January 2: 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.

January 3, 2020

Outside my front steps, little brown pellets form a scattershot design in the freshly scooped snow. “Farfennugens” comes to mind. It’s a made-up word from the last century — the 1990s. I don’t remember who came up with it, but I recall the incident. My eldest went into kindergarten, where Mrs. C had a classroom bunny. Gus was his name. Every student had a turn, taking home Gus for the weekend. He made similar brown pellets throughout our house, and we called them farfennugens.

These wild farfs puzzle me. Why at the front steps? Our neighborhood bunnies shy away from the doors. When I take Bobo outside, I wander their trails with my gaze, noticing where they dash, where they hunker, and where they hide. I’ve never seen them venture so boldly up the driveway to the steps. And then I recall my poor pitch. Let’s hope I have a better pitch for my thesis than I do with my arm!

Two days ago, after a sloppy-wet blizzard buried us in heavy snow, I watched the pigeons flock in circles. Wanting to make sure our two resident fledglings survive winter, I had been leaving out seed for them, but they were not coming to the back deck once it snowed. I had an idea — I’d sprinkle seed across the driveway the Hub had blown and scooped into a flat white mat. My heart was big, my pitch was not. A cup of seed sailed vertically as if I were trying to feed pigeons in flight. I dropped back down to the steps where I stood.

What the pigeons did not get, the bunnies did. They left their calling cards.

The only hutches I ever remember the women in my family owning were for rabbits, doves, or chickens. Fancy hutches filled with glassware belonged to women elsewhere. Back in Idaho, I used to pick up old glass in the south horse pasture. As a kid, purple glass and square nails held my attention for hours as I combed the hillside behind my house, where likely an old dump had been in the silver mining days. The first time I met someone who collected glassware, I was fascinated to see the pieces in their whole shapes.

Hutches were more common back in the pioneer days. Sod houses and cabins had no built-in cupboards. What I knew as a “pie keep” was a common type of hutch for the practical pioneer wife or ranch cook. Like a rabbit hutch, it employed mesh wire on the doors. The idea was that the cook made the pies on the countertop and then stored the baked goods on the shelves behind the mesh, allowing air to circulate without flies. I could see owning a pie-keep. Yet, it is a fancy hutch I now own.

It did occur to me that I could start collecting whole pieces of glass instead of fragments. But I have this rule of household goods — it must be practical and beautiful. It can’t just be a pretty thing, hanging out to collect dust. I have purchased glassware from the local church thrift and yard sales and the consignment shop. Wine glasses, cider mugs, and teacups for large groups fill my built-ins. I was at a loss as to what to with this large hutch.

For Christmas, Todd got a toy Monster Truck — Gravedigger, a jacked-up hearse on super-inflated tires. Our daughter had seen a friend’s child playing with one and knew she’d have to get one for her dad. The Hub talks in his Monster Truck voice, taking on the persona of Gravedigger. He has vexed me for years in public places, talking to me in his Monster Truck voice. This includes following me through the grocery store, making commentary on every item I set in the cart. In Idaho, he was singing to me in his Monster Truck voice as we were winding through the backroads after cutting firewood, and we turned the bend and, there was the real-deal Gravedigger parked in someone’s yard. It’s a family joke.

So, of course, Gravedigger, the model toy truck, now sits in the center of the fancy hutch. I now know what I will do. Next came the scams (the affectionate name for book and 99-word story sales). The entire bottom shelf is lined with the promotional items I use at farmers markets and book fairs — a copper bowl filled with copper pennies next to a sign offering 99-word stories and a penny for a dollar; a stack of Vol. 1 Anthologies next to a sign and plate of bookmarks touting flash fiction.

Sure, I have some pretties, too, that hold special meaning from special friends. Those and rocks are dispersed. I have room for some local art I might pick up this summer, and room for a bowl of broken glass. The hutch that came with the dining room set now has a purpose. The table gets plenty of use, and moving forward into 2020, it will be the scene of weekly literary events on Thursdays.

Locally, I will host a variety of Thursday evenings from 5-7 p.m. EST. They will alternate, so each one is once a month and will attract different groups of people and a few who want to come to them all. Silent reading parties are for introverts with books. The house is unfinished. Eventually, it will include lots of reading nooks (the Unicorn Room will be a reading room with a plush carpet, lots of sitting pillows, and space for an air mattress for overnight guests who will sleep among the unicorns and cameo-pink walls). Game night is self-explanatory, and my collection includes Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride Europe, Sushi-Go Party, Bananagrams, Story Cubes, and Scrabble. Write-ins are a collective time to write from the various writing nooks throughout the house and are an effective way to be accountable to one’s writing goals. Critique is for those who take my workshops so we can continue to progress on our novels and learn the adaptive critique process I’m developing (so far, it has met with the approval of my professors).

Where do you fit in? Right next to my hutch! I have a lectern where I set up my laptop to record discussions for my MFA classes. On that lectern, I also want to invite you to come and read on a Thursday (Friday morning in Australia). We can do this via Skype, Messenger, FaceTime, or even an old-fashioned phone call. You would introduce yourself, say how long you’ve been wrangling words at Carrot Ranch, what you write and why, and then read some of your 99-word stories, or poetry, or book excerpts. Your choice. It will be a 10-minute spot. And you will help connect the Keweenaw to the World through literary art.

This year, with anticipated and continued stability, my goals include connecting up Carrot Ranch online to World Headquarters on the Keweenaw. I will return to Vermont in July with one writer’s retreat, local workshops, and literary outreach (to libraries and veterans). I’d like to host a couple of writers in residence — a free three day stay where we’ll treat you like literary royalty. My vision grows, but my North Star stays constant — to make literary art accessible (encouragement, inspiration, education, collaboration, and play). I’m still tweaking goals but plan to have plans in place by March, which is the annual anniversary of Carrot Ranch.

If you want to join me on Facebook, I’ve created a private group called Carrot Ranchers. It’s a way to combine multiple communities that intersect here, and also focus on weekly support, accountability to writing goals, and play for writers who want to publish. You can view the weekly schedule here. I realize it’s not for everyone, but anyone who wants to join can. It’s a private group so we can keep it to our known communities (it’s an extension of safe space to grow as a writer).

Now let’s turn our attention to what could be hiding in a hutch.

January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a hutch. It can be any kind of hutch — a box for critters or a chest for dishes. Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by January 7, 2019. 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.

Submissions closed. Find our latest Flash Fiction Challenge.

That One Day (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Sun beat down on the oxidized hood of the Willies Jeep. It was Danni’s ninth birthday and her dad said they’d explore the old wagon road of the 40-Mile Desert. So far, all Danni had seen were oxen bones and rusty horseshoes. Her dad stopped to check out a dried-out pile of wood.

“An old hutch once,” he said.

Danni climbed out and saw a glint of something in what had been a cupboard door. A marble. Not just any marble but a large globe with an elephant inside. That was the day Danni decided to become an archeologist.

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120 Comments

  1. Norah

    Hi Charli,
    I love this bit of Danni’s history – the inspiration that drives her. Life can have those defining moments. Other times, they may creep up slowly and take us by surprise.
    I loved hearing about your hutches, but even more about your goals which will empower others as much as you. May 2020 see so many of them realised.

    • Charli Mills

      Well, Danni’s bit of history took me by surprise! I went with it. I’m going with the goals, too. A bit more tweaking yet.

      • Norah

        There’s always tweaking. Without tweaking there’s no growth. Without growth …

      • Charli Mills

        Yes, it’s the ongoing cycle. Reminds me of pinching buds so my basil grows heartily.

  2. Prior...

    Hello there – I have been pausing my fiction writing and reading – I know others like to keep momentum going but A fast was in order for moi.
    — enjoyed this intro to the theme for this week. Beautiful and useful — my aim too 😉
    Oh and we have neighborhood rabbits that were always leaving “farfenuggens” in front of the garage – it started to become too much – someone told us to place a bag of moth balls in the corner – behind the hose box – and it worked really well.
    – and…
    That is nice of you to care for the birds
    ??????
    Ok – best wishes with the goals for this year… God has many good things in store and happy new year!

    • Charli Mills

      Sometimes a fast is in order. I believe we have to fill the well of creativity with life experiences and artistic inspiration. Birds and rocks fulfill that for me! Ha! I will keep in mind the moth balls should farfennugens become to much. Thank you! Happy New Year and God’s blessings!

      • Prior...

        Thanks Charli and fasts can be soooo hard to get started on. But once going it flows.
        Be back soon to connect with all and happy writing to Carrot Ranchers

      • Charli Mills

        Happy writing!

  3. robertawrites235681907

    Happy New Year, Charli. I am starting blogging again this week after a short break and will join in this one. In South Africa we call it a coop and not a hutch.

      • denmaniacs4

        Here in Canada (and though I live in a rural community, I am a city slicker through and through) at least in my westerly space, we have the best of both worlds. Chicken Coops and Rabbit Hutches…we are so blessed with verbal diversity.

      • robertawrites235681907

        Yes, it is interesting to note how language is used differently and changes in various parts of the world.

    • Charli Mills

      Happy New Year, Robbie! I hope you had a nice break. Is it a rabbit coop, then? Out West in the US, we are similar in vernacular to Bill’s western side of Canada, too — chicken coop and rabbit hutch, but same design. Thanks for your flash!

      • robertawrites235681907

        We also have a rabbit hutch. I have never hutch applied to furniture though. An interesting idea.

      • robertawrites235681907

        PS We had a lovely Christmas, but New Year was a washout with Terence and Greg going down with a stomach bug. They are both better now.

      • Charli Mills

        Oh, no, Robbie! Nothing like a flu bug to lay low celebrations. Good to know they have recovered.

        Evidently it is an American English term and often modern hutches have a mirror backing to show off finery. This makes me giggle, considering my mirrored hutch holds a Monster Truck. Finery, indeed!

  4. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Thanks for sharing your hutch. I’ve only come across that term for rabbit cages, so was confused initially about your picture of what looks like what we call a (Welsh) dresser. As for the pellets, over here, feeding birds can also turn into feeding mammals, in our case, the squirrels. But there are rabbit pellets this year too, which is annoying as I’ll have to fence in the vegetables.
    I’m excited about your plans for Ranch readings along with the other activities, and I’m off the join the FB group.

    • Charli Mills

      This is proving to be one of those words I took for granted had a universal meaning! A Welsh dresser sounds as fancy as I think my hutch is and I just might start calling it that, Anne. The rabbits seem to be faring well in both our regions. They ate all my peas last summer so I have to plan accordingly. Thank you for joining the group! I’m looking forward to the readings and events, too.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        I do like it, though, how we share the same language but little differences take us by surprise. Makes it harder to write across countries, however. I’m reading a 1st person narrative set in America written by a Britisher. He seems to have got it right, but what do I know?

      • Jules

        I have always thought of a hutch as something closed. An open shelf hutch was also called a ‘dry sink’

        “A dry sink is a piece of furniture common in homes before the invention of indoor plumbing. Styles vary, but generally a dry sink consists of a cabinet with a slightly recessed top, made to hold a basin and pitcher for water. … Sawdust City makes two sizes of dry sinks”

        I have seen dry sinks with upper cupboards. Which often held drawers for spices such as salt.

      • Charli Mills

        Anne, my eldest downloaded all the British versions of JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter series on Audible and hadn’t realized how different the British version was but she delighted in learning new words. I think she learned snog about the time I learned “dogging” from Geoff (a music video he shared that is hilarious). But sometimes we can find hilarity or confusion where none is meant to be between countries. I recall the prompt “slag” caused some issues when all I had in mind was melted glass.

      • Charli Mills

        Jules, a dry sink is similar to what I call a pie keep. The cupboards are set higher to create a work space. Thanks for sharing that tidbit!

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Charli, I haven’t read Harry Potter, but used a quote in my identity quiz from the first book. Having found it on Goodreads, I wasn’t aware I’d given it the American title … but was put right by a fan. I did feel the British English title was a better fit.
        I think your prompts are a great way of discovering our differences. Yeah there’s slag, but what about shag (slang not the bird)?

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Maybe I’m stuck on farfenuggen, but how do you explain Welsh Rabbit?

  5. joanne the geek

    I sent a request to join one of the Carrot Ranch groups on Facebook. I hope it was the right one.

  6. pensitivity101

    Wishing you and the team a Happy New Year Charli.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Di! Happy New Year to you, too!

    • Charli Mills

      Happy New Year, Sally! Having a home base is going to create some fun opportunities! Hugs! <3

  7. Lisa L.

    I’ve been absent here for far too long. Looking forward to joining in again this year!

    • Charli Mills

      And I see you in the group which will give you some incentive this year, Lisa! Always good to see you!

  8. Michael B. Fishman

    “farfennugens” 🙂 The child in me can’t not laugh at any word(s) for that sort of thing (or the noisy, ‘airy’ things that usually accompany them). I think people think that’s odd but I hope I never outgrow it. I have a lot of rabbits in my neighborhood and after a snowfall I see their footprints outside my patio door (no farfs spotted yet though) and I thought it was odd because why wouldn’t my noise or my lights scare them away? I figured they must huddle there because it’s warmer or something. Or they’re some sort of mutated rabbit monstrosity that’s just waiting to find me alone and . . .

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, Michael, don’t ever outgrow it! I love fun, silly words that just seem to fall and fit. And what an imagination — only a writer would be concerned about the mutant rabbit. Now you’ll have to ponder how that will sneak into your writing. Thanks for joining the group!

  9. denmaniacs4

    The Year I Spent as a Bunny-Almost a Memory but a True Story. Well, One Part. I Just Don’t Know Which Part.

    Mother: “He’s not a curious child.”

    Father: “A little slow, maybe?”

    Mother: “He needs schooling, Sterling.”

    Father: “Needs a kick in the…”

    Mother: “No he doesn’t. He needs a private school. He’d be five and in grade one.”

    Father: “Pay for his learning?”

    Mother: “For a year. It’d be hard, but we could do it.”

    Father: “What’s this place called?”

    Mother: “The Bunny Hutch.”

    Father: “Seriously?”

    Mother: “And you’d have to drive him.”

    Father: “I work shifts at the mill.”

    Mother: “We’d have to drive him.”

    Father: “You don’t drive.”

    Mother: “I’ll have to learn.”

    Father: “Guess you will.”

    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      The Bunny Hutch! You do come across some weird names for early years education establishments.

      • Jules

        I’ve seen weirder names for pre-schools too. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a motivated mother and the softer edge of the parental unit. But Bunny Hutch? Ha! As long as the kiddies didn’t leave farfennugens in the classroom.

  10. Jules

    Happy New Year Everyone and Charli!

    We just call ’em Bunny pellets! Wow you’ve got the new year planned out. I’m just working on the rest of the week, maybe the month 😉

    I have a hutch… but I didn’t write about mine… maybe a second piece?
    I do have this for your enjoyment:

    # 69 Yield?
    (reverse haibun in 99 words)

    secrets too long kept
    India Ink script fading
    on brittle parchment

    I took one of Marisol’s boxes and placed it on the built in hutch. A bit too hard, trying to avoid Lucky weaving underfoot, “You kitty are early for lunch! You and Dawg are always on the run – why don’t you take a nap I like the way you sleep!”

    A loose backboard popped open. There was a thick oil cloth bound by butcher’s twine. Marisol’s box got moved to the back burner.

    I cut the twine and carefully unwrapped the cloth. The first page was dated 1835…

    ©JP/dh

    • Charli Mills

      Happy New Year, Jules! Ha — pellets, pies, and farfennugens could be an interesting prompt, too. Ooh, I like this discovery. Can you imagine finding something like that to read in an old hidey-hole? The Underground Railroad was going that year.

      • Jules

        I remember reading a couple of Sue Monk Kidd’s books; “The Invention of Wings.” wasn’t one of them… yet. The internet takes the guess out of dates; I looked up when the Underground Railroad was active and stuck my ‘letter’ in the next installment # 70 Immobilized? about in the middle.

        I think to watch children and animals sleeping is a treasure to remember. I know I thought about (an might also have) taken photos of my children when they were sleeping – just to prove that they did!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      What an intriguing find. Can’t wait to find out what it says.

  11. Jim Borden

    sounds like you’ve got a busy but enjoyable 2020 coming up. I wish you and all the other writers the best!

    • Charli Mills

      I like to think of it as getting back on track, Jim! I enjoy bringing people together through literary art. Thank you! Wishing you the best in 2020, too!

  12. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Unassailable

    His brother was adamant that they did not, would not ever, like their stepdad. When asked why, his reasoning was unassailable.
    “Because, that’s why.”

    Now his brother stretched tiptoed, his fingers groping the highest shelf of the dusty hutch that their stepdad had brought out from the barn, his motivation that they’d been told to stay out of it.
    “He’s hiding something.”
    A loud snap and howls of pain precipitated an evacuation of mice through the open hutch doors.
    “That jerk!”

    He decided, with or without his brother, he’d help his stepdad fix up the hutch for their mom.

    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      Aargh, mice around the place is even worse than rabbits. I love how you’ve captured that kid’s logic and stubbornness. I guess his mom will be glad he came round.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Further down you can infer that the dog took care of the mouse problem. It could be worse, could be big hairy spiders.

    • Jules

      Step family members… that’s always tricky. I deal and have dealt with such. Nice write.

    • Charli Mills

      Nice use of the hutch as a focal point for your character story. Clever mice, waiting to avoid the trap. Clever boy, deciding to help fix up the hutch for his mom.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        His brother, dramatically icing his fingers, still sulked and scowled even though their stepdad allowed he should have mentioned why he didn’t want the boys in the hutch, even admitted he himself couldn’t bear the thought of scurrying mice. The man seemed relieved but squeamish to hear how the boys tilted the hutch, shaking and banging it, the dog eagerly involved in the eviction of the mice.
        His brother stayed back, but he happily went to the barn with their stepdad to bring out another hutch.
        This hutch would be his! What would he choose, a rabbit or hens?

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      I like this! A great snapshot of family life. I like the boy’s character too! <3

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        He’s a good kid. Maybe his brother will eventually come around.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        There’s definitely a story there. I’m always drawn to characters that like.

  13. carolinescott1800

    Hi, y’all! Nice to discover this community. 🙂 Here’s my try at the prompt.

    The Culprit

    by Caroline Scott

    “Pa, can I keep it? Please?”

    Sam scratched his head at the furry culprit in his son’s arms. How that little brown pup had gotten into the rabbit hutch he had no idea, but he wasn’t happy about it, no sir, not at all.

    “Those were good rabbits,” he said.

    “But Pa! We’ll get more! This little feller’s a hunting dog, I can tell.”

    The hope in his boy’s eyes was pleading. Sam’s eyes went to the little wriggling mongrel who caused so much trouble, and his gaze softened.

    “Alright. But you’re cleaning up after him and that’s final.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      That’s more than a try. Mission accomplished, a fine 99 word story. I just hope the kid’s right and can keep the dog out of trouble. Sounds like maybe things didn’t work out so well for the rabbits.

      • carolinescott1800

        Thank you so much! 🙂 I hope it all works out, too 😉

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to Carrot Ranch, Caroline! D., told ya straight — mission accomplished. That’s a fine 99-word story and a promising hound.

    • Charli Mills

      Up for a breath of air? You are on the cusp of leveling up your dreams. Good to see you, Ritu!

      • Ritu

        Thank you, Charli! Need to get creative, outside of my book!!!

  14. reading journeys

    Happy New Year Charli!

    And all the very best in the days ahead to everyone at Carrot Ranch.

    I’m looking forward to learning more in your blog about your “journeys” in writing and reading. Thank you for sharing!

    Saifun

    • Charli Mills

      Happy New Year, Saifun! I look forward to the learning, too!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Didn’t VW also make a Rabbit? (Which begat farfennugens?)

      • Nobbinmaug

        I don’t know, but true or not, that’s funny.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, yes, yes!!! I think this is it! I was thinking it had something to do with a funny car name but then I was doubting myself as to where we picked it up. Thank you for refreshing my memories of the origin of farfennugen (Fahrvergnugen). Thanks for sharing, Nobbinmaug.

      • Nobbinmaug

        Thanks for the flashback. I haven’t thought about that for years.

  15. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Heirlooms

    She used to keep the better china in it. Then pretty knickknacks and collectibles. Things she thought one of her children, or grandchildren, even great-grandchildren might want to have. One day.
    Now framed photographs lined the shelves of the hutch, all in order— children, grandchildren, great grandchildren; first-born to last-born.
    She sighed. There were more great-grandchildren than living grandchildren. These young children, some addicts at birth, now lived with their grandparents— her own aging children.
    The hutch predated the Civil War. Would her family survive these present day battles? Who will keep the hutch? Who will curate its treasures?

    • Michael B. Fishman

      “Heirlooms” requires a “Really” Like button.

    • Charli Mills

      This one gave me chills, D. the way you connect the modern woes back to Civil War era. Well-done.

  16. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Temp Oh Wary

    “Pal, ya ever git skeered we could git replaced?”
    “Us? Heck no, Kid, we’re iconic. Stock character Ranch hands, dang good at what we do.”
    “Yeah, but, seems like there ain’t a position these days ain’t dispensible. I know Pepe’s worried ‘bout automation at Buckaroo Nation.”
    “Whut?”
    “You know he slips inta Headquarters now and agin. He found out Shorty’s frien’s got a fartin’ machine. Kin ya believe it?”
    “Cain’t believe it could keep up with Pepe.”
    “One time they was talkin’ spreadsheets, ‘member?”
    “An’ you kept shovelin’ an’ spreadin’ an’ scatterin’ shift like farfennugens. Kid, jist hutch up.”

    • susansleggs

      This deserves a “laugh out loud” button. Love it.

      • Charli Mills

        I need the ROFL button, Sue!

    • Charli Mills

      Kid’s gotta surprise a-comin’ because he has a mission (keep his writer writin’). Farts are fair fodder. Automation Nation. Farfennugens unite!

  17. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Wow… this “hutch” really got me going! Here is my story for the week:

    Julia packed the last of the doilies into the bottom drawer of the hutch. She lovingly stroked the top of the sturdy pine chest. This heirloom had been in her family for more generations than she could count. She hated saying goodbye.

    She opened a cupboard door and touched great grandmother’s bone china wrapped in cloth for protection. A great feeling of sadness overwhelmed her, and she gulped back her tears.

    With one last look at the remains of a life she had to leave behind, Julia stepped from the covered wagon into the heat of a prairie dawn.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Hmm. The hutch is intact on board the schooner. I am wondering at all the possible reasons she is walking away from these things. Did the oxen or horses give out? An intriguing tale.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Right? Did the axle break? Where is her man, or family? Is she the sole survivor? I pictured her alone, lost in a sea of waving grasses leaving everything she knew before behind. New beginnings, possibly.

    • Charli Mills

      The hutch grabbed you, Colleen. I’m thinking of how women hung on tenaciously to such heirlooms across the plans, over the Rockies, only to be defeated by the Great Basin where such items had to be discarded for survival. I think of the memories and broken China out there.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Yes! That’s what I saw and felt! Grooves in the earth strewn with furniture and other belongings! I felt fear and hope all wrapped up together! ??

  18. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Ms. Mills, what an intriguing find by young Danni. So intriguing she’ll have to be careful, she might get dissuaded from archaeology and become a storyteller. What’s the story on that encased elephant? No matter, what a fine time for Ganesh to show up!

    • Charli Mills

      Sulphide marbles handcrafted in Germany mid-19th century contained animals. I once heard an old tale about a cowboy finding such a marble in Nevada along the Emigrant Trail and it had turned purple in the sun. That marble has been rolling about in my head for a long time. So, I gave it to Danni.

  19. Lisa R. Howeler

    Believe it or not, I don’t even own a hutch. Hmmm….An elephant inside? I must know more.

    • Charli Mills

      Just a wee elephant in a marble. And this is the first hutch I’ve ever owned, and kinda liking it!

  20. Lisa R. Howeler

    He kept the gun in the hutch behind the Tiffany Sybil Claret Wine glasses that had belonged to his grandmother.

    There were 20 of those ridiculous glasses, worth $100 each. Wealth, wealth and more wealth.

    It was all around him but none of it mattered.

    His fingertips grazed the cool metal of the gun, a Remington RM380, traced the shape of it, and slipped down to the handle where his fingers firmly grasped it.

    He tipped his head back and laughed loudly.

    So rich yet so poor.

    They had their money to keep them warm.

    They wouldn’t miss him.

    • Charli Mills

      Strikes at the heart of “money can’t buy happiness.” Great job, building up the tension and emotional conflict, Lisa.

  21. Liz H

    Here’s my effort, about a rabbit hutch of another size, with another type of critter.

    Plans for Supper

    The four children huddled in the corner of the rabbit hutch. Cock-sure that the trolls would be sleeping off their hangover, they’d broken into the cellar for a bit of potato…maybe some ham! They’d not counted on LilleMjol catching them…
    [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      Uh-oh! Never good to be the critter in the hutch. But a good story for winter time semi-cabin fever, Liz.

      • Liz H

        Thanks, Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joanne!

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for letting me know that, Debby! I did not find your submission so it didn’t go through. I didn’t find a ready answer for it. Would you mind trying a different browser so I can start narrowing down the WP gremlin? Thanks!

      • dgkaye

        Wow Charli. That’s strange. I entered it in your form and as a pingback. Danged WP gremlins. I will re- enter it again in your form now!

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to the Ranch or Circus depending upon the day. 😉 I’m trying to figure out the form glitch. Thanks for letting me know that you got that message, too.

    • Charli Mills

      I’ll whack the gremlins when I catch tem, Debby! Thanks for trying again, but I’ll grab your story here for the collection.

      • dgkaye

        You’re a doll Charli! <3 I tell ya, these gremlins just won't leave my side lately. It's the eclipse wolf full moon coming Friday, making everything haywire! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        That wolf moon energy is blowing through and outside Lady Lake decided to whip up a frenzy. The wind blasted snow swirling like dervishes are what the gremlins must look like, frizzing the wires. I got you in the collection, and I’m going to drum on Friday night!

  22. Ann Edall-Robson

    Cheese Keeper
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    It was a rare occasion when Hanna had time to look through the box her grandmother had left her. Today was her day off, yet she had offered to help Liz in the kitchen and had been shooed away. Now, with the pictures spread across her bed, she looked at each one. Reading the fading words on the back for the hundredth time. Her favourite was one of her grandmother at someone’s birthday. Surrounded by people Hanna was yet to identify. On the table was a cheese keeper.

    “That looks like the one Liz has in her china hutch.”
    https://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/cheese-keeper

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that sounds like there is something yet to be discovered in Liz’s past. I’m wondering if you know what it is yet? I enjoy it when things pop up in my own writing that I had no idea was coming!

    • Charli Mills

      Happy New Year, Ruchira! I wish you all the same blessings in return! Thank you for your reflection! I have to admit, it did remind me of another set of eyes — your latest published short story!

      • explorereikiworld

        You are right, Charli.

        I totally forgot that it has similarities 🙂

  23. susansleggs

    Charli, I love the mystery of the bunny droppings. How fun to figure out why. When my parents were alive there was a family hutch that had tressures in the drawers. Mine now hold stationery, stamps, and old refrigerator pictures. It is opened often. All sorts of upsets going on in my family so I haven’t had a chance to read this week’s entries. Maybe I can get to them this evening. Following is my first 2-part offering. I’m liking this serial storyline of separate scenes…

    Unpacking

    Michael took another oblong bundle of paper out of a box labeled Hutch and unrolled the mound until the prize inside laid in his hand. He held a wood box with a hinged lid that had been tied securely with string. He handed it to Tessa.
    With a look of wonderment, she undid the string, opened it and lifted out an Altoid box labeled with her son’s name. She shook it to hear the familiar rattle before opening it to show Michael the contents. “Brent’s baby teeth.”
    “Parents save those?”
    “Of course. I’ll bet your Mom has yours.”

    What’s Hidden in Your Hutch

    After exercising on stationary rings and showering, Michael sat staring at the hutch his sister had insisted he needed. The upper shelves displayed happy memories: pictures of him with Army buddies at reunions, his parents, and his sister’s family. The lower cupboards held a good stock of liquor. The center big drawer was like a safe deposit box, hiding tangible PTSD triggers: two purple hearts, medical records, dog tags, pictures of lost buddies and of himself with legs. He thought of baby teeth and hoped Tessa would have a grandchild to help him understand why such things were keepsakes.

    • Charli Mills

      Sue, it’s new territory for me. It’s intriguing to me to think of all the ways I can use my hutch — now I’m thinking stationery, too! I hope family upsets are fleeting. I am enjoying how you are using the 99-word form to explore a serial storyline. The last one was powerful.

  24. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Sally!

  25. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Dave! And I see your story in the collection bucket so the form did go through.

  26. Charli Mills

    Sweet story, Sally!

  27. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Chelsea!

  28. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Michael!

  29. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Sadje!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. #Flashfictionchallenge – Hutch – Roberta Writes - […] This piece of 99-word flash fiction was written for Charli Mills’ Flash Fiction Challenge. You can join in here:…
  2. Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday January 3rd 2020 – #Flash Charli Mills, #Betareaders John W. Howell, #Timemanagement James J. Cudney | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine - […] Head over to read the post and find out more about this week’s flash fiction challenge: January 2nd 2020…
  3. nd 1.3/ # 69 Yield? 2p – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] 63 for Banking you’re early, always on the run, the way you sleep & Carrot Ranch January 2, 2019,…
  4. Flash Fiction: Hutch – MMA Storytime - […] Prompted from Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge at: https://carrotranch.com/2020/01/03/january-2-flash-fiction-challenge/. […]
  5. Smorgasbord Short Stories – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge – The Rabbit Hutch by Sally Cronin | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine - […] for the first Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills of the year and this week we are…
  6. Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 29th December to 4th January 2020 – | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine - […] for the first Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills of the year and this week we are…
  7. January 2: Flash Fiction Challenge – Hutch | But I Smile Anyway... - […] Charli’s prompt this week: […]
  8. The Culprit (99 Words) – Western Angels - […] Written in response to Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Check it out! […]
  9. Flash Fiction: Rabbit Hutch – NobbinBlog - […] was written for Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week’s challenge is to write to a prompt in exactly…
  10. Hutch Hidings | ShiftnShake - […] Carrot Ranch January 2, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found…
  11. Memories Within the Old Hutch | Chelsea Ann Owens - […] for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: […]
  12. When the wealth didn’t matter – Boondock Ramblings - […] of the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge. The rules and prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write…
  13. Plans for Supper – From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (01/02/2020): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something found in a…
  14. Freedom! (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt hutch provided by the Carrot Ranch January 2 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]
  15. Carrotranch Flash Fiction Challenge - 99 Word Prompt - Regal Hutch - […] Mills invites us to join in her weekly Flash Fiction Challenge at the CarrotRanch. The rules – 99 words…
  16. One Afternoon (Carrot Ranch) | Michaelsfishbowl - […] the first prompt of the new year over at Carrot Ranch. Give a click HERE and play along or…
  17. Inside the Hutch: Mary Hansen Saga VI- – Artie & Stu - […] (for Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction) […]
  18. Carrot Ranch- Flash Fiction Challenge- 2nd January – Keep it alive - […] Charli Mills is the host of Carrot Ranch Flash fiction Challenge. […]
  19. Flash Fiction: Hutch – Tracey at Home - […] interesting prompt from Carrot Ranch that I put my own spin […]
  20. My Other Half | Chelsea Ann Owens - […] January 5: “Memories Within the Old Hutch,” in response to Carrot Ranch‘s […]

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