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September 9: Flash Fiction Challenge

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September 9Sometimes I lose my way.

Another 10 feet above the power pole at the Amtrak Train Station in Sandpoint, Idaho a lone osprey chirrups loudly. With great brown wings and brilliant white marking, he hunkers in a stash of dead sticks that have been his nest all summer. And I’m surprised to find him still there.

It’s only September and he has time, yet. The osprey will be gone by October, and a local tour boat on Lake Pend Oreille has noticed that only a few osprey still straggle around the lake. This osprey can still find his way to a winter home he’s never been to before.

Osprey arrive in April or May to northern Idaho and build up their nests of sticks. Many have platforms such as this one at the train depot. It helps the birds and also prevents the havoc their huge nests can create on power poles, stadium lights and cell towers. It feels like a miracle of nature that the osprey return.

My favorite pair are Iris and Stanley over in Missoula, Montana. That’s because Radio Geek interned with the Montana Osprey Project and managed the social media for them while she worked on her masters in environmental journalism. Here’s her podcasts. Listen to the intro and you’ll hear the chirruping of an osprey. The train depot osprey the Hub introduced me to after discovering him on his route. We visit in person when we go to Sandpoint.

Often when I feel lost, I look up. Maybe it’s perspective, maybe it’s spiritual, but often it helps me orientate. When an osprey is lost does the bird look down?

I worry this youngling is lost. He chirrups but no parents respond. Usually the parents help teach their young to fish after a summer of feeding them trout. I think of them flying off together, one happy family unit. But that’s not necessarily the case.

My own children have flown three different directions. I’m pleased that at least one, Rock Climber, is close to us in neighboring Montana. But she works to river raft and rock climb and we don’t see her often. Frequently she works or plays in places with no cell phone service. Radio Geek has used her newly minted masters to get a job at Michigan Tech as a science writer and often flies to D.C. in time zones off-kilter to mine. Runner is finishing his masters in Wisconsin and his phone speaker broke.

This all culminated in a crisis for me as a mother missing her brood on Sunday. It was Runner’s birthday and I just wanted to hear his voice. No answer to my texts. No daughters available, either. No Kate to call and commiserate with, and I felt lost. Like the lone osprey at the train depot nest, I chirruped loudly.

Rain robbed me of my watering duties and I was so thorough at weeding that I have nothing left to pull. September is the month that empties out the pond and I don’t like how empty I feel in reflection. Yet, I am a writer. A writer not writing. How did that happen? When did that happen?

An invigorating trip to LA, promising projects in the works, confidence in my writing…drought, dying friend, heat waves, death, smoke, forests closed…weeding, watering, Carrot Ranch, weeding, watering…and I got lost on my writing path.

Carrot Ranch is path light and one I’m glad I have otherwise I fear that every word inside of me would have shriveled like pine needles in the flames.

I’m surprised how productive watering and weeding made me feel until the need ended and I couldn’t pull myself back to the page. It’s not writer’s block, it’s more like loss of focus. I had so many projects going and now I can’t seem to get any re-started. I’ve lost my way. I can sit at my desk and cry, hoping a muse drops me a big trout until I feel I can find my own fish, find my own way back to Costa Rica. I can talk to the sticks around me, but nothing’s going to happen until I write, until I unfurl my wings and do with them what I intend.

On the upswing, my son borrowed a phone and called me. Then Rock Climber called with good news that she had time off next week to visit us. Radio Geek writes so I can follow her trail at MI Tech, the way I can watch the osprey migrate. I spent all of Monday working out a schedule that focus on writing, not the avoidance of it. I can’t say it’s successful, but I’m working the plan and feel like the terrain looks more familiar each day.

Then I had a surprise yesterday. If you’ll go back to the compilation Migration Reflections & Exchanges, you’ll find a story (second in the line up) by Katherine Sorensen. She sent it to me in an email and my heart burst. Katie is a long-time friend of Kate’s. It was a reminder that our friends live on in us. Kate may not be here to write with me, but another friend has offered the gift of sharing words. No gilded offering or sack of diamonds could be better.

I know that young osprey will find his way off  the nest. It’s the only way he’ll survive. We cannot remain lost. There’s too much for us yet to find.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau

I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.” ~Michel de Montaigne

In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” ~Alice Walker

September 9, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone or something that’s lost. It can be lost in a setting (storm, darkness, ocean) or it can be a feeling. Is there a recovery? What are the consequences of remaining lost? What are the opportunities?

Respond by September 15, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Far From Home by Charli Mills

Mary ignored the nighttime twaddle of unfamiliar sounds while she nursed the baby. After three days on Nebraska Territory ruts, the children needed no coaxing to bed. Even Monroe who tried to act older, curled up in slumber. Settling the babe, she shivered. Not cold. Lost. She craved North Carolina. Longed for home and hearth. Ached for her husband.

Wagon canvas lit up bright as if struck by morning sun. But it was still dark of night. Curious, Mary pulled back the ties to see outlandish hues of green and pink undulating like stars gone mad in the heavens.

###

Author’s note: Mary McCanles stayed behind in North Carolina in 1859 when her husband set out to find their new prosperity. She was pregnant. She came west later that year with her husband’s brother, his family and her children, including a newborn babe. They would have been on the trail to Rock Creek, Nebraska Territory on September 2 when the largest solar flare ever recorded hit. I can only imagine how such an event would have overcome her sense of homesickness. A weaker woman would have fled. But Mary McCanles was not one to stay lost. She built her home on that strange prairie and despite the murder of her husband, Indian raids, locust invasion and every day hardships of pioneers, she stayed. She is buried on that prairie next to Cob, and her stone reads, “wife.” Mary always found her way.


114 Comments

  1. TanGental says:

    What a stimulating post, Charli! I enjoy getting lost if I’m confident I’ll find myself but being lost and believing there is no ‘found’ is the stuff of nightmares. I’m sure this will generate extra special flash. Yours is beautiful and fascinating around solar flares. Thank you.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I discovered the solar flares by accident. I was researching a poem that Cob’s father wrote about a comet and the Carrington Event (as it was called) popped up. I’m uncomfortable being lost; I like to be found! 🙂 Thanks! Looking forward to what this generates.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Pat Cummings says:

        I just read a Neal Stephenson novel that built from a Carrington Event to a present-day EMP disaster with low-latitude Aurora Borealis precursors! It is amazing to me how ideas cluster…

        Liked by 4 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        I’m going to have to look up that book! They said it blew out telegraph systems and operators got zapped. Today? Wow, that would be a chilling event. No screens! 🙂 It is fun to see how ideas cluster and grow and inspire new ones.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Ula says:

    Wow! You gave so much here, Charli, I am willing to bet the responses will be amazing. Going to think on it for a while. Great prompt.

    I like getting lost or being disoriented. It’s exciting and a bit scary. It also requires trust that you’ll find your way.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Pat Cummings says:

    What a wonderful prompt; so many directions it could possibly go! Mine went to being suddenly Mapless ( http://goo.gl/wyx2O6 )…

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Pete says:

    Assisted Living

    DeCarlos settled on the porch as the summer sky squeezed the day pink in the horizon. Right on time, the old man shuffled down the walk and wheezed into the metal chair.

    “Evening Spyros,” DeCarlos said, offering a candy bar.

    A small, satisfied grin emerged. Two lazy swats at the bugs before reaching out for Decarlos. His yellow, papery skin—splotched with freckles, bruises the tint of hard-boiled egg yolk—contrasting with the brown, wiry thread of his own arm.

    “It’s nice to be home, David.”

    “Yeah,” Decarlos said, figuring he’d give him a minute before walking him back.

    Liked by 8 people

  5. digbydigz says:

    I feel your pain. I, too, am lost. Overwhelmed. Can’t seem to focus on one thing because I’m dazzled by the many. Loved this piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. […] Here’s my 99 word (no more, no less) story about something that’s lost for the September 9th Carrot Ranch flash fiction challenge. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Erika W says:

    I thought I dealt with this already.

    But deep wounds leave scars. And I fall again.

    Will I ever stop being able to be brought down in an instant?

    A moment’s reminder and my breath freezes in my throat, my mind lost in fear, grief and pain.

    At least now, I know it passes. I know happiness still exists. Someday this will be something that happened TO us, not something that broke us.

    Time heals all wounds. Bullshit.

    Today, in moments lost, I take comfort in knowing that I will be whole again. Someday.

    Perhaps, for now, that’s enough.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Erika! That’s a powerful flash which captures the emotion of how quickly that sense of loss and brokenness can wash over. I can feel the struggle in the words and hope with the character for it to pass.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Erika W says:

    by the way, Charli, “stars gone mad in the heavens” is just fantastic. It’s like beauty that’s lost control. Beautiful.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. […] for 99 word flash fiction Challenge with Charli Mills. She invites everyone […]

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Norah says:

    Oh, Charli, I’m so sorry you are feeling so lost, and on the special day of your son’s birthday. You have had a tough time of late and have been reaching out in support of others. Perhaps your lost feelings are telling you to stop, slow down and look within, at you, and your needs; where you are and where you are going. There’s no harm in sitting still, and breathing in the moment for a while. When you are ready your projects will awaken and reenergise you. Like Mary, you won’t stay lost.
    Thank you for linking to the beautiful Ospreys. I enjoyed hearing their chirruping and splashing in the water. I very much enjoyed listening to Alison as well. She sounds just as gorgeous as her Mum. I’m sure you are very proud of her achievements.
    Your flash is excellent. How well you capture the exhaustion, and the surprise. I loved the additional information you supplied about the solar flare and you have inspired me to find out more. Thank you.
    Look after yourself. Sounds like we’re all going to be lost together this time. I think that also means we’ll find each other. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think my lost feelings are telling me to stop watering and start being again. I now realize, that even though it was needed, it become avoidance for me. Avoiding writing is to avoid how I’m feeling. I don’t like to feel the grief. Geez, who does? But I need a balance in my mind so I can use it for the writing and perhaps write through some of these feelings. We can be lost together if we are all found together! 🙂 That solar flare is an interesting incident and an example of where I’m at in Rock Creek — trying to reconcile character timelines with event timelines. Things I didn’t think were important, I’m realizing their timing could have been significant after all. Thanks for the encouragement, Norah! I am finding my way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        Pleased to hear that you are finding your way, Charli. Interesting that you are mapping the timelines and events in Rock Crock as you find the path back to your writing. Sometimes when there is a particular focus, the other parts of the brain (well, thinking of other things) is allowed to happen freely without attention. I hope you do achieve that balance soon.:)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Some folks are lost when they retire. But not everyone . . . . . .

    http://edandednastories.blogspot.com/2015/09/lost-and-found.html

    Liked by 7 people

  12. A. E. Robson says:

    Animals are used in therapy every day. They talk to us in a way that is sometimes hard to understand. They can be the connection to relaxation and focus. Guiding us to the road we have veered from, or one we have been uncertain we should follow. Actions that speak volumes in their wordless ability of making a point. A simple gesture that may direct us to the path of understanding where we have lost ourselves.

    Lost Journey
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    The bay horse knew the kind of therapy needed here. Muscled hind quarters was all that was offered to the woman.

    The mare feels this female is strong; and only needs to clear her mind. Returning to where her soul longs to travel.

    Turning away, ignoring her, all part of the subtle technique in helping the woman to look within. Then, and only then, nuzzling her to let her know she has never been alone.

    These two possess a quiet vibe. A connection few welcome or understand. Support without words. A guide to the path of the lost journey.

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/lost-journey

    Liked by 8 people

    • DMaddenMMA says:

      I loved this sentence, “Muscled hind quarters was all that was offered to the woman.”

      Wordless discovery is my favorite.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      This is beautiful, Ann. Horses are the best therapists. When we moved to Idaho and found this place, it came with horses. I loved having them, but was sad that the owners did not care for them. This year we asked if we could bring in our own or let the neighboring ranches rotate pastures in the drought. The owner of the property said, no more horses. I think I’d be feeling less lost if I had the horses here. But that’s out of my control. But I’ve been walking to the ranches nearby and getting my horse therapy over the fence!

      Liked by 3 people

      • A. E. Robson says:

        Horses have always been a part of my life. I no longer own any of these majestic caring animals; however, I too am within close proximity to get my horse fix when I am in need (and even when I am not in need). They have such strength to share with us and strength to make us give without realizing it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • ruchira says:

      Beautiful wordings and the love and emotions flowed well 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Lisa Reiter says:

    Feels like that time of year when we should all re-group, re-plan and re-energise. Thanks for sharing Charli. xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  14. julespaige says:

    Yes Ma’am it is all perspective – I enjoyed your flash and the background history. Mine is not as dramatic…

    Before GPS and Cell Phones

    Directions are not like recipes. If you want to get somewhere
    you have to read the map and know how to use a compass
    rose. Where the sun rises and sets and how to find north.

    Didn’t help when they painted or changed buildings. Or when
    one crosses state lines because they can’t get off the highway.

    Getting the feel of the newest neighborhood and where the
    streets go, only gets better with time. Say about twenty five
    years or more? At least that’s what Maggie thought. Having
    a full tank of gas helps.

    ©JP/dh

    Yes, I am ‘directionally’ challenged – and I have gotten better.
    Now though that I’m older, I prefer not to travel alone or at
    night. Maybe one day I’ll upgrade my flip phone for a smarter
    version. But it still helps to have a map in the car… so I can
    humanly recalculate and get my bearings.

    You can see the post here:
    Before GPS and Cell Phones

    Liked by 6 people

  15. julespaige says:

    I’m having some connection issues via my phone company… that messes up my net access too. I hope to be back to enjoy others stories.
    Hopefully it will be fixed by Tuesday.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Charli, you have had so much sadness and stresses in such a short space of time it is no wonder you are feeling a little lost. It will return. I haven’t experienced children leaving the nest but that must be harder than anything despite the immense pride you have for them that they have earnt.
    I love the explanation of the flash – the Carrington Event. It would have been some sight. I would love to see the Northern lights one year as that too must be just amazing.
    What does twaddle mean in American? Here it means nonsense.It wouldn’t have been much fun being lost with a new born in those circumstances. The sky gave her time to regroup just as you will.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      At least my lawns and garden did well. Time to refocus and find my way back to the page. The northern lights have been out but we keep missing the show. The Hub sat outside at 1 a.m. waiting but instead he listened to the bucks chomping apples and watched stars. I woke up last night and stood in the window looking for the glow. I’ve only seen them once. I can imagine that the Carrington event was amazing.

      Yes, twaddle means nonsense. Not sure if that worked but trying to convey meaninglessness in the sounds Mary heard as the prairie is so different from where she had lived all her life.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I didn’t realise you would see the Northern lights so far south. I hope you catch them one night.
        Aha! I get what you were trying to say. I don’t know that twaddle works but I can’t think of any other word to convey your meaning either so perhaps it does. She had to be one tough lady to make that move.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Norah says:

      I thought ‘twaddle’ was quite effective. Since Mary didn’t recognise any of the sounds, she couldn’t make sense of them, didn’t know what she was listening to, and so couldn’t interpret them – all a bit of non-sense to her. I thought together with ‘unfamiliar’ they worked quite well. It’s interesting how we each pick up different words and the way they add to or detract from meaning for each of us.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. jeanne229 says:

    I’ve been saving this post for a moment when I could slow down and relish it. Now I know why some invisible hand stayed me from opening it earlier. Both your reflections leading up to the flash and the beautiful story you crafted from those feelings of loss and disconnection found their mark. It sometimes seems you speak right to my own heart, though you cast your stars out to all of us. My daughter moved to Oakland two weeks ago. Her physical absence is beginning to find correspondence with an ache all through the middle of me. And, I am in avoidance mode with my own writing, creative sparks spinning in my head only to escape into the ether, trailing thin wisps to death. I plug on with my paid work, distract myself with tasks. But you! You write. Despite the sorrows and smoke of summer… I loved the flash and the story of your inspiration for it. Have been delving into my own pioneer past since returning from North Dakota, thinking of those women who went before me, wondering at their steadfast strength. And I remembered a glowing, shifting curtain in the sky on a starless night in 1961, my mother’s voice in my ear telling us to look, look, at the Northern Lights. I’ll stop here, Turn all this into a flash. Read the rest of the comments. Revel in this connection.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      This is why I love the full circle of literature — the writing, reading and discussing. We claim that the best stories are ones with universal themes, but really is comes down to sharing real life in a way that others can recognize and share in return. Sometimes I’m not even aware of what is beneath what I write or read something that feels like it speaks directly to me.

      The motherly ache is a tough one and I hear it mirrored in your reflection on your memory of your own mother calling you to look at the sky. We all want our children to look at the sky. Be inspired. Follow the stars. Then we miss them in the emptiness of their going. We look for anchors — in our ancestors, stories. Thank you for the connection, and I know you’ll do something beautiful and powerful with it.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Norah says:

      I love your description of ‘creative sparks spinning in my head only to escape into the ether, trailing thin wisps to death’ – such beautiful imagery, and something I can identify with.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. […] week’s Carrot Ranch Prompt is to write a story about being lost. I have felt lost, turned around, since the phone call last […]

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sarah says:

    Great prompt! Somehow you always seem to give the prompts I need to write about. Thank you.

    https://fictionaslife.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/lost/

    Liked by 5 people

  20. […] This flash fiction is in response to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

    Liked by 4 people

  21. DMaddenMMA says:

    I was lost on this week’s prompt, but I found something that I thought would work. Thanks for another week of fun Charli!

    http://wp.me/P5TG9P-4v

    Liked by 3 people

  22. ruchira says:

    Sometimes a loss is a blessing in disguise 🙂

    Loved your take, Charli and wishing you the best!

    My take
    http://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-loss-and-win.html

    Liked by 2 people

  23. […] Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wow. So many writers at the Ranch this week! 🙂 I managed something last minute.

    https://sarahbrentynflash.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/lost-2/

    P.S. It’s nice to see the McCanles clan again.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. […] the flash fiction challenge set by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch this week was to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone or something that’s lost, I have taken the theme of lost and used it to provide strategies that may help children avoid […]

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    Here’s my link to an early childhood post about strategies to help prevent being lost. http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-ym
    Thanks for the challenge.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Annecdotist says:

    Another lovely thoughtful post, Charli. I was really moved by your description of feeling lost when you couldn’t contact your children and the simple jobs that had grounded you over the past few weeks weren’t needed any more. I’m glad you recovered enough to write the post and that lovely flash. It’s great that your Rock Creek research is getting an airing in such a powerful way.
    It’s hard to believe you feel blocked from your writing when you can produce such a quality post, but I thought I’d link to my thoughts on writer’s block as something not to be fought against:
    http://emmadarwin.typepad.com/thisitchofwriting/2013/07/postiversary-competition-second-prize-winner-loving-hating-and-writers-block-by-anne-goodwin.html
    You inspired my Sunday walk in more ways than one – here’s my post on how I oscillate between excitement and anxiety as I frequently get lost out there – and my flash is from a related theme in Sugar and Snails:
    http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/annecdotal/lost-the-pleasures-and-terrors

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’ve read your post before and found it interesting; this time however, I found it made more of an impact. The difference must be my frame of mind at each reading. I’m not fond of the phrase “writer’s block.” Maybe if we called it something else — writer’s procrastination or writer’s discouragement. For me, it is important to write through it, but also to pull back and do some planning. I’m more a pantser, but I do need a plan if just to use it to map out where I am and where I’m headed. I’m glad to have given you something to think about on your Sunday walk and that you’ve tied it to Sugar and Snails.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. […] Fiction Challenge contribution for Carrot Ranch. The prompt focused on theme of being lost or losing one’s […]

    Like

  29. plaguedparents says:

    Was a little uncertain about this one… fantastic prompt though. Loved the quotes…

    http://wp.me/p5u9VI-rm

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Judith Post says:

    Great post. I need a certain amount of emotional energy to write anything good. Life can deplete that energy sometimes, but glad you’re finding your reserve. Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I’ve been SUCH a horrid slacker lately! We have been trying to squeeze in as much outdoorsiness as we can before the weather turns nasty! Happy to FINALLY be back in the groove and ready to hit the ground running!

    Great prompt this week, reminded me of my grandmother. She passed away a few months before my birth, when my parents were honemooning in Germany. The family had no way to reach my mother as it was far out of service range. A tragic story, but a moving one about loss nonetheless.

    Here it is! 🙂

    http://thewordyrose.com/2015/09/15/1660/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charli Mills says:

      I feel like we got cheated of that oudoorsiness here in northern Idaho! First the drought, then the heat wave then the fires. I tried to cram it all into yesterday as we hiked/fished/gleaned/explored. But too cold to swim! I hope it refreshes you! Your flash is so beautiful, the way you tie in different remembrances of her to life and death events.

      Like

      • The 4th of July and Labor Day were pretty much the only 2 weekends we DIDN’T get cheated out of! I totally feel your pain. The beginning of July was just before the fires, we lost the bulk of July and August because it was physically impossible to do more than shorter day trips (due to air quality or fires ripping through where we hike). Labor Day was beautiful, but man was it cold!

        I instantly knew I wanted to bring my grandparents into this weeks’ flash. I feel that any relationship I could have had with my grandmother was lost because of her untimely death. And she was always lost to my grandfather, it is comforting to know they are finally together. So it just seemed fitting 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • jeanne229 says:

      Cannot help but smirk, not unkindly, at the fretting about “outdoorsiness”issues. Here in Arizona we droolingly watch the calendar as if it were ticking like a clock. Come August we feel positively incarcerated in our air-conditioned cells. I long to walk in the park, to hike the mountain preserves! To get out! October 20th is my personal start to fall–never seems to come before then–or if not fall at least that glorious indeterminate season that stretches from one summer to the next. I am sorry though that you both got shortchanged on summer weather though.

      Liked by 2 people

  32. jeanne229 says:

    Here goes, an attempt to reconcile two themes within this week’s prompt…

    Luck and Loss

    I’ve read that lightning strikes Earth 1.4 billion times per year. I have never been struck.

    I’ve read that in 2012 669,000 Americans reported using heroin in the past year, the bulk of them young adults aged 18–25. I wish I could say my son was not among them.

    One of these phenomena may have more to do with luck than the other, but still I might ask, “why not me?” or “why my son?”

    Whatever rules The Way Things Are, he is lost to me these days.

    I am lost too. But still I search. And search.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      A powerful flash that entwines the two themes! A mother would rather be struck by lightning. Interesting format, starting with facts, statistics and unwinding to that emotional impact at the end.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jeanne229 says:

        Almost wrote to you to ask to to refrain from including it in the collection. Didn’t seem a fit somehow, or perhaps I felt it was indulgent or not really a story or … too close to the bone. But, had that image of lightning going ’round in my head, and of course the other thing is always there. And yes, using the facts in a way that hints at some deeper meaning. Thanks Charli for your encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Charli Mills says:

        When the stories all come together, though they are varied, there’s an interesting disconnectedness, too.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. […] is the latest prompt from Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. We all lose things, though not always the same things: our way, our innocence, […]

    Liked by 1 person

  34. paulamoyer says:

    I’m late, too, but here it is:

    Monster Dream

    By Paula Moyer

    Soon after Jean started dating Charlie, it happened. The dream.

    A monster was chasing her, gaining on her. Faster and faster. Then there she was in the corner. Again. She opened her mouth. Nothing.

    She tried again. Nothing. Oh, if only I could scream, she thought furiously. Someone could find me and help me. The horrible, huge monster loomed over her. Her mouth was silent.

    “Paula, wake up.” Her father called out. “You’re having a nightmare.”

    All over. For now.

    Scientific: the REM sleep phase paralyzes.

    The bigger truth: Jean was losing herself. Charlie took everything. Even her voice.

    Liked by 1 person

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