April 23, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) describe the climate of a story as it changes to reflect a character’s mood or to create a sense of what is to come.
Palmetto Poison, by C. Hope Clark
The glass thrown splashed lemonade from the smell, now puddled under my toes as I stood on the temporary, plywood stage decorated with potted petunias. The packed double-bay firehouse stood with doors open to accommodate the overflow of bodies. Summer heat in all its ninety percent humidity smothered us, even with the AC running full blast.
A dark-headed teenager in a sun-bleached Braves hat pumped his fist. “You’re Carolina Slade, the skunk-striped bitch who arrests farmers.”
The audience exchanged gasps. I may have gasped, too. The white streak through my dark auburn hair defined me clearly as the bitch.
Abandoned by Sarah Brentyn
A sudden crack of thunder sent him scurrying under the bridge. Lightning turned midnight to morning. The boy stared at the outline of abandoned cars. He tugged at his tiny boots, yanked off his sweater, squeezing rainwater from the wool. Waiting, watching, he sat in his spot. Another crack split the air. He shivered. Mama would come for him. She promised. One night, when the thunder was just quiet rumbling, she told him to wait for her here. He curled up, rubbing his sweater between two fingers. She would come for him. He heard soft rumbles in the distance.
Flash Fiction by Pete
I pass through Buford in a daze, neglecting its wrought iron street lamps and sidewalk traffic lights, and more importantly the antique shops that Maggie and I used to frequent during the budding days of our marriage.
The autumn leaves scrape across the street, ushering timeless memories of driving, the windows down and the mountain air swirling. We’d stop at the overlooks and take in the spectacular foliage, on the way down we’d stop at the orchards, and pick bushels of apples. A car honks, jerking my memory to halt.
I haven’t eaten an apple in almost three years.
Knife of Winter by Paula Moyer
Moving to Minneapolis gave new meaning to “cold.” Jean now felt its sharpness. 30 below last night. Cold cut through her at the bus stop, despite her layers: long underwear, extra socks, gloves under the mittens. Still black out at 7:30 a.m. She gave the driver her pass, took a seat, and then slept until her transfer.
The second bus huffed to Franklin Avenue. Jean stepped out, peaked east. The blinding dawn verified the forecast: “Bright, ineffectual sunshine.” Too cold to snow. Yet she brightened. Sunrise was earlier than yesterday. More sun would vanquish the blade of cold. Eventually.
Revival by Norah Colvin
Her motivation and inspiration was as parched as the cracked red soil beneath her feet. The days were hot and lazy: nothing to do until the rains came. One long languid day followed another. With no work to be done on the land, time did not pressure creativity. Without pressure, there was no rush, no will. The bright blueness of the skies, usually joyous, now oppressive. An occasional cloud or flash on the horizon made empty promises. Finally the winds whipped the clouds into a frenzy, reigniting her creativity as the relentless soaking rains awakened the dormant earth. Please let me know what you think.
Climate Change by Anne Goodwin
When they began rationing the water, George thought he’d be immune. His daughters would bring plastic bottles of Mountain Spring the minute the floods receded and the roads were passable again. Meanwhile, Matron harvested rainwater, which tasted foul, no matter how diligently it was filtered and boiled.
Wilting in the heat, battling cholera and dysentery, the old folks felt forgotten, until the Press paddled a rubber dinghy to Shady Glen. Cameras clicked as George was pushed to the front. How do you feel now, Mr Bush? Don’t you wish you’d acted on global warming when you had the chance?
Basking by Charli Mills
Chickens scratched at bare dirt as Sarah tossed dried corn from her apron pocket. They pecked at kernels and she watched, feeling the morning sun warm on her back. It was like basking with Colb in bed, his chest pressed to her back. His arms snugged around her. He’d crossed Rock Creek two days ago to take care of business. Business always drew him away, but like the chickens at her feet he never wandered far from his favorite roost. The trundle of wagon wheels caught Sarah’s attention. A dark cloud slid over the sun. It was Colb’s wife.
New challenge posted every Wednesday on Carrot Ranch Communications! All writers welcome!
Another great collection, Charli. It is interesting to see the different ways in which each writer has responded to your prompt; different interpretations and different climates. Each though does leave the reader with a question about what is to come: obviously an effective prompt. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Norah! I like seeing the evolution of responses and the sparks or creativity each week.
Wow! I loved this theme. Dunno how I missed out on this.
Will wait up for today’s prompt 🙂
I missed you, Ruchira! But you had several interesting posts this week on your blog. You are a terrific reviewer! Working on that prompt now!
Hi Charli. Thanks to my good friend Anne Goodwin I’ve just discovered your lovely site and this brilliant challenge. Writing to a strict limit has always been a problem when the limit is in the 000s so how I’ll manage 99, heaven knows. Still, nothing ventured…. I’ll give it a go, if that’s ok? Geoff
Welcome, Geoff! It’s a challenge with benefits here at the Carrot Ranch. First, you get to meet a great group of writers. Some come and go; others show up weekly. It’s up to you! Next, you get to practice (so the pressure’s off). I’ve noticed how the regular flash-writers are mastering different elements each week. Third, it really does work to spark creative ideas. I used to make my staff of marketers write cinquains before our weekly meeting. The creative endeavor was small so not a time-consuming act and it actually prepped them to be more open to problem-solving with our ongoing tasks. So glad you stopped by and I hope you give it a go!
Thank you Charli. I’ve got the kernel of an idea for this week so watch this space (assuming I can get it down to the mythical 99!)
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter
to be really something which I think I would never understand.
It seems too complicated and extremely broad for
me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!
We write flash every week. You can join us–it’s not too complicated. Just 99-words.