February 11: 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.

February 12, 2015

February 11An engine lurches and mutters to a halt. It’s so dark outside, the night is like obsidian, but I see dim headlights and a bobbing flashlight as a man tries to open the hood to the engine of his logging truck. The Hub puts on shoes and a jacket to go outside and help a stranger broke down in the night.

My friend is a retired Navy photographer. She tells people she had it easy. “Not like you,” she says to the Army soldier seated in front of her. He’s completed two tours of duty in Iraq and is reluctant to admit he has trouble sleeping. My friend pokes acupuncture needles in both his ears to reduce “stress.” No one mentions the P-word that can mar a soldier’s career. Yet the auricular acupuncture offered regularly, helps. My friend volunteers every other Wednesday at Fort Snelling and has not missed a day in seven years.

I hired a dynamic young woman to take over the education and outreach at my organization. At her first community outreach meeting, which she would take over eventually, she listens to a donation request made by the friend of a woman who is pregnant and battling breast cancer. “Please, can the co-op help her buy some healthy food.” I look over at my new hire and know I made the right choice. Tears stream down her face as she nods, yes.

Online, I follow a local social media group for news on jobs or postings for trades. A woman posts the comment, “I have a question please. Am I the only one on these Facebook sites that finds it offensive when people sadly have a tragedy in their lives.” I want  to answer, I hope you are the only one! How can another person’s tragedy be offensive? Why is it, not all people can feel compassion.

What is compassion?

Although my handy-dandy (American) dictionary defines compassion as “sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of another or others” it also defines pity with the same phrase. However, the important differentiation is that compassion is  “accompanied by an urge to help” whereas pity “sometimes connotes slight contempt because the object is regarded as weak or inferior.”

To me, the woman with the question felt pity for “people [who] sadly have tragedy” because she felt contempt for how they asked for help or handled their donations. A person in need is not an inferior human. Even a person who makes mistakes or misjudgements or lacks compassion (like this woman with a question) is not inferior.

Compassion is kind. It is merciful. It is loving. It is not withheld for the privileged few. It can even extend to horses and peat moss and all of life.

Rough Writers, Norah Colvin and Anne Goodwin, introduce us to two words that extend from compassion. Weltschmerz: “world pain” or the grief we feel at how the world keeps falling short of our expectations.   Meliorism: having a belief that the world can be improved by the actions of humans. Anne sums up the interaction of the two words:

“Both are useful: weltschmerz enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong and meliorism driving us to try to do something about it.”

That is what compassion looks like in action. Yet, another compassionate action is taking hold — #1000Speak. It is a call for 1000 voices blogging for compassion on February 20. When I think of compassionate bloggers, I think of another Rough Writer, Ruchira Khanna who writes an inspirational blog with daily mantras at Abracabadra. Imagine a concerted effort by bloggers in one day to write with words that make a difference in the lives of others!

This is what it looks like in a video created by Tamara Woods who encourages us to “break the internet with compassion”:

So this week we will tackle stories that reveal compassion. In addition to our compilation, I will link to it in my own #1000Speak post on February 20. When spreading your own stories or posts, use the hashtag for greater visibility.

February 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that demonstrates compassion. You can explore weltschmerz (enabling us to care enough about what’s wrong) and meliorism (driving us to try to do something about it) if you want to explore those specific terms. Consider posting on February 20, too.

Respond by February 17, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Her Worth by Charli Mills

The old mare hung her head low, lips quivered above grass-forsaken dirt, ribs protruded beneath a swayed back. She was broken.

“How much you want for her,” asked the Fed Ex driver.

A lean cowboy scrawled his signature for his box. “That nag?”

“That our wine?” A beautiful woman stepped out onto the deck.

The cowboy winked at the Fed Ex man. “There’s a beauty worth buying.”

“Can’t afford that one. How much for the horse?”

He knew his boss would ask how a starving mare got into the back of his van, but already her ears had perked.


Ranch-keeping for Rough Writers: I’m working on how to communicate my ideas for the collaboration. Bear with me as I seek my words. And, I can use an Amazon widget for the bookstore, but it’s an affiliate thing so I’m trying to verify that I would be helping you in book sales, not robbing you! That would be embarrassing to this buckaroo. But I like the idea of populating the page with the ability to purchase the books rather than link to Amazon. Is there anyone with a preference or who is not selling on Amazon?

Look for my first Rodeo post tomorrow! I purchased a real bull-riding photo (as if that’s going to help my cause for publication). Of course, I still believe in me lucky charms if you care to step over Elmira Pond Spotter and take a peek at my peat.

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  1. Sherri

    What a beautiful message. And your flash made me cry…

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks and yeah, it made me cry, too! Ive seen too many people not care when the grass dries up.

  2. TanGental

    Well you know I love the 100 voices idea so this is SPLENDID! I’m also with Sherri on the poignancy of your flash. ‘Can’t afford that one’ – too expensive to keep, to buy, to deal with emotionally – so many possibilities in a simple gruff dismissal. To do this justice I think I might look beyond Mary this week. She could do with some compassion but… Let’s see.

    • Charli Mills

      I figured this would be a willing crowd and you wrote about 1000 voices, too. Aw, have compassion on, Mary!

      I like that flash teaches us how saying less can often be more. Thanks fr reading int that gruff dismissal.

  3. susanzutautas

    Your flash made me feel so bad about the horse but happy that she’d more than likely be taken care of and fattened up. Shame on those people for letting her get so bad!

    • Charli Mills

      Some people lack the compassion (and common sense) yet they have a fit when PETA shows up. I like the happy ending that she gets “delivered” elsewhere.

    • Charli Mills

      Compassionate neighbors indeed! All we need to do is look around to find ways to be compassionate! Beautiful flash!

    • TanGental

      Susan, that is lovely. I read something called the Kindness Blog from time to time and sometimes stories like this one leap out. It does reinforce my faith in human kind

    • lucciagray

      Lovely flash. The idea of good deeds being annonymous is healing in itself. The giver expects nothing in return, not even a thank you, because the giving has no strings attached. On the other hand, the receiver is also liberated. I often feel unconfortable when I’m thanked for helping someone, and I’m not sure why. Does compassion turn into pity?

      • Charli Mills

        Interesting observation. I think an expression of gratitude is healing though, although the giver might feel awkward at being noticed because that wasn’t the intent. But there’s humanity in sharing that compassion and gratitude without any further expectations. It’s expectations that create a burden, I think.

  4. Annecdotist

    Lovely post, Charli, and fine example of compassion in your flash. Thanks also for linking to my post.
    The comment from your Facebook group made me smile, as if the person experiencing the tragedy is guilty of bringing it on themselves – and contaminating others by mentioning it. I do wonder, however, whether she’s someone who has had too much of a responsibility to care for others in her life, perhaps from a very young age, which could make her feel overwhelmed when hearing about others’ needs. I think it’s difficult to feel genuine compassion unless and until we’ve had it shown to us and, if I have time, I’m hoping to post about self-compassion for the 20 February compassion splurge. (As for my flash, I have no idea as yet what form it will take.)
    Regarding the Ranch housekeeping and the links for book sales, as a reader, I don’t buy from Amazon so wouldn’t follow that link. However, when my novel is published, it will be purchasable from there. Don’t really know how I’ll handle that but probably with a range of options to sellers from my own website. But to ask you to do that for all Ranchers would be far too complicated. What about each individual supplies you the link they prefer?
    Given the work that you are putting into this, and the fact that presumably sales via your site would be additional to those that authors get from elsewhere, I don’t think you’d be robbing people if you received dividends via the Amazon affiliate widget. If it makes you uncomfortable you could always find some avenue to plough it back into the collective. Probably wouldn’t be that much money anyway, would it?

    • Charli Mills

      That’s an insight I hadn’t considered — that the woman with a question might actually be a woman feeling overburdened with care-taking responsibility. Finding compassion seems easiest when we think we understand what is at stake.

      Thank you for the feedback on the bookstore. I do like the ease and look of the widgets, but I’ll let each writer provide their preferential links. Amazon takes such a big chunk from writers…And no, I think affiliates make pennies. I’ll figure out an “elegant solution.”

    • TanGental

      First up, I like the notion of self compassion and look forward (don’t I always) to your post Anne.
      As for sales I have sold through Amazon both ebook and paperback, as much to learn how. I think that because so many people are kindle readers Amazon is inevitable. Where do you source yours? All paperback? How can I get you mine?!!! Send you one! Using createspace for the paperback version to be complimentary to the e-version means it is expensive to have it available to bookshops. I’d need to sort out another printer for that but I’m not sure I want to carry the costs of a print run. I need to do more research I think. Smashwords has been useful to make the book available through Barnes and Noble and for Kobo but I haven’t looked recently to see about sales that way (if any).

      • Charli Mills

        This summarizes complexities and disconnections that exist just because of competing book markets that don’t necessarily serve the reader or the writer. Amazon is the biggest market but I can list all links here. I just want to do it a way that doesn’t look like a flea market!

      • TanGental

        Absolutely with you, Charli; and with your prompts it would be a flea circus anyway… moving on Tangentially do you know The Flea by John Donne? One of the most beautiful and wacky love poems ever and written 400 odd years ago..

      • Charli Mills

        I actually know that poem! The older a poem is, the more likely I know it. Get up to Shakespeare’s time and my interest wanes up until Mary Oliver and Sherman Alexie and Maya Angelou.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        When we did our anthology we used Lulu and linked it to Amazon. It gave us print on demand at what we thought was a reasonable price so people could order it either direct from us, allow us to put it in bookstores or people buy from Amazon. It would probably still be reasonably expensive to give out free copies or to purchase enough to put in lots of shops. When I was about to publish I had allocated enough money to buy 200 books . Hope I still have it by the time I get around to doing it.

      • TanGental

        I used Lulu for a few copies of something I did for the family. It was pretty good quality too.

      • Charli Mills

        Good idea to look into! I’ve ordered books through LuLu for genealogy research and the quality has been good.

  5. paulamoyer

    Great, timely prompt, Charlie. And lovely flash.


    By Paula Moyer

    Sunnie couldn’t take it anymore. True, Jean disregarded her homework. She sassed. But Jean was little. Watching Mrs. O’Brien drag Jean out of class hurt.

    “I can’t stand it!” Sunnie cried inside.

    The next day at recess, Sunnie began conspiring. “We need to stop this,” she said over and over. Finally two classmates agreed.

    During spelling class with Mrs. Pearl, Sue said, “Mrs. Pearl, Mrs. O’Brien isn’t fair.”

    Sunnie spoke up. “She’s always mean, but she picks on Jean more.”

    Annie then said, “That’s right. She picks on Jean.”

    Mrs. Pearl listened, then said quietly: “I need to know.”

    • Charli Mills

      This flash makes me think of the adage, “it takes a tribe.” And, having just read Anne’s comment that in order to feel genuine compassion, we need t be shown it first. Jean is being shown compassion by her peers. Sad, though, that the school bully is a teacher.

      • paulamoyer

        All true — thanks, Charli!

    • TanGental

      Such a good message; real piece of ‘if not now,when’. Great Paula

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Just goes to show that if you work together as a team you can achieve great things. It also shows that it pays to tell people as they can be blind to things which are obvious to others.

    • lucciagray

      Wonderful flash. Often adults, not only children, tolerate abuse, and even come to think it’s normal, so they can’t help themselves. It’s a great idea to ‘gang up’ to help someone who can’t help themselves. I’ve often seen this happen, as a teacher.

  6. Amber

    That horrible cowboy! Thankfully the horse is getting a more compassionate home. You did a wonderful flash, what a great way to show that animals need compassion too.

    You bring such great examples and scenarios in your posts leading up to the prompts each week. As for this #1000speak, it’s is a great way to get everyone’s voices out there and spread the message. I was asked to participate, and I agreed, but I am a little freaked out as the date approaches. I can’t wait to see what you post on the 20th, it will be brilliant I am sure! 🙂

    Let’s see what I can come up with as my flash this week…

    • Charli Mills

      I was thinking back to the days when ranches, homesteaders and the army let their horses run “wild” with a yearly round-up to bring in the ones they wanted to break or ride. In years of drought, they’d die off in huge numbers and I recall Nevada cattle ranchers talking about it like it was a natural thing. After all, they are “just horses.” Or dinks, hay-burners, nags, swaybacks, jugheads…it’s amazing the number of negative names that diminish the worth of a horse. Some people get hard up around here and their animals starve before the grass grows again. So I thought up a character who might care enough…

      Don’t be freaked out — you’ll be surrounded by a 1000 other voices just as caring as you are! I think on the whole February 20 is going to shine! You got depth, chops and you’ve got this! 🙂

      • Amber

        That is horrible. It really irks when you hear stories of mistreated animals. If you just stop and look them in the eyes (the animal) you can see they have personalities and feel things too.

        Thank you! It will be neat to see and read all of the different voices that day. I love that you’ve tied the prompt this week towards compassion, so for the ones who aren’t “participating in #1000speak, they still get a chance to shine through the Rough Writers.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m also want to show that literature has a powerful voice, and with the stories already coming in — wow — powerful stories that examine compassion from many angles!

    • TanGental

      Thing is Amber don’t be intimidated. It’s the same as here. No one is out to judge you. It doesn’t have to be Pulitzer quality. Please do post and just add to the weight of people recognising compassion on the 20th.

  7. Sarah Brentyn

    Love this prompt. Beautiful flash. I’m so happy for that fictional horse I can’t even… There are just too many ways to write about compassion, too many angles, that I don’t know where to start. Or end. Let’s never end. I’ll try to keep 99 words for this one, though, and have been planning on the 20th for some time now. <3

    • Charli Mills

      Horses are intelligent, both thinking and emotional. The emotional intelligence comes from being predators that thrive in a a herd. Yet we tend to own horses in singles, pairs or small groups. Put two horses together and the establish the “boss mare.” In their intelligence and emotion, they genuinely like human companionship. So people who can’t see a horse beyond a grass-eating tool are missing out on so much!

      Yes! So many angles to take. I’m excited for the flash fiction because of that and I think it will be a great addition having a literary offering on February 20.

    • TanGental

      Not sure if this will come through
      It’s from the BBC autumn watch (go to their facebook page if this doesn’t work) It shows a horse using a stick to break ice to get a drink.
      Looking forward to Brentyn on compassion; I’m sure we will laugh and cry together.

      • Charli Mills

        Horses are so intelligent! After our mares escaped we brought them back through a double-gate. The younger mare would hang out by that gate, looking at it, I swear, to figure it out! Three mornings later I woke up to her using her lips to unravel the chain! I then padlocked the chain! Smart ponies, indeed!

      • TanGental

        The New Forest ponies mastered walking across cattle grids so they had to change them all from square flat-sided metal beams to revolving circular poles at large expense back when I was a lad.

  8. Rebecca Patajac

    The littlies are awake so I can’t say much, but this is such a wonderful motion and your prompt gave me goosebumps. I am always affected by those who care and fight for animals and innocents. Beautiful.

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, the cherubs are awake! You feel true compassion! I’m looking forward to what you write (when the little ones are asleep)!

  9. Pat Cummings

    Once again, your challenge speaks to an issue I was already thinking about! (You’ve got to stop peeking into my skull, Charli!)

    My flash is contrarian this week: Compassion Disjunction is at http://goo.gl/ouFV1U

    And just for the Rough Writers (and Readers), it was the notice of the death of CBS reporter Bob Simon that prompted my own compassion disjunct.

    • Charli Mills

      Hee, hee…it my new app…Pat’s Skull…:-) I do like the moments when it all aligns, but I think it is part of the group synergy we collectively create. I think the Rough Writers could be an eco-solution !

      Your flash captures that hiccup we’ve developed in modern society. Often we are so desensitized, be read through horrific headlines as if it were the norm, yet we coo and weep over cute cat videos.

      I’m pondering your post, too and considering the role of humor. That’s a good point for discussion.

    • susanzutautas

      Pat, I tried to get to your flash but I’m getting a message that I don’t have access to see it from my blogger account. I’ve never gotten this message before….. hmm

      • susanzutautas

        Found that if I just click on your name rather than the link I was able to get there :). Great Flash! I laughed when I hit the last line of your story.

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks for the link alert. I fixed it!

    • TanGental

      Bloody hell, Pat that is so spot on. It p***es me off when I can snivel at a stupid RomCom (never let me watch Love Actually without tissues) and yet I can be hard headed and hearted at this constant diet of egregious loss of life. Brilliant

    • lucciagray

      Great flash. It makes you think about what it takes to make a person react to sufferng and injustice. Is there just too much of it in the media, so we become insensitive? Was it the cats, or was the accumulation of suffering the straw that broke the camel’s back?

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Kalpana! That’s a sweet story about animals and compassion. Thank you for contributing to this special week!

    • TanGental

      Poignant and captured perfectly; welcome to Charli’s little oasis of mad… oh and peace.

    • Charli Mills

      Turns out you write smart when stupidly excited! If those you love can take it, you might want to maintain the demeanor. Absolutely brilliant writing! Embracing the Individual is a stunner!

      • TanGental

        My theme for the 20th…

  10. Pete

    Sole Mates

    “Yo Marcus, what is on your feet?”

    Marcus shrugged. His white socks glowed under the filthy pair of shoes. He got a few laughs as he did a dance and found his seat.

    “Yo, check it out,” someone said. Clinton plodded sheepishly to his desk, his steps pronounced by a shiny pair of Lebron James sneakers.

    Marcus smiled, yesterday he’d watched the snickering and pointing over Clint’s split and frayed Nike’s. Then last night he tried to put himself in Clint’s shoes. And minutes ago, when he he’d found Clint whimpering in a bathroom stall, that’s what he did.

    This was based on a story I read a few weeks back. Here’s a link to it:


    • Charli Mills

      Powerful story! I’m glad you were moved by the article and able to articulate it int a flash. Awesome!

  11. Pete

    Here it is without the he/he’d hiccup…

    Sole Mates

    “Yo Marcus, what is on your feet?”

    Marcus shrugged. His white socks glowed under the filthy pair of shoes. He got a few laughs as he did a dance and found his seat.

    “Yo, check it out,” someone said. Clinton plodded sheepishly to his desk, his steps pronounced by a shiny pair of Lebron James sneakers.

    Marcus smiled, yesterday he’d watched the snickering and pointing over Clint’s split and frayed Nike’s. Then last night he tried to put himself in Clint’s shoes. And only minutes ago, when he’d found Clint whimpering in a bathroom stall, that’s what he did.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, that was a tough one to see because the line split between the double words. Good catch! I fixed it on FB and that’s what I use for the compilations. Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m working on mine, too! Off to read your story!

    • lucciagray

      That’s a very sad flash, Anne! All alone at the theatre, and pretending nothing’s happened. I think they need to talk. I’m sorry, but her memory, which is no doubt biased in any case, wont be enough to keep them together. On the other hand, Valentine’s Day, is just a day, one day, there 364 more in the year…

  12. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    I love this post Charli. Awhile back I read a post that was highly critical of compassion and empathy declaring it all to be false. I argued the point with her for awhile and sadly gave up but I’m with you and 1000 speak that as bloggers if we all showed compassion and tolerance we could change the world.
    Your flash is superb. I’m so glad the horse went to a better home and the horse knew it. I’m sure they can sense kindness.
    As to your question I haven’t an answer. It probably depends how people have published them but most would have links to Amazon even if only kindle. If I was self publishing I would use lulu and link to Amazon for various reasons and then sales could be made directly or via Amazon but I haven’t as yet got a book in your/our bookstore. How exciting.
    Read the prompt today and no need for thinking cap. Went straight off and wrote. Could have done numerous but here is the first one committed to paper (so to speak).


    • Charli Mills

      I’m not sure I could believe that compassion or empathy are made up. I’ve felt it and it has stopped other emotions in their tracks. Unfortunately, it is a feeling and not one that everyone can easily tap into. Anne made the point about a person having to be shown compassion to show it to others. I also think we have to have it for ourselves, too. Like the compassion to accept our faults or missteps. Thank you for your feedback on the book links. You flash is absolutely beautiful!

  13. lucciagray

    Your flash was great, Charli, and so were all the others I’ve read, and commented on. All so varied and thought-provoking 🙂 Here’s my take on compassion. I’ll be putting it on my blog later on.

    I closed the storybook.
    “The writer depicts a poor, hungry, and frightened little match girl with bare head and naked feet in the snow, lighting matches to keep warm, before finally dying while sitting against a wall on the pavement.”
    “That happened a long time ago, Mrs. Smith. It doesn’t happen anymore.”
    I turned on the projector.
    “The journalist was killed after watching a little baby’s horrific death. She saw shells, rockets and tank fire during the massacre.”
    “Wars are different.”
    “It’s never different. It’s the same over and over; greed, hate, violence, suffering, and worst of all…. indifference.”

      • Charli Mills

        And here it is! I’ve linked it on the Facebook Page and that’s what I use t curate all the responses. Thus updated! Thanks!

    • TanGental

      Yep indifference is the key. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. True today as when Burke said it first 250 tears ago. Lovely flash.

    • Charli Mills

      Lots of diversity coming in! Thanks for sharing yours, and update me anytime with a link to your blog. What a point to your story! History does repeat itself where there is no compassion. Your story also shows the power of literature to teach and provoke. I hope that’s what we are doing with these flash fictions on compassion!

  14. rllafg

    Coffee Break by Larry LaForge

    Robert scooted from his early morning sociology class to the coffee shop downtown.

    Turning onto Main, he spotted someone sitting on the corner holding a crude cardboard sign: A FRIEND IN NEED. He watched as many passersby nodded with sympathy but generally avoided eye contact. Some folks tossed coins into the box without missing a step as they continued on.

    Robert checked his pocket for cash, entered the cafe, and ordered two large coffees to go.

    “Cream and sugar?” Robert asked as he plopped down next to the vagrant.

    They talked for two hours about sports, weather and politics.

    The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine: http://flashfictionmagazine.com/larrylaforge100words/2015/02/15/coffee-break/

    • ruchira

      Loved the take. Sometimes, a personal touch is all they want!

    • TanGental

      Perfect Larry. If only people would.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        People do. 🙂 (Not enough…but they do.)

    • susanzutautas

      Great flash!

    • Charli Mills

      Robert understood the sign! These days, it seems even friends, are friends in need. What I mean is that we have less time to just spend face-to-face and talk, look each other in the eye, smile. But good flash to show compassion takes only time and cream and sugar.

    • TanGental

      Oops wrong link. It takes us back here. Charli can you help?

      • Charli Mills

        It’s updated!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m struck by your consistent messages that are steeped in compassion and know that your books are, too! Great flash!

  15. Norah

    This is a great post, Charli. I really enjoyed reading your stories of compassion, which can be expressed in many different ways.
    #1000Speak is a great initiative and I’m pleased that you are backing it with your challenge this week. That will certainly make us all think, and hopefully, act a little more about it, for a while at least.
    Thank you for the mention and linking back to my post on meliorism. It certainly created quite a bit of discussion at the time.
    I love your flash. Even a horse needs compassion. Perhaps if we are unable to feel compassion for any creature that is suffering, we may struggle to feel compassion for others who are suffering.
    I enjoyed the video. It was interesting to hear so many thoughts about compassion. Thanks for linking, and getting us thinking. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      There is so much diversity and I think literature is a powerful way to demonstrate that. I imagine that each blogger will have a specific take or topic for compassion, so to have a compilation of many varieties of its expression is an exciting contribution! Thank you for always leading us in learning with new words and ideas. This is a good group for furthering ideas and turning them into meaningful writing. I’m glad you felt compassion for my horse character! Glad to be part of the linking and thinking! 🙂

      • Norah

        I agree and can think of nothing else to add! 🙂

      • Charli Mills


  16. Norah

    These stories are amazing Charli. What a wonderful prompt and a wonderful variety of compassionate tales. Well done! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      The compassion rolling in is amazing!

    • Charli Mills

      That’s your title! Ha, ha! At first I thought you meant no one should have it coming because you forgot to post your link! 🙂 Especially when the topic is compassion!

      Loved your post and your flash!

  17. tallypendragon.com

    I can’t quite believe I’ve got mine in before the deadline this week – always supposing I remember to press the “post comment” button! Here’s the flash:

    Merlin Learns a New Way

    Anna thought and worked quickly, stanching the flow of blood with a cord around the man’s leg, patching up the gash the falling masonry had made, and being sure that he was safe, in mind and body, before moving on through the mass of poorer dwellings all huddled together like shy schoolgirls.
    “Next time you can do the healing, Merlin!”
    “Did you think yours was to be a watching ministry while you’re with us?”
    “But surely healing’s for women.”
    “Healing’s what the ministry’s all about, whether you’re man or woman, Merlin. Get used to it, or go home!”

    … and here’s the link to the post:


    Happy pancake day to ALL … oops, I mean Happy Shrove Tuesday to ALL 😉 and Brightest Blessings, as always,
    Tally 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Compassion has sparked stories this week, that’s for certain! I like this scene where Merlin is learning that healing is not just women’s work. What is pancake day? 😀 Blessings (and pancakes) in return!

  18. Sarah

    I love your different stories of compassion. It can look so different, yet all comes back to the same concept. I feel sorry for (maybe pity is the right word?) the woman who is offended when people share personal tragedy. How sad that she would get to the point of putting her offence out there for strangers to see. Where must she be in her life to post something like that?

    Compassion is such a big topic, I posted something somewhat lighter, about compassion in a relationship. https://fictionaslife.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/the-same-fight-every-night/

    • Charli Mills

      I could write an entire post on how odd this community is from the extremely wealthy to the extremely poor. Many people move here because they believe the economy is going to collapse. Locals don’t mind because it gives them work, digging bomb shelters and building fences. I think this person’s attitude was a declaration of what we see when people make rude comments about the homeless or disadvantaged groups. An attitude of let them be tragic or homeless somewhere else, but not here among our beautiful estates. Ah, but my task in life is to develop compassion for the misguided elite. 🙂

      Yes, it is a big topic and it’s fabulous to see so many different stories. I like the approach you take in yours!

  19. Norah

    Hi Charli, I struggled a lot with this one, but have finally got a little something together. This one certainly took me out of my comfort zone. It’s good to have a stretch occasionally. Thanks http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-p5

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone! I’m still working on my post for Thursday and have struggles of my own. Compassion is complex. 🙂

      • Norah

        Definitely! I hear where you are coming from! 🙂 Is it Thursday? Ohoh! I won’t have mine done by Thursday. I work Wednesday and Thursday. I thought ‘the’ day was Friday. Nevermind. I might just be late for the party. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, no! Not Thursday! It’s Friday! Feb. 20. Sorry to mislead you on the day!

      • Norah

        Phew! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ha, ha! I made it here, too! My poor dog has had three seizures today and in between, my power cord went out (it’s a miracle it works at all with a battery that no longer charges) and this time it took much weeping and gnashing my teeth at my laptop before it suddenly came back on. Whew! The Hub is home now and has the dog and I’m catching up on everyone’s stories of compassion and I’m just blown away. So much depth and diversity. Thanks for showing up! 🙂

      • Sarah Brentyn

        OH no! 🙁 Poor baby. (The dog, not you — although I’m sorry about your cpu.) I hope he is feeling better. <3

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks. She’s sleeping now, which is good. She wiggled her tail when the Hub came home.

    • Charli Mills

      Post up sounds like saddle up! 🙂 Thank, Sherri! Enjoy your pancakes!

      • Sherri

        Haha…yes, it does doesn’t it! A new Rough Writer term maybe… 😀 Thanks Charli…have replied over there…gotta love those pancakes 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It’s like riding a barn sour horse — you learn that the ride is going to pick up speed at the end! 🙂 Glad to have you at the ranch! And if you figure out how to make your life organized and on time, please share the elixir!

      • C. Jai Ferry

        Wow, you’re not kidding about that horse! Just when I got a few steps ahead on today’s to-do list and contemplated getting a jump start on tomorrow’s work, a skunk sprayed the dog. Right between the eyes — and 2 minutes after the store in town closed. That was an experience I was really hoping to avoid. *sigh*

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, no! And once it happens you have to deal with it! Last time our dog got sprayed we had all these mason jars of Aunt Ramona’s tomato juice that no one liked to drink! But worked great on de-scenting the dog (and the Hub because he got caught in the line of fire, too). Good luck!


  1. Getting to the heart of the matter | TanGental - […] Charli Mills has taken us on a  road along which I am happy to follow. Her prompt this week…
  2. 99 word Flash Fiction: Compassion | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] response to Charli’s prompt: February 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that demonstrates…
  3. Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction: Compassion | Rereading Jane Eyre - […] reflects upon the meaning of compassion,  bringing up such definitions such as “sorrow for the sufferings or trouble of…
  4. No one should have it coming… | For the Love of ... - […] a jump start on getting our compassionate juices flowing, February 11, 2015 prompt from over at the Carrot Ranch…
  5. Who cares anyway? | Norah Colvin - […] Ranch is also promoting the project through her flash fiction prompt which challenges writers to: In 99 words (no…
  6. Invisible | Sarah Brentyn - […] February 11 Prompt: Compassion (Write a story that demonstrates compassion) Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]
  7. Compassion: 99 Word Flash Fiction | A View From My Summerhouse - […] in the Christian calendar, it seems to me that Charli has set us the perfect prompt for her Flash…
  8. One Little Boy’s Lesson on Compassion | C. Jai Ferry - […] I am sharing my response to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch weekly flash fiction challenge. This week’s challenge is all about […]
  9. I feel good! | Norah Colvin - […] the #1000Speak for Compassion project and, closer to (my blogosphere) home, the Carrot Ranch with  Charli’s Mills’ flash fiction…
  10. Invisible | Lemon Shark Reef - […] February 11 Prompt: Compassion (Write a story that demonstrates compassion) Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]

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