Shifting Perspectives

Written by Charli Mills

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

July 28, 2015

PerspectiveIt’s a matter of perspective, but to understand the difference is to see different ones compared. And who better to do the comparing than a writer? A writer understands perspective and can use it to differentiate between characters or to add a twist to a story.

And that’s what writers did this week. They wrote to show shifting perspectives. It’s a craft technique that can be used creatively as this collection of short stories will show.

The following is based on the July 22, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that has a shift in perspective.


Home by Ann Edall-Robson

Crimson reds, smatterings of yellow, fading into the blackening sky. Standing in the open door of the log house he watched the sun set over the foothills.

It had not been many years since he’d brought her here as his wife. Hoping she would love the rolling hills and the house he had built for her. She never said it, but he knew she was unhappy.

He would stay on. This had always been his home and in his heart it would always be hers, too.

As he turned to go in, he heard her voice call his name.


The Things That Are Eternal by Paula Moyer

Her last summer in Oklahoma, Jean lived in her grandmother’s guest room. Every moment was so predictable, especially the evenings – this 80-something woman bounding to the door to greet her after work, dinner on the table, and her grace, consisting of a medley of The Prayer of St. Francis and her own supplication: that the dear Lord help us to “discern the things that are trivial from the things that are eternal.”

Jean could hardly wait to move to Minnesota and start graduate school.

Forty years later, that summer glowed in Jean’s heart like a jewel. She had discerned.


Scarred Love Lost by Christina Rose

“Can I talk to him?”

“No… Do not call this house again.” Click.

Carrie felt her face flush, red shame heating her whole body.

What was she doing there? He said she moved out, separated.

A year of empty promises, time and life wasted. Idealistic dreams of what could be, shattered by twenty years of marriage to be worked on.

How could I have been so stupid? He was never going to pick me.

A rude awakening. A reason, finally time to leave and move on. Young, “in love,” easily manipulated. A phase, but one that would leave scars.


Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

The colorful motorcade arrived to cheers. The morning was warm. Nevo kept pace, restraining lively children. No one was to touch the Archduke.

Frenzied hands grasped at the Duchess. The archduke fixed his cuff and leaned close. His lips kissed a wisp of her hair. “They know not what a filthy whore you are, my love.”

The duchess smiled. She stood and all order dissolved. Nevo ordered her down. Their eyes locked.

The archduke never saw the gleam of the blade. Or the vigil held outside his estate. And he–nor anyone else–ever saw the duchess in mourning.


Jewel of a Surprise by Sherri Matthews

“I hate my birthday,” grumbled Jaynee, “something always goes wrong and now you’ve forgotten to book my favourite restaurant.”

“Don’t worry,” smiled Dan, “I’ve got other plans. I’ve hired a boat for the day instead, as a surprise!”

“But I thought that was, well, for another time…”

Moored on the river that afternoon, Dan poured two glasses of champagne, then reached into his trouser pocket for the ring. He dropped to one knee.

“Jaynee…will you…”

Jaynee gasped. A flash of blue on the riverbank caught her attention. “Shhh…don’t say anything. Look, a Kingfisher! This is the best birthday ever!”


Silver Thieves by Charli Mills

“Where’s the silver buried?” Carla snarled at the old woman.

“It ain’t here, Carla.” Vernon stomped his boots, entering the cabin.

Carla shoved the old lady down. “I know you buried it!” Spittle frothed on her lips, rabid. “Bah! Worthless!”

“We’ll be watching you, Old Woman.” Vernon pointed his shovel in her downcast face.

They left and she slowly stood. Silver! If she had silver she wouldn’t live here. She opened the locket they had cast aside. Brass. Tarnished. Inside his eyes twinkled like the greatest treasure she ever knew. Time and thieves would never rob her of love.


Hunger of the Zombie by Bill Bennett

Why are you hitting me in the head? I think.

I do not know.
Since the sickness they try to kill me. I’m not sure why.
The stench of my flock is overwhelming. We eat and gnaw and suckle…. We crave… We hunger… We feast…

Oh my God. They are going to eat us. Why can’t we just get away? Oh God the smell…

The moaning, the locusts are buzzing… my sight is going dim…. I can’t help myself… I eat… Must take my fill… You are my savior…

My gut is full, I must take more… My hunger…


Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

Friends warned me against dating a younger woman, but Julie was thirty, hardly a kid. I thought we’d gelled, but that card she sent afterwards was cruel. Fine if she didn’t fancy me; no need to tell me I’m a hag.

I let her call go to voicemail, yet I couldn’t stop the flutter in my chest when I heard her speak. “Can I see you tonight?”

Narrowing my eyes, I stared at the card anew. The nose became a chin, the narrow lips a necklace, the rheumy eye a shell-like ear. I pressed the green phone-icon. “You bet!”


That’s Not What I Said by Dave Madden

Seagulls calling and piers begging for attention, San Francisco would prove itself a fun day with the wife.

Approximately 10:30 am, I sensed my energy-meter plummeting, and I needed wings: Red Bull.

“I’m going for a Red Bull,” I hollered to Erin who prepared for our concrete adventure.

Almost ready, I waited…

Sluggishly trailing Erin’s lead for a Red Bull, or so I thought; Erin stopped in front of Boudin Bakery.

We hadn’t discussed lunch. “Why did you stop here?” I asked.

“I thought you wanted a bread bowl,” she responded as if I lost my mind.

We laughed…


Priorities of Life by Ruchira Khanna

‘Bills to pay. Miles to go before I breathe my last’ was the constant chant of Chuck.

The family would wait up each weekend to catch a sight of him. Enjoy his company for those 48 hours and then he would disappear into the thick air of Monday to Friday 24 hour work schedule where even his vibes would breathe of physical, mental pressure.

Years rolled by!

His mantra was fulfilled.

He had riches stashed in the bank. Every country in the world marked as visited. But no family around him to enjoy the memories that he created in a jiffy.


One Plant, One Hope; Capture Summer by Jules Paige

The zealously planted raised garden toppled. One was supposed to be able to roll it to where the sun was. Now it sat on the ground. Too late to put holders in for the tomato plants. So they got strung up every which way to keep them off the ground.

Looking a tad stressed, peaked – it was still watered. And hidden amid the leaves yesterday were about six pounds of fruit ripe and ready. Not bad for a suburban gardener. That batch got about six cups of home-made sauce for the freezer.


Perspective by Norah Colvin


They slumped around the table, eyes transfixed on hands clasping coffee cups, bemoaning their lot, each desperate to outdo the other in frustration and despair.

“They just don’t get it.”

“I’ve tried everything.”

“They don’t listen —”

“They’re so rude —“

“In my day we wouldn’t dream —“


They welcomed the kiss of sun upon their cheeks, the freshness of air to their lungs; and breathed as one in wonder.

They found cloud-painted sky pictures, brightly coloured beetles in green grass stalks, claw-made scratches in the rough tree bark; and brimmed with wonder.

and dared to dream …


Pillow Talk by Sarah Brentyn

She walked around the bed, her bare feet silent on the carpet. The quilt, faded mulberry and rose, whispered to her.

It was the pillows. Something about the pillows. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing the thought to return. Pillows…

There were two. Propped against the headboard. Trimmed in lace… Dammit! What was it?

She lifted her hands, grabbing bits of hair and pulling it from her scalp. “I can’t remember!”

The man sat up in bed. “Did you hear that?!”

“I told you,” his wife yawned, “this place is haunted. By that murdered girl. Go back to sleep.”


Refracting One Life Through the Prism of Another’s by Geoff Le Pard

‘This is my niece? Beautiful.’ Rupert smiled, his smile clearly genuine.

Mary hesitated then held out her arms. Rupert took the child expertly. He put a gentle kiss on her head. ‘Thank you, Mary. Sharing your family means a lot. I…’

She put a hand on his sleeve. ‘Shh. It doesn’t matter. Not now.’

He fumbled in his pocket. ‘I’ve been through father’s journals. I found a picture of you and…’

Mary raised her face to him. ‘That doesn’t matter either.’

‘No, not to you. I get that.’ He turned and said to himself. ‘But it does to me.’


Author’s Note: And the title to this post? Abraham Lincoln inspired it thus:

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”


Epifania by A. R. Amore

“Understand,” he rested his hands on his son’s shoulders. “There are wolves in this world and there are rabbits.” A rivulet of blood crossed the otherwise immaculate tiled floor beneath the canvas curtain separating the barbershop from the stockroom. Lifting his young son to avoid the flow, he carried him to the side door. “Wise rabbits never stand between fighting wolves, capisce,” he said opening the door setting him down in the alleyway facing the public bathhouse. “Home now; andare!”

Outside the soldato calmly wiped his hands clean; the boy watched knowing he would not always be a rabbit.


The Gamblers by Larry LaForge

They arrived early for the show and wandered into the casino to kill time. Edna tried desperately to distract Ed.

“Let’s tour the gardens.”

Ed ignored her as he stood before a vacant dollar slot machine that seemed to be calling his name.

“Let’s grab a quick bite.”

Ed opened his wallet, inserted a dollar and hit SPIN.

“Let’s visit the shops.”

The machine lit up, clanking away as it tallied a $1000 payout.

Ed remained surprisingly calm. “Now’s the time to go!” he said while cashing out.

Edna looked on with bug eyes. “Actually, dear, what’s the rush?”


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  1. Sarah Brentyn

    This was a tough one. Loved the challenge — and the results here.

    • Charli Mills

      It was a tough technique to pull off in just 99 words, but it worked! 🙂

  2. Bill Bennett

    It was tough but fun. There is some great stuff here!

    • Charli Mills

      Great writing and a great variety! It’s always fun to read the stories grouped together.

  3. julespaige

    A wonderful variety.
    Thank you all.

    • Charli Mills

      Indeed! Well done, Writers!

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