Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘Return to Alaska’

This 99-word flash fiction piece was written in response to Charli Mills’ weekly challenge at Carrot Ranch. Thanks Charli for the prompt!

February 25, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word frozen. It can be descriptive, character focused, action driven. Go out onto the ice and find a frozen story. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by March 2, 2021. Rules & Guidelines.

Return to Alaska

“Hi, my name’s Suzie. I’ll be looking after you this morning.” I smiled at the pretty hostess.  

She showed me some images on her screen. “Where would you like to go today, Maggie?”

I needed to return to the cabin where I had left my unfinished manuscript.

“A beach, the mountains, a lake, or…”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

Suzie pushed my wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on Alaska’s frozen landscape?”

“I have to finish my novel.”

Suzie squeezed my limp hand and slid on the 3D glasses. “Alaska it is.”

  *****

I wrote a stream of consciousness post inspired by the word ‘Frosty’ on Saturday, The post included a short story, improvised in two parts, on Friday night before going to bed I wrote the beginning and on Saturday morning I wrote the end of the story. No editing, no thinking, just improvised writing. Here is the post.

I usually take hours to write my posts, but stream-of-consciousness frees me from the constraints of a ‘well-crafted’ text. I literally wrote it in less than half an hour and amazingly, it is the post with the most likes in all February!

What does that tell me? Perhaps I spend too much time on my other posts and make them worse with so much preparation and editing?

Anyway, as this week’s Carrot Ranch prompt was ‘frozen’, which is pretty similar to ‘frosty’, I decided to use the same basic story idea and rewrite it with more careful editing and reducing it to 99 words.

Here’s the original stream-of-consciousness story with no editing: (Except ProWritingAid, which does the spelling and punctuation automatically as I write, which is a lifesaver!)

Frosty

I would love to stay at a log cabin, like the ones you see in films, in distant places like Canada and Alaska, sit by the window and write whatever comes to mind, drinking cups of tea and hot chocolate, by the fireplace, and eating hot soup with crusty bread (maybe I am hungry?).

I’d write a story about a writer who was in search of inspiration. She rented a cabin in the snowy countryside in the Alaskan wild, where she found a diary in the bedside table drawer, left behind by a previous occupant who had also come to write a book.

She opened the first page and read:

Once upon a time a writer needed solitude to write her novel, so she rented a cabin and found a diary written by a previous occupant. It started with Once upon a time…

She wrote the first chapter, and then she left.

She returned every year to find her diary in the same place. She wrote a new chapter each year.

(And now I’m going to bed, because it’s one o’clock in the morning. Tomorrow morning I’ll reread my post and write the end of the story.

Hi! I’m Back. Here’s Part II).

“Good morning, Maggie.”

Maggie turned to the pretty young girl and smiled.

“Where would you like to go today?” the nice girl said, showing her images on a screen. “There’s a beach, the mountains, a thick wood, or…”

“I want to go back to Alaska.”

“If you’re sure?” Maggie nodded enthusiastically.

The girl pushed Maggie’s wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on frosty Alaska?”

Maggie’s eyes shone. “I have to finish my novel.”

The young girl caressed Maggie’s wrinkled hand, put on her 3D glasses and said, “Alaska it is.”

****

Well, what do you think?

Have I improved the story with tighter editing, or not?

 

#WritePhoto ‘Lucky!’ #FlashFiction #101words

The following Tanka was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

Alice’s Lucky Day

Alice wasn’t enjoying the picnic.
Her cousins giggled and whispered behind her back until her mother made them include her in their games.
They grumbled and Chelsea said, “Count to a hundred, you’re It!”
Instead of chasing them, Alice wandered to the old stone bridge by the river.
Climbing down between the rocks, she heard a puppy whimpering and scratching its way out of a plastic bag floating in the deep waters.
When she returned, everyone fussed around her, waiting for their turn to hold the puppy.
“She’s called Lucky,” Alice told them, “because I rescued her on my lucky day.”   

****

Photo from Pixabay

Happy weekend!

 

 

#WritePhoto ‘Blackbird, Learn to Fly’ #Tanka

The following Tanka was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

Sue’s picture prompt reminded me of the Beatles‘ song Blackbird, so here’s the Tanka inspired by both the song and the picture.

Blackbird, Learn to Fly

Crow perched on dry branch
Must mend broken wings to fly
All your life waiting
for this moment to be free
Longing to glide far away 

****

Carrot Ranch Special Collection #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘The River of Life’ #Poem

This 99-word poem was written in response to Charli Mills’ Special collection Challenge at Carrot Ranch. 

January 28, 2021, Special Collection Challenge prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about life as a river of consciousness. Think about the possibilities of the prompt. Go where the prompt leads! Respond by February 11, 2021.

The 99-word entries to this Carrot Ranch Special Collection Challenge will be presented to Sue Vincent on February 17. If you want to take part and be included in this special collection, respond using the form HERE.

The River of Life

The river trickles from its source,
Weak like a baby’s tears,
It slides across the earth,
First a stream which later grows,
Flowing carefree along the river bed,
Like a young girl, searching for love,
It carries reeds and pebbles and fish,
There are times it meanders lazily,
Other times it cascades with fury,
Or desire,
Later it grows, like a pregnant mother,
Carrying boats and bodies, too,
It battles with mud and pollution,
But always pushes forward,
Along a one way course,
There is no return,
It flows straight ahead,
Determined to reach its destination,  
The unchartered sea.
 *****

 

 

 

#WritePhoto ‘The Saxon Princess’ #FlashFiction #Netflix

The Saxon Princess, a 112-word flash fiction, was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

The Saxon Princess

Princess Judith hid behind the huge rock and retrieved her slaughtered father’s dagger. 

The entire village watched her run to the mountains, her wedding dress trailing behind. No one stopped her or helped. They feared Bolverker, the conqueror.

Night fell. She could freeze to death or go back to the humiliation of a forced marriage to a pagan raider. Bolverker waited. He would not show weakness by chasing an arrogant, Christian girl. Judith returned; it would be more honourable than dying in exile. 

Bolverker smiled as she entered. The poisoned blade was hidden under her dress. She was ready to kill or be killed for her God, her people, and her freedom.

****

As you may have guessed, I’ve been watching too many episodes of Vikings on Netflix!

I’ve also watched The Last Kingdom, which would be the follow up from a historical point of view, although both series are not connected in any other way, as far as I know.

By the way, The Last Kingdom is based on thirteen novels brilliantly written by Bernard Cornwell and read on Audible by Jonathan Keeble. I love the series, and I’m currently reading and listening to the audiobook! I’ll be reviewing it soon.

There are also plenty of Vikings, Normans and Saxons in The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett, a fabulous novel set in this period, which I recently reviewed here. 

The Evening and the Morning (Kingsbridge Book 4) by [Ken Follett]

My favourite time period is still the 19th century and early 20th century, however, the Medieval era is a close second!

In which period are your favourite historical novels, series or films set?

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words ‘Wish upon a star’

This 99-word flash fiction piece was written in response to Charli Mills’ weekly challenge at Carrot Ranch. Thanks Charli for the prompt!

January 21, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that rephrases “light at the end of the tunnel.” Think of how the cliche replacement communicates a hopeful ending and aligns with your character or story. Go where the prompt leads!

Wish Upon a Star

We were trapped.
Heavy snow covered the city, jamming doors and roads.
Soon it would reach our windows and block our view of the static sea.
“Mum, why did the moon disappear?”
Thirty, twelve-hour days had passed since the moon exploded and vanished.
 “I want to go home.”
Asteroids were crashing all over the planet, causing tidal waves and earthquakes.   
Archie pointed to the gigantic stars lighting up the sky. “I wish one of them would come and be our moon!”
“Who needs a moon when hundreds of stars are shining brighter than ever?” I said, hugging my son.
 *****

Well, that’s where ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ took me.

In this case, mother and son are hoping a gigantic star will take over the Moon’s vital role as the Earth’s satellite so they can recover their lives, but the outcome is uncertain, in spite of the brightness of the light or the stars.

I haven’t taken part in this challenge for over a year, in fact, I haven’t written much flash fiction in the same amount of time.

I enjoy the challenge of writing flash fiction, and I think it’s helped me improve my writing as I explained in this post, so I’ll be gradually getting back into the routine.

Hope you’re having a creative Monday!

#WritePhoto ‘The Chess Game’ #FlashFiction #300Words

The Chess Game

“This year we’re having a different Christmas,” my grandmother said as she moved her pawn to the side, capturing mine.

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

She pushed her glasses up and raised her eyebrows. “I had to, didn’t I?”

“You could have ignored it.” I sulked.

She chuckled. “And let you capture mine?”

“Why not? I’m only nine. Most of my friends can’t even play chess.”

“You’ll never learn if I let you win all the time. Anyway, it’s only a pawn.”

She was right, but I didn’t like being little. The grown-ups were all smarter than I was, and it really annoyed me.

“Come on, Tom, it’s your turn.”

I moved my knight. “So what’s new about this Christmas?” My grandmother always came up with great ideas for games and outings.

She showed me a picture of green fields and snow-covered hills. “I’m renting a cottage right here, for the weekend.”

My jaw dropped. It was in the middle of nowhere. “Are we all going?”

She moved her queen. “Of course! It’s Christmas. There’s a real log fire and plenty of hiking trails, and board games to play in the evenings!”

My parents would never agree to staying at such an isolated place. They were always working or going out with friends.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Don’t you like the idea?”

It would be nice to spend a few days alone with my parents and grandmother. That hadn’t happened in ages. “I think it’s a great idea, Granny!” I said as I captured her pawn with my knight.

“Pay attention!” she said as she captured my knight with her queen.

I sighed hoping she’d be as good at convincing my parents to stay at the cottage as she was at playing chess.

****

This piece of flash fiction was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

Ariel, coloured by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction Challenge #99Words #SixSentenceStory ‘Sorrowful Interlude’

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Sorrowful Interlude

Ruby welcomed her unfailing, weekly customer, handing him his usual two dozen daisies. Ralf nodded, smiled and limped towards the cemetery, carrying a cane and their favourite flowers.

He shook his head, reading the familiar inscriptions; Jane, beloved daughter of Ralf and Ada Grimmer, 10th August 1980 – 23rd September, 1999, and Ada, beloved wife and mother, 5th May 1950 – 23rd September, 1999.

He arranged the flowers, knelt and told them about his week, before saying his usual farewell, “Goodbye for today.”

Ralf refused to believe their separation was definite. “We’ll meet again soon, after this sorrowful interlude,” he whispered.

****************

Sorry it’s a little sad, but that’s where the two prompts took me.

Ralf refuses to believe that death is anything but a brief, albeit sorrowful interlude, between this world and the next.

We’re all certainly going in the same direction. Nobody leaves this Earth without dying first, whether we meet again is an option which some refuse to believe and others refuse to deny…

I’m taking part in the Carrot Ranch weekly challenge with ‘Interlude’. I’m afraid it’s been a while since I took part in this challenge, so this post is the end of that interlude!

I’m also taking part in the weekly ‘Six sentence story‘, with this week’s word prompt, ‘regret’. It’s my first time taking part, I think.

The two words merged as Ralf’s story popped into my mind. My mind’s elusive and impulsive creativity will never cease to amaze me!

Hope you’re having a creative Monday!

#Sunday Photo Fiction ‘Prickly’ #FlashFiction #100words

It’s Sunday and time for Sunday Photo Fiction. Below is the picture which inspired me to write the following 100 word, flash fiction, although according to the rules, you can write up to 200 words. Thank you Susan for hosting and Lakshmi Bhat for this week’s photo prompt.

****

Lakshmi Bhat

Prickly

“Ouch,” he said. “That hurt.”

“So, put a plaster on your ego,” she replied.

“Just one dance.”

“I told you, no way!”

“You’re the bridesmaid, I’m the best man, the music’s playing…”

She didn’t let him finish. “What part of no don’t you understand?”

“I know Derek was an idiot.”

She huffed. “Everyone knows your brother’s an idiot.”

“You’re hurt, but I’m glad.”

 “What?”

“I’m glad he’s out of the picture.”   

“And so are you!”

“I’m up for a challenge.”

“So, go climb the Everest!”

“Only with you.”

“You’re cocky.”

“Rhymes with prickly,” he whispered as he led her to the dance floor.  

****

That was fun to write! I hope you enjoyed their witty banter 😉 There will never be a dull moment with this couple!