Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

The Edge

From Charli Mills’ : In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that goes to the edge. Consider what the edge might be and how it informs the story. Go where the prompt leads. Respond by January 30, 2018

My response. What do you think?


The edge

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Julia’s life balanced on a silvery precipice, its sharp cleavage pressed to her throat. Its wielder clasped a bruising hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. As the blade cut into delicate skin, Julia pushed into the knifeman’s chest to escape its bite.

His voice rumbled, an avalanche of fear in tenor. “Stay back.”

Julia’s husband, palms outstretched in supplication, stopping inching toward them. “Alright, but let her go.”

A tiny blood rivulet escaped its confines and tickled to her collarbone. Julia held her breath, lest movement might cause a deeper cut.

“Can’t. She’s coming with me.”


Carrot Ranch’s 99 word Boots challenge

For this week’s challenge, Charli Mills asked her Carrot Ranch companions and guests to write 99 words that involved boots.


These 99 words explore a bit more of my novel, “Wolves at Bay.” I do hope you’ll enjoy them.

Ward slipped off his boots easily as a seal slipping into water. Mud from his trek clung to the soles, a reminder he’d not truly escaped the situation. Its insidious hold waited. With an old rag, he wiped the boot bottoms, but no matter how many swipes, streaks remained like broken shards from a mirror to his past. He’d have no choice but confront the truth.

“They’ll come for her, and if she’s not here, they’ll take us. You. They’ll put us on trial in her place, and still, they’ll catch her. She can’t run, and neither can we.”

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe

Happy Birthday Edgar Allan Poe!

edgar-allan-poe-portraitOnce upon a January dreary, while she labored, weak and weary, there came a gentle cry into the chill Boston air…

Born the second son of actors Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and David Poe, Jr. in 1809, Edgar Poe became an orphan by the time he was two when his father abandoned the family and his mother died. John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia took him in and kept him until he grew to adulthood. Although they never formally adopted Edgar, they gave him the name “Edgar Allan Poe” and had him baptized in the Episcopal Church. During Poe’s formative years, the family travelled to Scotland and England. Upon his return to the United States, he served as a lieutenant of the Richmond Youth Honor Guard when the Marquis de Lafayette visited. Poe attended the University of Virginia for one semester, majoring in ancient and modern languages, but left when he couldn’t pay for higher education. Using an alias, “Edgar A. Perry,” and lying about his age, Poe enlisted in the Army in 1827 and published a collection of poetry “Tamerlane and Other Poems” as an anonymous “Bostonian.” He obtained the highest rank for a non-commissioned officer, but he ended his enlistment early.

After his foster mother died, Poe moved in with his Baltimore relatives, the Clemm’s, published a second book, “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems,” and entered West Point. His relationship with his foster father deteriorated, and Poe was disowned. He was court martialed in 1831 and pursued the life of a poet and writer. Fellow West Point Cadets helped finance his third book titled “Poems,” which was printed by Elam Bliss of New York. He placed prose in journals and won a prize for his short story “MS Found in a Bottle.”

27-year-old Poe married his 14-year-old cousin Virginia Clemm on 16 May, 1836. She died of tuberculosis in 1847, two years after the publication of his famous poem “The Raven.” Alcoholism plagued the Poe family. Edgar’s elder brother died because of alcohol in the early 1830’s, and Edgar himself lost positions due to drunkenness. He hoped to edit and produce a literary journal, but he died of unknown caused on 7 October, 1849 before he published.

Despite detractors such as Griswold and Huxley, Edgar Allan Poe left a legacy of writing, much of it gothic. Poe is credited with penning the first detective stories. To this day, Edgar Allan Poe’s iconic works influence popular culture in the United States and beyond. Several of his residences are preserved as museums, and The Mystery Writers of America present The Edgar, an annual award for distinguished writing established in his honor.

Halloween Forevermore remembers this amazing writer on his birthday.

“And so, being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy.” Edgar Allan Poe

An Interesting Book Release: Whisper of an Angel by Lorah Jaiyn



Fellow writer Lorah Jaiyn just released a tale of courage, love, and redemption.


$2.99 for a limited time only.


Reserve your copy today:


Sometimes second chances start with four paws.

In the small town of Marshall Glen, Sofia retreats from life following the death of her husband. Six-year-old Kady lives in foster care and hasn’t spoken since a house fire stole her family. After she saves Kady’s dog from drowning, Sofia attempts to stay locked away, but learns that—

…even though she’s given up, her heart wants to—try again.

When Kady runs away from her foster home, Sofia meets the cop in charge of the search, Brandon—her first love. Sparks fly even as she struggles with her conscience. Is she being unfair to her husband’s memory?

When random acts of vandalism turn to attempted kidnapping, Brandon helps keep Kady safe. As the danger deepens, how far will Sofia go to save a child?

Artistic Pages

This week’s challenge from is to write a 99 word story featuring wet ink. I’m enjoying the contributions thus far, including two on the foibles of left-handedness. Follows was my interpretation. What do you think?


Artistic Pages
written by Kerry E.B. Black

Youngest of the order, Brother Seamus crafted ink by scraping carbon from candle backs, crushing Gum Arabic, and adding drops of wine to reach the correct viscosity. He carried a bottle stained black to replenish his brothers’ failing supplies. They hunched over vellum made from animal skins stretched until translucent. Hours, weeks, and months bled into each of their artistic pages. Awed by a piece, Brother Seamus leaned closer, forgetting himself. Fresh ink poured over an illuminated letter, marring the holy scene. His eyes widened in horror, and Brother Seamus fled before the artist broke his vow of silence.



Low-Balled and Parenting

I wrote two responses for the latest challenge issued by :

January 4, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Copper Country. It can be any place, fictional, historical, or on another planet. Go where the copper leads. Respond by 9 January to be included in the Carrot Ranch compilation.


Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Jenkins wiped grime along his plumber’s bottom.

The homeowner, a single mother of two, wrung her hands like an old-time heroine.  “What’s the damage?”

He cleared his throat. “How long were you away, Ms. Rowen?”

“A week. Make-a-Wish gave my littlest a trip.” She hugged the kids. “It was the kindest experience we’ve ever had, right boys? Then we got home, and the basement’s flooded.” A nervous giggle escaped.

Jenkins considered the pipeworks, yards of stolen copper mined from the vacationers’ house. He estimated the cost. A minimum of $5,000. More than she had, he suspected.

So he low-balled.





Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Heather combed through the older woman’s thick hair, separating it into sections using plastic clips. Layers of steel and silver gave way to a small cove of copper. She ran a finger along the silky strands, recalled brushing and braiding when her mother’s head boasted autumn, not winter, a child mothering.

                She blinked back tears. “You were an awful mother.”     

                Her mother shrugged, unconcerned. “Orphans don’t know how to parent.”

                Heather’s scissors snipped, creating the requested fashion.

Heather’s children dominated her every thought, their needs always first; not at all how her mother raised her. “Yet somehow I learned.”  

My Wishing Star

The talented Ms. Charli Mills is at it again, this time asking anyone who visits to write a 99 word story featuring a wishing star. Follows is my offering.

nasa stars

My Wishing Star

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Storms crowd the night sky, eager to take in the splendor of my wishing star. I imagine them with outstretched Sirius arms clutching pens and pads to collect her autograph, and she’d smile a cool and radiant dismissal. She has work this evening, as always. No time to cavort. She shines in the work, glorious minion of the heavens. She waves them away to peek upon her awaiting penitents. I stand among them, whispering my wishes as fervently as prayers. She collects them in shimmers and sigh and keeps them with ancestral wisdom until they are every one fulfilled.

*Photo from Nasa’s online images

Book Review: Spectrum Collection of Short Stories by S. C. Jensen

A very nice review of an anthology I’m proud to be a part of!

This Is My Truth Now

Why This Book 
One of the authors in this short story collection, Spectrum: A Colorful Collection of SmartyPants’ Best, is someone I’ve met, so I had to read the whole book coordinated by another author, S.C. Jensen. I was heading out of town for a few days and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to digest a few stories each day.

spectrumApproach & Style 
This book is a collection of about 25 to 30 short stories, organized by various colors on the wheel, a kaleidoscope of fiction, hence the term Spectrum. I found the approach quite interesting, and read a color each day from the Kindle Reader version in my iPad. The book has about 250 pages with each story ranging from 5 to 15 in length. The genres run the gamut of fantasy and science fiction to romance, mystery and contemporary fiction. It has…

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Charli Mills at issued a challenge to any writer interested. Write a story in 99 words that includes white flowers. My response follows. What do you think?

paperwhite narcissus


Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Delicate blooms bobbed from fragile supports, yet fragrance rose like springtime that winter afternoon. Cindy ran a finger along its silky petals, marveling at the minute perfection of the Paperwhites. Narcissi. Named for a narcissist so in love with himself he ignored another and drowned attempting to hug his own reflection.

Cindy smiled at the gift-giver. “They’re beautiful.”

He shrugged. “I picked them.” His gaze swept her party dress and updo. “Are you ready? I mean, is that what you’re wearing?”

Cindy inhaled the delicate perfume and sighed. Never fall in love with a narcissist, yet here I am.

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