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January 6: Flash Fiction Challenge

January 6Tiny flakes of snow fall like rain and logging trucks glide through highway slush fully laden for the mills. I can hear the tires from my second-story home-office that overlooks a frozen pond and State Highway 95 in northern Idaho. I’m adjusting to a lack of sunlight and have all my overhead lights and desk lamp blazing as if it were night in an unlit cabin. Winter seems contained, like living in a snow-globe.

We don’t hibernate out west, though; work continues. Loggers bundle up and writers stoke wood-stoves. Commerce chains up trucks and melts snow on rails to haul cargo containers, grain, lumber, oil and coal. Mills stockpile logs and ranchers prepare for spring calving that will undoubtedly coincide with spring blizzards. Some businesses shut down after the holidays not to open until the return of summer vacationers, fall hunters and holiday skiers. The ski resorts are lively as ghost towns come to life with the magic of 129 inches of snow so far.

Frozen, yet tensions are heated. Once again, the west is in rebellion.

No matter what you read or hear in the news, understand the issue is ongoing, complex and firmly rooted in a power struggle over the west’s commerce based on natural resources. There is no way to simplify or even fully explain what is going on 8 hours southeast of my winter snow-globe. I’m a story-teller who looks for stories to understand why grown men now stand in an Oregon marsh, armed with guns, calling themselves Citizens for Constitutional Freedoms. What does this mean?  As I fix spaghetti for dinner, thoughts as fleeting as the passing snowplow lights swirl in my mind.

Rebellions, even full-scale wars, find justification in controlling natural resources.

The west has always been susceptible — rich in gold, silver, water, open land — these are the precious commodities at the root of power and control. Often the struggles come down to federal regulations versus states rights. But it can be more personal than that. Often, it’s a family’s way of living –ranching, logging, fishing, farming — that can fall victim to rigid mandates issued in Washington, D.C. and upheld by federal agents without regard to livelihoods and traditions of generations.

Disputes, tension and struggle for control of land and resource use has led to the Sagebrush Rebellion, a series of small-scale stand-offs between small communities standing up to big government. Yet, as Guy Pence, a harassed Nevada forest ranger, once said in an interview, “The western United States, we’re having a hard time growing up.”


During the 1861 frenzy of silver mining in eastern California, along the Nevada border, Jacob Marklee built a toll-bridge. He was shot in a land dispute. Where his cabin once stood, I grew up in the house next door.

In 1981 I rode my horse 22 miles, crossing the flooded river that once flowed beneath Marklee’s toll-bridge. I was pushing hundreds of cow and calf pairs with an outfit of cowboys from a local ranch. It was a right of passage. I earned a beer for my efforts and can still feel the pride I felt in doing the job as a young teen. Cattle herds grazed public land for multiple generations. Much land is now shut down to ranchers.

1989 and my father is threatened with fines on his logging operation. He’s earned a strange reputation as a logging tree-hugger; a logger who understands the forests as deeply as a sage and believes the US Forest Service is doing more harm than good. He implements innovative ways to stave the encroaching beetle kill, but one hard-lined forest ranger is sticking to the rulebook and frustrating my father’s well-intended efforts. My father calls him a sawed-off blanety-blank, pushes him and tells him not to come back to his logging operation.

In 1995 a pipe bomb is found outside forest ranger Guy Pence’s office in Carson City, Nevada. Several month later, a second pipe bomb explodes beneath Pence’s family van, blowing out the front window of his home and terrifying his wife and daughters. He’s relocated to Idaho for his family’s safety. My father becomes a suspect in the FBI investigation that remains unresolved.

In 1902 the US government moves forward with a project in north-western Nevada to irrigate 400,000 acres, using Sierra Nevada watershed that has dumped into a desert sink for tens of thousands of years. The director of the survey team is my husband’s great grand uncle. He tells his sister and her husband about the project and the Mills family becomes one of the first owners of  Newlands Project water rights. My husband grew up on the irrigated land founded by his great-grandparents where his father built a jersey dairy among sandblows and sagebrush. The river that starts in my hometown ends in my husband’s hometown.

In 1992 my sister-in-law and her husband faced an unprecedented court battle to maintain their Newland Project water rights. The Wolf Ranch depends upon these rights and public land grazing for their cattle operation. They continue to struggle against laws that ignore their interests and growing public opinion that misunderstands how ranchers live and work.

These are just a few of my own personal stories that intersect with the Sagebrush Rebellion. My husband and I moved away from our western ranching and logging roots because we became the generation that could no longer make a living at it. The Wolf’s dug in and barely hang on. The Mills Farm was subdivided. Then we lost our house. While not part of the western woes, I can tell you first hand that laws do not apply equally. In the struggle for control, whether it be a banking market or natural resources, the powerful win. I’m a determined individual, the result of the western culture, and I fought for my home and found no aid.

I can understand frustration. I can understand fighting for what’s right. I understand my imperfect western culture.

But don’t for a minute think the Bundy’s represent the western way. They are an example of exploiters. It is the Hammonds I feel for; the community of Burns I worry over. My father could have easily been a Hammond. After all, it was Guy Pence he once threatened. It concerns me that laws can be misused. It concerns me that our government can imprison and then re-imprison people for the same crime. It concerns me that land management decisions are made by those who do not make a livelihood from those lands. It concerns me that a bullying force can call themselves a militia and speak for those who don’t want them to hijack their valid concerns.

Power and control. Rebellion.

What a mess as the temperatures plummet and my spaghetti sauce now fills the house with robust aroma. I’m still trying to sort out what this means. The media circus and court of public opinion is in full force. I avoid both. I have so many diverse friends and family, I wonder if it is possible to gather under one flag, yet we all claim to be American. So full of contradictions. Ironies, even. Notice that I only included my stories. The Paiute and Washo have theirs; the Californios, too. I ponder all the immigrant groups that came here to the New World, and still seek out American asylum today.

I think of the actions of those who influenced me growing up. My Apache third-grade teacher, my super-jock seventh-grade teacher, the Washo grandfather of a friend, the rancher who hired me at age 12, the local newspaper editor who published my cliff-hanger series at age 13, the housebound old-timers who shared their stories that inspired me, the authors I read, the help I had in breaking cycles.

A growth mindset does not come naturally, I think. It’s modeled and encouraged. I requires more than thinking and growing. It takes action.

Cobb McCanles leaves no written or oral explanation as to why he left North Carolina as rebellion tensions mounted. But his father does. James McCanles wrote:

For rebellion in the wildest form,
Death and destruction spread,
Like a terrific midnight storm,
Burst o’er our helpless heads;
Then wasting grief our country prest,
And safety sought with toil,
For rebel gangs our land oppressed,
And murdered for the spoil.

Cobb took the action of one who was not of a fixed mindset. He sought something new, different, better. His father leaves us with words to ponder regarding the violence of rebellion. Yet, in a way, the action required to do something different is often a rebellion against the fixed way of doing things. How does rebellion become violent? Is it an escalation or is the battle over power and control not truly a rebellion? I don’t believe standing in a wildlife marsh with a gun is a rebellion. I believe listening to the stories of others and giving voice to rural communities is.

Perhaps little story-rebellions from marginalized communities around the globe can teach us to better appreciate one another’s struggles. But how do we stand up to the powers that be? How do we take control of our lives and livelihoods without becoming what we struggle against?

January 6, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion. Is it one a character fights for or is it one another suppresses? Explore what makes a rebellion, pros or cons. Use past or current rebellions as inspiration or make up one of your own.

Respond by January 12, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Family Division by Charli Mills

I fell in love with your mother among wildflowers …

Cobb read the letter to Mary by light of an oil lamp while the children slept.

“Go on,” she said.

“You know, Da, poetics. Not much else.” Cobb set the parchment aside.

“Cobb McCanles I may not know my letters, but I know it doesn’t look like one of his poems. What does he say?”

Cobb shook his head. “Da wants to come west finally, leave his beloved North Carolina.”

“It can’t be that bad?”

Cobb tightened his jaw. “Your brothers were among the rebels who burned him out.”



  1. Lisa Reiter says:

    Powerful stuff Charli. All of it. I sometimes wonder what the world would be like if we could erase ‘history’. How much does it hinder us? So many disputes and struggles founded in the past and individual as well as collective righteousness.
    Thank you for illustrating this prompt so beautifully with your own stories. How sad that the real pioneers are those with a little more foresight but that standing a little way to rightly question things often leads to rejection from the heard. We demand compliance with the social ‘norm’ and yet cannot operate like a cooperating colony. Its a theme I’m trying to work on with my memoir – how uncomfortable some people get if you put up a fight to live when convention says you will die. We are such an imperfect species to be crowding this planet!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Yes, an interest thought. If only instead of hindering it could teach us to do differently. That might make an interesting premise — what would the day look like if history was erased? What an interesting them to be working on in your memoir. We often experience moments that take us outside societal norms and either struggle to get back in the fold or break away. Ah, yes, we are such an imperfect and messy species.

  2. TanGental says:

    Oh to be a fly on the wall of your mind, Charli Mills. The turning of history both familial and national into an evocative tale of strife and struggle that holds me in its grip from first snowflake to last stand in a boggy marsh. Your flash is terrific too. It won’t be hard to write but it will be hard to wrestle to a word count. Cracking Grommit, as they say in Yorkshire!

    • Charli Mills says:

      That fly might get dizzy! Sometimes we have to go within to understand what’s happening around us, and other times we need to pay attention to what’s happening around us to change within. No wonder some don’t want to change or consider alternatives! Wrestle away!

  3. rogershipp says:

    Loved your take on the prompt. But then, you already know that I am a sucker for the historical stuff!

  4. jeanne229 says:

    Powerful post Charli. I have loved your writing since I first stumbled into the Ranch. Now it seems to soar. It must be because you have the courage to delve into issues that matter to so many, but you also do so not only with passion but with a rare ability to pick the tangled threads apart, compelling readers to ponder something that might have escaped them. This one deserves a national audience. I think you perfectly captured one element of the divisiveness that our history as a nation of individuals has begotten. Your perspective on the situation in Oregon certainly provided a good balance to the larger media. I am a city gal, but as you know my farm roots are just a couple of generations past, and some cousins still make their living off the land up in North Dakota. I am going to urge them to read this post. As you’ve shown, it’s the stories on a personal level, down there in the dirt and the freezing snow that reveal hard truths about justice. Thanks for your continuing inspiration. You always remind me that this is where I should be putting some of my best energies.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for sharing this post, too. Many of us in the US are only a few generations removed from living off the land, yet it is a vast gap. Sometimes I’m uncertain how to bridge the gap, but stories seem to span the space. I appreciate your support and the energy you share in your responses and contributions!

  5. Pete says:

    Incredible post Charli, I think you said it best here: “Often, it’s a family’s way of living –ranching, logging, fishing, farming — that can fall victim to rigid mandates issued in Washington, D.C. and upheld by federal agents without regard to livelihoods and traditions of generations.”

    I won’t claim to be knowledgeable on the current situation, but as usual, you’ve got me thinking.

    Here’s my contribution..


    Miss Shelby had the nerve to take me out of class. Of all days.

    “Chloe, I know you’re going through a rough time, but I need you to keep your phone off during class.”

    Rough time. I could’ve smacked her crooked face. Mom was at the doctor’s office with that lump and she was worried about the effing phone. I set my jaw. Sent a muted stare into her sunken eyes, eyes that widened in retreat. She mumbled, nodded, then hobbled back to class.

    I returned to my seat, only then noticing the scissors digging into my clenched fist.

    Full version here:

    • Pat Cummings says:

      Chloe is such a powerful character! This flash is a wonderful, terse version of the fiction at the link, but I hope everyone flips through to the full story!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you, Pete. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to give this post an underlying fabric of the west that is hidden by the media blitz. I’m glad it got you thinking! I’m also pleased to read your longer version and to give others the chance to discover your gem of a fiction blog. In the flash version, you capture the subtleties of intimidation and how the one doing the intimidating isn’t even aware and perhaps in pain over something else. Now you’ve given me something to think about!

    • jeanne229 says:

      Your flash got me to click through to your blog. What a great piece. You very effectively carved it out of your longer story, and the authentic voice carried me right back to a painful episode from my own youth. Well done!

      • Pete says:

        Thanks to all! As weird as this may sound I find it almost easier to write as a female character because I drop all of my male assumptions…oh wow…my wife will appreciate that statement.

  6. Powerfully written Charli – so many injustices, so many refusals to see the thing in the round – so much depending on money, my rights, ego. It seems the ‘little man’ never wins, yet must keep on standing up. I don’t think it will change until the words expressed by Carl Sagan in ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ are part of everyone’s ethos.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you for visiting the ranch! Your sun-catcher casts rainbows on my walls and I can’t help but think if only we could be like the facets on a crystal, each cut differently and each contributing to the refraction of light. Yes, it will require a cultural shift, but one that I hope still honors each culture’s uniqueness.

  7. Pat Cummings says:

    My Rebellion ( ) is more narrow-focus than Western rights. Thanks once more for a lovely prompt!

  8. Annecdotist says:

    As usual, you’ve given us a wealth to reflect upon in this post. I wasn’t aware about the land dispute in Oregon, but competition for resources is an issue throughout the world, and one likely to get worse. You certainly have an interest in history to draw upon in these snippets of stories you’ve shared. But I so agree, it’s the ones with the power work who are given more.
    Over here, floods are still the issue. One of the communities badly affected when the bridge connecting the two sides of the town collapsed, leading to an hour-long round trip for many to the doctor’s surgery or to school, was promised it was a government priority to get it fixed. Their understanding of a priority was the army being brought in more or less immediately to construct a temporary crossing, but it seems that’s not going to happen. We can drop bombs on Syria within hours of parliament voting in favour, but we can’t give ordinary people back the basics of their lives back home.
    You’ve inspired me to write about local history again; in this story, although the rebellion was crushed initially, it did contribute to the development Britain’s first national Park more than twenty years later:
    But the novel I have paired it with, about a brutally crushed uprising in South Korea, is unfortunately somewhat bleaker.

    • Charli Mills says:

      One of the pleasures of the interaction here is how many different reflections we can see on a single topic, yet we all ultimately deal with similar issues around the world. What you say about the flooding is familiar. I was in Wisconsin a short spell, but during a catastrophic event that nearly buried the city of Duluth, Minnesota with flooding and landslides. FEMA (government) was called in, action was immediate, but 60 miles away in Wisconsin where I lived, our plight was largely ignored. Not enough population to “qualify” for aid. Your statement so true: “We can drop bombs on Syria within hours of parliament voting in favour, but we can’t give ordinary people back the basics of their lives back home.” That little town in Wisconsin had, per capita, more soldiers deployed to Iraq at the time than more populous areas, but their families did not qualify for relief from the government their spouses served. I’m liking your visitation to history!

  9. Wonderful post and great story prompt for this week!

    In my contribution, Ed and Edna visit a site in which indigenous trees helped save a rebellion:

  10. Sherri says:

    I hope my ex isn’t one of those armed men standing in an Oregon marsh…and I don’t say that lightly as you know. I can’t really add more to this complex issue you’ve so powerfully described here (ditto Jeanne for my thoughts). I saw the struggles rancher families we were friends with in California had, but it sounds as if it’s got worse. How can anyone know better than those who know the land, live on it and work it, make their entire livelihood from it? But what really jumps out at me, putting all these troubling these issues aside for a moment, is the image I have of you, Buckaroo Charli, herding cattle across the flooded river, not to mention the fascinating family history you share. What a woman! I’m proud to ride by your side, albeit wrangling words, not cattle. And maybe, gathered here at Carrot Ranch, we can give voice to those little-story rebellions from around the world. It’s a start. Wonderful writing, wonderful flash as always. I’ll go away and have a think 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sherri, if your ex is in the marsh you might get a laugh over the hashtag on Twitter that went viral. The lead singer of the Decemberists, who is a native Oregonean, poked fun at the men in the marsh with their guns and need for snacks with “sexy” tweets. Look up #bundyeroticfanfic and see what happens when writers have naughty fun online! On the serious side, however, there’s such a disconnect between land-use interests and often the powerful lobbyists will side with the interest they think they can exploit for their own self-interest (such as extracting natural resources or controlling water rights or access to land). It’s unfair and also sad because it pits two viable interests against one another, such as with the Wolf Ranch. They fought to retain their water rights when the Paiute tribe sued to keep Pyramid Lake levels maintained to preserve their native fish that they relied on for food and livelihood. However, the power behind the tribal lawsuit was the city of Reno backed by developers who wanted the water rights reversed not for fish or ranchers but to expand city development hindered by a lack of water. These issues get so complex. My father was a cowboy-turned-logger because he loved the mountains and forests and was a recluse. He loved working jobs far away from civilization and part of my childhood was spent living in remote and outdoor logging camps. Several summers I went to work with him on a job at 4 am, worked until noon, came back to my home in a logging truck, saddled up my horse by 3 pm and checked on the grazing cattle to make sure they stayed up at the high springs, about a 2-hour ride round trip. The year it flooded during fall roundup was exciting though now I see it was scary to cross 22 miles of flooded river. We had to push the cattle up the river canyon because the trails were flooded higher up. We took on the river, crossing it at least two dozen times. I earned that beer! 🙂 I think we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when we got that herd back to the summer ranch. Next it took three days to push them from the summer ranch down the mountain highways and across the Carson Valley in Nevada to where the big ranch was headquartered. I tried to find something about cattle drives in my area and didn’t see anything, but this clip from Wyoming brought back memories: [youtube

      Already the rebellions roll in and the stories broaden our understanding and add to the discussion of important issues that really effect us all around the world.

      • Sherri says:

        Oh no! I’ll definitely have to check that out! Reading about the battle for water rights over at Wolf Ranch just makes my blood boil. How manipulative and crafty can these ‘fat cats’ be? Hiding behind tribal rights like that? It’s disgraceful. And again, I just love reading even more about your wild west years driving cattle and more about your father’s background. I grew up watching westerns and all those cattle drives always seemed to be a big part of any story, always attracting some kind of adventure. But I never knew a real life buckaroo before! I’m in awe…and yes, you earnt that beer for sure Charli! A whole six pack if you ask me 😉 Thank you for the link too, fascinating how the entire family is involved. I never grasped that until I started reading your ‘memoirs’ 🙂 Love it! >3

      • Charli Mills says:

        You memoirists just might teach me something of memoirs!

  11. Charli Mills says:

    A man walks into a bar and asks a construction-worker, an accountant and a writer, “What is the sum of 2 + 2?” The construction worker answers, “4.” The accountant answers, “4.” The writer says, “That reminds me of a story…”

    Punchline is that I flubbed my dates! I wasn’t even in the right year. This is the January 6, 2016 challenge and responses are due January 12, 2016. Not last year or last Tuesday!

    Thanks for your patience with a story-teller. I eventually figure out the answer is “4.”

    • Norah says:

      Great post, Charli, with lots to think about. I loved reading the back stories of the Mills and Wolf families, and of the river that links them. You asked some hard hitting questions and, while I have little understanding of the current rebellion that you mention and link to, I can see the importance of making some sensible responses to it.
      For me you sum up the entire post with your final paragraph in which you talk about the importance of sharing the stories: “Perhaps little story-rebellions from marginalized communities around the globe can teach us to better appreciate one another’s struggles.” But then you ask, “But how do we stand up to the powers that be? How do we take control of our lives and livelihoods without becoming what we struggle against?” That final question hits with a punch. It is so hard to not replace one system, one set of faulty thinking with another. It is important to keep the vision in mind and appropriate actions in place.
      Your flash is wonderful for its portrayal of the family rift. I remember you mentioning this before, and in some ways, an inability to make sense of it. Including the record of the rebellious violence in the poem by his Da above, and referencing it in your flash strengthened the power of your story – a very effective technique.
      I look forward to responding to this one with my own, less violent, rebellion in mind.

      • Charli Mills says:

        It’s a sweet thought that growing up, I could have floated the river all the way down to the Hub’s family farm. Ah, yes, it seems that one our biggest failings is maintaining the vision. In the US, I can’t help but sag my shoulders at the thought of “from George Washington to Donald Trump.” Power is seductive. It’s not meant to be in a few hands. Maybe that was one of the point Tolkien tried to make about the ring of power — even in the humble hands of a peaceful hobbit, it could corrupt. I look forward to your non-violent expression of rebellion.

      • Norah says:

        I understand the shoulder sag. I don’t get the followers. He doesn’t even make sense! I haven’t read Tolkien (fantasy and all that) but I know a little of it and appreciate the connection you are making. I don’t know how we create a fair, just, peaceful way of government. Perhaps, with humans, it’s just not possible, any more than it is with Hobbits. 🙂

  12. rogershipp says:

    A Matter of Conscience

    Dad was as patriotic as they come. July 4th was as important as Christmas and Easter. Memorial Day found us with ten flags and ten wreaths visiting different rural cemeteries to lay them beside of a veteran’s headstone that might not receive his appropriate recognition.

    I sat there as nervous as a clairvoyant frog in a pan of steaming water. My college grant had been rejected because I had chosen not to register. I wasn’t anti-gun. I was just anti-killing humans.

    “Dad, I have decided that I have to be a conscientious objector. There is no way that I…”

    #99 words

  13. Bill says:

    Great essay on the culture of the western us. Here is my 99 word flash fiction.

    You are a selfish bitch. You took over 25 years of my life.
    My lip at times seemed to be rotting off. You stole my soul at only five years of age. I hate you.
    I rebelled against you and won at age 30.
    You no longer have any control over me. I own you, you are my slave now. You crept back into my life after a twelve years of hiatus. I killed you for the second time a year and a half ago. You hold no power over me now. This time the rebellion will win.

    • ruchira says:

      Loved your take, Bill

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks, Bill! Your flash captures both the horror of addiction and the rage that can rebel against its power. Makes me wonder if sometimes rebellions are violent because it takes that kind of emotion to overcome something so powerful.

  14. Sacha Black says:

    I don’t even know where to start to respond. I think geoff got it right, like him, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in your brain! Must be fascinating. I am so pants at history, and you have a way of drawing so much richness into your posts, your descriptions of the past. Its mind blowing.

    Funnily enough, I knew as soon as you posted this, that I had to carry on a piece I wrote a few weeks ago for you. The Firmament – about the guys trapped in the dome. The story hasn’t left me, and the longer time goes on, the more elements are starting to drop into place. It is a story, a novel, that will be written.

    So I thought I would explore it here, your prompt – is so relevant for YA stories too. There must be a rebellion in every one!!

    Anyway – here goes.

    The Firmament #2 By Sacha Black

    The residents of Nova drank in the president’s words. They believed him. Believed we were safe in this dome.

    I pawed at my neck, trying to rub away the rising heat.

    I’d seen the dome, touched it. I knew we were trapped; knew someone had trapped us.

    I glared at the president. He found me in the crowd. His jaw set, and mouth curved. I saw the lie behind his eyes.

    “You buying this, Luke?” I whispered.

    “Not a word.”

    Something hard stirred in my chest. Defiance. Rebellion.

    “We have to fight. We have to find a way out.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, that fly would buzz a lot! Funny, I could say the same to you but exchange the word history for science. I think we have much in common as writers, but different passions. Isn’t that weird how you can return to a story from a different prompt and feel compelled to carry it on? I’m thinking you got me hooked with your Writspirations. It’s an easy compartmentalization for me — these flashes I think Rock Creek and I can process the larger revisions I’m doing in 99 words. On your site, I think, Jen and her story comes to life over there and leaves me in peace until next time! Weird! Go figure out the science on that! I’m really liking this Firmament story.

    • Norah says:

      This is sooo you, Sacha. Well done. Fight you will, and find a way out you will! 🙂

      • Sacha Black says:

        Lol thank you Norah – this is my next but two books – although I have a feeling it’s going to slip to the top of the pile it keeps calling me!

      • Norah says:

        Wow! How exciting to have three on the go (plus how many more I wonder) at the moment! Clever you! 🙂

  15. […] is the Carrot Ranch prompt this week. Read Charli’s accompanying post here; they are all good, but this one slips easily into the ‘excellent’ […]

  16. julespaige says:

    Where did the time go…I missed a the last prompt busy with family and setting the routine of the new year… I might go back and write something for the last prompt anyway even if it isn’t linked.

    Little Miss is quiet now… she had a restless night. But I suspect most of my day will be with her and it will not be until the sunsets before I can return…

    I enjoyed reading this post. You have a family history that I can only guess at. Well mine is just different, being that most of my family immigrated from other countries to possibly escape different rebellions.

    Best of the New Year to all. Hopefully I shall return… sooner than later with my 99 words.

    • Charli Mills says:

      There’s always this wonderful anticipation of the new year and then it passes and we’re scrambling. Or maybe that’s just me! You are always welcome to write a later prompt. I get notification of any new comments, although pingbacks can often get lost. Both our families represent what makes our country worthwhile — the diversity, the converging paths. Our family trees hold many surprises for each of us. Best of the New Year to you, too!

  17. […] Carrot Ranch’s weekly flash fiction challenge: this week, to write a 99-word story on […]

  18. […] am inspired to write my first blog of the year by the January 6 flash fiction challenge from Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch, which references, as a starting point, the occupation by an […]

  19. jeanne229 says:

    And back with a post and a flash:

  20. Ahhh rebellion. I reflected back on moments of rebellion throughout my life and there were, surprisingly, very few moments in which I staunchly rebelled. The one incident that took the win was my one attempt at running away from home as a child. I must have been seven or eight. My parents wouldn’t let me go to a sleepover at a friend’s house for some reason or another, and I was absolutely livid. So livid that I “ran away from home.” My intense irritation elevated considerably when my parents didn’t seem to care in the slightest that I was leaving their house. My mom knew I wouldn’t make it far and would be back very soon. Of course, she was right 🙂

  21. […] leads me to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch January 6, 2015 flash fiction challenge.  It was to write a story in 99 words (no more, no less) about a […]

  22. Charli, your post gave me much to ponder and for that I am grateful! When I think about rebellion, the first thought that comes to my mind is that of a standoff between some person whose rights have been abused by some powerful person or organization. But what if that powerful being in the rebellion is your physical body? And is fighting always the answer, or is there another way? It certainly gave me food for thought. Here is my contribution, “An Immune Rebellion”.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, Kate that’s a great internal reflection! Sometimes it feels as if our bodies do rebel, and sometimes our bodies are fighting a rebellion.

  23. ruchira says:

    Charli, your stories touched my heart. No wonder this prompt is so close to your heart 😉

    My take:

  24. […] In response to Carrot Ranch’s weekly Flash Fiction Prompt: Rebellion. […]

  25. Marigold says:

    I gotta say Charli, your idea of rebellion sounds good. What you’ve written reminds me of a phrase I heard the other day – why is war seen as strength, when peace is so much more difficult to attain?
    The prompt of rebellion led me to an almost unrelated story, more about thinking of what causes rebellion and writing something based on that. You got me thinking!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Ah, yes, isn’t that so true! Power is not always the path to peace. But our empowered voices can explore the topic, our free minds can think up solutions. I’m glad this got you thinking!

  26. Tom Ellis says:

    Charli, this is new to me but I found your prompt compelling and richly variegated with knotty issues. History speaks to me about human nature and the effect upon the political and social condition. Here is my story.

    Rebellion Labyrinth

    Sam Wood’s disgust at slavery made him a rebellious teen in his Ohio village. A few years later the Kansas and Nebraska Territories opened. The question of whether those states would enter the Union as slave or free inflamed Sam’s passion for freedom propelling him to the Kansas Territory for the fight. Willing to help runaway slaves, Sam was charged with treason by a Sheriff who abused the law. Sam escaped being arrested and campaigned for abolition across the Midwest. Lincoln won the election. A bloody civil war erupted and millions fought and died some led by Sam himself.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Hello Tom and welcome to Carrot Ranch! What a crossroads of the American west where you live, almost a historian’s playground. Your flash captures one of many reasons the Kansas and Nebraska Territories were so attractive to impassioned men, yet full of early bloody rebellion that would hint at what would come with civil war. Your upcoming historical thriller looks fascinating by the way. I suppose being a political junkie gives you an interesting perspective on history. Thank you for joining us!

  27. […] I wonder if my inability to simply accept what is could be considered rebellion? What is a rebellion? I’m thinking of these terms as this week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion. […]

  28. Norah says:

    Hey, Charli. Here’s my childish response to this one. Thanks for the challenge.

  29. A. E. Robson says:

    Allowing debates and settling conflict. A Mother’s job takes on may roles.

    Rebellion Averted
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    Travel brochures were scattered across the table.

    “I vote beach.” Came from the oldest sibling.

    The ruckus of voices trying to outdo the person who last spoke continued on.

    “I want to go camping.” Interjected the youngest. “Camping! Camping! Camping!”

    “You are not going to get a vote if you keep acting out. Why are you being so rebellious?” Admonished the middle child.

    “If it takes a riot for someone to hear me and take me seriously, I can do that!” Retorted the youngest.

    “Children, we are discussing our vacation. No one needs to rebel. Everyone gets a say.”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, yes. A mother’s role can take on one of the peace-maker. Your flash is reflects the rebellion that often occurs over family vacations!

  30. Lisa Reiter says:

    Had hoped to make it this week as I’m a total rebel but sad funeral and a few other biggies have thrown my week. Needless to say it was going to be rather memoir driven and I had an image of someone tearing a cannula out of her wrist and running out of a hospital.. ❤️

    • Sherri says:

      Hope you’re okay Lisa… <3

    • Charli Mills says:

      That leaves me with an image that I hope you can carry through in another story! Lisa, I’m sorry to hear of a funeral and biggies. Already 2016 is exerting it’s own power and it’s making me feel rebellious already. May it calm down and let us march on. Take care! <3

      • Lisa Reiter says:

        Yes. The year itself feels like it will be a biggie so I’m busy grabbing it by the horns and trying to wrangle it to the ground! In a positive way 😁

  31. Annecdotist says:

    Given the sad news about David Bowie, I thought we should have this

  32. Sherri says:

    Hi Charli, I tried to think of something historical, I really did, but I seem to veer back to the 70s no matter what, more so today with the sad news of David Bowie and memories of a certain time in history, of the way life was for teeangers in England, raised on American movies and TV shows & Westerns, but travelling to town by bus, buying records (my first ever, The Jean Genie, 45 rpm from Parrot Records in Ipswich) and teenage rebellion in general, which of course David Bowie epitomised in so many ways. And not everyone liked it. There’s a part in my memoir about my America GI’s sister who adored him (she was 16 when I first met her in 1979) but her mother despised the ‘freak’… I was shocked at how anti she was, my first taste of culture shock. Ha, I’m rambling, as per….! Here’s my flash, and after all that, nothing to do with David Bowie…

    Lauren Bacall

    Thank god for his Brut aftershave. She reeked of it after an hour of snogging him at the party; no way would her mother smell cigarette smoke now.

    Chin jutted, she smiled at her boyfriend as she inhaled a long drag of menthol from the slim, white cigarette. So cool, so – what’s that word? – sophisticated.

    Like Lauren Bacall.

    One look at her mother’s face back home told her that the Brut hadn’t worked.

    She bolted upstairs, tears streaming in rage, vowing never to stop smoking, even if it killed her.

    Then her stupid mother would be sorry.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I’m laughing because I was so mesmerized by your David Bowie reminiscence that Lauren Bacall took me by surprise! I imagine American culture shock — California, nonetheless, was huge! You’ve adjusted nicely between two worlds and look at all the insight you gained. And so much humor wrapped up in the angst of teen rebellion. The aftershave hiding the smoke is like using peppermint schnapps to rinse your mouth after drinking beer (perhaps the US version of poor cover ups).

      • Sherri says:

        Haha…well, I did go off on a bit of a DB ramble there. Who of course has absolutely nothing to do with Lauren Bacall! But I idolised her as a teen…and that’s all I’m sayin’! 😉 I’m not a big schnapps drinker, but peppermint is my favourite flavour! Thanks Charli, glad for the laughs 😀

    • Norah says:

      Indeed her stupid mother would be sorry. Brilliant flash Sherri. Sadly I think that may be a driving force for many tragic endings. But you tell it so well capturing the mixed emotions magnificently.

      • Sherri says:

        Yes…sadly. After all, what do ‘stupid mothers’ really know… ! Thank you so much Norah, really appreciate your comment… 🙂

    • jeanne229 says:

      Ahh yes, the cigarette as sign of rebellion! Great flash. You captured perfectly the passion and rebellion and angst of a teenager, and the spiteful urge for retaliation against the first powers that be…parents! Your stories always hit home Sherri!

      • Sherri says:

        Thank you so much Jeanne, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I won’t ‘fess up to any of it since it’s fiction, ha! 😉 I had planned to visit your blog last night, but WP had my comments disappearing into spam on several blogs so I signed off in utter frustration. Hoping it’s fixed now, will be over shortly to catch up as I see I’ve missed a couple of your must-reads 🙂

  33. J.T.E says:

    This is my first time trying one of these after first hearing about it through my father. Thank you for an interesting exercise.

    Budding Discontent

    “This is crazy you guys…you know me, I’m a patriot!”

    Jay’s heart raced.

    “Jules, Franky, you’ve got to believe me, c’mon guys”

    “The prisoner will remain quiet,” Franklin said in a cold monotone.

    “Julian, please. Please help, this is insane!”

    Franklin secured the prisoner to the pole. “For your crimes against the State-”

    “This isn’t happening, this can’t be real…”

    “-you are to be sentenced to death.”

    A voice suddenly came over the loudspeaker as Julian untied his friend’s corpse.

    “Release the President’s Guard. The cigar cutter was found in a side table.”

    The stale smoke made Julian sick.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, J.T.E.! I’m glad your father led you to the ranch. We do this every week and it can fun and a great place to explore characters or ideas. Wow, what an intense flash! So much packed into these 99 words and the pressures of the powers upheld and the powers that need an overhaul. Thanks for writing with us!

    • Norah says:

      That is such a sad and frustratingly unjust story. Your telling is very emotive.

  34. […] Flash Fiction for Carrot Ranch […]


    Here you go Charli. In an odd way I miss these minor revolts…

  36. […] January 6: Flash Fiction Challenge January 6, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion. Is it one a character fights for or is it one another suppresses? Explore what makes a rebellion, pros or cons. Use past or current rebellions as inspiration or make up one of your own. […]

  37. julespaige says:

    Late to this party:

    Rebel…With a Cause

    Rhoda was the rebel, southern born. But she actually grew
    up to be fairly responsible. That was a shocker to most of the
    family, who thought she was mentally lacking. Being a scrappy
    fighter kept her alive and well. But the siblings were jealous.
    They wanted no part of her, except for her assistance in caring
    for their elder parents. Something they didn’t want to do.

    Rhonda and her husband were there for her parents especially
    when they asked, which was hard for them to do. But she’d
    had enough. It was their turn now.

    © JP/dh

    see the post here:
    Rebel…With a Cause

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for contributing to the rebellion cause! I think you actually hit upon something in your flash — rebellion can often be simply an act of defiance or pushing back against control (fair or unfair). But sometimes, rebellion does have a purpose. I added your flash to the compilation and an “n” to Rhoda. 😉

      • julespaige says:

        Rhoda = Rose. But the ‘N’ doesn’t matter as the name was just a name that apparently I didn’t spell the same way twice. I’ll blame that on pfat fingers 😉

        Thank you. Your history that you always include is more than what I can ever remember learning in school!

      • Charli Mills says:

        Ah! Rhoda! I hadn’t thought of that, nor did I know it meant rose. That’s an apt name for the thorniness of rebellion and her choice to use it to bloom. I’ll change both to Rhoda, then. Pfat fingers or rebellious devices… 😉

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

  39. […] Congress of Rough Writers January 6 Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a rebellion. […]

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