working-template-for-ff-challenges42.png“They say.” The old woman rocked forward and hocked one off the front porch. “They say old women shouldn’t chew”, she cackled. “It’s unseemly. They say.”

She directed her sharp eyes at the young woman sitting on the step. “They say all number of things, made up things, hurtful things, say them as cowards, after you’ve turned your back on them. They can’t take a turned back; makes them wonder about themselves.”

“Great Aunt Fannie, they say you disappeared.”

Phwoot! She hocked another into the tall weeds. “Yes, they’ve always said that. Because they can’t explain me being here.”


Carrot Ranch July 19, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Fannie Hooe. Although she is a legend in the Kewenaw, feel free to go where the prompt leads.

Fact/fiction… oral histories/they say stories… legends that grow like a twisting vine, putting down its own roots as it reaches, needing the dark anchor of soil as well as the bright promise of light. The persistent legend of the Lake Fannie Hooe region of Charli’s Kewenaw is that the young Fannie Hooe disappeared without a trace from her 1844 visit to Fort Wilkins. Do click over to Carrot Ranch for more on that story as well as all the flash fiction takes on this prompt.


six sentence story.jpg Robert reckoned that the man sitting across from him on the train couldn’t imagine anything worse than The Battle of the Wilderness. He allowed as how he’d fought in the Wilderness, then, feigning sleep, closed his eyes on the questions, tried to close his mind to the answers, tried to bring his thoughts to the family farm, to his apple trees, to finally returning home.

But even now, on the train that chugged steadily north to Montpelier, his thoughts went, as was their habit, back to when he had worked in the field hospitals. There were indeed horrors greater even than those of battle; sights and sounds and smells that Robert sorely wished to forget. Robert wished to forget putrid air thick with the smell of filth and gangrene, ringing with the sounds of delirious men screaming and moaning; wished to forget gathering amputated limbs from the dirty blood soaked floor where they fell, stacking them like cordwood on the wagons or just chucking them in a pile outside the makeshift hospital.

Robert forgot how he’d left Vermont with his regiment four years back with a notion of returning as a man, a hero, for now he just wanted to run to his ma and his pa like a little boy waking from a terrible nightmare, in need of comfort.


The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “habit”. Thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or read other responses. My entry this week features a character seen before in  Seeing the Elephant and in Scion.

The Final Frontier

“If you don’t replace that board I will. I didn’t put this fence up so that you could ‘just see what I’m up to’ over here, and I certainly don’t want to see your crap.”

His idea of a backyard was a place to putter with hoarded junk; hers tidy gardened areas and a patio. The fence was her solution to the visual and spatial assaults when his piles increasingly spread and drifted towards her territory.

He felt her solution only caused more problems. “It’s come between us,” he called over the fence.

Sometimes her husband stated the obvious.


Charli says: Broken fences can be mended. Everyone’s story matters.

Carrot Ranch July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.


Can’t Explain

“Okay, take the car, I really need some cream, I can’t believe I didn’t get enough the last time shopping.”

They lived rural, but not so rural that there was a cow around; on a back road, but not so far back that a trip to town and the store was anything more than a delay and an inconvenience, one that delighted the newly licensed teen.

“I don’t need this cream so badly that you need to speed, just take it easy and be careful!”, she yelled as he raced gleefully to the family car.

Because he arrived at the store in record time, he would have extra time to hone his driving skills on the return trip, taking a network of back roads eventually linking to their back road, some of them further back than others, some quite twisty, some quite bumpy, all washboarded, one with a four corners large enough to blow some donuts.

Finally he drove quite neatly into their driveway, wiped off the carton of cream from where it had tumbled to the floor of the car then walked it into his mother who opened it immediately, but when she tipped it into her mixing bowl nothing poured out.

He could not explain how the carton contained butter and not cream.



The prompt word for Six Sentence Stories this week is “explain“. Thank you Denise from girlieontheedge  for the prompt. Go to the link up to participate or read other responses.


#Tanka Tuesday no. 92


# Cinquain Bewitch & Treasure

I’m back for more of  Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge NO. 92, “Bewitch & Treasure,” #SynonymsOnly, this time trying a “Butterfly Cinquain”.




Thieves, plundering,

swooping in bushy tailed,

untended breakfast plate their prize.


No wrath for these grape stealing crooks

beguile with their raiding.

Morning cherished,




Twittering Tales #92 Mixed Message

Twittering Tales #92 – 10 July 2018

276 characters


Thank god for cell phones. What did we do before? Listen in on this call:

I’m in a tent… Rectangle… upright.


Striped… Red and white. Yes, covered… Green?

Yes, there are other red and white striped tents near me…

Listen, do you think you’ll get here before high tide?

Unbuttoned (part 2)

“Girls! Breakfast!”

Sissy slipped silently into her seat, her lip quivering as she watched her sister ease carefully into her chair.

“What’s wrong with you?” her grandmother asked the older sister. “You’re lame this morning.”

The girls’ eyes met. “It’s nothing, Granma.”

“Sure looks like something. Are you two going to do more than poke your breakfasts?”

Sissy hiccupped. The older girl hissed at her younger sister. “Button it.”

But the little girl burst. “She wouldn’t let those boys at me Granma, she let me get away.”

Their grandmother made the phone-call before gathering them close, rocking and humming.


I was peer pressured into providing a bit more of “Unbuttoned”. I almost wish I hadn’t written either piece but to not have gone where the prompt led would not have changed what is too often a true story for too many girls. I am not sure how to write the happy ending that this fictional family deserves.  Is there any kind of justice that undoes the damage done? There’s no lesson to be learned; these girls did nothing wrong. They are tough and stand up for each other so we can only hope that these characters have the resilience to not give up on themselves and will grow up as healed and whole as possible. 



The July 5, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes buttons. 

#Tanka Tuesday; Green Magic


dancing chanting leaves

verdant shamans conjuring

summer’s shifting shape

emerald incantations

cast and I am caught, spellbound


I haven’t played with Colleen’s Tuesday Tanka challenge in a while. Today’s the day. Here is a response to her latest, COLLEEN’S WEEKLY #TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE NO. 91, “Magic & Green,” #SYNONYMSONLY. 




working-template-for-ff-challenges38.png The July 5, 2018, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes buttons. You can use the word plural or singular in different expressions, or focus on how buttons relate to a story. Go where the prompt leads. Charli’s post prior to this prompt was about the cycle of the hero’s journey as a story template. She suggests, “No one wants to answer the call, including your characters. Before you begin your tale about that bold woman in the button necklace or the cool man dapper and tailored, think about who they were before. Or think about the journey yet to come. What if she learns what it is to doubt? What if he’s torn and no longer in control? Poke into the hero’s journey.”

Unbuttoned,   D. Avery

“You’re back late, girls.”

“We’re sorry Granma.”

“You’ve lost a button off your beautiful blouse.”

“Um, I guess I have.” She glanced down at her rumpled shirt then at her wide-eyed younger sister, who still clutched her hand. “At least Sissy has all hers.”

“Well, I should hope so. Anyway, off to bed with you both.”

In the room they shared at the summer cottage Sissy now became the hero, gently helping her unmoving sister get ready for bed, speaking soothingly, her little fingers carefully unfastening each button, bravely ignoring the bruising. Silent tears rolled down both girls’ cheeks.


Click here for more.




One Handed

Uphill or downhill, biking was the only thing I could ever best Jimmy at but since he wasn’t there I walked my bike up the steep trail that led off the old quarry road, didn’t bother to mash the pedals the whole way, to arrive triumphantly weak kneed and exhausted at the spot where I would have waited for him to catch up, where we would have both had to walk up to the ledge overlooking the dry quarry.

His bike was still there where he’d left it, where I had left it, chain side down, like I’d told him a hundred times not to do. I avoided even looking at the trails, the one going up to the top of the quarry, the other winding to its bottom; I would never take either of those trails again, I never wanted to see that place again.

But I would retrieve his bike, didn’t want to leave it up there, so I pointed both bikes down hill, mounted mine to coast down the trail one handed while steering his with my left hand, a feat that Jimmy never mastered, rode like that all the way to his house.

I wonder what it would have been like to have gone to Jimmy’s funeral, but his mother, she said she couldn’t even look at me, said she didn’t know how I could have let that happen to Jimmy, and I had no answer for her, so here I was in his garage during the service, cleaning up his bike, lubing the chain before putting it up on the wall rack, the place where Jimmy’s bike was always kept through winter.

Then I pedaled home in the hot summer sun, taking the long way to avoid the church, taking the long way to put distance between me and that silent garage.

                                                                                                                                                            six sentence story.jpgThank you Denise of girlieontheedge for this week’s Six Sentence Story prompt, “exhaust”.

You may recognize this narration from Disbelief and from Burst