August 5: Flash Fiction Challenge

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.

August 5, 2015

August 5Dusk dims visibility along the three-mile stretch between Samuel’s and home. I’m watching a rising blue moon over the Cabinets to the east, feeling satisfied from a Friday night fish, chips and clams dinner at the gas station. Best food and fuel around.

The Hub slows down. “Do you see the buck?”

He’s got the gaze of a sniper and the eyes of a 20-year old with perfect vision. He could have been a pilot. Instead he jumped from airplanes, an Army Ranger, then learned to turn wrenches on powerplants that drive aviation. 30 years later and he still has quick reflexes. Without over-braking, he slows down and we both watch the white-tailed buck trot into the obscurity of tall dry grass in low light.

We missed the other buck.

Well, not exactly missed him because we hit him with our red Ford Fusion, our James Bond car if you’ve seen Casino Royale. Neither one of us is licensed to kill anything. True, we have fishing licenses, but we fly-fish with barbless hooks, catch and release. Hitting a deer on the road is deadly for all involved.

As with most accidents, it happened like a flash of lightning. You wonder, was there really just a bolt of white electricity that reached from heaven to earth? Did we really just hit a deer? Did it fly into the air and scramble away? Oh, dear. The car, the insurance rates, the poor animal…is he okay?

Suddenly, dinner isn’t settled in my tummy. I’m sick with grief for the buck. I feel as though I reached out with my own fist and punched it senseless. I feel guilty. Responsible. And I wasn’t even driving. Riding shotgun, I’m often the early warning system, navigating my husband through a series of safety questions. Did you see that turn signal? There’s a curve up ahead, what’s your speed? Are you watching for deer? Moose? Elk? Do really think you can drive like Mr. Bond?

It’s human, this rush of emotion. In fact, it’s even common to want to rescue an injured deer along the road, according to an editor at the Tahoma Literary Review:

“One particularly surprising theme I’ve noticed gaining in popularity is ‘I ran over a deer (or other animal) and have decided to nurse it back to health.’ The idea here (and it’s not a bad one) is to create a metaphor for the protagonist’s desire to rescue his/her life by rescuing another’s. Unfortunately the premise of the story is common enough that an editor may turn it down just on that basis.”

What felt like an exceptional experience, smashing our hood and fender on the rump of a buck, turns out to be nothing more than a commonplace theme that fatigues literary journal editors. Oh…the editor sighs…another struck deer story

But wait, Mr. Bored Editor. I have a gun.

Shock value? Does that get attention? It must. Last week writers ripped stories from the headlines and even common stories were led with shocking titles. It’s become so prevalent, these headlines, that even innocuous stories are using them to get attention. Consider the headline for the woman who makes dinner: “She went to the grocery store, bought food and you won’t believe what happened next!” The reason news headlines stand out is because they rely upon shock factor.

Does that mean our stories, books or novels need to shock? Put the fear of somebody’s god into another? Show gallbladders and guts on the first page? Guilt parents into sleepless nights? Spank a character silly? And all because editors are tired of common themes?

Here’s a thought. Apply imagination. Ultimately writers know how to retreat into both head and heart space, taking with them the everyday occurrences of life, and mixing it into a concoction that includes what-if scenarios, what-should-be-but-isn’t, characters with ability, characters with disability, ideas, emotion, places we’ve been to, and places we’ve never seen except within our own minds and dreams.

It’s not that we need to shock readers; we merely need to surprise them and for a purpose. Offer meaning. Get readers to understand the implications of themes that touch our lives. Really, those common themes are why classics have universal capacity. But authors of such classics have applied imagination. Go deep beneath the surface when you write and find your voice. It will be the one thing you have over a sea of writers all writing about the same things.

Voice will serve you better than shock value.

This week’s challenge is two-fold:

  1. August 5, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write the common premise: “I ran over a deer (or other animal) and have decided to nurse it back to health.”
  2. But before you write, daydream. Do something out of your normal routine for 10 minutes. Go outside, sit and stare into space. Rest in a meditative yoga pose. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Mow the lawn, or do the dishes. Let your mind wander to the story and daydream before you write it.

In the comments, state if this exercise had a profound effect or not. I look forward to your imagined commonplace stories. And as to our buck, we did go back and found no blood or deer. We hope he is merely sore and has an uncommon story to tell his herd. Our car, well, it may get totaled. We find out tomorrow.

Respond by August 11, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

Be sure to check out the updates to the Bunkhouse Bookstore. We have three Rough Writers in the midst of launching novels: Anne Goodwin (Sugar and Snails), Geoff Le Pard (My Father and Other Liars), and Luccia Gray (Twelth Night at Eyre Hall). All three books are worth a read and a resounding yee-haw!


Good With Animals by Charli Mills

“Sylvia, darling, off to the store.” Mae pumped the gas pedal with her worn slipper until the truck engine rumbled. Lights on, she drove the backroads, carefully.

The store was closed. She had no money, anyhow. Mae drove back, watchful for deer. One smashed the front grill and lay panting on the pavement.

“Hush, now. I’m good with animals.” With a winch, Mae loaded the deer and returned home, dragging it to a barn stall of soft hay. She flicked on the light, illuminating hundreds of eyes.

Returning to the house, Sylvia asked Mae, “Did you get cat food?”


You May Also Like…


  1. Charli Mills

    I’m chiming in my process for this flash. I grabbed a cup of tea and took a break on my porch with my phone timer set for 10 minutes. I daydream all the time, but when taking a break to do so I found it difficult! Go figure! I imagined the woeful deer first and his perspective made everything else I thought of feel off-kilter. I started thinking, How does Stephen King write all that horror? Then I thought of a cat lady feeding the deer to her cats. I tried really hard to imagine other things! I thought about a mule train entangling lines after running into a deer herd…about a teenager trying to hide what she did…but always back to the cat lady who now had a companion. Then my timer went off and startled me. I don’t like timers! Have fun this week!

  2. jeanne229

    Too funny…those cat eyes sort of freaked me out too. Have heard lots of these stories from my North Dakota cousins. Goodness! I am glad you and the eagle-eyed hubby are okay. Grabbing a cup of tea now 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Maybe that’s where all the struck-a-deer stories are coming from! We were going slow because of the first buck, but it doesn’t take much to crumple a hood. Remember when we could actually sit on the hood of our parents’ car or truck? Solid steel!

      • jeanne229

        Yes Charli, and remember when a bumper was supposed to protect the body of the car? Guess it’s a good thing for those deer that we prefer aesthetics over strength and integrity….come to think of it, that strikes me as a metaphor for American social values in general these days….fluff over substance….

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, what a metaphor that is!

  3. Sarah Brentyn

    OH my gosh, I am so glad you’re okay. We don’t get many deer here but up in New Hampshire and Maine… They have their own street signs. Just saying.

    Great flash. 🙂

    A story popped into my head as soon as I read the prompt but, then, after my not-quite-10 minute break of cloud-gazing, it completely changed. I had a literal version planned (car hitting bird) and my flash came out instead as a metaphor. Not sure it worked but it was fun to write and I would say that the pre-writing daydreaming had a profound effect, indeed.

  4. ruchira

    I loved that exercise of yours and use that most of the times esp when writer’s block or stressed or tensed over small things. Have a bird feeder in my backyard and boy! I love seeing how birds of all sizes come and how they get access to those seeds in a mutual way (mostly!)

    Will post my take on the prompt soon 🙂

    Glad to read no blood of the deer on your car…am sure he will narrate his take of the story to his herd 🙂

  5. julespaige

    Last Flight

    Too young to know any better – maybe. Thud. I heard it. Now where’d
    the bird go. I pulled over. It’s a myth they say that you shouldn’t handle
    birds and other wild living things. I had a rag in the car and used it to
    pick up the stunned chick. Couldn’t leave it in the middle of the road. I
    could only hope that after the initial shock she’d fly away. So I placed
    ‘er under a bush.

    Checked back the next day. Flies and feathers equals a frown face.
    Local cat had lunch or dinner.


    99 words total.

    My Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction

    Sometimes it’s just not fiction. There’s two words for that. Non-fiction.
    Nature takes it’s own course and sometimes nothing we attempt to
    do will change the natural order of whatever was supposed to happen.

    • Charli Mills

      Sometimes, it’s so hopeful to try any little thing. It’s brave to go back and see if there was yet life. And you’re right — there’s a natural order that often defies our intervention. Maybe we do save this one bird but in general, birds remain vulnerable to so much outside our control and rescue.

      • julespaige

        We had a pair of heron in our area. One of them got caught in a trap, and was taken to a bird sanctuary…but they mate for life. For many years I only saw one on it’s migratory route via our little creek. But I was told by a neighbor that last year she did see two. Maybe a different pair?

        Most Naturalists tell us to leave the wild in Wild. That is the best route.

      • Charli Mills

        The hardest thing for me, as a nature writer, is to stay an observer. However, having grown up in the mountains and worked the land in various ways taught me the wisdom of leaving wild things wild. Somewhere in between there is that coveted balance.

        I have a Blue Heron here, too! A male. He shows up every year once the ice is off the pond, but I see him sporadically because I believe he has a mate and nest elsewhere. After mating and hatching season, he’s on my pond every day. It’s his “man cave.” 🙂 I often wonder, do they mate for life, as in no more mating after the loss of the other, or do they find a new mate after the loss? It’s interesting how easy it is for me to transpose my own human emotions to birds, and “feel sad” when it’s really about my sense of loss and not really about the bird. But that’s also how we, as writers, can find story and metaphor in observing wildlife.

    • jeanne229

      Sad but nature’s way. Last year I tried to save a damaged bird that kept flopping itself into my pool. After the tenth try scooping him out, I left him on the far side of the house. Found him in the pool dead the next morning. Still, our human empathy must count for something…

      • Charli Mills

        I think our human empathy is important to giving value to all life. Yet, again, feeling empathy and acting upon it can become conflicting. When do we help, when do we stand back? There are no easy answers, but the more we understand and interact with wildlife, the better we become at discerning our action.

        There was a local woman who reached out to the community to help her save a group of ducks that she said “someone dumped on her pond.” Her concern was the cold weather and her pond was icing over and she was afraid these poor ducks would freeze to the surface. Well, turns out they were migrating ducks, and they removed themselves from harms way before the pond ever froze. But she honestly didn’t know. Best to get educated, and the best form of education, I think, is the Leopold method of observation.

        I would have scooped out the bird, too (but let the ducks freeze)!

      • julespaige

        I do believe empathy counts.

      • Charli Mills

        And you put it so simply, Jules! Yes, empathy counts. 🙂

      • TanGental

        My daughter, the Vet, was on work experience last week; her boss had a call to a local bird sanctuary where a swan had damaged its wing. The Vet ended up in the back of the van with a swan wrapped in a duvet struggling to get free from her grasp while a a Vizsla puppy tried to lick her to death. I gather she was utterly exhausted but the swan and dog seemed none the worse for the ordeal.

    • Annecdotist

      Reminds me of the birds that now and then crash into our large windows, leaving a ghost of themselves on the pane. It always saddens me, but not much we can do.

      • Charli Mills

        The School of Environmental Studies built a two story glass hall and bird strikes were a concern. They hung holographic silver ribbon in all their windows and it works for keeping the birds away! I’ve heard to can use sun-catchers or even hanging plants, too.

      • julespaige

        I had a bird do that on my picture window. But that one was just stunned and luckily right over the patio so they didn’t fall far.

        (I’ve been away – limited time for return visits… now I attempt to play catch up. Thanks in your visit and patience).

        Tried to see if I could find your post (if) on Carrot by going to your blog…I wasn’t successful. But you are! Good luck with your book! I’ll try to get to back to the Ranch and see if you are there in the comments…

  6. julespaige

    Thankfully I’ve never hit a deer. But we know some folks who have. Some can deal with ‘road-kill’ of all kinds. I’m just back from a trip, more or less and had to catch up on some house chores and lawn mowing. The first thing that came to mind was when bird hit my car. And maybe I should have tried harder to mother it? Maybe that’s why I feed my backyard bird friends…Well not really. I just really like to see them. I only have one feeder.

    I might be back with a fiction piece. But maybe not. 99 words is awful small to pack a big punch. But Charli you managed it. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, that feeling that we didn’t try hard enough. Sometimes it just is no matter how hard we try to make it not so. Lovely, though, to have birds around. My poor birds! I make them work for their food! They want to eat? There’s the garden. Eat grasshoppers and other invading insects. It works, too! Okay, I do feed the hummingbird. He’s special and shares my love of sweets. 🙂

  7. Annecdotist

    Glad you’re okay, Charli, but sorry about the car. What a horrible end to a lovely night out!
    I found your post interesting and surprising.
    Firstly, I don’t think I’ve ever come across any stories about hitting deer, but it’s an important lesson to writers that what we think might be an unusual story turns out to be a fiction cliché. (And thanks for the plug for my novel, which does begin with a shocking incident that I had mixed feelings about in the way that you say here.)
    Secondly, because I might have muddled up the task. I ALWAYS read the prompt and then mull it over for a while, usually overnight at least, and not always consciously but kind of waiting for an idea to emerge (alongside ideas for other bits of writing). So I didn’t fully take it in when I skim-read this yesterday that you wanted us to think for exactly ten minutes. What I’m wondering is whether that ten minutes is MORE or LESS than the time the Rough Writers generally take. I’m always amazed at writing workshops when people begin writing as soon as the prompt is given. I thought my difficulty with this might be that I don’t write easily in public, but it might also be the time factor. After doing my non-NaNo project last year, I’ve discovered that I can write fast and I can write without knowing what’s going to come out, but that was only when I had a sense of my characters and their story.
    So I’m not sure whether and how I’ll do my response but look forward to seeing how others tackle it.

    • Charli Mills

      I was surprised by the cliche, and it was timely given our deer incident. My life must be cliche! 🙂 Unlike Diana’s life, I’m beginning to understand. I have my Kindle copy and it’s high on the soon TBR list!

      I’m interested in process and figure we must be diverse in many ways, similar in others. Time can either push the writing, or hinder it. What surprised me was that I didn’t respond well to deliberate imagination. I’m a spontaneous daydreamer, I suppose. And it’s like that with writing — scheduled writing takes such an effort for me to get into, but spontaneous writing flows.

      • Annecdotist

        Ha, you don’t come over as a cliché at all, you’d be a fabulous character in a novel, but even better that you are real!
        I think I see what you mean now, scheduling a set time to imagine might not really work for me either. But there are certain situations that evoke the right kind of daydreaming (and I’ve now got my deer story) picking redcurrants this morning, but posting it tomorrow.
        For me, it starts spontaneously but then I make a decision to stay with that thought and let it wander, then maybe come back to it a little later. But hard to constrain it to those 10 minutes. Perhaps having missed that opportunity this time, I’ll try it for the next prompt (but even the thought of doing that makes me recoil).

      • Charli Mills

        Funny how constrained imagination doesn’t posses the same spark as constrained creativity! And, that’s funny — yes, I could say I’m a real character! 🙂

  8. A. E. Robson

    Trying to clear your mind for 10 minutes when Sparrows, House Finches and Brewers Blackbirds are yattering near by, is next to impossible. My thoughts finally wondered further afield.
    Soon, the knee-jerk rough draft I had thought would suffice, was manipulated without me really knowing.
    The daydream interlude rule was very enjoyable, Charli. Thanks for including it.

    By Ann Edall-Robson

    “Dad is going to have a fit when he finds out what we did and what we are planning.”

    “I’m the after the fact accomplice in this.”

    “I couldn’t leave the baby to its own devices? I saw fresh bear tracks.”

    “Did you look for its mother?”

    “Some, until I found blood.”

    “I know you would have done the same thing.”


    “Go warm some milk. I’ll wash the bottles.”

    “Will you help me come up with a persuading story to tell Dad why there’s a deer in the barn?”

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for taking (and reporting) on the daydream component! I can mow the lawn and drift so easily into daydreams, but birds will distract me at any given moment! Even if we don’t go with what we thought initially, I believe in the writer’s mind needing that daydreaming time.

      The tension over Dad’s reaction feels palpable, and the reader is left to imagine what it might be!

  9. jeanne229

    And….your challenge this week evoked a real response. Thanks Charli! Here is my flash:

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks! But I would have persisted! 🙂

      • DMaddenMMA

        Charli said it was evocative, and I’d wholeheartedly second that.
        Loved this part:
        “The deer leaped from the hillside, forelegs outstretched, real pretty, like wheat in the setting prairie sun.”

    • Charli Mills

      Your flash, evocative in its imagery and toughened character, conveys that duality of interference. The last line is exactly what I hear and see when I find an animal in distress. Someone used to living off the land, understands that the answer is to pull the trigger. What is it to rescue another? You leave that hanging for us to decide!

  10. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Glad you are okay. Was the car written off? I loved your flash. Here I was thinking she had saved the deer but it was destined to be the food for the cats. Great twist. Interesting to read all the places your ten minutes took you. I was not quite that disciplined. I had a story when I read the prompt, wrote my preamble on Friday night but life got in the way and it wasn’t until today that I wrote it. I didn’t consciously think about it during that time but I know the way my mind works it mulls everything over in the background. I probably thought about it before settling down to write for another conscious 5 minutes and came up with the savers needing to be saved… but then perhaps that is what my subconscious over a much longer time frame had come up with. I will try it with a future one and really think about the effect.

    • Charli Mills

      I love our Geico Insurance Company! They are so hands on, listening and caring. Our adjuster drove all the way to our remote area and was thorough. I went over the car with him. Lots more damage than I thought. He caught all kinds of cracks. But not totaled, nothing structural or hampering its function. Whew! It will be about $3,000 to repair and we have a good shop in Sandpoint, complete with coverage for a rental car while ours goes into the shop. Good endings all around. Why can’t health care work so well in the US?

      It’s so interesting how our subconscious mind is always informing the thinking mind whether we prepare space for it to happen or not. Thanks for giving it a try and reporting your process!

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        Good news with the car. I think it is probably the subconscious mind that is creative, the conscious mind just gets it put on paper.

  11. DMaddenMMA

    My 10 minutes were spent acting as an assembly line, setting up for the new school year. In machine-like fashion, I filled pencil boxes with rulers, markers, pencils, scissors, and glue sticks; loaded up students’ reading/writing tubs with folders, reading notebooks writing notebooks, and Ziploc bags; and packed math tubs with whiteboards, math folders, math notebooks, and place-value charts.

    There are aspects of teaching that can consume my thoughts for hours, without even a flicker of boredom: lesson design, actual work with the kids, or even collaborating with my colleagues. Other aspects of teaching generate wonderings of the life of a garbage man: making copies, preparing materials 34 (technically 35 because I also need a set) at a time, or meetings about who is bringing treats to the next luncheon.

    With the school year revving up next week, it’s a topic that is fresh and has weighed heavily on my mind as of late.

    Here is my 99er. Thanks for the fun prompt Charli!

    • A. E. Robson

      A wonderful way to involve the whole class on the first day. No one left out here – they are all The Team.

    • Charli Mills

      School is fast approaching! School supply sales are going on and I’m still lured in to buy pens and notebooks! It must be fun for a teacher to prepare, too — that sense of newness coupled with the familiar. Interesting that you have lots of mindless tasks, too. It’s like doing dishes or mowing the lawn for me. I’ve read that it’s good to practice mindfulness during rote tasks, but I’m a rebel and believe it’s the perfect time for day dreaming. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your process and your flash!

    • A. E. Robson

      So there is a softer side to Ed.

      I so enjoy getting to know this couple through your stories. Always a good read.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for meditating on it, Larry! Sounds like the initial idea was strong enough to take hold.


    Hi Charli,

    Sorry to have been absent for so long, beginning to feel much better, at last!

    The ten minutes thing worked well for me, gave me the space to think of all the elements I wanted to incorporate and the time to imagine the rest. This is what came out:

    The Bambi Effect
    Sea breezes blew the woman’s hair as the open-top Merc glided into the shadows. Twilight made the man appear handsome. Post-coital bliss clouded his vision, dulled his wits.
    She was out of the car in seconds, once the screeching of tyres and the thud had stopped. “It’s ok, you haven’t killed him. His leg’s broken. We have to get him to an emergency vet!”
    “Are you kidding? Look at my car! Get back in, we’re going!”
    “I so do not want to be having an affair with the man who’d leave Bambi by the roadside to die!”

    I haven’t written the post for it yet – come to that I haven’t written the post for the last one yet either. I’m sure they’ll come out when they’re ready 🙂

    Brightest Blessings to ALL,
    Tally 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      So glad to read that you are feeling better and to have you back at the ranch! Great pacing, the Merc, the dulled wits and then the hit! It’s as if the warm and fuzzy effect wore off and he showed his sharp edges and she her determined softer side. a tad ironic; she’d have an affair but not hurt a fawn!

    • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

      Showed her what kind of man he was. More worried about his car than the deer. Glad your character was strong enough to stick up for herself and Bambi.

    • Charli Mills

      Picking berries is perfect for daydreaming. I often work out many character dialogs over raspberries, though sadly, I missed most of them this year. I’ve heard that the huckleberries are poorly so we probably won’t pick this year. I’d hate to tussle with hungry grizzlies if their berry patches are scant already. Thanks for sharing your process!

  13. paulamoyer

    Hi, Charli, bummer about hitting the deer. I’ll say “hi” to everyone and comment later. Still in a euphoric fog from finishing the first draft of my book Saturday night. Hope I’m not double-posting. Thought I did this last night but I was apparently too sleepy to notice that I hadn’t finished. — Paula


    By Paula Moyer

    Jean and Mike wanted to do right by the deer. Buzzing up I-35 just north of Kansas City, they came out of nowhere. Seemed to. The buck and first doe made it past the car. The second smacked the grill, flipped in the air.

    Mike gripped the wheel, steered forward, remembering: hang on. Don’t steer away. Don’t brake.

    Afterward, he guided the car onto the shoulder. Then they looked for the deer. Nurse its wounds – why not?

    The deer was not there. Three miles of ditch. Then they saw the round, brown bump. Not breathing. Poor deer. Almost rescued.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m so excited for you that you’ve completed your draft! Much better news than a crumpled hood. But it has led to a flurry of interesting stories. I like how you introduce the intent, go back to what happened, and finish up with what was found. Thoughtful structuring for a flash and it works.

      I hope you take time to celebrate your achievement!

  14. paulamoyer

    Thanks, Charli. Yep, Dan and I had a nice dinner.

    • Charli Mills

      Good to hear that!

  15. Norah

    Sorry, Charli. Don’t know how I missed commenting on this one. I must have read it on my iPad and then forgot to comment when back at the computer. I haven’t read the comments yet, so don’t know what news there is about your truck. I hope it was good. 🙂 Sounds like the deer may have escaped relatively unharmed, hopefully. I won’t consider the alternative.
    Your post, as always, provides a lot to think about. I especially like the quote taken from the Tahoma Literary Review about rescuing one’s own life by rescuing that of another. Although death is inevitable, there is always sadness when it comes, especially if we think we have contributed to, or not done all we could to prevent, it in some way.
    Hub has just erected a glass fence around our pool. It looks beautiful. The other morning he discovered a beautiful pigeon dove lying dead at the base of the fence. It had obviously flown into the fence at speed, oblivious of its presence. I was saddened that our fence had been the cause of its death. I hope it won’t be a regular occurrence.
    Many years ago when driving from the east to the west coast of Australia we crossed a very barren and isolated part. There was a lot of roadkill at the sides and in the middle of the road. As we drove along in broad daylight with nothing to be seen except the vast expanse of desert in any direction a beautiful eagle swooped out of nowhere to feast on the carrion right in front of our car. We (I’m not sure now but I think I was driving) hit it and killed it. There was no time to stop. It was just there. How dreadful I felt at killing such a majestic creature that wouldn’t normally stoop so low. I often wonder why it wasn’t aware of us – must have been focused on its food.
    While I admire those who care for creatures that have been injured by vehicles on the road, I’m pleased that I have never been in a position to do so. I don’t know if I would be any use, never having had much experience with animals. So of course, I have adapted your challenge to suit my own purposes, which I am working on at the moment. I’ll be back soon, hopefully, with a link.
    Your flash is great. The store was closed; she had no money, but she managed to get that cat food anyway. All those hungry eyes. I do feel sorry for the deer though. Mae was obviously “watchful” and met her mark. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      As with most situation, I think we project much of our own emotion onto animals. Not to say animals don’t have emotion; I believe they do from experience of living with various pets and ranch animals. But it’s hard to say that we truly understand them and natural to feel responsible when striking one on the road. Our car will be fixed completely and I’m choosing to believe the buck is well.

      Bird strikes are common around windows and glass, although a glass pool wall sounds lovely. I don’t know how you’d feel about bird tape or ribbon but you can decorate your wall with it!

      I read your eagle story on Irene’s post and it reminded me of majestic birds my father hit, but somehow all my mother could ever exclaim was, “A chicken! We hit a chicken!” I don’t know why there’d be chickens on the road. But it is so unsettling to strike something live and magnificent. We drove up the north shore of Lake Superior one spring and there was much roadkill (deer). Yet, eerily, the snow melted, leaving a frozen pedestal that looked like the roadkill was elevated. I’d never seen the like and it was creepy.

      I look forward to your connection!

      • Norah

        I’m so pleased your car will be fixed and I join with you in your wish for the deer.
        If we continue to have bird strikes we will have to consider some solution to the problem, so thanks for your suggestions.
        I responded to your “chicken” comment elsewhere, but it is funny that every bird should be referred to as a chicken.
        The thought of roadkill on a pedestal is a bit creepy. I have never experienced temperatures so cold they would freeze anything, let alone roadkill. It’s hard to imagine.

  16. Norah

    Hi again, I’m back with my response, another episode with Marnie:
    Thanks for the challenge. I’ll be back to read the others later. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, good! Marnie returns!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, no! I’d go with you are a wonderful human being with a huge heart and what happens to critters will happen despite that deep compassion and care!

    • TanGental

      and I should add that I didn’t manage ten minutes before the story; but I will go and sit somewhere and have a little thunk

      • Charli Mills

        Post-writing thunks are valid, too!

      • TanGental


    • Charli Mills

      For all your discomfort, you set a beautiful, thoughtful path among the wildflowers and woods and beneath that watchful eye of buzzards. I’ll gander a guess that you are an extrovert; one best recharged plugged into the presence of people. 🙂

      • TanGental

        I am a shy extrovert.

  17. Sherri

    Hi Charli, here’s mine. Hubby is hungry, been on the road today (as you’ll see) and got to rush, but hope you like this, I had some fun with it. I always go away and day dream, so this wasn’t any different for me. But often, I end up with something quite different by the time I actually sit down to write. This prompt changed ideas for me several times, but I ended up with the original for a change. Hope you enjoy 🙂 And I hope you get your car fixed or replaced asap. Darn nuisance, but yes, glad the buck was okay. I saw two dead foxes by the roadside today, young ones. Always makes me sad to see that 🙁 Loved your flash and the twist…good timing for the cats I guess 😉

    • Charli Mills

      As writers we have so many choices to navigate when we dip into the imagination. Thanks for sharing your day dream process on this one! Sometimes rushing pushes the story idea, too. Car is getting fixed soon. Always sad to see the little ones along the road. I once had a family of geese trying to move the goslings across the highway. I couldn’t watch! About two hours later they were on the pond. Somehow they made it! But the ones that don’t…well, carrion is vital to the food chain.

  18. Charli Mills

    Great photos to go with your flash! I don’t think I’ve actually seen kangaroos grazing and I was surprised to see them bent over to graze the way a deer would.


  1. Raze the Dead | Lemon Shark Reef - […] Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]
  2. Last Flight (Carrot Ranch 8.6 F) | Jules in Flashy Fiction - […] 99 words total. […]
  3. Flash Fiction: Deer Struck | Jeanne Belisle Lombardo - […] I’ve got my excuses for not blogging more. The fallback one is the book I am rewriting for a…
  4. 99 Word Flash Fiction: I’m going to save the kangaroo I ran over. | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] response to Charli’s 99 word flash fiction challenge where she […]
  5. Don’t gloss over glossophobia | Norah Colvin - […] Ranch was talking about a real deer caught in the headlights this week and challenged writers to in 99…
  6. Barking: 99 Word Flash Fiction | A View From My Summerhouse - […] then, for Charli’s flash fiction prompt for this week.  Here it […]
  7. It's a girl! - The Plagued Parent - […] flash fiction challenge for this week at Carrot […]

Discover more from Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading