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September 16: Flash Fiction Challenge

September silence settles over the Keweenaw with misty rain. Pockets of tourists remain but the din of extra folks cruising the peninsula subsides. The woods exhale, the waves churn, and when the clouds part in the cool of night, the Milky Way burns bright.

With the equinox (fall in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern) lining up next week, I felt the call of the wild to bring balance to all my professional pursuits. A camping trip was in order, a return to the sandy side of the Keweenaw.

Packing my car required a choice — camp kitchen, tent and comforts or kayak? Alas I could not fit it all. Comforts, by the way, include an array of layers for fluctuating temperatures, pillows, camp chair and firewood. My kayak stayed behind this trip with a promise to glide the Bete Grise sloughs before autumn leaves fall from their trees.

My friend, C, joined me at the old mink farm in Schoolcraft Township where a rustic campground offers ten sites along Big Traverse Bay not far from the desolate black sands of Gay. On an arc of golden sand, we set up at campsite #1. A family occupied #4, and the memory of a summer visit still warm in my veins lingered at #5. It was a quiet campground weekend, perfect for rituals of release.

C is a grief counselor who sits with people’s deepest losses and excruciating emotional pain. She led community workshops at her Ripley Falls Home of Healing before the 2018 Father’s Day flood and landslide hit her house. It’s livable but far from restored. Her backyard is filled with rubble from the landslide. When she was ready to begin workshops, the Pandemic hit. We’ve experienced parallel disasters, hers natural and mine veteran caused.

Together, we’d form a weekend retreat for two to release the trauma of homelessness and open up to the hope for a better future. We both live with uncertainty instead of stability on the home-front and yet we both work to help others find purpose in healing and writing. We needed to find our own healing path.

On Friday, after my last class at Finlandia for the week, we arrived to sunshine, wind, and crashing waves. We set up camp and I got into a battle with the ants. That entire spit of sand must be an ant metropolis! I struggled to find a flat spot to perch my tent without getting swarmed. Finally, we found a truce and I pitched my tent in the trail to the beach. Once settled, I headed to the waves. The frothy rollers reared up and the sun shone through like a lens. I tried to wade but water pummeled my legs with sand and riptides rippled beneath my feet.

That night we ate kale salads and cauliflower soup next to a fire that danced in the wind. Our campsite had a deep metal fire ring on a sandy knoll out of the trees and we watched it closely. The brighter the stars got, the less the wind blew. Finally, we had nothing but embers and shooting stars. We expected rain the next day and we decided to read in our individual tents until it eased.

We woke up to sunshine, not a rain cloud in the sky. That’s Lady Lake Superior’s doing. Hard to predict her impact. She was calm and inviting that day, showing ripples in the sand beneath her water where she had danced forcibly the day before. Many ripples held small stones. I bobbed in the water and then floated above the curious little pieces of quartz and sandstone. Leg cramps drove me to seek the warm sand of shore and I reluctantly left my mindless float.

Sand flies found my ankles until I buried my feet in the sand. Ants ran every direction in a frenzy of gathering food. I began to wonder if their scurrying meant a rough winter ahead. But like most things in my life at this moment, I’m trying to stick to the here and now. What is coming will unfold with or without worry. It was sunny and ants were foraging. Nothing to be concerned about. With curiosity, I watched them.

Later that day we held our ritual of release, naming emotions and circumstances to let go. We chanted with a singing bowl, and C’s dachshund howled, the higher our pitch. We smudged with sage and built cairns of our tiny collected rocks. We journaled and fixed beans for dinner, burning birch bark letters of release. Then the rain came. We retreated to our tents. Despite the beauty of the day, I found it difficult to shake the sadness.




Each a meditation. Each a prayer.

And then a cotton candy sunrise broke through the mist and clouds. The rain stopped. The Lake let out misty breath caught by a warming sun of pink and gold. The sadness lifted but I felt no joy. Just emptiness. Until the Big Black Horse arrived.

At a particular moment, I decided to walk not to the beach, but rather to the road. I had heard the gronking of sandhill cranes and followed their call, hoping for one last sighting before they left. C and her dog still slept. The other campers had left, maybe the night before when the rain came. No one was around. No one. Then the distant rumble of a truck. I could see a trailer hitched and surprised it was not an RV but a livestock hauler. When I woman stepped out of the truck, my heart soared.

To me, it was a Captain Marvel moment. The one where Carol Danvers decides to rise…again. I took it as a sign to rise and claim my joy. I had released and now I was about to receive. A new door opened. In fact, I asked if I could help open that door. To the trailer, that is. She said yes and I helped her with a new horse and an enthusiastic golden retriever pup. She was experienced and courageous, taking the horse to the lake for introductions. I followed with the pup.

Meanwhile, C woke up and ventured to the beach. She told me later she saw a most beautiful sight — two women, a Big Black Horse and a dog. She wanted to wake me up, thinking I needed to see this vision. She had her phone so she filmed it for me before realizing I was one of the women.

Charli Finds a Woman with a Big Black Horse

There’s a reason the Indigenous call horses “big medicine.” You have to build trust with a horse. The woman I met was dedicated to that, leading her horse to water, walking her in the sand, familiarizing her with new territory. Eventually, she mounted the Big Black Horse and and walked the campground. I secured her dog in her truck, told her to honk when she got back if she needed a hand loading her horse. And off they rode.

I was beaming. Horse medicine is a always a good sign to me.

It’s been a good week at school. I danced for one of my classes. They laughed. I promised them a “sun” day on Monday. Weather Predictors are predicting sunny and 81 degrees F. I’m scheduling class outside on the green to read or work on research on their laptops. I will give them yoga and poetry (Joy Harjo) breaks! My other class shared their 99 word stories. It was interesting to note that the number one fear students expressed was that they “did it wrong.” I’m teaching them that recognizing their differences from the norms is the beginning of realizing their unique voice.

Tomorrow, I’m wearing a dress (again) and starting to get used to it. We get stiff when stuck in patterns. We need stability and framework but we also need flexibility and freedom to grow. I might dance again. Twirl my skirt. If I do, this is the song, I’ll be stepping out to:

September 16, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by September 21, 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.

A Wild Ride by Charli Mills

Clods of dirt flew. A big black horse thundered through the apricot orchard, a small child perched bareback, her knees drawn up to his withers, tiny hands grasping long mane.  A woman in a kerchief ran, bellowing like a calf separated from its mother. Saucy, the Australian Shepherd with one blue eye, zipped past the woman and caught up to the horse, nipping at his hind hooves. The dog turned the horse around at the one lone cherry tree planted at the orchard’s edge. He trotted smooth as butter back to the barn. The woman wheezed. The child grinned.



  1. “What is coming will unfold, with or without worry.” A timely reminder as the seasons change everywhere.

    I’m glad you found a path back toward joy on your camping trip, it’s hard when thoughts and feelings are brought to the fore, fresh and raw. The clip by the water of you and the pup, and the woman and her big black horse is heartwarming, peaceful. A reminder to find joy in the present.

    I’m not keen on dresses and skirts, too much to stress about: “will it blow up? Am I sitting right or can people see below? Ugh, gotta empty my hands to shift my dress just to sit down..” stressful, sensory overwhelm. But sometimes I wear them, they’re fun and freeing. I hope you find opportunity to dance more for and with your students, especially beneath the sun. Enjoy!

    As for the prompt, I’m being drawn to my usual scenes and emotions when placing the horse within my sci-fi world. I wonder how I can change and challenge that. I don’t want to find myself stuck in a rut with writing sci-fi. Last week’s The Cooking Show prompt turned out to be a huge sidestep for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I’ll be back with my response before long.

    • Charli Mills says:

      You got it, Rebecca — sensory overload, wearing a dress! I don’t know how women look so comfortable in them, but I now own two and a short skirt and I’m getting more comfortable. Trying to embrace style instead of shying from it but that’s a challenge for me not for everyone! We’ll see, lol! I think you’ll find it easier to break away from sci-fi once in a while, but I don’t think you are in a rut because you write in your genre. I like the way you figure out how concrete prompts can be flexible within a specific genre.

      • This was a tough one! I tried to force an idea and include a lot of complex emotions and details but the piece seized up. Too much telling, not enough showing. In the end I couldn’t honour the characters how I’d hoped, so I changed the focus. My intent to inspire readers and build optimism for the future and its tech became a guiding hand. I like what I ended up with, though this one falls closer to reality than science fiction.


      • This was a tough prompt but you rode it out! I liked the flash but wish that kind of tech was more sci-fi than reality.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Rebecca, I always appreciate learning about another writer’s process. There never is a straight line between the story we can see in our mind or feel in our heart or gut. So what do we do? Exactly what you did — we experiment through different craft elements to release the story; we recognize how it is or isn’t coming through and adjust or change the craft element; in the end, we allow purpose to guide our writing. Thank you for sharing your process and your story!

  2. Norah says:

    What a glorious camping trip, Charli. That black horse was the best medicine for you. There are no coincidences, or so I am told. I love your story of the child and the big black horse. It reminds me of a horse adventure of mine, though there was no dog to nip its heels and send it home. Home was where it wanted to be, with or without me. But I stayed with it, only just. And it wasn’t a big black horse. It was a little cream pony, called Ice Cream. Thanks for the memory.
    I love the thought of you dancing in class. It’s good to throw off the inhibitions. I was able to do that okay with the children. We enjoyed the laughs together. I’ve never had the opportunity to try it out with adults. I wonder how I’d go.
    Stopping or changing the future is like trying to do the same to the weather. Let it be, Charli. Go with the flow, let the tides carry you to where you’re meant to be. You are so lucky to have such a good strong friendship with your friend C. A new season is ahead.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Norah, I’m happy you remembered your own wild ride on a pony named Ice Cream. What a great name for a pony. Those critters often have a mind for home. “Barn sour” is the term we used. Did you have such a phrase? I’m not surprised that you hung in there. You are tenacious! Thank you, I can feel the winds of change blowing. I appreciate the reminder that we can’t change the weather or the future. Does feel like a wild ride, though. But I’m tenacious, too. 😉 Enjoy your spring!

    • Norah says:

      And here’s my story:

      The Big Black Horse
      The riders considered the available horses. Fergal chose the big black, Valentina the silver. They mounted their steeds and entered the arena. Fergal cantered to one end and Valentina the other. They steadied their mounts and faced each other.
      “Let the contest begin! Charge!”
      The contestants galloped towards each other.
      Nearing the centre of the arena, Fergal’s black steed balked, tossing him off. Valentina wheeled her horse around, dismounted and raced to Fergal’s side.
      “You okay, Fergal?”
      “It’s only a scratch.”
      “I’ll get a plaster from Miss.”
      “It’s okay. Let’s go again. Can I have silver this time?”

      • Charli Mills says:

        Norah, this reminds me how much I used to enjoy riding pretend horses at recess in third grade. Recently, a local friend shared that she and her best friend in grade school used to ride “horses” to school together. This makes me want to go gallop down my street!

      • Norah says:

        That gives me a good feeling, Charli, knowing that it made you respond in that way. 🙂

  3. ellenbest24 says:

    A six am read was perfect. My fever broke in the night as at last I feel the end in sight. The sun beckoned me for the first time since last Friday though wobbly on fever worn legs I took myself wrapped in a blanket to the garden. Our pup happy to chase squirrel and pigeon letting them know she is back and all is right with her world. Her world was at my feet on the bed during the days of infuenza. The first chill of Autumn left a film of mist and dew on every surface. As I read your camping tale it felt the place to be, in the now with nature reading. Today my Mother is 90 my absence will no doubt cause a furore, Sometimes life disturbs the plans as in nature you have to let the ants scurry and it will deliver its own plan. Back to bed for me but the best few minutes were spent with you and your words, and knowing all comes good in the end, eventually the fever subsides.

  4. restlessjo says:

    Other people’s stories can be a heartbreak, Charli. It astounds me where the strength comes from. So often I am phased by things that are in reality very minor, or I lie awake fretting things that may never happen. I’m glad you both have someone to share your very real dilemmas with. I’d love to dance with you, but the sound on my laptop has gone AWOL and I’m clueless how to fix it. I’ll play the song on Spotify on my mobile phone later. Have a great week!

  5. That beach looks idyllic, Charli, and I love the sound of the waves, something I miss from when I lived nearer the sea.
    I’m not sure why you feel the need to wear a dress to work.
    Here’s Patti Smith:

    • Knowing so little about horses, I might have tried to stuff too many issues into my story:

      Beauty on the battlefield

      “This devil’s yours, Sambo. Kraut won’t see you coming in the dark.”

      The stallion had a malicious glint in its eyes, but the glint in the captain’s was meaner. Walter had never ridden before; Beauty had never seen action.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Oh, beat poet pioneering punk rocker, Patti Smith! Good call on the song, Anne. Though much more intense than the lapping beach, but I assure you those waters can rival a sea surge and bang to Patti Smith.

      Well, normally I wouldn’t even consider a dress. They’ve long been a bane to me. However…I worked with a stylist to put together a professional wardrobe and she suggested a short skirt. I couldn’t believe how transformed I felt in it. Suddenly I remembered being 12 and trying to be fashionable. It took me 42 years but I arrive at my style finally and funnily, it includes a few dresses.

      Your flash is a beauty! You may not know horses but you know people and you caught that measure of trust that builds between rider and horse, no matter how horrific for both.

    • Liz H says:

      Your flash got me in the feels.
      And I’m delighted (and surprised) that you brought Patti Smith to the Ranch. I’m such a big fan of her life, her music, her prose poetry.

  6. Horse Tales

    “A black horse Pal? Seems anonymous.”

    “Think ya mean ominous.”

    “Did ya catch its name?”

    “It didn’t say.”

    “An anonymous black horse. Could be a portent.”

    “Ev’ry prompt’s important.”

    “Well, I’ve called on Logatha LeGume fer this one. She knows horse magic.”

    “Logatha knows horse magic?”

    “Oui, Pal. Some people read tea leaves, I read horse muffins. Keed, dees ees fresh from da black horse?”

    “Yep. How’s it lookin’ Logatha?”

    “I see horse tales in da future.”

    “Ya kin see that from what’s passed?”

    “Really Kid? This is horse puckey!”

    “I sense you weel step in eet.”

    “Aw, shift!”

  7. Medicine Horse

    A shadow softened the sharp rays that pinned him to the sunbaked ground. He opened his eyes to see the soft nostrils that blew a cooling caress; saw an unshod hoof of the big black horse that nudged him until he struggled onto its back.
    ‘What big black horse?’ the townsfolk asked.
    Recovered, he would avenge himself against the men who’d left him to die. But their horses, still saddled, a boot hanging in a stirrup, clattered into town ahead of the big black horse.
    ‘What big black horse?’, the townsfolk asked, for there was no sign of it.

  8. A beautiful read with lovely sensory details. And it sounded a real tonic of a weekend.

  9. […] challenge from Carrot Ranch? In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a […]

  10. Fair Play

    “These aren’t like Lucienne’s team of Morgans.”

    “No, they’re not Hope.”

    “And they’re not like the horses we saw at the pull this morning.”

    “They most certainly are not. These are fancy riding horses.”

    Hope studied the high stepping horses in their fancy tack. “That one Daddy. The big black horse.”

    “She’s a beauty, alright. And big. Are you sure?”

    “Yes Daddy.”

    “Do you want help getting on?”

    “I can do it Daddy.” Stepping into the high stirrup and swinging herself into the saddle, Hope rode round and round while her father watched from the edge of the carousel.

  11. suespitulnik says:

    Hi Charli,
    Your weekend sounded glorious. I’d like to experience reading in a tent while it rained. I’m glad you have C. as a “sister.” Sloughing off pain is always easier with a friend who understands.
    I enjoyed both the videos you shared and plan to listen to Tunstall on my speaker. A good folk singer is always welcome when I sew. And I’m glad classes are going better.
    I’m practicing quicker action, Michael is too…

    The Magic of a Silly Brown Pup

    When Michael started whistling the tune to “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree,” Jester went into action. He raced from his master to the door and back several times while Michael donned his prosthetic legs. Once outside, Michael sang his own words to the catchy tune. “You’re a too tall mutt with floppy long ears. You walk in the trees with me. Woo-hoo. Woo-hoo. My chair stays home, where many think it should be. Woo-hoo. You’re as much to me as any big black horse could be. Woo-hoo. My silly brown pup runs along with me. Woo-hoo. Woo-hoo.”

    • Delightful tale, Sue.

    • Yep, you are first in line at the next karaoke event at the Saloon.
      That aside, it’s so cool how Michael has gone from sullen wheelchair guy to donning his legs to walk the dog. You’re growing a strong resilient character right before our weekly eyes.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Sue, what great inspiration Michael found in the tune! I love hearing how you challenged yourself to a quicker draft. It has a great rhythm for Michael on his prosthetic legs. Folk music to sew by sounds perfect, by the way.

  12. Loved that you included an Australian shepherd dog in your story (only we would call it a collie), Charli. I understand they came to California via Australia but were originally from Scotland. My beloved late dog, Flight, was a Border Collie. But I digress.

    She’s an ethereal girl

    Morris had tried everything to gain the attention of the ethereal girl on the beach where he walked every day but to no avail. Even when he borrowed his friend’s big black horse and rode slowly past, facing backwards, her gaze remained fixed on the horizon. So, in desperation, today he wore a straw hat crowned with flowers, crossed vibrant sashes and, with bells on his knees, danced past her waving two handkerchiefs and small staff made from a piece of driftwood. A smile illuminated her face at the sight of Morris dancing and she rose to join him.

    PS – To those who sent kind words about Dad and his struggles to get the health system to let him go in one of my recent stories, just letting you know they finally acquiesced to his wishes and he passed away earlier this week at the age of 99. I am not grieving because he was not a good man or father but no-one should have to put up with the medical industry’s fear of death.

    • denmaniacs4 says:

      All the best, Doug…

    • Staying to fight for your father in the end, despite his past, is an honourable thing, I’m not sure I could do the same. Your response to the prompt was a beauty too, I’m a sucker for Morris’ kind of determination.

    • Morris dancing… so that’s how that all began. Is this also according to Wackypedia?

    • Charli Mills says:

      I never fully understood the Aussie-California connection between the breed but it makes sense that the collies from Scotland were among the originators. I think Australia and the American West with their cattle and sheep ranches developed breeds hearty to desert or mountain terrains, smart, protective and instinctual herders (of children and runaway horses, too). What we called Australian Shepherds were gray, tan and white collies and popular in the back trucks of cowboys.

      Your story made me smile. Often, it’s worth the dance to break the horizon gazer from their trance.

      At last. I hope you have peace, perhaps having made it long ago, accepting you didn’t have the father you should have had. Your humanity to not wish ill on anyone says something better of you. Interesting to ponder the medical industry’s fear of death.

      • Thanks, Charli. Glad you liked the story. Here’s some more Morris dancing for you. Re the medical industry and death, I have some very strong views on the subject that never fail to upset people but someone has to voice them and I am a sufficiently cranky old bugger to do it anyway. 😉

      • Charli Mills says:

        I have never seen Morris dancing before but I think I’ve seen illustrations of the costumes somewhere. I see your story from a different angle now. Thanks for enlightening me! And if you ever want to vent, you have my email. 😉

    • Liz H says:

      I think D has a point with her question about Morris Dancing. But for sure, he who laughs hardest, gets the girl, and laughs last!

      I am sorry for your father’s, and for your suffering. No one should have to fight so hard for a simple, straight forward wish. There is a time to let die on our own terms, and our time is not so far away. May Mercy dawn.

  13. […] Carrot Ranch promptSeptember 16, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads! Respond by September 21, 2021. […]

  14. Jules says:

    Charli, was it a coincidence that I passed a possible horse ranch today? I remember once I did ride bare back…. a long time ago.

    Here’s: Dreaming of Horsefeathers or Big Medicine?

    Long day began at getting up early to take the grand to school. After that I visited my little free library and dropped off egg cartons and vases for the farmer’s daughter, that has a stand in her aunt’s yard across from the Little Free library. Then together we stopped to visit a friend who was moving. We stopped at a yarn store to use a gift certificate.

    We then were meeting another friend for lunch. I saw them. Many horses on the way home… Maybe we could go riding this autumn?

    single summer day
    by a nap

    © JP/dh

    Horsefeathers; “slang Nonsense or foolishness. Often used as an exclamation to emphasize that something is nonsense. Oh, that’s just horsefeathers, and you know it.”

  15. floridaborne says:

    I stopped in the middle. That has to be one of the most boring songs I’ve every half-heard. Of course, my idea of music is Metallica.

    • Metallica is my personal preference too, anything heavy and loud, or complex and winding (i.e. Tool). I’m curious to give Tunstall’s a go though, later. Just to see what you mean.

      • floridaborne says:

        Happy to see someone else write that. ☺️

        I hadn’t heard of Tool before so I looked it up. It does have a heavy metal sound that is complex and winding.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Here’s my heavy-metal peeps! I’m super eclectic. Got into Metallica, Tool, Korn, System of a Down, Disturbed, et all when my kids were teens. I used to call it my suburban survival music. But I also listen to ambient sounds (Unicorn Room vibes), Ennio Marricone, The Carpenters, Olivia Newton John, Johnny Cash, Mary Gauthier, Cranberries, Enya, Yanni, Appalachian infused folk music, and Indie music (I Love WUMB, streaming out of Boston). My protagonist Danni Gordon has a heavy metal playlist! Okay, Joelle, I understand. KD’s your thing but I hope it inspires a rockin’ story.

      • floridaborne says:

        My three faves are heavy metal, Debussy, and meditation music (which I go to sleep listening to at night).

        I was shopping at Walmart last week to pick up headache medication and the stores speaker system was playing Rap. Yep: Music for the tone deaf. Someone must have complained because the Country and Western started being played before I left.

      • Charli Mills says:

        That switch from rap to C&W is enough to give a shopper a headache!

    • Liz H says:

      Check out Ann’s link to Patti Smith! <3

    • suespitulnik says:

      I’m chuckling…I would listen to the story in a rap song before I’d listen to heavy metal. As Frank Sinatra used to say, “I like the music to have few notes played, not many,” or something like that.

      • floridaborne says:

        That’s the beauty of having so many different kinds of music. There’s something for everyone. Imagine a world in which only one type of music was allowed — a one world music.

      • Charli Mills says:

        Heavy metal is all about outgassing emotions and stomping on the treadmill for 40 minutes, lol! There’s story in rap? Actually, while not my beat, I have great respect for the origins of rap and how it has spread to indigenous communities.

  16. denmaniacs4 says:

    Feeney’s Nightmare

    Long after the dream ended, Feeney was troubled by it. Dream or nightmare, it was unusual. Sile had given him a middle-of-the-night shake, put her nose to his, said “You’re shouting.”
    “Shouting what?” he had muttered. “I don’t shout.”
    “No,” she had smiled, “you’re usually a quiet one when you’re dead to the world. Not this time, bucko.”
    “So, what was I yelling?”
    “Crikey, what was it? Mostly incoherent is what it was…no, it was…Mickey Mouse.”
    “Or maybe Pig Pack Porous…?”
    ”That’s gobbledygook.”
    “Okay. Maybe… Big Black Horse?”
    “Mice! Pigs! Horses!”
    “Maybe Tic Tac Dough?”
    “Go to sleep.”

  17. Hilarious, as we have come to expect, Bill:-)

  18. While we are on the topic of horses, they are in fact the deadliest animal in Australia (eat your heart out snakes, spiders and sharks). Read all about it, along with some other amazing facts about my home country, including the fact that we export sand and camels to Saudi Arabia.

  19. I always enjoy your camping stories, Charli. And what the video captured is a tonic for anything, not just the morning blues. It’s lovely when we stumble upon something unexpected that lifts the whole day, especially when it happens first thing in the morning. I hope you have many more of those ‘Black Horse’ moments. And please dance as much as you like, and maybe sing too.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thanks for sharing in that Black Horse moment with me, Hugh. The Lake is a healing place to go. She was lapping gently in the video. I’ll keep dancing. You, too!

  20. […] This story was written in response to Carrot Ranch Literary Community’s September 16 99-word challenge: […]

  21. September 16, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads!

    For The Love of Greek Tradegey.

  22. […] and action found at the Carrot Ranch where […]

    • Myrna Migala says:

      One day not too long ago, a black horse was galloping through the forest.
      Stopping suddenly because he heard a cherry tree speaking to its neighbor, the apple tree. “My fruit is much sweeter than yours,”

      “You think so,” said the apple tree! The apple tree continued, “have you not heard it was the luscious allure of the apple that resulted in the fall of mankind.”

      “That is just a fairy tale,” said the cherry tree.

      “Is it?” The apple tree came back with an assertive voice.

      The horse voiced, “even if a tale, the author chooses the apple.”

  23. […] September 16: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads! […]

  24. Christy says:

    For The Love of Greek Tragedy

    There are no true words to describe my love of the one walking away back turned toward me. A winter affair, doomed to end when Spring came. My siblings had willed it. I’d argued, cried, lost.

    Six months my hands wandered the length of his muscled body. Caressing his long silky hair shadowing his face, darker than night. Nuzzling my nose in his neck. Six months I’d ridden him daily, his strength bucking between my porcelain legs.

    Now I stand on the shore of the river watching Demeter lead my stallion away, my chariot dead by the river Styx.

  25. Ann Edall-Robson says:

    By Ann Edall-Robson

    Around the dying campfire
    old timers’s voices talk…

    About the full moon
    dancing through the clouds
    and the vision of the big black horse
    running hard across that ridge

    Mares fleeing silhouettes
    galloping towards the trees
    the black horse nipping
    at them, up there on that ridge

    And when the moon sets
    brining daybreak to its life
    the ground is scarred with
    hoof prints across that ridge

    The stories of the elusive herd
    be they truth or be they myth
    does a big black horse still run free
    up there on that ridge

    …chasing wild horses
    along that ridge

  26. […] This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor… […]

  27. […] Carrot Ranch Challenge:In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “Big Black […]

  28. ceayr says:

    Somewhat belatedly, my story for this week:

  29. […] was for Charli Mills 99 word flash fiction prompt press to join in or simply read all the […]

  30. […] Carrot Ranch Prompt (09/16/2021): In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads! […]

  31. Liz H says:

    A horse of a different color? But maybe this only shows itself in the midnight hour…
    Wild Horses Run at Midnight

    “We’ll start you on Maisie. See how you do.” Her father smiled at her, one hand on the saddle, the other held out in invitation.

    Josie swallowed, took a deep breath, and nodded. She could easily hop onto Maisie’s back — nowhere near as high the jump to Thunder’s back — with no need for a hand up. She and Thunder exchanged longing glances over the stall door, keeping him locked away.

    Maisie nickered, brushing soft lips across stable floor, searching for scraps of straw.

    Best she comply for now; Father wouldn’t approve of their clandestine, Thunderous midnight rides.

  32. I loved reading about your camping expedition, and how C visualized two women with the horse not knowing that you’re one of the lady. I’m glad a smile crossed your face when you saw that lady with the canine and the horse. Wishing you and C light n joy, and may the Universe guide you both.


    I can visualize you wearing a skirt and dancing to the tune of KT Tunstall. Love the peppy music and your radiating smile as you’ll swirl to it will be worth each buck. $$$$$ 🙂

    My take on the prompt for today:

  33. […] for the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch. Click here to join […]

  34. […] This was written with the prompt big black horse provided by the Carrot Ranch September 16 Flash Fiction Challenge. […]

  35. Racing the Horse

    It was the autumnal equinox, and the maple leaves had already begun to turn a bright red.

    On his way home, Aloysius noticed a big black horse cantering in a field. He wanted to run alongside the horse, but he was too slow until one red leaf fell.

    Stepping on it, Aloysius suddenly sped up. More red leaves fell from the maple trees onto Aloysius’s path; he ran faster and faster until he caught up to the horse.

    The horse began to gallop in response to Aloysius’s speed. Joyfully running together, the horse and cat raced around the field.

    ~Nancy Brady, 2021

  36. […] In response to Charli‘s Carrot Ranch 99 word flash fiction. […]

  37. Gloria says:

    I haven’t been here in a while! And I’m a bit late with my flash but here it is anyway!

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