Water of Life

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The following is my 297 word response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompt “cool water” posted on September 13th. To see the  winners  of that competition go to Carrot RanchJoin in the weekly rodeo contests all this month.

 

***

They traveled at night when the relentless sun did not blaze bright in the raw blue sky. The stars that trickled overhead reminded her of the stories Leena told, stories about a time when cool water fell from a softer sky.

Leena told other stories; stories about when the far flung salty lakes were connected, were one vast lake filled with fish and sea creatures, a lake so immense it floated large boats that took days to go from one edge to another.

She’d hesitated only a moment when Leena and Ahden invited her to leave the salt scorched Lake Lands with them, to get away from the crowded and dangerous camps where drinking water was distilled from the brackish saltwater, then sold, traded and fought over. It was not uncommon for family groups to form among migrants and refugees and she wanted to be a daughter to this couple. She also knew that children were often traded in exchange for fresh drinking water. But when Ahden and Leena told stories of their first daughter, water gathered in their eyes. She trusted them.

She found it more difficult to believe their stories. Ahden’s stories were as fantastic as Leena’s. Ahden told of the color green, told stories of trees, all kinds of trees, trees that cooled and soothed the land. Ahden carried a forked stick he claimed was a piece of a tree branch that had once borne a round red fruit that held water within its flesh. Ahden also told stories of cool water that lay like treasure underground. He said he would find water with his tree branch or die trying. In case they did die trying, Ahden and Leena told her their stories and taught her what they knew. They lived for her now.

Unlocked

  IGWRT button.jpgHaving never heard of a  tritina before  I thought I would try the the fussy little form challenge put out by imaginary gardens with real toads. Here is their definition of tritina: It is a ten-line poem with three tercets and a final line, featuring three repeating, non-rhyming line-end words, like this:  

1-2-3
3-1-2
2-3-1
The final line contains all 3 words as 1-2-3
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I am also using this form to respond to Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing prompt # 76 in which she asks for 63 words in response to “unlock”.

 

 

****    ***   ****   ***   ****

Mute angers pace within their pen

the locked gate a stubborn silence

the key misplaced like blame.

 

Picking through strewn blame

together searching for the key to open

themselves up and end the smothering silence.

 

On rusty hinges slowly swings the creaky silence

unshackled blame

is let go, anger leaves the unlocked pen.

 

Repentant apologies break the silence as two shoulder their blame.

 

 

Unfinished

“What the hell, Lloyd, you’re like a damn pogo stick, can’t you just get me a beer without shaking it up?”

Lloyd stopped hopping, pausing to get his balance with one leg still bent at the knee, then continued back to the poker game hopping more slowly, a can of beer in each seesawing hand. When Marge received her can she pointed it at him as she popped the top, spraying Lloyd before slurping the foam that bubbled out, glaring over the can as Lloyd dropped clumsily into his chair.

“I’d love to finish the game, Lloyd, but do tell, what the hell are you doing going around on one leg all night?”

“Ha,” Nard snorted, “What he’s doing is Ilene and he wants to lean too, ‘cause he’s a sensitive dumbass.”

“Oh yeah… that is so sweet, Lloyd,” Marge smiled under her beer foam mustache.

***

This evening started with him reciting Japanese poetry for her and now Ilene and Lloyd, dressed in kimonos, stood stretching and swaying together in his small living room. They hardly noticed when Lloyd, his leg bent awkwardly behind him, swiped Ilene’s prosthetic leg off the stack of books where it had lain. They hardly noticed because they were dancing cranes.

Maybe the two-legged crane should have danced using both his legs. They ended up toppling over, ending in a tangle on the couch. But their dance wasn’t finished.

***

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Here are not one but two more six sentence stories for this week’s prompt word “finish”. Hop over to Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge to read others’  or to write your own.

 

Sort of Out

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Six Sentence Stories is being used for shameless self promotion! Read more honorable writers at Denise’s GirlieOntheEdge. Hop over there to write your own six sentence response to the prompt word “finish”.

 

Ernest was out of sorts.

At first he had tried playing poker with Marge and her friends; then had tried going out to the pub on Wednesdays; had finally become comfortable with a Wednesday night routine of watching television with Ilene in the singlewide while Marge and the guys played cards in the two bay garage out front. But tonight Ilene wasn’t at all interested in Duck Dynasty and Ernest found he did not enjoy the show half as much without her chattering through it, commenting on the dynamics and inherent good looks of their favorite TV family.

“Jeez, Ilene, Marge told me about all Lloyd’s books, so I get if you think you gotta read them too, but, well, I mean, it’s Wednesday, you know?”

Ilene looked up from her book only long enough to tell Ernest that it wasn’t one of Lloyd’s books, it was a new release by D. Avery called  After Ever and she was captivated by the collection of short stories and that Lloyd was going to read it next but when Lloyd was finished he should read it.

“Maybe Ilene… think I’d identify with any of the characters in it?”

 

AFTER EVER EBOOK COVER.jpg The print version will be available soon. (I forgot to cross my I’s.)

Rodeo #2: Memoir

She did it! Memoirist Irene Waters has posted the second Flash Fiction Rodeo contest event at Carrot Ranch. This one is for those who can handle the truth, or at least a story based in factual events. No entry fees, cash prizes! Try it; all the other kids are doing it.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Irene Waters, Rodeo Leader

Memoir is a passion, so I’m thrilled to once again host the memoir section of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest. Hoping you’ll tighten your saddles and put on your spurs and join in. [READ MORE…]

Last year we had Scars – this year?

“She Did It.”

Three little words can hold so much meaning and have so many stories that come to mind. For the memoir prompt “She Did It” write a true story or a BOTS (based on a true story) keeping in mind the tips on writing memoir.

THE RULES:

  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit. Check your word count using the net as this will be the one I use to check the entries. Entries that aren’t 99 words will be disqualified.
  2. The genre is memoir although BOTS (based on…

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Long Drive Home

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The following is my 297 word response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompt “long drive home” posted on September 19th. This is where this prompt led. I didn’t have a long drive home story in mind so just went with trippy, playing with images. To see the TUFF winners go to Carrot Ranch. Join in the weekly rodeo contests all this month.

 

Adrift

Not all who wander are lost. But he is. Definitely lost and wandering and wondering where he is and how he got here. He blinks, tries to clear his head, tries to gather a complete memory, tries to make a story take shape. His story. Clear and vivid memories, fleeting and disconnected, flit through his mind like a slide show of still snapshots. Pictures on panes of broken ice shatter across this swollen river.

He grabs at an ice fragment as it drifts by, looks into it, sees a child in the brittle mirror. Gasping at the reflection of his young self he drops the ice. It splinters, the pieces sparkling bright and sharp before sinking into the murky swirling river.

How did he end up in this spinning canoe? Shouldn’t he have a paddle?

The canoe lodges against some boulders just before a falls. Plates of jagged ice whirl rapidly past. The river of ice plays a familiar sound track, the music bringing a string of memories. He sees a leave-taking etched in ice. A self-assured young man floats by. Another bit of ice is a sculpture of a cityscape. The cityscape is ice closing in, crushing, before spinning and spilling over the falls.

He catches another fragment of ice. Why is his father’s face staring back at him? He looks again. The ice held in his hands holds his own face, old and cracked. His father’s face eddies just under the water’s surface.

The ice has rushed downstream. A paddle floats in the current right to the canoe bumping against the rocks. He is relieved yet apprehensive to pluck the paddle from the river.

He has wandered. He is lost. He knows it’s a long way home. He doesn’t know which way he should go.

Rodeo #1: Dialog

“Check out that old man talking to that tortoise.”

“What do you think he’s saying?”

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“I almost didn’t recognize you.”

“Why, I- you – I haven’t seen you since-“

“- that kiss. When you said…”

“I could change.”

“Have you? Are you ready to come out of your shell?”

“I still think we should take it slow.”

“Really? Won’t stick your neck out? Take a risk?”

“Well, uh, I, uh…”

“Look, I changed. It’s your turn. Shall I kiss you?”

 

“That man is still talking to the tortoise. Ugh! Now they’re kissing.”

“OMG! He turned into a tortoise!”

“Freaky!”

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By Geoff Le Pard, Rodeo Leader

Writers are notorious people watchers. It’s a small miracle we don’t get done for stalking more often. Part of that idea — thieving we do involves listening to what people say — phrases, the modes of speech, dialect, etc. People convey ideas and feelings with words. [READ MORE…]

So, those pesky rules:

  1. Every entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit.
  2. It’s dialogue only. Everything inside speech marks, please. (American and British styles both accepted.)
  3. Any genre, time, place, just let us know via words. If you can world build a fantasy, hats off! (Oh, by the way, I bloody loathe the overuse of the exclamation mark. Be very sparing or my prejudices may show through.
  4. It’s a conversation so you need two characters at least. But can you have a conversation with yourself? With…

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Crunch

The winner would not only take the purse but was poised to move up through the ranks of semi-professional boxing, so this would have been a big match no matter who my opponent was.

It was close all through the first five rounds, but when he let his guard down for just a moment, Bam!, I got a punch in straight at his face and when I heard and felt the crunch of his nose breaking, I was spurred on to push him onto the ropes, pummeling him even as I followed his retreat.

I was now clearly ahead in points, landing blow after blow while my older brother barely kept his gloves up, me pressing him against the ropes so he wouldn’t fall, so I could continue to punch him without fouling.

But when the ref called me off, sent me to my corner for the ten count, my brother staggered off the ropes, lifted his bruised and bloodied face, straightened, and raised a glove to me in a way that implied the middle finger even as an old familiar smile cracked his swollen lip.

I was at him before the count of five, losing points with each blow, disqualified when I landed another one when he was down on the mat. If my brother ever regains consciousness, I hope he is  lucid enough to know that I let him win- and that I outlasted him.

 

six sentence story.jpgThe Six Sentence Story prompt this week is “crunch”. Click HERE to join a fun, casual, and supportive group of writers who regularly respond to these weekly prompts or to read their responses.

 

Ranch Romance

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The following is my response to the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Rodeo’s TUFF Contest prompt “ranch romance”. This one is in keeping with the rodeo theme. Go to Carrot Ranch for more on the rodeo and to read the winning TUFF stories. Join in the weekly contests.

Ranch Romance

She cut him off as soon as he started to introduce himself.

“I’m no buckle bunny.”

“I didn’t think you were.” His face flushed.

“Don’t even bother. I don’t talk to bull riders.”

They sat in silence. In the chute the next rider lowered himself onto his bull’s back, readied himself, signaled, and was out of the gate.

“Lackluster bull.”

He snuck a sidelong glance at the woman. She was right; this bull was slow and methodical. “Why don’t you talk to bull riders?”

“Couple of reasons. One, conflict of interest. I have a bull that’s hell bent on hurting cowboys. He’s real good at his job.”

He raised his eyebrows. She continued.

“Second, bull riders are stupid. Hell bent on getting hurt. No sense in getting to know someone who will end up dead or broken.”

“What if a rider’s real good at his job?”

“My bull follows his nature. I have higher hopes for a man. I’m not interested in overgrown boys needing to prove something on the back of a dumb animal.”

They watched three more riders get thrown.

“Where’s your bull?”

“Last up… your ride.”

“Ranch Romance?”

“Yup.”

“Huh. Well, I better go get ready for my ride.”

The announcer had plenty to say about this high scoring rider and bull. This was the match the crowd had been waiting for.

They continued to wait. The barrel man distracted them with slapstick comedy and acrobatics. Finally the bull charged out of the gate, bucking and spinning despite being rider-less. The man who was supposed to have ridden him was back with the dumbstruck owner. “He’s something! Would’ve been quite a ride.”

“You forfeited?”

“Now will you talk to me?”

“Come with me to the pens. I want to introduce you to Ranch Romance.”