Yikes, I almost didn’t make it for the latest Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s weekly flash fiction challenge, but Ilene Higginbottom insisted (finally) on the following. The prompt was to write a story of mice, in 99 words, no more no less.
Caught Out by D. Avery
“I’ve always been handy at catching them, but I end up feeling bad for them. They can be so cute.”
“Hi girls.” Though late in joining Ilene and Kristof, Marge jumped right into the conversation. “You can’t feel bad for them Ilene. They’re dirty, they get all through your stuff… there’s no living with them.”
Ilene’s brows went up, but she agreed with Marge. “Yes, I have definitely found that it is easier to live without them than learning to live with them.”
“Don’t be soft, Ilene. You have to kill them.”
“Marge, we’re talking about men, not mice.”
I’m in with my Six Sentences! I can’t even remember last week or the prompt word, only know that I missed showing up with a response. This week that recurring farm family from Vermont has saved me from such remorse and regret. In this case the prompt word, “kettle”, is this fictional family’s heirloom. Thank you Denise at GirlieOntheEdge for being the Six Sentence Story hostess with the mostest. The linkup for stories is actually tomorrow.
Living History by D. Avery
She found him in the old part of the barn with its dark slate foundation and thick roughhewn beams and asked, “Where’s Hope?”
He pointed at the old cast iron kettle and explained, “I told her the story of this old sugar kettle, the story everyone in my family has always told their children— of course she’s the first to have wanted to go underneath the upturned kettle herself.”
Her look interrupted his thoughts as he remembered how he and his sister had been affected by the story, how they had been tortured enough imagining the experience, had never wanted to actually experience what it was like to curl up under that dark charred cauldron. He lifted a side of the kettle and Hope rolled out, uncurled blinking at them, more thoughtful than shaken. “And the bounty hunters searched the house and the barn but never looked underneath this?”
“That’s right, Hope, and soon after, your great-great-great-grandfather sold a store of maple sugar that had also come from the kettle, though he knew he wouldn’t get a good price; but he also knew he couldn’t very well be driving an empty wagon all the way to Newport.”
From the Deep by D. Avery
They were here before the beginning. They were the giants that walked the world before the world was. They were the world.
But the world as it came to be known had to be created to be known.
The gods did that. They did that in the way that gods do; bored and lonely, they started thinking up things.
Where did these gods come from?
Maybe the giants had been bored too. Maybe they weren’t careful and thought of gods, letting them escape from themselves like farts.
But the gods were afraid and jealous of the giants so they slew them and used their parts to give form to their thoughts, thus creating the world.
The giants just want to be remembered, but the gods remain hostile. The patient giants live deep under the primeval seas. In their dreams they sleep with the moon.
Merril from d’Verse Pub for Poets would have us write 144 words or less of prose but include a line from Mary Oliver’s “Death at Wind River”, “In their dreams they sleep with the moon.” Perhaps you can tell that I have been reading Marie-Louise Von Franz’s book, Creation Myths. This is not any particular creation story but includes motifs common to many.
This is a second take on the September 10 Carrot Ranch prompt, to, in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something heard on the radio. It can be from any station or era. What is heard? A song, announcement, ad? Think of how radio connects people and places. Go where the prompt leads! Go to Carrot Ranch for more.
Beyond by D. Avery
They pulled the door shut against the snow squall. “We made it.”
He fumbled for a switch. “There’s still electricity.” Then the lights flickered out.
“Not surprising in this storm, but look, there’s wood, and there’s coals glowing in the fireplace. The owner must have preheated the cabin for us.” He soon had a fire blazing. She spotted a battery-powered radio.
Roads becoming impassable…
“Radio works… now for this lantern.”
Police have suspended their search for an escaped serial killer.
The lantern beam encircled them like a snare. Stepping from the shadowed edge of light, a silhouette took form.
Sound Tracks by D. Avery
He’s still playing his radio station, even after they’d argued about it. She would break up with him. At school. Not tonight. So tired. Cold. Can’t even reach the radio dial.
They disagree on music. But it isn’t just that. His stupid car. His recklessness. Speeding up as she begs him to slow down. Him never admitting when she’s right.
They sit apart, both silent in the front seat. Maybe he’s finally listening; now she hears her favorite songs, ones she’d listened to when she was little. She feels warmer, lighter.
Red lights scrape the roadway in grim silence.
The September 10, 2020 prompt from the Ranch is to, in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something heard on the radio. It can be from any station or era. What is heard? A song, announcement, ad? Think of how radio connects people and places. Go where the prompt leads! Go to Carrot Ranch for more.
The following is in response to the September 3, 2020, challenge from Charli at Carrot Ranch: “In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about high winds. It can be on land, sea or in outer space. Who is facing the wind or protected from it? Go where the prompt leads!”
Breakwater by D. Avery
Stories distracted and comforted her younger sister. “One night a mighty wind banged and tore at the trailer until the trailer lifted right into the air and carried the two girls far away, where they lived just them.”
“No. A big tree killed him. The mom cried and didn’t even notice her girls were gone. But they lived happily ever after in the candy meadow.”
Sudden pounding and roaring stole the younger girl’s smile.
“It’s just that wind, Sis. You stay down.” Biting her trembling lip, the older girl stepped into the hall to meet the storm.
Same Old Story, by D. Avery
She had always known too much about plants and their healing properties; animals, wild as well as domestic, responded too well to her; people invariably were wary of her, and she of them, throughout her lives. It seemed like in every incarnation she was accused of being a witch, the accusation serving as trial, verdict, sentence— a death knell. Being a healer was cause enough for alarm, and as soon as an accusation was voiced even those who had come to her in desperation seeking her skills and knowledge were unwilling to speak in her defense. At the end of many lives she had felt the weight of millstones, the searing heat of coal and flame, the twist of rope, the sudden jerk of her own weight at the end of a brief fall.
This time her crime was her words, but not any incantation, no spells or recipes of alchemy, just her truth put forth in print, naked and plain for all to behold. Again she felt the relentless weight and heat of ignorance and hate trolling her, picking at her, giving her no rest, but once again she would not confess, would not validate their lies, would not recant or apologize; she would not give up the hope she yet held for humanity.
This is a second take on the prompt word “twist”, provided by Denise at GirlieOntheEdge. The premise is that you write six sentences exactly using that prompt. Leave a link and read the Six Sentence Stories of others. Fun comes is packed in sixes!
Twist by D. Avery
He felt the press of their growing impatience like another layer of humidity, felt the whole long line involuntarily closing in, incrementally shortening the open links of six foot separations. If the family group behind him wasn’t so large he might have let them ahead, for he was also aware that they had, from the myriad choices, each already made up their minds; he’d heard their debates, their reasoning and their decisions, most resorting to personal favorites, but some members of this family daring a trial of the unknown, risking a new experience. A traditionalist, for him there were only two choices, the same two that had been there since the beginning, the choice a matter of black and white, as it were.
The disdain in the eyes above the mask showed there would be no more help or suggestions from the youth behind the counter, nor should there be; this was his choice and his alone to make. One would be selected, one would be forsaken; he felt on the horns of a dilemma, but suddenly the solution presented itself.
His own mask didn’t hide his smile as he finally walked away from the counter with his creemee, vanilla and chocolate twist.
The prompt word is “twist”. The prompter is Denise at GirlieOntheEdge. The premise is that you write six sentences exactly using that prompt. Leave a link and read the Six Sentence Stories of others. It promises to be fun.
It’s Haibun Monday at d’Verse Pub for Poets and today Frank J. Tassone has invited us to take a hike. What a great prompt to return to after an afternoon hike.
This last day of August is a first. It’s the first day of school for teachers and the first time in a long time that I wasn’t there for it. That might make this my first day of retirement, but that’s somebody else’s word; it doesn’t fit. But what is a fitting way to spend this First?
Every summer I think I’m going to hike that mountain that’s in my backyard, that mountain who’s view I cherish, that’s reflected in the lake; but somehow I always run out of summer, have to return just as fall begins to brush the leaves. Now, for the first time in a long time, I get to enjoy this season.
Today I took a hike, walked up and up and up; I took a hike to see the familiar again, up close, to see the trees amongst the forest. I touched the sky then looked around.
Such a wondrous path!
bringing me to where I am
autumn leaves spring forth.
The August 27, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt is still to, in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features Lemon Queens. This is a second response and it continues a Six Sentence Story which continued a 99 word story which I seem to have only posted in the comments at Carrot Ranch. Anyway Marge et al. now kayak and so she has fishing companions.
Hooks, Lines, and Sinkers D. Avery
“Marge, look at the brown Ilene’s got on. Huge!”
“Another one?! I’m getting fed up with her beginner’s luck.”
“Well you’re not going to get fed up on your own fish today.”
“Shut up, Nard. Hey! Ilene, what’s that in that trout’s mouth?”
“Your lure? But—”
“Marge, you assumed I was new to fishing.”
“But you insist fishing is just luck.”
“It is. And lucky me, I’ve got this lure I made myself. Two yellow spinners and a feathered hook. Lemon Queens I call this one.”
“Here’s a purple version. Sour Grapes. Try it.”