Destiny’s Fate

Destiny’s Fate

Marlie was both pleased and annoyed by the constant presence of her visiting grandparents, of being the center of attention and of getting gifts she didn’t really like. Even her mother said something with this latest one, letting her granma know that she didn’t think she’d ever play with a Barbie doll.

“Of course, she will, what little girl wouldn’t, and it’s not a Barbie, her name is Destiny Doll; she can do anything.”

Taking Destiny outside, Marlie went to her trucks that were parked at the mound of dirt at the end of the backyard, thinking Destiny might fit in the big Tonka dumper, but Destiny got caught, it was a terrible accident, and scraped her leg pretty good when Marlie rescued her, heroically pulling her from the vehicle.

After Marlie used grass shears to cut the doll’s big hair short so it wouldn’t get dirty and tangled, Destiny became a spelunker, exploring a network of caves that Marlie created in the mound of dirt, but unfortunately tragedy struck in the form of an earthquake and subsequent landslide.

Trapped beneath the rubble, Destiny could not hear the summons to lunch, could not see brave Marlie running across the expansive fields of the small backyard, running to the cursed castle where the girl would tempt fate once more.

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It’s story time, Six Sentences at a time. The prompt word is “destiny“. The prompter is Denise of GirlieOnTheEdge. The time is now to write a Six Sentence Story. Get your ink to the link.

What’s New?

What’s New?


Old friend! How long’s it been?

…. Not much. You?


Getting old is all that’s new.

Hair’s gone gray; added pounds, inclined to stay.


Isn’t it strange, our focus on what’s changed?

We might ask, what still holds True?

What remains for us to Do?




The prompt for Quadrille #71 at dVerse Poets’ Pub is: “The changing of the guards. Spare change. Positive change. Change your clothes. Change your attitude. Change your life. Changed. Changeability. Changing. You could even go a little creepy on us, and write about a changeling. Whatever you write, just be sure it’s 44 words, and includes some alteration of the word change.”  Thank you De Jackson for pouring.



The Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction challenge for January 10, 2019, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the idea of enrichment. Use many of its different manifestations or explore reasons why it matters to the character. Go where the prompt leads.”  

I was led by Ilene Higginbottom to pick up her story. This double 99 word installment follows on the heel (get it, heel, not heels) of  Sort of Out where we found Ilene and Ernest in the singlewide while Marge and the guys played poker in the garage. This installment also reflects back to Latching On when Ilene determined to become a more independent and self reliant woman. That resolution may have appeared to go off track with the subsequent appearance  of Lloyd in her life, but that now appears to be another epic romance that will only aid Ilene in her goals. See the entire collated collection of these characters’ vignettes at their page, HERE.



Lowering her book, Ilene answered Ernest. “You just might like some of these stories. But here, try this one first.”

Ernest took the anthology that Ilene handed him. “Congress of Rough Writers? Is it a western?”

“No, it’s not a western. It gives background on flash fiction with excellent examples. These books are for my literary arts course at the community college.”

Ilene and Ernest were still reading when Marge and Lloyd returned from the garage, the poker game over. “If you’re wondering, bookworms, we both won, but didn’t get rich.”

“No? We both got enriched.”

Lloyd beamed. “Epic.”


“How’re your classes going, Ilene?”

“Good. I’m getting myself ready for an office job. It’s all about the spreadsheet.”

“So why a literary arts course? What’s this flash fiction stuff got to do with anything?”

Lloyd spoke from his perch at the counter. “Ernest, literary art is cultural literacy. It’s…”


“Epically enriching.”

“Lloyd’s right. Honestly, the secretarial skills courses would be such a bore without the Literary Arts class. And it’s going to help me get the job I want, help me to sell myself.”

“Ha! I thought you were giving that up.”

“Marge, don’t be a Nard.”


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.





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.




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.


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.  



A Productive New Year for Writers: 2019

Just when things are looking up, the lead buckaroo falls down. She has a vision but did not see that coming. Read this post if you need a template for your resolutions, aka, visioning.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Ho-ho-ho, or rather ha-ha-ha. 2018 seems to be getting the last laugh at me, but I’m punching back. I didn’t fall off the ends of the earth, but I did take a nasty spill down our steep basement stairs.

Good news is that I didn’t break a leg. Bad news is that I won’t be dancing for a while. Wait, I don’t dance. However, even writing or trying to sleep is excruciating and I can’t drive or walk. Friends are graciously helping me finish holiday errands, loaning me a cane, and taking me shopping with a motorized scooter. I’m laughing at the thought of trying to drive one already. I’d be more comfortable on a horse!

All week long, I had been collecting your stories for Cora Kingston and squealing with delight. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to have writers join me in making historical fiction…

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Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury Winners

The results for Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury are in. Charli Mills is wrapping up another fun and successful Flash Fiction Rodeo at Carrot Ranch. Hop over and see all the stories from all the events.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By D. Avery

Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Your flash should never let go of that rope.

That was my lead-in to the prompt for the final rodeo contest, the Sound and Fury. I wanted contestants to write about a dangerous situation that people willingly engage in.

I have learned so much here at the Ranch even since penning such tough talk over a month ago. The prompt was to write of danger and risk, but for many just sharing one’s writing is a risk, and to compete is an even greater risk. To be willing to face a fear, to do what is not easy to do, engenders learning and growth; it is an act of creative courage.

Creative courage is what Carrot Ranch is about. The rope here is a…

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Safe Harbor

Working-Template-for-FF-Challenges86.png   At Carrot Ranch Charli shares her passion for hunting stories in cemeteries. We might never know the story behind the marker that Cora Kingston left in memory of her friend John Yendow.  December 13, 2018, prompt: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Cora Kingston. You can answer any of the questions history obscures or completely make up a Cora Kingston story. Go where the prompt (and the name) leads you.”


A shooting star streaked across the night sky. Tears welled as Cora thought of John.

At his death she heard the sympathetic whispering. “Now they’ll never marry.”

Before his death they whispered, “When will they marry?” Maybe John was waiting until he had more to offer; maybe Cora’s parents were against the union. There was much speculation. But John and Cora clearly enjoyed each other’s company. The whispers sometimes became unkind.

Cora and John had loved one another. Now she alone knew why they would never have married.

“Rest in peace, dearest friend,” Cora whispered to the starlit night.



Giant Problem

His obsession with golf had become a giant problem.


Then a giant became his problem.

When he awakened a sleeping giant while playing disc golf in the forest he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse. His life would be spared but he must teach the giant to play golf- after coming up with the equipment.

A machinist, he had a ball making the iron. A perfectionist, he made sure everything about the ball itself was in proportion; the diameter, weight, even the dimples. After many calculations and much puttering, it was finished.

Tee time. What could possibly go wrong?


The photo is by Douglas M. MacIlroy . The prompt is from Rochelle for Friday Fictioneers