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100 Candles

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May we all live to see a hundred candles to light our birthday cakes. Imagine a grand cake with so many flickering flames. Besides birthdays, 100 candles can light the way, mark a significant moment, or remind us of the sun.

Writers lit the flames and explored the many ways 100 candles could make a story. Settle in to read stories that will light up your mind and heart. Some might light up a laugh.

The following are based on the May 21, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about 100 candles.

PART I (10-minute read)

The (Other) Woman by Sascha Darlington

We’re a tiny town. A breath on an Atlantic barrier island.

I’m cashier at Sweet Stuff’s Bakery. Can’t bake to save my life but sell goodies, these days with patrons six-feet-apart. My friends in flamboyant masks, chat, ask for cupcakes. I serve.

“Candle lighting tonight at 9,” Jen says behind her kitten mask.

After closing, I pull on my black hoodie, purple face mask, and stride to the town-center gazebo. 100 candles lit. 100 deaths. The wind off the ocean is cold, snaps at the candle flames. Someone sings “Hallelujah.”

“Eric succumbed tonight.”

My heart stutters.

Town bells toll.

🥕🥕🥕

A Special Birthday by John Lane

Because of the state’s lockdown, no one could visit Grandma Stevens on her hundredth birthday. As the oldest living resident, the nursing home staff wanted to celebrate.

The day after making phone calls, a nurse wheeled Grandma outside, both with masks on. Another masked nurse placed a naked birthday cake on a tray table next to the driveway.

Several minutes later, a huge convoy of cars passed through the nursing home. Each vehicle stopped next to the cake and placed a candle on top.

After two hours, Grandma received a hundred candles. She smiled, happy her family never forgot.

🥕🥕🥕

Hope by Reena Saxena

Neeta dreamt of Diwali that night, and her garden being illuminated by a hundred candles.

It was the 59th day of lockdown, and it was expected to last a few more weeks, since they resided in a red zone. Another 40 days meant the lockdown would end on First of July, and then … they would celebrate with a hundred candles to commemorate each day of survival.

The oil lamp which the fabled Paro had kept aflame for several years, till her beau returned, spelt hope.

It did not matter that Neeta had been suffering from a terminal disease.

🥕🥕🥕

Flame Keepers by D. Avery

Since time began, the stories always started— the old stories about the keeping of these little eternal flames, The Hundred Candles. Though the details and specifics were largely forgotten, most people still recalled that the candles had to do with ancient ways and longstanding mores.

Nobody actually believed anymore that if the Sovereign failed to keep The Hundred Candles burning ill fate would befall the people; neither did they believe a Sovereign would ever not keep this custom.

The few left to recount the circumstances of that time begin their stories, When time stopped and the world forever changed-

🥕🥕🥕

Necessary Sacrifice by Liz Huseby Hartmann

The spellbook was specific: one hundred candles to draw and light the circle, less one for each sorceress. Fewer, and the plague would continue. Once fully lit, the circle could not be crossed. Back to back, the three worked quickly, coaxing flame from dry wick. The twins moved clockwise, junior apprentice Bella counterclockwise.

Finishing, Bella turned to see the twins step outside and place candles ninety eight and ninety nine, closing the circle. She ran to the center, her mouth a dark circle of shock, limbs beginning to grow numb.

Outside, the twins smirked, small sorrow in their eyes.

🥕🥕🥕

A Dream of Light by Wallie and Friend

He lit the candle and the golden glow, even half-shadowed, was immediate. It overwhelmed the light from the Aasfresser’s lamp.

“I’ve seen candles,” said the girl.

“Sure you have. But a hundred at once? That’s what it’s like, the sun. It’s like the light of a hundred and one candles. It’s wonderful warm.”

The girl stood looking down at the candle in the man’s lap. “Will it ever come back?”

“Of course it will.” The man coughed and gave the girl the candle, covering his mouth with his arm.

“When will it come back?”

“Soon,” he said. “Very soon.”

🥕🥕🥕

Sol Candela by Saifun Hassam

Sunlight filtered through the drifting fog, lighting up the dark rocks of Lake Anya. Like a hundred candles strung out over hundreds of miles.

Terri drove her Rover over the rugged terrain of Wisteria, a planet in another solar system. She was an engineer at the Solar and Greenhouse facilities. Capturing the eight hours of sunlight from the dwarf star Sol Candela was vital to the survival of the settlements.

At night solar lamps lit up the valleys. Each lamp captured sunlight like a hundred miniature candles. People turned the lamps into decorative art, celebrated at the Lamp Festival.

🥕🥕🥕

100 or the Free-flow Twenty by Paula Puolakka

100 candles could also be minimized to 20 if each had a value of 5. Fred Schaaf mentions in his book of astronomy that during a phantom moon, twenty stars are brighter than “la Luna.” Walt Whitman mentioned the phantom moon in his poem for the dead Civil War soldiers to whom many candles were lit. Mississippi was the 20th state: among its inanimate insignia are gold and a teddy bear. Teddy is for Theodore: “Golden God” or “God’s gold.” 20 is the same as 100% true: the candles blown on that birthday are dedicated to a momentous wish.

🥕🥕🥕

Earth In Mind (Part I) by D. Avery

“Sofie! Marlie! There must be 100 candles on that cake!”

“There are Mommy! That’s how Sofie does it, for when she gets to be 100 years old. But we’ll only light nine of them today.”

Marlie held her Destiny doll up so she could see Sofie’s birthday cake shouldering its phalanxes of candles. “What do you think, Destiny?”

When the doll responded it was in the deep round voice of Madame Destiny, the prophetess. “Light all the candles.”

Liz’s eyes sought help from her husband and Sofie’s mother who walked in just as the decree was issued.

“Brilliant idea!”

🥕🥕🥕

Earth In Mind (Part II) by D. Avery

“Bill! That’s absolutely dangerous!”

“Not on the patio.”

“Toni, are you sure you want this man homeschooling your daughter along with my wild child?”

“You should have seen the math your girls did today with those hundred candles. It’s all play to them. Guided play.”

“Guided play… sounds like a good way to learn, Bill. And, honestly, I’d like to learn what Madame Destiny has in mind. Let’s light a hundred candles!”

With each candle they lit the two girls wished another hundred birthdays for Mother Earth.

“10,00 more! She’ll be old, Mommy, but we’ll take care of her.”

🥕🥕🥕

Light And Dark by Geoff Le Pard

‘What are you doing, Morgan?’

‘Hiding.’

‘My bad. I…’

‘Did you say, “my bad”?’

‘Sorry. Why are you hiding?’

‘I was at the store…’

‘Shop?’

‘We’re in America. This guy asked the cashier if he had small arms. I said that was a bit rude and he gave me a look and showed me this gun.’

‘I don’t blame him.’

‘He looked pretty upset. I thought I’d better hide.’

‘And that’s why you bought the Doritos and 100 candles.’

‘If he cuts the power we won’t be in the dark.’

‘Any these toilet rolls?’

‘He was very scary, Logan.’

🥕🥕🥕

By Candle Light by Susan Sleggs

Michael sat on his back porch enjoying the created shadows and smell of citronella candles. He wore his number 10 football jersey from high school. It was a happy remembrance that still fit over his muscle-bound upper body. His favorite number had switched from 10 to 100; 100 days until the docs told him he was out of the woods after the bomb and 100 days to build the nerve to ask Tessa to come to his home. He would have 100 various sized candles burning to welcome her. He hoped the romantic scene would bring him his desire.

🥕🥕🥕

100 Candles by Joanne Fisher

Serena came through the front door. The hallway was full of lit candles and there was a trail of rose petals on the floor that led to the bedroom. On the bed was the largest box of chocolates she had ever seen. The card read:

My dearest love, 100 candles for the 100 days we’ve been together. May there be many more ❤️

As a romantic gesture it was grand, Serena thought, though a little strange. She opened the box and sampled a few. Then she opened up her bag and grabbed what valuables she could find. She left by a window.

🥕🥕🥕

Christened Roman Catholic by Anita Dawes

I stopped going to mass when I was twelve

Not long after my first Holy Communion

My mother insisted I go to Sunday mass.

I would leave the house, walk around for an hour

These days I like to visit many churches

Light a candle, sit awhile

I decided to come back with a hundred candles

Find a reason to light each one

There are all the usual things

Health, wealth, happiness, protect the family

That might take up a dozen

I sat wondering how long it would take

to light one hundred Holy dancing flames…

🥕🥕🥕

100 Candles by DarthTimon

To make the occasion memorable for their precious little girl, it was decided ten candles would be lit for each year of life. The spectacular display included rainbow coloured spirals, elaborate candles carved into numbers, and flames of different colours that danced and flickered.

One hundred little lights brightened the evening and the soul, drawing a huge smile from their daughter. They weren’t all on the cake (there wasn’t room!). Instead they were on windowsills and mantlepieces, lighting up the path to her amazing tenth birthday.

🥕🥕🥕

Kaidan by Jo Hawk

Twilight fell as storytellers crowded into the room. Ryu finished lighting one hundred candles. They gathered to repeat their favorite accounts of weird happenings, walking sprits, and vengeful ghosts.

They told tales of a man’s escaped from hell, monsters roaming misty woods, and bridges conveying the dead into eternity.

At each tale’s conclusion, the storyteller rose and extinguished the life of a single torch. The night progressed, the chamber grew darker, and shadows haunted foreboding corners.

Ryu earned the honor of the evening’s final story. With his last breath, he blew. His candle smoldered, and everything descended into darkness.

🥕🥕🥕

100 Candles by Simon Prathap D

20 year old Jenny gets stuck in a horror dream, she got 100 small candles in her hand, the moment each of them lost their candle dies. Jenny lights the last candle and it is her 100th candle, she also prepares herself to die like others and when the candle light finishes, she woke up back from the horror dream. Jenny drinks a bottle of water with a relief and there is a note beside it, it says happy 100th birthday Jenny, Jenny looks in her mirror to find herself 100 years old she drops the bottle and screams!!!

🥕🥕🥕

PART II (10-minute read)

The Icing on the Cake by Anne Goodwin

Embracing redundancy in her early fifties, Anne joined a retirement choir. Thirty years on, her musicality, crescendoing steeply initially, is in decline. But here the social notes beat as strongly as the vocals, as this introvert recognised way back in the 2020 lockdown for covid19.

When the pianist rattles into “Happy Birthday”, Anne belts out the soprano line. But that cake, coming towards her with ten times ten socially-distanced candles, is fifteen years premature.

Thanks to the breathing exercises, she quenches them in two puffs. Revealing, in fondant icing, her first four book covers, reaching their collective centenary today.

🥕🥕🥕

The Pit by Dave Madden

Each candle was lit—all 100 of them, completing the tournament’s opening ceremony.

Two names appeared above the judges: Leon and Saber. Bets were collected in the crowd.

The fighters were escorted to the sand pit by way of drums, pounding like the hearts in the chest of each competitor. Not quite a fight to the death, but sometimes matches concluded with a lifeless body in the center of the circle.

When Leon defeated Saber with a head kick that echoed throughout the warehouse, Saber’s candle, as had been the ritual for the past three decades, was blown out.

🥕🥕🥕

The Wind Remembers by Eliza Mimski

The wind is like that. It carries words, actions, silences. It remembers hurts, happiness, grief. It gathers itself. It knows something that you said, something that you didn’t say.

She lays alone in the rest home. She is old with stories. Years organize themselves on her skin. Today is her day. A hundred candles burn in her mind.

Each candle, a year of her life. A baby, child, girl, teen, all the women inside her.
The staff stands around her with a cake. It’s on fire. The wind blows out the candles. It absorbs the facts and rushes on.

🥕🥕🥕

100 Candles by Irene Waters

The big day finally arrived. Emily’s children painstakingly planted the candles in the cake’s frosted icing. The telegram from the Queen and the presents sat on a table in the Nursing Home. The party would start at 11 so the residents would be at their best.

“She made it.” Jane her eldest said.

“What a milestone.” Daniel responded.

They fussed ensuring that everything would be just right for the photo that would go in the local paper.

Emily was wheeled into the room with a couple of nurses in attendance. “Happy birthday Mama.”

Emily’s vacant eyes stared. “Who are you?”

🥕🥕🥕

Lasting Legacy by Kerry E.B. Black

Beth ran from the funeral home and claimed the comfort of her sister’s wooded yard. Beth wouldn’t go inside the house where someone would find and lecture her about appearances and propriety until, shamed, Beth returned to the parlor choked with bouquets and platitudes.

There, her sister rested in a white lacquered box.

Makeup caked and transformed Beth’s once-lively sister into a waxen impression. The body bore no resemblance to the woman who’d planted flowers along this trail. Beth counted the vermillion blooms. Hundreds of candleflowers. These would be her legacy, these flickers of color among seas of green.

🥕🥕🥕

consternation conscripted by JulesPaige

rheumy eyes water,
no roomie, in roomy home
no celebration?

perhaps he thinks it’s enough
to be alive and breathing

This Memorial Day weekend, some waists may expand. Others may feel the waste of space – due to social distancing. All the flags, placed…perhaps hundreds of candles lit to remember those who have fallen. Maybe that will be enough help win this new war on the world that keeps us sequestered and separated?

Navy man bucks up
thankful for all of his friends
as he sits…alone

Maybe he’ll make it three more years for his own hundredth birthday to celebrate…

🥕🥕🥕

One Step at a Time by Bill Engleson

“I might make it,” I said.

There I was, zooming with Fred Fluster. It’d taken COVID-19 to reconnect us. Two 60’s degenerates in two government run homes for the nearly departed.

Three provinces apart.

“You better start now, buddy. Helluva milestone. To get there, well, how can I say this nicely? Few couch potatoes have the fixin’s.”

“You sayin’…?”

“You’ll be lucky to crack eighty. And that’s being optimistic.”

I stood up to give him a good look at how time had treated me. “Fit as a friggin’ fiddle, Freddie.”

Would I make one hundred?

Time would surely tell.

🥕🥕🥕

The Big Birthday by Ritu Bhathal

“Hurry up, you goose. The first ones will have melted before Nan gets a chance to blow them all out!” Jane grabbed the box of matches from her brother, Nathan, who was carefully trying to light the one hundred candles needed for their grandma Maisie’s big birthday.

She started lighting from the other side, and soon, the huge strawberry cream cake was alight with tiny flickers atop the candles.

“Come on, Nan. Time to blow the candles out.” Nathan gently woke his snoozing grandma, who woke to a sea of flames in front of her.

“Fire! Help!” she cried.

🥕🥕🥕

100 Hundred Candles by FloridaBorne

When she was 20, her prescription glasses attracted men like light attracts bugs. She wore them morning and night, removed only for sleep.

At 25, she declined requests for dates to the movies or disco dancing.

She turned 29, marrying a man who seemed rather nice, until he changed all the lights from 40 to 100 watt. But that wasn’t the worst of his transgressions. He loved candles and lit 100, causing a seizure.

Three months pregnant, she live with her parents, receiving child support. Her son became an optometrist.

Indeed, no one could hold a candle to her.

🥕🥕🥕

Everything’s Gonna Be Okay by Donna Matthews

The two of them tumble over each other into the cave just as the snow and rocks come crashing over the entrance. Barry groans from the floor. Barb can’t help herself and starts hysterically laughing.

“What is so damn funny?” Barry demands, “We’re trapped in a cave. The entrance blocked off!”

He takes a moment to turn on his headlamp. Barb can’t help but think the twinkle on the wet rocks looks like a hundred candles.

“Babe, everything’s gonna be okay,” as she catches her breath.

“Everything doesn’t always work out, dammit!”

He’s cut-off by voices yelling their names.

🥕🥕🥕

Mrs. General by magpie477

Fifty years a widow, she devoted her long life to the rearing of her children and the proper education of young ladies, especially orphans. A loyal friend, but one who never forgot the injustice done her husband by his enemies, she survived privation, scandal, estrangement from kin and the loss of a beloved child.

Her own light fading, she bade her granddaughter set the candle by her bedside. The tiny flame flickered, multiplied, illuminated a glittering ballroom.

Smiling, his bright blue eyes twinkling with mischief, the General strode across the room, bowed, offered her his hand.

They danced.

🥕🥕🥕

A Light to His Darkness by Charli Mills

A degenerative disease robbed Blackjack of his eyesight. When a moose busted through the pasture fence, fear drove Danni’s blind horse to follow the two old Percherons who embarked on the equivalent of an equine joyride. They had wandered back to the barn without Blackjack. Now it was dark, and Danni could barely see in the murk of the forest on a moonless night. She found him snorting, blind eyes wide. He smelled her and whinnied. “Steady.” He remained still. Each step home was a light to Blackjack. Danni counted one-hundred candles by the time they reached the barn.

🥕🥕🥕

The Night Their Pens All Lit Up by D. Avery

“I don’t git up here on this bluff much, Pal. Never at night.”

“Mind yer step, Kid. Now set yersef here an’ you’ll have a good view a the stars.”

“Under this pine branch? Cain’t hardly see the sky in this spot, Pal.”

“Look down. Ya kin see the whole wide Ranch from thet there spot.”

“But ya said ta git a view a the stars.”

“Yep. Down there, all ‘roun’ the Ranch. Look at ‘em sparklin’ an’ glowin’.”

“I see them twinkly lights Pal. Why there must be a hunnerd of ‘em! Ranchers lightin’ candles?”

“Yep. Stars all.”

🥕🥕🥕


11 Comments

  1. Ritu says:

    A tonne of amazing stories there!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pastor Cathy says:

    100 Candles

    On Thursday, May 28, 2020, Carrot Ranch Literary Community wrote:

    > Charli Mills posted: “May we all live to see a hundred candles to light > our birthday cakes. Imagine a grand cake with so many flickering flames. > Besides birthdays, 100 candles can light the way, mark a significant > moment, or remind us of the sun. Writers lit the flames and ” >

    Liked by 2 people

  3. beth says:

    i love your 100s tales

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Simon says:

    Amazing stories by everyone!!! 100 candles can have millions of stories 😍✨👌

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ann Edall Robson says:

    After reading all of these wonderful submissions, I kept having little vignettes skitter through the gray matter. I am sorry I missed this one. Well done, everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paula Puolakka says:

    Dear Mrs. Charli Mills and Co.
    This is the first comment I’m posting, and it will cover my experiences on the site so far.

    The weekly challenges are intriguing, and the collections are showing a wide range of interests and talents.

    Well done, everyone.

    Also, I have to say that the (quest) blog post “Service – Military or Otherwise” by Susan Sleggs was very heart-warming and professionally crafted. I was supposed to write a comment under the article but forgot to do so. So, Mrs. Sleggs: I truly enjoyed your story.

    Have a beautiful weekend!

    BR,
    Paula

    Liked by 1 person

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