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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

Witches Next Door

Write about property values, she said, so I did. Here are my 99 words in response to Charli Mills’ latest https://carrotranch.com challenge. What do you think of what I hope is a whimsical beginning to an interesting story?

 

Witches Next Door

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Poppa scowled at the moving van, inventorying items deposited next door. Movers left garden items – astrolabes, statuary, tools, and potted plants – along the fenceline. Poppa stomped out a cigarette.  “Darnnit, there goes the neighborhood.”

 

Josey crinkled her forehead. “Why, Poppa?”

 

He pointed. “Spell books. Magic chests. At least four cats. Witches’re moving in.”

 

Two plump, frizzy-haired ladies smiled and waved.

 

Josey waved. “They seem nice.”

 

Poppa spat. “Property value goes down when witches move in? Nobody wants to be mixed up in magic.”

 

Josey disagreed. Nothing in their quiet town seemed as interesting. Besides, how’d Poppa know about magic?

 

 

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Bloom Too Soon

The good folks at The Drabble published this little piece of mine. What do you think of it?

narcissus-3316490_1280

By Kerry E.B. Black

My children stir, wiggle beneath the duvet, tiny stretches too early. I encourage them to rest. Ancestral wisdom looks to a groundhog and its shadow for prognostication, and although the rodent’s seldom right, this year deserves prudence. The air’s too cold. Frost leaves the ground glistening.

However, the young are easily misled by the urine-yellow sunrise. They point to a sky stained with nursery pinks and declare their day’s arrived. The push aside their downy blanket and burst upon the day, faces radiant as new blooms. I marvel and fret – with good reason, because at sundown, the frost reaps.

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Guide to Peace

Guide to Peace

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

He fled, blinded by tears. Taunts and cruelty etching into his psyche. Heedless of direction, he dodged tree trunks, leapt tangles, and ducked beneath low-hanging vines until he panted into the silence of ankle-deep humus and the observation of hidden animals. He bent to relieve stitches and cramps.

 

Gentle breezes cooled tears on burning cheeks. Like teasing fingers, they brushed hair aside as if to reassure of his worth.

 

His nostrils flared to capture earthy perfumes so lush he could taste their rich decay and rebirth.

 

A delicate white flower bloomed in the shade, an unexpected guide to peace.

 

paperwhite narcissus

 

Sponge Cake Petit Fours

The good folks at https://carrotranch.com asked for a bit of April Foolery. (Have you ever played an April Fool’s prank? Been on the receiving end of such a thing? If so, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about it!

Follows is a 99 word “based on a true story” tale of mischief. I hope you’ll enjoy it! 

Sponge Cake Petit Fours

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Cali hummed as she spread a thick layer of buttercream icing over the pink sponge, creating perfect petit fours. She dotted each with stripes of dark chocolate and the first initial of each of her four children’s names. Proud of the accomplishment, she set the completed deserts on a paper doily. She washed the bowl and spatula, put away scissors and discarded tell-tale plastic wrappers.

When each kid came home from school, starting with the eldest, they eagerly grabbed their treats. When they bit into them, though, the cake rejected their bites. “Hey, these aren’t sponge cake! They’re sponges!”

petit fours

Gram’s Peculiar Taste

Charli Mills and the great bunch at https://carrotranch.com issued a new challenge. Write a 99 word story about carrot cake. Carrot cake, you say? You’ll have to read Charli’s excellent post to learn more, which I encourage you to do! While you’re here, though, please let me know what you think of my interpretation of the prompt. Thanks! You’re great!

 

Gram’s Peculiar Taste

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Constance frowned and poked her piece of cake, leaving four tine-marks as evidence of her displeasure. Carrot cake? What kind of trick was this? Her mother didn’t disguise the vegetable’s presence. She proclaimed it in orange and green icing atop the sea of ivory.

Not like the time she served squash and pretended it was spaghetti.

Who knew what other things she slipped into meals?

“Mo-om, why can’t we have chocolate?”

Mom bustled about, polishing the silver. “Because carrot is your Gram’s favorite.”

Gram sure had peculiar taste.

At least Mom made chocolate chip scones.

Or were they current?

royal-albert-old-country-roses-3-piece-tea-set

Message in Mylar

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com issued a new weekly challenge – write a 99 word story about a balloon. Here’s mine.

 

Message in Mylar

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

A gold mylar balloon’s string knotted around branch high in a beech tree, secured by a Cub Scout named Stan. It bobbed, a cheerful beacon, a coded message. “Be well,” it said. “You’re not forgotten.”

                His pack-mate friend, Bob, got into huge trouble which resulted in suspension from school and a marathon grounding. Nobody under the age of ten had seen Bob since the prank which flooded the school, and Stan worried about his mischievous friend.

                Since he couldn’t visit or phone, Stan sent a message as only he could, a cheerful balloon floating outside his bedroom window.

Youthicorn

https://carrotranch.com requested 99 word stories about unicorns. Follows is mine. What do you think?

Youthicorn

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

It sparkles in my periphery, silver as moonlight and as illusive. When I turn to catch it with my full gaze, it flees swifter than a shy spirit. Still I feel its unfailing goodness.

 

I used to be good, too, used to befriend the creature that haunts the corners of my consciousness. That was long ago, before age and experience settled upon my shoulders like cloaks layered atop one another. Before I lost my innocent interpretations and bowed to cynicism.

 

Now its glinting horn points to my failure, the unicorn that was but will never again exist for me.

unicorn rampant

A High-Kick Beyond

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com issues a weekly challenge to write a story in 99 words based on a prompt. This week’s prompt word is ice.

 

A High-Kick Beyond

A story of ice told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Huge cubes clinked in Aniya’s glass, dazzling as diamonds. She ran one over enflamed pulse-points. Better swelter than shovel.

 

Back home her family complained of freezing temperatures.

 

Not here in Nevada.

 

Not in her line of work. She’d rehearsed and auditioned until tenacity paid off. Headdresses and costumes made her alluring, but a showgirl’s career only lasted as long as her legs, and not a high-kick beyond.

 

She squirreled away money, lived in a hovel knowing the gig mightn’t last. So, ice cubes were her diamonds, but at least she didn’t have to shovel them to get to work.

Birthmarks’ mystique

Marked Child

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Although doctors know a birthmark are a clumping of blood vessels, heightened melanocytes, smoothed muscles, keratinocytes, or fibroblasts, they don’t know why they occur. Thus, human nature fills in the gaps with folk impressions and superstition.

“Maternal impression” sprung up to explain the occurrence of birthmarks. If a mother-to-be experienced a strong emotion during pregnancy, her baby might bare a mark representing the mom’s feelings. Trans-positioning of sorts involved a pregnant woman beholding something unpleasant resulting in an ugly mark upon their unborn child. Women were therefore protected and surrounded by peace and beauty when in their “delicate state.” In parts of the Middle East, some believed touching a pregnant woman’s stomach during a solar eclipse or time of a comet passing resulted in marring the child’s skin.

Other theories for birthmarks involved diet. A mom-to-be had to monitor her cravings. Eating too many strawberries resulted in red marks, some thought, while indulging in chocolate resulted in a café-colored spot. Beets, jams, and jellies could cause marks on the infant in port-wine hues. However, another theory involves not giving in to cravings, pointing to a woman’s intuition. If a woman craved something, it was best to give her the desired food. If not, the child’s skin might bear the mark of the denial.

Birthmarks could indicate the child’s future. Marks on the right brought prosperity, while those on the left bore challenges. However, a birthmark on the left foot indicated intelligence, wanderlust, and adventure, so even the folk wisdom is confused. A birthmark could even provide a clue to a past life, according to some cultures. A hemangioma could indicate how a person met their end before they reincarnated.

Some feel birthmarks indicate blessings. The word for birthmark in Italian, Spanish, and Arabic are all related to the word for “wishes.” They can indicate divine favor. Thus, touching a birthmark conveys good luck. Others feel the birth-marked child is tainted by evil as evidenced by the unnatural marking.

Birthmarks, be they referred to as nevus, mother’s marks, beauty marks or stains, strawberry marks, stork bites, or angel’s kisses, can be viewed as an enhancement of the child’s natural beauty, or a detriment or blemish.  

Skin is idiosyncratic. Areas of heightened pigment can be any shade of brown, rust, plum, or strawberry in color. Some fade or disappear with time and aging, while others last into adulthood. Cindy Crawford, Mikhail Gorbachev, and New Orleans Saint Drew Brees all bear their marks with pride. They can appear on any patch of skin, head to adorably plump toesies, and since about 80 percent of babies are born with them, and since they are benign, embrace the uniquely marked child!

 

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