Looking Back

working-template-for-ff-challenges90.pngTake two for the Carrot Ranch January 3, 2019, flash fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back. It can be a metaphorical reflection or a glance in the rear-view mirror. Who is looking back, and why? Go where the prompt leads. Earlier the prompt led me to a self imposed writing exercise with a 99 word by product. Now I am led back to The Fold, relying on those characters again. Yikes, not an original idea yet in 2019!

 

Looking Back

“I have to settle gran-mere’s estate. Such as it is.”

He watched her zip her duffle bag. She was a light packer. And an impulsive traveler.

“Can’t you handle this over the phone, or email?”

“I’d rather do it in person. It’s not that far. I shouldn’t be gone long.”

He and Hope stood on the porch in silence, watching her go.

She glanced in the rearview, then stopped. She backed up, turned the truck off.

“I bet Luciene would be willing to care for the animals. If you and Hope wanna go with me?”

Hope’s smile said yes.

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Treasure

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The Carrot Ranch January 3, 2019, flash fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back. It can be a metaphorical reflection or a glance in the rear-view mirror. Who is looking back, and why?

Go where the prompt leads. All writers welcome. Respond by January 8, 2019.

 

 

Treasure

They traveled at night, leaving the uncertainty and danger of the distillation camps behind. They walked, Ahden’s stories a mantra; stories of green, stories of trees that once cooled and soothed the land. Ahden’s most fantastic stories concerned the forked stick he claimed would point to water lying like buried treasure underground. He said he’d find water or die trying.

The three of them sipped carefully from their flask of water. This girl had joined them and hadn’t looked back. Ahden and Leena would tell her what they remembered, teach her all they knew. They lived for her now.

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You might recognize parts of this piece. It is modified from a 297 word story that I had submitted to the Carrot Ranch rodeo ‘cool water’ free write challenge. Using TUFF strategies I improved on that piece today and expanded it to 850 words.  I also reduced it to these 99 words (of course), and 59 and 9 words. I have enjoyed experimenting but am not so keen with the pared down results. Maybe that’s because I already knew the longer version. It was hard to pick which details would tell a whole story, and I feel this one may be too incomplete on its own, the characters not clear. Of course, now that I think about it, I didn’t really follow the prompt,  just used it for my own purposes. (Sorry Charli) The exercise made for stronger drafts and revisions of the longer piece, which was my goal. 

The Ride

Bob had never shared in his wife’s love for rollercoasters but since her diagnosis and subsequent recovery, was more indulgent, willing to spend time at an amusement park and wait for her on the ground until she emerged from the ride exhilarated and triumphant.

“Are you going to ride with me this time, Bob, face your fears?”

Kissing her, he responded, “I have already faced my worst fear, but your happiness matters to me so I’ll happily wait for you as always.”

It wasn’t just a platitude, for Bob truly delighted in just being with his wife in line for the ride, in holding her hand, her excitement and joy palpable, her anticipation growing until finally she kissed him goodbye and stepped up onto the platform and settled into her seat, waving at Bob as the attendant checked seatbelts and latched the safety bars; waving until the carts lurched into forward motion and she put both hands on the bar looking ahead to her ride.

When Bob moved away from the platform for a better view, joining the small group of riders’ friends and loved ones taking pictures and videos with their phones, the attendant caught Bob’s eye from underneath his hoodie, winking at him as the carts rattling on the tracks overhead hurtled towards a steep bend.

Bob stared helplessly at the rollercoaster plummeting through the air, never noticing that the hooded attendant had vanished.

***

 

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Wow, it feels like a long time since I have written anything. I know it’s been a while since taking part in Denise’s Six Sentence Story challenge but here is a response to this week’s prompt. To participate, write six sentences exactly and include the word, “matter“. The link up for sharing is open on Thursday.

 

My process, if such matters interest you,  was different for this piece than for other six sentence stories. I was writing a longer story and not thinking about this prompt when I  realized I did have the prompt word in that piece. I finished that as intended but then went back and carved a second story out of it for this challenge. At 1031 words compared to the 236 above, the original story of course has more detail and more meat on the bone, but I’m hoping the main idea comes through in six sentences. The thing of the matter is, the process of winnowing and attending to syntax and such to pare down to six sentences made the original story better as I found I was going back and forth editing and revising both simultaneously. Try, if you haven’y already, enlarging and reducing your six sentence story sometime. It really doesn’t matter, but is a good exercise in craft.