February 27: 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.

February 28, 2020

It’s white and dismal, the never-ending feeling of a winter that lingers too long. Squalls bloom snow like algae, spreading across hardened mats of layered ice. It does not feel fresh when February rolls into March, and grocery store adverts tease me with lucky green shamrocks and early promotions for spring. One day I’m gazing with hope at an azure sky, and the next, the gray dome of my snow globe snaps shut. Relentless is the winter on the lee side of Lady Lake Superior.

I confess that I’m daydreaming of the open road. The Hub took a fall on the snow-covered ice that is our driveway and stormed into the house growling about leaving for the desert. I almost said, okay. If winter is relentless, then those of us with cabin fever feel restless. It’s an itch beneath the skin, a need to move the body more than measured steps in snowboots. Wheels on the pavement promise liberation from snow.

But our car is grounded to short trips. A bearing grinds in one wheel, and the automatic brake system is out on all four. No road trips for now.

When the brain feels itchy, it’s hard to focus. Sometimes I wonder if this is how the Hub feels all the time. Part of his condition leaves him profoundly impatient and agitated. He does good to manage it, but it’s always there like ants marching. My distraction is seasonal and will soon pass as days elongate. I imagine sunlight stretching toward its own downward dog of summer.

Have you ever looked up how many hours of daylight your area gets? Recently, I learned about the three levels of twilight when researching the sunrise in Elmira, Idaho. I remembered 3 am birdsong, and it turns out that summer twilight begins at 3:18 am. In Hancock — World Headquarters for Carrot Ranch — is begins at 5:18 during the peak of daylight hours. And it fades late into the night by 10:30 pm, which makes for long evenings on the rocky shores, watching a copper globe sink into the lake. Sometimes, I can catch a flash of green on the watery horizon.

It’s a blur of black and the call of “caw, caw, caw” that catches my attention now. A lone raven flies through breaks in the snow to retrieve food stashed on rooftops. I’ve watched this raven before. He cries raucously as if to say, “Hey — look what I got!” He buries his stash with beak and claws on the steeply pitched roofs of my neighbors. We all have a tundra over our heads and buried raven treasure. Once he has a mouthful of whatever has marinated in a series of snowstorms, he flies off, satisfied.

Wanting to find something snowy to share with you, I have a clip from Yooper Steve:

Wanting to find humor in the snow, I’ll now turn southwest to our neighbors in Wisconsin. Every time we visit our son and future DIL, we catch up on the Manitowoc Minute, a Wisconsinite who pokes fun at his state. He got to include the UP in his show because we are often omitted or given over to Wisconsin on maps.

Somewhere between distraction and deadlines, snow and sun-hope, I’m meandering my way through another week, cracking at the MFA, my plot outline exposed to its bones. I’ve often said the bones of writing must be strong. The structure faces its first test and a twist this week. My cohort has been tasked with writing our opening chapters. But here’s the twist — after all the plot outlining we did, our prof issued a specific opening with inciting incident first.

Well, that messes with my outline. Which is the lesson — it’s not enough to sew, we have to rip out the seams and make something new from the same material. It’s learning all the bones and reconstructing the framework. Sometimes we have to get around what we think to what we create, what we hear, what we discover. And we have to be comfortable with this work because there’s no time to get shaken by it.

So I watch snow and ravens and listen to music in random order, learning to write like the sun might never shine again. Time to get a move on. Ready to hit the open road? We have our imaginations to take us there.

February 27, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the open road. Where will the trip lead? Who is going, and why? Follow the open road wherever it may lead!

Respond by March 3, 2020. 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 weekly Flash Fiction Challenge.

Viv’s Open Road Hair-Do by Charli Mills

Viv tossed the letter to where her long ginger locks scattered across the kitchen floor. “Goodbye, Hal. Fix your own damned dinner,” she wrote. She left the broken plate he’d flung at her when she served his scrambled eggs too dry. After he went to the copper mine, she bundled her clothes and sheared her curls without benefit of a mirror. Her scalped stung less without the weight of hair he could yank to get her attention. Irish whore no more. She was hitting the open road and taking his 1956 Ford Victoria, the only thing he ever loved.

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      • syncwithdeep

        Thank u so much

    • Charli Mills

      So good to see you at the Ranch, Deepa! I enjoyed your soul journey.

      • syncwithdeep

        Thank u Charli.. I hope to make it regular with 99 words .. thanks for the encouragement

      • Charli Mills

        That’s good to hear! <3

  1. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    What’s an outline but the road ahead? But sometimes we need to be open to other routes. I posted a review earlier this week about finding our way (nonfiction, moi?) which might interested you, and the hub in relation to brain disorder and ‘wandering’. I haven’t found my 99 words yet but I think I’ll link them to that post


    • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

      My 99-word story is up now – it’s about a woman with dementia trying to walk off her feeling of being lost. Apparently search and rescue data show that people with Alzheimer’s tend to walk in straight lines, regardless of the obstacles in their way. I hope this isn’t a vision of my own future.

      • Charli Mills

        I like that analogy of an outline as the road ahead with the understanding that detours can still happen. What a perfect pair — the open road and Wayfinding, and yes, I’m surprised to see you review #nonfiction. But you do like to take your own road, Anne, and accept what you find along the way.

        That’s an interesting piece of data about those with Alzheimer’s and I like how you used it in your flash, adding a gentle touch of humor.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        It evokes that panic that must be there. Not a fun hike.

    • Charli Mills

      Well, Doug, I just learned from Anne Goodwin that a straight road might mean Alzheimer’s so good thing yours are all crooked.

      • Doug Jacquier

        Sorry, who are you again? 😉

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! You must have walked a straight line to get here!

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    “Ever feel like hittin’ the road Pal?”
    “Heck no, Kid. Look’t thet road in the picture. Hmmff. Looks as if it leads straight ta nowhere.”
    “It’s straight like that so ya cain’t go ‘round the bend. I’m worried ‘bout Shorty. ‘Fraid she’s losin’ her bearin’s.”
    “Jist her wheel bearin’s Kid. She’s on the road ta her North Star. Shorty’s picked the right path. She’ll find her way through storms a distraction.”
    “S’pose so, Pal. Was about this time a year I got cabin fever so bad I took ta the road. Ended up here.”
    “Still findin’ yer way, Kid.”

    • Charli Mills

      As long as none of us ends up in a fish pond! Glad the cabin fever and open road brought us a Kid.

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Charli your paragraph about having to rework your carefully plotted opening reminded me of a line from one of the characters in “Olive Kitteridge”: ‘If you can’t figure out something, don’t watch what you think, watch what you do’. Seems like that prof is having you undo what you’d figured out. I admire the growth mindset that has you watching this latest doing.
    I imagine, I hope, the Ranch and your own 99 word flash are good distractions, a bit of play. Or will we see some version of this open road scene in one of your novels? Certainly Viv is a character who resonates.
    Some around here used to say in parting, ‘Keep her east’; not sure what it means, except maybe keep the boat off the shoals. That also came to mind though a waterway is a different kind of road. Keep her east, Cap.

    • Charli Mills

      Lots of wise characters and ideas from Olive Kitteridge. Have you read the opening page and the final paragraph together? Beautiful bookends! Henry’s verve for life and Olive’s recognition. The Ranch and 99 words are not distractions but key components of the living the get lit life. However, Viv surprised me. Made me think of an Olive Kitteridge style book set in the 1950s Copper Country. Ay yuh. Now that could be a distraction. I’ll let is lose on the open road for now.

    • Charli Mills

      If I head east, I might end up at a certain agate beach. I’m itching to pick!

  4. Sarah Brentyn

    I’ve never written a outline (outside of school) for fiction so I can only imagine the annoyance at having one’s outline pulled apart. But we must be strong and flexible as writers. Indeed, as people. 🙂 Good luck with all, Charli!

    • Charli Mills

      Exactly, Sarah! I felt so accomplished just to complete an outline and then to not get to use it. Wicked. But it is meant to build up writerly musceles. Thanks!

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Ha! Wicked, indeed. You’ll build up your muscles–you always get seem to get stronger when life throws you… Lemons? Lemon-scented sh*t?

        I hope I can have a go at this week’s prompt. I missed last week’s rainbow cat and had an idea. I’ve got to get back ASAP.

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! Yes, lemon-scented! Now it’s in workshop, developing different writerly muscles.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Read it. Loved it. Ran off with it. Which might be more than you wanted. But back to you. Though you should know there’s guns in the house and she has a plan.

      • Charli Mills

        Woohoo! Sarah road trips the Ranch!

      • Sarah Brentyn

        Ha! It’s not too much, D. It’s awesome. Love the plan. And Charli added a fab twist–take a look.

        Thanks, Charli. It feels good to be back in the driver’s seat. (Oy. You walked into that one.)

      • Charli Mills

        That’s why the open road is good for driving!

  5. Liz H

    Love dat Charlie Berens…!

    • Charli Mills

      We’ll give him a big ol’ hug, you on one side of Wisconsin, me on the other (or part of the WI fingers). He cracks me up.

  6. Jim Borden

    I agree; there is something magical about the open road.

    • Charli Mills

      Ah, I wonder if this is the time of year people plan road trips, Jim?

      • Jim Borden

        I tend to think of road trips as taking place during the summer; so I’ve got a few more months to get ready for one.

      • Charli Mills

        I’m dreaming already — have a few planned.

  7. Pete


    The Blue Ridge mountains sat against electric blue skies as we barreled down Route 29. My dad rested his left arm on the door—we always laughed about his mismatched tan—talking about some car he’d found in the classified section.

    I think he just liked to drive. I did. Saturday mornings were the only time I had him to myself. And now, as the wind flew through our hair, drowning out the radio as we faced the wide-open Saturday that lay before us, I set my own arm out the window, hoping the sun would do the rest.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Drives with dad. This is a lovely scene.

    • Doug Jacquier

      Wonderfully evocative piece, Pete, and left me wondering whether he actually bought the car or just needed an excuse to go driving. When my Dad wanted to do that he would say he was ‘going to see a man about a dog’ but somehow he never returned with one. 😉

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Where I come from, that means going to use the bathroom as they say in the US.

      • Hugh's Views and News

        Doug, here in the UK, ‘going to see a man about a dog’, means one is off to visit the bathroom/toilet.

      • Doug Jacquier

        You foreigners and your deilate ways 😉 We grew up in a small country town in Australia where the toilet and the bathroom were two separate places, mainly because the dunny (toilet) was in an outhouse (complete with venomous redback spiders). But at least we were environmental pioneers; we always recycled the newspaper 😉

      • Doug Jacquier

        That was meant to be ‘delicate’ 😉

      • Charli Mills

        Doug, maybe you could coin a phrase in Australia — “going to see a man about a redback spider.” Venom in the dunny would wreck the relief.

      • Charli Mills

        Enjoyed the redback spider song, Doug!

    • Liz H

      A couple of bookends, out on the road.

    • Charli Mills

      Pete, that’s the kind of Saturdays that sticks with a kid forever. What lovely, emotive details to set the scene.

    • Hugh's Views and News

      Love it, Pete. People always say ‘don’t look back’, but when looking back brings back such good memories, I don’t see why we shouldn’t look back.

  8. denmaniacs4

    Where it leads

    Once a month, usually a Friday or a Saturday, Barrington jumped into his SUV and hit the road.

    He allowed himself forty-eight hours for a return trip to wherever the road led.

    He maintained this schedule for seventeen years, ever since the year Clarice, his one and only true love, had packed her bags and disappeared.

    Friends observed; “You won’t find her, Bar. She’s long gone.”

    Barrington would neither confirm nor deny that his monthly pilgrimage was in search of Clarice.

    All he would publicly allow is that, “driving comforts my restless spirit”.

    Privately, he enjoyed his dark secret.


    • Doug Jacquier

      Well wrought. PS – It is just me or does the name Clarice always evoke in others The Silence of the Lambs?

      • Susan Zutautas

        The Silence of the Lambs is always the first thing I think of when I hear the name, Clarice 🙂

      • denmaniacs4

        I grabbed the name out of the air…I certainly wasn’t thinking of Ms Starling…however, there have been so many other Clarice’s…real Clarices…so for the Wilipedia record, here are a few… Clarice Assad (born 1978), Brazilian composer
        Clarice Beckett (1887–1935), Australian painter
        Clarice Benini (1905–1976), Italian chess master
        Clarice Blackburn (1921–1995), American actress
        Clarice Carson (1929–2015), Canadian opera singer
        Clarice Cliff (1899–1972), British ceramic artist
        Clarice de’ Medici (1493–1528), Tuscan noblewoman
        Clarice Lispector (1920–1977), Brazilian writer
        Clarice Mayne (1886–1966), English actress
        Clarice McLean (born 1936), American dancer
        Clarice Modeste-Curwen (born 1945), Grenadan politician
        Clarice Morant (1904–2009), American centenarian and caretaker
        Clarice Orsini (1450–1488), Tuscan queen
        Clarice Shaw (1883–1946), Scottish politician
        Clarice Taylor (1917–2011), American actress
        Clarice Tinsley (born 1954), American journalist
        Clarice Vance (1870–1961), American actress

      • denmaniacs4

        Typo alert…Wikipedia, not Wilipedia, which is my personal pedia…

      • Liz H

        Clarice! The pretty long-lashed reindeer with the polka-dot bow, from Rudolph!

      • Charli Mills

        To all the Clarices in the world, known and newly met through Wikipedia. Bill, I hope there is a Clarice alive and well, but somehow I worry about that dark secret.

      • Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

        Marvellous list of Clarices here, did you know it’s women in history month?

  9. floridaborne

    I can understand Viv’s reaction and loved your take on the prompt. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I’ve known some Vivs and they are survivors with flair.

  10. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Shifty Maneuver

    “Look who’s here on her appointed rounds! Frankie!”
    “No matter the weather, still have to deliver. Got a package for you Kid. What is it?”
    “I had D. Avery send me the ultimate tome on open roads, so’s I could study up fer this week’s prompt. Look! Chicken Shift.”
    “Well, all I can tell you Kid, is that little book is heavy. But also light. But not middling.”
    “Depends on how ya read it, Frankie. But yeah, there’s some deep shift.”
    “Hmmff. Kinda turned inta a road show, Kid. Mighta crossed a line.”
    “Road, Pal. It’s about crossin’ roads.”

  11. Lisa R. Howeler

    I like your paragraph for sure. And I agree about the winter, but I’m sure mine is nowhere near as bad as yours where you are. I don’t know how much sunlight we get but I know it’s not a lot in the winter since doctors here tell us we need vitamin d in the winter months to keep us from slipping into depression and exhaustion.

    • Charli Mills

      Lisa, I started taking a liquid vitamin D at about 3,500 units and I definitely notice a sunnier disposition. My daughter lives in the arctic and she actually likes the time of darkness. She says March is beautiful and “blue” with the shifting light. She says it is hard having 24 hours of daylight. I might try a sun lamp, too. I just know, I get itchy this time of year!

      • Lisa R. Howeler

        I bought a sun lamp one year but never used it and it got broke. I considered it again this year but so far the vitamin d seems to be helping a little – not the dry skin I have though. Gosh I can’t wait for warmer temps so that gets better!

      • Charli Mills

        I’ve not tried one of the lamps, yet. Olive oil is a wonderful skin conditioner in the winter! Just don’t spill it in the shower. 😉

  12. Jennie

    I can’t seem to focus today. It is gray and cold, and February can leave anytime. Somehow snow might be a welcome diversion. I start and stop different chores and writing, but nothing is really getting done. Our weather shows 30” of lake effect snow in your neck of the woods. Ugh! Here’s to spring and the open road ahead. Best to you, Charli.

    • Charli Mills

      Jennie, that’s a case of cabin fever! The snow falls white and is brighter than those gray days. As it all starts to melt we get enveloped in a damp gray cloak. We’ll make it through! Thanks!

      • Jennie

        Yes, we do! ????

  13. Lance Greenfield

    Reblogged this on Write to Inspire and commented:
    Write a short, impactful story. Now whittle it down to exactly 99 words. No more. No less. Difficult!
    Give it a go.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Lance, good to see you at the Ranch! Thanks for sharing the challenge!

    • Charli Mills

      I need a unicorn sign on Roberts Street!

    • Susan Zutautas

      Great one, Robert!

    • Liz H

      Totally dug that one. 😉

      • Liz H

        Sorry. Not sorry. (giggle)

    • Charli Mills

      I’m glad you followed the lead, Robert!

  14. Susan Zutautas

    Cabin fever … yes
    Sick of the snow … yes
    Looking forward to warmer weather … yes
    Want to hit the road … always 🙂
    I will have to see what I can come up with this week. I’ll be back 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! It’s that time of year, isn’t it?

  15. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Less Traveled

    It was something, the same old something, but no point in arguing now. She’d be lucky if he wasn’t snoring in the car before they got home. No, he’d make it, because he was still complaining about the evening.
    “Boring old fools, going on and on about their RV trip. Who cares? Open road adventures my ass. Who needs it?”
    Almost there. She noted he’d filled the tank earlier.
    “Just going to have a nightcap with the news lady.”
    His snores were louder than the click of the door. With one light bag she hit the road.

    • Charli Mills

      Maybe she’ll be more traveled now. Good time to hit the road.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes, of course! It’s great when we have prolific writing days. Fun series!

    • susansleggs

      I used to live in Tacoma. Thanks for the memorable ride-along.

      • Susan Zutautas

        Susan, I spent about six years in the Seattle area and I loved it there.

  16. Jules


    I enjoyed your flash. I’ve driven alone once to often on unfamiliar roads to know I’d rather not again. Hope you can repair your car. We have some issues with one of our older cars and might have to go used car shopping… maybe before next winter anyway.

    Here’s my piece: Manipulative Machinery or Convoluted Computing

    Before GPS it was all maps, numbers and charts. And even with teasing; it was no go for the children to drive. All we could do was stare out the windows. On the long trip south to visit grandparents.

    Now we don’t even use the do-dad that had to be uploaded with maps. Since one of us has a smartphone (not me). While most of the time just plugging in the address works. Sometimes one has to be aware of alternate routes.

    We laugh heartily at ‘The Voice’ when we make a pit stop. And ‘she’ haughtily says; recalculating.


    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      I love maps and worry that that is another thing that is being lost. Some folks can’t even visualize where they are, have no internal map or sense of direction so are blindly following that voice and truly lost when she fails.

      • Jules

        I have always liked maps. Too bad the borders and colors keep changing. I still think I have a few old ones from when I was a child and had been gifted with National Geo. The magazine is long gone… but the maps still can take us to another place – especially if we let them. 🙂

    • Susan Zutautas

      I still use maps and will more than likely keep using them until they are no longer available. I do have my smartphone as a backup but sometimes she takes me to the wrong place.

      • Jules

        We went with someone who had a phone that also had an app that alerted him to police up ahead, or traffic, which by the time we got there was nil. All the folks trying to be helpful by saying what they passed. Alternate routes available – save time by two minutes or add ten. Just give me the straightest least complex route thank you. 😉

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Jules! We’ll get the bearing switched out when we swap snow tires for regular road tread, hopefully by April. The antilock brake system is a Ford issue and we are waiting on them. Funny, how with some technology, we miss it altogether because it gets replaced! Fun flash!

      • Jules

        Google mapping only works if you actually have a connection. In some mountainous regions or were there is no cell service its time to fall back on maps! 😀

  17. Liz H

    A little trip off the regular road:

    The Open Road

    The Chevy accelerates and tops the hill’s summit, before twisting and plunging into the ravine. A duffle bag and body detach, and arc onto the dirt shoulder. They disappear into the dust cloud created by the truck’s struggle with the gravel road. [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a heck of an inciting incident, Liz!

      • Liz H

        Fire away, fire away…

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      And now I have a Talking Heads tune stuck in my head.

      • joanne the geek

        Lol. I suddenly thought of that after I written it…

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joanne! Bought you some coffee! 😉

  18. Norah

    Your winter is never-ending, like our summer. The calendar says autumn, the weather says never. I read somewhere this morning that our summers have actually increased in length. That’s no surprise. Maybe it’s the same for your winters. While I long for cooler days, I can’t imagine having to deal with snow for weeks or months on end. Our weather here is pretty good most of the year. I used to say six months, but I think that’s getting shorter with summer lengthening. I understand the itch to get moving. I guess there’s more than one thing holding you back.

    Wow! I can’t believe what you’ve been asked to do in your course this week. I hope the professor is someone with a good body of published work that you admire. When you are so experienced and knowledgable yourself, it must be difficult to have to play with your novel in this way. I think it’s different when you experiment with experiments, but experimenting with the real thing is different. I admire your strategies for coping.

    I enjoyed your flash. Good on Viv for getting out of there. Too many women stay in abusive relationships only to end up being carried out in a box. Too many tragedies. They seem to occur regularly here. It’s heartbreaking.

    I’ve already written my story. I hope you like it. Another episode for the library cat. She’s on the road too but, sadly, forced from home. I hope you like it.


    Looking for Love

    Rainbow Cat clawed through the rubble. One by one she pulled out the survivors — Little Red Riding Hood, Little Miss Muffet, The Gingerbread Man; even Wolf who promised to behave.

    “Where are we going?” squealed the Three Little Pigs as they piled onto the bus.

    “Where children will love us, like before.”

    For many, this was their first time beyond the covers of a book. As the bus roared down the open road, they peered through the windscreen and out the windows, dreaming up new adventures yet untold.

    Spontaneously, they burst into a chorus of On the Road Again.

    • Liz H

      I love this whimsy!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Oh, fun, Norah! I can’t wait for more on this motley crew who’ve gone beyond the cover of a book. Unbound! Not that it matters, as the story is character driven, but who drove the bus? I was going to suggest Ken Kesey or Timothy Leary, but lets go with organic, intrinsic imagination.
        Seriously, this has fun potential. Cool.

      • Norah

        Thanks so much, Liz. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Norah,

      It’s disconcerting to think your summers are lengthening given the threat of fire. We got less snow this year and we see fewer weather changes because of Lake Superior creating her own patterns. However, the Great Lakes are experiencing erratic water levels and high erosion. and that’s due to climate change. They say our region will be one of the most stable and with access to freshwater. It’ll be interesting to see how human migration unfolds in a climate altered future. It can feel overwhelming to consider. For now, I’m looking forward to the snowmelt.

      Actually, the opening scene worked out and is now in workshop where it’ll be ripped and slashed (I say that in jest). We are still under instruction to learn how to be productive developmental editors. I’ll be sharing some good news over on our FB group. It’s all progressing.

      It is heartbreaking to see women trapped in abusive situations who won’t leave them. Viv still had a spark in her and got why the getting was good. Wonder what she’ll find on the open road?

      Oh, your flash is delightful and has me signing with all the rescued books, off to school.

      • Norah

        Those changes are definitely on their way and it will be interesting to see their effects on future generations. It would be wonderful to get a birds-eye view from you-know-where. If only. 🙂
        I’ll have to try to check out the post on FB. I don’t think I always receive notifications of everything. It’s always good to have good news though.
        Hopefully, Viv is off to make a much better future – just like the rainbow cat!

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that is a challenging one, Hugh!

  19. Lisa R. Howeler

    They would leave together.

    Hand in hand.

    Alone, yet together on this journey. She was leaving behind all she’d ever known.

    Her mother, sweet and tender.

    Her father, hard and stubborn, yet she knew he loved her.

    The man with her, Augustus, a Roman by birth, married her in secret in the home of Tehal, who’d been healed of her affliction by the touch of a garment.

    Could she trust her future to this man with kind eyes and a caring heart?

    She felt that she could, knowing they were both called to the open road.

    • Charli Mills

      You went way back in time, and how similar the appeal of an open road. Good one, Lisa!

  20. Susan Zutautas

    Charli, As I read I have to say your brilliant flash fiction idea has sure grown over the years! I’m so happy to be a part of this journey!

    • Charli Mills

      You’ve been here since the very idea, Susan! I’m so happy you’ve been on the flash road ever since.

  21. susansleggs

    Hi Charli, I agree with Norah, I hope you like your teacher enough to find tearing your outline apart and putting it back together again a good learning process and not a lot of angst. I’m afraid I would be angry enough, the lesson would be missed. So, good for you. Spring around the corner has me longing to go for a long drive also. We will get our convertible out of storage when the last of the salt is washed off the roads by a good rain. Memoires of Driving to Vermont and Rt. 66 last year are good ones to think about for me. I liked the Mt. Dew video and the snow too. On to the prompt…

    Travel Times

    Michael told his buddy, “Tessa’s daughter invited us to visit. It’s a seven hour drive, but Tessa wants to plan on nine, for meal and bathroom stops. I’m not used to making a long road trip with a woman. Is that normal?”

    Tony rolled out a belly laugh, “Welcome to the land of traveling with a happy companion. Be glad she isn’t adding stops at quilt shops too. Your days of driving from home to destination without stopping are done. I call it a fair price.”

    “Man, I’m having to learn a whole new way of thinking.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Stops at quilt shops??? Who would do a thing like that?
      Hey, Susan, want some milk to go with that serial? I’ve been enjoying it.

      • susansleggs

        Thanks Dede. My quilting passions sneaks into everything.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Sue,

      I do like my professor and the opening scene became more focused. Having completed all the plot work, I felt I was better at setting up suspense because I knew what was going to happen, and yet I still had some satisfying moments of discovery. It’s in workshop now.

      Aw, you had some great road trips last year. That’s nice that you can protect the convertible from road salt. Makes for more pleasant road trips after the harsh conditions of winter.

      Ha! I think you might have been drawing from real life in your flash! The Hub is the one who makes coffee stops. If I see an interesting shot for a photo, he expects me to take it while the car is in motion.

    • Charli Mills

      It makes for itchy times while we wait it out, Allison. Thanks!

  22. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Anita!

  23. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Donna!

  24. Charli Mills


  25. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Sascha!

  26. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Tracey!

  27. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Lisa!

  28. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Teresa!


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  2. My Favourite Journey… Carrot Ranch Literary Community 99 word Photo Prompt | Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie ~ Authors - […] February 27: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  3. Flash Fiction: Open Road | DJ Ranch - […] Author’s Notes: It’s a Friday. It’s a story. Call it Friday Fact or Fiction. Some stories will be 100%…
  4. ShiftnShake - […] February 27, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt from Charli Mills: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story…
  5. Open Road – Robert Kirkendall - […] February 27: Flash Fiction Challenge […]
  6. The Open Road | Sunday Morning Thoughts – There's Something About KM - […] This edition of Sunday Morning Thoughts was inspired by the latest prompt for the 99 words Flash Fiction Challenge:…
  7. Sunday Drive – Flash Fiction | Susan's Place - […] week’s flash fiction over atCarrot Ranch is: February 27, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write…
  8. nd 3.1 Manipulative Machinery 2p – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] Carrot Ranch February 27, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the…
  9. The Open Road – From the Valley of the Trolls - […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (02/27/2020): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the open road.…
  10. Less Traveled CRLC Challenge | ShiftnShake - […] my 99 word fiction for the Carrot Ranch February 27 challenge. Entries don’t have to be fiction, they just…
  11. Hitchhiker (flash fiction) – joanne the geek - […] This was written with the prompt open road provided by the Carrot Ranch February 27 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]
  12. On the road with the Library Cat #Flashfiction | Norah Colvin - […] Mills at the Carrot Ranch made it easy for me with her challenge to In 99 words (no more,…
  13. The Road To Where? #flashfiction – Hugh's Views & News   - […] Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge. […]
  14. Road Trip | Lemon Shark Reef - […] Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch […]
  15. Changes - Sascha Darlington's Microcosm Explored - […] Thanks to Charli for this great prompt! […]
  16. Flash Fiction: Open Road – Tracey at Home - […] loved this week’s prompt of the open road from Carrot Ranch. I have to confess this is a bit…
  17. Flash Fiction: The Road | Allison Maruska - […] in just under the wire is my submission for this week’s flash fiction challenge over at Carrot Ranch, inspired…
  18. Leaving – The Meaning of Me - […] in response to February 27, 2020, flash fiction challenge at Carrot Ranch […]
  19. The Road Home – Teresa Grabs - […] March 4, 2020 Teresa Grabs Carrot Ranch Literary Community […]

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