January 28: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

January 29, 2015

January 28Blinding white fog with hovering hoarfrost settled over Elmira for three days. With temperatures warm enough to vaporize snow on the valley floor, the rising white mists met colder air. At a certain height, vapor crystallized into shards of ice that melted before striking ground and adding once again to the moisture cycle. The metal roof of my wood barn clattered with ice I could not see or feel. Yet, I could hear it. So, I called it a monster, my default protection from unexplained phenomenon, and you can read about it and even hear the crystalline clatter (and my chatter) over at Elmira Pond Spotter.

The ground was white, the sky was low and white and the air was misty white. It was disorienting. Upon my retreat to the house, I developed vertigo and staggered to my kitchen table like a sea captain unused to land. As I pondered how fog could lead to my dizziness, I remembered a walk several years ago among the organic fields of the largest and oldest organic farm in the Upper Midwest: Gardens of Eagan.

This farm was close to my former suburban home and as one who was in charge of media and communications, I had a ready-made excuse to walk the rows — I photographed the farm annually for marketing collateral. More pleasure than business, this outing got me outside the suburbs, away from the office and off the pavement. I learned most of what I practice as an organic gardener from this farm.

To grow anything organically, first one must grow dirt. You have to have healthy soil to nourish healthy plants. Still, pests can attack. On one walk, I was puzzled to see reflective plastic, lining row after row of squash. I learned that this is silver mulch, and it is effective against insects that invade squash plants because it reflects the sky and the insects become befuddled as to which way is up.

Thus similar to the disorientation I experienced in the white fog; ground and sky were indiscernible. How easily the brain can become befuddled, insect or human.

Of course, this led me to think about how disorientation is a terrific way to build tension or expose a character’s character in a story. So many of the westerns I’ve read have page-turning scenes about the hero who faced the confusion of cattle stampedes, blizzards or dust-storms. Beyond natural occurrences, modern circumstances can create disorientation — traffic, changing technology and power outages. Even the mind can suffer fatigue or illness that leads to a feeling of losing one’s center.

Imagine the possibilities!

January 28, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about disorientation. A character could be lost in the maze of the mind or in a storm of unexpected traffic. What are the sounds? The sights? The smell? Explore the different ways confusion can be expressed and how it can create tension, provide relief or move a story forward.

Respond by February 3, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Ramona Makes a Deposit by Charli Mills

Morning light pressed through cracks in the old hay barn. Ramona stood on the front bumper of the stored 1967 Chevy truck to attach battery cables the way Vic used to. She could hear him muttering instructions to her although he’d been dead six months. The VA released widow’s benefits that she needed to deposit in Spokane. His muttering didn’t help her 78 miles away when she couldn’t decide if the circled arrow signed right or left. She turned the wrong way up a one-way and had to explain why she drove through the front lobby of the bank.

###

Ranch-keeping for Rough Writers: I’m going to leave the polls for collaboration open while I look into a few possible outlets for an anthology. Right now, interest is split between an anthology of 99-word stories and one of longer short stories based on 99-word flash fictions that are themed. I’ll post updates next week. Thanks!

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113 Comments

  1. Jeanne Lombardo

    Great prompt Charli! And profound reflection here on fog and snow and white and disorientation. Brought to mind my husband Tom’s studies on perception. We are grounded creatures. Even when we fly we depend on the anchor of the earth below for orientation. We dislike being completely untethered. I thought, too, of the fog in Big Sur. Creeping in. Swallowing all. Uncanny.

    And…very much enjoyed Ramona Makes a Deposit. The way the present can lose its currency; the way the past seems more real than the present; the way they merge. Your story gave me the same sense of time slipping that I felt on my grandfather’s (now cousin’s) farm last summer, walking through the tall grass to where a 1947 sedan lies, half hidden, slowly disintegrating. I have a picture of my dad in 1942, home from the war, standing by that very car.

    So then….Since I flaked on the last challenge (and the one before, I fear) I am getting mine in early. Here we go…another disorienting element….

    Up is Down

    He’d caught a good one, slipped into the swell right before it crested, paddled hard to keep with it, raced the vanguard foam, till he felt it lift him, carry him on enormous blue shoulders, powerful, the sun blazing, the gulls screaming, the distant shouts spangling the air, the majestic length of the wave tunneling its way to the shore. Riding it! Flying the board of his body through it! Then a flinch. A tumble. A battering of bubbles. Tossed like flotsam. Limbs akimbo. Eyes stinging. Lungs exploding. Salt. Compression. Pumping to the surface. Hitting the sandy sea floor.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, we are grounded, relying on senses that can lead us astray. You’ve captured so beautifully that freedom in going beyond our tethers and mastering the wave, but then comes the tumble we can’t manage. In avalanche preparation training, the biggest threat comes from a similar disorientation. Often skiers survive only to start digging deeper into their snowy tomb.

      What a beautiful connection between the photo of your father and the old car slowly disintegrating on the family farm. Farms and ranches have that sense of time-slowed-down while the world spins outside the boundaries.

      A beautiful flash and reflection! Thank you!

      • Jeanne Lombardo

        Thanks Charli. I think I resonate so strongly with your writing because you capture the essence of the rural, the ranch, the frontier, the West, nature…and the ubiquitous sense of the past, still immediate, all around. And yes, an avalanche would provide that same sense of topsy turvey confusion. I have always loved exploration and mountaineering stories (Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air comes to mind), wondering at the indomitable nature of some souls to risk such natural cataclysms.

      • Charli Mills

        That statement brings me joy, Jeanne! Thanks! And, yes, I like stories of outdoor adventure like Into Thin Air. I recall several plane crash stories from the 70s (but not their titles) where survivors had to trek through snow or wilderness against the odds.

    • Annecdotist

      Never been surfing, Jeanne, but for me you capture it beautifully. I remember reading about similar risks of disorientation in Tim Winton’s novel Breath.

      • Jeanne Lombardo

        I will have to check that one out Anne. Thanks for the comment. It was based on a memory of body surfing in southern CA back in the 80s, the sudden reversal of fortune, the acute awareness of mortality and my own fragility in the face of natural forces.

    • paulamoyer

      Amazing, Jeanne. Quite the capture of the horror of drowning after the euphoria of the great surf wave.

      • Jeanne Lombardo

        Indeed Paula! Frantically swimming “up” only to hit the bottom. Fortunately the experience this was based on had a happy ending. Thanks!

    • TanGental

      yup, Jeanne you’ve hit the target alright. My experiences of this surfing business involve the last three lines more than the rest but you have it all in beautifully crafted prose

  2. Sherri

    I’m heading over to Elmira Pond at last Charli! As for Ramona, something tells me that bank was definitely not expecting that kind of deposit! Reminds me of a woman who drove clean through the front window of the chiropractor’s office where I once worked in CA. Thankfully nobody was hurt, by no small miracle. Great flash and prompt, looking forward to finding what’s hiding in the fog…be back soon 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      A vehicle can become an extension of self and in a moment of disorientation the self takes it where it should not go. I bet everyone needed an adjustment after that lady drove through the front window of the chiro office! Thanks for lurking in the fog with me on Elmira Pond!

      • Sherri

        Ha…yes, that is a great point Charli, and my boss made a nice amount of money off our insurance no doubt 😉 Cynical, aren’t I??? And I have enjoyed every moment of lurking in the fog with you at Elmira Pond 🙂

  3. paulamoyer

    Such marvelous flashes! I love disorientation, probably since I’m only partially in reality. Here’s my flash this week:

    Excluded by Delirium

    By Paula Moyer

    Why would Jean’s son Martin have a party right across from her hospital room and not invite her? She thrashed around, but the IVs, oxygen tube, postoperative pain were limiting.

    Just across the curtain, she knew, was a party room. She could hear the clink of ice in glasses, gentle chuckles, fireplace crackles. It was sad, being so close and yet not allowed to participate.

    Something happened, a light switch, coughing. Jean woke up.

    No party. No party room.

    Ouch. The cough of aspiration pneumonia – her own.

    She drifted asleep again. The party rewound and repeated. All night long.

    • Annecdotist

      From partly in reality person to another, loved your Flash. Delirium such fun to write. Pity Jean had to wake up.

      • paulamoyer

        Thanks! Better to wake up from a nightmare in which one’s son is having a party to which one is not invited, though!

      • susanzutautas

        Happy to learn it was only a nightmare. Great flash!

      • paulamoyer

        The party was a nightmare; the pneumonia was reality.

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Personal experiences of loved ones slipping away, and the interest sparked by the movie Still Alice make me fear my own loosening grip on reality a couple of decades on. How sad this post was. What a cruel fate to have to relive that scene over and over. Great evocation of being on the margin, being excluded, made all the more poignant by Jean’s fragile state.
      May I ask if Jean is based on a real person?

      • paulamoyer

        Thank you, Jeanne. “Jean” is my middle name and my alter ego. This is a true experience I had — the aspiration pneumonia, the dream. “Martin” is my son Drew’s first name (Charli’s son-in-law). He would never in real life have a party and not invite me. But in real life, there would not be a community room inside a semi-private hospital room, either.

    • Charli Mills

      Disorientation is like that, isn’t it? Partially in reality. Disorientation can push us one way or another. Great flash, although painful to think about being in that kind of suffering without the opportunity to clear the mind.

      • paulamoyer

        Thanks, Charli. The good news was that when morning came, all was better. I liked my roommate; at mealtime we always asked the nurse to pull the curtain aside so that we could eat together. In that way, we were the bright spot of the nurses’ day!

    • Pete

      Wow, this was so well done in such a short space. Chilling and real.

      • paulamoyer

        Thank you, Pete!

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Great POV to adopt for a piece on disorientation Sarah! Difficult task to try to retrieve those images of reality, from our childhoods, before we imposed a name and interpretation on every experience!

      • Sarah

        Thanks Jeanne! I was actually looking at the birthday party of this past weekend through my son’s eyes (does it still count as “fiction?”) but it was a great exercise to try to understand him better.

    • Charli Mills

      There was a sense of a different realm and so bright, yet dense. Weird. It was clear today! So nice! How interesting, to take a different perspective on a child’s birthday party. I’m off to read it…

    • TanGental

      that is such a touching an heartfelt flash which uses such an interesting point of view. Excellent.

      • Sarah

        Thank you!

  4. Annecdotist

    Driving home through a snow shower yesterday, identify with your winter weather disorientation. Fog is the worst. Love the flash, really made me smile.

    • Charli Mills

      Big fat flakes spiraling toward a windshield can be hypnotizing! Glad you smiled at Ramona’s predicament! So many things to pay attention too, but at least she made it to the bank. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, yes, I can see disorientation appealing to your inner thriller-writer! Off to read where the weather led you…

    • Pat Cummings

      I had a friend in Colorado do this once, and follow another car right into the other driver’s driveway! He invited her in until visibility returned, she would up staying overnight… They’re still married 30 years later!

      • Charli Mills

        That sounds like a great story!

    • TanGental

      yep, you got it exactly, Susan. Lovely flash. Reminds me of a colleague fed up sitting in a traffic jam on the way home. The car in front turned off. Said colleague thought – ‘they know a short cut’ and followed. He ended up in the same drive

  5. Pete

    Bed Springs

    I wake before dawn and see myself. Part of the pack, going along with the commercials, chewing the gum and smiling. How did I get here? In this house and in this bed with this woman who thinks I’m this….guy.

    Over on my side I draw a breath, my lungs expand. The ceiling looms. It needs paint. I’m a painter—a gum-chewing painter. Each breath brings it closer. The trap has sprung, the bed springs are uncoiling…slowly.

    The morning sun is vibrant. The ceiling has retreated. We make coffee and kiss, plan our weekend.

    We need to buy paint.

    • paulamoyer

      Lovely, Pete!

    • Charli Mills

      The idea of waking up in bed into a new life is definitely disorienting, but I love how you add the coiled bed springs as an image of a sprung trap. And true to trying to re-orientate, this guy focuses on what he knows. Deep piece of writing in 99 words!

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Nice treatment, Pete, of that other reality, there behind our closed eyelids, the counterpart to our waking world, the place where ordinary details seems so fraught with meaning… a gum-chewing painter…why the gum?…the box of the room, the lowering ceiling, the mattress coils. Well done.

    • TanGental

      This sends shivers; I wake, at 4 or 5 convinced I have left a child in a car with the brake off, the details of my bank account on a café table, the client’s detailed plans on the train. I pour sweat and nothing stops the panic rising and grabbing at my gut. I force myself to stand and go and pee away the fear. You nailed it.

      • Charli Mills

        Wow, Geoff! I think this comment counts a flash!

      • TanGental

        Just a memory but I suppose that counts too.

  6. Pat Cummings

    Again, such a perfect prompt for the time! My flash this week, Off the Map is at http://goo.gl/GP3vmf – semi-fictional, in that hiking in deep woods can be very disorienting! (Likewise hiking in the mountains…)

    • Charli Mills

      Great point — hiking in the mountains can really distort perception. I recall lessons from my father how to periodically turn around to look at the trail behind you because it looks different. He was a search and rescue volunteer so I grew up knowing how easily hikers could get lost! Wonderful how the prompts are fitting! 🙂

  7. rogershipp

    Not All Houses Are Homes

    My book bag –Old Navy, camouflage – was in the back: four sets of clothes, sneakers, and a set of tightly, rubber-band bound envelopes. My life: assorted letters, and two photographs, from the last three years. That was everything, except for my Riptunes MP3. I was listening to Bastille:Things We Lost for the umpteenth time.

    We were watching for a large white SUV driven by a balding, older man and his grey-haired wife.

    My ninth home: a new family- this one much older. I was ready: eyes- dry, dulled, unexpressive. New starts aren’t what they’re cracked-up to be.

    https://rogershipp.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/not-all-houses-are-homes/

    • Charli Mills

      This breaks my heart. That kind of disorientation — from being tossed from foster home to foster home — erodes stability from a child. Very poignant piece in 99 words.

      • rogershipp

        Thanks.

    • paulamoyer

      Oh, my — what a horrible experience, so masterfully told.

      • rogershipp

        Thanks for reading.

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Excellent piece. Cuts very deep. The sense of loss is so skillfully evoked with those few details, I felt like I was punched in the stomach. I don’t even know the song you referred to, but great use of a title to drive home the loss even more.

    • TanGental

      how sad; you keep us guessing for ages Roger, as to the voice and especially the age but when we realise it hurts. Well done

      • rogershipp

        Thanks…

    • Annecdotist

      This is terribly moving, Roger, and I really didn’t see it coming, perhaps distracted by the focus on the music (though of course the title is so well chosen). Maybe I connected unconsciously to his stiff upper lip attitude right from the start. Excellent flash.

  8. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    I’m so far behind I haven’t even had the joy of reading all the flashes from last week. I will get there but at the moment I will put my thinking cap on and try and immerse myself in disorientation. Poor Ramona. Sometimes loss can disorient you due to the grief, sometimes though it is because suddenly you have to do things that used to be taken care of by another. Well at least she made it to the bank to make her deposit. I will return.

  9. paulamoyer

    Fantastic flash, Charli! What an amazing combination of sympathy and humor for our distraught protagonist Ramona. Love the names, too — Ramona and Vic.

    • TanGental

      Hi Ruchira, when I click on the link I go in a circle back to Charli’s post not yours. It may be me but I can’t find yours that way.

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Geoff! It’s fixed!

    • Charli Mills

      It was a quick-fading disorientation and I stayed out of the fog after that! Your take reminds me of the fog that exists between the generations — disorienting at times!

  10. guidaman

    The Beast by Phil Guida
    Heading north on Hwy 99 just south of the grapevine, I was swallowed by the Beast. A tightly woven envelop of Tule Fog that snaked its body throughout the San Joaquin Valley. No sites, no smells, just a cold cloud that blinds you to everything near. Somewhere between Bakersfield and Fresno, “where the hell I’m I”? Fear filled my cabin, heart pounding, hands sweating profusely, nothing but miles of thick whiteness ahead of me. No escape route to choose, I crept along until a semi’s tail lights flashed before me, releasing me from the mighty grip of the beast.

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Love this evocation of California fog Phil. The language is rich. The analogy to “the Beast” and the use of dynamic verbs (“Swallowed by the beast”–great!) really pulled me in.

    • TanGental

      fog’s grim, isn’t it; very evocative piece Phil

      • Charli Mills

        Is London fog thick? And apologies if that’s like asking if a bear shats in the woods!

      • TanGental

        No different to yours these days ever since the Clean Air Act of 1958 (warning: nerdy lawyer writing) my dad used to tell stories of the peasoupers that meant it was true. You could not see the hand in front of your face.

    • Charli Mills

      Tule fog is a beast! You capture its essence and the disorienting fear it causes! And how fast the fear flees, too when you get the reprieve of tail lights (just not too close).

  11. Rebecca Patajac

    Yay! Got another one out for this week. I struggled for content and inspiration but I finally settled for something that’s been prominent in my recent daily life

    http://loveliterarylife.com/2015/02/02/learning/

    Yes, I’m still learning to drive! But I’m getting there. Hopefully I’ll have my license before the little one starts 3 y/o kinder next year 🙂

    I also hope you enjoy the piece

    • Norah

      You’ll do it! When the time is right . . .

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Daily life is always a rich source for writing Rebecca. I could definitely relate to your post. I already knew how to drive when my kids were very young, but when I moved to London and had to tackle driving on the other side of the road and mammoth roundabouts and the senseless tangle of streets, with my little ones in the back seat, there were many times I wanted to scream.

      • TanGental

        ‘senseless tangle of streets’! That’s my city you’re dissing, Jeanne!! You wouldn’t believe (actually you probably would) the lengths the town planners go to, to preserve the medieval street pattern of London. It’s only because, unlike the French, we never could get the hang of a proper riot so no one felt the need to widen the streets to stop barricades going up. Too wet and cold probably.

      • Jeanne Lombardo

        Should have said the magnificent” if senseless tangle of streets. I live in Phoenix, a perfect grid in most parts, about as interesting as a sheet from a ledger book. I loved exploring London, but had to avail myself of the kindness of a black cab driver on more than one occasion to point me in the right direction. Still got lost! Oh and thanks for the great Bob Newhart video. He’s still funny. Loved him as the TV science guy on The Big Bang Theory.

      • TanGental

        No problem Jeanne; I enjoyed Phoenix when I was there, esp the botanical gardens which are fascinating. Desert is the one thing we have none of (as you’ll know) so come across something so stark yet teeming if you’re shown were is fabulous. And when a mountain lion trotted past our cabin up at the Boulders, well that was too cool for the kids!

    • Charli Mills

      Yay! Rebecca! And, yes, I enjoyed the piece. It takes courage to learn to drive and to write about the things that disorientate us. 🙂

  12. Norah

    Hi Charli, I love this post and the one over at Elmira Pond. I’m surprised at the warmth and evaporation you mention while there is snow all around. It is difficult for me to get my head around this weather you experience. Over here the heat is almost unbearable. It certainly doesn’t accompany snow. I love the idea of the unexplained being a “monster”, as long as it isn’t too threatening.
    Your flash is brilliant. How I struggle to identify which way is/isn’t allowed with those bendy directions in crossed out circles. I would prefer the words, though I know the signs may be better for those unable to read. Funny that I say I would prefer the words as I never seem to get the push/pull thing right first time! 🙂
    I love the humour in your flash too. Entering the bank to make the deposit in that way works well in your story, if not in real life!
    And now here’s a link to my contribution to this week’s collections. 🙂
    http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-ow

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for exploring both sites! I suppose it would be hard to think of snow as warm, but after living in Minnesota where temperatures are “as cold as on Mars” the Pacific Northwest is noticeably milder, though it produces more snow. Ah, I’m going to think on your heat for a moment. I’d like to get that into my chilled bones tonight!

      The irony of those directional signs is that they are created universal readership yet I can’t read them! I struggle with push/pull and go first for the opposite. It makes me laugh, too because I know it’s going to happen. Thanks for sharing the humor with me.

      Obfuscation is definitely a word that wrestles about in my mouth and is difficult for me to pronounce! In spelling it, I want to relocate the “s” between the b and f which is in part, why I struggle to say it correctly.

      • Norah

        I wish we could swap a little of our heat and snow. That would be nice.
        Obfuscation just popped into my head at the time. I’m not sure that I have ever used it before and I’m sure I’ve never tried to pronounce it. As I say, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. Maybe related to that bump on the head I had!?
        I enjoy exploring both your sites – so rich in many and varied ways – whien I have time! 🙂

  13. rllafg

    Restroom Signage by Larry LaForge

    He’d never had a jello shot before. Now he’s had at least one too many.

    He heads down the narrow hallway toward the restrooms at The Chic Bar, keeping one arm on the wall for balance. At the end of the hall there are two metal doors, both labeled only with a fancy stick figure. He scratches his head. The figures look nearly identical, especially with his fuzzy vision. He turns his head sideways, but it doesn’t help.

    Decisions. Decisions.

    With no time to waste, he shrugs his shoulders and proceeds.

    Sudden, loud screams don’t help his throbbing head.

    *****
    The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine. http://flashfictionmagazine.com/larrylaforge100words/2015/02/02/restroom-signage/

    • TanGental

      what’s a jello shot? Here the get drunk of choice is the jaeger bomb or so my kids tell me. Neat tale well told too.

      • rllafg

        Geoff – A jello shot is a drink in which some type of liquor (could be anything) is combined with a gelatin desert and chilled in a small container. Of course, I only know about this through painstaking research. I’ve never actually had one.

      • TanGental

        Thanks Larry – sounds utterly deadly, and rather disgusting!

      • Charli Mills

        Leave it to Americans to spike the jello!

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      Love the details here Larry, from the jello shot itself to the narrow hall, metal doors and stick figures of “The Chic Bar” … the contemporary lounge as setting for our post-modern industrial-chic disorientation.

    • Charli Mills

      I laughed before I even got past the title! I’ve been to fancy restaurants that present such artsy-fartsy door art as to completely baffle either gender. Worse are the men’s/women’s bathrooms!

    • Annecdotist

      Never had a Jell-O shot and still manage at times to walk into the wrong room when cold sober, too much in a hurry I guess.

    • Charli Mills

      I’ve been crawling my way down! I’ve come to look forward to Mary’s story each week the way my great aunt used to savor her lunch-time soap opera!

      • TanGental

        Great nuts, eh? Now there’s a topic. I always loved PG Woodhouse and The trouble with aunts.

  14. TanGental

    Hi Charli, I’ve read my way up the comments; some great takes tis week. Then I reached Ramona and her deposit which, as my mind does, takes me back to a disgruntled employee who left after a few years of moaning about one partner in particular. She was in charge of conducting exit interviews in our group and badgered him to complete a form. Finally he said he’d leave something on her desk. The next morning it was the talk of the office: the small turd sitting neatly wrapped in the exit interview form.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! That’s one way to leave an impression. He didn’t have trouble expressing how he really felt. 😀

  15. nicky torode

    The Number 59

    Half listening to the fading tones from the radio, she drifted into sleep. Woken by the seven o’clock pips, she opened her burning eyes. Stuffing her notes into her rucksack, she headed for the door, missing her step. Double shot today she thought. A hammering in her ears and threads swimming before her eyes unsettled her. She got on the 59, the bus in the news story. Urgent screams in a foreign language followed by ratatat of gun fire . Her body tensed, she dropped to the floor. Student, 30, alive after bus killing spree, the newsreader had announced.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Nicky!

      We go about our days expecting the same routines, caught in the isolation of headphones, music, patterns of the mundane. Then something utterly horrific. You use foreshadowing which is an amazing feat in 99 words, and it works well by adding a certain staccato to the pacing.

  16. tallypendragon.com

    Here’s my offering for this week – running late as usual, so the post will follow:

    And Friend Came Too!

    It always feels weird! But I’ve never been further than fifty years before, and never with a very large wolfhound in tow – his name is Friend, and I have the feeling he will be accompanying me for a while to come from now on. This being his first time travel experience he’ll have nothing to measure it against. As for me? Well, read on …

    When I open my eyes everything’s dancing. I’d say I am disorientated, only I’ve never been to 1st century Roman Judaea before, so what–.

    “You must be Merlin! I’m Anna, and we’ve been expecting you!”

    Brightest Blessings to ALL on this snowy, cold but bright (at the moment!) and relatively cheerful day,

    Tally 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      That’s okay, Tally — late is the fashion of the day! It’s been an odd one in Idaho and perhaps around the world! 🙂 I’ll link your post when you are ready! Love the addition of a wolfhound! My friend had a wolfie and she was the biggest sweetest dog ever. Disorientation seems to be a great “vehicle” for Merlin’s story!

      • tallypendragon.com

        Here it is at last! A very short one this week!

        http://wp.me/p4rcRJ-ox

        Yes, Friend is rather magnificent. He turned up out of the blue with Francesco on the Ostian Way as Merlin sat under his tree in the moonlight. Strangely, the scene this flash foretells is exactly the point where the last Merlin scene in Part One ends, and I hadn’t even really thought about it let alone written it, so the prompt was, as always, timely … 🙂

        In my considered opinion, we ALL deserve a pat on the back this week. Our flash lineup is a marvellous read! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        It was a back-patting week, a good show! It’s good that the prompts are doing their job to tickle creativity to move our bigger projects forward, too. I like the addition of Friend! I’m going to go from my bog to yours, now. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      An amazing post, Anne! Really made me think about what it is that you offer your readers in your reviews. And your flash was sharp writing! I made a note to mention the book give-away in tomorrow’s post!

    • Jeanne Lombardo

      This is what the craft is all about. Brilliant. I still feel like I am falling. I can taste the grass in my mouth. Going back for more.

    • Charli Mills

      I’ve been all over the ranch today except for this corral so I’m even later! Cheerleaders…I’m intrigued!

    • Charli Mills

      Glad you are on the up side of technology! I’m the one late and now late getting dinner! 🙂

    • C. Jai Ferry

      Ack, so talk about disorientation! I thought the cut-off time was 5 PM PST on Tuesday…ummm, oops!

      • Charli Mills

        C. Jai, this buckaroo is often late to the barn! You made it! 🙂 The time stamp is more for me, to remind me to get at this earlier in the day before I wander off on my horse, chasing daisies and butterflies. Plus, I’m happy to add late stories if I do post early and take you all by surprise!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s right, Nebraska Cowgirl! We know how to slide under barbed-wire with our boots on, don’t we? [waves back, arriving late to one’s own ranch]

  17. Jeanne Lombardo

    Irene, great flash on a different kind of fog. Poignant and terrifying. The kind of fog that may completely swallow us up some day. A permanent disorientation we dread!

  18. TanGental

    mad or in control; masterful Irene

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Birthday Party | Fiction As Life - […] January 28, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about disorientation. A character could…
  2. Carrot Ranch Roundup #5 | Larry LaForge 100 Words - […] Current prompt. […]
  3. 99 Word flash fiction: Disoriented | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] In response to Charli’s prompt: […]
  4. Clearing confusion – reading and writing for the masses | Norah Colvin - […] at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills is talking about disorientation and has challenged writers to In 99 words no…
  5. Out of it | TanGental - […] In case of doubt I revert to Monty Python; this is a vet based sketch that ends with these businesses…
  6. Cheerleader Spirit | Sarah Brentyn - […] January 21 Prompt: Disorientation (Write a story about disorientation) Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]
  7. Welcome To The Jungle | A View From My Summerhouse - […] but I found some writing inspiration too, thanks to Guns ‘N’ Roses, for Charli’s flash fiction prompt of ‘disorientation‘…
  8. When Memory Lane is Too Blurry for a Stroll | C. Jai Ferry - […] that time again — Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge. I unfortunately did not get to participate in…
  9. Cheerleader Spirit | Lemon Shark Reef - […] January 28 Prompt: Disorientation (Write a story about disorientation) Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]

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