of there. With or without the body bag.”

    “Now that’s a format I could get behind.”

  5. Well kids, it looks like the last time we had a visit with Chandroc was way back in September 2014 with challenge 355. that has gone by quickly….if you really want to, here is the link to that post: https://creativecopychallenge.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/writing-prompts-creative-copy-challenge-355/ I started 356, but didn’t finish it. The first of this is from 356, the rest is from the current challenge! I hope that is not too confusing.

    Chandroc woke with a start, not knowing where he was. This was not his house, or his bed. Slowly realization came on him. This was his house, and the bed that….that he had conjured from thin air. He remembered the storm, sailing into the maelstrom, sinking into the depths, becoming a stranded survivor somewhere in the world. He sat up on the bed and wished he had some light. The lamp on the table burst to life and the fire rekindled itself in the hearth. Chandroc smiled yet again. This talent was going to be not only fun, but functional. He proceeded to create some breakfast, eggs, bacon and bread with treacle. Some things that he could usually not afford, but could create, right here in front of him.

    Finally, Chandroc decided that he had to go find out where he was, or how to get back home. He wished the fire out, and then stepped outside into a cool, sunny morning. He was glad that his horse was still waiting in the yard for him. He saddled the horse and rode off, heading into the wind, into what he thought of roughly as north.

    *************************
    SHE was coming. The village was in a panic as destruction rained down from the skies. No one bothered to remember that Chandroc had warned them of this. Lightning flashed, and pieces of pavement blew into the air, as if a giant had leveled a punch at the ground. But it was no giant, it was HER. From beneath pieces of tumbled in roofing, people prayed and cried, many wistful of the easy times that they had been experiencing, forgetting that they had been warned. The mayor sat, huddled in a corner of what was once his office, weeping. Damp rings spotted the dust in front of him as the tears fell. He had lost this town, he had lost his nerve, and he most certainly had lost his job. He did not even think that he could summon the courage to insert himself into the cleanup efforts. He chucled suddenly, wondering just what format his execution would take. This town had always favored burning at the stake, but maybe he could get away with being hanged, or maybe even a crossbow quarrel to the heart…maybe.

    Finally, the destruction abated as the suns went down and the chemical that filled the lightposts ignited, filling what was left of the street with a dim lamplight; illuminating what the populace did not want to see.

    • Anklebuster says:

      Justin, a quick word before the praise:
      One the absolute joys of subscribing to comments is getting a batch of them in the email. Like an eagerly-awaited issue of Ellery Queen, the collection of writing, “letters to the editor” and links to past “issues” feels just like a hefty bundle of good reading.

      Leading the pack this time were you, Anne and Cathy, with great stories and warm comments.

      As for Chandroc and HER, what can I say? I am so happy they’re back! I can’t wait to see them intersect!

      Cheers,

      Mitch

    • skrastev says:

      This is the first Chandroc piece I’ve read, but I am new to the Challenge, so I am looking forward to reading more of it. Really kindled my interest.

    • bbanne says:

      I’ve missed Chandroc and I’m thrilled to see him back again. What an epic tale it’s turning out to be.

    • kathleenMK says:

      Justin ~ maybe it’s because I am a fan of Chandroc and your ditties… but it was not confusing to me 🙂

      … illuminating what the populace did not want to see. gave me chills, bravo.

      Side note: humm I saw “damp” and “spotted” associated with tears as I looked at this list the first time too, interesting note to see someone else’s mind went there too.

      Still lookin’ forward to more my friend,
      Kathleen

  6. Dan Dry says:

    As I wake in the dim lamplight,I take the damp spotted washcloth to wipe my tears from my dream. I still see her car shattered on the pavement in my punch in the gut dream. Beneath me the chemicals that cleaned the road leave a slick film under my feet. I study the format of the police report on how this happened but still can not put these wistful thoughts in my head, how this could happen to my beautiful child. The punch in my gut dream that woke me from my restless sleep could not have come at any special time; it just seems to happen when I dwell on why this happened on my bad days. Took these few words and twined them into my emotions. God hug my baby today–Dan Dry

  7. bbanne says:

    Her dress was damp and spotted with mold but under the lamplight, it looked fine. Hell, she was sick of the humidity. And the storms! Sitting in darkness night after night, no power to even turn her fan.

    Outside was no better. The pavement was steaming after the rain and the air was hot and heavy in her throat. Her clothes clung to her like a punch drunk boxer, petticoats wrapping themselves around her legs as she walked.

    It was so still and quiet although many of her neighbors had come outdoors to escape the suffocating heat of their apartments. But they sat, wilted and tired, beneath the gaze of the old building they lived in.

    With a wistful look in the window of the dress shop, she imagined herself one day wearing something so fine. She imagined being free of the chemical smell that scented the clothes she fought to keep mold-free.

    She allowed a sigh to insert itself into the already heavy-weight air.

    Resigned to her situation, she continued on in the accepted format of her night, and smiled boldly at the gentlemen she passed.

  8. kathleenMK says:

    A bit of tight writing, in order too:

    The lamplight burns bright on this damp night. My shirt is spotted with tearstains. The pavement is depressed into the ground from my pacing. A wistful though… Do you think they will let me punch the chemicals into his chest? I could insert it into the cardiac muscle or beneath his eyelids?
    Which would be a better format? Ask for permission to do it, or ask for forgiveness after just doing it without permission?

    — Comment to self: But can I look at this list and make it a happier ditty … let me try:

    “How would you like to meet up at the Wistful Lamplight later on?” Isabella asked through the receiver?

    “Uuummmmm,” his throat released a deep tone.

    “Is that a yyyyeeeessssss?” she purred.

    Dillon drew in a deep breath, releasing it slowly while looking at his watch. The hands showed it was four o’clock.

    Answer her question before she inserts her own response; a wrong response; a negative response you fool, he chided himself. 
“Yes, yes, yes it is yes. I would love to meet you. And if we do it on Friday we can pretend it is Saturday and … well, maybe you will be my Valentine,” he said, glad the words made if from this brain to his mouth. Maybe our date will spill over into Valentine’s Day.

    “Okay, I guess Friday would fit in my schedule,” she coyly said. “Seven-ish then?”

    “Seven-ish it will be,” the smile on his face translated into his voice, she could almost see his grin through the phone. Good that will give me time to pick up flowers. Maybe I could punch the time clock early and be waiting for her when she got there.

    ***

    Isabella walked into the Wistful Lamplighter at 6:40. Moments later her eyes adjusted to the sunlight void darkness this place was known for. The light glow of the well-placed sconces was no more than 40 watts but the irises within her eyes dilated taking in as much light as she needed. She squinted at first, but noticed two empty high-backed stools at the far end of the bar. If I sit there… I will able to see every lovely movement he makes from the moment he comes in the door, she thought as she crossed the floor. Turning gracefully she set her bum on the last stool, but not before hanging the strap of her purse over the back of the chair. And a treat is what I am here for tonight, she thought with a light chuckle.

    “Hey there,” the bartender said as she laid a dozen yellow roses with red tips on the bar.

    “Hello.”

    “You want me to pour you something or do you want to wait for whoever gave you those to finish parking the car?”

    “First of all,” she said gesturing to the dozen roses, “Nobody ‘gave’ these to me. I am giving them to someone, as a matter of fact,” she said with a smile. “And I think I will wait, for now.”
    “Okay. You let me know if you change your mind about the drink,” he said turning to attend to his other customers.

    It was then that she was spotted by two guys who had been drinkin’ their lunches.

    “Well, well, well. So if the flowers that fella gave her weren’t enough to keep her near him… she most likely needs a drink … from us. Bartender,” he said raising his tumbler of scotch, “please pour that lady a glass of your,” he stopped, looked back at her, assessing her taste buds from his seat, “pour her a glass of your chardonnay, your Acacia Chardonnay,” he said with a nod.

    Never wanting to miss a sale he picked up a medium bowled long stemmed clear glass. Holding it up to eye level he inspected it for water spots he notice a few. Grabbing a clean cloth he polished the glass before setting it on the bar. He nonchalantly let the golden colored liquid fill the glass until it occupied just over half of the space available. He looked over at the businessmen, raising an eyebrow. The man in the blue suit nodded tilting his head toward the auburn haired lady.

    “Here you go. An Acacia Chardonnay,” he said setting the glass on a bar napkin in front of her.

    “But…”

    “It’s from the boys down there,” he said tilting his head in their direction.

    She scrunched the skin on her nose as she considered if it was a good idea to accept this gift or not, hesitating she looked at her watch. I do have twenty minutes.

    “Come on… it’s not a bad wine,” the bartender encouraged.

    A light chuckle escaped her red lips. “No. No it’s not. You did say Acacia … didn’t you?”

    “Yep,” he said knowing he had poured a palate pleaser. Her smile grew.

    “Oooooohhhhhhh she looks like she’s gonna turn us down. She’s deciding,” the man in the brown suit said softly.

    “No. She can’t turn it down, it’s an Acacia!” the man in the blue suit retorted watching her every move.

    “Maybe you should have ordered her a Cab or Zin.”

    “Uuuuuummmmmmmmmmm mmaaayybbeeee. Maybe,” he said not waiting for the official rejection. “If you are not a fan of Acacia I am sure there is a nice Cab or Zinfandel back there he can pour for you,” he directed his comment to her.

    Cocking her head to one side she said, “No. No. Acacia is a fine wine; a wonderfully fine wine. It is one of my favorites to be exact.”

    “Well then…” his anticipation of her rejection began to wane. “Listen, I just figured… with a bundle of roses like that any man would be a fool to leave you with … well … just with the roses and not be sittin’ here beside you…. A well … a pretty lady should be….”

    “Accompanied by more than just the beautiful roses,” she finished his labored sentence for him, lifting the flowers ever so slightly up off the bar.

    “Yes, yes I can see you have them, but you should have a nice glass of wine as well.”
    “You are right. Wine, good wine goes with beautiful roses,” she admitted. Her smile grew as her mind went back to many a good time with wine and roses, let alone the time she hoped to have tonight.

    “Good. So you don’t need to think twice then now do you?”

    The bartender winked at her.

    “Okay,” she said wrapping her French Tipped manicured nails around the glass. Cupping the bowl in her hand she was pleased it was not ice cold. Lifting it up, she air toasted the givers prior to bringing the glass to her lips and releasing some of the liquid into her mouth. As the wine warmed to body temperature, she was able to check off its alluring qualities. Oaky. Buttery. Creamy. Smiling she tilted the glass watching the legs of the wine drain down the inside curve before allowing the wine to drain down her throat.

    Mesmerized by her enjoyment of his gift the man in the blue suit almost dropped his glass.
    “But you do have one thing wrong,” she said teasingly.

    “Yah, what is that?”

 he countered.

    “That some man gave me these flowers.”

    “Oh Lord, maybe it was a gal who gave them to her,” the one in the brown suit said nearly under his breath.

    “No,” she retorted causing his cheeks to become flush, as he had not intended for her to hear him. “Nope. You foolish man, it was not a woman who gave these to me either,” she said taking another sip of the wine. “Guys and their thought of girls with girls. My goodness,” she said shaking her head and rolling her eyes.

    “Well then who are they from?” the blue suited guy asked. “You seem to be sittin’ all alone?”
    “No one,” she said matter-of-factly meeting a set of lightly bloodshot eyes, now only three feet from her, too close to her for sure. “They are for me to give, if you must know,” her tone began to become curt. Why did he think he needed to move his ass down here?”

    “I don’t see anyone here, but us handsome gentlemen!” he said plying for a spot in her night.

    “I only look lonely to you,” she said dismissively.

    “But not for long I bet,” the brown suited fella said.

    “Well, if truth be known … I am meeting someone here,” she said seeing a hopefulness in blue suit’s eyes. “And it’s not you,” she said with a crooked-smiled smirk.

    He stammered backward dramatically flopping his hand over his heart. “Oh, be still my heart!” As he did Isabella couldn’t help but notice the damp fabric in his armpit. She frowned and took another sip, careful not to gulp it down. She opened her mouth ever so slightly sucking in additional air to mix with the wine.

    “Come on pretty lady. You shouldn’t be alone. No one has shown up. And you are too special to be here or anywhere at all, all by yourself,” blue suit said coming back and leaning upon the bar.

    “You don’t want her to insert that glass up your ass do you bbboooyyy?” a deep voice said softly.

    She smirked. Knowing it was Dillon without even looking to her right.

    “Oh come on guy. I saw her first. And I’m just joshin’ with her,” he said without looking back at the intruder. “Plus, she likes me,” he said, “Don’t you darling?”

    A scowl quickly grew on her face accented by her piercing green eyes.

    “Oh you shouldn’t have,” Dillon said shaking his head.

    “I shouldn’t have what?” the blue suited fool said.

    “You shouldn’t have pushed the envelope with her like that. A no is a no,” Dillon said adding, “She can clean the pavement with you bbbooooyyy,” Dillon began to explain. “And if you keep it up she will help you insert both of your feet in your mouth or worse.”

    “Worse,” he said bemused.

    “Yes,” she said lifting the glass of wine to her lips. Pausing centimeters away she proudly admitted, “Yes I can.”

    “Awe now why’d yah have to go an’ interrupt us?” blue suit said slightly turning toward Dillon.

    “Because,” Isabella said regaining the man’s attention, “because he is whom these flowers are for,” she said seductively as she slipped off the stool effortlessly stood to full height with the dozen roses in her hand.

    Dillon stepped past the lunchtime layover stopping only inches away from Isabella. She closed the distance and wrapped her arms around him. He pulled her to him, making their forms one. With the soft collision of their hips a chemical reaction began to fire within her body.

    Beneath her cool calm exterior she was heating up. But she was not the only one.

    “Sorry for not being here any earlier,” he said ignoring the fella behind him. “I was forced to format this disc before I could download this compilation of music for you. It wasted precious minutes of our time.”

    “No worries my dear,” she said in his ear.

    Her warm breath aroused his attraction to her.

    “The roses… yellow for friendship, which we already have, and red for love, they are for me?” he requested of her just as they were interrupted.

    “Did you say ‘for Matt’? She does not look like a Matt to me,” blue suit mistakenly added.

    “Hey thanks for the wine, but… he said ‘floor mat’ as that is were we will be leaving our clothing before the night is over,” she said.

    “Guess you are out of the running, Max,” the bartender said.

    “Dang,” he said childishly as he sat on his stool again.

    Dillon pressed his lips to her’s sparking the embers of love to ignite.

    • Anklebuster says:

      Kathleen, whatever you put your pen to, be it dark and introspective honesty or light, whimsical fun, you command the words to flow!

      I can tell you had fun with the light side:

      “Okay,” she said wrapping her French Tipped manicured nails around the glass. Cupping the bowl in her hand she was pleased it was not ice cold. Lifting it up, she air toasted the givers prior to bringing the glass to her lips and releasing some of the liquid into her mouth. As the wine warmed to body temperature, she was able to check off its alluring qualities. Oaky. Buttery. Creamy. Smiling she tilted the glass watching the legs of the wine drain down the inside curve before allowing the wine to drain down her throat.

      That’s some labor-of-love craft, right there.Wistful Lamplighter – aptly named!

      Cheers,

      Mitch

    • **CRACK** Home Run! Holy cow that was a great story. I agree with Mitch, your pen is magical. Nice work yet again.

    • I love this line, Kathleen ~ The pavement is depressed into the ground from my pacing. So creative!

  9. Anthony says:

    Were her eyes wistful as she dropped the thumb drive into my palm? Sudden separation pain hit me like a punch and I went straight to the window to catch a glimpse of her on the pavement. I spotted her damp, chemical-cured hair for a few seconds before the night enveloped it. She was gone. I went to my darkened study.
    The switch clicked loudly in the empty house as I flooded the laptop with lamplight and bent to insert the drive. The shadows my fingers made quivered as I fumbled while trying to insert it, hoping she’d got the format right this time. I couldn’t call her back.


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