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Magic

What we call magic can be inexplicable — the fantastic, supernatural, universality of experiences beyond the realm of the five senses. Magic can be dark or ethereal. It can be a moment, or, as Elizabeth Gilbert explains, Big Magic is the courage to hunt for the creative life.

Enchanted, or not, writers set out to story-craft tales of magic this week. Like a rabbit pulled from a hat, you’ll be surprised at what emerged.

The following is based on the August 23, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes magic.

PART I (10-minute read)

On the Occasion of the Poet’s Being Challenged (or TGIF) by JulesPaige

Magic for me, starts at dusk
after the sun has retired.
One must wait an entire cycle
for the moonflower to bloom.
Defenceless against the weather,
the desire to grow at night
in shadow is strong.

I find a quality in dusk turning to night
that makes it seem as if the silver river
flows slower over the stones.

The heat of a summer day
makes me tired.
I discover strength in darkness.
Uncover the burdens of night dreaming
and cover myself in moon glow.

Repeat over and over a mantra of freedom.
“It is Friday, it is Friday!”

🥕🥕🥕

Magic Exists by Pamela

Magic exists
In the space between the words
In the ideas left unthought
And in the needs now left unspoken

Magic exists
In the dreams as yet undreamt
In the strangers still unmet
And in the future paths untrod

Magic exists
In your mind and in your soul
And in your heart so cautiously
It exists in you

Look for the magic
Be open to its charms
Bask in the wonders
Of the magic that exists

Look for the magic
Before it is gone
I cannot imagine a world so bereft
That magic was not a part
Of me

🥕🥕🥕

Magic by The Dark Netizen

The old man observed the couple in his crystal ball.

They were standing at the sea face, hand in hand, looking at the setting red orb in the sky.

“You know baby, when we are together, it feels magical.”

She looked into his eyes and smiled in agreement.

The old wizard however had a grim face. He spotted two shadows approaching the oblivious couple. There was no way they could sense the darkness approaching. The old man turned to his assistant.

“Merlyn, we need to move fast. We cannot lose our source of magic. We must protect true love…”

🥕🥕🥕

Adamant Acceptance by JulesPaige

Young Kendra willed magic. Ever since the first time death visited her family. Maybe Azrael possessed some healing powers? The girl wanted to communicate with those who had crossed over. Since the ones who were still
around didn’t really communicate very well.

Didn’t the adults read any of the books that contained rituals for magic? If they had maybe they wouldn’t shout so much or rub salt in old wounds. How could they live with themselves?

Kendra would read all the books, even if they
believed she could not read. She would whisper,
repeat and most of all believe.

🥕🥕🥕

Janice by Saifun Hassam

With eyes closed, Janice traced the delicate raised patterns on her favorite porcelain vase. Dogwood flowers, swallows, leaves on curving branches. The subtle magic of that touch flowed into her mind.

Her left eye was still blind. Her right eye filled with vision, tears. Fear and hope. The tumor had crushed the left optic nerve, destroyed the pituitary gland and sent tendrils into the gray matter.

She savored the taste of cherry chocolate cake Tom had prepared for her. She breathed in the aroma of the coffee. He had gone to work, but he had left her with magic.

🥕🥕🥕

Magic Moment by Sherri Matthews

‘Happy Birthday, hope you like it!’

Colin tore off the wrapping paper revealing a child’s magic set to roars of laughter from his friends.

‘Thanks guys…nice one…you bastards.’

Colin laughed along, but the memory of his family’s teasing when he had put on his first magic show as a kid still stung. Not that his friends knew. It didn’t matter. They only knew that Colin was a media sensation after his win on Britain’s Got Talent.

‘Drinks on me.’

Everybody turned as Simon Cowell arrived holding a magnum of champagne.

Nothing beat the magic of that night for Colin.

🥕🥕🥕

Footloose by D. Avery

Ilene Higginbottom pulled a folding chair from the bed of the El Camino and joined Marge and Ernest where they sat in their camp chairs outside the shop.

“That’s a pretty fancy camp chair, Ilene, dual cup-holders, and look at you, it reclines too!”

“Yeah, I like to put my foot up. This’s the last thing I bought with my ex-boyfriend’s money before letting him go; only thing about him appealed to me was his magic mailbox.”

Ernest squeezed Marge’s hand before going for more beer, told her he’d start dinner.

“Marge,” said Ilene, “What you’ve got is real magic.”

🥕🥕🥕

Reckoning by Kerry E.B. Black

“Where is your wife, Ward?” The magistrate’s robes flapped like a gaping hole.

“She took our son to visit her family.” Thank God she fled.

But what of Nina? Legs twisted like gnarled, unsupportive vines. Defenseless. Her only crime saving his infant’s life.

The magistrate rested a heavy hand upon Ward’s shoulder. It pressed like a stone. “Your wife will be tried. She consorted with a witch to save your son.”

Fire erupted within Ward, but he struggled to keep calm. “She didn’t. I fetched the woman who nursed our son. My wife had nothing to do with it.”

🥕🥕🥕

Magic by Frank Hubeny

On a blue planet people believed in nothing that they couldn’t see. No ghosts. No gods. No angels.

There were natural laws. That magic was powerful. The more it worked, the more they believed. Those who doubted were educated until they believed or in extreme cases there were prisons. In really extreme cases there were nuclear options.

The people on the blue planet made a lot of money except for those who didn’t and so everyone who counted was happy.

Things went very well until the “fay-rees”, as they became known after The Event, had their fill of it.

🥕🥕🥕

Flash Fiction by Geoff Le Pard

‘Do you believe in magic, Logan?’

‘In what context?’

‘What’s wrong with a yes or no?’

‘If you mean prestidigitation…’

‘Huh?’

‘Slight of hand, deceit, then that’s not magic. If you mean the magic of nature or of birth or first love…’

‘You soppy romantic…’

‘… then yes. There are some things that are truly magical, truly miraculous. They constantly amaze me.’

‘Like my wit and brilliance?’

‘Like the fact that despite you driving me nuts, talking rot, playing the fool, we are still friends.’

‘And my wit and brilliance?’

‘That too.’

‘Give me a hug.’

‘Don’t push it…’

🥕🥕🥕

The Magic of Decision-making by Molly Stevens

Ruth was on a mission to purge. She examined a round, black object she retrieved from the bottom of the trunk.

“Chester, this yours?”

“Yup.”

“Why have you held onto it?

“It means a lot to me. It helped me make some major decisions through the years.”

“Like what?”

“Remember when I was thinkin’ about quittin’ school? Magic eight ball said, ‘My reply is no.’”

What else?”

Chester remained silent.

“Magic eight ball, did Chester consult with you before he proposed to me?

“‘Signs point to yes.”

Chester snatched the prophetic orb and pitched it into the dumpster.

“Traitor!”

🥕🥕🥕

Sleight Fright by Ritu Bhathal

“Think of a name.”

Deanna held her chosen name tightly in her mind and nodded.

“Think of an object related to that name.”

She self-consciously touched her wrist, where her watch was.

Except it wasn’t there.

Where was it? It was the only thing she had left of him.

“I believe you were thinking of Peter, and his black diver’s watch, am I right?”

The magician held out a watch.

Slight of hand or magic, she didn’t know, but Deanna didn’t wait to find out. She rushed to the front, snatched the watch and rushed out of the building.

🥕🥕🥕

The Feather by Colleen Chesebro ~ The Fairy Whisperer

I finished my gardening chores and wrapped the hose into a coil. There on the ground was a tiny grey feather. I picked it up and placed it under my gloves on the table for safe keeping.

I walked toward the front garden where my daylilies drooped. I held the spray over the plants, and there on the ground was another gray feather!

I hurried to retrieve the first feather, but it was gone. It was then, the magic of the moment struck me. Without a doubt, this feather had wanted me to find it. What could it mean?

🥕🥕🥕

The Return Home by Jan Malique

Soft, soft are their feet upon the forest floor
Hear their whispers lift on perfumed breeze
The Crystal Sentinels wait
Offer messages only once
Offer wisdom never seen
Hark, the Fey do come

The Light of Ever Becoming approaches
Issues through sky and earth
Infuses Crystal Sentinels
Weaves magic most powerful
Weaves magic neither light nor dark
Hark, the do Fey come

See the Faerie Queen step forth
Peer at human worlds
Command Otherworld gates be open
See her warriors step forth
Speak words of release
The Crystal Sentinels rise
Step through gates of welcome
Step through worlds incandescent

🥕🥕🥕

A Warning and a Plea by Liz Husebye Hartmann

Lucy’s footsteps echoed pale blue, up and over the far reaches of Karlssen’s Glacier.

She took her time, minding her breath; these tower steps had been built by others taller than her six foot frame. Per her nature, she’d planned for extra effort to reach the peak.

The half-troll girl was on her way. Magnhildr would need another Season to convince her fellows to foster yet another non-jotun, even Sylvi’s child.

She wrapped the message-crow in her hands, whispering a plea, “The child is no longer safe.”

The bird erupted into the northern sky, its cry splitting the night.

🥕🥕🥕

Protected by abhijit ray

“This is magestic,” Sam looked admiringly at the luminous diamond sitting at the feet of deity in dilapidated temple.

“I want it Sid,” said Sam greedily, “it will fetch a fortune.”

“Don’t invite god’s wrath Sam. This stone is under protection of reigning deity of this fort.”

“I don’t believe in power of magic. I did not walk all the way to just have a peek. What good is it here anyway? At least, we shall have good time.”

The leopard was following them for some distance now. As Sam bent down to unseat the stone, the predator pounced.

🥕🥕🥕

Acronym by FloridaBorne

“Dr. Michael Arden?” The young woman with a recorder asked, “Why did you become a scientist?”

Should I remind the world? Why not? “You do realize this is a funeral and we’re standing in front of my mother’s casket?”

“You’re a hard man to corner for an interview.”

“My mother believed in magic, used a cauldron and thought she could talk to fairies.”

Wide eyed, she gasped, “Your mother was a witch?”

“If you could read, you would know why,” I scoffed at her. “Mother was schizophrenic! MAGIC is nothing but an acronym for mentally addled gullible insecure citizen.”

🥕🥕🥕

Shakespeare’s Cheat Sheet by Katimac

Shakespeare scribbled halfway down the page and froze. It was the same rubbish he had written an hour earlier, reworded. He cursed and crumpled the page, tossing it across the room to add to the growing stack of crumpled pages in the corner of the room. He threw himself back in his chair and thought furiously. After a moment, he called for the maid.

“What’s her name again?”

The maid glanced around nervously. “Are you certain, sir?”

Shakespeare swore again. “What was her name, the magic hag?”

The maid whispered the name in fear.

“Bring her here. It’s time.”

🥕🥕🥕

PART II (10-minute read)

First Morning in the New Place by Anne Goodwin

Despite her diligence in tidying away her thoughts on retiring to bed, Matty awakes to a muddle. It is as if a kitten has whiskered its way into a sewing box and woven a cat’s cradle with the thread.

Opening her eyes, it is obvious something larger than a baby cat has caused the chaos. Has a magic carpet whooshed her to China? Or, like Alice, she’s fallen down a rabbit hole to a world where walls move and rooms shrink?

A maid beams at her from the bedpost. “Welcome to Tuke House, Matty! Are you ready for breakfast?”

🥕🥕🥕

The Source of Magic by Anurag Bakhshi

Sue woke up to see Charli staring unblinkingly at a tall tree near their campsite.

“Look at that light emanating from that tree, it’s magical,” Charli said softly.

Sue looked towards the tree, and said dismissively, “It’s just sunlight reflected from a mirror on the tree. You really shouldn’t have had those magic mushrooms last night.”

Charli shrugged her head and looked again. Her friend was right, it was nothing at all.

As Charli left to wash her face to clear her head, Sue looked towards the tree angrily. That magic tree had got to control its yawns better.

🥕🥕🥕

Magic by Kay Kingsley

I don’t believe in magic tricks but I love being sucked into them. The slight of hand, the show, the impossible result… it’s mesmerizing and entertaining and I have zero desire for someone to explain it to me. What fun is that? I want to be entertained and tricked into awe.

And although I don’t believe in magic tricks I do believe in magic. The magic of timing, of bonding, the pure magic of love. Magic felt, magic seen, magic experienced.

The only magician I ever knew was time and the only magic he ever showed me was life.

🥕🥕🥕

Transformed by Reena Saxena

“I have stopped writing,” he appears cold and distant in the darkness.

“Really? Will you survive without it?”

“I spent a lifetime, staining white pages and interlocking fingers with keyboards. It was heaven, it was hell, and I knew of nothing else”, he rambles on, unaware of my presence in the room.

“What do you plan to do now?” I am genuinely concerned about his mental health.

“Whatever I am ordained to do….. I experienced magic today. I saw my thoughts in a physical form.”

I walk out with heavy footsteps, knowing that he does not need me anymore.

🥕🥕🥕

The Magic Pill by Ruchira Khanna

“Dr. Ali, I come to you with hope since I’ve heard that you have cured, many!” Sheela said in an earnest tone as she held her rumbling stomach.

“Yes! I treat all,” he said with confidence as he handed her a box of pills with a blank label.

“Fill out your symptoms!”

She followed his instructions with a puzzled look.

“Take 1 pill twice a day. Visit me after a month.”

A month later, ” I am cured!” she shouted with glee, “You have magic pills.”

“Nah! it’s just the placebo effect, and I’m not even a medical doctor.”

🥕🥕🥕

A 1966 Really Groovy Incident by Bill Engleson

I wasn’t supposed to be home the day that Alan dropped by with Lita and Louise, two Oregonian hitchhikers.

“Picked them up on the freeway,” he said. “They need a place to crash and I…” and he explained…two rooms, one wife and a huge red setter with bladder problems.

“I can see it’d be awkward,” I commiserated, adding, “In any case, we’re a commune. We can always make extra beds magically appear.”

The Oregonians were exceptionally close.

Still, Lita and I quickly found…mutual ground.

Only Louise needed her own bed.

Everyone was good with that.

🥕🥕🥕

Magic Mushrooms by Robbie Cheadle

What happened to her?” Rose asked, horrified at the red spots and broken capillaries that covered her pretty daughter’s face.

“We had to rush her to the hospital and have her stomach pumped,” said her sister.

“She was playing with Sean in the garden and they found a patch of toadstools hidden in the corner under a bush. Sean said she ate one. She wanted to grow big like Alice. She thought they were magic mushrooms.”

“Oh, my goodness, I thought I was doing a good thing when I read Alice in Wonderland to her. More context next time.”

🥕🥕🥕

Childhood – A Magical Time by Susan Sleggs

Now that I’m an old lady I can say my favorite sound is a symphony of night time bug noises. I remember the music lulling me to sleep when I was a little girl and I kept the window by my bed wide open. During the day we built forts in the woods, raided the garden for snacks, and enjoyed getting dirty and tired. I didn’t know enough to worry about being hungry, having money problems, alcoholism, or cancer. Today the bug music takes me back to that magical time so I can clear my mind to fall asleep.

🥕🥕🥕

Seeing Is Believing by D. Avery

“Pal, watcha doin’ way out here all by yersef?”

“Felt like bein’ alone, Kid.”

“The ranch hands is all busy corrallin’ stories ’bout magic Pal.”

“Jist wanted ta git away, lay out here unner the stars. ’Sides, I don’t believe in magic. Since yer here, set still, listen ta the popple leaves whisperin’.”

“The Ranch is out west Pal, call ’em Aspen or cottonwoods.”

“They whisper the same songs, Kid. Now look’t that big orange moon through the silhouetted treetops. Eh? Look ‘t that star strewn night sky. I tell ya Kid, it’s… it’s…”

“Magic?”

“I believe it is.”

🥕🥕🥕

A Magic Sound by Susan Sleggs

“Child, open the window by my bed.”

“Nurse told me not to. Too humid tonight.”

“Don’t have nothin’ to do with hot or cold; has to do with bugs.”

“How’s that?”

“If you open that window like I asked, I can hear them bugs singin’. That sound is magic.”

“Why’s that?”

“Cause that’s the first sound I remember. Lulled me to sleep before I knowed what meanness, goin’ without, prejudice, and drinkin’ was. Can still do the same if I can just hear that singin’.”

“Can I leave if I open the window so’s I don’t get blamed?”

“Course.”

🥕🥕🥕

A Sprinkle of This and a Pinch of That by Norah Colvin

“Whatcha doin?”

“Makin’ a spell.”

“What sorta spell?”

“A magic spell.”

“Can I help?”

“Sure.”

“Whadda I do?”

“Put stuff in the pot.”

“What sorta stuff?”

“Gotta read the recipe.”

“What’s it say?”

“Ya gotta read it.”

“I can’t.”

“Oh. Okay. I’ll help. Look, it says …”

Mum stopped at the door to the kitchen. “Wha— What are you doing?”

“Nothin’,” mumbled the older.

“Makin’ magic spells,” grinned the younger, covered in flour from head to toe.

“What sort of magic spell?” asked Mum, wishing for her own magic spell.

“Take us to outa space.”

“Can I come too?”

🥕🥕🥕

The Magic of Imagination by TNKerr

Waves of assassins, ninjas, and marauders had already been turned away by the intrepid Timmy McNab. Dead and wounded were piled, like cordwood, against the back fence while weapons of all types lay scattered throughout the garden. When the whistle sounded, our hero held up one finger stopping an attacking pirate who waited; cutlass in his left hand, dagger in the right, pistol tucked into the black sash around his waist.

“Sorry, Cap’n,” That’s Mom. I gotta go, dinner time.”

“No fair, Timmy it’s my turn.” The pirate groused.

“We’ll play again tomorrow, after breakfast. You can go first.”

🥕🥕🥕

Do You Believe in Magic? by Chelsea Owens

Here, he sits. The screen reflects his fat fingers, his glasses, his balding head.
Between lines of numbered reports, his memory sees small hands, perfect sight, full hair. Laughter.

There, she rests. Against the mopped floor rest her orthopedic shoes, her sore cankles, her ample midsection.
Mundane mind-wanderings recall barefoot summers, skinny legs, an inverted belly button. Happiness.

Where, do we stand? Honest bathroom mirrors capture our eye lines, our neck bulges, our long wrinkly faces.
Fleeting cognizance remembers smooth skin, thin necks, unblemished features. Smiles.

Fairy dust? Hardly. Evaporating imagination pulls us ever farther from Never-Neverland.

🥕🥕🥕

Magician by Miriam Hurdle

“Danny, you’re my helper. Get me a chopstick and a cloth napkin.”
Uncle Pat shaped his left hand like a funnel, pushed the center of the napkin into it with the four corners flapping like petals. He poked the thin end of the chopstick into the napkin fiercely to the bottom, then pulled it through and shook the napkin in the air.

“Uncle, you didn’t poke a hole!”

“It’s magic.”

“Do it again.”

“Next time.”

Three days later.

“Hello, sis, how are you doing?”

“Danny poked a hole through three cloth napkins.”

“He’ll be a great magician one day.”

🥕🥕🥕

Up to His Tricks (from Rock Creek) by Charli MIlls

“Wanna see a magic trick?” Hickok splayed a deck of cards to Monroe.

“Pa doesn’t like hands playing cards.” The boy glanced at the barn door expecting Cobb to materialize.

“We’re not gaming. Just magic. Pick a card, any—”

“Monroe, your Ma is asking for you. Said to bring her the hen eggs.” Sarah stood in the door, arms crossed.

Monroe shuffled and then ran out the door. Sarah had to address the new hand before he got on Cobb’s wrong side.

Ready for her scolding, Hickok winked and smiled a boyish grin. “Wanna see a magic trick?”

🥕🥕🥕

Breakfast by oneletterup

Nobody even mentions the comet.
But she saw it! Last night. Out the window.
Would they even believe her?
Nobody believes her. Ever.

The little boy squints at her over his oatmeal.
“Come on…what’s your name?”

She shakes her head. Chews.
The little girl smiles at her.

If only she could stay here forever.
She wishes hard for a magic wand.
Poof! She would belong in this blue house with the swings.
This nice man. This nice lady. This little girl and little boy. And her. Safe.

She would stop remembering.
And she’d never have to go back.

🥕🥕🥕

Crystal Clear by Di @ pensitivity101

The ranks were gathered, thousands staring at the wondrous sight.

Whispers of ‘where did it come from’ and ‘what was it’ filtered through the regimental columns, no-one making any effort to climb the mossy mound to investigate.

Their Leader came to the front and once he had their full attention, announced that it was indeed magic, a Gift from the Gods.

Their prayers had been answered and their diligence rewarded.

This crystal globe contained a never ending source of the water they so badly needed.
He thus called upon his ant armies to carry it and its precious cargo.

🥕🥕🥕

Falling by Patrick O’Connor

There was only one explanation for what happened to me.

No one would have survived such a thing.

I was hanging over the edge of a cliff, clinging to a branch.

My strength gave out and I started falling.

Falling to the rocks below.

Just as I reached the rocks, everything went black.

I awoke on a beach, witnessing a beautiful sunrise.

The only explanation – magic.

I was in the same clothes.

I had all my memories.

But there was something even more extraordinary.

There were two moons in the sky instead of one.

I awoke in the hospital.

🥕🥕🥕

Pal Pays PayPal by D. Avery

“Hey, Kid.”

“What’s up, Pal?”

“I been thinkin’ on all thet Shorty’s doin’; second anthology, the rodeo…”

“Yep. Shore is a worker. Gives so much a hersef ta the Ranch.”

“Well, Kid, I found a magic button thet’ll hep us give ta the Ranch too.”

“Thought ya didn’t believe in magic.”

“Well, I’m beginnin’ ta. Ya jist go up ta the upper left hand corner an’ push some buttons and Kazam! Magically the Ranch is gifted.”

“You ain’t so gifted though. It ain’t magic; ya gotta pay, Pal.”

“So? I’m happy ta pay fer some Ranch magic. It’s priceless.”

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tents

Bright as egg yolk, yellow tents hold stories from fortune-tellers to cowards. You can’t miss a brightly colored tent in the wilderness or the backyard. But what is going on inside?

Writers stepped up to the challenge like queueing up for the circus. Some rogues found romance, some yearned for Yellowstone. The dialog, tension, and humor flows from the imaginations and shared memories of writers from around the world.

The following are based on the August 2, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a yellow tent.

PART I (10-minute read)

Boxing Up the Past by Heather Gonzalez

They say you can’t go home again. Lucy and Rick had to deal with what to do with their childhood home now that their parents were gone. Covered in cobwebs and memories, it was like stepping back in time to the 80s. Boxing up the past, Lucy came across a box of photographs.

“Hey, Rick! Come look at these!” Lucy held up a photo of them in their homemade fort as children.

Using a bright yellow sheet, they recreated their childhood. Under that tent, they felt young again, letting the loss of time melt away into the linoleum floor.

🥕🥕🥕

The Crawlspace by Bill Engleson

“Help me?” she pleads.

“Sure. With what?” I reluctantly query.

“The crawlspace…under the back porch. It’s a fire hazard.”

The world is ablaze, I think, and she’s worried about the dank confines of the porch.

“Okay,” I concede. “I’m too big to slither in there, though.”

“Fine,” she says, ticked. “I’ll slither in…hand the stuff to you.”

Delighted with my negotiating skills, I wait while she inches in.

“This is heavy…smells to high heaven.” She shoves out the old canvas tent, once khaki, now splotchy yellow.

“Full of sweet memories,” I opine.

“And fat spiders and mummified mice, sweetheart.”

🥕🥕🥕

The Yellow Tent by Anita Dawes

I have never been camping, nor slept in a tent
But I do know that yellow is the colour of magic.
Maybe I should try sleeping under a yellow canvas
To see where magic might take me.
To an enchanted forest with a babbling brook
Listening to the music made by flowing water
With fairy lanterns to light my way.
A castle where I might find my own Prince Charming
King Arthur and the Round Table
With Merlin by his side.
The golden chalice having been found
Back in its rightful place
Maybe there, I will find my happiness…

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent by Reena Saxena

During a session in neuro-linguistic programming, she was asked to imagine the peak of happiness, and visualize being swathed in golden-yellow light. It was like a magic bulb she was supposed to switch on in depressing moments, to migrate to a different mindset. It seemed like quackery, then.

Fifteen years later, she had lost her husband and retired from work. There was not much left to live for. But she brightened up talking about events in her prime, during interactions with her old-age home inmates.

It was the yellow tent she sought shelter in, to protect her against misery.

🥕🥕🥕

Sunny Cindy by kate @ aroused

Most prefer to blend into the bush when camping but not Cindy. When searching for firewood she had a tendency to often wander off completely distracted by an insect or looking for rocks or flowers. Hence she found a bright yellow tent was much easier to spot from afar.

And let’s face it if there are other campers about they cannot wander into Cindy’s by mistake as it’s so distinct. Besides yellow suited her personality as she was a sunny type of lass always smiling and chatting to anyone with the time. Ready to help or listen whenever needed.

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent by the Dark Netizen

“You know its a one in a million chance, right?”

The two were sitting in their yellow tent, entrance flap open, hoping for a shooting stars shower.

“You have said this before, Sammy. But, I really want to watch it.”

He wrapped his arms around her.

“I know that.”

She placed her head on his shoulders. And then it happened. Suddenly, the dark sky was filled with a stream of white stars. He held her tighter.

“For once, I am glad I was proven wrong.”

“It happened because we are one in a billion.”

He smiled.

“That we are.”

🥕🥕🥕

With Intent II by Norah Colvin

“I have to work.” She feigned disappointment.

“That’s okay. Come after work.”

“But I’m working late. It’ll be dark.”

“It’s well-lit all the way.”

“But I don’t know the way.”

“That’s okay.” He punched the address into her navigation device. “Just follow the directions.”

“How will I find you when I get there?”

“I’ll be watching for you.”

Conjuring no more excuses, she wasn’t yet ready to explain her attraction to him didn’t include camping.

Later, when entering the campgrounds, deserted but for one yellow tent lit by solar fairy lights spelling the words, “Marry me,” her fears melted.

🥕🥕🥕

The Sunshine Kid by Kay Kingsley

I emerged at dawn to a silence only those who have known solitude in the forrest long for. The sweet dampness of the morning burned the smell of warming Redwoods into my memory as I sat quietly by the fire perking coffee I drank from a tin cup.

The smoke rose into the forrest’s canopy as the fire pit crackled and popped and as peace settled in the sun broke free, cascading a kaleidoscope of light all around and from our yellow tent emerged my favorite person of all, my sunshine kid, beaming a smile from ear to ear.

🥕🥕🥕

Blonde Dreams? by JulesPaige

Yellow was the color of my true love’s hair
Never quite long enough to act as a tent
For me to hide in –
But with hugs and silent strength
(even when a very few times when
patience ran thin)
I’ve always had that haven…

Camping out in a yellow or any tent –
Not high on my radar.
However I hope that when we retire
We can travel in or out of country
(we’ve not yet been to all fifty states –
I’ve been to a few countries)
Maybe the hotel walls will be
White-washed yellow – and that will
Be enough…

🥕🥕🥕

No Vacation by Paula Moyer

Jean was 10 years old when she saw it in the catalogue: a bright yellow tent. It gleamed and beckoned. Oh, wouldn’t it be so marvelous – to live in that tent, with her family, on a vacation?

She sighed and dreamed.

“I’ve camped enough.” Her dad’s flat response woke her up.

Twenty years before: “the war.” Simple name.

Clarence, her dad, served in North Africa, Sicily, France. Like everyone else – “for the duration.” Three years in a khaki tent – no playful yellow.

“I’ve camped enough.”

Years later, in her own yellow tent, with her boyfriend, Jean swatted mosquitoes. Understood.

🥕🥕🥕

A Wretch Like Me by Sherri Matthews

‘Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…’

Will sang to his heart’s content, as tuneless as he cared to in his truck and no chiding from Pauline back home fixing dinner, no ma’am.

‘That saved a wretch like me…’

The radio cut dead and Will clamped the breaks. ‘Well, I’ll be damned…’ A tent as yellow as Pauline’s lemon pie covered Bud Wilson’s field and not a soul in sight.

Then he heard it again, but from the tent. He walked inside.

‘I once was lost, but now am found…’

Bud found Will’s body next morning, comforted by his smile.

🥕🥕🥕

The Birdcage Cover by Susan Sleggs

My sisters and I were gathered around an open trunk from our family home. Angelina took out a piece of yellow fabric that was shaped like a small Christmas tree skirt but only had a tiny hole and snaps along the open edge. I asked, “What’s that?”

Deanna said, “Do you remember the yellow canary we had when you were little?”

“Yeah, it sang when we ran water and louder when anyone whistled.”

“Mother made this from a tablecloth after Dad put the umpteenth cigarette burn it to cover its cage at night. I wonder why Mom kept it?”

🥕🥕🥕

Luxury Home by D. Avery

If you’ve ever sat and watched a mountaintop succumb to dusk’s misty cover; if you’ve sat long enough to see the fog reveal the mountaintop again but linger in the cuts and valleys; if witnessed a westward mountain reluctantly letting go its grip on the slanting sunlight that battled clouds all day, now trailing yellow rays, grasping at the underside of high branched leaves, streaking yellow ripples across the water, then you know. You’re just a poor camper, with all the riches that heaven and earth have to offer, the late evening sky the roof of your yellow tent.

🥕🥕🥕

Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

Judy always loved the countryside drive. All that fresh air, the postcard views, the streams, the tattered American flags—some confederate ones too. She could almost hear the hymns of old spilling from the window-less clapboard church, its steeple at a tilt.

But the yellow tents were new.

Her breath caught. A camp, but nothing like she’d seen, with black and brown bodies, childrens’ hands grasping a gleaming chain link fence. Judy’s foot found the gas pedal.

Judy thought the scene belonged in Europe. In the news. Debated from podiums. Instead it was sitting between cornfields, confronting her scenery.

🥕🥕🥕

Before The Gold Rush by Liz Husebye Hartmann

We’d started loading at the dawning of the third moon. Triage overflowed after the fifth wave from the Kipstanian Crisis. We tried to get the word out to all survivors; transport off our doomed planet ended today.

There would be no more planet to doom.

Flashing a light in the evacuees’ eyes, I direct them to the three loading tents. Green equals “Go”, red “Stop”, and yellow “Caution.” The Kipstanian crisis made id-ing dangerous types easy. Red eyes never made it off the planet. Blue, Brown? Approved.

Then SHE came, one eye blue, one green.

I point. “Yellow tent.”

🥕🥕🥕

The Autumn Leaves by Kenzie Farrington

Autumn leaves wander aimlessly through the breeze
They’ll tell you stories of the trees, if you bother to listen
Hear them pass, hear them humm
Past the city streets they run
Past the children
Past the swings
Beyond the buildings–
To where the river sings
Listen, listen, watch them glow
Green, red, orange, yellow
They’ll bring you something–
Something familiar, but far away
You’ve seen it before
Sometime last May

You were lying in your yellow tent
You met the moon, and she was beautiful
And those autumn leaves made you cry
Because there, you knew you were alive

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent by oneletterup

“Are you okay kid?”

The last thing she remembers is a truck door closing.
Then sleeping in this soft lap.
She struggles to open her eyes. So tired.
Where Am I?

“Kid! What’s your name? Who are you?”

She turns toward the voice. A kind voice.
A smooth hand covers hers. Gentle and warm.
Something in her untwists.
Tears escape, sliding down her face.
She feels herself lifted up. Hears a door opening.

She peeks. A blue house. Flowers. Swings.
A little girl. A little boy.
A little yellow tent; flap up. Toys inside.
“Ya wanna play?”
She smiles.

🥕🥕🥕

Solitude, Wait for Me (from “Diamante”) by Saifun Hassam

The tide was out. Sand dollars were scattered across the wet sands. Diamante pitched his yellow tent near the broken wood fence, and walked along the deserted seashore. Solitude.

A yellow butterfly fluttered past him. Seagulls swept out to sea from the dunes. A dragon kite sprang into the skies, its tail a ribbon of yellow flags, its eyes glinting with multicolored sequins. Children’s laughter rang out on the warm sea breeze.

Diamante sighed. He loved butterflies and kites. He loved the villagers. And it was time to fix the broken fence. Solitude would have to wait another day.

🥕🥕🥕

Bright Yellow Tent by Teresa Grabs

“Let’s get you guys this one,” Lucy said, picking up a dome tent.

Amber and Gin moaned.

“Girls, the tickets alone were nearly a thousand dollars. I am not buying a top of the line tent for a music festival. Besides, how many people there will have a bright yellow tent?”

They knew she could still change her mind about letting them go and she had a point about the color of the tent. No one wanted a bright yellow tent. When they arrived and was blinded by sunlight lying on the ground they learned how wrong she was.

🥕🥕🥕

Flash Fiction by Geoff Le Pard

‘Logan, what are you doing?’

‘Trying… what a stupid idea to use this tent.’

‘Why? It’s fine…’

‘It’s so small I can’t even fart…’

‘That’s one blessing. Anyway, you’ve happily spent hours crushed with 100,000 strangers by the main stage, dancing to Metallica…’

‘I didn’t know them. I know you.’

‘Surely it’s the other way round?’

‘No… is that what I think is sticking in my leg?’

‘My elbow.’

‘On the tube, if a stranger stinks, elbows me, I get off. Here, I’m stuck with you.’

‘I don’t smell. Do I?’

‘No Morgan. Are you sure that’s your elbow?’

🥕🥕🥕

PART II (10-minute read)

Big Yellow Tent by Sascha Darlington

Have you ever heard sunshine in laughter?

It was moments before I saw her, head tilted back, laughing up into the cerulean sky so free-spirited that I was charmed.

But then there was her big scary yellow tent.

“Hello,” I said, always great with words.

She grinned. “Hello, yourself.”

“What’s with the tent?”

“It’s my big yellow taxi.”

“Pardon?”

“Where’re you from?”

“Edinburgh.”

“Scotland. Ever heard of Joni Mitchell?”

I shook my head. Politician? Actress? Reality TV?

“One of the greatest singer/songwriters who ever existed.”

“Oh.”

“My big yellow taxi takes me away.”

And, somehow, it took me too.

🥕🥕🥕

The Porch by Late Night Girl

Reinhold Messner sought the Heights
and found his Porch
No Mansion by the Beach
or Villa in the Hills
can bargain with him
in exchange
for his little Yellow Tent
on top of the Peak
touching Paradise

No incentive of a fake Sky
via a tasteless satellite dish
can pay him to observe
electronic stars and purple rain
sprinkle down upon his Summit

The Snow is his Sand
the Tent his Castle and
the Sky his Umbrella
to protect him from
a moderate Life

The Crisp Air is his Coffee
the Moon his Bread
and the Earth his Bed

🥕🥕🥕

Being Yellow by floridaborne

Two pictures sat on mom’s kitchen counter; my parents standing near a yellow tent, and a rich bitch wearing yellow standing next to my dad taken days after he’d abandoned mom for her when I turned one.

Mom and I lived in subsidized housing. I made straight A’s in school, had a free ride to the local state college, and mom died a month after I received my degree.

The doorbell rang. I opened it to stare into eyes just like mine.

“Go to hell. It’s yellow there, just like you,” I said, slamming the door in Dad’s face.

🥕🥕🥕

Sales Shopping for a New Dress by Anne Goodwin

“You don’t have it in a different colour?” Or a different shape? It could be fancy dress. Marvellous! they’d say. You’ve come as a tent.

“Not at this price,” says the assistant. “But yellow’s definitely your colour.” How does she know? Because of my sunny disposition or because I’m a coward? Or because this frock is taking up space she needs for the winter stock.

“I’ll take it.” If only to hang in my wardrobe along with several other outfits I haven’t the courage to wear. “On second thoughts … Snap off the sales tag! I’m wearing it home.”

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent y Robbie Cheadle

“I bought us a two-man tent so we can go camping.”

“Really,” said Helen, “are you referring to the child-sized, yellow tent you just put up in the garden.”

“Yes, and it’s not child-sized, the man in the shop said it would sleep two people comfortably.”

“Does it have a bathroom and kitchenette?”

“No,” said Dave.

“Does it have wi-fi, air-conditioning and plugs for my laptop, iPad, iPhone and hairdryer.”

“You’re being ridiculous, of course it doesn’t have those things. It’s for camping. We’ll have a great time experiencing the great outdoors.”

“You mean you’ll have a great time.”

🥕🥕🥕

Cowardly, Chloe Goes Camping by JulesPaige

I knew I’d be a heel if I didn’t go camping with him. He said it was a time to heal, being in nature. He’ll provide everything he said.

I dreaded him coming down my lane. All night I
had lain stiffly prone trying to sleep in the comfort of my bed… I tried to dream up some excuse not to go. I couldn’t find any…

Maybe one night wouldn’t be so bad? We got to
the lake and he set up a yellow tent. He brought
an air cushion …

No indoor plumbing. I’d be peeing in a can.

🥕🥕🥕

Wanting to Hide (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli MIlls

Danni unzipped her tent. Vapors rose from the creek where it meandered smooth and flat across a meadow dotted with daisies. The sun cast colors across the eastern horizon of sharp mountains. She checked each boot, a habit from growing up in Nevada where scorpions liked to take refuge in a cozy shoe. The feel of laced boots gave her confidence to face the day. The volunteers would soon be arriving to camp. Ike had always teased her about how bright yellow her tent was – “Astronauts in space can spot it.” Today, she wished she had his camo tent.

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent for Sale by Peregrine Arc

“Yellow tent for sale, never used. Complete with stakes and poles. Good for camping trips. $99, OBO. Sleeps four comfortably. Inquiries at…”

I squinted at the ad as I picked up the phone. Files littered my desk. Paper clipped photos of children stared back at me vacantly.

“Hello? I’m interested in the tent. Would $70 do? Great, I’ll pick it up today. Cash only–I understand.”

I grabbed my keys and stuck my head into my boss’ office.

“Got another tent for a family. Be back in ten.”

🥕🥕🥕

Misunderstanding by Kerry E.B. Black

They pitched their tent at the top of the hill, its brilliant golden canvas welcoming as the sun.

A hundred other campers went about their lives at the hill’s base. They lit fires and toasted marshmallows, roasted hot dogs, and gossiped around the flickering flames. “Why’d they build their tent atop the hill? Do they think they’re better than us?” “Yellow’s an ostentatious color. Why not pitch blue or grey tents like ours?” “We distrust them.”

Atop the hill, they hoped for visitors. They baked scones, percolated coffee, and fried platters of bacon and eggs to share.

None came.

🥕🥕🥕

At the Midway by D. Avery

It was a yellow tent, not well placed in the carnival midway, but its owner sang out to prospective customers, enticing them to come closer, come curious, come in.

*Come in, come in, all will be revealed
Lived well, or sinned, come see how you’ll be dealed.
Step through the yellow tent
See how your end of days are spent.*

Most went in just for a lark, laughing.
Some came out beaming, said the tent had the buttercup color of sunshine summer days. Others came out shaken, said the tent was sulfur colored, reminded them of lightning, striking close.

🥕🥕🥕

The Fortune Giver by D. Avery

Also on the midway, an exotic red haired Portuguese gypsy woman spun fortunes from words. Her tent was unmistakably the color of sunshine, which drew people eager to spend their 99 cents for the gift of story. In every story the gypsy spun, they heard their own story and left emboldened enough to tell their stories themselves. This yellow tent buzzed and hummed with story as more and more people came to hear and to tell. The gypsy woman glowed, basking in her good fortune, measured not in the 99 cents, but the 99 word stories of her community.

🥕🥕🥕

A Cold Night by Anurag Bakhshi

It was a cold night, and my teeth were chattering as I made my way towards the yellow tent in the middle of the desert.

There was a feeling of warmth emanating from inside the tent that seemed to be calling out to me.

I peeped in through a small hole, and saw a girl, alone.

Unable to resist any longer, I rushed into the tent…and fell right into a boiling cauldron.

And the last words I heard before I lost consciousness were, “Aah, rattlesnake soup will be just perfect to keep me warm on this brutally cold night.”

🥕🥕🥕

For All In Tents and Purposes by Nancy Brady

The truck pulled up and parked on the side of the road. The two men climbed out of the truck. Arrayed in green shirts, khaki pants, boots, and a utility belt to rival Batman’s, they attached their belts and shimmied up the telephone pole.

With the sky looking overcast, the men put up a little safety yellow tent on the telephone line. Looking more like a tiny house than a typical pup tent, it hung there fifty feet above the street. It sheltered the two men as they worked furiously to fix the phone lines before the storm hit.

🥕🥕🥕

The World Through Prismatic Glasses by Chelsea Owens

“When I grow up,”
I say
From too-tall counters, unfair portions, summer bedtimes.

When I grow up,
I hope
For friends, a car, no one ever telling me, “No.”

When I grow up,
I think
Promises will be kept, rules followed; the world blacks and whites.

Grown up,
I see
Crumb-filled countertops, imperfect pieces, little sleep.

Grown up
I wish
For friends, fewer expenses, parents’ good advice.

Grown up
I learn
People are human, rules bend; the world….

Is rainbowed

I take a crayon and draw my mind:
Greening forest,
Glittering sky,
And a yellow tent,

Glowing from within.

🥕🥕🥕

Not What She Had in Mind by Molly Stevens — Shallow Reflections

“What are you watching?” asked Chester.

“The Travel Channel,” said Ruth. “Don’t you wish we could drive an RV across the country? There is so much to do and see.”

“I’m pretty happy right here,” said Chester scratching his ample belly.

But he saw the wistful look in Ruth’s eyes.

“I’m going to run into town,” he said.

When he returned, he was as radiant as a cloudless July sky.

“This is going to be our home at Park’s Pond campground up the road in Clifton,” he announced.

“Oh, Chester, I was longing for Yellowstone, not a yellow tent!”

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent by Frank Hubeny

Perhaps it was the sunshine yellow that attracted the bear or the food or curiosity. Bill had a camper over his Ford pickup truck, but he could not stand up in it and so he bought the tent.

He thinned naturally grown trees on clear-cut paper company land. This kept him alone in the woods for a week at a time or until the project finished.

He thought the tent was perfect until the bear came. It pushed its nose into the fabric deeply breathing. Bill swatted it and it ran off.

After that they left each other alone.

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Tent by Miriam Hurdle

“How was your sleep last night?”

“Awful. I’m not the camping type. My back hurts.”

“You slept in a cot. Didn’t it help?”

“It’s just the idea of not having walls around that gave me a nightmare.”

“The tent is our wall.”

“But that yellow color is so light that I could see the moonlight.”

“That should be soothing and relaxing.”

“But, but… it’s like transparent. I felt like sleeping in the open air. I heard growling and saw a bear chasing me.”

“The bear didn’t chase you. We had a bear visit and stole our food last night.”

🥕🥕🥕

Thin Layer of Bravado by Oneta Hayes

Our traditional Kidz Kamp was marked by tent colors: blue for boys, red for girls. Mine, as Counselor, was yellow. I said it meant “courageous” and the young children believed me. Bigger kids would catch on right away. It stands for “coward.”

That was not always so. “Just give me a flashlight and let me at ‘um,” was my motto. I was an owl-chasing specialist. Until the “spider” incident. I screamed. The kids came running to offer their help. Betsy stepped on the spider – barefooted.

Those kids have grown; the story is dead. But it sticks with me. Coward.

🥕🥕🥕

A Beatle’s Wasteland by Late Night Girl

‘How did I get myself into this mess?!’ he thought while trying to find beauty in his surroundings, with freeze burn on his toes.

His mind was frozen from the cold. And in this solitude all he managed to do was to hum a tune to try and stay awake.

All that came to mind in this ironic turn of events was a song he used to sing with his friends under a starry night around the camp fire:

“We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow sub…mmaa….riiinee…”

And then he dosed off into the stars.

🥕🥕🥕

Lovers by Patrick O’Connor

Strolling through the woods on a hot summer afternoon.

We’d been three days in the forest, looking for a place to camp for the night.

Coming to a small clearing, we noticed a tent.

It wasn’t really much of a tent. More like a lean-to.

Looking closer at the material, it looked like a tarp that was once green but now a dirty, faded yellowish, grey.

Walking around the front, we got the shock of our life.

Inside the lean-to? Two skeletons. Obvious lovers, cuddled together.

They must have been there for years.

A sad ending to two lives.

🥕🥕🥕

Watching From Above, Waiting by TN Kerr

peering through his scope at the landscape below
looking at
an encampment, an encampment of one
that almost went unnoticed.
a flax coloured tent with a muted hue, sombre. quietly
blending into the background,
perfectly camouflaged.
a cold camp, no fire and the only sign of life is a yellow dog
stretched out and still
near an assortment of gear, stacked to one side
it has to be him
it must be Munroe
nothing to do now except stand by,
Munroe will be back.
a disturbance from behind, then a voice, whispers,
“Hullo, Sutherland. What took you so long?”

🥕🥕🥕

Yellow Light District by Ritu Bhathal

A rustling noise caught my attention.

I trudged through the forest, kicking up the leaves, trying to trace the source of the sound.

A glow emanated from a clearing up ahead.

As I got closer I saw the glow came from the inside of a yellow tent.

It was a hastily erected contraption, and accompanying the rustles were giggles.

The light created shadows.

Two people.

There were definitely two.

The giggles became moans.

The shadows moved slowly, the moans became more intense.

I turned around, embarrassed to be there, until I heard “Oh Petey!”

That was my husband’s name…

🥕🥕🥕

Tent Tense by D. Avery

“Yellow?!”

“Hello?”

“Huh? Oh, hey Pal. Jeez… Yellow tents… ”

“You seem a might tense, Kid. Maybe a might yeller too. Just go where the prompt leads, don’t be afraid.”

“I ain’t afraid, Pal, in fact I prefer ta sleep out under the stars, no tent at all.”

“Don’t Kid, ‘cause I’m afraid I’ll have ta listen ta yer complainin’ ‘bout skeeter bites.”

“Hmmph. Pal, why is Shorty’s tent yeller?”

“It ain’t yeller. It’s transparent.”

“I see.”

“Yep. The midnight oil she burns makes it ‘pear yeller. Claims it’s like sunshine.”

“I prefer moonshine.”

“Jist go ta yer tent Kid.”

🥕🥕🥕

Warrior Women

Strong women run with the wolves, engaging their Wild selves. Feminine mythology extends beyond limiting stereotypes of women. It’s fertile ground for writers to explore.

What might a female warrior look like, act like, sound like? Writers place these women as characters in different predicaments or examine the influences of those they have loved in real life.

The following is based on the May 31, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about warrior women.

PART I (10-minute read)

Rancha Mythica by D. Avery

Drumbeats and dancing feet reverberate like thunder across the lands of Buckaroo Nation.

The usual low, homey campfire is now a blazing bonfire. Flames leap wildly, lashing the night sky. Wild women are illuminated in flashes, scars revealed in the dancing light.
Old stories are told in new ways. Sad stories are told. Yet laughter rings out strong and true. Songs of life rise up like sparks from their fire, sung to old tunes that resonate like a smooth round rock.

The women warriors rise. The women warriors raise one another up. The women warriors of Buckaroo Nation write.

🥕🥕🥕

Valkyries by Charli Mills
Step forth onto the battlefield, Daughters. Brace your feet, remember your training. Adjust your shield and sword. Death is but a trip to Valhalla. Ready your bodies for passage. When you fall, the Valkyries are coming. Skol!

Lift up, lift up, lift up — Choosers of the Slain! Warrior-women wielding runes, marks of the chosen. Let not the weight of the world, the heaviness of battle, the blood your body sheds destroy you. Glory nears.

Lift up, lift up, lift up and carry those battle-born souls to Odin. Warriors of the warriors. Valkyries. Women who rise. The run is over.

🥕🥕🥕

War Zone by Mirium Hurdle

“Good morning, Lieutenant? You’ve slept for three days.”

“Where am I? My legs? I can’t feel anything.”

“They found you after the bombing. You’re alive.”

“Sheila, we need you. The Captain is hurt.”

“Right over, Ursula.”

“The blood is gushing out from his chest.”

“Roll up the sheet to put pressure on it. Give him porphin.”

“Sheila, more stretches are in. We have no beds.”

“Clear up all the tables.”

“Sheila, here. Private got shot through the elbow.”

“I’ll prepare to cut his forearm. Bring me the equipment.”

“Sheila, over there.”

“Captain needs a blood transfusion.”

“I’ll be there.”

🥕🥕🥕

Black ‘n’ White by Neel Anil Panicker

‘It’s plain nepotism. The winner’s the Jury Chairman’s nephew. You can contest the decision if you want to’.

For Abraham Lincoln, the Principal’s words were a sledgehammer.

He had outscored every single opponent and was lustily cheered after his passionate seven minute espousal of a woman’s undeniable right to abortion yet lost the prestigious annual Inter-Collegiate Debate Competition by a mere vote.

His mother’s words ringed her ears.

‘Remember, son, a Black man’s got to be a hundred times better than others if he wants to succeed in this land’.

“No Sir, I’ll try to do better next time”.

🥕🥕🥕

Urban Encounter by Bill Engleson

I generally don’t walk down Carlyle Avenue after dark. The town has quite a few streets I avoid at night. Truth is, there was still a hint of daylight slanting through, courtesy of a stretched moon shadow.

Before I see her, she screams from the alley, “Get the blazes outta here.”

That grabs my attention. Then she sashays into the light. Five-foot tops, wearing a black shawl, an ankle length red dress, and a gray military great coat.

“What’s ya lookin’ at, Creepo?”

Later, I’m thinking I should’ve said something clever.

Sadly, my tongue was tied.

I just skedaddled.

🥕🥕🥕

Mama Bear Unleashed by Eric Pone

Ono looked at the robber in the store. As he smacked the owner, she looked down at her daughter and took a deep breath. Piper shouldn’t see mama this way but shit happens. Reaching behind she slowly removed the Tanto Emerson knife and quietly rolled Piper into a quiet aisle. She walked purposely toward him her pace quickening as old habits opened their doors for their horrible duty. The man turned toward her and tried to point his Magnum 357. Too late. The knife quickly sliced his jugular. She smiled as he gurgled and fought for life. Mama did well.

🥕🥕🥕

Shadow People by Charli Mills
Undergrowth of legends cling to consciousness and shadows vape through the veil between who we must be and who we indeed are. Quaking, we repeat fairy tales to let fear conform our captured souls.

The veil slips, and we glimpse Mythica where strange and weird entities tap and twirl to original wingbeats of self-expression. Fear blinds our hearts and knots the rope around throats of mythical women who are different.

Mythica is the shadowlands populated by shadow people. Dare you cross the veil? Grandmother won’t save you, but she beckons you to enter and run hard with the wolves.

🥕🥕🥕

Warrior Women by Michael Grogan

She’s old now. Her life draws to an end, but the warrior lives within her. Once a victim of rape and incest, she dedicated her life as an advocate for others.

Hours as a parent rescuing a wayward daughter, suffering estrangement but death reunited mother and daughter. She never gave up, she was a rock her child could always lean on, never dreaming she might one day bury her.

True warriors are a source of inspiration to so many, her voice in a wilderness of indifference.

She sits and holds the image of a beautiful child she couldn’t save.

🥕🥕🥕

Warriors of the Dark by Reena Saxeena

dark fears of
being overpowered
light up corners of my psyche.

childhood memories of voices
saying I was no good
unacceptable in original form

they dressed me in clothes
of subservience
to comply with social norms.

I couldn’t see how
inner demons would be caged
floating out in the cold

the jury out there
delivered verdicts
to encase me in moulds

dark, interfering shadows
swooped to enslave,
control my life

it awakened armies inside me
with the power to wage war
and destroy to end strife.

isolation for protection
and … it has always been
a lone warrior’s life.

🥕🥕🥕

The Warrior Women of Ireland by Anne Goodwin

They fought in lipstick and five-inch heels; they fought in turf-stained jeans and wellies. They battled home via Stena Sealink and Ryanair for the desperate travelling in the opposite direction. They fought so no more Savitas would have to die because no surgeon would defy the law to save them. They fought with the ballot won a century before when women starved for basic freedoms. The warrior women of Ireland reclaimed the choice misogyny and church denied them. But the job’s not done until their sisters in the north can also decline to harbour an alien in their bodies.

🥕🥕🥕

Warrior Women by Robbie Cheadle!

“How are you enjoying being back at work, Lisa?”

“Not at all, Sarah. I feel guilty about leaving Tom with a caregiver. I feel I should be looking after him myself. When I collect him in the afternoon he won’t come to me. I am sure he isn’t happy.”

“Well, my view, for what it’s worth, is that we are helping to provide for our children. Our salaries facilitate better educational and other opportunities for them. It also ensures that our children have an independent, strong and self-sufficient woman as their role model. Working mothers are the modern warriors.”

🥕🥕🥕

Silent Warrior by Teresa Grabs

Protests erupted nationwide as women took to the streets. They protested for parental pay, self-ownership, and some just to protest. Newscasts were filled lawsuits over whether a man looked at a woman or complimented her outfit. Some men were too afraid to be in a room with a woman.

Lillian adjusted her gloves and checked her hat in the mirror one last time before going shopping. The streets were filled with protests again. Words hurling everywhere and no one listening.

“Thank you,” Lillian said, to the man opening the store’s door for her, smiling. Today’s silent warrior, she thought.

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Warrior Revising by D. Avery

She reined hard to a dusty stop. “Whoaaa.”

“Nice bike”, her granpa remarked. She reproved him with a withering glare. “It’s a horse.”

“You’re a cowgirl?”

“No, I’m an Indian.”

“A lovely maiden out for a ride!”

“No, Granpa! I’m a warrior!”

“A warrior princess.”

He got an eye-roll. “Granpa, I’m not a princess! I am a war-ri-or.”

“Okay, okay. You are a warrior, doing battle, fighting.”

“Actually, I just try and save boys ‘cause they’re under a spell that makes them do dumb things all the time.”

She galloped off.

Maybe he should call next door, warn Tommy.

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Warrior Women by Sarah Whiley

I gripped my hands tightly around the wooden blade, sucking in deep breaths, to fill my lungs with the oxygen I knew would be required for the battle ahead.

“We’ve trained hard for this! We have this,” I told myself.

Adrenalin began pumping as I waited for the signal. I glanced at the girl next to me who was also breathing heavily. She gave me a quick wink.

Suddenly, I heard the calls we’d been waiting for…

“Down and ready.”

“Are you ready?”

“Attention.”

Paddles entered the water as the siren blared.

We were warrior women, in our dragonboat.

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Warrior Women by Nicole Grant

The grandfathers were whalers, and according to historians, they were yeoman farmers. I wonder, what were the grandmothers doing?  And how were the grandfathers, out at sea harpooning whales, managing their farms?  Rebecca Corson, one of the grandmothers, is said to have fired a cannon scaring off the British as they approached shore during the revolutionary war.  My guess would be that the women were spending less time on widow walks wringing their hands watching for the whalers to return than they spent in the fields tilling, in the woods hunting, and behind the cannon doing what they must.

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Not Time: by The Dark Netizen

I ride into the army of red coats, swarming my home like ants. They will not capture my home so easily.

My noble steed needs no directions from me. He rides straight through their ranks, letting me tear them down with my swords – flashes of silver lightning.

Even after hours of fighting, my conquest seems hopeless. Most of my men are dead or wounded. I feel my eyes closing.

NO!

For the sake of my little baby and my kingdom, I cannot give in. Death will have to wait to claim the queen.

My time has not come!

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Warrior Woman by Deborah Lee

Jane’s eyes open to the phone alarm. She pokes her nose out of the sleeping bag: Cold.

Just today off? Just one day? To lie around, to not strain her eyes at job listings, to not duck the judging eyes of the homed and employed. One day to pretend her life is good enough to relax into.

No.

One day of not trying leads to one missed opportunity leads to another damned lifetime of this life she’s lived too long already.

Growling, she flings back the top of the sleeping bag and jerks her legs out of the warmth.

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Gertrude the Invincible by Norah Colvin

With flaming hair streaming and eyes blazing, Gertrude stood at the apex surveying the land, her land. With one hand on a hip and the other raised high, she hurled her words into the wind.

“I did it. I am the conqueror. You,” she pointed expansively with her spear, “are now my subjects. You do my bidding.”
The minions bowed before her.

“I am in-vinc-i-ble!”

“Gertie! Pick up your toys and come inside now. It’s dinner-time,” called Dad from the door.

Gertie complied. Even warriors need to eat. There’d be more conquests and enemies for Gertrude to vanquish tomorrow.

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Taking a Stand by Wallie and Friend

True, Aunt Cecily was older, but that didn’t necessarily make her wise. Emmy knew she was dead wrong. The hard part was saying so.

“Auntie,” she said, “I’m going. I know what the risks are and it’s true I might not come back. But I have to do this. For us. For all of us. I can’t just stay behind while Eddie and the others go. I can’t.”

Aunt Cecily didn’t answer at once. She looked at her niece, seeing the young woman’s level chin, hearing her controlled voice.

“You’re right,” she said. “And I will go with you.”

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Line by galaxygirl_89

She spent every summer vacation at her great aunt’s place in the countryside, a respite from the city and it’s loneliness, among the mango trees and the paddy fields, cousins and neighbours to play with. That was the first time ever they had done anything wayward. They stole away at night after the grown ups were asleep, and walked to the stream at the end of the property. The strips dividing the fields were so narrow that they had to walk in a single file, like ants treading a line, while the moonlight streamed over in a silvery cascade.

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PART II (10-minute read)

The Present by Papershots

In bed that night, she suddenly extended her right arm and hand. She squinted her eyes and aimed at the wall opposite – wedding photo, big table lamp, wooden-framed mirror. A powerful beam of light, she imagined, would open the wall and let her see behind it. She laughed. Surely if she was Super Mom she could have greater powers than that! “Never be mad for any reason, always understanding, strict and lenient at every right dose.” Better make do with these. Or have to. Or really do, because she had them. The kids asleep, she dreamed of Wonder Woman.

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Mom by Faith A. Colburn

She thought she could adapt to anything. After all, to save her family, she’d got a job when she was only fifteen—singing in a nightclub. She’d navigated groping, propositions, and men who said she did when she didn’t; she’d joined the Army and learned to build radios and install them into B-24s; she’d married the man she loved, a shell-shocked veteran, and moved with him to a farm in Nebraska, where the nights were silent and the stars near; she’d learned to be a farm wife. But in the end, she learned she couldn’t just be missus somebody.

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Warrior Women by Chelsea Owens

Youth, untried, stands blinking into the equatorial sun. It shuffles awkward spears; tilts dented shields.

Two thousand feet nervously stamp the earth.

Their leader looks upon his neophyte army. “What say ye, my sons; will ye go against them to battle?”

Two thousand of them have never fought. Two thousand just left home. Two thousand eager voices cry, “Our God is with us! Let us go!”

Thus they march, thus they go, thus they draw their spears. The enemy, surprised, falls beneath their untrained arms.

The leader, awed, counts two thousand. “How came ye by your courage?”

“Our mothers.”

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Wounded Warrior by D. Avery

Not best friends, but reliable friends; neighbors, they had been playmates since forever, from sandbox to bikes, many shared adventures. Together they had explored the haunted house, both emerging as warriors, both with bragging rights.

Together they’d built a secret fort.

That’s where they started exploring each other. The fort was theirs, this exploring was theirs, fun and friendly, another rite of passage shared.

He bragged. Somehow he knew he could. Somehow she knew she couldn’t admit that she’d even done it, let alone liked it.

Somehow the game had changed.

She wondered if he also missed their friendship.

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Flash Fiction by Floridaborne

Work study in a musty university library back room, 1968.

Three students were tasked with binding tortured book spines. June, a slender woman well aware of her own beauty, liked to talk politics. Plain, “heavy set,” Linda was mortified.

Jack, once part of an inner-city gang, didn’t try staring his umbrage into someone with an opposing point of view. He took a blade used for binding and held it at June’s throat.

“I just bought this blouse,” June said. “Try not to get blood all over it.”

Jack lowered the weapon, and chuckled. “That takes guts.”

Linda, however, fainted.

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Escaping Leap by Jo

The unexpected jolt to the chin was her warning. The blinding pain, the sign she sought after. She was more wounded by the fact he punched her than by the soreness setting in.

‘I’m sorry!’ He said walking toward her.

She made the decision to step back watching his eyes that went pitch black the moment she stepped away holding her face. No sword, no shield, just her wits and will, she leaped for her keys and dashed to her car. She couldn’t watch him in the rearview mirror. Later, filing a report, she learned she escaped a murderer.

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Warrior, Warrior by Peregrine Arc

“You’re too fat.”

“You’re too skinny.”

“You should stay at home.”

“You should volunteer again.”

“That’s not organic?”

“Why are you breastfeeding in public?”

“That skirt is too short.”

“That blouse is too modest.”

“Boys will be boys.”

“Men will be men.”

“Be quiet.”

“Speak up.”

The conversations streamed past me as I sat in the mall, quietly observing.

Men may carry clubs, but women carry poison.

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Worth the Frostbite by Kerry E.B. Black

Dyan wielded a pitchfork like a peasant soldier, lips pulled into a snarl. “Back off! You’re not hurting these kittens again.”

The farmer whistled through his teeth. “Girl, are you daft? We’ve too many felines. Don’t need no more. ‘Sides, you’ll be needing some attention. Thrusting your hands into a frozen trough for a few useless kits was just plain dumb. You’ll be nursing frostbite.”

She no longer felt her fingers, but she didn’t care. “You’re a cruel man.” She scooped the sack squirming with mewing kittens, sheltered them beneath her winter coat, and ran to the tack-room’s protection.

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Avid Reader by kate @ aroused

Learning Italian at seventy-six years was a challenge Aunty gladly accepted. The least she could do when she expected her neighbours to learn English.

An avid reader with a vast vocabulary ensured easy completion of the cryptic crosswords daily. An astute historian, adept pianist, reared in the wilds a full sixteen mile hike from the train.

Abused by her educators she cared for her parents before a brief but happy marriage. Her genuine interest in absolutely everybody ensured that she had a constant stream of visitors.

Never uttered a bad word or complaint. She graced us for a century.

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Fighting The Invisible Enemy by Geoff Le Pard

‘How are you, Morgan?’

‘At a loss, Logan.’

‘She’s fighting, though, knowing your ma.’

‘I’m not… you know, I don’t get that whole ‘fighting cancer’ thing’

‘She’s not giving up, is she?’

‘But she ain’t exactly waving her sword either. I mean you can’t will the effing thing away.’

‘What they saying?’

‘Not much. Just more tests. You know what’s hard? She’s always argued. She’d diss a lamppost if it got in her way, but she just lies there, doing nothing. No swearing, not even a hairy eyeball.’

‘Come here. You need to stop fighting yourself.’

‘It sucks, mate.’

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Champion Challenge by JulesPaige

Was Mercy a warrior? The woman had given Regina birth. Perhaps Mercy’s own mother knew, maybe even the man who she called her husband? But when you die young and don’t get to tell your tale — you can only hope others will. Both Gran and Dad had broken hearts that they kept as silent as a moss covered stone.

Regina latched onto the few memories that had been shared and would spin them thousands of ways. After all Mercy’s blood ran in her veins. Perhaps the words that Regina spilled on paper would be enough. They’d have to be.

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The Brotherhood of Iron by Telling Stories Together

“Again,” said the monk.

Constance drew back the bow, squeezing her shoulders together. She let string go and the arrow sang through the air, thudding into the rotten stump. The ground around the stump was littered with shafts from previous attempts.

“You’ve improved. You actually hit your target this time.”

Constance returned the old monk’s smile in spite of herself. Then, remembering her task, the parcel she’d dutifully delivered, the smile faded.

“You’ve been very kind, Atheus, but I must return to my own Order.”

Atheus placed a hand on her shoulder. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”

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Easy Pickings by Di @ pensitivity101

Swordsmanship wasn’t restricted to just the menfolk in their quiet village.

Situated in the middle of nowhere, they would be open to invasion from all sides, and when food was scarce, the men would go off to hunt, leaving the women to care for the children, elderly and infirm.

Such was a time when Outsiders decided to plunder the village whilst the men were away.

It was a bloodbath, and they didn’t stand a chance.

Only one was allowed to live and serve as a warning to others that the women there could kill as well as any man.

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United, They Win by Aweni

Melville looked fearfully at the Amazon he’d trained. She was meant to be his weapon against her kind. But, she knew his intentions now and her rage was sublime.

He won’t give up. He’ll throw discord in their midst. Her army will turn on her, he thought gleefully.

He knew he had lost when she shouted, “I come from a line of warriors! We create a furore, when we line in thick rows. Breaking the air with arrows, cleaving through the enemy with our swords. One sister for all, all sisters for one. Bend the knee to our king!”

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Who’s Gettin’ Schooled? by Liz Husebye Hartmann

She swings again, the blunt-edged sword whistling past his ear by a hair’s breadth. He slices upward with his own wooden blade. She arches her back like a wildcat, leather armor squeaking protest at the quick move, and follows with a roundhouse twist that lands her at his open left side.

A quick jab; she stops just short of his heart line.

He freezes, chest heaving, and peers at her shrewdly. “You’re slow today. Are you trying to fail?”

She laughs, troll’s tail flicking gleefully. “Maybe you’re getting old, Father.”

“Time to teach you about Statecraft,” he threatens playfully.

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[fight] by Deb Whittam
Times had changed and changed rapidly … no longer was there a sense of comradery or fulfilment in this game – now it was a fight … to the death.

She had held herself distant from it but now that her opportunity had come to enter the fray she felt a sense of unease and her hand shook as she finalised her preparations – applied her makeup, checked her hair and ensured that her sword’s blade was honed to a razor-sharp point.

One didn’t go to a disco unarmed – not if one was looking for a man anyway.

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But Still Single? by Roger Shipp

She was wildly pursued on OkCupid as well as Happen, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Bumble. Hundreds of hits a day was the norm. This she enjoyed.

Tender and Down even offered incentives if she would allow her picture to appear on their advertising after her photo shoot in Maui. Financially, a plus!

LuLu, Match, and Zoosk had called her attorney wanting exclusive rights to her personality profile. Don’t throw at stick at that!

Being so sought after from all the dating app corporations could really swell a girl’s head…

Maybe actually being too-good-to-be-true was too good to be true.

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Mystery Solved by Molly Stevens

At first, Chester treasured his time alone when Ruth disappeared into the spare bedroom. He sat in tightie whities slurping coffee, scratching a butt cheek, and passing gas, thankful for the absence of her heavy sighs.

Then it seemed creepy. What the hell was she doing in there?

“I know it’s that crazy neighbor, Myra, put her up to somethin’,” he said.

He turned the knob inching the door open. Ruth stood with hands on hips, feet shoulder-width apart, chest puffed out, and chin up.

“Sweet Jesus, it’s dad-blamed Wonder Woman,” said Chester.

Ruth flashed him a wide grin.

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Wanda by Frank Hubeny

Silvia walked into Benny’s Diner. Sharon told Benny to deal with her or she’d quit. Benny shuffled to the bar.

“Morning, Silvia.”

“I want a real waitress serving me.”

Benny glanced at Sharon. “She’s busy.”

“She’s just standing there.”

“How about some pancakes?”

“Are they gluten-free?”

“You know they’re not.”

Silvia ordered pancakes as usual. While she dripped corn syrup over margarine the dreaded alien invasion began. Silvia looked at Benny and Sharon. She ripped off her street clothes revealing her secret identity as Warrior Wanda. It was time to show these wretched Earthlings how high maintenance kicks butt.

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Start of a Wild Ride (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Sarah startled at the hand pressing against her mouth in the dark. A woman’s voice shushed her struggles. She sat up in bed to see Nancy Jane’s face inches from hers. “What are you doing,” Sarah whispered.

“Ever run with wolves?”

“What?”

“Come, on, Sarah, Yellow Feather gathered some ponies. Let’s be braves under the moon!”

Sarah clung to her quilt drawn up to her chin. Camp was silent, emigration season nearly at an end. Cobb would be asleep next to Mary, and their baby. He was the same age –

She threw down the quilt and rose from bed.

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Independence Day by Anne Goodwin

Whose is this voice that thunders in her head? Who will she become if she listens? Yet someone must lead, so why not Joan? What she lacks in years, she brings in passion.
Standing in the stirrups to adjust her seat in the saddle, she channels the spirit of her namesake. Her armour might be card, but her lance is real, and Joan knows how to use it. Not that she thinks she’ll need to today as she steers the procession through cheering crowds. Skirmish is rare on Independence Day, but a woman warrior is always primed for action.

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A Wonder Of A Woman by D. K. Cantabile

She used to be a woman of pale feelings. Her days were painted with washed watercolors, without glitter, nor shades. Blurred figures blended composing the most senseless scenes.

She couldn’t detect where the skyline divided city and stars, never noticing where the sun was setting in the horizon. She hadn’t seen a deep dark blue mood, neither glanced at a sparkling red sensual desire. She didn’t spread the orange scent of joy, or witnessed the serenity of green peace.

One day, she was touched by the cozy light yellow sunshine and the rainbow became the pathway of her life.

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It Takes a Warrior by Susan Sleggs

The nurse woke Maggie the morning after her right breast was removed. “Your husband wanted me to make sure you saw this.” She held up a framed picture of them holding compound bows. The inscription on the glass read, “To my warrior. Now you have an advantage. Your chief loves you.”

Even though it hurt, Maggie laughed. “We are professional archers. I have complained my boob gets in the way, now it won’t. That’s why we decided I shouldn’t have reconstruction. He tells me it will take a warrior to beat cancer and get strong enough to compete again.”

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Warrior by The Memory Cellar

The grief that wrapped itself tightly around her life had fingers of depression that choked her into an inescapable feeling of slow, inevitable suffocation.

She can’t let go of the shame she carries but knows it may kill her if she doesn’t.

She stares at herself momentarily in the mirror, only seeing the painful sadness only an aging woman knows.

But somewhere inside the fire rises and from her eyes fall tears of surrender and with her finger she wipes them across her face like war paint. She was a warrior once and to her surprise, she still is.

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White Flowers

White Flowers by the Rough Writers & Friends @Charli_MillsOrchids, daisies or faded plastic tulips — merely the mention of white flowers can give readers a sharp image. Culture and tradition give colors and forms even further meaning. Because of this, white flowers evoke a response.

In the hands of a writer, the reader’s reaction can be amplified, shrouded in mystery or contrasted to create an unexpected twist. An iconic image such as white flowers allows a writer to explore the possibilities.

The following stories are based on the December 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include white flowers in your story.

***

Write Flowers by Bill Engleson

“Flowers! Fine! I did as instructed. Write flowers, the prompt said. I’ll write it again. There! Flowers!”

“I read the whole prompt. Your cognition’s seriously out of whack, buckaroo. And you need to get your eyes tested.”

“I have. It’s not looking good.”

“Oh, really. I’ve hardly noticed.”

“Well, I’m not walking into the walls. But I have prescription eye drops.”

“Sorry to hear that. Still, it didn’t tell you to write flowers. The whole post was a beautiful elegy to white flowers. WHITE.”

“So, I misread it. Haven’t you ever made a mistake?”

“Only in having this conversation.”

###

Innocence Lost by D. Avery

If you read that the ink is a tear across the page, how would you pronounce “tear”? Did the ink drop, or rip?

The page is a field of white flowers. The unarticulated dreams in the margins know the sadness masked by the pure and perfect page, and hesitate, uncertain of the trek across the field of white bloom. What happens there at the borderland? Petal picking; it pains, it pains me not, down to bare stem.

Blushed blossoms fall apart, spent. Windblown petals shower across the tracked page.

Did the ink drop, or rip?

Bruised fruit is borne.

###

Promise (Jane Doe Flash Fiction) by Deborah Lee

Jane unzips her tent, peering out. Her breath mists in front of her, and the ground crunches under the feet of another Tent City resident, picking between canvas and nylon. Hard frost, again. Not snow, true, but still too cold for living in a tent.

She shrugs into her coat and grabs the backpack she’d loaded the night before, shuddering her way to the bus stop six blocks away. This is the stage of winter that feels eternal. If spring hasn’t come by now, it never will.

Until she spots them, tiny, delicate, white heads peeking through the frost.

###

Paisano by Mr MacRum

Hovering over Pauper Grave #242, uninhibited tears fell onto the single white Chrysanthemum Jack clutched in his hand. Six inches of snow had found its way into the cast off Bean boots someone threw at him from a Lexus. He did not even notice.

It was six Christmas Eve’s ago he had identified the body of his hard times friend. Closing his eyes, Jack could still see Rodney’s gap toothed grin after they had constructed their last blue tarp cardboard palace together.

Jack tossed the Chrysanthemum on the grave and watched it disappear into the fresh snow.

“R.I.P. Rodney”.

###

A Field of White Flowers (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mils

Danni dodged potholes on the way to the logging site halfway up Nine Mile Road. On corners she slowed, scouting for logging trucks. Fully loaded they needed wide clearance. Near the crest of the ridge a mountain meadow opened up from the cover of tamarack and jack pines. Danni pulled over to let G-Dog and Det run through white daisies. G-Dog marked the perimeter and Det held point. What did she see? Danni scanned the far edge of shadows, imagining Ike and Bubbie walking the forest. White flowers bobbed like funerary tokens. A lone duck beat wings overhead. Silence.

###

Ghajra by Ritu Bhathal

Arranging the ghajra in her hair, Hari allowed his eyes to drift over her form.
Meena looked as beautiful as she had, years before, on their wedding day.
As tradition states, she was dressed as a bride, ready to leave the house for the final time.
Hari had always bought her a fresh ghajra on his morning walk, and gently placed the fragrant white jasmine flowers around her hair bun.

The gesture made her smile, and she’d tease him about being an old romantic.
So, even today, on that journey to her funeral pyre, she lay, adored and adorned.

###

Flash Fiction by Cheryl Oreglia

They keep coming, friends from her youth, family, neighbors, and loved ones. They keep coming with fresh pasta, white roses, presence and care. They keep coming to spend time with their beloved who is so close to death that heaven now seems closer to them. They keep coming to break bread, sip tea, sit together on the foldout, laugh, cry, and love one another. What they do not know is how they are lifting the children, the caregivers, those weighted down with the grief of their love. They keep coming, giving so much more than they will ever know.

###

Floral Notes by JulesPaige

White Spider Chrysanthemums, are an autumn flower.
Mums the birth flower of November;related to daisies
and marigolds. Being born in autumn, perhaps that’s why
Blanche chose them along with other smaller mums,
Baby’s breath, and to honor a Grandfather, whom she
had never met, (at her father’s request) three white roses;
for her wedding bouquet just days before the autumnal
equinox.

Blache has a fascination now for any and all white flowers.
She plans on framing some in a display; of the photographs
she’s taken of different white flowers on one of blank walls
in her dining room.

###

White Flowers by Robbie Cheadle

Her white silk dress spread out across the floor as the bridal couple kneeled inside the bower of white roses. Each flower, its petals shimmering in the light of the stained-glass windows, seemed to be paying tribute to this glorious occasion. The couple gazed into each other’s eyes as they repeated their wedding vows, tying their lives together with each word.

A sudden noise at the entrance disturbed the peace. A shot rang out. A fine red mist settled on the pure white roses like crimson dew. The bride crumpled forward as shouts of fear and horror rang out.

###

The Safe Place by Colleen Chesebro

They were at it again. Their voices rose to a crescendo of anger so thick she felt it smothering her from afar. A knot of fear twisted in her gut. She snuggled into her bed trying to blot out their hurtful words. She knew there would be no Christmas this year, not when they were drunk.

“Well, she’s not a puppy. I can’t just drown her!”

She searched for the safe place in her mind; the field of white flowers where she played as a child. There she was safe. The fairies beckoned to her, and she sensed love.

###

Lilemor and the Fiddler by Liz Huseby Hartmann

Lilimor gazed across the field of wild strawberries into the Great Wood. She didn’t have enough berries to fill her basket, but the fiddle called her to the waterfall within. Its song enticed, one she almost recognized and had to sing.

Perhaps she had enough strawberries after all. She stood, humming, and stepped her way through the field of white flowers, unmindful of the rich red berries that stained her feet.

Behind her, the cat growled, his tail switching. He was not as easily convinced as his young mistress.

He padded behind her, nonetheless, following her into the darkness.

###

You Can Count on It by Norah Colvin

“Is too,” he screamed, running away, blinded by tears.

Across the enormous park, he plonked himself down in a patch of wild daisies and began pulling them up, ripping them apart.

“It can’t be. They don’t know anything.” Fists clenched against doubt that threatened annihilation.

As tears subsided to sobs, his petal removal became more rhythmical, purposeful: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true. Isn’t true …” He crushed the remains, then plucked another: “Is true. Isn’t true. Is true …” Nooo!

He started again: “Isn’t true. Is true …”

“I knew it! Santa is true! White flowers don’t lie.”

###

The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me Is… by Anurag Bakhshi

“Let’s go, we’re already behind schedule,” he said.

“I’m not ready yet,” I replied, “I need white flowers to put in my hair, they look dazzling on me.”

“WHAT?” he cried out, “Where will I get them from in this snow?”

“Really?” I said in my best sarcastic tone, “THAT’S your excuse?”

“But what will people say?” he whined.

“I don’t care,” I replied, “I’m not budging an inch till I get them.”

Knowing when he was beaten, Santa grudgingly said, “I’ll get your white flowers. I just wish you would not choose Christmas Eve for your tantrums, Rudolph!”

###

Good Enough by Denise Aileen DeVries

White poinsettias were the last straw, thought Carol-Anne. Of course, red flowers would clash with that new burgundy carpet. She arranged holly and ivy in a vase near the altar, humming “Old Time Religion” under her breath. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” her Billy always said. Gone wholly fifteen years and she heard him clear as a bell. She put on her robe, slightly holey at the hem, and sat on the organ bench. She glanced at the watch Billy gave her on their tenth anniversary, took a breath, and began to play “Joy to the World.”

###

Tattoo by Anne Goodwin

My role at the museum is to shock the children with tales of our primitive past. Our addiction to tarmac, plastic and the flesh of our fellow mammals. Mostly they want to hear about my tattoo.

“Was that really the only difference between the tribes?”

“And it dictated who would eat and who would starve?”

“But it’s so arbitrary!”

“Didn’t the blacks feel guilty?”

“Why didn’t the whites rebel?”

They pout, complain and stamp their feet, until one of them asks, “Which were you?”

I roll back my sleeve and show them. “A white flower! Yet you survived!”

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White Flowers by Irene Waters

She lay on a bed of white flowers. Her tanned skin contrasting against the white making the white whiter and the brown browner. She moved sensuously, luxuriating in the velvety softness that enveloped her and inhaled the wafts of perfume. She rolled and stretched, her movements slow and languorous. She was alone but not lonely. Her thoughts like the flowers were pure as driven snow; dark chocolate, cashmere sweaters. How she’d longed for this place and now found, she wanted to stay forever.

A field of white flowers offered so much more than that cloud she had abandoned.

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White Flowers by FloridaBorne

I have a talent. The only plants that live in my yard are the ones I ignore.

There were these fuzzies with beautiful white flowers that sprouted on my lawn. I ignored them and they grew. Everywhere. Unfortunately, the common name for this weed is “stinging nettle.” They’re a great deterrent to burglars, barefoot children and potential husbands.

The latter is as hard to find as respectable plants growing in my yard. My last fiancé fell face first onto my field of white flowers and died from a fatal allergic reaction.

Perhaps I should try to ignore lilies instead?

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White Flowers by Frank Hubeny

Peter had four chickens and a dog. They did not get along. The dog was chained. The chickens weren’t. The chickens approached the dog and wiggled their butts at him. He jumped. They all knew just how long his chain was. “You idiot,” the chickens thought.

One day Peter went for a walk in the woods with his dog. His dog dragged him deeper and stopped near an opening with white flowers. Peter was happy. He unchained his dog.

His dog looked at Peter thinking, “You idiot.” The dog ran back without him.

Peter now only has a dog.

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Funerals & White Flowers by Ann Edall-Robson

“Ahhh well…now, who is that coming in the door? I don’t recognize them. The kids seem to know who they are. I guess they are some of their friends. Nice for them to have some of their own kind in tow at a thing like this.”

“Jeeeeze Luweeeze, who in the heck ordered the white lilies? I know, I know. I always said they reminded me of death, but I sure didn’t mean mine! Wild Flowers and lots of them would have been my choice. Guess I missed that on my checklist of ‘this is what I want’.”

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Granite by Michael Fishman

On any other day the chickweed might look like pocks on the grass, but on this breezy April morning, with the spring sun angled high, the white clusters swayed, dancing to invisible music.

Dad would have liked it.

Dad.

I reach out and run my hand along the top of the uneven granite, still damp with the morning’s dew. I run my fingers along the front and for the thousandth – or ten-thousandth – time, I trace the name.

“Nice morning, huh, pop?”

I blink against a sudden gust and I feel the ten-thousandth tear trail a path down my cheek.

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Flash Fiction by Mark

From the park-and-ride lot, it is nine miles down hill, so I don’t have to arrive sweating and hot. At the end of the day the uphill workout burns off stress. The road from the interstate highway into town is four lane with a whole extra lane for a shoulder, separated by a rumble strip. What could be a safer place to ride a bicycle?

Except for the driver texting on a sunny afternoon who didn’t hear or feel the vibrations. On my evening return journey I stop and pause before the white ghost cycle and the white flowers.

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Not All the Flowers Are Created Equal by Alexander De

She said her dress was emerald green; my tux, her flowers should work with that theme. Called Auntie Jim out in Houston, florist to the family. I said black goes with everything, don’t it? She said black orchids would be stunning, but the other prom girls might not agree; get her white flowers, throw in something purple, complimentary. The boss at BurgersRUs didn’t like my leave request for the dance, cut my hours. Thin paychecks don’t buy corsages. Borrowed some lilies from the cemetery; didn’t know about symbolism in flowers, but my date did. I went stag that night.

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Wedding Flowers by Susan Sleggs

“As is customary son, we are planning to pay for the wedding flowers. I think elegant white flowers like gardenias or roses would be best.”

“Sandy and I have already chosen carnations because of how well they last. They will look elegant with some green ivy, baby’s breath and long white ribbons.

“But we would be happy to pay for something more exotic; maybe orchids or lilies.”

“Lilies are for funerals and we aren’t exotic. Carnations will represent our practicality and symbolize our expectations for a long marriage.”

“Fluffy white marshmallows if you ask me.”

“That’s why we didn’t.”

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Reflection by D. Avery

“Narcissus?”

“Yes, Hope, a fellow who fell deathly in love with his own reflection.”

“Mommy, that’s silly.”

“Then we’ll call them paper whites. Do the blooms seem papery to you?”

“Yes, and they stink.”

“Ha! Kinda, Hope. And I kinda like the smell. I don’t know why.”

“I like the way they stand in their pots, Mommy.”

“Me too, Hope. So bold and defiant on the cold windowsill, trying so hard to be spring. But they reflect winter.”

“If Winter falls in love with his reflection, he’ll pine away.”

“Then Hope, we’d best start ordering seed packets for spring.”

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Giving Hope by Michael

The weather had been unbearably oppressive with day after day the temperature climbing into the low 40Cs. Up early I would water the plants committed to keeping them alive even though around them the grass of the lawn died off under the relentless barrage of the sun.

It seemed a futile hope that anything might survive the harsh climate and I resigned myself to starting again once the hot days passed.

Then one morning as I desperately watered I looked down and saw a tiny white flower on my struggling capsicums.

That single white flower filled me with hope.

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Flash Fiction by Pensitivity

In her dreams she saw masses of white flowers in an ocean of green.

The view was unfamiliar, with islands of trees in the waters, but no bridges, roads or pathways to reach them.

She always felt a sense of loss when she awoke.

This time something was waiting for her in the sea of white flowers.

It stood and ambled towards her.

‘Jess.’ she whispered.

The dog came to her side and nuzzled her hand.
‘I knew you’d come,’ he said.

She was so happy to see her childhood pet, she didn’t think to question he could talk.

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Flight by D. Avery

“The king will be very angry with you for freeing me. How can I repay you? Name it.”

“Oh no”, said the girl. “You have brought birdsong back to the kingdom. That is all I need.”

“Take this”, said the bird. He pulled a white feather and handed it to her. “With this quill your words will sing and your spirit will soar. And yes”, he said as he flew away, “There will be pain.” She held the quill like a white flower; she held it like a sword; she held it as the key to her own escape.

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Blossoming by Reena Saxena

“There’s a different feel about the house.”

His roving glance met the same furniture setting and décor. He was perhaps missing the fragrance of the white Mexican tuberoses Leila kept in the room on his visits. He had missed the subconscious association with the smell.

Relationships do change with time, and Leila was embarking on a solo journey of her own. She took a deep breath to inhale the different notes of outdoor smells. The ‘Rajnigandha (fragrance of the night-’ as it is called in Hindi), was blossoming into a garden. The companion of nights had joined the university.

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They Weren’t Red by Rugby843

She had been in love with him since the age of ten, best friends, spent all their time together, and now as an adult, he was still her best friend.

The time came when she felt she had to tell him she wanted to be more than friends. Being near him caused such passion to arise, her face flushed at his touch. However, he didn’t seem to notice, She asked him to dinner, only this time she dressed provocatively, offering candlelight, soft music, and his favorite dish.

He arrived, awkwardly surprised by her dress, bouquet of only white roses.

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The Scent of Jasmine by Jan Malique

The scent of jasmine pulled strongly on her memories, like a fishing net it scooped up the darting pieces of her past.

She peered intently at each and every bejewelled creature, for her memories were sentient and potent presences.

Piece by piece they rearranged themselves into mandalas of mystery, symbolic of lives lived with passion, lives lived in tear filled intensity.

She looked out over the landscape, now covered in a sea of white flowers. A blessing from the Old Ones for one of their own who had gone beyond the veil. She was now infinite wisdom and power.

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White Christmas by Billy Quealy

Giant white CalaLillies in California last only 3 days in water. Pulled some from landscaper’s junkpile. Mysteriously still blooming 2 weeks later!! The music ?, the sex ?, my semi-autist GF reading holybooks aloud??

Christmas morn: “Fetch us some coffee so I can surprise. ” Return to see she painted wall behind flowers black. “Shiny now, and look ‘little friends’!!!” placing little white potted bloodwort-plant. Stolen from someone’s yard no doubt. Landlord not gonna like painted Mahogany panel, fumes gonna wilt flowers.

“Happy?”

“It’s beautiful honey!!!”

Kiss.

“Oh let’s have coffee with the flowers…..we’ll have a white Christmas billy!!!!

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White Flowers by Robert Kirkendal

The man stopped when he came across a pleasant sight of white flowers arrayed in front of him. He wistfully contemplated the field of new growth. The beautiful daisy, he sighed to himself, Bellis perennis if memory serves me. He looked across the many bright yellow dots surrounded by snow white petals atop thin green stems and silently thanked Mother Nature for providing him with such a lovely site. It’s like a…carpet of prettiness, he beheld, a gift from the natural world for all the world to enjoy.

He then restarted his mower and chopped them all down.

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Helleborus Niger by D. Avery

“Hey, Kid, I see yer saddlin’ up.”

“Yep, Shorty’s got us on another roundup.”

“What direction ya headin’?”

“Don’t rightly know, Pal. Headin’ for the border, not sure which one.”

“I reckon you’ll head north. Don’t fergit ta git white flowers.”

“That dang Shorty. White flowers. In winter. Bloomin’ hell.”

“That’s it Kid! Hellebores. Christmas Rose.”

“Oh, yeah, Pal. Blooms in winter.”

“See, Kid. The darkest day is past. Ya’ve rode through a seasonal borderland. There’ll be snow an’ cold yet, but there’s always somethin’ bloomin’, somethin’ ta be picked.”

“Thanks, Pal. Feelin’ lighter already.”

“Yer hoss’ll ‘preciate that.”

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September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

Tendril by tendril the plants pull themselves sun-ward. Leaves bob on light currents of air, hiding fragile white blossoms. The plants thicken to the point of hiding the slender iron trellis they cling to. They’ve grown so equally green, I can’t distinguish one plant from another. Nor can I tell when the white blossoms have fruited. This is not a patch of raspberries or sun-gold tomatoes. I await a harvest of peas.

The late summer day when the plants drooped, pulling the trellis out of alignment, I knew. I recognized the heaviness of harvest.Ever since that transition from growing, climbing green to drooping, gifting green I have haunted the pea patch. It’s not easy to spot the first pea, but once you train your eye to see, you see the full magnitude of pea harvest glory. It’s a bit like practicing flash fiction.

When I first began writing various short forms, I did so because it sparked my creativity. After that, I began requiring my team to write a specific creative form of 25 words before our meetings. We didn’t have time to linger over creative writing so most meeting days, I announced to the department that we would meet at the Round Table in ten minutes. I reminded each person to bring their project updates, meeting agenda and their cinquain. Often, team members scribbled their 25 words in the final five minutes of preparation.

As a prompt, a flash fiction of 99 words doesn’t take long to write. When I was leading Wrangling Words at the Bonner County Library, I gave participants five minutes to write. Many wrote several hundred words! The first time I gave the prompt it was 10 minutes and the stories were much longer than I anticipated for our group activity. So I know it’s possible to write 99 words in five minutes. Is it ideal for those who gather here? Perhaps not.

But what does flash fiction have to do with spotting a hidden pea harvest?

Draw the similarity between learning to spot green peas and learning to write tight prose. I view it as training. When I first spot a hanging pea pod, suddenly I see more. My brain understands the cue. When you practice flash fiction, you train your brain to tell a story in 99 words. You might still write 200 and cut, or only write 70 and add, but your brain gets better at recognizing its target.

I used to joke that writing creative constrains was magic because my marketing team responded by solving project problems with improved innovation. But I know science supports the power of constraints in forcing the brain to go into problem-solving mode. Thus two factors occur when we regularly write flash fiction — our brains think more creatively quicker and we train our brains to adapt to a pattern.

If you are concerned that you’ll pick up the 99-word pattern, fear not. It isn’t as if you can only write in that mode, it’s more like you can use that mode to solve clarity or literary issues with other forms of writing. I’ve marveled over our writers who add in verse, and now I realize that as poets they have other forms their brains use. These patterns are of benefit to a writer and it legitimizes writing short forms as a tool.

Of course, if you are like me in a pea patch, you probably care more about the pleasure the taste of fresh pea pods bring over the idea that you trained your brain to find what is easily hidden. You might enjoy the challenge of word-smithing among others, the fun of creating stories and reading what others create, and the weekly activity. And that’s good! I’m not in the pea patch munching on pods because I read that peas are high in magnesium. I simply like peas. And the fun I have, knowing I get to them before others in my household!

Ah, the competitive nature. It’s not that strong in me unless I know everyone is having a good time. That’s why I want you all to have a great pea-picking time at the upcoming Rodeo. It is a contest and it will bring out the competitiveness in some, the intimidation or perfection in others. Let’s admit that’s all possible. We’ll likely have many writers show up whom we’ve not met before or who aren’t interested in hanging out by the campfire. So let me be clear about goals.

Number one: Carrot Ranch is a fun and welcoming place to practice literary art. Don’t be put off by the word “practice.” In no way do I want to demean anyone’s writing as scribbles of art. When I say practice, I mean it according to my personal philosophy that literary art is something writers master over a lifetime. How do you know you’ve mastered it? You’re dead. Shakespeare mastered all he was capable of mastering by the day he died. It’s not about comparing our work to others. It’s about never stopping to push into what we can create with words. The process is the hallmark of a literary artist, not the finished product. Therefore, let’s have fun while we figure out what is possible with words and how to sharpen our stories. The Rodeo is intended to bring you something different and exciting from our weekly writing.

Number two: Carrot Ranch wants individuals within the community to succeed. Those who regularly gather and are willing to do collaborative projects like the anthologies are part of a smaller group that helps spur on the Ranch. They are the Rough Writers. In return, they get expanded visibility for their own writing. Those who gather for fun, who share our posts and read regularly are the Friends. It’s up to writers to decide. Either way, there are no obligations. However, Carrot Ranch is a place where writers can step out of their comfort zones. A contest is an example. If it becomes achievable here, it can become achievable elsewhere. Success is what you interpret it to be, and the Ranch believes in the value of literary art and your contribution to it.

Number three: Carrot Ranch is growing and we want to celebrate. The growth comes in more ways to support access to literary art — the creation of anthologies, public readings of flash fiction, free adult education classes that use flash fiction as a tool to build a local literary community, inspiring retreats, and innovative workshops. We will be launching our first The Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology, Vol. 1 late in November with pre-sales in October. A Rodeo is one way to generate excitement about what we do at Carrot Ranch.

Enjoy the Rodeo, use the contests to try different prompts and don’t let intimidation hold you back. Every writer feels doubt. Don’t let it stop you from the joy of what it is to create literary art. Join in, saddle up and write! Remember, the Rodeo replaces the weekly prompt with two weekly contests Oct. 5-31. Stop by the Ranch for a progressive kick-off party on Tuesday, Oct. 3. You might win a random drawing prize so leave a comment on the Oct. 3 blog post. CR FB page will have drawings and live readings from Vol. 1.

Last call for Rough Writers for the next anthology: the one criteria is willingness to participate. We use material from the compilations to build upon, and some of our writers create new work. If you’ve been writing here weekly (even occasionally) send me a quick note. Find out if it’s something you want to pursue. I’ll introduce new Rough Writers at the Rodeo Fest (kick-off party on Oct. 3).

One last note: I’m not perfect. Seriously, it’s worth saying! We all make mistakes and I tend to bring in a bumper crop. So, I fudged my hastags. I’m not a hashtag genius to begin with and I forgot that I had created #FFRODEO for the Rodeo — Flash Fiction Rodeo. When I created the Rodeo Fest promotion I inadvertently created a second hashtag of #CRRODEO as in Carrot Ranch Rodeo. Better editors than my Inner Editor, pointed out the blunder, but by then both hashtags had been shared widely. I’m a flash fiction writer, so having trained my brain for solutions I will simply use #CRRODEO on October 3 for the Rodeo Fest and pretend that’s what I meant.

Be sure to follow along the Rodeo on Twitter at #FFRODEO. May it bring you all a bumper crop of fun!

And if you missed the post on Tuesday, check out the new Flash Fiction page at Carrot Ranch. It includes recipes for preparing flash fiction and introduces something I’ve been working on for a while — The Ultimate Flash Fiction (TUFF), which is a challenge, the final contest in the Rodeo, and the foundation for a new workshop I’ve developed using flash fiction as a tool to teach an integrative writing/editing approach to book revision.

Thank you for your patience as the sawdust clears on all these new barns and events at the Ranch! I’m a week behind on compilations, but whipping and spurring to get caught up in the next few days. I’ll let you know as new pages go up, too! This is the final prompt until weeklies resume November 2. I’m delighted to have you all here!

September 21, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about what it is to gather a harvest. You can use the phrase or show what it means without using the words. Go where the prompt leads.

Respond by September 26, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published September 27). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

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Harvests Aren’t Gathered for All (from Rock Creek) by Charli Mills

Sarah gobbled picked peas from her gnarled hands.

“Get out of there!”

Sarah blushed, gathered threadbare skirts and fled fast as a 91-year-old could muster. She held her head despite the curvature of her back and walked past the angry gardener as if she were on a Sunday stroll. In fact, Sarah realized, it was Sunday.

“You stay out you tramp!”

So much for Christian charity, she thought. Wandering without a destination she passed other gardens in full harvest. At the end of the street named after her father in the town bearing her surname, Sarah turned away, hungry.

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