July 19: 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.

July 19, 2018

White-washed buildings gleam beneath a blue sky streaked with high clouds. They’re the kind of clouds that don’t do much more than add brush strokes to a painting. No humidity. No heatwave. No black flies. Sunshine rests comfortably on my head as I carry a box of books and my computer to the western garrison.

I’m at Fort Wilkins to give a presentation on how to use flash fiction to explore history.

1844: Fort Wilkins stands to protect the copper. A young nation encroaching further west, the Michigan wilderness known to the fur traders and voyageurs, marks a lucrative spot on territorial maps. From the decks of sea-faring, Great Lakes mariners can trace veins of copper rich ore to the shoreline of the Keweenaw Peninsula. At its tip where land juts into lake like a bent finger, the Pittsburgh & Boston Mining Company stakes its claim. The garrison of soldiers with memories of the War of 1812 forge a fort. Peaceful as a Sunday picnic. No one badgers the copper miners.

Mowed summer grass surrounds the fort grounds as it faces a lake — not Lake Superior, but Lake Fannie Hooe. A small gurgling stream flows from the lake, past the fort and mingles with the greater one in a half-moon cove with pinchers of craggy rock at each point. The John Jacob Astor floundered in 1845 after missing the safety of the harbor.

Champagne doused her prow on the shores of Sault Sainte Marie – the first tall ship built on Lake Superior. The pride of the American Fur Company, she bore the name of its progenitor. Cutting across heaving waves, she carried cargo and passengers. Eight could squeeze around her dinner table. Fully loaded with winter supplies for Fort Wilkins, she sailed for the harbor. Crashed upon the rocks, every man in the garrison soaked by surf and slashing rain fought to release her. No one died, but with supplies lost to the Great Lake, together they faced a winter of rations.

After I set up in the lecture hall, I eagerly head to the harbor. An artist’s rendering superimposes a modern photo of the harbor with the wreck of the John Jacob Astor. It’s part of an interpretive display to explain the shipwreck. The cove seems pleasant, not one that could take down ships, but I’ve seen Superior on high energy days.

It’s neither too cool nor too hot. It’s a perfect spring day, a gift in mid-summer. The greater gift is the death of black flies. Those winged beasts fed upon my blood just a week before when I came to Copper Harbor to hike in the old growth cedar grove. This evening, I’m alone, savoring my time on the rocky beach.

I settle into a seat of warm pebbles to eat bison jerky made with cranberries and seeds. Almonds and dried apple rings finish the light meal. My energy rises before a presentation, and I eat little. Afterward, I’ll be ravenous! Likely the fish and chips will be closed by then, and I’ll make do with organic fig newtons.

For now, I relish the moment of perfection. Life rarely offers such a perfect mingling of nature, anticipation, tasty fare, sunny skies, warm pebbles and lapping water. I watch the Isle Royale Queen approach the harbor and promise myself that one day I will have a writer’s retreat on the island.

It’s a bucket list kind of place — so remote in Lake Superior, it takes six hours to reach.

Wolves sheltered on the dock in crates. Daddy’s expression never changed but I could feel his tension. He didn’t want wolves on his island. This was our third summer on Isle Royale since Daddy became National Park Superintendent. Mother said some zoo in Cleveland wanted to purge its wolves, but they were too used to people to set loose on the lower 48. So, they shipped them to Daddy by boat in crates. That summer, shadows followed me and my sister, but never materialized where we walked or played. If wolves knew of people, they knew to stay away.

Recently I collected the oral histories of two sisters who lived in Ripley but summered on Isle Royale where their father had served as the National Park’s second superintendent. It was happenstance that I met the women. In flood-torn Ripley, of all places. They described their childhood to me, living next door to Cynthia’s house and attending school at what is now an apartment complex next to the fire hall.

99-words is catching on in the Keweenaw. I love its artistry, the form’s ability to distill a story in surprising ways. I love how it births creative moments, solving problems with a constraint. I love how it can be a tool. To the entrepreneur, 99 words are 45 seconds. One 99-word story can express a vision. Eight can launch a compelling pitch. To the historian, 99 words can digest historical facts, fictionalize the gaps and imagine times past.

Fiction lets us question history, to dig deeper than the facts and records. Writing historical fiction is all about asking what if…and why…and how…and who would… We might know when, but we want to know so much more. In my own historical research, I find that these questions drive me to examine the records more closely.

I learn about the mystery of Lake Fannie Hooe. A friend from my veteran spouses group grew up not far from Copper Harbor, spending her summers exploring old mines and logging camps the way I did in my hometown. She told me that legend has it, Fannie was a little girl, perhaps the daughter of an officer, who went missing. As they circled the lake they called, “Fannie…! Fannie, hooe!

They say, they never found her body.

As a story-catcher, I have an affinity for “they say” stories. Usually, they are not accurate historically, but they contain a nugget of humanity. “They say” stories express our fears or need to be entertained. I find “they say” stories fun to research. When I lived in Idaho, I wrote a column for a magazine that explored local history beginning with they say. From there, I tried to match the story to historical records.

Questions help discovery. The night of my presentation, I had planned for attendees to write their own Fort Wilkins flash fiction. I forgot that writing can be intimidating to non-writers. I tried to convince a wide-eyed crowd that they could pencil their own historical fiction. Realizing their trepidation, I led the questioning and did the writing from their responses.

The one prompt they all wanted to explore was, “Who was Fannie Hooe and why did she go missing?” Two historians from the fort sat in on the presentation and knew a great deal about the real Fannie. She was from Virginia and came as a single woman to Fort Wilkins to help her pregnant sister. She was not a girl, but a young lady. They say she went missing, mauled by a bear or murdered by a spurned lover.

Truth is, she returned to Virginia, married and lived a long life.

Flash fiction remains my favorite tool to explore history. It allows me to write quickly from multiple perspectives and test different points of view for my characters. If I don’t like a POV or discover a different path for a character, I’ve only committed a batch of flash fiction to the discovery instead of having to overhaul chapters or revise an entire draft.

Flash fiction lets me push into the space between the gaps. It lets me crawl under the skin of those the record shows were there. It tolerates my line of questioning with 99-word answers.

July 19, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Fannie Hooe. Although she is a legend in the Kewenaw, feel free to go where the prompt leads.

Respond by July 24, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments.

 

Grandma Fannie by Charli Mills

Grandma Sarah rocked with restraint as we drank mint water over chipped ice, a luxury in 1870s Virginia, especially after the War. Grandpa Hooe was a Union officer, commissioned in the wilds of Michigan. Grandma told stories about how they met at Fort Wilkins the year she stayed with her sister. She told me how her nickname was the same as mine – Fannie.

“My bonnet blew off, and your grandfather swore he was bedazzled by the sun on my blond hair.”

All the men from the garrison courted her, but she left the wilds with Grandpa as Fannie Hooe.

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226 Comments

  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Any Who

    “Hoo-wee, Pal, Shorty’s give us a tough one.”
    “How’s that?”
    “Fannie Hooe.”
    “Fannie who?”
    “Fannie Hooe. How’m I ta write ‘bout this Fannie?”
    “Yer writin’ ‘bout yer fanny?”
    “Hooe! Fannie Hooe!”
    “Jeez, Kid, yer practic’ly yodelin’. Is it a hootenanny yer writin’ ‘bout?”
    “No! Fannie Hooe. An historical figure up there in Copper Country, so they say.”
    “An’ I figger yer hysterical, Kid. Jist spin a story.”
    “Any clues ‘bout Fannie Hooe?”
    “Well, if’n they named a lake after her she musta made quite an impression.”
    “I hear tell she brought smoked bacon ta Copper Country.”
    “Ya don’t say.”

    • Charli Mills

      Yodeling! I hear tell that same rumor about smoked bacon. 😉

      • Colleen Chesebro

        LOL! I loved your story, D. Still cracking up! <3

    • Norah

      I’m pleased it’s a person and not a lake we hafta write about. 🙂

      • Annecdotist

        I thought it was both, or either/or 😉

      • Norah

        You’re right, of course. I’m taking the person angle. 🙂

      • Norah

        Exactly! Could be into a thorny thicket! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        You can jump in a lake if Fannie leads you there!

      • Norah

        Hehehe. It’s a bit chilly here at the moment.
        As kids, we used to tell each other to ‘go and jump in a lake’ when something we didn’t want to do was requested of us. 🙂 I wish I’d thought of that before the prompt took me elsewhere.

      • Charli Mills

        Interesting that it’s a shared idiom with some subtle differences: go (and) jump in a/the lake. I tried to find an origin or date for the expression but couldn’t find anything definitive. Reading comments I was struck by how offensive some found the phrase! I’ve always heard or used it as a funny way to say “no way.” One person said (and this is my favorite description): “It’s a nice way for angry grandmas to say go to hell.” Ha!

      • Norah

        Yeah, I don’t think it’s very polite. I’ve never heard an adult use the term – only kids when they weren’t being very nice to each other. They usually soon get over it.

    • paulamoyer

      Too funny! Love your take.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Here’s a secret, shh… these Ranch Yarns are when I don’t have a “take”. I just let those characters do as they will.

      • Norah

        I wish my ‘not having a take’ were as good as D.’s Ranch Yarns. 🙂

  2. floridaborne

    “Breathe,” Fannie whispered, staring at a man six feet tall. Shiny leather boots … broad chest decorated by rows of buttons, she desired … needed …

    With a charming smile and a nod, he said, “ Howdy, ma’am.”

    “Pray, tell me your name?”

    His smile gleamed at her. “General Al Eyeon. And you?”

    “Miss Fannie Howe,” she said coyly. “What brings you to Fort Wilkins?”

    “Want to see my ship?”

    At lake’s edge, he lifted her into his arms and jumped through a door she couldn’t see. Fannie loved his starships interior. He appreciated the taste of succulent meat.

    • Charli Mills

      Out of this world, Joelle! I was hoping to see Fannie in some unexpected stories. You had the period piece feeling like a regent romance and then the twist. Well done.

      • Annecdotist

        So agree. Great flash.

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

        Being a sci-fi writer who goes for the twisted romances, I had to throw in an alien in diguise looking for his next lunch.

    • paulamoyer

      Oh, my! What a great ending! She’s living out there beyond the Blue Planet!

      • floridaborne

        Nope. She’s lunch. 🙂

    • Jules

      Wicked good.

      • floridaborne

        I love happy endings, and in the scheme of life, it WAS a happy ending for the alien. 🙂

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

    • magicquill17

      The ending surely caught me off guard. Nice spin you put on there.

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

  3. The Haunted Wordsmith

    I LOVE “they say” stories and often use it in my blog stories. Here is my take on the prompt…hope you enjoy. (Fannie is a pet form of Frances)

    Straight From The Horses Mouth

    The Riley County Ladies Reading Circle met every Tuesday night at Lois’ house, mainly because she had the largest parlor in the county, and made mighty fine fresh sourdough bread on Tuesday mornings. The meetings were more talking than reading, and tonight’s tattling stirred up old stories of poor old Fannie Hooe, who disappeared near here. 

    “I heard she went out west and a buffalo killed her,” Evelyn said.  

    “Oh, fiddlesticks,” Lois said. “Everyone knows she drowned in the river.”

    “I reckon she just stayed, opened a boarding house, and got married,” Frances said.

    Everyone laughed, shaking their head.

    • Charli Mills

      Aren’t they say stories great? I listen for them when I’m out and find it fun to unknit the legends. Great use of a proper Ladies Reading Circle! It sets the tone for the discussion and dismissal of what was most likely.

    • paulamoyer

      So cool! And there you have it. She’s hiding in broad daylight.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      A classic stitch ‘n bitch tale, oops that was a reading circle not a sewing circle. Either way, good on ya Frances. Get the last laugh.

    • Jules

      Oh, yeah… I remember reading a tale where the author didn’t trust her family so she visited the family lodge pretending to be a deaf old lady…
      Excellent.

  4. Becky Ross Michael

    Love Fort Wilkins and always went there at least a few times a year. So many things to miss in the summer…

    • Charli Mills

      Copper Harbor feels like another world, a place beyond civilization even today. How remote the fort must have felt! Ah, you miss summer activities…how about winter? 😀

      • Becky Ross Michael

        Yes, it was a great place to camp and get away from the world. The temps were about 110 here in TX yesterday, so winter in the Keweenaw doesn’t sound all that bad! I know…grass is always greener…

      • Charli Mills

        Come visit in the summer and I’ll visit Texas in the winter!

  5. Rosemary Carlson

    Charli: Love this. Absolutely love this. Read it at least five times and I’m sure I’ll come back and read it five more. Thanks for writing it!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m delighted that you enjoyed this, Rosemary! I feel that way reading about your Appalachian experiences. Historical fiction is my special love and it was such a perfect day at Fort Wilkins, I wanted to preserve it all together. Thank you!

  6. paulamoyer

    Wow, Charli — you did give us a challenge this week! Back from vacation and home to a challenge! Good post — love that this is getting to be a thing in the Keeweenaw. Here goes:

    Hiding on the Inside

    By Paula Moyer

    “Who’s my Fannie Hooe?” Jean asked herself after hearing the UP story. “Who’s my lost girl who’s never found?” Of course, it was herself.

    Jean was never missing – not for that long, anyway. She hid in plain sight, though. Went through the motions, learned the rules of the party games. But inside, she was somewhere else: riding a magic carpet, soaring like a bat through hidden caves, gliding down a promenade staircase in high heels – never tripping.

    Let the birthday girl’s mom spin her. Around and around. Jean would be dizzy, stumble, blindfolded, toward the donkey. Inside? Somewhere else.

    https://wordpress.com/post/paulajmoyerwrites.wordpress.com/349

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Cool, another take on hiding in plain sight. Where is anyone at any given moment?

      • paulamoyer

        Indeed! Especially the drifty, daydreaming types!

      • paulamoyer

        Thanks, Frank! I always get that wrong!

      • Charli Mills

        Thanks, Frank!

    • Charli Mills

      Hope you had a wonderful vacation, Paula! You certainly returned with creativity flowing. I love the internalizing of Fannie Hooe and the secret life of an imagination. Great image, too in the last paragraph.

  7. Norah

    Wonderfully descriptive post of a perfect evening in the Keewanaw, Charli. I felt like I was there with you.
    I love that you wrote a collaborative piece when your group looked at you wide-eyed. Collaborative writing is a great way of encouraging reluctant writers.
    I’d read your challenge before I read the post and wondered how I could possibly write about your lake. A person is different. As writers have already shown, I think you are going to get an interesting collection of alternate histories of Fannie Hooe. What fun!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m glad you came along with me, Norah! I hadn’t thought about doing a collaborative project because I’ve adjusted to writers who bravely take up the challenges. But when it became clear that no one was going to write, collaboration became the bridge. And we all had fun. I will keep that in mind for next time. I’m already reading such unexpected and fun takes on the prompt that will make Fannie Hooe known around the world!

      • Norah

        Learning, always learning – that’s what we do as teachers, and adjust, always adjusting to fit the needs of the learners.
        I just know the stories are going to be great. I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I read and hope to read more. Though I’m going to write my own before I read any more.

    • Norah

      I’m back with my truth about Fannie Hooe: Truth or Fiction: Will the Real Fannie Hooe Please Stand Up I hope you enjoy it. https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-1bo

      • Charli Mills

        That sounds like a fun game show, Norah! Thanks for playing with the truth. 🙂

      • Norah

        My pleasure, Charli. I enjoyed playing with this one. And that’s the truth?

  8. Annecdotist

    Looks like you had a lovely evening and good that you were able to adapt your presentation for people who were scared to write – but looks as if they weren’t scared to turn up, which is great. I imagine they’ll have enjoyed you writing from their ideas.
    Well, I really wondered about this prompt! Although my grandmother was called Fanny, no-one could call their daughter that these days, but I wonder if it has the same slang meaning in the US as in the UK? Perhaps not.
    My post’s topic is grieving and, with the hero’s journey is still very much in mind, and enjoying our conversations about it, my flash is about The hero’s wife

    Part-time mourning for writerly disappointments? https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2018/07/part-time-mourning-for-writerly-disappointments.html

    • paulamoyer

      Love this, Anne. Love the wife’s feelings, and love Fannie coming in at the end.

      • Annecdotist

        Thanks, Paula

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! I had to look up British slang because we are backward here in the US. Fanny is an old-fashioned and cutesy term for the bum. Not so much in the UK, I have now learned! That’ll be an interesting dimension! I do enjoy that you are continuing to explore the HJ. My mind has been contemplating new ways to accommodate the journey of self in literary writing, as I’ve been inspired by our conversations to think about it in different ways. And here you have the hero’s wife!

      • Annecdotist

        I had that experience the other way round, Charli, when I had a short story edited for publication in an American magazine. I couldn’t understand why they wanted to change glory hole, which here is a common term for the cupboard under the stairs.
        I’m enjoying the concept of the HJ as a journey to the real self/authentic self. Then I get a stab of guilt that some people, born in the wrong time/wrong place, don’t get that opportunity. But it can’t include everyone at those stories have to be told in a different way. Or maybe not?

      • Charli Mills

        Anne, I’ve laughed so many times over “glory hole” because all the old houses on the Keweenaw have one, and my favorite thing to ask people is, “What do you call the space under the stairs.” Some people I tell; others, I just chuckle to myself!

        As for those who don’t get to journey to the authentic self, don’t you think there is yet an urge to do so? I also think about people like Stephen Hawking. He could have, literally, wasted away and never left the cave of despair over his condition. Yet he opened up the universe to so many. I’m also looking at the Hub, trying to curb a sense of bitterness for his situation and the unfairness of dementia so young. People my age face it in parents, not their spouses. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how does a person with disadvantage still live to be their most authentic self? I’m beginning to understand that the strange ideas he clings to are most likely concepts that make him feel like himself. We’ll see how this journey unfolds. I’m hoping for an elixir.

      • Annecdotist

        So not everyone in the US shares the same connotations of glory hole? Now think of it, I’m sure I recall mentioning it to someone in the UK who got that meaning, so might not be transatlantic differences after all.
        Stephen Hawking was a superhero – and I could well imagine giving up in that position myself. But I think there is an inherent tension between the wish to embrace our whole self and the fear of being hurt if we do, which was one of the themes of my novel, Sugar and Snails.
        It’s so sad for you and your husband, a real hero’s journey for you to navigate in different ways. You need to hang onto whatever you can, authentic or not.

    • paulamoyer

      Haunting and bittersweet. Good story!

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Deepa! I like your opening sentence and the image it creates.

      • syncwithdeep

        Thank u Charli

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Lucy Frances

    The summer of ’44? That’s when I visited my brother and my sister out in that God forsaken place. Their eyes shone like copper when they spoke of the Kewenaw, but I couldn’t wait to leave. The summer bugs were fiercer than the bears and wolves. Can you just imagine the winters up there?
    I had enough of wilderness, and I had enough of my brother and sister who insisted on calling me, a grown woman of seventeen years, by my childhood appellation.
    Let them go west and keep going. I returned East to civilization, happily became Mrs. White.

    • paulamoyer

      Great job of packing a whole, complicated character into 99 words!

    • Jules

      We sorta went in a similar direction – with this, your piece.
      I mixed a bit of fact with fiction too. Nicknames can be tricky things…

    • Charli Mills

      Miss Lucy Frances had greater ambitions. I hope the Mrs. Whit gig worked out for Fannie! Great storytelling without using the childhood appellation, D.

    • Nillu Nasser

      I love the setting and characterisation of this piece, and her married name being a blank slate.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I googled her and there could be some facts in this piece; they say she had a brother (Thornton) as well as a sister (Richardetta) at Fort Wilkins, she was Lucy Frances Fitzhigh Hooe and married Chester Bailey White in Virginia.
        https://michpics.wordpress.com/tag/lake-fanny-hooe/
        I just gave her motive.

    • Norah

      Great retelling of the story. You captured it and painted it well.

  10. Jules

    Charli, Buckaroos and Vistitors

    Who ha – I dug deep for my mix of fiction and facts. (and I did the math too…according to the birth and death dates ‘Fannie’ was about 37 when she visited the fort. Unless of course there is more than one… Lucy Francis – I guess living to 65 back then could be considered old. I really enjoyed the time I spent researching Lucy Francis. Usually I save the facts part for my post but I’m putting it all in here starting with an Elfje:

    A Sister’s Sobriquet

    A Sister’s Sobriquet

    Legends
    Disguise fact
    Fannie Hooe, her
    Sister’s helper – was never
    Lost

    “They say” Lucy Frances’ disappearance was due to bear,
    drowning or murdered. So they named a lake after her… in
    Michigan. I wonder if she knew…

    …a memoir letter…

    “I was thirty seven when I went to visit my sister and help
    her birth her child at Fort Wilkens. I told Richardetta I
    couldn’t stay long. I had my own beau waiting for me back
    in Virginia. And his name was Mr. Chester Bailey White.
    Our brother Thornton thought I’d be a spinster. I wed
    Chester in 1949.”

    ©JP/dh

    Sobriquet = a person’s nickname.

    I have taken the liberty to mix some fact with fiction. I did my research and found:

    Fannie Seymour Hooe White AKA Lucy Frances Fitzhigh Hooe (White)
    Lucy Frances Fitzhugh Seymour Hooe (White) was born 6 Sep 1817 (d) 1882
    With thanks to Michpics: here
    Local tales related that the beautiful young woman had drowned in the lake, or got lost in the woods while picking blueberries and was never seen again. In truth, Lucy Frances Fitzhigh Hooe, Fannie, spent the summer of 1844 visiting her brother Thornton, who was stationed at Fort Wilkins. Her sister, Richardetta was the wife of Lt. Daniel Ruggles, also stationed there. At the end of the summer, she returned to the family home in Virginia. She then married Chester Bailey White in 1849, and had three children. While she led an interesting life, her visit to Fort Wilkins was not a major part of it. She died in 1882, probably in Fredericksburg, (Virginia).

    • paulamoyer

      Incredible use of research and great writing!

    • robbiesinspiration

      This is super, Jules. A lovely historical piece.

    • Charli Mills

      Jules, your research makes my historian’s heart sing! I actually did not know her full name or that her brother was also stationed at Fort Wilkin. Thank you for doing the legwork and taking it to 99 words! I also learned a new word from you: Sobriquet.

      • pedometergeek

        Love this story, Jules…and the research into the history of Frannie.

    • Norah

      I really enjoyed your writing of this piece, Jules. You’ve got a great mix of fiction that makes the bare facts more authentic.

  11. Rosemary Carlson

    The Blueberry Pickin’

    “I hate picking blueberries.”

    ”Magnus, Ma said we have to get enough for a pie. Come on,” David insisted.

    As they walked the path to the lake, they ran into a young lady. She called herself Fannie. She said she was at the fort to visit her sister.

    Fannie grabbed David’s bucket and ran ahead. She said she’d help pick blueberries. The boys ran after her. They picked blueberries for a time. Fannie got farther away from them. The boys called for her. She didn’t come back.

    A group of men searched for her all night. Fannie was gone.

    Thanks to Charli and the #carrotranch for this wonderful prompt

    • Jules

      I envision Fannie as a ghost in your telling… Nice.

    • robbiesinspiration

      I like the ending, you can decide what happened to her, good or bad.

    • Charli Mills

      Rosemary, I started to get goosebumps as she led the boys deeper into the blueberries. I love the legendary feel of this tale.

    • magicquill17

      As Charli rightly says, this feels like an old legend.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      I love the unknown quality you give Fannie. I read the comments and you saw her as a ghost. How perfect. Well done. <3

  12. Jennie

    Wow. WOW!

    • Charli Mills

      Love your reaction, Jennie! 🙂

      • Jennie

        I’m glad, even though “WOW” doesn’t do justice to what you wrote.

  13. pensitivity101

    Here’s mine Charli
    https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2018/07/20/july-19-flash-fiction-challenge/

    Fannie’s new family
    Fannie’s game of hide’n’seek had gone sour, and now she was alone in the dark having fallen asleep in her hiding place.
    She heard breathing behind her, and turned to see a wolf looking at her quizzically.
    She reached out her hand to stroke it, and the animal backed off slightly, but didn’t run away.
    She started to shiver, and the wolf came closer, lying down beside her and wrapping her in its warmth. Fannie wasn’t afraid, and curled up against its belly, falling asleep again almost immediately.
    When she awoke, she was somewhere else, but she didn’t mind.

    • Charli Mills

      Di, I love the addition of wolves to the legend.

      • pensitivity101

        Thanks Charli. I’ve always been fascinated by them.

    • Liz H

      Hypnotic!

  14. tnkerr

    I’m not quite sure how to participate – maybe like this?

    Fannie Hooe

    Grandma pointed at the faces in the photo one by one.

    “That’s Bea, she was my mother. These here are her sisters; Beryl, Fannie, and Clint. Bea became an oilman’s wife and your great-grandma. Clint ran the ranch for as long as she could. Beryl taught at the schoolhouse. She was a teacher of mine when I was young, and Fannie – well Fannie disappeared up north. Some say she was a spy or an assassin. That her life caught up with her, others say she was a gambler; killed in a poker game at a saloon in Kewenaw.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, there’s your story. It’s got a real feel to it.
      If you want Charli to catch it and include it in the weekly collation, be sure to post it further up in the submission form. Welcome aboard.

      • tnkerr

        Thanks – Will do!

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch! Ah, the sketchy life of Fannie Hooe. That last line is my favorite. I bet she wore boots, too! As D. You can share just as you did and just as D. advised, submit your story in the form if you want it published in the weekly collection. Thanks!

    • Colleen Chesebro

      Great story. I like your use of the photo beginning the story. <3

  15. Frank Hubeny

    Those black flies remind me of central Maine.

    —————————-
    Fannie Hooe

    Fannie disappeared and they searched for her around the lake. Jake went missing as well, but he often went missing. He would pop up again later. No one cared.

    Fannie was someone special. She smiled at you and made you glad you were alive.

    They searched for days until her sister told her good neighbors to stop. She declared that Fannie was gone.

    She never returned except as mythic remembrance. It took them over two months to wonder why Jake hadn’t turned up either. Fannie’s sister suspected why but she let her silence give them a chance to escape.

    • robbiesinspiration

      A great entry, Frank. Very hopeful.

      • Frank Hubeny

        Thank you, Robbie!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Hmm. I’m thinking someone noticed Jake. Cool take.

      • Frank Hubeny

        Thank you! Fannie did.

    • Charli Mills

      Those black flies get a taste for people! And they love rock hunters best. 🙂

      Frank, I like what you included that makes Fannie seem special. It makes me believe she had the ability to see what others missed in Jake.

      • Frank Hubeny

        That’s how I see it. Maybe Jake could see it as well.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      Great take on the story, Frank. So, creative to have them elope.

    • Liz H

      Nice story of love and understanding, with a little help from a supportive sister. <3

  16. denmaniacs4

    Across the sound from my house is the small village of Fanny Bay. My apologies to the kind people of Fanny Bay.

    The Fanny Bay Butt, What If, Talks: Sponsored by the Fanny Bay Hysterical Society

    “They say…”

    “I bet they do,” she interrupts.

    “As I was saying…they say a woman by the name of Fanny Hooe boarded a freighter in San Francisco sometime in the early 1920’s, disembarked at Victoria…and then took the train up Island to Fanny Bay.”

    “So, our little Piglet was named after her?”

    “Hamlet. Not Piglet.”

    “Forgive me. Was it?”

    “Named after her? No. The source of the name, Fanny Bay is murky. Nevertheless, most authorities agree that our…little community…was named long before she arrived.”

    ‘Did she stay?”

    “No. Two days after arriving, she disappeared.”

    “Ever found?”

    “Not a trace.”

    • denmaniacs4

      It is only now that I’ve noticed that I was so blinded by the beauty of Fanny Bay that I ignored the correct spelling of Charli’s Fannie…silly me!

      • Jules

        There is a difference in the spelling of Fannie and Fanny, Francis or Frances as well as Fitzhigh and Fitzhugh – I think it could be in the handwriting on documents. I wonder if her husband Chester just called her Lucy or maybe Frankie?

    • Charli Mills

      Fanny works as well as Fannie, and actually the variations in spelling sync well with the variations in facts and telling! Great use of humor and extending stories between my lake and your bay.

    • Liz H

      A smattering of irreverent humor…priceless! 😉

      • denmaniacs4

        Its a smatter of opinion, Liz…especially in my household…much appreciated, though.

    • Jules

      Wow… I had to look up caul as I’d never heard of it. So then I dug further:
      In extremely rare cases – called an “en caul birth” — a baby emerges fully inside the amniotic sac, which looks like a thin and filmy membrane. Some call this condition “born with a veil.” … Many cultures consider a baby born with a caul a sign of good luck.

      Again Wow. I think you chose your words wisely 🙂

      • robbiesinspiration

        Thank you, Jules. The caul idea came from the book I am currently writing. The heroine of the book was born with a caul which is why she is physic. I am really pleased you found this interesting.

      • Jules

        We all teach each other with a fond friendliness here at the Ranch 😉
        Thank you – and good luck with your book! It sounds very interesting.

    • Charli Mills

      Robbie, good for you pushing through and using elements from your current WIP. Fascinating — I didn’t know what a caul is or the cultural implications. Clever use!

      • robbiesinspiration

        Thank you, Charli. I had heard of a caul but didn’t know about the sailor and drowning link until I did some research.

    • Nillu Nasser

      I loved this one. The spin and the pathos of the mother protecting the wrong child.

      My littlest was born en caul, into a birth pool, and the name we had chosen for him – Noah – seemed then to fit even more!

      • Charli Mills

        What a fitting name and a great birth story, Nillu!

  17. reading journeys

    Hi Charli
    What a great mix of history and fiction, and that also goes for the comments and FF already posted!

    History, fiction, lakes, murder, aliens — that got me thinking of shipwrecks and missing ships, the Mary Celeste, the Bermuda Triangle…

    Perhaps Fannie Hooe on the ghostly Mary Celeste…..??

    • robbiesinspiration

      Sounds like a good idea … Fannie Hooe on the ghostly Mary Celeste.

      • reading journeys

        Thanks! For now, looks like Fannie wants to “visit” the Bermuda Triangle! Will post FF shortly. And will keep the Mary Celeste idea for another FF?

    • Charli Mills

      I like where your ideas are leading you! This is going to be an extraordinary collection. Funny how something specific ca take on so many different variations. And I encourage you to let the flash flow! If you have another bubbling up, go where it leads.

      • reading journeys

        Thank you! ideas keep flowing but harder to write the FF!! “Fannie Hooe – writer and director of the smash Broadway hit of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”!! She writes the musical after surviving Ariel’s Island!

      • Charli Mills

        Ah, that’s wonderful! May ideas continue to flow! When I start getting more, I try to link three, then link those to three more. FF becomes like story building lego blocks.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Michael!

    • robbiesinspiration

      I enjoyed your “bush” version, Michael. An accurate depiction.

      • Michael

        Thanks Robbie

    • Charli Mills

      You did a great job writing historical fiction, Sascha! I like where you took the legend.

    • Liz H

      Chillingly done!

  18. Ann Edall-Robson

    It’s been a while since I was here, but I found Fannie’s story made for a good jump back in point.

    Who?
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    I’m looking for information on Fannie Hooe.

    Fannie who did what?

    No, Fannie Hooe.

    Like I said, Fannie who did what?

    No, no! Her name was Fannie Hooe.

    Round in circles we’re going on this one. Again, I ask, Fannie who did what? Unless you are willing to share more information than her first name, I can’t help you in your search for this person.

    All I know is the name, Fannie Hooe.

    Sorry, can’t help you.

    Wait, you must, she was related to my grandpa’s wife and I need to find her.

    What was her name?

    Fannie Hooe!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, Ann, it’s good to see you! And with a clever twist on language — who? No, Hooe! When you need to find Fanny Hooe maybe best to spell it! I’m sending you big hugs, my friend! <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Shorty held your horse right here for you. Good to see you back on it.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Thank D. It feels good to be back in the saddle and pick up the reins again.

    • robbiesinspiration

      Brilliant, a great demonstration of the power of a name.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! One of my favorite Laurel and Hardy skits!

    • Charli Mills

      When I was working full-time, I led a workshop on storytelling at a conference with the tagline, “Do what you love, love what you do.” So I took it to heart! :-)Thanks for your Fannie Hooe!

      • calmkate

        and it’s inspiring me to do the same, but nothing good comes quick or easy … as you know!

      • Charli Mills

        No, it doesn’t! But it’s a North Star worth aiming at and counting every bit of stardust that gathers in the pursuit.

  19. Peregrine Arc

    Fannie Hooe: Michigan Auto Workers

    “We gonna get some overtime, you think?” Earl asked, pulling on his coat.

    “Only if they can pay us for it. Otherwise–could be lean times!” a second worker proclaimed.

    “We survived the recession, right?” Earl insisted. “It can’t be that bad. What do you think, Fannie? You’ve been here longer than any of us.”

    “I’ve seen Michigan get through harder times yet,” Fannie said. “But right now, we’ve all got warm homes to get to. Let’s go!”

    In my Flash Fiction take on Charli’s prompt, Fannie Hooe never left Michigan. She understands the auto industry and working class struggles. Thanks for reading!

    http://www.peregrinearc.com | https://peregrinearc.com/2018/07/21/flash-fiction-july-19th/

    • Charli Mills

      The legend of Fanni Hooe lives on! Great Michiganander take on the legend, Peregrine.

      • Peregrine Arc

        Thanks, Charli.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Make room for Fannie, Rosie Riveter!
      Interesting idea, Fannie Hooe not disappeared but all over Michigan.

      • Peregrine Arc

        🙂 Make way! Thanks for reading.

    • Liz H

      We needed a replacement for Rosie the Riveter, for sure!

  20. Miriam Hurdle

    Yes, Fannie Hoos never left Keweenaw Peninsula. She’s still there.

    ~

    Lingering

    “It’s a perfect day to walk in the wood, Dan.”
    “Yes, good that you walk with me, Sally.”
    “We can pick some blueberries.”
    “Lovely ideas. You like making blueberries muffins, I like to eat.”
    “Oh, look. A lady walking by herself.”
    “She looks frantic, she must be lost.”
    “Let’s find out.”
    “Humm… She disappeared.”
    “Oh, Dan, it was Fannie Hooe. Some people saw her. She’s still finding her way out of the wood.”
    “I thought she returned to the family home in Virginia.”
    “See that white house down the hill? She lived there. The light goes on and off.”

    https://theshowerofblessings.wordpress.com/2018/07/21/july-19-flash-fiction-challenge/

      • Miriam Hurdle

        Haha, someone found out the real history. I took the legend side…

      • Miriam Hurdle

        Thank you, Robbie.

    • Colleen Chesebro

      That last line, Miriam… nice and spooky. 😀

      • Miriam Hurdle

        Thank you, Colleen. I watch enough spooky movies. 🙂 :-0

    • Jules

      The ghost of a legend. 🙂

      • Miriam Hurdle

        Yes, thank you, Jules. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Miriam, you took to legend and make it realistic! I can feel the eeriness of the ghost sighting, as well as taste the anticipated blueberry muffins.

      • Miriam Hurdle

        Ha, Charli. It happens that blueberries muffins are my favorite. I couldn’t resist to make it part of the flash.

      • Charli Mills

        I love blueberry muffins, too! That’s a great example of “write what you know.” Even when we press into the unknown territory where fiction can sometimes lead, we bring along the things we do know and love, adding rich and believable details.

      • Ritu

        (((hugs)))

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! I liked your take, Ritu and had a great laugh!

      • Ritu

        Glad you liked it Charli ????

    • Norah

      Poor Fran.

      • Ritu

        Bless her and her unfortunate name!

      • Norah

        Exactly! She’ll never live it down now.

      • Ritu

        No, she wont!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Reena!

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Now that’s quite a they-say!

  21. H.R.R. Gorman

    This is a total, total jump into fiction, but I thought it interesting nonetheless.

    History’s Full Circle – hrrgorman.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/historys-full-circle/

    Fannie patted off the birthing fluids with clean linen and magically peered into the boy’s eyes. She shivered and examined his future. This boy, born in a fort, was destined soon to die in a fort.

    She handed the child to his mother and ran out into the woods. She cried, “Why bring this boy into the world for such suffering?”

    The entire company of the fort looked for her, but she returned at her own pace.

    She moved to Virginia where her vision directed. In twenty years, Fannie Hooe comforted a dying young man in a Union fort.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I thought the babe was going to die; twenty years still a babe I suppose. It’s a cautionary tale about forts.

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, wow, that gave me chills. You neatly packed the fiction between the layers of fact, making it a plausible true story.

  22. oneletterup

    It was fun to research a “legend prompt” – perhaps some life situations transcend centuries…

    My contribution:

    “Let them think I’m out picking blueberries!”

    Fannie’s mind raced as she ran through the woods; not noticing her long dress catching on low branches. Leaving a fabric trail.

    “Fannie this Fannie that. Do they think I’m just a servant? I’m mighty tired of taking care of everyone.” She dreaded going back to Virginia. And she loved it here near Fort Wilkins. Beautiful and calm.

    “The lake! There it is!” She smiled. Sweat dripped from her face.

    “FANNY HOOE!”

    Thornton must be looking for her, but she didn’t care.

    It was so hot and the water was so close.

      • oneletterup

        Thank you!

    • Liz H

      Right there, running along with her…

      • oneletterup

        Yes! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Great expansion of Fannie as a person, letting us see her thoughts.

      • oneletterup

        Thanks so much for your comment and feedback 🙂

  23. Colleen Chesebro

    I love your creativity, Charli. I tried to retell Fanny’s story another way:

    They say Fannie Hooe drowned, but my daddy told me a different story. He said she didn’t drown, she transformed. After a bear mauled her and rolled her carcass down the hill to the beach to die, the Chippewa found her.

    The Indians nursed her back to health. Daddy said she was deformed after the bear attack. The Indians didn’t care. To them, she was Bear Woman, *Makwa Ikwe.

    Fannie fully integrated into their native society and became a powerful shaman. Her magic was very strong. I know, because she healed me, and I lived to tell this story.

    *Makwa Ikwe means Bear Woman in the Ojibwe language. I had great fun mixing fact and fiction. <3

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Good point of view; there’s no arguing with that last line. Great “they say” story!

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Thanks, D. I’m glad you enjoyed. 😀

    • Charli Mills

      Loved your take on the story and the creating the narrative authority as a bookend to the they-say beginning. Good of you to look up the Ojibwe name for Bear Woman, too. It’s fun mixing fact and fiction, isn’t it?

      • Colleen Chesebro

        I have so much fun with this challenge. You have no idea how much this has helped my writing. Well actually you do, I know. LOL! Thanks for all your hard work. <3

      • Charli Mills

        Ha! Believe me, I know! It helps mine, too!

    • Jules

      oooh… a sea nymph… singing “Daddy”
      Creative take.

    • Liz H

      A siren’s call, for sure…

    • Charli Mills

      I’m hoping you feel better soon, Anurag! Rest and take care. There will always be more stories to read (and write).

  24. susansleggs

    Charli, I love your essays and how you take us from one point to another and end up giving us a prompt. The scenery you share and your daily events leaves me wanting to join you. After reading about Fannie I thought how odd it is human nature almost prefers “I heard” over facts. We do like to use our imagination to make the mundane more interesting. Here’s my offering.

    Legend or Truth

    “Dad’s taking us to Fannie Hooe Lake in upper Michigan for a week this summer. He wants to visit Fort Wilkins. Says that he had a relative stationed there years ago.”

    “That should be interesting. I wonder how the lake got a ladies name.”

    “Legend is she drowned in it, but Dad’s family story is she ran off with a gambler. She was so wild her parents were thankful so they gave her dowry money to the town fathers who had to agree to never tell the truth. The money was used to build store-front board walks.”

    “That’s funny.”

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Susan. It’s the next best thing I can do short of loading you all up in my car and taking you to all the great local spots! Yes, it seems we do prefer the overheard tales to fact. I like how your story mingles family tales with local. Great use of details, too — like using her dowery money on boardwalks!

  25. tearsofbloodinmyheart

    Afternoon everyone…this is my Fannie Hooe adventure.

    It’s just so unladylike to curse Fannie reminded herself as she pushed her way through the tall prairie grass. But the curses kept coming.
    Beads of sweat dripped into her eyes from the trim on the underside of her felt hat. And the pistol jammed into her waistband had rubbed a raw stain on the soft flesh of her waist.
    High over head a buzzard circled and the mid day sun bleached the back of her eyes.
    ‘Frank! for crying out loud Frank!, the dipping pond, it’s back there’. Fannie cursed again. Rumbled? for saying she could swim? Never!

    • Charli Mills

      A fun take on a Fannie Hooe adventure! It reads like a lively frontier tale.

  26. pedometergeek

    I thought I posted here last night, but obviously I didn’t hit Submit. Regardless, here is my entry for the prompt. I have also posted it on my blog: http://www.nbsmithblog.wordpress.com entitled, Frannie’s Disappearance (or is her name supposed to be Fannie?). I must admit that it was late when I wrote it and just whipped it off.

    Frannie’s Disappearance

    Frannie Hooe disappeared one starry night. What happened to her was pure conjecture, and yet only Tillie knew the real story behind her disappearance. First off, it must be stated that Frannie was an adventurous young woman. Most people weren’t aware of her wild proclivities; frankly, they considered her a mouse—meek, mild, and well mannered. A real milquetoast, but that wasn’t the case at all. Her imagination took her everywhere. Paris to Marrakesh to Rio to London to Singapore and beyond, she traveled the world in her dreams. Until the night, while stargazing, she was abducted by aliens.

    Nancy Brady, 2018

    • Jules

      Nan – submit goes to a different place for Charli to make the weekly compilation. You also have to put your post in the comments here if you want the back and forth… the whole piece or just a link so folks can visit.
      Other wise you won’t see your piece until the weekly post of all the ‘shorts’.

      • pedometergeek

        Thanks, Jules. One day I will get this figured out. Or maybe not! ~nan

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Bet Frannie didn’t dream that. She went beyond alright.

    • Charli Mills

      We’ll call it a variation on the name, Nancy! You caught e by surprise with your imaginative twist. Well done.

    • Norah

      Love your ending.

  27. Liz H

    Loving all the responses to this challenging, and inspiring post and prompt. I had to do quite a bit of dreamtime to settle on something:

    The Talisman

    She held the rock to her lips. Copper and silver shone where her fingers caressed.
    For a moment, Gichi-gami rolls beneath this secure Virginia town…
    [Continue ]

      • Liz H

        Uffda! Thanks, Frank!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m glad this took you into dreamtime, Liz. You came back with a good one!

      • Liz H

        Thank you!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks to you and Wallie for introducing selkies to the legend!

  28. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff!

  29. Jules

    Oh the connections we make!
    Hilarious, video.

  30. Charli Mills

    Thanks for your flash!

  31. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Chelsea!

  32. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Nillu!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  16. Fanny who? | Charlie and the cerebration factory - […] This flash fiction piece has been written in response to Carrot Ranch’s July 19 challenge. […]
  17. Flash Fiction Challenge – Fannie Hooe – one letter UP ~ diary 2.0 - […] https://carrotranch.com/2018/07/19/july-19-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
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  20. A Daughter’s Love | jagahdilmein - […] You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2018/07/19/july-19-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
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