Picture Prompt #SaddleUpSaloon

The Unknown by D. Avery

The boss calls me Manuel, calls me Mexican. Manuel is not my name, Mexico is not the country I come from. I am Guatemalan. “What’s the difference?” he asks, but does not really want an answer. 

Hundreds of people come every day to this cemetery where I do this work. These people honor their soldiers. They are awed by the endless rows of headstones, each engraved with a name. 

My father, my mother, my brothers and sisters— they had names. My village had a name. 

The boss says I am lucky to have this job. I know that’s true.

There’s something different at The Saddle Up Saloon this week, a photo prompt for those of you wanting more writing inspiration. Post your story and leave a link over there in the comments. Also know that you, your books, and your characters could be featured as a Saddle Up Saloon guest. Contact me if you are interested in that fun opportunity.

SixSentenceStory; Train

It’s another Six Sentence Story. Thank you Denise for hosting this fun writing prompt. Jump on the “train” and add your Six to the mix.


His eyes were like a far off train whistle, a plaintive and familiar haunt. She told him how she’d always dreamed of going places, that one day she’d hop a train, would escape this town. He said he had something that would take her places faster than a speeding locomotive.

And the dropped spoon fell, clickety-clack, and the needle gleamed like a steel rail.

She traced the tracks on her arms and knew her dreams were derailed, wrecked. Stepping along the railroad ties, she walked only as far as the trestle bridge.

CRLC Challenge; Stars in the Sand

Grandma says there are stars in the sand. 

A lot of people think Grandma’s crazy.

I think it’s crazy that I have to go to school where all I learn is to keep quiet and avoid bullies.

Come on, Grandma says when I get home, Let’s go star gazing, and heads down to the beach, hours before sunset.  

It’s not the right time, I say.

We can handle time she says, and we do. Wordless, we marvel at the glittering sand; we smooth it, sift it, lie in it.

You’re a star she says, and I know she’s right.

The challenge from Carrot Ranch this week is to write in 99 words (no more, no less), a story using the phrase, “stars in the sand.” Your story can be any genre (or poem) and can use realism or fantasy. It’s a dreamy prompt. Go where the it leads!

Respond by August 24, 2021. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

CRLC Challenge; Cacophony

Summer of Love

The pair of geese that patrolled the yard were first to sound the alarm. Then his father’s hounds bugled from the kennels. The Jerseys lowed as they closed ranks across the pasture and filed toward the barn. Finally there came the sharp report of the screen door springing shut behind his mother, anxiously wringing her dish towel on the familiar porch, laughing and crying at his approach. 

These welcoming sounds began to quiet the shrieks and chants from the gauntlet he’d faced at the airport. But even as his mother refrained, ‘You’re really home’, doubts drummed like throbbing pain.

The Carrot Ranch 99 word challenge this week?

In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story, using cacophony. You can use the word or show discordant sound in action. How can you create literary cacophony with your words? This one might be of interest to poets as a literary device. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by August 17, 2021. Use the comment section to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

#SixSentenceStory; “grip”

At long last I am back with Six Sentences. I will save the excuses. The prompt word from our gracious hostess Denise at GirlieOntheEdge is “grip”. While I have also been slack at Carrot Ranch, and this is way beyond the 99 words required there, this story is a nod to the August 5th prompt which is now closed and to the current prompt which is to “write a story, using cacophony. I thank my prompters and also Marge who led me back to the page.

Kayaking was Marge’s doorway to more fishing spots; just a little launch area and a lake was all hers, no matter how many private camps and docks.

Maybe Marge shouldn’t have used her egress to be fishing off of a private dock, but she needed to stretch and it looked like a good spot and though she wasn’t a believer in all that unicorn crap, she took the presence of a child’s unicorn floatie on the end of the dock as a good sign. 

A week day, the lake and its camps were quiet, the only sound the birds, squirrels and now the whir of Marge’s cast line and quick snap of the bail then her startled grunt of approval when right away she got a hard hit, the drag zzzzzzzzing as the line unspooled, the squelch of her soles on wet dock, the splash of bass bursting through sun-sparkled water and more grunts of pleasure as Marge determined she would bring in this fish, no matter what.

Her eyes on the line, Marge didn’t notice that she’d put one foot into the middle of the unicorn floatie there on that wet dock, then the other, all the while keeping the tension on the line and that bass going every which way, then a sudden jerk as it pulled against her and it was then that Marge slipped right off the dock, her feet ringed by the unicorn, and, when she plunged ringed-feet first into the water, she became firmly ringed around her ample middle, stuck in the floatie but still gripping her fishing rod, barely managing to set the drag tighter before losing her footing on the muddy bottom, the unicorn now getting towed across the small lake splishing and squeaking with it’s rider wrapped around it’s neck, still clutching the pole that connected them to the relentless bass. 

Fortunately, when the bass finally tired Marge could plant her feet to stand and reel it in. She walked ashore with full shoes gurgling, an inflatable unicorn rubbering at her waist, trophy fish now in hand, and with a smile brighter than rainbow skittles.

Coming and Going

I’ve been away. Away from home with its gardens and cat, away traveling with my husband, visiting with a friend. I have been away from the computer, the internet, away from this blog and from yours. Now that I have returned I will try to resume my flash fiction responses and my Saddle Up Saloon episodes. (Want to be featured??)

I have had some good news upon my return. A response to a SixSentenceStory prompt was the seed for a story that is featured at WOW! Women on Writing. Here’s what Angela of WOW! had to say:

Dear D.,
Congratulations on placing as a runner up in the WOW! Spring ’21 Fiction Contest w/ lit agent Emily Forney! “Going” is a beautifully written, immersive journey! Your dialogue is realistic, and the pacing is perfect. It’s a moment of big change, and I’m hopeful for them! It felt realistic. Thanks for sharing this gem, and keep up the excellent storytelling! We hope to read more of your work. 🙂
Write on!

Go check them out and see the spring contest winners, and upcoming contests. Or, just click HERE to see my runner’s up story.