Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

August 17, 2016

TransienceThe word itself flows — transience. Movement, moving, mover. No matter who or what, it is fleeting. One moment here, another moment gone. This is the idea writers had to work with this week.

From one story to the next, this collection captures the flow of 99 words. Each story is a transient passing through, like each person in the flow of humanity.

The following are based on the August 10, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about something or someone that is transient.


Floating on the Breeze by Ann Edall-Robson

I kind of wondered what would happen if I got shook lose. I, like so many like me, were comfortable. Secure. No cares. No thought about being set free.

An eye opener for sure to discover I am by myself. Stopping here one day and there another. Going to where the wind takes me. Never knowing where I will set down for the night or will I become a comfort in another’s bed. Will something hang me up, or will I just continue to float on the breeze?

I guess that is what being a feather is all about.


Plus Ca Change by Geoff Le Pard

Paul swore.

‘What is it?’ Mary glanced at the door hoping Penny didn’t hear her father.

‘An old school friend’s died. Jerry Slade. 49 years aold’ Paul laughed shortly. ‘When we were ten we agreed to become train drivers together. To Mary he looked wistful. ‘I guess I thought we’d be friends forever.’

‘What happened?’

‘His parents split and he went off the rails a bit. I last saw him at a reunion about fifteen years ago.’

‘Didn’t you want to renew the contact?’

‘He’d changed. We both had. Nothing lasts, does it?’

Mary kissed her husband. ‘We do.’


Internetsylvania by Jules Paige

Even after twenty five years here, the first fifteen being
immersed – Molly felt like a stranger. Was it because she
moved so much as a child? Did that matter now? She was
building her own communities; the first was family; grown
children, their families, all the in and out-laws.

The second though, that was special. Molly could say that
she knew these folks by their icons and internet words.
Genuine people from all around the world – providing warm
cyber hugs, support and encouragement. Though some were
very distant by land or sea, they were very close to her heart.


Transients by Charli Mills (from Rock Creek)

“Poorest of the poor,” Henry said and tucked his nose beneath the cover of his hand.

Cobb swigged corn whiskey from a McNab Spirits Bottle. “They have coin on ‘em,” he said.

“Do you charge for their handcarts to cross your toll-bridge?”

“Everyone gets charged. Some less than others.”

Sarah locked eyes with one woman walking past with three children. Another woman pushed the handcart next to a man. She had heard talk that Mormons had more than one wife.

As if catching her fleeting thought, Cobb leaned down to growl in her ear, “One wife’s trouble enough, Rosebud.”


Déjà Vu by Norah Colvin

“I don’t wanna go.”

“You have to.”


“I have to work.”

“I could look after m’self.”

“No. You have to go to school.”

Tears cascaded as the parent thrust the child onto the back seat littered with clothing, books, and assorted paraphernalia.

“How long are we gonna be here?”

“How long?”

A small hand thumped the door. Feet pushed hard into the back of the front seat.

Hands trembled on the steering wheel. Ash tumbled.

“I don’t know.”

“Where are we?”


Finally, with only a cursory glance at the sign, they approached the school office.


The Orphan by Bill Engleson

The boy’s sobs wrenched the breath out of Dobbs. A ghost of distant memory scratched at his brain like a chicken picking at dirt.

“Life is mostly about losing, Gifford,” he remarked, reaching down, grabbing hold of the boy’s quivering shoulders and raising him up. “In between, it’s about balancing the scales.”

Young Barnaby looked at Dobbs squarely in the eye. Dobbs saw that the orphan was far from ready to venture beyond his losses.

It would take some time.

Grief was a grappling hook; it rarely gave ground.

Grief could also spawn reactive revenge.

That could kill you.


Hit the Road? (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

Why is she still here?

She came here to take a new job, make a new home, build a new life. Those haven’t exactly worked out, unless you count camping in an abandoned house as settling down somehow.

But where to go? She’s already learned you can’t go home again.

She could try somewhere else. When everything you own fits on your back, no problem.

And then? Would other sidewalks be kinder, other passersby less judgmental, the ground somehow softer?

“Transient.” The word evokes images of railroad bums sleeping by the river of her childhood.

No. Anything but that.


Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

I watch the stars more, wanting to move on but held by loss, by gravity. She changes in my memories, like weather patterns. A gust of wind and her hand is in mine. A thunderstorm and her face is nuzzled into my chest. She taught me how to dance in the rain. She also broke my heart and made me cry like a baby.

I loved her so much. And she’s gone—like an event in the sky. Our memories the debris, scattered and beautiful, orbiting the two of us. It’s a miracle our paths ever crossed at all.


Tu’ (Squints continued) by Elliott Lyngreen

Sylvia thumbs away the silver tear from the quarter; can only see 1/5th of the rainbow.. [somewhere over earth here we come]. Earth’s rings. The rainbow gleams her mind’s envisioning and imaging, the entirety; transparent arch encircling; memory looking and synching before her next leap losing her mind and step closer toward mankind [appliance of choice smears like medians we jetted misty??uncoiling?? rainbows’ physical..]; controls _ alters windows [reassembling. thee device..] rescans [?#?cuziamlost_i?’mlostwithoutyou] Chance’s prism, diameter scattered floods and unencryptions [the northwestern corner contains the password], Sylvania Glastonbury spots – a fly. Spins the sky, screaming belief; fleeting.


The Firmament by Sacha Black

I stared, heart beating a symphony in my ears, at the room full of worlds. We weren’t the only ones trapped. Dome after dome was protected onto screens with numbers and trackers whirling.

“Each dome cycles for twenty-six thousand years,” Alaric said.

“And then what?”

“It passes or fails.”

“How many cycles have we passed?”

“None. And this is your last cycle.”

I swallowed hard, a bead of sweat forming on my neck. I scanned the screens, billions of people crawling across hundreds of domes. We were nothing and everything. To them we were expendable, transient. A fun experiment.


Transient: An Old Lady and Her Suitcase by Luccia Gray

I watched her sipping the takeaway coffee she paid with the coins she’d collected earlier that morning. A suitcase by her side carried all her belongings.

She wheeled them up and down the seafront promenade, alongside the tourists, until lunchtime, when someone bought her a sandwich and a bottle of water.

They told me she slept on a different bench each summer night, and a different doorway each winter evening.

Some say she’s looking for her dead daughter, others say she’s run out of money, or lost her mind.

Maybe they’re all wrong and she only wants to be free.


One Distracted Moment by Anne Goodwin

He heard himself singing without realising, cheeks cracking into a smile. Those old songs transported him to childhood, secure in his mother’s arms. The singer crooned his marriage might be over, but he could start again with someone new.

It jarred when the song segued into an advert. Luke reached across to turn the volume down. His gaze left the road for seconds; the consequences stayed his whole life. Two dead, one crippled, the papers said Luke walked free. But he’d never be free from his conscience, coupled to that one distracted moment until the grave.


The Miracle of Ducks by Charli Mills (from Miracle of Ducks)

“There were so many ducks. Flocks upon flocks, I tell you. A full regiment, an entire invasion, a miracle of ducks.” Ike concluded his story.

Malcom said, “Seems you saw in real life what artists experience when the vision of the canvas comes to them. It does feel like a miracle.”

Ike nodded and looked at Danni. She knew he wanted her to understand. Deep down Ike had a gentle soul, maybe even an artist’s soul if one could call building firearms and crimping bullets an art. At that moment she felt warm with love. It would soon pass.


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  1. lucciagray

    Wow! So many different takes on ‘transient’, and all so striking.

    • Charli Mills

      A wonderful flow of variety this week!

  2. Norah

    Lovely introduction to a great compilation, Charli. I particularly enjoyed these words of yours: “Each story is a transient passing through, like each person in the flow of humanity.” We are transient. Each moment we breathe is all we have – now. We must make the most of each. Thanks for bringing a little more meaning to my moments. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Norah, for flowing through my moments, too! 🙂

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