March 11 Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 11, 2021

Since Mause came to live with us, I keep the Unicorn Room closed. She likes to beleaguer the unicorns. When I open the door, the smell of smoked herbs releases endorphins; my mind readies to meditate. I’ve learned to establish daily rituals around my creativity, writing, and self-care. Ritual can be anything from sitting with a devotional and mug of hot coffee to smudging the four directions to walking with the rising sun. It’s simply any process you repeat to connect inward before going outward into your day. The seasons change our rituals, as do the days of the week.

We writers are multidimensional beings.

The Unicorn Room is sacred space. The kind any seven-year-old girl would love and feel safe. When I was a child and didn’t feel safe, I often hid in closets. Even today, I love to hunker into a down sleeping bag and tuck my head inside. As an adult, I’ve craved my own space which I carved out in strange ways, sharing space with family and critters — my end of the couch next to a bookshelf where I could set a cup of tea and store my writing journals; my side of the bedroom kept neat and tidy with inspirational art; the kitchen where food becomes art and love.

My home on Roberts Street has a room for me. The walls are shell-pink, a lavender shag rug covers the hardwood floor, purple script encourages me to “Read, Dream, Write, Breathe, and Play,” and a bookshelf holds my collection of rocks. One wall is dedicated to planning novels, and tapestries and a unicorn quilt decorate the remainder. I like to smudge, play meditative music, and sit on my purple meditation pillow. I use the Calm app to meditate. From where I sit and breathe, I can contemplate my W-story board with goals and progress and my giant vision board that shows character arc and plot. A single tall window with a gauze turquoise curtain allows light and air. Best of all, I can close the door.

Mause joins me in meditating. Every morning, when I rise I set the kettle to boil. I prepare a cup of hot lemon water with a pinch of chipotle, a dab of honey, and a teaspoon of dried elderberry. It’s my morning anti-Covid cocktail based on an anti-viral health tonic. I have no proof it works, but it cleans my kidneys and offers a dose of immunity support. Not to mention, it’s tasty. At the same time, I brew a press pot of coffee and let it steep while I go to the Unicorn Room with a puppy fast on my heels.

Usually, said puppy barks at me when I smudge. When I last walked with the People of the Heart Water Walkers, we took turns smudging each other. If someone felt frustrated, another would say, “Burn the sage!” The smell reminds me of the West where I rode my horse as a kid. Sagebrush is a part of me. But I’m also aware that the popularity of sage smudging raises ethical issues of use. I only burn that which is gifted to me from those who grow it or traditionally harvest it as medicine. This year I will grow my own smudge sticks from garden herbs. No matter the smoke, Mause barks. She’d be a pain if I chain-smoked!

My latest meditation essentials include a jar of chewy puppy treats, a clicker, a small puppy chew, and a rope carrot. If you want to test your ability to relax under any conditions, meditate with a puppy. With the treats and clicker, I’ve taught Mause, “Downward Dog.” She collapses across my legs or lap. I make her “Wait… wait… wait…,” taking deep breaths each command. Eventually, she settles down and by the time I get to my Daily Calm, she’s either out like a light or out the door.

My writing rituals include clearing my desk, filling my water bottle with cold tap, and looking at my weekly calendar with tasks, goals, and small steps. By the time I turn on my computer, I’m sucked into a vortex like a portal to another world. Mause is my anchor to the real world. Puppies don’t let you venture far without them. But she does like to curl up on my chest — a difficult feat as she now weighs 25 pounds and stretches out three feet — and listen to my heart. In a Covid world, I’m grateful for the warm snuggle.

A friend of mine makes ritual of coffee every morning. Another sits with her prayer list. My next door neighbor used to be a postal carrier, and he follows the ritual of a morning walk. Rituals can form habits. And writers need habits to create, process, draft and revise. It’s too easy to put off writing when our brains feel like pea soup. We cultivate small increments and squirrel away safe spaces so that we can come to it every day. We make it a ritual so we easily fall into the pattern of use.

On my way out of the Unicorn Room this morning, I tinkered with my poetry board, words on magnets. One phrase caught me — “deep wishes.” I an instant I followed a storm of dandelion seeds and swooshed below the earth’s crust in an ore cart to a crystalline cave. I thought I’d see where writers would dive with the phrase.

March 11, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about deep wishes. Where is the deep — in the sky, the ground, or outer space? What kind of wishes reside there for whom and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by March 16, 2021. 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.

Waiting to Rise by Charli Mills

Lake Superior doesn’t freeze flat like a pond. She’s a non-conformist to the ways of domesticated bodies of water. Into the night, she goes screaming, waves punching with each yell. She thrashes, her hips undulating with deep wishes unfulfilled. When they force her into cold compliance, she fights back. The shock of winter marriage doesn’t smooth her wild edges. Ice grabs hold, insistent, freezing her shoreline, paralyzing her economy. She plunges deep and draws her strength, cracking the façade they give her. Ice fractures over and over. Wishes caught and released, shared among women waiting their turn to rise.


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  1. Anne Goodwin's next novel is out May 28

    Your beautiful words reminded me first of Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own. Then I stumbled on ‘smudge’ as a verb, so thanks for your link. I had never heard of that. I have a sage bush which Mr A has radically pruned recently. Wondering if I should’ve smoked the trimmings, except they’re green.

    Beautiful FF. Love where it takes us, and a second reading shows the essence of that is there from the start. I’ll be back later with mine.

  2. Doug Jacquier

    My contribution for this week. It’s your fault, Charli. You keep saying ‘go where the prompt leads’. 😉


    ‘Knee-deep, Mr. Easybean Green.’
    ‘And knee-deep to you, Mr. Phileas Frog.’
    ‘Why do we keep saying ‘knee-deep’? What’s wrong with ‘fathoms-deep’ or ‘space deep’ or ‘meaning deep’?’
    ‘Phileas, have you been at the crème de menthe again?’
    ‘No, Easybean. I’ve been studying etymology.’
    ‘Well, Phileas, studying entomology is very important for us amphibians. That’s what I call real brain food. Geddit. Brain food.’
    ‘Yes, I get it, Easybean, unfortunately. I’m talking about the origins of words.’
    ‘Well, I guess we’ve got knees and we’re deep thinkers. Seems logical to me.’
    ‘About as logical as anything else, Mr. Easybean Green.’

    • Charli Mills

      I take full accountability, Doug. I geddit!

    • Norah

      Hilariously clever!

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, Norah. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, prompts can lead just about anywhere. Glad you didn’t get bogged down. Well done, Doug!

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, D

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Now that’s fun… Mr. Easybean Green! 😀

    • Jules

      What a delightful leap into this prompt! ????

      • Doug Jacquier

        Thanks, Jules, glad you ribbit. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Padmini! Good to see you and hope you are well, too. Thank you for finding the deeper meaning.

      • nightlake

        Hi Charli, I think my second name has been written with a wrong spelling in your latest post. It is Krishnan…It has come out as Krishnin… My mistake…Is it possible to change it, please?

  3. Nicole Horlings

    You make hot water and put elderberries in it… That’s elderberry tea, the name of my blog 😛 (My blog and I approve 😉 )

    • Charli Mills

      That’s right! My morning ritual is in good company!

  4. ellenbest24

    Someone close once told me how he woke to four women smudging him in his home. He had been working three days and nights solid, and fell asleep in the chair. Undercover work is exhausting. His (now,ex) wife had him smudged where he slept. He woke up coughing and said he felt like a coven of witches had broke in … Alfred Hitchcok style ???????? As usual I enjoyed your flash very much. Those waves came to life.

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a fantastic story, Ellen! What a sight to wake up, too. Thank you!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      What a great story that would make, Ellen. I smudge with sage incense for special occasions. For cleansing energy, the ringing of a bell works fine. <3

      • ellenbest24

        His Wife had finished a crystal healing course a reikie course. She had joined … what he described as, a coven of alternative women. She had told them she wanted him home more, and focused on family more than work. A cumulative sage smudging was deemed best; delivered while he slept (as he tolerated and even encouraged her interests. But they were not his beliefs) Unfortunately, it was after a huge high profile drug smuggling stake-out when they began. Gathered in their home the group began with driving out spirits from the top to the bottom of the house. Then several large homemade bundles of sage were lit and … well I can only imagine his face.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        LOL! I’m laughing so hard right now! What a fabulous story! 😀 <3

      • Charli Mills

        The image of this hardened cop smudged by a coven blazes in my brain! What a scene this would be.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        I agree! The story deserves to be written! ??

  5. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    This began as a décima (10 lines, 8 syllables each, ABBAACCDDC) until I had to add 6 lines for 39 more words.

    “Colors of Fortune”

    lazurite pulse from deep within

    night sky, star spilt, light seeping through

    deep wishes are this shade of blue

    in sleek watery hues they swim;

    yellow sunlight stirs blue, spins

    absorbed by earth, emerges green

    deep wishes are what colors spring;

    shoots starring snow-melt packed leaf ground

    deep wishes are this soft hewed brown

    deep wishes are seeds sown unseen;

    who’s the sower? we cannot know

    but through the wisdom of a child

    who knows deep wishes just grow wild

    roots in earth, airy seeds that blow;

    free to harvest with good reason

    deep wishes bloom in all seasons.

    • denmaniacs4

      Love this, D Avery…

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thank you Bill. I appreciate that, coming from a fine poet such as yourself.

    • Charli Mills

      A décima + and all the better for the additions. The color of wishes is delicious — “lazurite pulse.” And then you take us through the color wheel of seasons. Well done.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Thank you Charli. I am out of stories, but managed a poem.

      • Charli Mills

        A different word path is all.

    • Norah

      Wow! Deep and beautiful. Love it!

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Deep wishes are the color of lazurite… I can’t see them any other way! <3

    • Jules

      One of my favorite photos is one I took of my grand-daughter just getting ready to blow a dandelion poof. 😀

  6. Jules

    Dear Charli,

    There is so much each individual goes through. We can only hope to gain knowledge and strength from our inner resources as well as our communities. I am not all that familiar with waters of lakes. More so oceans and creeks. Still though I think nature is a force that tumbles over itself, without that much help from humankind.

    Here’s my Yearning…

    Deep wish?

    to know a loved one
    who left too early; no one
    told any stories…

    Visionary wish.

    to relive perhaps
    that one, only memory;
    their calm loving touch

    Improbable wish.

    to hear their soft voice
    of reassurance; that they
    thought was limitless…

    One cannot rewrite history without changing the direction of several other futures.
    Reality outweighs wishes. That is just the way of it.
    So for the things that cannot be changed presently…Imagination will have to suffice.
    Whatever that great beyond may hold, one must just have patience.
    Faith? Divergent thinking? One night where there are no nightmares.


    • denmaniacs4

      Excellent, Jules…

    • Charli Mills

      We are each familiar with bits and depths of nature and yes, it is a force all around us. Your yearning flash catches the emotion of loss longed to be something tangible. Painfully beautiful, Jules.

    • Norah

      Beautiful, Jules.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Wow. It’s beautifully done, but raw with its exposed pain.

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      Reality does outweigh wishes… but never stop dreaming or wishing. That’s the magic! <3

  7. denmaniacs4

    Just in case anyone confuses Bottomless Biddings with Joe Biden, I am not responsible…

    Bottomless Biddings

    Bill Engleson

    The country had put much stock in the ability of Bottomless Biddings to right the course, to write the Nations next chapter.

    “But he is so ancient,” some said. “On occasion, he seems lost in the past. How can we expect him to anticipate the future?”

    But others, those who appreciated the wisdom that age imparted, could impart if the stars had aligned, if life and its many trials had allowed the correct mix of struggle and solemnity, of joy and jest, said, “he will take us to where we need to be. Give it time.”

    And they did.

    • Jules

      Only time will tell…

    • Charli Mills

      Bottomless Biddings! I appreciate the diversity found within, the breadth of reaching out with competent people to fill the well.

    • Norah

      Bottomless – can’t go much deeper than that. If wishes were horses …

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Just bidin’ our time I suppose. We’ll see. It’s looked worse from here.

    • Charli Mills

      May you be blessed by the unicorns of sacred space for writing mums!

      • Ritu

        Thank you, Charli! I’m excited to be tentatively designing it, right now!

      • Charli Mills

        I found a shop on Etsy that prints vinyl words in any color. I have “No mud, no lotus” above my storyboard, and the words Read, Write, Breathe, Dream, and Play encircle the wall. Dream out loud and make it your space to feel creative! <3

    • Colleen M. Chesebro

      My “creative room” is full of incense, crystals, books, and some witchy things. I need a unicorn too! We all do. Share photos of your room, Sis. I can’t wait to see. <3

      • Ritu

        Gorgeous!!! When we move I to.our forever home, Sis, I will definitely share photos of a completed room!

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Yay! I hope that’s soon. ??????

      • Ritu


      • Charli Mills

        I highly recommend a witchy unicorn for your space, Colleen! I love tapestries because I can change out the art with the phases of the moon.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Oh, that’s cool! What a great idea! ??????

  8. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    Great story. but My unicorn room contains dragons. The same yet different

    Laugh, and make the world a brighter place

    • Charli Mills

      It’s all good! My Unicorn Room also contains a t-rex with a rainbow mohawk and a pink unicorn horn, tromping through a pastoral scene with cows in a meadow. We all need to play with dragons! Laughter is good.

  9. Jim Borden

    I’m a big fan of routines as well; especially morning ones…

    that is quite an accomplishment to meditate with your puppy 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Mornings set our day, don’t they? Ha! It’s unusual puppy training. 😉

  10. Sarah Brentyn

    Love the idea of a Unicorn Room. Everyone needs his or her own Unicorn Room. 🙂 Good to hear you are consistently practicing self-care rituals and carving out space/time.

    (Side note: I am so sad about the white sage. I’ve been using it since I was sixteen years old. It’s a part of my life and this, obviously, gives me pause.)

    • Charli Mills

      Everyone needs a Unicorn Room, Sarah! Yes, we need to practice self-care. Small, daily rituals. Tea time, and such.

      Smudging is sacred and part of petitions for some Indigenous groups. Smoke cleansing or clearing is global. Even Catholics burn incense during certain high masses and anyone who is taught Reiki burns Nag Champa though that smudge comes from India, not Japan (where Reiki originates). My maternal line has smudged herbs, and secretly because it was considered “witchy.” There’s so much cultural expression, suppression, and appropriation wrapped up in burning white sage.

      I’m mindful of letting white sage be sacred to those Indigenous to where it grows. Like many women of western European descent, I feel a loss of my own culture. I know my women were healers through my mother’s line but the memories are so fragmented in the passing from one grandmother to the next I’m uncertain what to own. I find great comfort and connection to my American Indigenous sisters of the heart in this song:

      • Sarah Brentyn

        True. Cleansing with smoke is widespread/universal. It’s part of many religions and cultures. I’ve been using Nag Champa, also, for over 20 years. It’s probably my favorite incense. I guess a lot of these practices, whether Eastern or Western, religious or ceremonial, have become commonplace among people who aren’t part of that religion or culture.

      • Sarah Brentyn

        I can’t seem get the video to play.

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        Charli and Sarah, I use sage incense for special events. I also have temple incense for Buddha that I burn. I didn’t know about the sage either. I’ve found that the ringing of a bell (3 times) clears negative energy. We’re all lightworkers and our awakening has begun. I find it interesting how we all find each other. <3

      • Sarah Brentyn

        I do love that we find each other, Colleen. (I also use bells, cymbals, and singing bowls for clearing.) Sister lightworker. ????

      • Charli Mills

        Sarah, and Colleen, Google Lyla June Mamawlad. It’s worth tracking down this video if it’s not playing here. This video will grip you, heal you, empower you. It explains our loss. We are survivors of women burned at the stake for holding the earth in their hands …”these were Europe’s healers. We descend from healers. This old heart of mine weeps…” Our ceremonies went up in flames. We are reclaiming who we are. “Feeling is healing…this is where we remember their names.”

      • Sarah Brentyn

        That is beautiful. I will definitely look her up. Thanks!

  11. Norah

    Those are quite some rituals you have established, Charli. I’m so pleased they work for you. You certainly do some beautiful writing afterwards. I love the sound of your unicorn room. Unicorns are for imagination and magic and letting both fly free. Deep wishes is such a great prompt and I really appreciate the strength of the feminist message in your response and the video you have shared here with Sarah. I am not familiar with the practice of smudging but I have experienced the burning of incense in Catholic rituals, and incense burned in ‘alternative’ stores here.

    • Norah

      I’m back with my story. I hope you enjoy it – perhaps more shallow than deep.

      Something Else
      His eyes were as round as the cookie. He shuffled on his seat. His fingers twitched. They slow-walked to the plate and he quickly drew them back. His head bent low over the cookie. He inhaled. Deep. Long. No rule against that. He checked for dislodged crumbs. None. He sighed. The door handle rattled. He sat upright, shoved his hands beneath his buttocks and looked at the ceiling.
      “You resisted,” said the examiner.
      He nodded.
      “Not even a crumb?’
      He shook his head.
      “Then you may have two cookies.”
      “Can I have something else, please? I don’t like chocolate.”

    • Charli Mills

      Unicorns are comforting, too as I’m recalling Marnie’s. Oh, what are your alternative stores like, Norah? Besides smoky with incense, lol! I’m glad you listened to Lyla June. It definitely resonates with something deep. I love your flash and its delayed gratification. Or perhaps the resistance was easy due to the subject’s tastes!

      • Norah

        The ‘alternative’ stores I was talking about are just the new age incense-burning hippie-type stores. It’s good to have different options and lifestyles available. I’m pleased you enjoyed the flash. It was fun to write.
        I wonder how Marnie is doing. I haven’t heard from her for a while. I hope that means she’s settled. ????

      • Charli Mills

        Those hippie stores can be fun — often they sell rocks!

        I hope Marnie is having a good life, having faced and resolved earlier issues. <3

  12. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Diggin’ Deep

    “What’s up, Kid?”
    “Wishin’ I had a story, Shorty. Comin’ up dry fer this prompt.”
    “Here’s a story. D’ya know why that old mine is boarded up?”
    “Reckon ta keep folks away from yer gold.”
    “Ha! Kid, by now ya must know the real gold is right here fer all the ranchers an’ readers ta share. It shines in the comments an’ glitters in the roundup.”
    “But was a time a shallow feller’s most fervent wish was fer mineral wealth. Was him that dug that mine. Deeper an’ deeper he dug, fer what he found wasn’t never enough.”
    “Ever wish ya had more’n 99 words, Shorty?”
    “Ya wanna hear the story, you’ll shush Kid…
    That feller kept burrowin’ further inta the mountainside, till one day he stumbled an’ fell inta a deep chasm. Lights out.”
    “He died?!”
    “No, jist his lantern. He come ta rest at rock bottom, engulfed in complete and utter dark.”
    “Bet he sure wished ta git outa there.”
    “Yep. Gittin’ out become his deepest wish, ta see the light a day, never mind ‘bout gold. Was then they appeared.”
    “Chapfaeries. Led him through a side tunnel, come out at our carrot patch.”

    • suespitulnik

      I love the twist at the end. Good thing these two-parters are…

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Kid says:
        99 no more no less, but double up to fix a mess.

    • Nicole Horlings

      “It shines in the comments an’ glitters in the roundup.” – Beautifully described

    • Charli Mills

      You dug deep and returned with the treasure. There’s lots worth more than gold and I’m looking at it, Kid. Ha! I was just thinking about the chapfairies today! Soon, they’ll get to play in the maple Poet Tree at Headquarters.

    • Jules

      I read this in the ’round up! Good ol’ Chapfaeries helping ‘im git to the carrot patch!

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        Then in the third part Pal gets lassoed by the Poet Lariat and hauled out of the shaft.

      • Jules

        oooh… now I gotta git back again’…
        I don’t remember that 3rd part. Thanks…

      • Jules

        I went to the prompt place and couldn’t find it there… so I went back to the collection place and Eureka I struck Carrot Gold!

        Thank ye kindly for including me aiding and abetting Pal! That rescuing stuff is in the family 😉

  13. jgard3

    Thanks for writing this. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how writing requires space, not just physical space, but emotional, psychological, and spiritual as well. You’ve captured this concept beautifully.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes! It needs all that space. We grow in that space.

  14. suespitulnik

    Hi Charli,

    I can almost hear Mause’s toenails on the floor. What a wonderful buddy you have.
    We can buy smudge sticks at the big public market on Saturdays but I’ve not tried any. Maybe I should.
    Deep wishes took me inward to the things I have washed for and wished to forget. We’ll let my characters share theirs….

    Tessa’s Lament

    My ex didn’t need me
    He made that perfectly clear
    Home I came to help the folks
    But in reality, they help me
    My children are grown
    The oldest chose to move here
    Closeness she desires
    And a grandmother for Emma
    But they would be fine without me
    I thought Michael needed a helpmate
    But he’s so damn self-sufficient
    He helps others in need
    The Homefront Warriors welcomed me
    But I’m just another voice
    And set of understanding ears
    PTSD? for a military wife
    Nah. Someone please help me
    Rejoice in being wanted
    Compared to being needed


    Hidden Guilt

    The battered senior prom picture Michael sequesters in his wallet comes to light when he suffers alone. Staring at it, he remembers; standing tall on legs, twirling Tessa in her sparkly white dress, donning the crown of the elected high school king in love with the queen. He burrows it back into its cave and looks to the sky; his faith is his strength. He prays to be free from the guilt for the wheelchair he uses, the job he can no longer do, and not being thankful enough. He is driven to hide the pain while helping others.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      What a look into your characters! They’re growing, fuller and realer by the week, faster even than a puglet or a puppy.

      • suespitulnik

        Thanks Dede.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Sue! Mause is a sweet buddy. She discovered my orbicular jasper this morning and played with the rock all day. She’s a rock hound! I find the smudging claiming, but it also might be because I meditate after I smudge. 😉

      You bring up another dimension I hadn’t considered — things we wished didn’t happen. I love how you juxtapose the ideas, using Tessa and Michael’s perspectives. The pain each feels is isolating even though they do well to build up each other in their relationship. Your writing on the topic is real.

  15. Jennie

    Your posts are are a warm blanket and a great adventure, together.

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, thanks, Jennie!

      • Jennie

        You’re welcome, Charli. I feel that way every time I read your posts.

      • Charli Mills

        We can journey together!

  16. Colleen M. Chesebro

    Charli, that was a brilliant piece of flash you wrote. I hope things are settling down for you a bit. Here’s my story:

    Where the Deep Wishes Go

    Sally gazed into the watery darkness of the well. As if reciting a prayer, she whispered with reverence, “This is where the deep wishes go.”

    Her smaller sister Elizabeth asked, “Do we say it now?”

    “Not yet. When we see the moon slip inside the well, then we say it.”

    At dusk, the white sphere ascended into the sky. A hazy shape reflected in the inky depths of the well. Beyond the shadows from the trees, musket fire sparkled against the sky.

    Sally and Elizabeth joined hands. “Please grant our wish and bring our father home safe to us.”

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Girls going to the water to try and save men from themselves and their folly. This flash, though so Colleen, goes with Charli’s and with the video she shared (above)

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        It’s what women do, I think. We always try to save our men. Thanks so much, D. ??

    • Jules

      *sigh* (I hope that wish worked!!)

    • Charli Mills

      Colleen, your flash makes me think about how we manipulate what is seen (men and muskets) and what is unseen (mystical attributes of the elements). It’s a long-standing role between soldiers and their home support

      • Colleen M. Chesebro

        This is so true, Charli. Especially the children. They often use whatever coping mechanisms they can to hold the family together.

      • Charli Mills

        They do. A sad but true point. Families carry the nation’s burden of war.

  17. Liz H

    Here’s my effort:

    Wishing Well

    The woods were deep, the path mostly overgrown since the last time she’d padded, barefoot and shining, to find the well. Lost and despairing, Myrna lifted her eyes to the liquid warble and slash of fiery red high above. [Continue ]

    • Charli Mills

      I love the rich detail of “liquid warble.”

      • Liz H

        So striking in the Cardinal’s song.

      • Charli Mills

        It is! I miss seeing the cardinals.

  18. Nicole Horlings

    I ended up doing poetry for a change. Keeping it to 99 words while (mostly) maintaining a rhythm was an interesting challenge.

    The Wishing Well

    Clara ran through the garden gate
    Rushing around the grand estate
    Looking for a good game to play,
    Something new to do that day,
    When down and down she fell
    Deep down into the wishing well.
    She thought she’d fall into the water
    And become a stranded daughter,
    But she floated in a cloud of wishes
    Where a variety of delightful riches
    Swirled everywhere around her
    That promised fun and pleasure.
    With a quick flick of her hand
    They nicely followed her command.
    She sent them all back up the well
    Not realizing the limits of the magic spell.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, there’s limits, even to magic spells.
      I enjoyed your magical poem.
      This seems to be a poetry inspiring prompt!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m amazed when a writer can take one a second constraint such as poetry, Nicole. What a story you’ve embedded within the verse.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Definitely much better than material things.

    • Charli Mills

      Hi Robert! Good to see you at Carrot Ranch with a 99-word story. Snow is melting. All is well as I hope it is your direction.

      • Robert Kirkendall

        Thank you, Charli! Glad to be back! Doing fine here in Santa Cruz 🙂

  19. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    (The Piglet and the PL get roped in to save Pal)

    “Kid, why’s it me tellin’ stories?”
    “Jeez, Shorty. Says up there, ‘member? I got nuthin’.”
    “No, I mean, where’s Pal at?”
    “Dunno. Went off somewheres mutterin’ ‘bout deep wishes. But look, here comes my puglet. What’s that Curly? Pal’s fell inta the well? No? Squeal agin? Pal’s fell inta the ol’ mine shaft? We’re comin’ Curly, take us ta Pal!”
    “Look! The Poet Lariat!”

    Hey Pal, grab this rope
    ya slipped down a real steep slope
    out here huntin’ fer a deep wish
    gotta haul ya up like a slimy ol’ fish.

    “Wish ya’d jist pull me up already.”

    • Charli Mills


      For a minute I thought Kid an’ Curly were Lassie and Timmy!

      Nice lassoing of the PL into the tale!

  20. Ann Edall-Robson

    Calming Whisper
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    For a moment the corral silhouettes the full moon trailing over the black morning sky. There’s yet to be daylight’s fire on the Eastern horizon to waken the day. It will come in time, but for now, it’s anticipation. A cool breeze shuffles through the trees, in one truck window, out the other, lifting the notes of the wolf’s song. Eerie calls echoing against the canyon walls and penetrating the predawn mist. A shiver slides down my back, into my soul, speaking to me. There‘s a stillness, a calming whisper trying to answer the deep wish simmering within.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        Mmmhmm. I hear you, D.

    • Charli Mills

      That’s a deep call in that moment beautifully framed and felt.

    • Charli Mills

      The word mindful applies to much, Ruchira. It’s good to have mindful writing space even if it’s a corner in another room. Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joanne!

  21. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Rebecca!


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