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February 22: Flash Fiction Challenge

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White stretches all the way to nowhere. The apex kisses the horizon in secret and white cannot be separated from white like marble lips locked in eternity. Lady Lake is Michelangelo and sculpts her Superior domain into classical form. This is Keweenaw Bay.

Highway 2 curves around the bay and if I turn and look northeast I can glimpse this endless white where it’s impossible for me to discern the frozen lake from the cloudy sky.

Once beyond the bay, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan emerges a wintery forested wilderness. Lodgepole pines and slender, leafless birch cluster across rolling hills and open up to lakes and streams. The snowpack doesn’t measure up to a third of what the Keweenaw has and yet there’s plenty for snowmobilers.

Small towns come in and out of view as we drive through. We are headed to one of the largest rural VA hospitals in the nation — Oscar G. Johnson Medical Center. Everyone we’ve encountered in the medical system has been top-notch, but chasing down resolutions is like chasing unicorns.

Do the answers really exist?

Today, we had breakthroughs and more tests scheduled. Today, we gained a glimmer of hope.

Look, there she goes — the last unicorn. The maiden’s quest and protector, the unicorn has hidden since the rise of western civilization. Perhaps as women claim their bodies and voices, their lives and livelihoods, the unicorns will return.

But we have our own Carrot Ranch mythology when it comes to unicorns. When the literary community first began to solidify, we discovered that with safe space to explore we turned to dark writing. In retrospect, it signaled that we were willing to risk writing deeper into our truths and imagination. We trusted each other enough to present writing we wouldn’t typically pen or share.

It was a validating moment.

To lighten the mood I joked that we’d take on writing “unicorns and rainbows” next. The official prompt was “mythical creatures,” and it gave way to more dark writing and yet became one of the most profound collections we’ve assembled at Carrot Ranch. It is now Chapter 12 in The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1. And why we have a unicorn in our book trailer:

Work has begun on Vol. 2. In September, I put out a call for Rough Writers, and we added to the fold. From this group, 30 writers are participating in building a unique anthology that begins with 99 words first crafted here. It’s a process that will see fruition by the end of 2018.

Everyone who writes here has an essential identity from Welcomed Lurker to Constant Ranch-Hands to Ranch Ambassadors to Rough Writers to Friends to Patrons to Readers. We are all part of Buckaroo Nation — a status the community has bestowed upon those who write at Carrot Ranch. Our community is vibrant with creativity and diversity; our mission is simple — make literary art accessible.

To that goal, the Ranch is what you make of it. Bloggers can find their way through Carrot Ranch to a hub of important and exciting blogs. Fictioneers can participate in a prompt and discover other prompts within the greater community. Memoirists can find other like-minded writers. Same goes for most genres. Authors can find a platform that extends their own and newbies can learn from those with more experience.

Flash fiction is both a fun and worthy literary form, as well as a writing tool. You can learn more about my thoughts on the power of flash fiction here. You can also extend your writing reach as a guest essayist or taking on an advanced fiction challenge here. Raw Literature is a series that allows us all to discuss what we write, how, and why. You can join in every Tuesday.

Because the mission of Carrot Ranch Literary Community is accessibility, I want to make sure everyone here has a chance to participate in Vol. 2. I’m opening a section for “Friends” that will include responses to a new prompt. Because this is a published book, I will work with each writer to polish their submissions. You will get a bio along with our Rough Writers. It’s an excellent opportunity to build your writing portfolio.

If you are interested, please respond by March 14, 2018:

February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by February 27, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

NOTE: The following is from The Congress of Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1.

The Secret Stall by Charli Mills

“I don’t wanna pick blackberries. They got too many thorns.” Libby stuck her throbbing thumb in her mouth.

“Look, Libby’s a baby.” Her brother Joe pointed, and their cousins laughed. Libby headed to the barn. The cat was nicer than these five boys.

“Here kitty…” She could hear boy-chatter across the yard. It was dark inside. A shuffle sounded from behind the farm tractor. Careful not to trip over tools, Libby made her way to the back where a glow in the stall revealed a shining horn.

It was attached to a unicorn sleeping on a pile of quilts.

###


276 Comments

  1. Eric Pone says:

    I would like to submit to the Anthology this year. Can you email details. Please.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess it would be a tough relationship if one person believes in unicorns and the other does not. Is there counseling for that?

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Eric, I chuckle at the assumption between Tolkien and unicorns because it’s weirdly true — no unicorns led a hobbit’s quest, but those who don’t read fantasy would assume unicorn associations!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Eric Pone says:

        I am working on dialogue construction.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Dialog is a heavy-hitter in a writer’s tool-box and a smart craft technique to work on. You can set the pace with “snappy” back-and-forth dialog and also slow it down by adding content in between statements. You can create tension, build mystery and reveal surprises.

        Technically, keep a few key points in mind: the best dialog tag is the one writers tend to find the most boring: he said/she says. Use asks/asked for questioning. She “pontificated” or he “angrily confessed” might sound good to our ears as we write but they break a reader code of clarity. If she is expressing something in a pompous way, show how her mannerisms reflect what she says. If he is angry, show angry actions or words. But stick to said/says as your dialog tags.

        Another technical tip is to use action or details to indicate who is speaking. Often, we have a clear idea of the conversation in our head, but when you revise, consider reader clarity. How will the reader keep track of who is speaking without relying upon dialog tags for every turn of conversation. However, if you want that fast pace, keep extra content to a minimum or not at all.

        A final technical point is structure. Flash fiction is a place for us to explore structure and I try to be mindful of intentional styles. It’s also interesting to note that structure differs between British English and American English (the use of quotation marks and line spacing).

        As an American writer these are common dialog structures for you to consider (British styles differ, and some writers experiment with poetic license but to begin with know the common basics):

        1. Dialog is set within double quotation marks. “How nice,” she said.
        2. Punctuation goes in the quotation marks. “Why do we care?” He scratched his chin.
        3. If you adhere to a specific style (even American stylebooks differ between journalism, personal essays and literary writing) stick to one. Be consistent, which is the point of style. It creates structural clarity for you to build your stories upon.
        4. Lines of dialog between characters are separated by lines and action stays with the speaker. For example:

        “Is that the kind of shirt you’d wear to a party?” Carrie asked.

        Simon shrugged. “It looks fine to me.”

        Carrie’s frown lines deepened. “The color is washed out and the style is so 1986.”

        “Get a life, Carrie.” Simon crumpled his empty punch cup, the styrofoam giving way to his grasp.

        Martha walked up to the couple she’d known for ten years. “Hey, you guys doing all right?”

        Simon stormed off and Carrie slumped into a chair with tears in her eyes. “Some party,” she said.

        ###

        Glad you brought up a craft technique that I could address for anyone else interested in working on dialog. I love dialog, and like other writers, I’m always striving to overcome issues of tone, meaning, and clarity. It’s good to stick to basic structures that your readers understand and recognize. Unless you are into experimental language stories, stick to the basics.

        We did have an entry this week (published in the Of Unicorns collection) by joem18 that used experimental punctuation and dialog. It works because it remains clear who is talking and it addsto the youthful demeanor of the story’s narrator.

        Hope you all find this helpful! It helps me to know where our community writers are looking to work on craft.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        This is great information about dialogue, Charli. It is frustrating that each country has its own style. Punctuation of dialogue is a sticking point for me. Australian publishers prefer single inverted commas, but children in school are taught double. They call them sixty-sixes and ninety-nines. I have chosen to use double in all my stories as that’s what the children are taught. I figure that, on my website, I’m the publisher and I can choose, so that’s what I choose. When I submit to a publisher, of course I will have to “submit” to their requirements.

        Like

  2. Norah says:

    Hi Charli, I hope the help from the VA is more tangible than a unicorn, but that good things shine through like the glow of the unicorn’s horn.
    Your earth to sky white is matched by our earth to sky grey today. The state is covered by cloud and the sky is crying. Many parts are very grateful as they were dry. Other parts are getting too much. Why can we never be content with the weather?
    I might just have to dig Marnie’s unicorn out of that rubbish bin where she discarded it and see where it takes me (or her) again. I hope we enjoy the ride. Take care all.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Norah says:

      Hi Charli,
      I’m back with my contribution to the collection “Unicorns aren’t real”. https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-15x

      Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Norah, I’m convinced I’ll ride a unicorn before we ever complete access to healthcare through the VA. But that doesn’t stop me from hoping for the glow of a unicorn’s horn. Perhaps you have unicorn tears raining down on you. Svea was another island recently beset by rain and gray, but odd given it is in the arctic! I’m looking forward to your post and seeing if Marnie has made another appearance.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Norah says:

        I do hope you don’t have to ride a unicorn before you receive the help you need. Riding a unicorn would be a great way of celebrating! The weather has shown many changes recently, in many places around the world.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Some people believe climate change is as mythical as unicorns. I’ve been following scientists and environmentalists with great interest since 1998. The extremes in weather events that they spoke of, we are seeing. What is difficult to answer is what do we do as world citizens? But philosophy teaches us that climate change exists because claims that it doesn’t exist proves its existence (do I have that right?). Off to find my unicorn ride! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        I think you’ve got that right about the existence of climate change. I wish we could will away the existence of other ills by obliterating them from our vocabulary; like violence, war, discrimination …

        Like

  3. Frank Hubeny says:

    Unicorn

    Generally two of something balance better aesthetically and provide depth of experience, but I only had one horn growing out of the top of my head.

    I wasn’t disabled or anything, but who would hire me? If you didn’t look at the horn, which was hard not to, I actually looked pretty good.

    Kids bullied me because of the horn. I fought back. I did that a lot. I got real good at it. I mean it was fun. They sent me to the Riverland State Detention Facility and cut off my horn.

    So, yeah, I was a unicorn.

    Liked by 15 people

  4. floatinggold says:

    I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what the requirements for those submissions are. I’m interested, but not sure if I qualify, etc. My apologies if I’m being a nuisance, but I would appreciate some more clarification on how, where and what.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. […] February 22: Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 3 people

  6. denmaniacs4 says:

    Magical Thinking

    It could have been a unicorn except for the fact that it wasn’t. The fact was…it was a cat.

    The truth didn’t matter to Mulroney.

    On that day when his mind snapped, all he cared about was a memory from his magical childhood, a dream of a thousand magnificent unicorns scampering in the sky.

    The next morning, he begged his parents to come outside and bear witness.

    They humoured him, said, “yes, we see them.”

    “Why did you lie?” the doctor asked.

    “He was so excited,” they replied.

    “The world will crush him,” the doctor predicted with uncanny accuracy.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    Liked by 15 people

  7. Juliet says:

    Ooooh, a lovely one, Charli. I’m definitely in as a Friend and have pressed the submit button. Work beckons but I’ll be back later. I have a little inkling of an idea as I munch my toast😀

    Liked by 7 people

  8. On the Horn of a Dilemma

    “Jeez, Pal. Do ya know what she wants this week?! Ain’t right fer a place that goes on about diversity an’ all. Shorty’s been on the road, musta got brainwashed.”
    “Kid, jist calm yersef.”
    “Wunder what color?”
    “Kid, they can be any color you want.”
    “Yeah, right. They’ll be all the same, all regulated. Why ain’tcha bothered, Pal? Oh, did Shorty give ya epaulets, make ya feel impotent?”
    “That’s important and WHAT?”
    “Uniforms, Shorty says uniforms now at Buckaroo Nation. Seems a might imperialistic ta me.”
    “Kid, we’re to get unicorns, not uniforms.”
    “Oh.”
    “Yeah.”
    “That’s weird.”
    “Jest ride.”

    Liked by 16 people

  9. Jest Quest

    Uni-corns?
    Yep.
    A-maizing. I dunno, Pal. I don’t know much ‘bout uni-corns.
    Break it down Kid. Ya know hosses?
    Ain’t my first time at the rodeo.
    An’ ya know longhorns?
    Well, sure, we’ve had our share a longhorns at the ranch.
    So jest round up a bronc with one long horn.
    Thinkin’ we’re gonna have ta ride a long ways fer this ‘un.
    Yep. Ta antiquity.
    Next ta Barbuda?
    No, into olden times, maybe even magical times.
    Think I’ll jest hang back this time.
    What’sa matter Kid?
    Um, jest read ya gotta be a Virginian ta catch a uni-corn.

    Liked by 15 people

  10. Here is my response for the week: https://memorycellar.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/unicorn/

    I would also be interested in being considered as part of the ”Friends” section for the next Carrot Ranch Volume. Any more info would be appreciated! Thanks, Charli =)

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Juliet says:

    Hi, I’m back already. Shhh don’t tell the boss. Flash beckoned more than work tasks. Anyway, here’s this week’s offering. A silly, fluffy one for a change. Must be because the sun is shining here at last 🙂

    Miss Meadows

    As soon as they saw her impish, sparkling face they had to name her Aurn.

    They saw their families feign smiles, and they heard the whispers whenever they took her out.

    “Such a pretty child. But what an ugly name. They should have called her Daisy or Lily or Rose. She would go far in life as Daisy Meadows”. Then they laughed.

    Aurn heard too. But she really didn’t care. She knew why they had done it. They reminded her every night.

    “Why do we love you so much?”

    “Because I am unique.”

    “Yes, our little glittery unique Aurn.”

    Liked by 11 people

  12. […] Carrot Ranch, Flash Fiction Challenge – February 22, 201&. Task: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or […]

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Annecdotist says:

    Yay, unicorns again! Got mine in early (though not as early as many others, I see), paired with my Times Past memoir post:
    Learning to write http://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2018/02/learning-to-write.html
    I hope your trip to the hospital was profitable. There’s not much difference between sky and ground here right now, although last night’s hard frost is starting to melt away.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Without even looking, I can still call to mind your first unicorn flash, Anne. It left a mark on my memory, how it made me think of puberty and transitions. Good call to pair it with Times Past!

      The usual compliant — the VA moves like sludge. We get brilliant insights and more tests (wait until April, now). The psychologist we met with was an expert in body language and expressions so on that account, I was fascinated. Enjoy your Beast from the East!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Annecdotist says:

        Interesting that she’s assessing body language!
        Yes, the beast is here, thick snow and blizzards closing down the country! I’ll have to revisit some of your posts for survival tips at low temperatures.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Oh, no, Anne! Hunker down and hide from the Beast with warm blankets, hot tea, and good books. He must be a friend of the Lady Lake. Take care!

        And yes, the feedback on expressions (asking, “What this about, why do you do that when you say…”) was enlightening.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Charli. Yes, I’d be interested in being considered for the ‘Friends’ new section if I could qualify.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Grandpa’s Imagination
    by Ann Edall-Robson

    “Come quick, Maggie. I told you they were still around.”​

    “Where, Grandpa, where? I don’t see anything.”

    “You have to look really close, across the field, near the far corner.”

    “I don’t see anything! Show me, show me. I don’t want to miss it. Summer’s almost over and you said you have only seen them in August.”

    “Oh, there were a few in September, once.”

    “I still can’t see it.”

    “It’s over there, beside the willow bush.”

    “Grandpa! That’s a cob of corn!”

    “Yup, I told you, a uni-corn. One cob of corn left to harvest.”

    “Oh, Grandpa…”

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/grandpas-imagination

    Liked by 15 people

  16. paulamoyer says:

    This one pulled me out of my BOTS zone, Charli!

    Magical Appearance

    By Paula Moyer

    Eight-year=old Jean loved the fairy tale book at her grandmother’s. A glossy, dark green cover, illustrations with every story. Big, thick, and heavy.

    One afternoon she brought the hefty volume to the back yard. Perched in the white Adirondack chair, she turned the pages in complete absorption.

    When the Rose-of-Sharon bush rustled, she didn’t look up. Just the ubiquitous Oklahoma wind. The stomp roused her.

    Then Jean saw the small, white horse through the leaves. Oddly calm.

    When Jean reached up to pet its nose, she saw it. The conical tusk.

    “It’s true.” The horse spoke! “We are real.”

    Liked by 12 people

  17. […] hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to participate, head over to Carrot Ranch for their Feb 22nd prompt. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Unicorns? Did you suggest that especially for me??? LOVE me some unicorns! ❤

    Liked by 5 people

  19. SBibb says:

    Here are my two “Unicorn” versions, one darker, one lighter. 🙂

    https://sbibb.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/thoughts-on-writing-flash-fiction-unicorn/

    Liked by 4 people

  20. dgkaye says:

    Wonderful post and opportunity you offer Charli. Could you tell us a bit more about what the ‘friend’ signup is for. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for asking, Debby!

      The Congress of Rough Writers is the core of Carrot Ranch. We go a step further than writing together in a community and building a collaborative book based on what we began with 99 words. 30 is a manageable number of writers to bring together. We had an open call to get new Rough Writers in September. We now have our 30 writers for Vol. 2.

      However, we have far more writers than 30 at Carrot Ranch and connecting communities. I wanted to involve more writers without increasing the core of Vol. 2. Thus the “Friends” opportunity. Depending upon how many writers respond between now and March 14 I will work with them to create a new section in Vol. 2. We did that in Vol. 1 with new Rough Writers who were too new to have many flash fictions to build from in the anthology.

      I’ll email anyone who is interested with specific details and timeline on March 15.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Ruchira Khanna says:

    I can imagine the beauty via your description as you drove to the other hospital. I pray your husband gets the treatment!

    My take on unicorn:

    https://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-sorter.html

    Liked by 6 people

  22. Youthicorn
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    It sparkles in my periphery, silver as moonlight and as illusive. When I turn to catch it with my full gaze, it flees swifter than a shy spirit. Still I feel its unfailing goodness.

    I used to be good, too, used to befriend the creature that haunts the corners of my consciousness. That was long ago, before age and experience settled upon my shoulders like cloaks layered atop one another. Before I lost my innocent interpretations and bowed to cynicism.

    Now its glinting horn points to my failure, the unicorn that was but will never again exist for me.

    Liked by 11 people

  23. […] Via #SoSC, #DailyPost, #SaturdayMix, and #CarrotRanch […]

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I’d love to have a go Charli for the anthology. Is this prompt with the anthology in mind? By the way I love the unicorn prompt that’s so cool, will definitely see if I can rustle something up. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Reblogged this on M J Mallon Author and commented:
    A great opportunity by Charli at Carrot Ranch Literary Community to be featured in her anthology. And the prompt is so awesome – Unicorns – how can I say no!

    Liked by 3 people

  26. […] Carrot Ranch: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Abby says:

    Okay, first thought was ‘fantasy? not my thing!’, second was to reflect on what is precious. An experimental piece emerged. Collateral Damage-Zen Style

    Very happy to submit to the anthology if you feel I would add to it, Charli. Let me know. x

    Liked by 3 people

  28. […] For Charli Mills’ 99 word flash fiction challenge […]

    Liked by 3 people

  29. calmkate says:

    scheduled for midnight … that’s the time unicorns come out!
    https://arousedblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/stable-hand

    Liked by 5 people

  30. […] in response to the Daily Post’s Prompt, “Astral,” and Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Check ’em […]

    Liked by 2 people

  31. wallietheimp says:

    Wallie and I wrote a response! Wallie was very excited about the unicorns 🙂

    https://wallieswentletrap.com/2018/02/24/the-unicorn-price/

    Liked by 6 people

  32. susansleggs says:

    My Secret Friend

    My homework was late again and my grades were dropping.
    My English teacher said sadly, “How long has your Mom been in the hospital this time?”
    “Six weeks.”
    “I’m sorry. Try to do better getting your homework done. Are you all right at home alone so much?”
    “Yes. I go for a lot of walks in the woods. It’s quiet there and I like to watch the chipmunks. They make me laugh.”
    “You’re sure it’s safe.”
    “Yes. I never see another human.” I didn’t tell her about the unicorn that walks with me. I knew she wouldn’t believe me.

    https://susansleggs.com/2018/02/24/my-secret-friend-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 7 people

  33. […] 22, 2018, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  34. I could have written about this unicorn for hours. Thanks for the magical prompt. ❤ Here's my link just in case: https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/02/24/the-dig-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 5 people

  35. https://wp.me/p4ayEo-2HL My shortlink in case the ping back doesn’t wotk

    Liked by 4 people

  36. […] I read various blogs and came across a writing challenge. The challenge is to write a 99 word complete story based on a prompt. The site is called Carrot Ranch. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Thanks for the challenge. Never did this before but will have to try it again.
    https://patrickmoconnor.wordpress.com/2018/02/24/unicorn/

    Liked by 5 people

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

    Liked by 4 people

  39. […] February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 4 people

  40. […] via Carrot Ranch Literary Community – February 22 Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 3 people

  41. […] Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 3 people

  42. […] February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by February 27, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 28). Rules are here. All writers are welcome! […]

    Liked by 2 people

  43. https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/singing-their-joy/

    Singing Their Joy

    The People hear their clan singing their joy at returning, their chirps and squeals, their clicking talk. The People gather to greet them, also singing happiness, laughter and talk. For both clans it is a time of feasting.
    The men joke as they keep watch. We can see the ivory horns, but these ones are too far off, these ones are not ready. Hundreds more will swim by. There will be those who will come close, to be received by the People. We are grateful, waste nothing. We carve their stories in ivory, so the tuugaalik will live forever.

    Liked by 6 people

  44. I’ve grown to love the Carrot Ranch, and I’m hoping it’s not a passing infatuation. Getting a medical diagnosis can seem like chasing unicorns or trying to distinguish the horizon from lake when there is only white. I hope you have answers soon. In the meantime, I love the book trailer, and the community. Here is my entry for the week. I’m relieved it doesn’t entail winter or ice. It’s called Friendship is blind:
    🙂 https://www.shallowreflections.com/friendship-blind-flash-fiction/

    Liked by 6 people

  45. […] February 22: Flash Fiction Challenge February 22, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go where the prompt leads. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  46. Jules says:

    Charli,
    I hope all the testing goes well. I enjoyed your enchantment.
    I combined some prompts to get my own fragment. 😉

    (See the Title Link for all the prompts squished in this 99 word segment. )

    The Rescue?

    So deep into the forest to the place of ‘dried rose petals
    lacing her memories of bouquets’ that were only imagined.
    Into the spaces where spider’s abandoned webs created
    ‘filaments of dust written in a dead language…’ That is
    where the trance took her. She thought to decree her life
    was full of worth, yet it appeared stygian.

    Until a hoof attached to an appendage of a dream rested
    near her knee as she sat upon the end of old wooden road.
    All she had to do was accept ‘this’ fate – and never return to
    reality. The unicorn concurred.

    ©JP/dh

    Liked by 6 people

  47. bowmanauthor says:

    https://bowmanauthor.com/2018/02/25/flash-fiction-challenge-the-unicorn/

    Sorry, the first link I sent was to my editing page. This is the correct link to my blog and submission to the flash fiction challenge.

    Liked by 4 people

  48. […] of the Carrot Ranch Literary Community Flash Fiction Challenge, hosted by Charli Mills. Charli’s prompt this week, in her own words, […]

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Here’s my entry for the week Charli. And though I’ve already submitted my name through the link above, just confirming that I would love to be a part of any collaboration for the anthology. Cheers. https://jagahdilmein.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/the-last-of-the-unicorns/

    Liked by 5 people

  50. And all the best for the tests Charli, fingers crossed, or should I say, hooves crossed. I’m sure your personal unicorn is watching over you guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  51. Astrael held his breath tightly, lightly. From opposite the clearing, his fine-tuned ears made out the slight shhhh of ground foliage against itself.

    He heard it over the slight babbling of the small stream. He sensed it amongst nighttime warblings of crickets and insomniac fairy chatter.

    Full moon skylight pulled free of the clouds, sending winking water reflections from the circled group of trees. He pulled farther behind the ferns and now-sparkling trunk which concealed him.

    Just then, she came. Majestically, silently, carefully into the open space stepped the unicorn.

    Just as silently and carefully, Astrael raised his bow.

    https://chelseaannowens.com/2018/02/25/moonlit-magic/

    Liked by 5 people

  52. joem18b says:

    my contribution: https://joem18b.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/unicorn/

    my mama told me not to hang round rufus. don’t see that boy no more. he’s not our kind she said.

    he’s my kind i said.

    your young just horsing around my papa said your not stable yet. it’s your first rodeo.

    he’s lasso’d my heart i said.

    he wrangled your brain, papa said.

    i forbid you mama said but without disrepecting her wishes i respected mine more and rufus and i galloped into the woods behind our barn. the moon was full and i was left unsupervised as the t-shirt says.

    now i’m mama of the world’s first zebra-corn.

    Liked by 6 people

  53. […] via Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge […]

    Liked by 4 people

  54. Hi Charli! At last, I made it over here to start the week off on a better footing…ever the optimist, right?! My first gallop to the Ranch came just after your first ‘mythical creature’ prompt, so I’m excited to get a second chance with your unicorn prompt! I hope and pray your answers aren’t as elusive as a unicorn though… Just confirming you have me down for Vol 2 so I don’t need to submit above? I’ll fly in with a flash shortly 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  55. […] Mills is in fantasyland this […]

    Liked by 4 people

  56. Well, I have to admit that I found this week’s prompt a little difficult. I even wrote a few different stories before I settled on this one. I tried to write it with a real unicorn, but it never seemed to work. So, I finally decided to write about a stuffed unicorn. Like most of my entries, I wrote about a flawed character who has many regrets.

    https://notyouraveragemomblogweb.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/flash-fiction-unicorn/

    Liked by 5 people

  57. […] The Carrot Ranch Literary Community, hosted by Charli Mills, is HERE. […]

    Liked by 3 people

  58. Michael B. Fishman says:

    This sentence made me sad – “Do the answers really exist?” I hope they do and I hope you guys got some answers from the new tests and gained a little more hope. I guess unicorns are cool but in the realm of magical creatures I like mermaids more. And griffins (but not as much as mermaids!). Anyway, here’s my stab at this week’s unicorn prompt:
    https://michaelsfishbowl.com/2018/02/26/party-animal-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge/

    Liked by 4 people

  59. Dickensian says:

    The end of Magic

    She had grazed in these fields since the beginning of time. But it was all over now. The last unicorn raised her head and looked around. She would miss the lilac sky, the blue fields and the lakes of crimson.
    She knew what was happening. The number of people believing in magic, believing in her, was in decline. Hard, cold facts had taken over and people no longer dreamed. She lay down, breathing the sweet scent from the grass, ready to close her eyes one last time. But just as she thought it was all over, someone started dreaming.

    Liked by 5 people

  60. […] My thoughts of unicorns this week were instigated by the flash fiction prompt by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a unicorn. It can be realistic or fantastical. Go…. […]

    Liked by 2 people

  61. […] You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/22/february-22-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]

    Liked by 2 people

  62. I have read some interesting responses to this prompt to date, Charli. Here is my effort: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/carrotranch-unicorn/

    Liked by 3 people

  63. Here’s my flash Charli, hope not too late! Thank you! ❤

    Hidden Treasure

    “Someink wrong with this ‘orse.”

    “Ere…let me ‘ave a go.” Eve took the brush from Jim and replaced his rough bursts with soft, smooth strokes across the horse’s shoulders.

    “So white and pretty, you are me darlin’. How I would love to fly away with you…”

    Jim, close as breath, grabbed Eve by the back of her neck.

    “Shut the hell up, talkin’ like that. Ain’t I warned you enough times? Shut yer trap if you want the dosh.”

    Jim left for the pub.

    Eve kept brushing, smiling through tears as she caressed the nub of a first wing.

    Liked by 4 people

  64. Would you believe the unicorn stumped me? I thought I had an idea, but then…pfft.

    Liked by 1 person

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