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March 21: Story Challenge in 99-words

It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The world stands in perfect balance and the southern hemisphere welcomes winter. The northern hemisphere readies for spring. And Finlandia University can’t regulate its boilers.

The pond outside my front step is four inches deep with a skim of ice. The hulking banks of what was snow wither into gravelly carcasses four feet tall, seeping water from beneath. It’s chilly enough to wear a coat but once inside the corridors of the university where I teach and tutor, I’m sweating.

Students are wearing sundresses and shorts. It’s a confusing time of year on the Keweenaw Peninsula because it can be any weather at any given time. The boilers kick out heat because of the cold mornings but soon feel like a sauna (pronounced sow-na, in the Finnish dialect) by noon. The snowbanks outside melt in unison with us humans inside.

The melt came on fast. Monday, I appreciated the hulking snow sculptures peeking over rooftops and by Tuesday I saw they were gone. Some witnessed moments of release. A colleague told me he pulled into his driveway after work just in time to see the packed snow on his roof let go with a whoosh and wallop. He couldn’t pull into his garage and the pile was too deep to shovel. He has to wait for it to melt further.

A friend had her entire vehicle buried in snow when the rooftop of her apartment complex dump all its snow. All the signs posted around town that read, “Beware of falling snow and ice” are intended for this time of year. The strangest thing that happened because of the swift melt was when two faculty cars collided — both vehicles had been parked when the ice beneath broke up like glaciers and one slab slid into the other.

The equinox has me ready for a change. I wonder what it will be?

March 21, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to reflect the theme, “ready for a change.” Who is ready and why? How does the change unfold? What happened to initiate the change? Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by March 26, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form below. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.


28 Comments

  1. i remember as a student the snow sliding from the roof sounded like someone breaking into the flat.
    We have a tamer version of your weather here right now: heavy overnight frosts melting into unusually warm days.
    Happy Soltice.
    PS. Weren’t we expecting news of some changes at the Ranch around now?

    Liked by 5 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I know that sound, Anne — the prowlers of spring are often the snow and ice of winter leaving. Solstice has arrived with its promise of change, for sure.

      Yes, I’m getting the details finalized. As much as I want to spill the beans, I also have committed to not sharing until certain ducks are in a row and I can share a timeline. As a writer at CR, expect an email from me today with updates. Thank you for your patience!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Charli Mills says:

        Ack! I have a few more details to iron out. I’m waiting on an email from the state and a few answers and then I can get my email out to the columnists and we go from there.

        Like

  2. Gloria says:

    That’s really strange weather. If we get snow here in the Wrst of Ireland, it usually melts the same day. We wake up to snow and a blue sky.
    The Midlands get better snow. But 2-3 days is the longest it stays. We get plenty of rain though.
    I didn’t get round to writing about a piece of pie! Busy week here with St Patrick’s Day and an extra bank holiday.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Miss Judy says:

    “hulking banks of what was snow wither into gravelly carcasses” that’s quite an image and aptly portrayed. I remember those from Upstate NY.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Norah says:

    Your stories of snow fascinate me. I have no experience to relate them to. The thought of vehicles colliding because the ice beneath them melts just boggles my mind. I think we’re all ready for a change. I hope it’s a good one.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      I think it boggled our minds, too Norah! Extreme snow is the norm here, but not extreme melt. I hope your transition down under is a pleasant one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Norah says:

        Thanks, Charli. We’ve got a lot of rain down here and flooding in some areas again. They haven’t even recovered from last month’s flood yet. I’m okay, but others aren’t so good.

        Like

  5. Jules says:

    I think the world is indeed ready for some positive changes.
    May we all contribute to that! Even if all we can offer is our smile.

    The weather is an unpredictability we have to learn to live with in our own locations. In my parts the snowbells, crocus, mini iris, and daffodils are blooming. Other early spring bushes are exploding with color, but our frost free day isn’t until the middle of May!

    Happy seasonal changes everyone!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Happy Spring, all! 🐰🌷

    Liked by 3 people

  7. denmaniacs4 says:

    And here I went with the changing seasons of life, a somewhat morose take on the wintry prompt.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Gobble, gobble. The spring turkeys are out foraging.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charli Mills says:

      Spring birds are as delightful as spring blooms, D. I heard a local story about turkeys on the Kewenaw that began spring foraging but met one of our massive snowplows. There was turkey stew in many neighboring homes that evening.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Airin Fears

    “Ello Keed. Pal. Change is in de air, no?”
    “Sumthin’s in the air LeGume. Jeez, kin ya least stan downwind?”
    “Pal, whyn’t ya change yer curmudgeony ways? Choose kind.”
    “Cuz I kinda don’t wanna, Kid. Whyn’t you change, you an yer stanky frien? Stop annoyin me.”
    “Better stanky then cranky. What’s really troubling ya Pal?”
    “Ain’t ready fer change, Kid. What if we do have ta change our ways?”
    “Change steenks, no?”
    “You know it Pepe.”
    “Yeah! Last week she was pushin robo-writin. Matter a time afore we lose the hosses.”
    “Aye, Kid.”
    “Ayiii! An i-Kid? That’s in-app-propriate. Shorty!!”

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Liz H says:

    Before I forget: ❤ the pic for this week!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I got lost in the snow once while snow shoeing. Everything is white and it can become very deceptive.

    Contributed to the prompt, and even pasted the link to the above.

    https://abracabadra.blogspot.com/2022/03/mask-up.html

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sounds like significant changes in scenery on your side of the pond, Charli. It must be lethal if the melting snow freezes again at night.
    Spring has well and truly sprung in Wales. She has come out from behind the winter curtain and is putting on her display of spring flowers for us.
    I missed the free pie, and robotic writer prompts. Spring got a hold of me and had me doing other stuff, but I did;t mind the change.
    Happy Spring!

    Like

  13. Liz H says:

    We have blustery winds and hail flying sideways right now. I’m ready for a change to Spring, but know we often get snows until Mid-April.
    So, better to lose myself in microflash, instead. Just posted my set of 2 linked 99s. That’ll have to do for now…

    Like

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