Between Panes


“Something out there?”

Startled, she turned, her thoughts interrupted. Behind her, sunlit snow sparkled bright through the window. “Where do these flies come from, this time of year?”

“It’s one of life’s mysteries, and a sure sign of eventual spring.”

She lifted the window. “Gran-pere duct-taped garbage bags for storm windows.” She shivered, remembering how the winter flies of her childhood had thudded like dark whispers against those makeshift storm-panes.

“I can’t tell if they’re trying to come in or trying to get out.” She lifted the storm-pane. The drowsy houseflies roused, wings stuttering in cool fresh air. “Go.”


The above is a revision of the first hurried draft. I hope it stands a little stronger on its own. It is a scene from the ongoing plodding untold story of Hope’s mother, the wandering woman who ended up with a Scottish Longhorn farmer in VT.


“Something out there?”

Startled, she turned, unaware that he’d been watching her where she stood at the window, sunlit snow sparkling bright behind her. “Where do these flies come from, this time of year?”

“I don’t know– it’s one of life’s mysteries, and a sure sign of eventual spring.”

“I can’t tell if they’re trying to come in or trying to get out.” She unlatched and lifted the window. “Gran-pere duct-taped garbage bags for storm windows. The winter flies thudded like whispers behind the dark plastic.” She lifted the storm-pane. Drowsy houseflies roused, wings stuttering in cool fresh air.



Yep, that’s 99 words, no more no less. The Carrot Ranch challenge this week is to: “write a story using storm windows. It can be literal on a house, but also consider other portals, even spaceships or submarines. Can you make it into something new or build a story around something historical? Go where the prompt leads!”

Did you recognize Hope’s mom at the window and her dad looking on and listening in? They all can be found together HERE. 

Clean Slate

Marge paced the length of the singlewide while she waited on Ernest, wondering what could possibly be taking him so long.

“I’m sure you look fine, Ernest, it’s not like the guest of honor will even see you.”

Even so, Marge brushed at her slacks, tugged at her blazer, uncomfortable in the dressiest outfit she owned. “Ernest, don’t make us late for my mother’s damn funeral!”

His suit jacket stretched tight, Ernest emerged and took Marge’s hands in his own, rough scrubbed and smelling of Boraxo, and asked if she were ready.

“My mother and I’ll never come clean,” she wept, while Ernest, patient and steady, held her tight.

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The word this week from Denise is “scrub“, and we are charged with using that word in a Six Sentence Story. Go to GirlieOntheEdge to leave your story and to read more. These characters may be known to you; there was an earlier funeral scene HERE and they have their own page HERE


copy-of-working-template-for-ff-challenges.pngSince the beginning These Ones delighted in their individual strengths but the essence of These Ones was harmony. In celebration These Ones sought to embody this harmony by coalescing their essences. Fire would spark potential. Air would provide breath. But it was formless Water that gave form to the colorful soils Earth gave for their bodies. Like the plants that gave them food, these creations could only stand when filled with Water. Without Water these creations would be dust.

Water prayed as these creations walked the Earth, breathed the Air and tended their Fires. Go in peace, Water Walkers.


rwr-1This is where the Carrot Ranch  November 7, 2019, prompt led.  In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes Water Walkers. It does not have to be in the Anishinaabe tradition; in fact, it would be more interesting to see interpretations from across all nations and walks. It can be a title or used as a phrase. Go where the prompt leads!

This may put you in mind of the March 21st prompt to feature a bucket of water. Aren’t we all just buckets of water? This is something that I wrote for that earlier prompt.



I am the Moon that orbits the Earth

I am the Earth; I am her Oceans that gather Moon’s beams


I am the woman who gathers water

I am the woman whose water breaks


I am the woman who carries water

Who nourishes, who cleanses, who sustains the child


I am the child who swings the bucket in play

Denying gravity with centripetal force


I am the child who gathers gifts from oceans

Who collects moonbeams in the bucket


I am the Child become the Woman who gathers water

Becomes the Oceans becomes the Moon becomes a centered force.


Bonnie is resigned to her art. I’ve been promoting my friend’s artwork, her quilling, which she features on her blog. And now she’s a poet. The following was her way of letting the school superintendent know she was retiring. Retirement has given her time to make her lovely creations. Coincidence that spellcheck wants “quiller” to read “quitter”? Though she wasn’t quick to quit, she quit to quill and the results are quite amazing. Do check out Bonnie’s virtual gallery.

Crescents and Coils

27 years as school nurse – resignation poem

Headaches, stomachaches, and band-aids for cuts,

Information on flu, good hand washing a must.

Itchy heads, nosebleeds and coughs that don’t stop,

Try a glass of water, you don’t need a cough drop.

Skinned knees, rolled ankles, complaints, oh, so many,

A few minutes of rest, I doubt you’ll need twenty.

Communication with parents, by phone and by letter,

Please, keep your child home until the young one is better.

Immunizations, physicals, reports to the state,

Don’t make this your first stop or to class you’ll be late.

Now you may not believe this, but I know it’s true,

By the third week of June, I will be saying adieu.

It’s been quite an adventure, by any good measure,

To the future I’m looking, but the memories I’ll treasure.

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“Who could that be at the door?”

“Well, it is Halloween.”

She opened the door to a group of children.

“Oh, my. What lovely costumes. You look just like my son when he was young. And you look like my best friend did. Lorraine’s here too, as a kid, before the accident. Honey, come see!”

He stood beside her. “I know, Dear. My heart attack, remember?”

“Oh, right.”

“We’re all here for you.”

“So, what do you think?”

He shrugged, with his familiar half smile. It was up to her.


She stepped out into the cool dark night.



The Carrot Ranch October 31, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the Day of the Dead. It can be the Mexican holiday, a modern adaptation of it, a similar remembrance, or something entirely new. Go where the prompt leads!


“I am loving everything about this homeschooling, Liz—mostly the fact that it is at your home and your husband is the teacher and that after school pick up includes a patio drink with you.”

“I need a drink after the shock of coming home to my front lawn all torn up; apparently our pupils are planning a butterfly garden as a part of their studies of migration. Oh, and look, here comes a scruffy refugee now on his migratory route through the shrubbery.”

“Um, so the border’s still open; I thought Tommy’s father was going to close it.”

“Not yet, so there’s still hope for our little emigrant.”

“Yes, let’s hope, for though it’s hard to believe, even an ungainly caterpillar has wings to fly.”


six sentence story copy The word I heard from Denise at GirlieOntheEdge was “migration”. Then she said, just write Six Sentences. Just six! The prompt led me to write way more than that but here are just six, a sort of a snapshot from a Marlie story in the works. Recall that Marlie and her friend Sofie are getting homeschooled by her work-at-home dad. See the related stories below for more Marlie.


Simple Possessions #writephoto


balefire.jpgSimple Possessions

She had little in the way of possessions but had always possessed a keen and curious mind. When do beginnings end and endings begin, she had always wondered.

Her playthings were simple; natural materials, raw elements fired by imagination. She gathered and molded ashes and dust. She sculpted with ice, forged with fire.

What began as child’s play was her life’s work. She had seen many come to their end, seemingly forever. She would not. For as things might end, so might they begin.

She was close. She stood in the ashes. She kept playing with fire.



A 99 word response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt. Thank you Sue!

Rodeo #4: TUFF Beans

It’s the final Rodeo event at Carrot Ranch, and it’s a TUFF one. Play to win. No entry fee, cash prize, loads of fun.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

With Pepe Le Gume on the prowl at Carrot Ranch, I might regret prompting anything with beans. But beans hold a special place in my heart. I grew up on pinto beans, cowboy beans. A special treat was refried beans. I never had navy bean soup or chili beans or baked beans until I was an adult. Chili was a con carne served over pasta, soup was sopas, and whoever heard of maple-sweetened beans in buckaroo country? Now that I’ve had Vermont beans, I understand Pepe’s appeal.

In case you aren’t familiar with the mainstay challenges at Carrot Ranch, D. Avery created Pepe along with a host of characters in her weekly Ranch Yarns. Like beans, once a writer gets a taste for 99-words, you’ll keep coming back for more. We make sure the pot is always on at Carrot Ranch, where we create community through literary art. I…

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Character Building

“What’s the word, Bird?” Ilene asked as she returned to her desk without even glancing up at Vinny, who cawed as he slowly spread his arms and stretched his neck before tucking back into his vulture pose on the file cabinet behind her.

“The word I heard was quite absurd.”

“Do tell,” and Ilene spun her office chair around to look up at the gangly youth who used to be notorious for getting sent to the office daily but now appeared randomly and of his own volition to visit with her.

“Ah, Ms. Higginbottom, you know how it is, my living legend status means I’m still a target. That fossil they have teaching geography can’t stand that I got out of her class, still hunts me down in the halls, can’t wait for me to mess up; guess she needs someone like me to be correcting and disciplining, makes her feel all righteous.”

“She probably thinks she’s doing it for your own good, Vinny, she’s a bit of a legend too, in her own mind.”


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Here is a second entry for Six Sentence Stories, brought to us by Denise of GirlieOnTheEdge. The prompt word is “legend”. This is Ilene Higginbottom who first met this young man at her job interview HERE, and who helped him out in her role as school administrative assistant HERE. You can get to know Ilene and her friends HERE.

Lost Legend

six sentence story copyBlue-green veins, raised rivers, gully the topography of work worn hands. Parchment skin, brown stained translucence, is crinkled and cracked. Cast tracks edge pewter seas of fog-strewn eyes. Sinewy lines map a history, mark a long life, deeply etched yet inscrutable, the mystery undecipherable.

Something is torn, there’s a missing piece; the legend to the map is gone. Treasure remains hidden, mysteries unresolved.


The Six Sentence Story prompt word is “legend”. Come Wednesday you can share your six sentence story at the linkup at GirlieOntheEdge