Latching On

It is Thursday somewhere within reach of the w.w.w. and so Denise has released the link-up for Six Sentence StoriesThe word of the week is ‘latch’. Ilene and Marge continue their conversation from last week’s Footloose.


“Not for anything, Ilene, but don’t you have your own magic mailbox, you know, the settlement from the mill?”

“OMG, Marge, I do and I just realized if I were a guy I’d be latching onto me! Good times, easy money, but you know what, I end up getting sick of those guys and mad that they don’t change. Well I am going to latch onto me, and I’m going to change, start working again, but on my terms.”

“Did I miss anything while getting your beers?”

“Oh Ernest, we need to toast- Ilene has found her special someone.”


Ilene Higginbottom pulled a folding chair from the bed of the El Camino and joined Marge and Ernest where they sat in their camp chairs outside the shop.

“That’s a pretty fancy camp chair, Ilene, dual cup-holders, and look at you, it reclines too!”

“Yeah, I like to put my foot up. This’s the last thing I bought with my ex-boyfriend’s money before letting him go; only thing about him appealed to me was his magic mailbox.”

Ernest squeezed Marge’s hand before going for more beer, told her he’d start dinner.

“Marge,” said Ilene, “What you’ve got is real magic.”


 working-template-for-ff-challenges55.pngWhen the going gets tough and inspiration fails, Marge, Ernest and Ilene come through. This week they are helping me with two prompts in one flash; the Carrot Ranch August 23, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes magic. It can be a supernatural force, a moment or idea, or use it as a verb. Go where the prompt leads; and the Six Sentence Stories prompt “mailbox”, from Denise at Girlie On the Edge.



I am D. Avery and it’s been 9 days since I have posted anything or written anything new.

I have not quit writing. In fact I have been… formatting.


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I am pretty excited to be getting this project finished up. Within this cover you will find (soon) flash fiction previously shown here at ShiftnShake as well as never seen before short stories.

I am in hopes that this publication will find an audience that appreciates the tales tucked within its pages. Thanks to all of You who have prompted these stories and to those Who have come here to read.

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(P.S. That was 99 words.)



They trudged to the logging road together, loaded the equipment into his truck, rode in silence to the general store where her car was parked.

“I guess he doesn’t exist,” he said to her as goodbye.

“I guess not,” she replied, and went into the store as he drove away.

Resupplied, she returned to where she had seen the signs and had felt Sasquatch’s presence. She was learning that finding Sasquatch doesn’t require any electronic equipment, only being fearless and open-hearted.

She smiled to find wildflowers left for her on a log, smiled that he’d known she’d be back.


A continuation of The Connection, my 99 word response to the August 9th Carrot Ranch prompt, these 99 words also form a six sentence story. The prompt word this week is “fear”. 

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The Connection

The Connection

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“What? The research? The constant camping it requires? Or…us?”

“All of it. I’m just done.”

“Ok. I’m sorry if this crazy venture made our relationship impossible. I’ll hike out with you. I’ve given up on ever finding Sasquatch. I’m done too.”

It wasn’t just his obsession with his work. She’d never felt a strong connection with him. She knew now that she could have more.

While he packed up the equipment, she hid the tufts of hair she’d found under a stone, brushed over a footprint.

Sasquatch peered from the woods, silently thanking her.


This week the August 9th  prompt from Charli at Carrot Ranch is to write a (99 word) story that includes an act of “peering from the woods.” 

See Knowing for a follow up to this flash.

The Museum

The Museum,       by D. Avery

“Guess I don’t have to worry too much about getting mowed down by exiters”, he chuckled at the hand painted sign that he read out loud to himself, “Caution, Entrance Only”, and continued down the tree shaded lane and into the grassed parking lot of the Museum of Memories and Moments, already pleased with his decision to check out this quirky sounding private museum somewhat off the beaten track, even more pleased when he noted that many of the cars in the parking lot were potential museum pieces themselves, some dating back many decades.

Taking roads less traveled and making impulsive stops at unusual sites was the theme of his meandering road trip across the country, begun soon after his wife finally died, which, he would agree, doesn’t sound so good in the telling, unless one knew that she had suffered from Alzheimer’s and that he had mourned her passing years ago even as he stuck by her side, learning to do for himself as he learned to do for her.

Now he was on an extended vacation, the type of unfocused and unplanned trip that she never would have enjoyed but that gave him the time and space he needed before facing the empty house and a life without her, unencumbered now, but truly alone.

Having seen not one other person, not even the proprietor, he surmised that it was an honor system, expected to pay upon exiting, a cash donation stuffed into a lock box, and he wandered in and out of the old buildings, intrigued by the eclectic displays and intricate models, philosophizing whether it was the collection or the collector being presented for scrutiny, continuing in this manner until a diorama stopped him cold.

When he saw in perfect scale and detail the museum and its buildings as well as the parking lot with the antique and vintage cars he had seen earlier, but including his own late model car, he hurried back to the parking lot, went to its edge, the “Entrance Only” sign visible through the glass wall that contained him.

He went back to the museum grounds, somehow knowing that he’d find his house, but unsure what would be on exhibit, hoping that somehow she might be there, his wife before her illness.


 six sentence story.jpg The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “sign”. As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!

Yellow Tents

Though I complained about her pitch this week,working-template-for-ff-challenges48.png  I swung and got a triple off  Charli Mills‘ 
prompt. Still, I’ll continue to complain. Yellow tent?! I have slept in a number of tents, have seen a multitude and vast variety of tents. Yellow is a rare color among tents. But now Carrot Ranch is dotted with yellow tents of all sorts. Click over to read or write.                          
August 2, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent. Where is it and who does it belong to? Think of how the color adds to the story. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by August 7, 2018. Use the comment section to share, read and be social.                                                                                                    Here’s where I was led. 


Luxury Home

If you’ve ever sat and watched a mountaintop succumb to dusk’s misty cover; if you’ve sat long enough to see the fog reveal the mountaintop again but linger in the cuts and valleys; if witnessed a westward mountain reluctantly letting go its grip on the slanting sunlight that battled clouds all day, now trailing yellow rays grasping at the underside of high branched leaves, streaking yellow ripples across the water, then you know. You’re just a poor camper, with all the riches that heaven and earth have to offer, the late evening sky the roof of your yellow tent.


At the Midway

It was a yellow tent, not well placed in the carnival midway, but its owner sang out to prospective customers, enticing them to come closer, come curious, come in.

Come in, come in, all will be revealed
Lived well, or sinned, come see how you’ll be dealed.
Step through the yellow tent
See how your end of days are spent.

Most went in just for a lark, laughing.
Some came out beaming, said the tent had the buttercup color of sunshine summer days. Others came out shaken, said the tent was sulfur colored, reminded them of lightning, striking close.


The Fortune Giver

Also on the midway, an exotic red haired Portuguese gypsy woman spun fortunes from words. Her tent was unmistakably the color of sunshine, which drew people eager to spend their 99 cents for the gift of story. In every story the gypsy spun, people heard their own story and left emboldened enough to tell their stories themselves. This yellow tent buzzed and hummed with stories as more and more people came to hear and to tell. The gypsy woman glowed, basking in her good fortune, measured not in the 99 cents, but the 99 word stories of her community.


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Since putting Jimmy’s bike away on the day of his funeral I’d hardly left my room, hadn’t seen anyone except my dad, so I was surprised when I heard him yell for me to come down, that I had a visitor; clumsy yet curious under the pall of grief, I stepped into my jeans, pulled on a t-shirt, went downstairs and stepped out onto the porch.

The last person I expected to see was Jimmy’s mom, but there she was with an old backpack of Jimmy’s, and looking so tired, not just because she hadn’t done her hair or make-up like usual, but she tried to smile at me and she said hey, I’m so sorry, then my dad gave her some coffee and left for the shop, left us alone on the porch.

She was able to sip coffee but I didn’t move in that awful quiet, didn’t know what to do or say, so I waited while she drank coffee, waited until she asked me if I would go up there with her, said she wanted to see where Jimmy and I were that day, wanted to see where it had happened, so we drove the old quarry road as far as we could in her car then walked to the trail that led up to the Dry Quarry ledge, she wearing Jimmy’s backpack but easily keeping up, just behind me on that steep climb and, like Jimmy, she did not plop down as I did at the top but immediately walked around, testing the edge, making me nervous.

She finally sat down between me and the backpack and made me tell exactly how it happened and where and she got up and stared for the longest time down to the granite shelf below, stood right where he had last stood before slipping, and though her movements were more slow and careful I was sure relieved when she sat down near me again, away from the edge, sat down with me and we both cried and cried right there, side by side, and she said it wasn’t anyone’s fault, said Jimmy was always careless, too much energy, no common sense, it wasn’t anyone’s fault.

When it seemed we might be done crying she reached for the backpack, opened it up to reveal some of Jimmy’s old toys, his Transformer collection, and told me that she had planned to give them to me since me and Jimmy used to love playing with them so much but then decided I was too old now and also she couldn’t bear the thought of me having to hang on to old toys that might only make me feel sad.

She stood up and looked at me with a grin that was so like Jimmy’s, that gleam in the eyes, and said for me to get up, we were going to transform these toys and so we emptied the backpack on the ledge and Jimmy’s mom and I chucked those Transformers as hard as we could down into the quarry, our cheers when they shattered echoing off the granite walls, and as I followed her back down the trail, I sure knew where Jimmy got it from.


 six sentence story.jpgThe prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “Transform”. My entry this week brings resolution to the narrator of three previous Six Sentence Stories, Disbelief, Burst, and One Handed.

As always, thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or to read other responses from the Six Sentence gang. Join in!