Do you ever enter writing contests? I did and was named a Runner Up in the spring flash fiction contest run by WOW! CLICK HERE to go to Women On Writing‘s blog for the interview and the story that germinated as a response to a Six Sentence Story prompt.
The living history museum, with its docents in period costume and its primitive houses and technologies, left the family in a reflective mood.
“It’s hard to believe people lived like that Dad, I mean, it doesn’t seem like very much fun. And think about the health conditions!”
“That’s the way it was back then. We did keep some of their sustainable technologies, but much had to go if our species was to survive.”
They rode their bikes back to their modern community with its cool tree lined streets, its composting toilets and organic kitchen gardens, grateful to not have the debilitating video games and other electronics that had made living in the 21st century such a challenge.
The word from Denise, honorable host of Six Sentence Stories, is “video”. Use the word within six sentences, no more, no less. Write, read, comment, repeat.
“Yes,” the hiker agreed, “This is very good water, I’ve only once tasted better, in fact it was somewhere up in these hills.”
The man was of an indeterminable age and very fit; I had the feeling he could hike all day without stopping but he sat with me where I rested by the stream and told me about a remarkable experience.
“I was certainly lost, thirsty and exhausted from clambering up and down steep ravines, when finally I came upon a flat wooded area and at its center was a fountain of sorts, smooth limestone in the shape of a nautilus such that water spiraled up and spilled out the top in the center, a continuous flow though it seemed to defy gravity.
“I cupped my hands and drank the sweetest, purest water you can imagine before resting with my head against the fountain, quickly succumbing to sleep. When I awakened there was no fountain, no water, and though the path out became clear from that vantage point, I have never been able to find that spot again in subsequent hikes.”
He shook his head as if in wonder of his own story, and when I suggested maybe it had been a dream, he said at first he thought so too, but that it’s been over two hundred years since he drank from that fountain.
It was a marvel what she produced in such a short time and with so little space, just a narrow counter top and a butcher block kitchen island.
She commandeered the small kitchen, flour clouding the roiling tempest of her activity. Then, while the oven did its transformative work she swabbed the surfaces and restored calm as she stowed the dishes and debris from her preparations. Snapping a table cloth over the butcher block, she displayed her confections. There was Black Forest cake, lava cake, and even rocky road ice cream. The butcher block was an enchanting desserted island.
The September 9, 2021, prompt from Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the cooking show. It can be any cooking show, real or imagined. Who is there? What happens? Make it fun or follow a disaster. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by September 14, 2021. Though the Six Sentence Story link up isn’t open until Wednesday, I needed the boost of this week’s prompt word ”island” to help me over the hurdle of Charli’s prompt. So, there it is, 99 words in six sentences.
It’s Six Sentence Story time again, prompt word ”deal”. This is what came this week, six sentences, in 52 words. Go to GirlieOntheEdge for the link to more Sixes and be sure to leave one of your own. Anything goes, as long as it’s a Six.
They have converged at a crossroads and are conversing…
“Really, you’re the real deal? So… like, what is the deal, what do you want from me?”
“I don’t make deals; I want nothing for myself, but do want your actions and words to come from loving kindness.”
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.
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.
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.
I have finally returned with a Six Sentence Story. Or two. This one here really makes more sense after this other first one THERE, posted a couple days ago. This one here is a retell that considers the traditional tale of Little Red Cape as a day/night myth and even a solstice myth. Thank you Denise for the prompt, “season”.
Turn, Turn, Turn
“Come in, come in, Red, I’ve been expecting you; that mother of yours, she always worries, doesn’t she, sends you way out here with her basket of food, but we know what to do, don’t we?”
Red did know; she was to take the basket of food into the woods and leave it there for the wolf’s family, for the wolf had given himself to the huntsman so that Red and her grandmother could line their red capes with his sable fur.
Her grandmother turned her cape this way and that and it was clear that the red outer side was becoming thin and frayed, the inside soft and downy as the night, “Like your cape, my dear, but yours will be like new in the morning, mine not until spring.”
When Red returned from leaving the food in the woods it had been a very long day for her and she turned her cape so that the black wolf fur showed, then her grandmother tucked her in, crooning ‘Goodnight Little Light, sleep tight until the morn’.
Red’s grandmother didn’t mind that her own outer cape would continue to lose its luster until in six moons she too would reverse it to its shiny black inside, for as she often said, to everything there is a season.
You know that there are many versions of traditional fairy tales and that over time they have become less grim. Even as the Brothers Grimm were collecting traditional tales some were being recast as tales of morality, and that has become so ingrained I bet we all have an opinion on what Red Riding Hood should or shouldn’t have done regarding shortcuts through the woods and talking to strangers, let alone the scarlet sin of her attire.
But today of all days I picked up the Museum of Modern Art’s (New York) reprint of Three Young Rats and Other Rhymes with drawings by Alexander Calder, and in his introduction, James Johnson Sweeney introduced me to the idea that Little Red Riding Hood ‘has probably grown out of a myth of sunset and sunrise’ and that ‘the wolf is a very natural personification of the night’; the version where the huntsman retrieves Red and her grandmother from the wolf’s dark belly makes sense with this idea and jibes with other traditional tales.
Grandma was in a weakened state, but her granddaughter lingered and picked flowers… this is a summer solstice tale, with Lil’ Red representing day and Grandma representing season, the wolf patient and confident with them both. I wonder if in even earlier versions the wolf was less maligned, punished less severely for his necessary and natural role in consuming day.
Grandma, you know too
reflected light in dark eyes
Cloaks grown heavy shed
hung without shame at dusk’s door
borne again at dawn; his yawn
So yes this is a mashup. If you want to count and count the tanka as a sentence, there are six sentences here for Denise at GirlieOntheEdge‘s SixSentenceStory prompt (season) and thank you Frank J. Tassone for the prompt from D’Verse pub for poets (solstice). I also cut the prose down that this would fit, in 99 words, the Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge prompt, also “solstice” this week.
We are all familiar with the tale of Red Riding Hood. Now consider it as a solstice tale.
Grandma’s weakened and wan, but her granddaughter lingers and picks flowers… This is a summer solstice tale, with Lil’ Red representing day and Grandma representing season, the patient and confident wolf personifying night.
I wonder if in even earlier versions the wolf was less maligned, less punished for his necessary and natural role in consuming day.
Grandma, you know too—
Reflected light in dark eyes;
your thinning cloak
shed without shame
hung at dusk’s door;
borne again at dawn;