Finding Comfort

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.

November 17, 2015

Finding ComfortAfter I roll out of the warm comfort of bed to start my day, my dog takes over as if he waited all night for his morning comfort. Finding comfort is important to finding refuge.

This week, writers explored the comfort zone and came up with intriguing comforts, ones you might find familiar and others surprising.

The following is based on the November 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a place of comfort that is a refuge.


Closet Space by Sarah Brentyn

People never look up.

My family storms in, stomps around, looks left and right. Sometimes they search underneath the bed or stick their heads inside the closet. But they never look up.

That is why I hide here.

The climb is precarious but worth it. Curled up, comfortable, alone.

When they call, I get twitchy but I pull my arms tightly over my face.

Relaxation washes over me on this shelf in the corner of the closet. There are always soft things here—sweaters in the summer, beach towels in winter. I sigh. Knowing they will never find me.


Feeling Safe by Geoff Le Pard

Mary imagined the eyes boring through the lounge door. It opened and Rupert stepped out.

‘You ok?’

‘Yes. How are they?’

‘Not sure. Stunned. What do you want to do?’

‘I should go on, shouldn’t I? I didn’t realise how this would affect me. One minute I have a sister, the next she’s a stranger. And they think I’m a fraud, getting their hopes up.’

‘They don’t…’

‘They do. I’m to be her carer, once they’d gone. A prayer answered they said.’

‘You should go home. You need some peace.’

‘I won’t forget Katherine. I need to tell them.’


Loveseat by Larry LaForge

“Your turn,” Edna said. “The game is about to start.”

Ed rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He plopped down, turning his body so that his head laid on one armrest and his legs draped comfortably over the other. The viewing angle was perfect for the TV and fireplace.

Edna smiled. She couldn’t remember a time when anyone sat on the popular loveseat in the conventional way. The faded brown leather sagged with spidery cracks not seen on the full sofa and chair that came with the group.

“Don’t get too comfy,” Edna warned. “It’s mine for movie night.”


Home Is Where the Cage Is by Dave Madden

Odd as it may seem, my place of comfort stares through the fencing of an MMA cage-any shape, any size.

Everything outside of the steel walls drops to a hum at the sound of the bell, muffled by a collision course set by the world’s most extreme athletes.

Like Pavlov’s dog, I slobber at the sight of fancy footwork, crushing power, slick submissions, or valiant efforts.

Space and time dangle in five-minute segments. Each second of 300 is baited in the breath of unknown anticipation.

Will I exhale in sighs or disbelief? A solace washes over me either way.


Taking Refuge in Madness by Anne Goodwin

How tiresome they are with their questions, but I owe it to their readers to comply. Starved of glamour, they are curious about life here: the rolling parkland; ornate reception rooms; staff on twenty-four-hour alert. But I am always left with a headache when the journalists depart.

What year is it? Who is the Prime Minister? Where did I live before I came here? I merely smile as they scribble in their files.

The Butler brings tea. I offer them a jelly baby. If they choose a yellow one, I will let them see a picture of the boy.


Morning Sanctuary by Ann Edall-Robson

There is a tiny wedge of colour showing along the eastern horizon as she slips from the warmth of the bed. Notebook and camera in hand, she leaves the house.

The short trip down the gravel road will take her past the awakening duck pond to the hill beyond. She drives with the windows down listening to the sounds of the morning coming to life. Stopping often to capture the explosion of sky colours.

Finally, she arrives at that place where Mother Nature’s amphitheater engulfs her soul. Her vision and thoughts are uninterrupted in this sanctuary. Here, she writes.


Trenchmas by Pete Fanning

It snowed on Christmas Eve, covering the bodies and stench. A few errant shots, but at dusk all was still.

I heard a song and peeked across the barbed wire. A single spiked helmet approached, illuminated by the lights.

Christmas Trees, in such a place!

Our Captain nodded. We lay down our weapons, trembling, emerging from the muck to face the Germans.

We exchanged cigarettes. Brandy. Carols. We laughed, compared wounds, talked sports. We buried the dead.

Later, when the drink was finished and the candles flickered, we returned to our holes only to pick up our cold guns.


Refuge on the Porch by Charli Mills

“Perhaps you have milk that is not more than one quarter flies?”

Sarah set aside her ledgers when the traveler walked into the post holding a teacup like a live rattler. He had slept in the bunkhouse with the Express riders, declaring he couldn’t sleep another night on the ground.

“Sleep comfortable, Lord Burton?”

“Comfort has fled these rough parts.”

“I’ll fetch you fresh milk and hot tea. You can wait on the porch.”

When Sarah returned, Lord Burton was smiling. Like many who felt displaced in the vast prairies, the old hickory rocker was a throne of comfort.


The Retreat by Sarah Brentyn

“Why does he do that?”

“Anne, I’m not going over this again,” Lisa sat on the couch next to her son, stroking his hair. “He needs sanctuary—a place to escape.”

“It’s weird,” Anne twirled her hair. “I mean, other people aren’t going to be as understanding as I am. Look at him. He’s just… sitting there staring.”

Lisa stood up, rummaged through the kitchen cabinets, and pulled out some pots. She brought them shoulder level then slammed them together next to Anne’s ear.

“What the hell!”

“That is how he feels every day. Would you need a break?”


A Holiday For Fred by Sherri Matthews

Furious, Ethel stormed into the house. She grabbed a beer from the fridge and swigged it down in one.

Hours later, Fred stumbled into the kitchen.

“You git, where the ‘ell ‘ave you been now?” Fumed Ethel, slamming her empty bottle down on the table next to the other three.

“I don’t know luv, honest, I don’t remember…”

“Well sit your arse down,” Ethel glared, “‘cos I’m gonna tell you about a little holiday we’re going on…but first, for gawd’s sake, put some bleedin’ clothes on!”

“Great, can’t wait,” beamed Fred as he bounded up the stairs.


Holding Hands by Rowena

“Mum, it’s time,” whispered a familiar voice.

Yet, Margaret couldn’t bear to let him go. Not yet! There wasn’t much left of Jack but she could still hold his hand.

Now, as their entire lives had shrunk into this infernal hospital room, holding Jack’s hand was it. All they had left.

She was meant to go first. He was the strong one.

That was before the heart attack… the dreadful resuscitation. Such a mistake but had given them more time.

Now, it was her turn to hold his hand.


Snake in the Cloud by Irene Waters

He stalked her despite the restraining order. Now threats from her new boyfriend’s mother. was threatening to kill her. Sonia barely slept, hardly ate and jumped at every sound.

In her new home, interstate, her nerves in tatters, she booked a hypnosis session.

“I need to relax.” She said to Alfonso, the hypnotist.

He found her easy to hypnotize.

“Pick a safe place. A place where no-one but you can go.”

“I want my own cloud.”

Sonia sinks happily into the fluffiness until he releases her saying, “No-one but Alfonso can join you on your cloud.”

“Tomorrow then?” Alfonso smiles.

Café Noir by Ruchira Khanna

Tamara gulped many times but to no luck. The saliva refused to ingest. The excitement was making her sweat as she circled around the cafe.


She froze, blinked a couple of times to register, and picked her Latte.

Stared at it.

Walked holding it with both hands.

‘I missed you’ she whispered as she took a small slow sip and savored it with closed eyes while giving out a tremble.

‘Duty took me away from you. The war was full of turmoil and vitality that caffeine was not needed. Glad to be back!’ she muttered to the cup.


Cast Out of Eden by Pat Cummings

Roger was accustomed to sparse selections in school libraries, where “Wind in the Willows” and “Onion John” were considered challenging reads.

In Meteor, donated college textbooks and novels, plus a set of “Great Books of the Western World,” filled one whole stack. They could be read in-library, but never checked out. For a month, he was in paradise, reading during every free period.

One day as he lunched with Newton’s Principia Mathematica, he was rousted by the principal. “You should spend your time socializing with your peers!”

“But I was!” His protests ignored, he was barred from the library.


Stolen Moment by Sarrah J. Woods

For months Claire had been looking forward to her senior class trip to London. But now that she was here, trailing behind the group as they walked down a quiet London street, tears were trickling down her face.

She almost wished she hadn’t come. Between a painful drama happening with her friends and the packed sightseeing schedule, she was too worn down to enjoy London.

But what exhausted her most, Claire realized just then, was never having a moment alone.

Until this stolen moment now.

She exhaled slowly. With revived spirits, she looked up at the city around her.


Dance Lesson by Kate Spencer

Norberto’s dark brown eyes gazed into her soul. Becky felt the tingle run up her spine.

He reached for her hand and stepped closer.

“Shall we rumba?”

“I can’t,” she whispers. She couldn’t. Norberto belonged in the comfort of her dreams along with his white open shirt and hypnotic voice. It’d been a mistake to come here.

Norberto wraps his arm behind her back.

“I will teach you,” he says hoarsely and gently pulls her onto the studio floor. They begin to dance, their feet in perfect harmony to the soft music and the rhythm of her beating heart.


Athenaeum Cathedra by Jules Paige

Sophia found relief in the big comfortable chairs at the University Library. That’s where she dreamt of freedom.

Sophia left for her classes early in the morning and didn’t
leave for home until after dinner. She didn’t want to have
to clean up after Them, again. Often between classes was
the only time she could really get useful sleep. Because when
she was home They chose to argue rather loudly until all odd
hours attempting to resolve their issues; right under her room.
It was a simple suburban home there was no sound proofing
between the floors.


Huddled Refuge by Deborah Lee

It’s been a long day, selling newspapers on the corner. Cold temperature, cold people. “Get a job,” she kept hearing. Hello, I’m trying, and meanwhile I’m hawking newspapers, not dealing drugs or breaking into your house.

Back at the dank abandoned house she did break into, she struggles with damp shoelaces and slides into her sleeping bag fully clothed.Troubles whuffs and curls up beside her.

Pretend there’s a campfire. She’s not homeless; she’s camping. Camping is temporary, voluntary, fun. Arms around the warmth of the dog’s neck, sleeping bag slowly warming, she drifts into the haven of sleep.


Safety by Norah Colvin

Marnie loved art classes with Miss R. She loved art, but she loved Miss R. more. The days when art class was last were best; had been ever since that first time when she’d dallied, nervously, reluctant to leave, and Miss suggested she stay and “help”.

Miss R. understood Marnie and Marnie trusted Miss R. Sometimes they would tidy in silence. Other times they’d chatter lightly about distracting things like television, music or books. But sometimes, when dark clouds loomed, Miss R. would gently ask, “What would you like to tell me?” Today the clouds looked about to burst.


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  1. Sarah Brentyn

    Love it. Thanks for getting this together despite your crazy busy schedule and crazy scary storm. Awesome flash (again) this week. 🙂 And it’s always nice to catch the ones I missed from the challenge page.

    • Charli Mills

      I had a weird formatting issue. i had to go into HTML and clear it line by line — maybe the aftermath of the storm! Another smashing week of flash! 🙂

  2. Norah

    It’s an interesting collection, Charli. Each telling a different story of comfort, comfort from a different angle. It is always interesting to see the ways in which writers respond to the prompt.
    I hadn’t heard about the storm. I don’t like the sound of it. I hope all is okay now.

    • Charli Mills

      The compilation is always my favorite part, to see those different responses all together. Storm blew over! Some people were without electricity for over 10 days and Todd says theirs blow downs where he went deer hunting.

      • Norah

        Without electricity for ten days! No phones, no internet, no refrigeration, no air con (heating over your way, I guess) no computers, no,no,no… How we have come to rely on electricity, such a big change in a few short years. Almost five years ago now there was flooding around us here. We were without electricity for six days. That was difficult enough!

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