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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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short stories and poetry

Season of Secrets available on Audible!

I’m overjoyed to announce Season of Secrets is now available on Audible featuring the voice talents of Megan L. Hysell.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Season-of-Secrets-Audiobook/B07ZG7HWXY?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-169129&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_169129_rh_us&fbclid=IwAR2VcwzXDhE-r0Zr2G9Vgxjq7NRn32Lc6cQSCGn4Fvfxp1JY2JtSRPjIp7k

 

Halloween Writing Contest Entry

https://mathiseverywhere439319476.wordpress.com/2019/09/30/kidlit-fall-writing-frenzy/ is hosting an intriguing Halloween writing contest. Write a 200 word poem or story based on a photographic prompt. I chose Image 8 as my inspiration.

I hope you’ll enjoy this not-so-innocent trick.

 

I Got a Rock

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Gerta didn’t mean to poison children on Halloween.

 

She dressed in cellophane fairy wings and held her plastic jack-o-lantern bowl in hands trembling with excitement when trick-or-treaters arrived at her door. She returned their cheerful “thank you’s” as she closed the door to return to her paused holiday special. 

 

“Who would give that poor bald boy with the hole-infested sheets rocks,” she wondered sadly and she listened for the next round of candy mendicants. 

 

Gerta didn’t know an evil had infected her candy bowl, one that creeped through the wrappers and settled beside the dazzling crystals. An insidious powder had filtered every ill-intention of previous owners through the heavy oaken rafters of her ancient brownstone.

 

As darkness deepened and the time for tricks and treats ended, Gerta sighed. The Vince Guaraldi Trio punctuated Linus’ appeal for a sincere pumpkin patch. 

 

“Maybe next year,” Gerta reassured Linus, and perhaps herself. Maybe next year she’d have friends and host a party, or a beau to snuggle beneath her crocheted blanket.

 

She unwrapped the unclaimed candy and munched, licking sticky goodness from her fingertips, until despair choked her insides. As her intestines knotted within her, Gerta repeated her hopeless reassurance. “Maybe next year.”

Celebration

My dear readers, I’m afraid I’ve been a bit out of commission of late. I had an ulcer burst through my duodenum, (which I didn’t realize I even had one of those, so imagine my surprise when it was causing such trouble!). So I’ve been at the hospital under the not-so-gentle ministrations of laudanum. I found coherent thoughts a commodity, so I didn’t write for the last two weeks. (GASP) (However, I did have some Dali-like hallucinations and some vivid, wacky dreams…) 

However, Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com has a perfect prompt to get the creative juices flowing again. “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about old world charm. It can be nostalgic or irreverent. You can invent an “old world,” return to migrant roots or recall ancient times. Go where the prompt leads you!”

Below is my 99 word offering. Why don’t you participate, too? I’d love to see where the prompt leads you! (Let me know if you do, please.)

 

Celebration

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

With a pomp of woodwinds, the children joined the parade about town, welcoming everyone to join. Ribbons swirled from braids in the little girls’ hair. Embroidered flowers festooned hems and lines of traditional garb. Traditional foods perfumed the air, available for the sampling. The celebration swept everyone up with its joy. The world bloomed, the earth produced, and people created beauty to compliment nature. Peace, not protest. Harmony, not war. For the brief span of an afternoon, the community embraced the simplicity of existence. Unity in expression, inclusion of all. People paused to admire the beauty in one another.

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.”

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.

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