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January 27: Flash Fiction Challenge

January 27Rain has come early. Like a great science experiment it transforms snow into white fog and ice into silver slush. A woman driving northbound on State Highway 95 hit a patch of slush and spun her lumbering SUV out of control. When the tires caught the snow bank, the vehicle flipped twice, landing briefly upside-down before coming to a rest upright and askew to the railway bed. She had been going about 60 miles per hour; the speed limit.

I didn’t hear the accident, yet sensed it. No squeal of tires, no crunch of metal. Just a silent spin and double somersault, and those who saw it held their breath and pulled over. At that very moment the vehicle landed in three feet of grimy roadway snow, I turned from my computer and was stunned to see an SUV off the highway, other cars braking, some stopping, drivers running to get to the vehicle.

I yelled loudly for the Hub who didn’t even ask what was going on. He clearly heard my tone. I met him downstairs, breathless. “A car’s gone into the ditch.” He nodded, put on his shoes and a hat to keep off the rain. Without discussing it with me, he reacted by instinct. He knows me. He helped her out, talked to neighbors, waved at those who slowed down to ask about injuries through rolled down windows, and then he escorted her to our home. I already had a fresh pot of coffee going, hot water for tea and I set out brownies.

It’s what a community does.

And that’s not all. Those attached to our community in the capacity of civil service showed up — Idaho Highway Patrol, Emergency Medical Service, Volunteer Fire Department, Sandpoint Towing. In and out men in boots and emergency gear or uniforms traipsed, apologized for wet shoes. I offered coffee, tea. She sat in my rocking chair by the fire, ice on her broken nose, cup of tea at her side. She filled out paperwork, answered questions, let EMS examine her head. She laughed at the irony of surviving the accident only to break her nose trying to get out of the vehicle. She was in shock. We kept her warm, talked to her and eventually one of the responders took her home.

The internet technician who arrived days later was more curious about the obvious disturbance to the snow across the road from our mail box than our continuing connectivity woes. Connection, however, is paramount to me.

Though I live in a small community I don’t often see my neighbors or go to town. Lack of internet connectivity forced me to open up secondary offices in the community brew and beer houses. Just in time for no internet, my magazine editor gave me new assignments. I want to stay home, hide out and work within my routines. Then I realized what was really bothering me — I didn’t want to be disconnected from my writing community. It truly is the hub of my work.

Some writers worry about the time spent on social media as if being social were a bad thing. Going to town reminded me that it is not, and I like my new magazine gig that has me interviewing my local community. My interview style is to collect stories and that requires a degree of sociability. And I like it, despite my introverted desire to stay home. Being an introvert does not make one unsocial. Not only is my online community important to being social, it forms an important part of my writer’s platform.

Community is my foundation. All else pushes out from that hub like spokes on a wagon wheel.

Ever since I began decoding the writer’s platform, I had been trying to figure out how to visually show others the importance of community, especially when some writers began to wonder if it was a guilty pleasure or a time-waster. I knew it was neither, but I couldn’t make it “fit” my brick and mortar design for a writer’s platform. As I thought of community, I was reminded of a marketing model from the wellness segment called the “world view.” It’s a core, surrounded by a thicker layer and then a thinner crust.

Then the hub, spokes and wheel idea came to me.

Community is the hub; it’s our core. From the community, spokes of opportunity open up to reach the wheel that drives us in the writing market — readers. While I don’t have a developed visual, I’m working on it! First comes the breakthrough idea. Community is essential and the more organic it is the better. No, I don’t mean we need USDA labels or unadulterated ingredients. An organic community is one that occurs naturally. It’s the kindred-spirits, the shared-values bloggers, the like-minded who gather to write, read and discuss. We might be from varied backgrounds, genres and experiences, but we find common ground in our process, ideas and words.

From this hub of community, important spokes come into play. Like the woman who crashed, our community quickly responded with emergency services. That’s a spoke. For writers in a community, a spoke might be finding advice or trusted beta-readers. It might be an unexpected spoke of realizing that the genre you write is beloved to someone one of your community members know. Another spoke might be the sharing we do for each other in mentioning posts or books on our own sites. Yet another is collaboration, whether it is a Blogger’s Bash, judging a contest or sharing work in an anthology.

All these spokes reach out from our community and touch readers we don’t yet know.

January 27, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about how a community reaches out. Who, or what cause, is touched by a community “spoke”? Do you think communities can impact change and move a “wheel”? Why or why not? Explore the idea of a community hub in a flash fiction.

Respond by February 2, 2016 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Community Adjudication by Charli Mills

“String ‘em up,” one of the returning gold-miners shouted. Others laughed.

Ben, the grizzled trader who’d been buffalo hunting with the Pawnee since 1846 shook his shaggy head. “Now that ain’t fair. A man deserves due process.”

Cobb agreed. The old frontiersman understood democracy better than did most of these farmers who liked the idea of wielding deadly force over miscreants. Cobb stood and towered over them all. “Gentlemen, I wrote a proclamation to our Territorial Governor to petition for our right to adjudicate minor crimes.”

Heads nodded.

“But we won’t be hanging anyone in our community,” he added.



  1. You always have such interesting stories. And you are so sweet with your tea and brownies! When I got into my car accident, all my neighbors did was complain about how we weren’t keeping up my lawn. 😄
    So. Community. Yes. I’m one of the social media bitchers. It can be addictive and a useless time-suck. But, you’re right. If you use it properly, it’s a wonderful community. I have a love/hate relationship with it. Great prompt and flash. 💕

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think because I’m a story-teller I naturally gravitate to expressing my life in stories. She was lucky with the brownies — Todd hadn’t devoured them yet! 😀 Seriously? Do you live next door to the Society of Lawn Ladies? I won’t get started on what I think of modern coiffed lawns. My neighbors in suburban Minneapolis were appalled at our yard and its wild spaces and sprawling tomatoes and pumpkins and…gasp!..dandelions. But I had terrific songbird activity. As for social media, I keep it specific and ignore the rest. Or try to! Thanks! <3

      • Yes. It was the SACH (Society of Awful, Cranky Homeowners) and my offense was dandelions. 🌼 I was broken (literally) but my lawn was unsightly so…obviously, that was the focus.

      • Charli Mills says:

        SACH! How awful to be broken and seen only for misunderstood weeds. Big hugs and dandelion wishes! <3

      • Annecdotist says:

        Mr A used to spend ages digging the dandelions out of our grass, but they always came back. One turning point for me was when a friend mentioned how much she’d enjoyed the drive along a somewhat boring road because of all the dandelions out along the banks. It made me realise what I was missing in dismissing them as weeds. Our front garden has pretensions of being a meadow, but doesn’t quite make it. I sit at my desk watching people turn their heads as they walk past. If they disapprove, that’s their problem.

      • Charli Mills says:

        “Pretensions of being a meadow…” now that’s a yard to like! And your attitude. 😉

  2. […] January 23: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

  3. julespaige says:

    Special Delivery

    Some pregnancies are planned. Others clearly are not. And
    of course to say the weather is unpredictable is a pure
    understatement of the facts. So before they started naming
    blizzards…well it was the one of 1996, his pager went off.
    There wasn’t any way the volunteer firefighter was going to
    get to the station, but the address in distress was just up the

    The neighbor with the snowblower cleared the drive. Two
    plows and two ambulances circled the block, stopped by
    her door and took her to the hospital. Two days later her
    healthy baby boy arrived!


    OK yes, this is a BOTs – And just because we are still in
    the after-throws of the blizzard called Jonas… this memory of
    my hubby is very clear in my mind. He still has yet to have
    the pleasure of actually delivering a baby 😉

    You can see the post here:
    Special Delivery

  4. […] January 23: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

  5. The concept of a community hub is one of my favorites to explore. It is what our world needs. A bringing together and sharing. Here is my contribution to your lovely prompt, Charli!

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think so much can be accomplished by community hubs. Before I left Minnesota, I served on a board for a community garden that connected all the different New American groups in our community. It was incredible to walk among the gardens and hear so many different languages, but we all connected over growing food. I’m off to read your contribution!

  6. Annecdotist says:

    If I ever have the misfortune to crash my car in the snow, I hope it would be at the back of your house, Charli!
    And I’m really in awe of how you manage all this connecting with poor quality Internet – I’ve just had a day and a half of intermittent access and really conscious of how much I rely on it. Much better today after the postman brought a new router. Not a patch on the difficulties you’ve had.
    But I was prepared to toddle along to the local library if it was still problematic – as you know, sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone brings surprising benefits. Interestingly, I’ve a post on being a sociable introvert coming soon.
    Hurrah for Cobb in introducing a more humanitarian community. Perhaps you’ll introduce him to Donald Trump. As you know, a joyful prompt is much more challenging for me, but I think I’ve done it as I look forward to a weekend full of singing:

    • Charli Mills says:

      Better yet, just visit! No one has to crash to enjoy my tea, coffee and goodies. 🙂 In part, my phone service helps when the internet fails, but I could easily go crazy trying to text my comments, undo the whims of auto-correct, and I can’t do behind the blog scenes stuff. The shops in towns were helpful, but it wearied the introvert in me. I like going out and enjoy doing interviews in person for my magazine articles, but when I write I want to be alone. I look forward to your upcoming post on being a sociable introvert.

      Cobb needs credit for punishing without death in his community. Other frontier communities of the era hung many for minor offenses, and sometimes to grab land. Cobb did uphold a form of law in his area, but after he was killed it was easy for neighbors to remember him as a bully instead.

      Ha! I misread your last line…I got excited, thinking you were signing (as in books). Then I realized, wait, you sing! I hope you got to do both.

      • Annecdotist says:

        I’m sure there’s a good story in the confusion of singing and signing, but I have sold a few books to members of the choir and DID sign a couple for a friend on Saturday, so you were right in your misreading!

  7. Pete says:

    Squabble Creek

    A hawk sailed over us, his outstretched wings washed amber in the late sun. “Mom, they can’t actually move a cemetery. They’ll have it re-fenced, right?”

    Mom shrugged. “Oh sure, and who doesn’t love some old gravestones beside a Mega More Super Store?”

    Dad called her an idealist. But as my gaze wandered to our bikes, leaning on the sagging split-rail fence along the dusty two-track path, I thought it was actually quite simple. I caught Mom staring. When she smiled a small fire ignited in her eyes.

    “Starting to see why I write those letters to the editor?”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Especially like this line, “…outstretched wings washed amber in the late sun.” It’s foreshadows the fire in Mom’s passion for advocacy. And what better way to teach than by showing — the bike ride serves a purpose to reinforce what Mom does. Great flash, lots of depth! 🙂

  8. Maybe I’m still stuck in the spirit of rebellion from a couple prompts ago: I had to take an antagonistic viewpoint on this prompt. Hope my BOTS flash doesn’t ruffle any feathers too much! But I guess it’s my truth, so I’ve got to speak it, right? But I will say that my attitude towards my home community isn’t really as hostile as it comes across in this flash (so I guess it’s partly fictional in that sense). My real attitude is expressed in a poem I wrote called “Each Heart I’ve Known Is Still a Part of Me” (posted here: Just so you know!

    I also seem to be stuck in the same rhetorical style I used last time. I’ll try to change it up on the next one.

    Just pasting it here this time:

    They Reached Out

    They always reached out to me.

    First with hugs and diaper changes in the nursery.

    Then snacks and flannel boards in children’s church.

    Then games, catchy songs, Bible memory contests, and church camp.

    Then emotional youth group retreats, prayer huddles, advice, and tissues.

    Then awards, leadership opportunities, intense worship services, and missions trips.

    By this point it was clear my community had successfully worked together to create something: me.

    When I finally struggled to break free, they reached out again: with rebukes, warnings about Hell, and, in my nightmares, stones thrown at me.

    They were powerful.

    But I escaped.

    • paulamoyer says:

      I like this, Sarah. Some communities have a yucky side, for sure!

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think every writer finds true voice writing into truth, which is why it feels like an act of bravery. Your flash rings true and as such is something readers can relate to. We grow up surrounded by tradition, loving acts, teaching, but there comes a point of differentiating who we are from our upbringing. It’s not only a struggle to break free from an established mold, but devastating when the tribe that raised us, stones us for who we are. The love given is revoked and it becomes extremely painful to move forward or reflect back. This is a powerful flash that demonstrates the experience.

      And if you are feeling rebellious, continue to express it. If one style fits for now, go with it. We have to rotate fully through first gear before shifting into second. 🙂 <3

    • Annecdotist says:

      Yes, sometimes communities can control through goodness, and sometimes even harder to break free. And I love the voice of this.

  9. Sacha Black says:

    Aloha, aren’t you just the loveliest. I think that we would go to someones rescue too. Although our house isn’t that close to a road so its more difficult, but when I used to live in a village we often did help others out.

    Hard on this week. I had the spirit of a monk community in there, the reach out comes a little after the bit I have submitted, just couldn’t quite make it fit 99 words. Ah well, nothing like cheating on your WIP hey!!

    The Firmament #5 by Sacha Black

    Brightly coloured prayer flags looped around enormous columns in the temple corridors.

    Entering another chamber, a chorus of ‘Om mani padme hum,’ was coming from a hundred Tibetan monks.

    “How the hell are we going to find one specific monk in here, Luke?” I whispered.

    He shrugged and broke left to investigate. Instead I chose to sit cross legged and face the front row of monks. Reverberations filled my body. I leant in to check if the monk in was really entranced. His eyes shot open. I flew back.

    “Lexi Orion.”

    “What the…How do you know my name?”

    • Charli Mills says:

      Is it easier to help others when we are living in smaller communities? I wonder about that. Glad to see you cheating on your WIP. 😉 Now that my internet is back up, I’ll have t visit you and cheat on mine!

      I like the direction the monkish community took you. These scenes have such an underlying tension, perhaps it is a sense of seeking but it leads to reader anticipations.

  10. Norah says:

    What a wonderful community. It’s great to hear about the support of those living in small communities. It is the same here. Unfortunately that sense of community can get lost in a city as people hustle about their daily activities, many not getting to know their neighbours. Of course that is very dependent upon the neighbours and their desire to interact. Generally they come together in times of need anyway. I look forward to responding to this post. Being a part of this community hub of writers is important to me. I look forward to the visual you are working on. 🙂
    Great flash. I’m pleased Cobb was a strong leader for positive change in his community.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I felt disconnected living in a larger community. Although, with time and effort, I found ways to get involved. In a way, I feel stronger reaching out to that elusive “target reader” when I feel rooted in a community. I’m glad you are a part of the core here, Norah! 🙂 <3

      Cobb was an active leader, but later resented. Trying to sort out if he was unfair or not has been tricky, but After discovering he really was sheriff for so many years in North Carolina explains his actions in Nebraska Territory. He took the leadership role.

      • Norah says:

        I agree. I think having that strong inner core means it feels safer making incursions into unknown territory. There’s a safe haven if a temporary retreat and recoup is required, a community for reassurance, affirmation and revitalization in preparation for the next foray.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Yes, just like a classroom. If a student feels safe in that core, learning is more open.

  11. ruchira says:

    Wow! what a prompt inspired by a local event in your community.
    I remember reading about that car on FB on your timeline. Absolutely adored how the community reached out.

    More than that…Fortunate am I to be in this special group. It is a home away from home for me to be linked to such special people while the admin has such brilliant ideas for the Rough Writers 🙂

    My take on this special prompt:

    Happy to be back!

    • Charli Mills says:

      It happened so fast, that accident, yet so many responded just as quickly.

      I’m so happy you are a part of this core group, Ruchira! It’s a good platform for us to share with others. I hope the brilliant ideas shine like ripe fruit one day! 🙂 <3

      I like where you went with the prompt. How terrible for community to stand guard against those gone into a rage over politics.

  12. paulamoyer says:

    Here’s mine, Charli! Genders and names changed, but here is a peep at the gestation of Solar Man!

    Healthcare Delivery

    By Paula Moyer

    Jean sat dazed while the IV cranked a repetitive rhythm. Preterm labor was stopped, bur next came four weeks of bedrest.

    How? she wondered. With Chuck’s job and a three-year-old with asthma, how?

    Once home, a visiting nurse came twice a week. Sally, a neighbor, brought Lydia home from daycare three days a week. The first day, Jean taught Sally how to give Lydia her nebulizer. Another friend from church covered the remaining two days.

    Cards. Phone calls. Hot dishes. Visits. Every day something.

    With bedrest and friends, Jean, Chuck and Lydia made it. Nola came right on time.

    • Charli Mills says:

      That overwhelming feeling of “how” is met with helpful response and that’s really a great example of community. I like the name Nola! Had Radio Geek been another gender we were considering Rutger. Rutger and Nola. That would have been a pair of names! 🙂 So good to see you back at the ranch! Hope you are feeling better!

      • paulamoyer says:

        I am, Charli! Last week the flash wasn’t happening, even though I have a dog. Maybe just not willing to share her with the boys?

  13. […] flash fiction is in response to Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. This actually isn’t a flash but an excerpt from my WIP, Native Landscapes. Here, Milena, the […]

  14. TanGental says:

    Back in village life we lived on a fast main road by a blind junction. Several times we were stopped in our tracks by the telltale banshee brake screams and crumpling metal. Mum and Dad often had shocked victims sipping sweet tea, even consoling the immediately bereaved on a couple of occasions.
    I’ll do a fuller post on Tuesday but I’m not missing out again so here’s my take in anticipation

    Rallying Round

    Bad luck comes in threes. Overnight rain, a burst water main and a blocked drain. Hansa’s cafe flooded. The mess, the stench, when Mary arrived were dreadful. Hansa sat on a chair, stoney-faced. ‘This will take forever. I’m not sure I have the energy.’
    It wasn’t a one man job. ‘You call the insurers. Leave this to me.’
    ‘Go. Now.’ Once alone Mary called Rupert her half-brother. ‘You remember the posse you organised to clear Dad’s garden last summer? I need them for a friend?’ Mary explained the problem.
    ‘On it now. Put the kettle on.’

    • Charli Mills says:

      Shocked victims need tea and comfort more than anything. Unfortunately our few fatalities have left no one to comfort. Those have been the results of crossing the train tracks.

      No way I’m going to overlook Mary this week! I’m back online in my home office. Oh, but I do miss the beer and coffee. 🙂

      Mary steps in and takes charge. Glad to see she’s including the spoke that is her brother.

    • paulamoyer says:

      Great flash, Geoff!

  15. Ula says:

    I second Sarah on the love/hate relationship with social media.

    I love the community you have created here, Charli. It feels like a little bit of home on the web.

    Here’s my flash:

  16. Deborah Lee says:

    I love the way you talk about the little things of everyday life and show how they connect to the bigger things.

  17. With a real community, the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts:

  18. A. E. Robson says:

    In times of need, the farming and ranching communities come together to do what they can to help. Some risk all to make sure others are safe.

    Rural Neighbours
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    They radio says move to higher ground. Take refuge and register at the school. Neither are possible. The road is washed out. The river crested hours ago. Trees ripped from the ground, devastation everywhere.

    Thankful for the neighbours that came to the rescue. The ones who changed out their swather blades for the massive buckets. They traveled on land immersed in water. Not missing a farm or home. Gathering friends, neighbours and strangers in the buckets and cabs of their huge machinery; depositing them at the school before continuing on their quest to bring others to town and safety.

  19. […] Mills penned a spellbinding story about her community’s response to an SUV accident. “It’s what a community does,” she […]

  20. Charli, your story had me spellbound. A community responds. It does not seek accolades. It does not seek headlines. It just responds. I loved it. In Victoria, the only snow storm anyone ever talks about is the one they had in 1996. And for good reason. The only known snowmageddon prior to that had been 80 years earlier, Groundhog Day 1916. I wrote about it. There is no flash fiction attached to it; maybe I’ll come up with one later. Mine is a story about how the community responded. And now I’m off to get some baking done! I don’t have anything in my freezer to whip out and offer you in case you drop in for tea, coffee and goodies. 😉

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, you are so right — a community responds without thought to recognition. I had no idea about the Groundhog Day blizzard of 1916. The snow drifts seem unreal for that area! I enjoyed your story of the event and how community came together in unexpected ways. Yes, I need to bake again, too!

  21. Sherri says:

    You are right Charli, community is so important, both on and off line. I miss my blogging community so much when I’m away and that is part of my frustration, part of my love/hate relationship with social media. Not the social side of it, I love that, but the times when I feel I’m lagging so far behind and unable to keep up with the latest and contribute when other ‘stuff’ gets in the way, as with my writing too. That’s what causes me the most stress.
    What you did for that poor woman was so wonderful, but I know it is what you would do for anyone who needed help. I remember when I was a little girl, our house flooded. It’s strange because I’ve never written about it, but the thing that sticks out the most about that is of my dad out in the flooded street helping people who were stranded in their cars on the road while I walked through our downstairs in my wellie’s (wellington boots), amazed at the way the water flowed in over the tops of them.
    Like you, I need to be alone when I’m writing, in silence, but that has to be balanced with getting out there, meeting with people. I live in a suburbian neighbourhood within a town, but I don’t go there often.
    As much as I want to stay in constantly to write, life doesn’t allow me to, and although I get so darn frustrated, being able to get out and feel part of community again is not only beneficial but necessary. But that’s where our online community comes into its own. I don’t know what I would do without it. When I wrote my last post, I knew I would never quit, I would find it impossible.
    And I’m just so grateful to have found you and this amazing community here at the Ranch Charli <3 I honestly couldn't imagine not being here now. A lifeline in fact. And I love your flash as always, I love Cobb here 🙂
    I'll be back with my flash!

    • Charli Mills says:

      What an image — you in your wellies with flowing water in the living room while your Dad is wading to help people stranded in cars. Your memory is like a photo album and when you write, you bring these snapshots to life. No wonder you are a memorist! And a brilliant one, at that. And I can say so, having read your recent essay. 🙂 I’m so thrilled to have this community, so blessed. Roots have been an issue all my life, and being uprooted from the place where I had lived the longest and had seen my children spread forth to plant elsewhere, I felt disconnected once again. But I believe in the power of community. Working with cooperatives for so many years taught me that. And it’s always best when it happens naturally. Tribe, community, kindred spirits, we do need one another to accomplish our solo work. I’m grateful you found your waty from a summerhouse in the UK to a ranch in Idaho! <3

      • Sherri says:

        Oh that is kind of you Charli, thank you. And I understand so much your feelings of rootlessness as you know. It’s lonely to feel disconnected like that, very. But you have created a wonderful community here, with you as the hub sending out spokes of creativity, support and friendship. Summerhouse to Ranch…sounds pretty darn good to me 🙂 <3

  22. Pat Cummings says:

    My contribution this week helps explain why I missed last week: The CCR Committee is at

  23. jeanne229 says:

    As always your post is chalk full of thoughts to ponder deeply. One of the hardest things for me as a writer is to keep my seat in the seat. I am rather social, and I go a bit batty if I don’t talk to people. Then again, I also find that the online communities that I engage in, Carrot Ranch being the primary one these days, does fulfill me in the same way, or even better, since it is writing and stories that bind us together. Thanks for initiating another important theme Charli. And oh yes, I love the metaphor of the spokes.

    Here is my effort on community.

    • Charli Mills says:

      That task of keeping seated…tough for everyone! I can get seated, no problem, but my wandering mind flies free. I guess I need to get my mind in the seat! We all need that sense of connection, don’t we? My first week working in town was stressful, but then my second week that was full of interviews wasn’t. I thought about why. I think it has to do with connection. Working in town made me feel disconnected from my surroundings and I really didn’t talk to people. But interviews, I did. I definitely feel connected here! Glad you like the analogy. Now we’ll see if I can design a graphic. 🙂

  24. […] Mills, over at the Ranch has prompted us thus this week. Nowadays, living in a suburb of south London, albeit one we call a […]

  25. […] Ranch Charli Mills is talking about the importance of belonging to and having the support of a community. Charli is talking about the supportive rural community where she lives and describes the way […]

  26. Norah says:

    Hi Charli, I’ve just dashed over to pop mine in. I’ll be back soon to read others’ responses.

  27. What a crazy experience and a wonderful story. I agree with Sarah in that I love how you pull your life experiences into your writing. It makes for truly relatable and rich pieces. 🙂

  28. Sherri says:

    I’m back! Struggled with this for some reason, mind going a bit nuts here there and everywhere. Here’s my flash. Thanks again Charli for another greaet prompt and post! <3

    Neighbourhood Watch

    “Did you hear the racket last night?” asked Dee as she handed Jean a mug of tea.

    “Did I? Sirens and all sorts, saw the police outside Mary’s place, woke me up. What happened?”

    “A break-in I heard, according to Eric next door. Caught the sod, some young drug addict, but poor Mary’s in hospital with the shock of it…”

    “That’s awful. Things are getting bad around here…”

    “I heard about this Neighbourhood Watch thing, maybe we should join?”

    One month later, they held their first meeting at Dee’s house, and Mary felt safer than she had in weeks.

    • Charli Mills says:

      It’s a good thing when there is a struggle and you write anyways. That trains the mind to solve the problem. 🙂 One of the benefits, I’m learning, of constraints! I like the direction you went and the sense of security that comes from taking action within a community.

    • julespaige says:

      Since our chicks have flown the coop…when hubby travels I bolt every lock I can find. Going out at night by myself especially in winter isn’t an option. Though the suburbs are fairly safe, we did have some mailbox bashers (we have our rural mailboxes on posts at the end of our driveways) and mail theft a few years back. I also never answer the door if I don’t know who it is. I’ve got a note up by my door bell that says ‘Solicitors and Surveys Not Welcome’.

  29. […] Congress of Rough Writers January 27 Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words, no more and no less, write about a community outreach: […]

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