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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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Carrot Ranch

For this week’s https://carrotranch.com 99 word challenge, Charli Mills wanted pigs to fly.

My drabble below found Biblical inspiration.

Also at Carrot Ranch, Buckaroo D. Avery provided a photo prompt which inspired this week’s second drabble.

Please let me know if you’ve participated. I’d love to read your stories!

Swine Song

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

We lived outside of Gerasene, a land where the Chosen never harried us. 

Or so we thought.

A man swathed in sunlight called to a madman chained in the nearby tombs. “What is your name?” 

The darkness within the madman growled, “Legion.” 

The glowing man sent Legion into our doylt. 

Cold settled into our bones. Acid ate our flesh. Demonic whispers infiltrated our thoughts.

We acted before Legion controlled us as it had the madman of the tombs. 

Together, we leaped from the cliff, truly flew, suspended in our divine act before gravity called us to the primordial sea.

Arlington Cemetery

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Like giants’ teeth, white tombstones jut from grassy gums, wise words carved into their backs serving as memorial tattoos. The land once belonged to the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee who found war to be uncivil in the end. But before the Custis-Lee family owned it, Native tribes called the land their home. Policies put in place to protect the trees surrounding what once was a home and now is a museum were contested and overturned, another upheaval on peaceful property. A corner was once set aside as Freedman’s Village, until the residents chopped the wood for fuel and heat. Who knew trees could cause disharmony in a land where warriors rest?

Stars in the Sand: A response to this week’s 99 word challenge

Charli Mills issued a new challenge and presented an exceptional and emotional 99 word story of her own. I do hope you’ll take the time to read it! https:carrotranch.com My response is below. I hope you’ll like it.

Stars in the Sand

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Lonely footprints in the sand marked her progress, footprints watered with her tears and the exuberant salt spray. She sniffed sadness with each step as she left her marital home.

The moon danced in the dark ocean’s waves and laughed at the woman’s consternation. This orb’s influence led the sea astray, pulling the waters along lunar whims. Likewise, it diverted the woman’s husband, enhancing his basest instincts. Like a madman, he romanced in moonlight with howls, dances, and gore.

In despair and fear, she fled, unaware with each resultant spray of her passage, she revealed stars in the sand.

A 99 Word Carrot Ranch Cacophonic Lament

Charli Mills posted a new word prompt, but since I am sick and feeling a bit sorry for myself, this is my response. I suggest you check out https://carrotranch.com for happier responses. And if you feel so inclined, I can uses some virtual chicken soup.

This Sickness

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Someone with a ball peen hammer pounds every joint, stretching muscle and ligament until bone grinds cartilage.

An orchestra warms-up between the ears, its cacophony deafening, with pulse matching its erratic rhythm.

Eyes receded into aching sockets, where lightshows dance along the periphery.

Shadows sink into vision, obscuring. Strained eyesight triggers migraines, with comic book enthusiasm. “Bang, Pow, Pop!”

Razorblades reside in vocal cords, stripping speech to a barely audible squeak. Amusing to the children.

An anaconda squeezes the midsection, shrinking stomach capacity.

Hazy zombie turns to exhausted fever dreams between doses of medicine that promise returned good health.

99 Word Open Doors

At https:carrotranch.com , Charli Mills and her other guests contemplate open doors. She asked all interested to write a story about open doors in 99 words. I’ve included mine. If you’ve written one, please link it or include it below. I’d enjoy reading it!

Doorway to Adventure

written by Kerry E.B. Black

In Granny’s grand, dark house, Cleo was forbidden to enter the study, no matter how intriguing. Granny’d locked it and all of its secrets when Uncle Jameson died. 

However, Cleo longed to sneak inside.

The door breathed temptation. Its woodgrain spelled suspense.

Day after day, Cleo snuck to the door and pressed her ear to the warm wood. Night after night, she turned the handle. It remained unmoving.

One quiet evening, Cleo’s family left to run errands. 

Cleo crept to the door and turned the brass handle, expecting it to remain stable, as always. 

Incredibly, it twisted in her grip.

Another 99 word story inspired by a Carrot Ranch prompt.

Seriously, gang, if you’re interested in writing and working on honing your craft, you should check out the weekly prompts at https://carrotranch.com . Head buckaroo Charli Mills and the rest of the Rough Writers and ranchers are a supportive bunch, adn writing a 99 word story is an interesting challenge. As always, if you give it a try, let me know so I can ‘hoot and hollar’ your praises. In the meanwhile, here’s my take on the prompt. Charli always says go where the prompt leads. Well, she asked for it…

Garden Club Party

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Fiona covered her eyes. “What are you doing?”

Her brother, Ian, lifted weights. “Getting ready for the party.”

“What party?”

“You know the hot chick across the street?”

Fiona crossed her arms. “The woman who just moved in?”

“Yeah, her. She’s started a garden club.”

“You don’t garden.”

Ian leapt to the chin-up bar. “Thought…” pulled himself up, “I’d try…” chin-up, “Something new.” 

“But where’re your clothes?”

“Read the invitation. Printed right there, ‘Come to the Buff Garden Club Party.’ Now, I’ve got to shower.”

Fiona wondered when he’d notice the name on the mailbox. It read, “The Buffs.”

“Playground Pirates” – a 99 word story written for the weekly Carrot Ranch challenge

Another week, and another 99 word story prompt from Charli Mills and the good folk at Carrot Ranch. This one wanted the phrase “Hit the Road, Jack” used somewhere in the story. Mine harkens back to simpler times. I hope you’ll enjoy it! And as always, please let me know your thoughts and share your challenge stories if you write them.

Playground Pirates

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Tanya scrambled into the boat with the rest of the kids. Jack, years older and tall as a masthead, captained the elementary-aged crew. He instructed them – lean right, then left. 

They gave no thought to the danger of bouncing a boat set upon saw-horses. Instead, Jack sang an old song, one Tanya’s uncle enjoyed. “Rock the Boat, but don’t tip it over…” 

Behind him, streetlights blinked, shining reminders of curfew. 

Tanya called, “Gotta go. The streetlights woke up.”

“Nah, you can’t leave yet!”

“Sorry.” Tanya remembered another song her uncle liked and sang, “Got to ‘Hit the road, Jack’…”

“Lessons Learned”

written by Kerry E.B. Black

another 99 word story inspired by another great weekly prompt from https://carrotranch.com

Yes, you heard that right! Carrot Ranch is an online literary community headed by Charli Mills that offers a weekly prompt. Members can then accept the challenge to write a 99 word story based on that prompt It’s an interesting exercise in brevity and necessity.

Here’s mine. As always, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Lessons Learned

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Toddlerdom is difficult. Janice pulled a doll from her younger cousin’s grasp – not to cuddle it, but to keep it from her cousin’s cuddles. Her mother speaks in soothing admonishments until the doll finds its cousin cuddles restored.

Preschool is difficult. Janice hoards crayons and markers, exacting yowls of classmates’ outrage as payment. Her teacher instructs with patient practice until order again rules.

Janice weathered childhood and young adulthood, wearing the lessons on her heart. As an adult, she runs a homeless shelter with fairness and honor, pouring upon all her volunteers and residents equal portions of no-nonsense love.

Helen’s Prospects: A tale of 99 words written for a Carrot Ranch Prompt

It is quite a fun challenge to tell a story in very few words. Below is my tale, and I recommend you check out https://carrotranch.com/2021/03/25/march-25-flash-fiction-challenge-2/comment-page-1/#comment-79628 for more

Helen’s Prospects

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

For her sister Helen’s graduation, Augie bought a huge bundle of helium-filled balloons, each proclaiming pride in the attainment of higher education. Springtime gusts worried them like windchimes, braiding their strings, as she crossed to her car, a storm-blue Prius. Pushing them into the back hatch proved tricky, each poking out like ‘whack-a-mole.’ Driving with the encroaching bunch also presented challenges, as they obscured her rear view. Upon arrival at the celebration, Augie threw open her hatch, but another energetic wind whipped the hard-won strings from her fingers. They soared high, as unstoppable in their escape as Helen’s prospects.

Dressing up 99 word stories for Carrot Ranch

Hop on over to https://carrotranch.com for details about the 99 word weekly challenge – dressing up. I really enjoyed Charli’s!

Below is mine.

Wedding Trappings

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

This wouldn’t be the wedding of her dreams. Finances had seen to that.   

However, it wasn’t about the trappings, or so she kept telling herself. 

She smoothed the front of the gown. It registered more as the ivory of aged teeth rather than the dazzling white of a Hollywood smile, but it was an antique. Something old. A relic from Gram’s wedding. She spritzed the high collar with perfume to overpower the lingering mustiness the cleaners couldn’t remove. No fairy-godmother’s transformation for her.

When she saw her groom’s appreciative smile, however, she knew. Their wedding wasn’t about the trappings.

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