June 22: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

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

June 23, 2017

Sixty miles an hour, windows rolled down, paved highway humming to the spin of tires, and I’m daydreaming about prairie flowers.

My hand rests on the steering wheel while I follow the truck and trailer in front of me. This must have been the view of pioneer women, only the pace much slower and the landscape emptier. No road signs to follow; only wagon ruts cut through the rolling hills. No modern rest stops or gas stations with odd names like Kum & Go; only free fuel for the oxen and skirts for privy privacy. When Mary Green McCanles followed her brother-in-law’s family out to Nebraska Territory, what did she dream during the long drive?

It’s easy to lump “pioneer women” into generic categories like loaves of commercial bread — you can barely discern a difference between white or wheat. In my mind, I recite the different prairie flowers to bloom during my stay in Kansas and focus on color, height and texture. Each one has a different season, grows in different soil and might even have surprising purposes. So it was with the women. My appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books about her pioneer years renews. She took the time to cast each character in a unique role. Laura was different from her mother, sisters and peers. Each was her own prairie flower within the settler ecosystem.

When I became interested in telling the Rock Creek event between two historic men, I wondered if I’d have anything new to say about July 12, 1861. James Butler Hickok has been thoroughly investigated by British historian, Joseph Rosa. Often accused of being yet another fancier of Hickok mythology, Rosa had a sharp mind and a ready pen. Best of all, he did due diligence in his research, something his peers and predecessors did not do as thoroughly. When anyone called out Rosa for his disclosures or discoveries on Hickok, he readily responded and editorial battles ensued in western history associations and magazines for all the world to read. And Rosa supplied evidence for his claims or counter-strikes.

However, when it came to David Colbert “Cobb” McCanles, Rosa pulled from the error and gossip filled annuals he corrected for Hickok, but not for Cobb. I understand. Rosa’s lifelong focus was Hickok, and that’s why no one expects anything new to be discovered. At first I felt annoyed that McCanles didn’t receive fair scrutiny. While his grandson attempted to “set the record straight” after seeing his family name besmirched in dime store novels and Hollywood westerns, the result was an over-correction. Who was D.C. McCanles? It depends upon which faction one reads, but each side has gaping holes in documentation.

Early on, I wrote the man as a character in a white hat, then black. But it wasn’t until I picked up on how the women would have seen him that the story came to life.

Like many before me, I first saw the pioneer women of Rock Creek in general terms — the wife, the former mistress and the station manager’s common-law wife. The wife/mistress tension had been played out ad nauseam and the more I wrote into the story, the less it held up as the linchpin to the events of July 12, 1861. I couldn’t find out much about the station manager’s wife. I felt if I could peer into the lives and minds of these women like a botanist scoping prairie flowers, I could understand better what happened that fateful day. I could come up with something new like Rosa had.

Women get lost in the records, often because of name changes. Thankfully Mary (the wife) had sons, and I could track her whereabouts through their names. After all, she did remarry. Sarah Shull also remarried, and other historians discovered her married name and subsequent locations, but they fixated on an imagined love triangle between her, Hickok and Cobb. Because it annoyed me that the lover’s spat angle was cliched and yet another way to diminish the expression of women on the frontier as anything else other than wives or whores, I followed the leads that pointed to Sarah’s profession. The pioneer was an accomplished accountant and store-keep. Given Cobb’s interest to expand his business holdings, it places Sarah in another role.

Jane Holmes was the hardest to research. We know through oral accounts she was the daughter of Joseph Holmes, a frontiersman and carpenter. She is also documented as being the common-law wife of the Pony Express station manager, Horace Wellman. She might be the young unmarried woman with an infant listed in the Joseph Holmes household of the 1860 territorial census. Her name is Nancy J. Nothing can be found of her before or after Rock Creek. Nor can I find a likeness of the sort of woman she might have been among the more proper journals, diaries and scrapbooks of pioneer women. She’s my imagined free spirit.

Research, writing and daydreaming has been my Rock Creek dance. I’m not penning a biography like Rosa did, but I will take a page from his strategy book. While thumbing through the crisp, brown and musty ledgers of the Kansas State Archives, I used Hickok as an entry point once I couldn’t find anything relating to my principal women. That led me to Rosa’s research. I mean, his actual research he himself did at the Kansas State Archives for decades. For 20 years he did all his research from London, writing correspondence with the state historians. After that he traveled to the Midwest annually to research for 30 days, his holiday. Once he began to publish, he stood on solid documentation. Like Rosa, my fiction will stand upon solid research.

Unlike Rosa, I dream the gaps. I drive and daydream of prairie flowers, digesting what I discovered in Rock Creek on this trip.

Mary, deepened in character when I gave her a competitive edge over Sarah to wield like power. Cobb’s father wrote of Mary’s vivaciousness and a photo no historian has ever published in a book about Rock Creek shows her to be a gorgeous young woman at the time of the incident. But what else? Even the prairie rose has more to offer than beauty. I learned several stories, digging into old pioneer accounts about the era after the Rock Creek incident. One, told by her two children Cling and Lizza (as “old-timers”) recounts how they grew up playing with the Otoe-Missouri children near Rock Creek. Cling says his mother traded with them.

In a second account in another book, Mary features in an obscure incident involving the Otoe-Missouri tribe. They often stopped at her ranch, even wounded. Further, the author relates a simple passage: “Mary often walked the trails alone and at night to midwife and doctor folks.” Not only was she not afraid of the “redman” her neighbors often feared, she took care of them as a prairie doctor. This rose suddenly bloomed in my mind, and I daydreamed about Mary and what her life was like and how she became a lone woman on the prairie, doctoring and delivering babies no matter the origins. No wonder many lovingly called her Grandma McCanles in her old age. No wonder proper history overlooked her improper activities.

A third story related to me by a local historian was that Mary’s second husband divorced her because of infidelity. She said I could find it in the county records. Not that it pertains to the events in my book, but it certainly colors the character of Mary who has only her first name inscribed upon her gravestone above “Wife of D. C. McCanles.” I once thought perhaps she was uncertain of who she was — a Green, a McCanles or a Hughes. No, I think she knew exactly who she was and didn’t require the name of a father or spouse to legitimize her life in death.

Another conclusion I drew from experiencing Rock Creek in person was that Nancy Jane might be missing from the records, but she served an important role in life. She was friend to Sarah Shull, and able to reinvent herself. I suspect her next relationship was that of marriage. The wildest of the three might have assimilated into a proper life. But I like to imagine her racing a horse across the hard-packed earth with hair as wind-whipped as mine while journeying north. She did not fear change. She might have been a bit like Calamity Jane whom Hickok treated kindly later in life. Newspapers and records might have missed their lives, but the women of Rock Creek live on in my dreams.

This week, Rough Writer and author, Ruchira Khanna, has offered a guest prompt. I’d like to pause, near the end of a long journey (or at least a rest stop) to thank everyone at Carrot Ranch for carrying on while I traverse the trails. Especially, I’d like to thank Norah Colvin, D. Avery and Ruchira Khana for stepping up to ranch chores. I’ll catch up with you all once settled on the healing shores of Lake Superior. Keep writing, keep pushing on, and happy trails to you all.

June 22, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that involves a dream. This action could have happened while awake, such as daydreaming, or make up a dream when asleep. Go where the prompt leads as it could be a nightmare or just fond memories or ambition.

Respond by June 27, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published June 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Lost in a Dream (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Young Sally stirred the bean pot and twittered about lace she’d seen in Beatrice. Sarah saw herself as if in a dream, a memory vividly sketched in mind but dormant for years.

“Beans look ready Miss Sarah?”

Her hands, no longer stiff and aged, trembled at what she knew came next. She heard herself repeat words from 70 years ago. “Check one.”

Sally blew on the wooden spoon, a lone pinto perched in thin liquid. Bread cooled next to churned butter and wild plum jam.

Sarah succumbed to the memory of the day. There never was a last supper.

###

 

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168 Comments

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, indeed, Lady Lee!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Ahhh! A teacher’s nightmare, (or at least one of them).

      • Michael

        Trouble is I seem to have so many.????

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Michael!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Your flash captures the weirdness and the comfort that comes with dreams.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joelle!

    • Charli Mills

      We stretch the fictional fence here at the Ranch to accommodate other forms of creative writing. Thanks for joining with us!

      • Sascha Darlington

        Thanks, Charli. I was here once before and have been meaning to come back again. (It was actually for the brown dog writing.) Hopefully I’ll remember to keep coming back.

      • Charli Mills

        Ah, yes! That makes me resonate with your first flash here even more. Visit often! It aids my memory. 😀

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I’m wondering if this is a very common theme. Your two responses certainly rang true for me.

      • Sascha Darlington

        Thanks. I think it’s because I’ve had several of the dreams lately so it was the first thing that came to mind. I also think that on a different day, in a different frame of mind, my response probably would be different.

    • Charli Mills

      Similar theme, perhaps, and yet you used it to express a different kind of loss and tension.Thanks for pressing into the prompt and pulling out a second one!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Divergent dreams, dreams deferred, a happy ending. Go Kitty!

      • kittysverses

        Thanks a lot for stopping by 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Kittyverses. It’s a good community here of sharing words. 🙂

      • kittysverses

        Yes it is, Charli. It’s my pleasure to be part of this writing community.

      • pensitivity101

        Ha. I should’ve done that the first time round, and would probably have been better marrying the best man (he was taller……LOL)

    • Charli Mills

      In high school I did theater and I used to have naked dreams on stage but the worst part was dreaming I had forgotten my lines! Yes, this dream is indicative of jitters.

    • jeanne229

      Well done! I once married that “man without a face” and dream turned to nightmare.

      • pensitivity101

        First time round I definitely married the wrong guy!

      • Charli Mills

        “Without a face” could be an interesting prompt!

  1. Norah

    How wonderful to have gleaned so much from Rock Creek, for Rock Creek, a fiction based on fact. I am intrigued by the perspective you are taking on it, and am delighted to see you breathing life into the womenfolk. I am intrigued by this dream-like end to Sarah’s long life. I’m sure you have written a previous piece where she hears horses bringing her love to her. Or am I mistaken? I’m sure the gaps that remain will soon be filled. The analogy to prairie flowers is a good one, each an individual.
    I like this prompt a little more than a few previous ones. I hope I can do it justice, and not just in my dreams. 🙂 Travel well.

    • Charli Mills

      You’ve caught on to my playing with the dream state in Rock Creek. It’s structured like bookends with the three Rock Creek years in between the end of Sarah’s life at 98. The horses have meaning throughout, standing in for that sense of free will, free expression, freedom. Hopefully it isn’t a “darling” sort of story weave or else it will end up on the cutting room floor and you’ll read the finished book one day wondering where the horses all went! 🙂 I’m certain you’ll dream up a good response!

      • Norah

        I’m sure I’ll love reading about the horses as they gallop through the book, tossing their heads, with their manes flying free. I’m so looking forward to reading it.
        I concocted something. 🙂 Posting soon.

      • Norah

        Hi Charli, After being away with the fairies a bit, I’m back with my response http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-W1

      • Charli Mills

        If only we could capture that freedom, but once captured, it’s not really free, horses or else. 🙂

    • jeanne229

      More children should take to fairyland…of their own making. I feel for so many of them when I see them glued to their portable devices, allowing the fractured dreams of others to inhabit their heads. But I should not be discouraged, perhaps. I hope some children still retire to their own private magical places.

      • Norah

        I agree. I think there is less time for daydreaming in this world of ever-present entertainment. As you say, we are beginning to be consumers of others’ dreams, rather than creators of our own. Sad.

      • Charli Mills

        I hold out for that same hope, Jeanne!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Norah, your flash sounds exactly like all the teachers comments on my school reviews. I was definitely a daydreamer! =]

      • Norah

        I thought it may resonate with a few of us! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        May those daydreams will serve you more than those comments, Elliott!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Reena!

    • Deborah Lee

      No joke!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      hmm. Settings may change, but people? Not so much.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for joining us this week, and for daring to go where the prompt led you!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      More dreams, dashed. She’s better off, so much could go wrong.

      • Allison Maruska

        Especially in the age of YouTube…

    • Deborah Lee

      Poor kid. 🙁

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Allison!

  2. denmaniacs4

    The Dream Tweeter

    “She’s finally asleep.”

    “You sure? She fakes it sometimes.”

    “I lingered awhile. Just watching…if she’s a faker, she’s damn good at it.”

    “She tell you the story?”

    “Story…?”

    “That thingee she’s been rambling on about…the dream tweeter, the goblin who steals dreams and then tweets them to God knows where.”

    “Yeah, she mentioned him. It?”

    “It about covers it. I think she’s been watching too much television…especially cable news. She doesn’t even know what a tweet is.”

    “Who does. I mean, what’s the actual point of twitter.”

    “Well, by some measure, its purpose is to keep the President sedated.”

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      he thinks tweeting is an elevater not a sedater. Really it just exposes certain goblins…

    • jeanne229

      Ha ha! Good integration of current news and politics, the latter group peopled by a number of real goblins. Nice use of dialogue to carry the flash.

    • elliotttlyngreen

      He really needs to stop tweeting so much. Or at least make them more presidential. Maybe we all do. Glad i dont use twitter =]. . . Funny flash! I enjoyed it.

    • Charli Mills

      Good one, Bill! I like how many ideas converged in this flash. Maybe social media is to sedate us all and the goblins really are stealing our dreams via tweets and FB.

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Transmission to Transition by D. Avery

    “Kid, you gotta grin a mile long on that face a yours.”
    “‘Less I’m dreamin’, Shorty’s back!”
    “Yep, I saw. She brought us flowers from the prairie, by gosh.”
    “She’s been on walkabout.”
    “Walkabout? You been talkin’ with Aussie?”
    “Well, it has been kind of a vision quest for Shorty, ain’t it?”
    “I reckon so. She’s been runnin’ down a dream alright.”
    “Well now what?”
    “There’s work involved in a dream coming true, Kid.”
    “I know. What can we do to help?”
    “Shorty will keep us posted. In the mean time, dream along.”
    “Dreamin’ big as a prairie sky!”

    • jeanne229

      I love how these characters (which, I admit, I just recently came to know) are so real through your very effective use of dialogue. Very authentic and engaging voices!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thanks. It is hard to say where the idea for wrangling ranch hands came from. The characters are totally fictional; any similarities to real people is coincidence, etc.

    • Sascha Darlington

      This is nice. I like how the dialogue flows so easily.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s green dreaming pastures and time to get ready for the dream calving season. Looking like a rodeo season is next for these talented ranch hands. 😉

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      That happens! Go to sleep to get what you need.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Susan! Good to see you dreaming at the ranch!

    • elliotttlyngreen

      I really enjoyed this.

    • Charli Mills

      The creativity came upon you this week! That’s fantastic!

    • Charli Mills

      I like the secret lives of stones and have always thought, “If only stones could talk.”

      • Charli Mills

        Oops! I had momentary flash confusion! Had to shake the moss from my dreams but I got ’em straight now!

  4. julespaige

    Charli,

    I think we all have a bit of pioneer spirit willing to trod through the path of words when we are so often unsure of where they will lead us.

    History is often one sided. Her story often left out. Spotty internet isn’t letting me catch up as much as I had wanted. So I’ll have to wait until Tuesday to do that. As we’ll be on the road most of tomorrow.

    I went with a dream while mashing prompts and adding to Janice vs Richard: Enjoy…

    El drac dels somnis
    (to see the word list and photo… the title should be the link…)

    (Janice vs Richard #11)

    Clothed in a neat kimono type wrapper, Janice felt there was
    nothing mundane about this dream. She’d been spirited off to
    a tentative safe house. There was no going backwards as far
    as escaping Richard was concerned. Even with attempting
    La gaudiere for the man – there couldn’t be even a partial
    reconciliation.

    Warm air vented from the nostrils of the tree brown dragon
    that nudged her, as she patted its’ spine. Janice wasn’t
    opposed to staying in this dream and felt herself smile.

    The Dragon’s eye swirled into a scenic window of greenery.
    It was time to wake up.

    ©JP/dh

    Note: in Catalan La gaudiere translates into : Enjoy it.
    So I put my title in English “The Dream Dragon” and out came “El drac dels somnis”

    • jeanne229

      I don’t read much fantasy but how I love this flash. I want to know about Janice and her struggle with Richard. And I want a dragon of my own. Beautiful use of imagery…”The Dragon’s eye swirled into a scenic window of greenery.”

      • julespaige

        If you link to my post there is a link there to the page for Janice vs Richard. Most are short pieces. Though I have used other prompts for the story.

        I hope to catch up on some reading tomorrow. I was a way and also got delayed a day.

        Thanks for your comment and interest. 🙂

    • elliotttlyngreen

      You have a very vivid use of language and details in your writing.

    • Deborah Lee

      Great combination of the written and pictorial cue! I like that pic.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Jules! I did enjoy it! Best is watching you explore this unraveling mystery between these two characters. And I’m also always in awe of your depth in seeking language and playing with word meanings. Safe travels!

  5. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

    Did I miss the compilation for the “dawn” prompt? I saw the “games” one, but I thought that date was for dawn. I’m so confused!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      It’s coming. The train is a bit off schedule for now. But in just a little while everything will be all right.

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me

        I think I like that reassurance for LIFE right now…the train is a bit off schedule, but in a while everything will be all right. I needed that.

      • Charli Mills

        Lisa, thanks for asking and sorry for the confusion as I catch up to the train!

      • Charli Mills

        D., thanks for the great answer and for serving as such a terrific ambassador this week.

        It comes to mind to say, “Kid, you and the Aussie are helpin’ Shorty keep the ranch runnin’ until things smooth out…and they are smoothin’!”

        It’ll all be okay!

  6. Annecdotist

    Glad your real world researches have furthered your dreams, Charli, and I imagine we’d all like to leave the world like Sarah does. Old age must be a great time for dreaming.

    Thanks for the great prompt, Ruchira, which sent my mind spiralling through the uses and abuses of the unconscious, hallucinations and dreams in fiction director with a 99-word story about therapy:

    The unconscious, dreams and hallucinations in fiction http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2017/06/the-unconscious-dreams-and-hallucinations-in-fiction.html

    • jeanne229

      Rich post and great flashes. The one referring to dreams made me glad for the patient….what agony one must feel when dreams seem to portend the meaning of life in the waking world.

      • Annecdotist

        Thanks, Jeanne, but of course now I’m wondering, if her dream came from my unconscious does that mean it reflects MY chaotic state of mind.

    • elliotttlyngreen

      ‘It was all a dream’ does always seem to be a fictional shortcut.

      • Annecdotist

        To me, it’s worse than a shortcut, it’s a sense of having wasted my time reading!

      • Charli Mills

        Funny side note to that shortcut: Chaucer used it liberally as a disclaimer for his stories (and he wrote much more than his incomplete works we all know, The Cantebury Tales). He’s wrap up with something like, “but it was all a dream…” He wrote about current events but cloaked them in characters and metaphors. Some historians believe he was a spy for John of Gaunt. But it’s funny because Chaucer is considered the first author in the English language. That “tis but a dream” shortcut has been with us since the beginning of English-language storytelling! 🙂

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Perhaps only the greats can get away with it..?. It is a stolen idea then. But it does depend on the piece. When it makes me feel cheated it bothers. I would rather it be left up to the audience to decide. Good info Charli.

      • Charli Mills

        The advantage of being credited as the first!

      • elliotttlyngreen

        (Kind of like this writer i know.. maybe u know her. A real pioneer for women and women authors.)

      • Annecdotist

        Well defended, Charli, although I suppose our Geoffrey was writing for an audience with a very different mindset. I could imagine for writers trying to get to the truth under a repressive regime, the defence of “it was a dream” would be a lifesaver.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Anne! The research was dreamy! Thanks for all your deep insights on the topic and its literary uses and abuses.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I did not know of Chitragupt, at least not by that name. Dreams, transitional states, all good; and well done.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Kalpana! I enjoyed learning about Chitragupt!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for keeping it weird, Tony! 😉

  7. Carrie Gilliland Sandstrom

    I sit in my arm chair like a cat, curled up in the sun. My book lays open but its words cannot capture my attention today. I am pulled under, into a dreamy state by warmth and comfort. I like to play there while the light dances on my eyelids giving my world an orange-red glow. I dream of sandy beaches, cool crystal blue water and a tanned lifeguard named Rico.
    “Mom?”
    Rico walks over to me, eyes inviting and warm.
    “MOM!”
    I ease my eyes open to address my interruption, “Yes?”
    “I can’t find my other frog slipper.”

    • Deborah Lee

      Danged kids.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to the Ranch, Carrie! That’s a dream state not to be interrupted! 🙂

  8. elliotttlyngreen

    As other writing communities (i visit and contribute to..) change and begin to crumble or become an unhealthy place, begin to feel uncomfortable for sharing my writings…it is sure nice to have The Ranch.

    Thank you to all of you that keep this a safe and wonderful place to practice and share the craft. This truly is my favorite writing community.

    Here is my contribution for this week.

    Writing about The Island before Writing about The Island by Elliott Lyngreen

    The outfield was a road; curved. Another couple formed an unoccupied lot, an island which resembled a baseball diamond..

    Frontyards were HOMERUN territory.

    Relays came from manicured gardens, yard niches, overwhelmed ivy, realms in two-story architecture; swiftly from Murphy, swung to Fearns, divided down to Harold at the sidewalk crosshairs—pitcher’s mound—to goofy Darryl – who tags Stewart with a catcher’s mit.

    Bicycles.

    We knew John Zaciejewski’s garage code; for more gloves, bats, balls…; and his pool.

    Dreams never stood a chance for the Major Leagues.

    Yet immersed….from wonderous transition, to awake neck hairs softly tingled.

    Formed as literature.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Darn straight about this ranch.
      Keep on keepin’ on. Who else would give us a pitcher’s mound at sidewalk crosshairs but you? That was some fast action for the tag out at home.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Haha thank you D! He would have been safe if I had more words to fit in. .. it really is one of a kind place for writers. Appreciate the comment

    • jeanne229

      Your flash so perfectly evokes the timeless quality of a neighborhood ball game and the camaraderie of kids. I do love the unique way you use language! Glad you are here!

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Glad to be here. Thats a wonderful comment, thank you so much.

    • Deborah Lee

      Who needs Big League dreams when they’ve got reality like this one? Great flash. I could feel the grit of the sidewalk under my feet.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Oh cool. Mission accomplished. Thank you . . Yes. We are the dreams.

    • Sascha Darlington

      well done! Made me think about being a kid again…not that I’ve ever grown up. 🙂

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Why thank you.. Ohh to be young again =]

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Elliott, I appreciate your comment on the Ranch. I believe we can have safe place to practice craft the same way we once turned streets into ball-fields and dreamed before we dreamed the writing path. Great flash — a home run! And now we are neighbors, of sorts! We are in the U.P. 🙂

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Pure Michigan!! Go Blue!! Thats awesome. Glad to hear u folks made it safe and sound. . . . Welcome =] (a True Flash. True Story. True Place.)

      • Charli Mills

        Thank you for the warm welcome! Internet connectivity is a challenge up here with da Yoopers! In fact, it’s shutting down and I didn’t get finished so I will hit the coffee shop in the morning. Moving the RV closer to town this weekend so it won’t be a future problem.

  9. Liz Husebye Hartmann

    To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub…

    My offering for this week:

    Sharing Dream Time

    She rolls in flickering blue and white, darts between other bodies, slick and shining, touching but not colliding. Breaching, she leaps into the moon, heavy with promised bounty. She swallows silver light, joyfully sated as it fills her center.

    Deep drumbeats increase in speed and volume, drawing near. Writhing and diving, she hides from grey and black shadows that slash and shred. In an eyeblink, Moon’s soft rays hang bloody between wicked spearhead teeth.

    She wakes, wiping salt tears from her son’s eyes. Repeated night terrors; she no longer knows if he’s sharing her dream, or she’s sharing his.

    https://huldermn.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/sharing-dream-time/

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Should it be “*Writhing and diving…” just curious . im still trying to take this in to undetstand it. ‘Leaps into the moon’ and ‘eyeblink’ -the poetry shines in this writing.

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Yes, it SHOULD be writhing and diving. Good catch!!
        My Id-Writer slipped past my Ego-Editor…

      • elliotttlyngreen

        It happens. Great flash nonetheless!

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Might even say you made the catch o’ the day! 😉

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Idk bout that lol…(but between you and me…sometimes… just to see who’s paying attention 😉

      • Charli Mills

        Good catch! Although writing and diving in shadows can be its own nightmare!

    • Sascha Darlington

      this is beautiful and has the texture of a dream in the prose.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Liz! Your offering is as twisting as the anxiety of such a situation. I fixed the “slip” Elliot noted for the compilation.

      • Liz Husebye Hartmann

        Teamwork! You two saved my ass…thank you!!

      • Charli Mills

        Digital makes it so easy! 🙂

    • jeanne229

      Poetic, mystical, powerful shift from the joyous to the ominous made poignant with that last revealing line.

  10. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Deep Sleep by D. Avery

    The stone dreamt of grinding ice and was not afraid; dreamt of twisting transforming heat and was not afraid; dreamt of the crushing weight of oceans, and was not afraid; dreamt of the acidic embrace of mosses and was not afraid. The stone dreamt it was asleep and dreaming that it was asleep and dreaming of timelessness and fearlessness. The stone dreamt that it was the earth, that it was the universe, that it was a tossed pebble.

    She awakened suddenly, slowly, acclimating herself to her limbs, her body, to the return from having dreamt of being a stone.

    • Deborah Lee

      That is just plain cool! Awesome flash.

    • jeanne229

      Love this. There is something very cosmic and mysterious and powerful about stone. Eons old and the building blocks of mountains, the stuff of cathedrals, a treasure to pocket on a hike. Such a creative take on the prompt.

    • Sascha Darlington

      I like this. The repetition works and I like the idea of the stone being a pebble and the earth and the universe.

    • Charli Mills

      D., I really like the weight of the flash and the dream of being a stone as grounding.

    • Kalpana solsi

      The personification of the stone and the limbs taking time to stretch into reality is well brought out.

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Beautiful poetry!
      Who would not wish to be a stone, reading this?
      <3

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Your wish is your command. You are the earth, the universe, a tossed pebble. (or so the teachings tell us)
        Thank you for your comments.

  11. elliotttlyngreen

    This is a fantastic flash! Personification of a stone is really brilliant. We pretty much become stone while we sleep. Wonderful. And fearless. Dreams are def fearless.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks. This was a really tough prompt for me this week, I was getting worried. Then came the stone.
      Your flash once again captures a nice quality of kids at play in a neighborhood. Feels good.

      • elliotttlyngreen

        Very well done. I can definitely relate to waking up feeling like a stone.

  12. Kerry E.B. Black

    Family Sacrifice
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    The sight paralyzed Ward, a vestige of a nightmare brought to reality. They walked from the fog, cloaked figures wearing crosses that swung with each step. Faces once familiar contorted with fervor and undeterred purpose.

    Ward backed to his door, certain they would rip through their clothing to reveal their natures. Wolves, hungry for a kill, anxious to devour the weakest of the pack. Instead of howling, the lead man presented official documents to Ward. “We’ve come for the woman named Nina. Relinquish her, and there will be no trouble.”

    Nina. His secret sister. Sacrifice for his family’s safety.

    • Charli Mills

      Great use of bringing the “wolves” to focus in the intro, making us all wish it were but a nightmare. A terrible sacrifice to have to make.

    • jeanne229

      Great take on a Gothic trope! Love the imagery with the cloaked figures. The ending so effectively brings in the conflict while leaving us hanging on a cliff.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Deborah!

    • Charli Mills

      There’s something about being on water that slows down the passage of time. I’d say you caught the story of your experience, Joe!

  13. jeanne229

    Another fascinating foray into the history you’ve uncovered. What a feat of discovery. It is very touching to read of the women beyond their archetypes of mother, whore, love interest, granny. Someday (soon I hope) I will lose myself in your book. Until then, like many people, I imagine the lives of the women who preceded me in my line: Ethel, Eleanor, Georgina, and the nameless ones stretching lost to time. I salute you, historian Charli. Beautiful flash, too. The older I grow, the more those memories of times past play out in my mind…with such vividness.
    Not sure I’ll get a flash in, but how knows? How uninviting my editing tasks for the day are!

    • Charli Mills

      Jeanne, I love that you can cite your maternal line, but so many of our female ancestors are only known to us in hints and intuition. Thank you for taking an interest in my histories. I hope, soon, I will emerge from it with something others can get lost in…but lost in a good way! Oh, yes, those editorial duties call for focus. Thanks for taking a play break. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Good to see you at the Ranch, Drew!

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      You had me going…right until the end!
      Well done!!

      • Drew Sheldon

        Thank you.

    • dnagai

      Not a hard week for ME but for the prompt 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for pushing through even when the prompt was hard (and glad it wasn’t a hard week for you! ).

    • Liz Husebye Hartmann

      Sometimes the best intentions are the ones that hurt the most. Nicely done!

  14. jeanne229

    No time to do a full post, but here’s a flash , based on a long-ago dream that has never faded.

    The Spider

    Rain-washed light filtering through the glass doors. The snug kitchen dawning with the day. The woman pondering her dream.

    She’d been sitting in this kitchen. An egg, perfect in its pure, curved symmetry nestled in a china bowl before her.

    She cracked it open. The yolk dazzled. But it was not a yolk. It was a magnificent spider, its body a glinting gold topaz.

    In the waking world, she would have recoiled. She would have screamed.

    But in the dream she watched, smiling.

    Now it seemed a visitation, a hopeful omen, a sign. What did the jeweled spider portend?

    • elliotttlyngreen

      Great image on the opening line =]

    • Kalpana solsi

      The bejewelled spider must be harbinger of wealth.

      • jeanne229

        Or at least good fortune of a less materialistic kind 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      What a vivid image! The birth of something new with the dawn.

  15. Charli Mills

    It’s 10 p.m. and the internet is shutting down! I’ll be back!

  16. Charli Mills

    Thanks for ELO and a flash of family insight for Penny!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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