Home » Posts tagged 'literary art'
Tag Archives: literary art
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
light up corners of my psyche.
childhood memories of voices
saying I was no good
unacceptable in original form
they dressed me in clothes
to comply with social norms.
I couldn’t see how
inner demons would be caged
floating out in the cold
the jury out there
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.
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.
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?”
Paddles entered the water as the siren blared.
We were warrior women, in our dragonboat.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The conversations streamed past me as I sat in the mall, quietly observing.
Men may carry clubs, but women carry poison.
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.
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.
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.’
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.
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?”
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.
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!”
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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?”
“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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Orchids, 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.
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
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!”
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.
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?
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.
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’.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Reflection by D. Avery
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“It’s beautiful honey!!!”
“Oh let’s have coffee with the flowers…..we’ll have a white Christmas billy!!!!
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.
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.”
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!
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.