Welcome to another Writing Challenge!

In line with the previous one, this includes both a topic and a prompt - but this time, also an actual challenge!

  • Topic

    Write something involving something new as a major element. This is open for interpretation; it could mean starting a new job, buying a bicycle, a new word that you learned... anything that could be considered something 'new'.

  • Prompt

    The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently.
    Feel free to play with the wording a bit.

  • Challenge

    Challenge: write something in exactly 200 words, using the word 'ubiquitous' once.

All of these options are optional - feel free to write something completely unrelated as well.

So to enter the challenge, you simply write something, and post it below. It can be a work in progress, and continue working on it while receiving feedback, or it can be a finished work - anything goes.

You can submit your entries until the end of the three weeks. After three weeks, we'll choose the next prompt and put up a new post.

You can either post the whole thing here, or, if you usually post your writing somewhere else, you can put a link here - although I'd advise putting something in to get people interested.

Remember: this is not a contest. This is merely for fun, and for some practice writing. There will (hopefully) be writers of all different skill levels posting - I'm certainly not super good.

You're welcome to provide feedback, but please make sure that it's constructive. And remember: Be Nice.

Remember that the age limit for the site is 13 - so please avoid excessive graphic content or strong language.

I look forward to reading the submissions!

The original meta post - How would having the writing challenges on Meta work out? - that started all this may be helpful. All of these challenges can be seen under the tag.

  • Waiting for the new challenge!!!
    – Vylix
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:42
  • 1
    @Vylix - feel free to post one yourself ;)
    – Mithical
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:43

9 Answers 9


“Damn it, John, get up and take off that grape outfit. It looks ridiculous, and you’re sweating like a pig.”

The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently. “It’s all right for you,” it said. “You get to prance about in a suit telling people ‘actually, the climate is more suitable than you might think’, sounding intelligent and looking smart. Anyone can pull that off. I’m supposed to personify the natural ingredients, be a happy smiling grape, like I don’t know that in order to make a bottle of fine Welsh wine things are not going to end well for me. I don’t need this. I’m a trained actor, you know.”

I shrugged. “It’s a paying job.”

The grape was unconvinced. “What’s the point of advertising Welsh wine anyway?”

“I suppose it’s something new.”

“But where do you buy it? It’s not like it’s... what’s the word?”

“What word?”

“That word everyone keeps using that means something is everywhere?”

“It’s ‘ubiquitous’.”

“I know it is. But what’s the word?” He grinned.

In the street people were heading out for lunch. “Come on,” I said. “Looks like our audience is back.”

John didn’t move. “I’m crushed,” he said.

  • Nice, you worked in all three at once! :O
    – Mithical
    Sep 27, 2017 at 12:51
  • Reminds me of Barney in a How I Met Your Mother episode (paraphrased): "It's like... what's it called, that relic Indiana Jones searches for... it's like the Holy Grail of cups..." - "The Holy Grail..." - "...of cups, yes exactly, what's it called?" Sep 27, 2017 at 13:03
  • 3
    This was very entertaining. Nice work - I like your tone and language. Very natural dialogue!
    – storbror
    Oct 7, 2017 at 13:22
  • Wow, very good :)
    – elrobis
    Oct 16, 2017 at 18:56
  • What's the meaning of "I'm crushed" on the ending?
    – Vylix
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:27
  • 1
    I was going for something to convey a sense of depression with the futility of it all (form John's perspective), and a reference to the paragraph earlier that hints about what's really in store for grapes that participate in the manufacture of Welsh (or anyone else's) wine. Oct 20, 2017 at 11:40

The large, foul-smelling object sat on the ground, innocently.

Mary was in the lead, picking her way through the brush, and held out her hand to stop Peter. Her nose crinkled in disgust. “Well, there you go. What is it?”

Peter joined her, slightly behind and using her as a shield. “Beats me. A pile of laundry? Is it laundry? Where did it come from?”

The purple object stood up, becoming a tall thin pile of laundry, seven feet tall. Both Peter and Mary screamed, Mary scrambled back, tripping over Peter, and the two of them went down.

The purple object said, “I am new to English, but I think you mean 'from whence did it come?'”

Peter and Mary sat on the ground dumbfounded, Mary half on top of Peter. She spoke first, irritated. “Who uses whence any more?”

Peter said, “Really. Whence?”

The purple laundry said, “I think it's a valid word.”

Mary struggled to rise. Peter did not. “Okay, from whence do you come?”

“In translation, Earth. Sorry, it's ubiquitous. in translation all planets are Earth.”

Mary folded her arms and looked at it quizzically. “Can you return from whence you came?”

“C'mon, I just got here!”

  • 6
    I liked the story, and perfect hits on the guidelines so +1 from me, but it trod on one of my pedantry corns. "Whence" = "from where", so "from whence" = "from from where" (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/whence). Not a biggie, and apparently Shakespeare got away with it, the loon, but it sets me off. Maybe it was character and our visitor liked redundant prepositions, but they really get on of my goat. Sep 30, 2017 at 7:57
  • 6
    @ItWasLikeThatWhenIGotHere In my defense, the laundry is new to English. Perhaps it read Shakespeare!
    – Amadeus
    Sep 30, 2017 at 9:53

Tilde watched as Sharla worked and lectured, trying to absorb it all.

“... the planes don’t align with the calendar, it’s more a matter of local beliefs …”

“... knowledge of this glyph is no longer as ubiquitous as it once was …”

“... need to bring something new to this or else we’ll just stagnate …”

It was difficult. Sharla was feeling talkative, and this complicated glyph took ages to trace.

“Finished. Come, sit.”

Tilde’s first Summoning had her feeling queasy. Sharla smiled and said, “We’ll do something simple.”

Tilde sat and focused her willpower as Sharla had taught. Together they chanted. A glow appeared along the glyph, flowing around, faster and faster. Tilde felt the Summoned resist the summons. It fought, and nearly slipped away. She concentrated harder. She would make Sharla proud! She believed it. She knew it. This would work!


With a puff of noxious smoke, in the center of the glyph a large, foul-smelling purple object sat, looking innocently at them.

“Ew!” squealed Tilde.

“Congratulations,” laughed Sharla. “You’ve successfully summoned a purple stink demon.”

“That’s its name?”

“Actually we are -” it interjected, but Sharla released it in another miasmic burst. “Nobody cares,” she muttered. “Let’s go eat.”

  • This is part of "The Last Candle" Oct 2, 2017 at 16:23
  • Heh, that was amusing. :P I'm pretty sure that those quote marks in the beginning are unnecessary, though - that you should only have them at the start and at the end, otherwise it looks like it's multiple people talking. "You, know... ...sort of like... ...this..."
    – Mithical
    Oct 2, 2017 at 16:25
  • oh, the formatting got messed up. They're supposed to be multiple lines... Fixed. Oct 2, 2017 at 16:26
  • I enjoyed it, especially the summoning part. By the way, there's a typo in the "glyph" after the CRACK.
    – Vylix
    Oct 2, 2017 at 16:55

The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently.

"You don't like it?" "No." I replied, trying to be as neutral as I can. He's confused, I could tell.

I knew this is my birthday, but who in the right mind even consider bringing such goods to my presence, thinking I will delight in suffocating myself with the aroma?

Again, he scratched his head. "But... you loved perfume! And purple!" He was trembling. Anxious. He could not make sense why I dumped it as soon as I opened the door. I closed the door behind me, quietly. I didn't want my father to know he's here.

I looked at his stature. Tall. Skinny. Four-eyed. Messy black hair. I sighed. I tried to find words to convey my feelings without hurting his.

"Sorry, you know that I love you, but you don't have to go this far for me." I gave him a kiss on his cheek. "How's Dad doing?", I whispered.

"He's fine. How's Mom?" I shook my head, trying to hold back my tears. He hugged me tightly. "Sorry, I must go."

He walked to the sunset. He turned back, waving that purple bouquet, "Happy birthday, Sis!"


It was about time Jacob had invested in a new watch. His old one was beginning to interfere with simple, daily tasks, such as decreasing in size to fit through the small door to his office. He’d spend minutes fiddling with the buttons, before finally the watch gave up, surrendering itself to the mercy of the course, midday concrete beneath him. There it sputtered, smoking a queer shade of violet.

Slowly, the watch began to liquefy, oozing and expanding into a gelatinous mush. The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently seeping into the ground, as if to say, “Yup, I’m done, cya!”

Jacob sighed. He queried the diminuator on his office door, waiting as the device whirred to life at a snail’s pace. Jacob turned to the slew of traffic behind him, watching people shriek obscenities as they passed each other. The ubiquitous sound of chaos were almost tangible as Jacob the world around him grew larger.

Finally entering his office, he took a seat, sighing with relief. The sounds of the outside left him, as one leaves a cherished friend, lingering ever still.

Opening his briefcase, he took out his laptop, preparing to write anew.

  • I like this. However, what is the meaning of the 2nd sentence? I can't figure out the "decreasing in size" part. But it seems like the watch is an exotic device, isn't it?
    – Vylix
    Sep 29, 2017 at 5:23
  • @Vylix what about it confuses you? I was trying to show the properties of the device without a lot of exposition Sep 29, 2017 at 10:48
  • I was not expecting a normal watch to shrink in size. And what is "decreasing in size to fit through the small door to his office"? What/who decrease in size?
    – Vylix
    Sep 29, 2017 at 14:01
  • After I read it again, the sentence means "One of Jacob's daily tasks is decreasing (his?) size to fit himself(?) through the small door" or "The watch was supposed to decrease in size to work properly".
    – Vylix
    Sep 29, 2017 at 14:03
  • 2
    @Vylix No, Jacob's supposed to decrease in size, sorry Sep 29, 2017 at 15:35

It was enormous, far larger than I’d expected when ordering it. No way that fits in my house.

So, that was that, I had to keep it outside. I dragged it around back. Better be worth it. Moved the table and chairs to the grass, and heaved it onto the patio. No one will see it here. I can’t believe I’m this flipping desperate.

That night, four inches of rain. I woke. Jeez. It’s not covered. Steeling my nerves, I looked out.

Sodden, soaked, dripping bits of purple ooze. The party is next week. I hope it dries out.

It didn’t. Too much foam, and it was so big. Within two days mould started. The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently. Leaking purple dribbles. God, I just want a date. Her kid loves this thing. Maybe the shoppes have one. The show was plastered on lorries. The song played at the toy store. Mothers prattled on about it. The thing was ubiquitous.

In the end, I dragged the rotting Tinky Winky to Natasha’s house, leaking purple fuzz as I went. It traumatized poor Celia, and Natasha called the bobbies.

She didn’t go out with me.

  • Microsoft word counts that at 200 but one of the words is hyphenated.
    – SFWriter
    Oct 9, 2017 at 20:47
  • I see you used "drug" instead of "dragged", but that's fine, I guess. Kinda revealing where you are from ;)
    – Vylix
    Oct 13, 2017 at 18:53
  • 1
    Or is it? Perhaps I am merely too clever by half, hmm?
    – SFWriter
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:22
  • Heh, why you edit that? I like it the way it is before! To clarify, it is not wrong at all! Drug is used in southern US, that's what I mean ;)
    – Vylix
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:31
  • 1
    LOL I was having fun. I changed about 8 words, see how many you can spot. Still 200 total though.
    – SFWriter
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:39

Mika Johnson moved into her first ever rental house at the beginning of August. With the porch swing and the little maple tree in the front yard, it was the definition of cute. And only four blocks from campus!

True, living in a college neighborhood had its drawbacks: loud music at 2 a.m.; half-dressed frat boys staggering down the street; the ubiquitous scent of marijuana drifting in through open windows. Mika bought earplugs, closed the windows, and turned on the air conditioner. She dutifully picked up the beer cans—and stranger items—that showed up on her lawn each morning. By November, she would have told you she had seen everything.

The sun had just set on a short, crisp day when Mika looked out her front window and saw something new.

The object was sitting in the middle of the street. It appeared to be a three-foot cube of… something. She frowned. Unless the light deceived her, the cube was purple. Sliding into her jacket, she went to investigate.

Up close, she noticed three things: the object was purple, with a matte finish; a strong, gasoline-like odor surrounded it; and it had an opening in the top, rather like a mail slot—which was glowing. Glowing purple, as a matter of fact.

The box was warm to the touch.

Seeing no one to claim the mystery item, Mika decided to move it out of the street at least. Carefully she picked it up. It was awkward but not heavy. She stepped onto the curb and was about to set the box down when a glowing dot crawled out of the opening.

It was a bit smaller than a ladybug. Mika stared as it wandered across the top of the cube. It had to be some kind of insect; but it was no insect she had ever heard of. Its body emitted a bright purple light.

A second insect emerged from the slot and took flight with a soft humming sound. The first one reached the edge of the box, hesitated, and followed suit. Mika watched, transfixed. The creatures traced lazy arcs back and forth through the air. “Like tiny purple fireflies,” she thought—if the firefly’s whole body could glow bright as a Fourth of July sparkler. Their paths left curling afterimages across her vision.

She didn’t notice the next insect out of the box until it crawled onto her left thumb.

Mika yelped. The likeness to sparklers was closer than she had thought: the creature crawling on her felt like a burning match pressed into her skin. Without thinking, she shook her hand to get it off, and in so doing dropped the box.

The box started buzzing.

By the time Mika had taken three steps back, glowing insects were pouring out of the slot. Launching into the air, they clustered together six feet off the ground. Soon they were a seething purple cloud too bright to look at. A wave of gasoline odor rolled over her.

The insect that had burned her hand zoomed off to join the swarm. When it reached them, the buzzing went from loud to unbearable, and the whole mass came after her.

Mika gasped and ducked. Most of the insects flew over her, but spots of pain flared on her right hand and her cheek. Choking on the fumes, she stumbled to her feet, threw her arms over her head, and ran.

The swarm roared past her again, peppering the back of her neck with dozens of small burns. She careened up the steps, darted inside, and slammed the door.

Inside, the noise subsided to distant-freight-train levels. Mika patted her hair, which miraculously had not caught fire. She gingerly put a hand to her neck. “Ow!” That would need some burn cream. She stared at the reddening spots on her hands; then she turned and looked out the peephole.

The swarm circled the front yard, slower and slower. It hovered beside the tree, sending out little streams of scouts like tendrils—searching for her? At last it settled back onto the cube. Two minutes later, the last of the insects had disappeared inside the slot.

Cautiously, Mika opened the door, just enough to stick her head out. The yard was still. The gasoline stench lingered, gradually mingling with another smell. A smoky smell.

The maple tree was starting to burn.

She had to call 911. But the box was still there. How could she explain the box? The fire was small; she could put it out herself with the garden hose. Go get the hose, douse the tree. Put out the fire. Yes.

Yet she hesitated. Inside the house, it was safe. But out in the yard…

The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently.


I looked up at the sky, towards the glaring afternoon sun. I had rained earlier that day, and the ground was slick with rain water. I breathed in a lung-full of muggy Arizona air, taking in the aroma of something special.

I walked forward, not looking at the ground - that was a mistake. I slipped on something squishy and slimy, but when I got up, it was just a ball. A purple ball sat innocently on the ground. The air around it smelled horrid, like a thousand rotting bodies. I covered my nose with the collar of my shirt and got closer to the ball. I looked around me for an object to poke it with, and I saw a twig lying conveniently by my foot. I jabbed at it and it wiggled like gelatin. I stumbled backwards in surprise. Looking around to see if anybody was looking, then confirming there wasn’t, I took my jacket off and rolled the thing into it. I rushed home to put it in the freezer. The smell of it carried through the wind, and I felt dizzy after a while of holding it.

Eventually, I made it home, where I shoved my jacket and the object into the freezer, not caring about the frozen food in the way. I heaved myself onto the couch and phoned a friend to ask him about it, and to come over and check it out.

  • You got a typo "I" should be "It had rained ..." in the beginning.
    – Vylix
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:30
  • and what was the object? I'm curious!
    – Vylix
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:30
  • @Vylix Alien goop. It was supposed to latch onto someone's head and control them. Oct 20, 2017 at 21:06

"You have four walls in your room for new toys, Bjornhorn. Hang it in there." Lips curled back in disgust, Helga turned away from her husband.

"Raaaaaaaak, execrable!" A massive bird waddled about on a perch above the door.

Bjornhorn continued circling her, eyes pleading. "I'd have to chop off the eye to get it through the door, dear." His lip quivered. "It only has one."

"Monoculus!" the bird squawked, tongue flopping.

"That isn't even a word. I swear, if you don't sell that goose I'll chop off its head. Then all three of you can fit through the door."

Bjornhorn reached for her arm. "Dumpling."

She slapped him away. "I rarely raise my voice, Bjornhorn, but--"

The bird opened its beak wide, eyes bulging. "Raaaawwwk, ubiquitous!"

With a roar, Helga seized a pot and hurled it at the bird, which took a direct hit and crashed into the freshly-mounted demon head. Midair, it regained balance and retreated to the other side of the room, squawking bloody murder.

The trophy sagged, then fell to the floor with a crunch. Its eye popped out and rolled slowly to Helga's feet.

The large, foul-smelling purple object sat there on the ground, innocently.

  • 1
    You had me at Bjornhorn.
    – SFWriter
    Oct 13, 2017 at 19:27

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