A 99 word flash fiction for Charli Mill’s writing challenge.
Photo©Dominicus Johannes Bergsma
The puddle in the path reflected like a mirror the tracery of the trees and the sky beyond. I stood on the edge captivated by the still beauty. The sun came from behind a cloud and struck the water, covering the surface with rainbow lights. Diesel, a film of leaked fuel turned the timeless pastoral scene into a surreal nightmare. I raised my head, looked beyond the clouds to the scritch-scratched vapour trails across the blue, smelled the traffic on the road ahead and felt the tree roots curling and straining to find the lifeblood of the dying earth.
The theme for Charli’s Carrot Ranch 99 word flash fiction is hygge. Here’s a version of hygge.
He dodged round the corner to get out of the sleet. In the car park entrance was an air vent. Warm. His face fell. The spot was taken. Two lads raised their heads. He shrank back.
“Room for another,” one of the lads said and elbowed a big black dog. “Shove over, Prince, Bounty, getoutofit.”
He sank gratefully between the two dogs.
“Bounty just had pups so she’s a bit snarly.”
Bounty raised questioning eyes and the boy smiled at her. Bounty smiled back.
He sank into the friendly warmth and Bounty laid her head gently in his lap.
I’m not making any excuses for this. I’ve been plagued with migraines since Tuesday, and I am only gradually feeling this last one subsiding. Blame Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch writing prompt. She wanted insects, she got insects.
I have always loathed spiders, squished every one that got too close, mercilessly. Not surprising this drifting, restless dream, probably inspired by indigestion, has a big, fat spider in it. Its eyes, red and globular stare into mine, its hairy mandibles fidget. Its awful bulk scuttles closer. Even though it’s a dream I feel sick. I moan and try to wake, struggling against some tough, sticky stuff, binding my arms and legs. I hear the click click of those awful jaws. The eyes hypnotise. I try to scream, and my voice is the faint buzz of a dying fly.
Before Jay could put his arms around her, the house door at Emily’s back swung open and the darkness poured around her, drawing her inside.
“Em!” he called and lunged to grab a trailing hand but the bullwhip curled around his neck and pulled him aside. A second flick of the dark man’s wrist tore the lash free in a fountain of blood.
She saw but could do nothing. No words came. Her mouth was filled with cobwebs, her ears with a frantic pounding like a racing heart. She realised it was hers, and she no longer controlled it.
The Carrot Ranch prompt is on the theme of looking round a property of some kind. In exactly 99 words, here’s my story.
“It’s certainly isolated,” he said approvingly.
“Exactly what we’re looking for,” she agreed. “And the garden! It’s gorgeous.”
They wandered through tangles of roses along mossy brick paths and the scent of honeysuckle, hardly noticing the passing time.
“Estate agent’s running late,” he said, “I’ll give him a call.” He gave up after a few futile attempts. “No signal.”
She hugged herself, suddenly cold. The sun had set. He pointed.
“That must be him!”
She looked in the direction of his pointing finger. A black silhouette striding. Something was not quite…Her hand flew to her mouth.
“Oh my God!”
Last episode inspired by Charli Mills’ prompt.
Despite the distance, she knew the child had seen her. Shame gripped her guts and turned them to water.
No, she whispered silently, but there was no one to hear but herself and the oak sapling. She tried to tell herself it wasn’t Billy. Billy was away at school. But she could no more lie to herself than to the sapling. People swarmed then dispersed, leaving the child alone, staring.
She lunged into the roiling, boiling, boulder-bouncing chaos. Her foot slipped. Her hands, clawed fingers, lost their grip on the bark. She fell, rolled, head ricocheted once, twice…darkness.
Following on from Charli’s prompt.
Clouds in her eyes, dust rising in the blue, she waited. The rumble travelled up through the soles of her feet and she quivered with delight. The village carried on winking silently as the first boulders bounced down the mountainside. Her lips curled in an unpleasant smile and she crept closer to the edge. This she did not want to miss.
The church bell swung, ringing out a discordant alarm. That and the rocks drowned the cries of fear. She wanted to hear them scream! Frowning in disappointment, she slid her arms around an oak trunk and peered down.
For Charli Mills’ writing prompt—a 99 word story about ‘just one’.
She glared down at the village in fury. They had no right! She pulled up a clod of turf and slung it down the steeply sloping mountainside. The friable earth flew as it bounced over the edge and out of sight. The village winked smugly in the sun. Church steeple, neat little houses, neat little lives, and they chased her out. Not in so many words. They just made her life hell. The sky was blue but her thoughts grew darker and darker. She chose a rock, hefted it in both hands, tossed it and waited for the thunder.
Last part. The title should really have been The Man with the Golden Pen, but I didn’t know about that when I started the story.
“Wasn’t so hard, was it?”
The voice startled her, pulling her out of her winged flight to see what lay beyond the horizon. A smart answer bounced on the tip of her tongue then burst like a bubble.
“You could have made it easier.”
The bald-headed man smiled and it was like seagulls laughing on a windy day.
“That would have been to miss the point,” he said.
“I know,” she said and handed him the pen. “Yours, I believe.”
“Keep it,” he said—“Souvenir”—and opened the door to let her back into a world of sunlit dreams.
Penultimate 99 word installment.
The gold nib, a warhead, the point of magnified sunlight that starts a fire, wrote the words in a flood of emotion. This was the answer to the conundrum.
What conundrum? I’m being held prisoner!
Anger flared up, hot and red, and the words the pen wrote were passionate and full of fire. She gave herself up to the impulse to write and realised that it had always been there, bottled up inside. She wrote a poem full of wide skies, clouds, green waves and white birds, and when she had finished the pen lay still and she cried.