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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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short stories and poetry

Always a Rocker

Charli Mills and the good folks at https://carrotranch.com/2019/08/01/august-1-flash-fiction-challenge/ want 99 word stories using the prompt “a rock star.” 

 

Always a Rocker

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

A silvery line of drool punctuated the vacant expression that landed David in the locked down unit with nineteen other impaired individuals. Once he commanded a tour bus and bested the world’s stages. Now his wheelchair and a disease kept him captive. He stared into private abysses until the activities girl arrived. 

 

From her music player, drums drove a beat. Keyboards provided the backbone. Guitar wailed. 

 

David perked up. He recognized the song. His song. 

 

She sang. 

 

With an anemic voice, a mere ghost of his past, he performed.

 

The girl patted his shoulder and nodded. “Once a rocker.”

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Words

This week, Charli Mills and the https://carrotranch.com gang wrangled 99 word stories interpreting the prompt “for one day.” Writing a story in 99 words is a challenge, indeed. This is mine. Its first incarnation was much longer, but to comply with the challenge, I pared down to the essence of the story. I’d love to know what you think of it.

 

Words 

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

A toddler plied her mother with questions at a check-out line as the mother stacked goods onto the conveyor. Another toddler sat in the next cart in line, limp-legged and watchful. “You have such a sweet baby,” the harried mother said to her line-neighbor. “Mine won’t shut up. I wish I could have silence for just one day.” She chuckled darkly and turned when the cashier asked, “Paper or plastic?” without noticing the grimace on the mother-behind-her’s face. 

 

That mother’s child was born mute, and how she longed to hear even one word from her child. Even just one.

Koala Kingdom

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com challenged everyone to use a Koala in a Kingdom in a 99 word story. This is how I interpreted the prompt. What do you think?

 

Koala Kingdom

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Beth retreated into her imaginings where her stuffed koala reigned and she served as his loyal subject.

There, nobody ridiculed her childish ways or belittled her stuttered speech. There, she read beautifully, and the court gathered from miles away to hear her recitations. They applauded and admired instead of laughed and tormented. 

Beth labored over tongue placement to produce the correct sounds, to please her liege. She calmed her voicebox and sing-songed to get by difficult passages and emulate her dream self.

Beth’s mother listened from the doorway as Beth’s articulation improved with each session in the Koala Kingdom.

 

Oh, Marshmallows!

In many of her essays, Charli Mills shares the struggles she and her husband experience at the VA. This week is no exception. 

Despite the challenges she faces, she always encourages her fellow writers and readers. This week, she asked at https://carrotranch.com for 99 word stories about paint, which brought to mind this little story. I hope you’ll enjoy it and visit the ranch to read the other stories.

 

Oh, Marshmallows!

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Polish remover seeped through the cotton ball, chilling Ava before she swiped it across Mrs. Birdseye’s fingernails. The old lady smiled vacantly. “How much will this cost, Sweetie?”

Ava patted the resident’s hand. “I’m a volunteer, Mrs. Birdseye. You don’t pay me.” Ava indicated the polishes displayed in front of her manicure kit. “What color do you like? Pink matches your sweater.”

Mrs. Birdseye reached her trembling, unoccupied hand toward the bottles, upsetting them. Her eyes widened. “Marshmallows!”  

“Quaint cuss word,” thought Ava as she retrieved the bottles. 

“No, Mrs. Birdseye!” An aide brushed by. “Those aren’t marshmallows. Don’t eat the cotton balls!”

 

 

Faith

Charli Mills from https://carrotranch.com asked us to write a 99 word story about waiting. This is what sprang to my mind.

 

Faith

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

We waited together for the results. Kinda gross, really, staring at a plastic stick I’d peed on, but in the end, a plus told us. A baby! My tears drenched his shoulder as we embraced.

 

Anxious, we held hands at the obstetrician’s to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Quick as a bunny, it raced away with our hearts. 

 

At the ultrasound, we watched her suck her thumb and chose her name. Faith. We painted the nursery, anxious to meet this precious child.

 

But one day, I bled. I rushed for help, but no amount of waiting brought back our Faith.

Charity’s Childhood

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com asked anyone interested to write about gender in 99 words. No more. No less. 

Here’s my take. What do you think?

 

Charity’s Childhood

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Charity played football while wearing her tutu and tiara. Her Barbies explored sunken treasures, donned armor, and battled evil warlords. She named her bike Ragnarok and imagined charging into battle every time she pedalled, yet she stopped to admire flowers, searched for fairies in mushroom rings, and danced like Shirley Temple.

Deeana broke from a group of gossiping classmates, manicured hands on her designer jeans. “Charity, why do you think boys like you because you can hit a baseball?”

 

Charity’s nostrils flared like a wolf scenting prey or a doe ready to flee. “Why do you hate me because I do?”

Even if Flawed

Charli Mills at https:carrotranch.com asked ranchers and guests to use “chisel” in a 99 word story. Here’s my result. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

 

Even if Flawed

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Michelangelo saw the angel in marble and carved until he set it free. The world admires him. For hundreds of years, people have clamored for a mere glimpse of his work.

 

I’ve studied, learned every technique.

 

My teachers whisper appreciation of my creations, yet I’m poised with a chisel, too petrified to begin. I touch smooth, unblemished stone so flawless it glows.

 

Yet I imagine my inadequacies disrupting its natural perfection.

 

The master’s words return then, and an angel’s wings pound beneath the placid surface.

 

Art must be freed, and even if flawed.

 

I place the chisel and swing.

Herd of Nightmares

As many of you know, I’ve published a second collection of short horror stories through Tree Shadow Press called Herd of Nightmares.

My amazing brother, Chris Blick did the cover artwork. Didn’t he do a great job? Not only do I think so, but so do a bunch of people at All Author. They host a monthly cover contest, and Herd of Nightmares has passed the first round of voting. Won’t you please give it a peek and see if you might be motivated to vote it a winning cover? You can check it out here: https://allauthor.com/cover-of-the-month/4102/

 

Herd of Nightmares contains 210 pages of flash fiction, short stories, and horror haiku.

 

If you’re interested in purchasing, I have books available for sale here for $12.95 (plus shipping) through Pay Pal at kerrylizblack@gmail.com

through Tree Shadow Press https://www.treeshadowpress.com/

or through Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1948894025/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1 .

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