Flash Fiction: Hutch

Another interesting prompt from Carrot Ranch that I put my own spin on.

“The Inhuman Hutch”

The four foot square box made of metal had a thick wavy pane of glass on one side.  The POWs called it the hutch.  The Major broiled inside for twenty-seven days and shivered through twenty-seven nights.

 The enemy was sure a man of his rank knew plenty about troop movements or upcoming military operations.  But he didn’t know anything, though he often wished he did so he could misdirect the enemy. 

He was just a payroll officer caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.  A mere mortal given the opportunity to demonstrate his inordinate strength of mind.

Flash Fiction Contest

In October Carrot Ranch sponsored four flash fiction contests. In keeping with my creative courage theme for 2019 I entered three of them. My goal was to finish in the top ten at least once so I could get a critique from Charli. And to my profound joy I did finish in the top ten for the TUFF Beans entry. Yeah me! (To read my TUFF Beans entry click on the Carrot Ranch link above.)

Of course the funny thing is this was my least favorite entry! Today I will share my other two entries.

Three Act Story

I think my mistake here was not getting the reader more invested in the main character. But I loved the somewhat ambiguous ending, even I am not sure who killed who!

“Campsite Twenty-Three”

Jamie drives in the final tent stake with a satisfying thwack and carefully places the hammer onto a nearby stump. She hurriedly builds a fire. A nearby howl has Jamie tossing another branch onto the meager flames.

The howling is getting louder.  She moves closer to the fire, freezing as she hears rustling in the bushes.  “Don’t look behind you, something may be there” is her last thought as four heavy paws land on her back.

Animal fur, chunks of torn flesh and a bloody hammer litter the campsite.  The seasoned state trooper retches while photographing the grisly scene. 

Modern Tall Tales

For this entry I don’t think I got the modern twist part. Oops. But I had a lot of fun writing this. Growing up I did walk to elementary school up a pretty steep one-way road and cross a busy four lane road and just exaggerated from there. Bats were also prevalent in our neighborhood and every summer one would get in the house and my father would put on his motorcycle helmet and use a fishing net to get it out. I also remember Hurricane Agnes. So I had a nice little trip down memory lane. 🙂

“Untitled”

When I was a kid I had to walk to school. I left in the pitch dark, wearing a helmet to keep swooping bats out of my hair.  I had to walk up Ailsa Avenue, which was so steep it was one-way downhill because cars couldn’t make it to the top.

 Then I had to cross a six-lane highway, without a crossing guard! 

And it didn’t matter what the weather was like.  Even during Hurricane Agnes I had to walk to school. 

So I think you can walk a block to the bus stop on this sunny, 70° morning.

I hope you are enjoying the season!

Flash Fiction: Gnomes

The prompt for this week from Carrot Ranch is to write about a gnome. I am drowning in Christmas right now: cards, baking, potlucks wrapping… I opted to go with the flow and not fight it. I figure if I could tie Key Lime Pie to the holidays how hard could a gnome be? 🙂 A little research revealed some interesting bits and pieces about gnomes so maybe this letter could be considered historical fiction!

Dear Santa,

         My name is Terrence and I am a gnome working as a guard in a diamond mine.  While I know this work is important it is not my true passion.  What I really love to do is make toys and ornaments. I love glitter!

         I have heard there are gnomes who make sleigh bells and I would be happy to do that if there was an opening available.

         I believe I can be an asset to your North Pole operation and will be ready for pickup on Christmas Eve if you will have me.

Sincerely,

Terrence Sparkle

Flash Fiction: Key Lime Pie

This week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch is key lime pie.

True story: I had the idea for my flash fiction in my head, if not written down on Thursday night. On Friday we celebrated St. Nicholas Day and I bought a mint Oreo ice cream pie as a special dessert. When my son went to get it out of the freezer he was all excited because he thought it was key lime! Now mint chocolate chip is his favorite ice cream and I was rather surprised that he wanted key lime. Of course he still enjoyed the mint pie but I marveled at the coincidence.

I thought about changing my story but decided I am happy with my fictional version. Plus, who has time to do things twice this time of year! And I confess to plagiarizing the end of the last sentence from Dr. Seuss. I do love me some “Grinch”.

“Just One Yes”

“Can I go to Johnney’s house?”  “No, I don’t have time to take you.”

“Can I have computer time?” “No, you have math homework.”

“Can I have a snack?” “No, dinner is in less than an hour.”

“Can we have key lime pie on Christmas Eve?”  “What? No, we always have pecan pie.  It’s tradition.”

 All the nos of the day echoed in my head.

“Wait!  Yes.  Yes we can have key lime pie on Christmas Eve.  I love that idea.”

I looked at my son’s beaming smile and just like that my heart didn’t feel quite so tight.

Flash Fiction: Winner

This week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch was “winner”. I started with one idea and then tried a few others. I felt like my first idea didn’t really capture what Charli was looking for but I couldn’t seem to let it go! After quite a bit of tweaking this is the end result. Closer to Charli’s intent I think.

“Winter Growth”

Winter was descending, short cold days followed by long cold nights.  Distraction was needed.  No, not distraction… learning.  Yes! This was valuable time that needed to be used thoughtfully.  Much growth could happen in the cold with a little encouragement. 

So many topics beckon, but let’s be real, nothing that involves leaving the warmth of home will happen.  And yes, there it was, an on-line art class.  Collage: cutting and gluing bright bits of paper.  Abstract flowers and cats. Back to kindergarten and my simplest self.  Growing from the roots. My heart lit with joy, I had a winner.

Flash Fiction: Romance

I have to admit I loved this week’s prompt of romance from Carrot Ranch. I surprised myself with how much fun I had writing this! I am enjoying experimenting with different types of writing. After my first draft I wondered what it would be like to write a dialog between two people but only have one person be verbal. This is what I came up with:

“My Fantasy”

“Your boyfriend and my wife, who would have thought it,” said Kris. “You really caught them in flagrante delicto?” 

I nod.

“You don’t seem too upset. So what are you going to do now?” 

I shrugged.

“What about Thanksgiving?”

Another shrug.

“How about coming home with me to Chicago?”

I looked at Kris quizzically.

Kris gazed at me as he lightly touched the back of my hand. “Are you seriously going to continue to ignore the spark between us?”

I blushed.  No. No reason to now, I thought as I leaned over and softly kissed him on the lips.

The Kris in the story may or may not be a certain 3rd baseman for the Chicago Cubs. And yes, I may or may not be way too old for him but that is the beauty of fantasy, ANYTHING can happen!

Flash Fiction: Storm Windows

It’s been awhile since I have done a flash fiction post from Carrot Ranch. In October they ran some judged challenges and I did enter a few but they don’t want us to post our entries until after the winners are announced the end of November. So I will have extra flash fiction entries in December to post!

I think Charli was looking for something a little more original than what I came up with but I am pleased that at least it is all fiction. Seems like most of my flash fiction ideas start with at least a kernel of truth. So, without further ado…

“Storm Windows”

Gray clouds scurried across the sky as the wind knocked the last of the red maple leaves off the tree. I stepped back and looked up at the house.  “Only two storm windows left, I’ll go get them,” I said.  

“Nope.  That was the last one,” Grandma replied. 

 “What about the window on the landing and your south bedroom window?” I asked.

“I don’t like to shut up the house completely.  A body needs to be able to breath fresh air year round.  The house likes a little air too.

I grinned, “hot cocoa and cookies it is then.”

Flash Fiction: Unremembered

The prompt for this week from Carrot Ranch is unremembered. Not sure where the darkness came from but I went with it.

 I was nine when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, eleven when she died.  My memories of being ten are ragged, filled with holes.

I remember crying. Hospital visits. Coming home to an empty house, devoid of the smells of baking and lemon Pledge.  The panicky feeling as I opened the door, what if this was the day she died and I just didn’t know it yet?

Surely people were kind to me during this difficult time? But no acts of kindness remain in my memory.  I can’t remember anyone but my mother and myself during that horrific year.

Flash Fiction: Interlude

Seriously, I am not really thinking about Christmas yet, other than with the shock of seeing items creep into stores. But I am thinking about my son turning 12 next month. How did that happen? So that is where I went with this week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch.

“St. Nicholas”

I studied my son and wondered if he still believed in Santa.  He was almost twelve now.  I had the story ready.  How Saint Nicholas was a real person who did good works and when he died people wanted to continue his kind deeds.  How everyone gets a chance to be Santa for others.

Was my son ready to be Santa? Was I ready?  Maybe this was an interlude where he didn’t quite believe but had a year to grow into the idea of Saint Nicholas.  Or maybe this interlude was for me to adjust to him growing up.

Flash Fiction: The Greatest Gift

The prompt from Carrot Ranch for this week is “The Greatest Gift”. I had lots of ideas come to mind but they all felt trite, too obvious. I started thinking about how it is not just the story but the way it is told. I have not had much luck getting ideas out of my brain and into words on paper. Often times there is a disconnect somewhere. I suspect much of my problem is simply the need to spend more time, more rewrites, more work on the task. I need to get my “10,000 hours” in.

Still not perfect but after multiple edits and changes I got closer to getting the picture in my head translated into words. I am glad I will have next week to try again!

“Time, Heart and Head”

She was 83, too old to be living alone said her grandchildren.  Her house was worth a fortune they said.  

“It’s my home, not a house,” she groused. “Fine, when the Cubs win the World Series I’ll move.”

 She spent her 92nd summer as always, listening to the Cubs on the radio.  She was tired, worn out; it had been a hard year. In her head she knew it was time to move.

Finally, game seven of the World Series. Tie score. Rain delay ends at last. Her heart races, knows: it is time for the Cubs to win.

Fly the W!