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!

Flash Fiction: A Sweet Jam

I almost skipped this week’s prompt from Carrot Ranch. I had no ideas, zip, zero. My brain was empty.

I completed my training and officially started work this week. I think I made a mistake. The work is easy enough and I actually like all the walking, but the heat is killing me. I am re-thinking my hours and promised myself to stick it out to the end of the week. It is supposed to cool down Friday and Saturday and I’ll see if it is enough to make it bearable. And if it is still too hot for me I will resign.

So I found myself thinking a lot about weather and finally figured out an idea for the prompt.

“Hello Spring”

Sophia walked into the kitchen and wondered where spring was.  Fat snowflakes swirled outside the window, carpeting the grass and mounding on empty flowerpots. 

“This would be pretty if it was December,” Sophia told Mother Nature, “but here in May you are just being cruel.”

She put the kettle on and popped an English muffin into the toaster.  “Guess I’ll just have to make my own spring,” she said, moving a vase of tulips to the table.  She opened her last jar of homemade strawberry jam and breathed in the sweet berry scent.  “Take that Mother Nature,” she crowed.

February 2019

I could go for some snow right now!

Flash Fiction: Poison Apple

I stopped listening to the news some years ago. I got tired of not being given just the facts and being allowed to interpret them for myself. I got tired of the news sensationalizing brutal events. I listen to my local classical music station in the morning. I listen to the news from NPR they broadcast at 0800 just to see if anything really big has happened in the world. Most mornings I am disappointed to hear them start off with something negative about the President. I find it hard to believe this is the most important thing to happen in the whole entire world in the last 24 hours.

I stay out of politics and though I believe everyone is entitled to voice their opinion I am never happy to hear diatribes. I have very strong feelings about many things, most of which I keep to myself. I also believe in respecting the office of the President. I didn’t love all my Commander-In-Chiefs but I certainly respect the office, and the power and responsibility that entails. So I was tempted to skip this week’s 99 word prompt but…

Here is my response to the prompt from Carrot Ranch:

“How to Un-poison the Apple”

The morning sun wakes me and I know I should be grateful for the possibilities of this new day.  It stretches out before me, empty and endless.

I drink my tea. Do I dare turn on the radio? What are the chances of hearing good news? No, I will not poison my brain first thing in the morning.

Instead I bake chocolate chip cookies.  I make sandwiches. I count out ten bottles of water. Then I fill ten sack lunches.

I spend my morning seeking out the homeless and giving them lunch – sandwiches, cookies and one crisp, sweet apple.

Flash Fiction: Rock Star

So the pictures have nothing to do with the story, I just happened to recently take some pictures of rocks. How’s that for serendipity? So here is my response to Carrot Ranch’s 99 word prompt this week.

“Karaoke is not Your Friend”

Lisa’s friends nudged her and told her it was her turn. She gulped down the rest of her drink and as she stood up the floor tilted underneath her. She gently touched people’s shoulders for balance as she made her way to the stage.

She belted out “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”.  “I sound just like Pat Benatar,” she thought.  She finished to a thunderous ovation, people laughing and clapping.  “I am a rock star!” she yelled as she left the stage.  She continued to feel that way, at least until she saw the video the next day. 

This is the rock Lisa crawled under the next day!

Flash Fiction: For One Day

I have to confess I am having a tough time mentally getting back into my normal routine after vacation and surgery downtime. To be honest I am not sure I want to go back to my old routine. But I do think these writing challenges are good for me. I need to keep practicing if I am ever going to improve and learn and grow. I love the story of the baby loon that inspired this week’s flash fiction prompt from Carrot Ranch. I rather wish I was sitting on a cabin porch by a lake right now!

Here is this week’s entry.

FOR ONE DAY

Kate lies in bed listening to the quiet. The boys are off on a fishing trip.  Laundry and groceries flit across her mind.  And then, what if for one day she did only what she wanted to do? She breathes deep, does she dare? 

In the shower she contemplates and discards options.  Then the answer arrives.

She throws her journal, sketchbook and pencils in her backpack.  She stops at the cute corner café she always wanted to try and requests a box lunch: “Surprise me,” she says. She heads toward the river, hiking until she finds solitude. Tranquility. Herself.