Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black


99 word stories

A Holiday Drabble

This week, Charli Mills at issued a new challenge. “Not my monkeys. Not my circus.” The 99 word story I wrote is my interpretation. What do you think?

They’re All Our Monkeys

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

The weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break are educational blackouts in the elementary years. Even children who otherwise excel become as erratic as kernels in a hot pot. 

We teachers try to siphon some of the palpable excitement into thematic units and a holiday open house.

My students bring a visual representation of their family’s holiday celebrations. Inclusive. Concise. 

The new teacher grew ambitious. Her students created borax crystal snowflakes. Which led to paper cutout flakes. Which led to safety scissor fencing. 

Sometimes, I wish I could just say, “Not my monkeys,” but we teachers have each other’s backs.

Hero Work – a 99 word Carrot Ranch inspired story

Hero Work

A story told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

She didn’t think. When her daughter stumbled into danger, she acted. 

Cocooned in a maternal embrace, the girl escaped injury. Firefighters and ambulance drivers commented with incredulity. 

The church ladies proclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

The mother handed her daughter into their care. She paled, forced a smile that wavered into a wince. “I’ll see you in a bit.” 

Flashing lights and an urgent siren rushed her to the hospital. Xrays revealed the extent of the damage. Repositioned, crushed bone. Doctors inserted metal, casted. OT’s designed rehabiliitating exercises. 

The mother considered the injuries and pain worth her daughter’s precious life.


Charli Mills challenged everyone to use “remote” to create a 99 word story by the 6th.

Mine is below.

Bereft on a Beach

told in 99 words by Kerry E.B. Black

I walk along a lonely shore. Without even the screeches of gulls for company, I count a half-hearted breeze my only companion. Overcast skies meld into the steely sea, and the sense of the monochromatic drips with tears – mine and the clouds’ – to inhospitable gray sand. Waves slap and hiss, strikes from inner turmoil manifested. 

I step over the transparent blob of a beached jellyfish. Within its carcass pulses malignancy. Dull driftwood ornaments the shattered black shells crunching underfoot. Values of darkness manifest along the shore, speckled reflections of my own failure. 

I squint, searching for an understanding soul.

Another 99 Word Story!

The newest challenge issued by Charli Mills at is “write a 99 word story ‘for a day.'” My little brain took a protagonist through a memory. Please let me know if you’ve participated so I can cheer you on, and as always, I enjoy hearing your thoughts on my attempt.

Without further ado:

Marching on the Twenty-fifth

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

She pulled the box from beneath her childhood bed and blew dust from its top. Bound with a chocolate heart’s red ribbon, the box held a maiden’s treasures. Poetic offerings from her only high school beau. A green pinkie ring – his favorite color. Her prom photo – They’d missed most of the dance, but their youthful smiles didn’t mind. A tiny brass rose and dolphin bookends. A dried corsage, its decayed perfume more vibrant than its crumbling flowers. An envelope of ticket stubs decorated with a floating dinosaur. No longer Romeo’s Juliette, she replaced the lid and slid it back.

My friend Charli Mills at has issued a new challenge. She calls for freedom. The very word tastes sweet on my tongue, yet today I’m a bit mired and less hopeful than I prefer. Thus today’s take on the prompt isn’t cheerful. However, I hope you’ll still enjoy these 99 words, and as ever, please let me know if you participate. I’d love to read what you’ve come up with, too!

“Snacks” – another 99 word story written for a prompt

Charli Mills posted the prompt for this week’s 99 word challenge, and I have a response below. Please, if you participate, let me know so that I can pop by and read your stories! And I’d love, love, love to hear your thoughts on mine.

Also, next month, Carrot Ranch will host not only weekly 99 word prompts, but also a WRITING RODEO. It is a series of great contest with NO ENTRY FEE! Prizes, experience, potential glory, and lots of fun await all of you Buckaroos! AND GUESS WHAT??? I am organizing the first contest!!!!!!!! I’ll post more details about it here NEXT TUESDAY!

Now, for my 99 word story:


Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Fans cluster, elbowing one another for a better position to see him. Modern “young adult literature” has proved such a boon for his waning popularity. 

Their eyes fill with desperation, their hearts pump intentions and desires they don’t even understand yet. They’re bunched together, a throng of feminine longing, as the creak and groan of rusted and ill-used hinges announces his appearance. They shriek – not with horror but with ecstasy!

His tight-lipped smile barely disguises his pleasure as he wades into the fawning assembly. 

At last, with fangs fully extended, he shows these deluded youths the truth behind vampirism.

“I Heard it on the Radio” – a 99 word story inspired by Charli Mills’ latest promp

1938 CBS Mercury

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

The rich-voiced announcer interrupted our background music with a report. A Professor from Jenning Observatory detected explosions on Mars. 

I shared a nervous laugh. “Nothing to worry about, children. Let’s carve our pumpkins.” 

The reporter interrupted again. A hideous monsters that had fallen from the skies. I bundled the kids close, jack-o-lanterns forgotten. We crept outside, but nothing disturbed the starry expanse overhead. No Martians. No attacks.

A neighbor asked if we were alright. 

We whispered, “Martians are attacking New York.”

“You don’t say?”

We nodded. 

“Way I see it, you shouldn’t listen to Orson Wells’ show. Charley McCarthy’s funnier.”

6 Sentences, 1 Story

Through a friend, D. Avery (  at Carrot Ranch, (Check out the newest 99 word challenge there! The story must somehow involve Key Lime Pie. I’ve added my B.O.T. 99 word story below, with names changed to protect the guilty.),  I found this charming prompt site.

The challenge there is to write a story in 6 sentences. This is mine. What do you think?


Lesson in Electric Lighting

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


The string of red and green lights flickered, blinked, and died in his hands. His jaw clenched as he lifted his sigh toward the ceiling, biting back a tyrade of temper for the sake of the youngster at his feet. He removed and replaced each bulb until they flickered, blinked, illuminated, and he strung them around the top of the tree. 

The sleepy tot asked, “Why’d they do that, Grandpa?” 

“These old-fashioned lights are all we had when I was a kid. The trick’s to find and replaced the burnt out bulb and complete the circuit so they can light up again.”

(To complete the story, I’d add one further sentence: He thought, “If only I could find the burnt out bit inside me, too.”)




(99 words)

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Kiesha’s mouth dropped. “Were you hungry, honey?”

Barney shrugged. “It benefited a good cause, and the pies’re from my favorite shop.”

“Yes, but what’re we going to do with all these?”

Barney swallowed a piece of peach and shrugged. “Eat them.”

Kiesha glared, dwarfed by a stack of boxes. “They’ll grow stale before we can eat them all.” She squinted at the boxes. “Why don’t we take some to the shelter?”

Barney plated a piece of lime pie. He spoke around a bite. “Sure.”

“Barney, how’re we taking these to the shelter now? You’ve taken a piece from each!”

Charity’s Childhood

Charli Mills at 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?”

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