November 29: 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.

November 29, 2018

The last of the turkey and wild rice soup is gone. Officially, Thanksgiving has ended, and the break at Carrot Ranch is over. The barn doors open, the campfire is stoked, and we are ready to share stories.

My mind wanders like a sailor on the inland seas of the Great Lakes. From wooden craft to steel ones, many a ship scatters across the floor of Lake Superior. Writing something big is like navigating dangerous waters — it can be sink or swim, and when the gales of November come early, well, we ride out the storm. We write into the dark of night.

I have a confession to make: I’ve felt frozen since March of 2016. If I looked at a calendar, I could probably name the exact date. Just weeks before, I had led a successful BinderCon live event in Missoula, Montana. I was flowing between two manuscripts, developing sketches for another, writing a weekly history column for a regional magazine, and writing a quarterly publication for a client.

Every morning I rose to more migrators on Elmira Pond. Mergansers, buffalo-heads, widgeons. A research room flanked my large office where I dreamed that one day I’d have a custom table for small workshops in North Idaho. Already I had a writer’s room where guests could stay to write and experience my “peace of Idaho.”

I froze that March day when our landlord sent me an email informing us our lease was up and the owners were planning to sell. All along I had wanted to buy the place, but they weren’t interested in selling. The long-term lease was fine with us. We had no intention to move. Now what? That uncertainty seeped into my bones the way I imagine the sound of the final bell ringing on the Edmond’s Fitzgerald.

Of course, the journey that unraveled was so far from anything I thought would happen. Early on I knew I could succumb to bitterness.

“This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow
The wise hands opens slowly to lilies of the valley and tomorrow”

~from Natalie Grant’s “Held.”

In the midst of losing our rental, it was apparent something was not right with my husband. What had been easy to dismiss could no longer be ignored. I never thought we’d actually be homeless long, but it’s been two years and five months. Of course, we finally made it to our daughter and her husband after wandering the west, and we finally got the Hub the medical help he needs.

My North Idaho has given way to my Keweenaw. And I’ve rediscovered wander and peace. My Carrot Ranch community never faltered, and like wandering bards we continued to flash. Many circled the wagons when I needed it and have become cherished friends.

But my confession that I froze is an essential lesson in tenacity. I’ve said before that writing is more about tenacity than talent. You know I’ve hung in there, but I also lost my writing mojo — that magic I felt when I chased stories and worked with my characters. I lost my joy.

Last year I signed up for NaNoWriMo to jump start my missing spark. And I couldn’t get past 17,000 words. I experienced a great freeze when I tried to get the flow of my WIP moving. Several months later I asked for help from a few close alpha-readers (these are readers you know and trust and differ from beta-readers who are less familiar with you as a writer and more familiar with the genre you are writing).

Even with their honest feedback, I still couldn’t thaw. Frustrated, I turned to work on other projects. More recently, I asked a few more alpha-readers to look at my original manuscript. Maybe I should go with the original story and setting. With feedback and indecision for a setting, I signed up for NaNoWriMo again.

TUFF was my tool. Flash fiction is not part of my deep freeze, so I used that to flash my way into writing 1,800 words a day. Then something magical happened. Oh, the joy, the writing mojo returned, and I cranked out 91,000 words. Not that they are great words or even a cohesive draft, but from their depths, I salvaged a new perspective, a new character to carry a burden that wasn’t working on my protagonist.

The world of Dr. Danni Gordon, archeologist and reluctant wife of a warrior who doesn’t know it’s time to quit, came to life.

It’s important that I retain and share two important lessons — first, just because you can’t feel the creative magic doesn’t mean you quit writing. Second, community is everything. We cannot be writers in isolation. When I went into the dark of night, I never felt alone. I was like a ship that could send and receive signals.

Don’t quit and don’t quarantine yourself from your tribe.

How amazing our technology is and how it can connect us! I’m choosing to celebrate technology because it’s so easy for us to curse it and wonder if it’s complicating our lives. We, humans, are complicated. Technology is not going to simplify anything for us. But it opens doors of wonder for the creative and curious – right now, I’m communicating with Carrot Ranchers all around the world from a remote shore with waves and ships we can all monitor while listening to a favorite station from our resident yarnist in New England and reading a book that arrived from (old) England by an author and friend who reminds us all that we write because we are in the process of “becoming someone.”

Keeping connected to creative expression is one of the tenets of Carrot Ranch. It has helped me, and I hope it helps you. Now, we are going to write about what it is to go into the dark night.

November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the dark.” What must a character face? Write about an encounter, journey, relationship, or quest. Follow the ship’s lights on gloomy seas. Go where the prompt leads you.

Respond by December 4, 2018. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Rescue in the Dark of Night (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Shivering, Danni danced with both her hands flash-frozen to the chukar cage. They ignored her. Danni breathed deeply, wiggling each foot, swaying. Blackjack stomped in his stall, lowered his head and nickered. Danni cocked her head, listening for a vehicle. She told her horse, “Wishful thinking, boy.” In the dark of night, Danni marched, thought about hot chocolate, and imagined a noon-day sun overhead. Blackjack’s head rose, ears perked and alert. Danni strained to hear soft crunching in the snow. She crouched, helplessly stuck to the cage when the barrel of a rifle opened the barn door. Ramona arrived.

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125 Comments

    • Charli Mills

      Michael, your thoughts gave way to a powerfully poignant story. Thank you!

      • Michael

        Thanks so much Charli
        Have a good weekend

      • Charli Mills

        You have a good weekend, too, Michael!

    • robertawrites235681907

      Excellent story, Michael. This week’s prompt certainly has brought out the darker side of life for most people.

  1. calmkate

    Welcome back Charli, in more ways than one! Thanks for sharing your journey, I had no idea and am so pleased you’ve got your mojo back. What a journey … but there is always a light up ahead 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Kate! I have been writing for so long without my mojo, I actually forgot how awesome feeling creative can be. There’s always a light — hoping it’s not another train, lol.

      • calmkate

        lol pray it’s never a train in your case as you offer such a fertile environment here for all of us to learn and expand our talents, thank you!
        But very glad that your creativity and own novel are back on track 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Then you would have to write the Ballad of the Ranch Wreck! But here’s to avoiding trains… 😀

  2. Annecdotist

    So glad you’re back on form, Charli. You’ve had a tough couple of years and sometimes it’s only when we’re emerging from that darkness that we can recognise quite how dark it was. Looking forward to seeing the new Danni.

    I still miss your Pond, and all it represented, so must be 1000x worse for you, but you’ve kept going. Hurrah for the Ranch!

    I’ll be back later with my flash.

      • Charli Mills

        And I have your book in hand and what a lovely feel it has to the touch! <3

      • Liz H

        So poignant!

    • Charli Mills

      I have missed Elmira Pond, Anne and still feel grief over its loss. I never again touched my blog Elmira Pondspotter blog after March of 2016. A couple of times I tried to access some posts for color to add to Danni’s Idaho. But after writing this latest draft, I was able to set up a comfortable middle ground. And Danni has her own pond, allowing me to tap into what it represented. You also gave me some feedback that helped me find a new way. Pressing on is important and I suppose part of the Ranch is creating pressing on space — a place to write creatively even when the creative flow feels dim. Thank you for always sparking such great discussions across our bigger pond!

  3. Norah

    Your flash is a great way of portraying your frozen writing numbness and then Ramona blasts her way in and we hear the music playing, informing us that help is on its way (or in the old days, that the cavalry has arrived). Such a powerful piece, Charli, made all the more meaningful with your introduction. Just as long as she doesn’t use the rifle to blast Danni’s hands off the cage. 🙂 Okay, I know she won’t. I wonder how she knew Danni was there. I’m glad she did, though.
    You give lots of good advice in your post about not quitting and hanging in there for the long haul. I have to say that I’m impressed at 91,000 words. You must have blasted Grammarly right out of the water with that effort.
    I’m looking forward to hearing more about Ramona and the stitching she’s doing to your story.

    • Charli Mills

      Funny how I often miss obvious points in my own writing, Norah! Yes, Danni has her own frozen situation. Ramona will get into trouble with her rifle but not this day. She was the glue I needed to make it all work. I had wanted to write Ramona’s story and had started an American Idylls series with a publisher who wanted more installments. Now it will be woven into MOD. February 20! If you are willing to read more. Thank you for helping Danni along.

      • Norah

        Ha! Sorry, I can’t help myself making connections, however weird, between ideas. You said Ramona was the glue you needed. Danni didn’t need glue – she had ice, she had to be unstuck.
        I’m curious now about the trouble Ramona will get into with her rifle. Can’t wait to read more – you know that!

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! You’d have fun arranging flash fiction, Norah. 😉 Sometimes I find quirky little connections like that! That’s funny — well, I suppose Ramona is the remedy against stuckness in that scene. If you recall the first flash fiction I ever wrote about Ramona, you’ll have a hint. More in February!

    • Norah

      Hi Charli, I’m back with my story of a literal darkness. I hope you enjoy it. It’s called ‘Stepping into the Unfamiliar’. https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-1gK

      • Charli Mills

        It was a dark and stormy night…! 😀 I like that you explain the power of knowledge, but found a literal darkness for your story.

      • Norah

        Thanks, Charli. It surprised me that I ended up there too.

    • Charli Mills

      It’s a great gathering place, Papershots, and I like that it can be what a writer needs at the moment. We each can interact when and how it suits. And I benefit just as much as anyone! I’m glad you chase the prompt where it leads you.

      • papershots

        🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Write on!

  4. Lisa L.

    Frozen…yes, this is exactly where I’ve been for the last several months. I completely understand this. (Sadly, NaNo did not help me…haven’t written a word.) I can’t tell you how relative and necessary your words here are to me today. Thank you. So glad the ranch is back!

    • Charli Mills

      One word in front of the other, Lisa. Be willing to not hear their song today for in the future you will. Just don’t stop. NaNo did not work for me last year, either. But flash has been a life raft! 😉

      • Lisa L.

        I am doubtful that I will make the cutoff for tonight, but this prompt has definitely sparked something that I’m working on. I’ll share at whatever point I finish. Really wanted to do a flash, but the prompt took me elsewhere!

      • Charli Mills

        Lisa, the most important thing is to follow where the prompt leads you! And you can always come back and share after a deadline.

  5. H.R.R. Gorman

    I really enjoyed your memoir. It gave me more context for where you’ve been, thanks to the summary about the move from Idaho. I went to get my dog from a breeder in western Montana, and we drove through parts of that beautiful country. Still, hub’s health is so much more important, and memories grow precious the more you go over them.

    Finish off that turkey!

    https://hrrgorman.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/the-crate/

    **The Crate**

    The smoke makes it difficult to breathe. Where is my human? Why is she screaming outside instead of helping me?

    Blaring noises and blinking lights scare me. I crawl away into the dark, to my crate, to safety. I curl up on my pillow and whimper as the smoke in the air thickens.

    A monster bursts through the door. I bite at its thick hide, but it doesn’t care – it just grabs me and drags me outside where I see her.

    “Human!” I bark. “Human!”

    I break free of the monster’s grasp and leap into my human’s protective arms.

    • susansleggs

      WOW. The fear of the dog crawling to what should be safe. Dramatic picture. Well done.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      It’s such beautiful country, North Idaho/Western Montana, and if you drove along the Clark Fork corridor at all where the river runs turquoise with glacial sills beneath perfectly peaked mountains through a generous open valley and forest, you have seen one of the greatest natural wonders. That was the home of Carrot Ranch. But as we find, home is less about landscape and more about people. What breed of dog brought you there, H.R.R.?

      Fabulous flash! I could feel for the dog, seeking safety.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        We went to Dillon, Montana – so not as far north as tge Carrot Ranch! The dog is a pomeranian.

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, Dillon. When my kids were young, we’d take them to the Bannock ghost walk in October. Pomeranians are such beautiful dogs.

  6. denmaniacs4

    Itinerary

    Even my best-case scenario involved no light. Oh, you bet your booties I gave it a lot of thought. Research, Man, that’s the ticket. Every trip I ever took, I planned to the minute, down to the second.
    I wasn’t one of those guys, you’ve seen them, they can’t even plan far enough ahead to tie their shoelaces.
    That was never me.
    I hate surprises.
    The not knowing.
    Gives me the willies.
    But this little adventure.
    It had me going.
    I started a blog.
    Into the Dark.
    I’ll pay well, I said.
    Tell me, I begged.
    What’s death like?

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • Charli Mills

      Great structure to your flash Bill — I like how it opens up, full of potential and as the darkness sets in, the shape becomes more staccato. But I also had to chuckle at the implications of starting a blog!

    • Charli Mills

      Great perspective on life, Reena!

      • Reena Saxena

        Thanks a lot!

  7. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Light in the Lode

    “Is Shorty a spelunker, Pal?”
    “More like a miner. Why?”
    “Jist wunderin’. She’s often talkin’ ‘bout caves an’ dark places. What’s she do, dig in the ground, mine fer copper?”
    “Nah, but she does gather rocks, right in the light a day at the shore.”
    “Shorty selects stones in the sunshine by Superior’s shore?”
    “Sure as shift, Kid.”
    “ Then what’s she a miner of, Pal?”
    “Yer thicker an’ a Superior snow squall, Kid. Shorty works words. She mines stories. Heard she hit a mother lode that starts right here at the ranch an’ reaches all ‘roun the world.”
    “Priceless!”

    • Charli Mills

      Tell Kid his writer got it good. I love this mother lode!

  8. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Is this cheating? I’m rehashing a piece I wrote about a year ago for another prompt (marble) because I think it fits the bill. Now it is 99 words, no more, no less. I may bring something fresh later if it comes to me but have a bit of a distracting dark hole to work my way out of this weekend. (Dang day job)

    RETURN

    Under winter’s marbled evening sky begin walking. Walk though snow is falling, rapidly covering your tracks. Know the cold that winter brings; know also the dark. Walk into the night, feel the sting of cold on your face, the ache of it creeping into all your limbs. Go further till you no longer feel even the dull ache of cold. Walk that far.
    Shrouded with snow, stumbling in the dark, flailing and sinking through drifts, find your way back. Return.
    Only now can you know what it is you want from the warm glow of light in a window.

    • Charli Mills

      If you are writing you aren’t cheating. You can rehash your own words over and over. I just started Manuscript #6 on MOD today. I wrote #5 last month. Lots of rehashing. Lots. But that’s what writing is. We see the sword blade in our minds and it takes lots of tries to get it right, lots of polishing to finish the edge.

      Besides, I love this piece of writing and seeing you push deeper into it. Mining. Words. Making the story new.

    • Charli Mills

      Sending you some sunny vibes…wait…you live in Florida. Send me some sunny vibes! I hope you feel less funky soon, Joelle.

      • floridaborne

        Florida weather is being bi-polar lately. One day it’s 32 at night, and the next day I have a fan in the window. I’ll try to send you some consistently sunny vibes. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        32! That’s like a memory of Minnesota upon you! I can send you vitamin D vibes….

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, darn it. The ‘assembly required’ thwarts e every time!

    • Charli Mills

      Now I do! The plot thickens.

  9. Liz H

    So happy to read that your shining, guiding star is back, in Superior Michigan skies. The Winter got a little warmer…congratulations!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Liz. That star is looking mighty fine.

      • Liz H

        Shine on!!

    • joanne the geek

      Feel free to remove this link if you don’t want it here.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Joanne! You are welcome to share your story or link in the comments just as you did. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, use the form above. Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Stress is definitely a mojo killer, Robbie. Yet if we keep going, we get to feel the flow eventually. During this time I read The War of Art which helped me focus on writing every day as if I were a hunter. Thank you for sharing with us, your dark side!

  10. Jules

    Still feeling behind on things… Perhaps it is just the whole winter arriving and less daylight as we all go into the dark…

    Charli, I had to look up chukar. I also had to spend some time at a doctors office for my neighbor. Unexpected things come up in life.

    My flash is based partly on one of the stories my one grandmother told me – though most of my poem is fiction. Please enjoy (which, not including rodeo pieces is my 200th prompted piece for CR). I did a little mash up with another prompt. Adam’s ale comes up in the Thesaurus as another word(s) for water.

    Another One Through Ellis Island

    Into that dark of Adam’s ale, to hold onto
    The waxed brass ships rail, and just look.
    T’was a gentle rain that night when
    She’d gone above, to walk the deck.
    Feel the ocean rocking, breath clean air.

    Into that dark of transformation
    From old to brand new.
    Every fiber of her being was
    Excited to see and explore those
    Gold paved streets.

    Into that dark of all unknown things
    To be enlightened, to see Lady Liberty.
    The story was told that she had won
    A writing contest… her trip to freedom?
    No one could confirm her Grandmother’s story.

    ©J/h

    • Charli Mills

      I’m delighted to have added a word to your vast vocabulary, Jules! Chukar are mostly a Nevada (Great Basin) bird. The Hub used to hunt them and used to say the first time was for fun and after that, it was revenge — intended as a joke for how difficult they are to hunt. That’s how he got into hunting with Grman Shorthaired Pointers.

      Thank you for being available to your veteran neighbor. I wish there were more like you in communities where veterans are alone. And congratulations on your 200th CR post! Good job! A beautiful flash, too full of the hope immigrants bring to light their journey into the dark.

  11. pensitivity101

    Hi Charli.
    Here’s mine, hope it’s OK

    Darkest Destiny

    I cannot go into the dark alone,
    Hold my hand, make me strong,
    Help me face this cruel Unknown,
    Stay with me, prove me wrong.
    Emerge with me on the other side,
    From darkness into the light,
    Tell me that I haven’t died,
    That everything will be alright.
    You are the one that I embrace,
    My rock, the one that I adore,
    My heart and mind memorize your face,
    Lead me through this unfamiliar door.
    Into the dark, I am not afraid,
    Knowing you are there beside me,
    Senses enhance whilst others fade,
    With you, I face my destiny.

      • pensitivity101

        thanks Roberta.

    • Charli Mills

      Di, your flash is pitched just right to capture the fear of one’s darkest destiny and bring it to a place of loving kindness, of ultimate hope and faith. Thank you!

      • pensitivity101

        Thank you Charli for your lovely comment.

      • Charli Mills

        I enjoyed your flash, Di!

  12. Ritu

    I remember reading about your difficulties all that time ago, Charli, via Geoff…
    I didn’t know you, or about the Ranch, but I’d see Geoff’s responses to your prompts.
    I am glad I finally decided to hop over to stretch myself creatively, for one, and that I got to know you too.
    What you went through, a nightmare of epic proportions, losing both house and home, and then dealing with Hubby’s worries…
    Yet still, you kept us all afloat, creatively, and through our words, and yours, you came through, stronger than ever.
    I’m so grateful for you, and all the wonderful advice you have given me personally.
    Love ya Charli! <3

    Here's mine!
    https://butismileanyway.com/2018/12/01/november-29-carrot-ranch-into-the-dark/

    • Charli Mills

      Geoff was one of those Ranchers who didn’t let me fall flat on my face. When I say Carrot Ranch is safe space, it is for me, too. Our literary art needs incubation so we can do all the things we want it to do. This truly is a community, a place where we can honor one another writer to writer. And I am grateful for you, too! Much love to you, Ritu! <3

      • Ritu

        Right back atcha ????????????

      • Charli Mills

        <3 <3 <3

  13. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Waking

    “Regret is darkest dark, long and lonely night; dawn must crack within your heart, forgiveness be your light.”
    “Lloyd’s a poet.”
    “Look, Ilene, Marge is hugging the air right outta your boy toy.”
    “I’m his muse.”
    “You’re his cougar, Ilene. Least his poetrics stopped Marge’s blubbering.”
    “Shut up, Nard. Besides, you were as upset as any of us. *Billy*.”
    “I’m a poet. You just don’t know it. Into the dark, six feet of dirt, no more worry, no more hurt.”
    “Nard…”
    “Lloyd’s right though. Poor Marge needed closure. She’s more upset over Betty’s life than her death.”
    “Billy lives!”

    https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/2018/12/01/waking/

    • Charli Mills

      Happy to see this group forcing their way out onto the page, D.

  14. Liz H

    Too soon? 😉

    The Night Before

    “What have you got there?”
    “Special order for Daniel, in Minnesota!”
    “Minnesota is too general, see? The original says Minnetrista.”
    “Where?”
    [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      Nope! Not at all! 😀

  15. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    All Write in the End

    “We’re here.”
    “Course we’re ‘here’, Pal, we’re always where we’re at. Uh, where we at?”
    “That spot I was tellin’ ya ‘bout.”
    “This’s more ’n a spot. This’s a big ol’ hole in the hill.”
    “Yep.”
    “Mineshaft?”
    “Dunno.”
    “Cave?”
    “Dunno.”
    “Gateway ta Hell?”
    “Go.”
    “Why? It’s darker ‘n dark’s night.”
    “Shorty says, that’s why. Anyway, what’s the worst thing could be in there?”
    “Bats, bears, spiders, snakes, catamounts. Mebbe a pack a writers, think nuthin’ ‘bout killin’ off characters.”
    “I’m thinkin’ on it. Let’s go. We’ll catch a story.”
    “Ta bring back ta the campfire?”
    “Yep. Write light.”
    “Elixir!”

    • Charli Mills

      More people should be afraid of “a pack a writers, think nuthin’ ‘bout killin’ off characters.” 😀 Go chase down that elixir!

  16. Ann Edall-Robson

    Sunrise Is Expected
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    Sunrise is expected
    Over the ridge
    Of towering pines
    Shades of melon and lemon
    Touch blackened sky
    Clear blue whiteness
    Scattered by the wind
    Lofty darkened clouds
    Destined to where
    Colour turns to flattened gray
    Scurrying with speed
    Driven by turbine winds
    Time evolves in minutes
    Welcoming day colours gone
    Pushed from sight by gusts
    Distant thunder rumbles
    Mountain peaks push
    Up into the dark
    The subtle warning spoke
    Of what is yet to come
    Relentless prairie winds howl
    On into the stormy night
    Until their quiet song settles
    The towering pines
    On the ridge
    Where sunrise is expected

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/sunrise-is-expected

    • Charli Mills

      I love this loop of where the sunrise is expected. A beautiful piece, Anne!

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Helene! Where we take life’s lemons and write literary art. 😉

      • Hélène Vaillant

        Thank you for the welcome Charli. ????

  17. j.a. case

    I really appreciated your post–the authenticity of your “freeze” amid major life changes, and the encouragement to stay connected to creative community, wherever we find it. I love blogging…till I burn out and need a break; but boy, do I feel better when I’m writing again and feeling that connection. Thanks SO MUCH.

    • Charli Mills

      Community in all its forms overcomes the isolation of life changes. Writing is also healing and connecting it to a community helps so much. Thanks for stopping by!

      • j.a. case

        Thank YOU!

    • Charli Mills

      Irene, it’s disconcerting when it goes away, but we can’t stop. There’s much I learned from writing anyways. But honestly, I prefer it when I feel it! I’m glad that flash grabs you. I’ve had that scene updated and it’s coming together in ways I couldn’t have thought of if I hadn’t continued to explore. Ah, yes, chukar — game birds about the size of a chicken (and as tasty) mostly found in the Great Basin of Nevada.

      • Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

        I’m glad we are both back on a roll. Long may it last but as you say – perhaps we do need these times to gather the best story we can possibly do.

  18. Sherri Matthews

    I’ll be back to read and write!!! <3

    • Charli Mills

      I caught up with you on the back side (where rabbits type like crazy)! <3

      • Sherri Matthews

        Haha…that’s as far as I got with my comment here, and then disappeared and left you in your crazy typing rabbit space…but we’re making progress somewhere, right? Thanks so much for your understanding, Charli…as always! 😀 <3

      • Charli Mills

        I know the crazy-rabbit typing you do! 😀

  19. pedometergeek

    Snow Vacation

    On that first weekend in December, our family decided to spend a few days at our mountain cabin. We were excited to spend a last weekend away before winter.

    Flakes fell, becoming a blizzard, and soon we plunged into the dark, the power knocked out. Our old oil lamp became our only light, but we made the best of it.

    The following morning, with impassible roads, we hunkered down, knowing we weren’t going anywhere soon. Still, we had plenty of food, but not much lamp oil. One night followed another, but our lamp continued to shine, lasting eight days.

    Nancy Brady, 2018
    http://www.nbsmithblog.wordpress.com

    • pedometergeek

      It should be impassable….I hate typos especially my own!

      • Charli Mills

        Easy enough to fix!

    • Charli Mills

      Nancy, your flash reminds me of how what seems like too little, in the end, can be just enough. Nothing like the hunkering down of a snowstorm.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Regina!

  20. Kerry E.B. Black

    My dear Charli,

    I’m sending warmth to help that thaw. I hate that freeze and can’t wait to see what comes from your ensuing spring.

    Sincerely,

    Kerry

    PS- here’s my story. 🙂

    Gordian Knot
    Written by Kerry E.B. Black

    Bonnie squeezed Michelle’s hand and begged, “Don’t go. It’s scary.”

    Michelle’s eyes glistened with unshed tears, but whether formed of fear, sadness, or excitement, Bonnie couldn’t tell. She tugged on her sister’s arm. “Michelle, please. Don’t leave. Who’ll take care of me?”

    Without a sideways look, Michelle tousled Bonnie’s curls. “You don’t need me,”
    She pointed with her chin into the unknown, “but I need this.”

    Bonnie clung to her sister, but Michelle loosened her fingers with ease, as though the Gordian Knot of reliance bore no challenge. She ignored Bonnie’s cries and stepped away and into the dark.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Kerry! We all feel that freeze at one time or another. Maybe it’s a part of our writerly growth. Love your flash the heaviness of leaving.

    • Liz H

      Ha! I have a few of those shots of my own, across time! 😀

      • Robert Kirkendall

        I can relate, there are pictures of me in which I look absolutely goofy.

      • Liz H

        (Keepin’ us humble…)

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Robert! I appreciate your humor, even in darkness!

  21. Juliet

    Good morning Fellow Friends,
    So glad you are into the light now, Charli.
    Here’s my dark little piece this week:

    The First Night

    The key turned stickily in the lock. She would get the knack of it soon, the twist and pull necessary to open the flimsy front door.

    Reaching for the light switch she heard nothing. Silence was a bad sign. Where was the damn mains box to shed electricity on her new abode?

    Her phone was so old that its unhelpful face was a small grey square and the one number she would have called in the past had been erased forever.

    She stumbled blindly into the lumpy sofa and sat there, letting her tears fall quickly into the dark.

    • Charli Mills

      Good to see you, Juliet, even if we are fumbling from the dark into the light. Your flash captures the frustration of making changes for a better life.

    • Charli Mills

      Got it, Kate! Thanks!

  22. Pete

    I sleep with fear and cuddle with failure. My restless bedmates jostle me awake, thrashing in the dark—in my head—as I pore over my words. Oh the mistakes, the holes, the terrible grammar. My own personal monsters in the closet.

    My bed is where doubt and desire dual. Ten paces into the dark. My quickening heartbeats produce sweat on my brow, dread in my chest, an avalanche of worry.

    Why bother?

    But morning arrives, and the sunlight finds my window, squeezing through the sliver of curtains. New words are knocking around.

    And so I must meet them.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes! The restless sleep of the writer, and still, words dawn with a new day. Write on, Pete!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Kay. It has a lot to say, evidently. Thanks for your flash!

  23. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Paula!

  24. Charli Mills

    Thanks for that painfully realistic spiral into darkness, Kate.

  25. Charli Mills

    Powerful flash, Sascha!

  26. Charli Mills

    Beautiful flash to counter the darkness, Hugh!

  27. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Chelsea!

  28. Charli Mills

    Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Regina!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. November 29: Flash Fiction Challenge – Into the Dark | Morpethroad - […] Written for: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
  2. AT THIS HOUR OF EVE – PaperShots - […] In response to: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
  3. The Crate – Let Me Tell You the Story of… - […] was written for the November 29th challenge on the Carrot Ranch – ‘Into the Dark.’  While I was instantly…
  4. How do you choose to look at it? – Reena Saxena - […] Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  5. Flash Fiction: Voyage | The Dark Netizen - […] Carrot Ranch November 29: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  6. Into the Dark [flash 99] | Light Motifs II - […] Prompt via the Carrot Ranch. […]
  7. Trust | Jo Hawk - […] Trust Source: Flash Fiction Challenge Prompt: Use the phrase “into the dark.” Word count: 99 […]
  8. Fun, But Inconsequential Prose – tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice - […] I chose a lighthearted approach for this flash fiction. It’s written for the November 29th Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  9. One Good Turn | ShiftnShake - […]  At Carrot Ranch the November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using…
  10. Into The Dark (micro fiction) – joanne the geek - […] I wrote this for the Carrot Ranch November 29 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]
  11. Darkness Enfolds – aroused - […] Carrot Ranch Challenge November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the…
  12. #Flashfiction – Into the Dark – Roberta Writes - […] You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
  13. s 12.1 Another One Through Ellis Island / MLMM Sat Mix /CR | Jules Longer Strands of Gems - […] Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using…
  14. November 29: #Carrot Ranch – Into The Dark… | But I Smile Anyway... - […] Charli’s prompt this week: […]
  15. Lost Compass | Sascha Darlington's Microcosm Explored - […] was written for Carrot Ranch, into the […]
  16. Waking | ShiftnShake - […] second attempt for the Carrot Ranch November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the…
  17. The Night Before – From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (11/29/2018): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the…
  18. Into the Dark | WILLOW POETRY - […] November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the…
  19. Into the Darkness: 99 word Flash fiction | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) - […] response to Charli’s prompt where she […]
  20. The Christmas Tree – Hugh's Views & News - […] challenge with the theme of ‘into the dark, hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here and…
  21. The Black Hole Beyond | Chelsea Ann Owens - […] Based on the prompt from The Carrot Ranch Literary Community. […]
  22. Into the Closet by Regina Davis-Sowers – The Humble Word Nerd - […] for the Flash Fiction Challenge by Carrot Ranch blog for November 29: Into the dark […]
  23. 99 Word Prompt: Into The Dark – Robert Kirkendall - […] November 29: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  24. Kept in the dark | Norah Colvin - […] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills wrote about the darkness we feel when we’ve lost our guiding…
  25. Further Into The Dark – The Memory Cellar - […] If you want to participate, here is the link: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/ […]
  26. Should I Stay or Should I Go? | Chelsea Ann Owens - […] a neat event (with pictures). Sunday, December 2: The Black Hole Beyond, a flash fiction entry for Carrot Ranch…

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