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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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fiction

Weekly drabbles from the prompts at Carrot Ranch and 6 Sentence Stories

Hello, my friends, and thanks for stopping by!

Once again, I’m encouraging you to visit https://carrotranch.com/ and https://girlieontheedge1.wordpress.com/

The stories below are the result of their weekly prompts. They’re not great stories, but they force me to think in creative ways due to the restrictions set by the rules. It’s really fun. So if you enjoy playing with words, give it a go! (They’re nice people, honestly!)

 

 

Epic Adventure

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Carol and Ben had been best friends since the third grade, and as they graduated from college, they decided to take a cross country trip. “It’s our last chance to be kids,” she explained. “We’ll drive all the way across America and see all the little, overlooked places.”

He packed before she’d finished the sentence, and their epic adventure began. They spent a year and a day exploring, but in the end, to their great surprise, they realized an unspoken truth. “I love you, Carol,” Ben whispered, and she replied with a squeal, “I love you, too!”

 

 

Hutch of Treasures

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Grandma asked my cousins and me, “What inside this hutch is my dearest possession?” She creaked as she settled into an armchair to watch our debate.

My eldest cousin took the lead. “The goblets. They’re gold, aren’t they?”

Grandma inclined her head. “Indeed, but they aren’t my treasure.”

Each chose something. Crystal, silver, china, linens. I noticed a stack of ribbon-bound letters in the top right drawer. When my turn came, I pointed to them. “Are these from Grandpa?”

“Yes, when he fought in the war.”

“Then these are your treasured possession.”

Tears dribbled from her white lashes. “Yes.”

Carrot Ranch Rodeo Win!

Three Act Stories1In autumn, https://carrotranch.com/ hosted a writing rodeo, and I’m overjoyed that one of my 99 word stories WON a category! The participants produced some fabulous works, and as always, I’ve enjoyed reading them and am honored to display my work with theirs.

Below is my winning entry.

 

Literary Immortality

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Benny stroked his wife’s brow. She hugged a teddy bear he’d given her when they were children. Benny knew even as a kindergartener he’d love her always. 

They’d been married five years before the sickness.

“I’m dying.” She nestled closer.

He kissed her sunken cheek. “Not really.”

When she passed, his emotions bled into words. Benny wrote a stirring obituary and composed poetry in her honor. He poured adoration into books in which she was the hero, a beloved literary legend. 

As Benny faced his mortality, a biographer asked his inspiration. Benny hugged a teddy bear to his chest.

Pine Prompt By Design

As always, I recommend you hone your craft with the prompts at https://girlieontheedge1.wordpress.com/2019/12/22/sundays-six-sentence-story-word-prompt-87/ and https://carrotranch.com/2019/12/26/december-26-flash-fiction/

My interpretations were seasonally inspired. Of course, I’m hoping your holidays are bright and beautiful despite all the crazy aspects of life. And may 2020 be brilliant by design!

 

Pine

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

For Candice, the holidays inspired false nostalgia, an overwhelming persistence of glorified remembrance tinsel-wrapped and tied with a glittering, aggrandize bow. She’d long for the days when childhood wonder replaced cynicism in even the most stoic of hearts. Evergreens glistened with lights bright enough to chase away winter’s bite, feasts piled on every table so none felt hunger’s gnaw, and families gathered to nibble away misunderstandings until all that remained was peaceful appreciation.

As she gathered and bound fragrant spruce and holly, she ignored the blood drawn by their prickles and sucked away their stings. When the glorious day dawned, wrapping paper floating like shrapnel and ash to canvas faces scornful of gifts and gift-givers, conversations devolved into arguments, and the news displayed anything but peace on earth – as it had every year of Candace’s life.

By the next November, however, the cycle renewed, and her feverish desire for Rockwellian perfection replaced hurt-filled memories, and she’d pine for what might never be.

 

 

 

Private Toast 

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Karen decided New Year’s resolutions needn’t fail. 2020 could offer “vision,” and she’d craft herself into an ideal. As confetti drifted into her champagne and couples kissed through “Auld Lang Syne,” she visualized a successful self. 

Next year, she’d work harder toward her goals. New job. New home. New pant size. New romance. 

Before she tipped alcohol from her fluted glass as an anticipatory congratulation, she studied the pattern floating atop. Bits of colored tissue created images, and much like a tea leaf reader of old, she knew them by design. 

With a smile, Karen swallowed her private toast.

 

 

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.”

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!”

 

 

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?”

Fractal Features

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com challenged writers to come up with a 99 word story about shards. Here’s my take. What do you think? Also, why not stop by the Ranch and share your own fictional flash?

 

Fractal Features

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

After their argument, she retreated into the museum until she no longer heard the derisive laughter and tinkling of toasted congratulatory conversation.

 

Cold air buffeted from a neglected hallway. The percussion of her footfalls punctuated until the crescendo burst her dammed emotions. A torrent smeared makeup while suppression unknotted.

 

She beheld glass fingered with frost. Backlit, it reflected her amplified imperfection. Within the fractal features resounded his criticism.

 

Instead of accepting the carnival-mirror version of herself, she punched the unfair portrayal. The window shattered into a crystalline spider web. Pain shot through her wrist and left shards for remembrance.

Glass & Ashes

I’m excited to have a story in another wonderful anthology. This one is a group of speculative fiction re-imagining Cinderella. Glass & Ashes is available on 15 November, 2018 through OWS Ink and can be purchased through many outlets.

 

If the shoe fits …

 

This is from the Back cover:

“What if?”
It’s something people love to ponder. Now, OWS Ink has asked the question, “What if Cinderella was a little bit different?”
A different type woman? A different shoe size? A different type of hero? Or maybe a villain? What if she was never even a human?
And our authors answered. Prepare to read Cinderella stories like you’ve never imagined. Stories where Cinderella makes a different choice altogether, where she uses magic to make her own happy ending, and somewhere even magic can’t help her avoid her fate. So grab your drink and curl up with our new versions of this classic fairy tale.

 

 

Book Info:

Title:  Glass and Ashes

Author:  OWS Ink, LLC

Publication Date:  Nov 15

Paperback Price: 9.99

*3.99 pre-order

Digital Price:  3.99 

Pages: 320

ASIN:

Ebook ISBN: 9781946382504

ISBN-10: 1946382507

 

Print ISBN: 9781946382498

ISBN-10: 1946382493

 

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HMS43X4

Amazon Paperback:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/897626

Draft 2 Digital https://www.books2read.com/u/4DlkEe

Universal link books2read.com/u/mBPRZD

 

The stories in the collection vary in approach. One of the contributors, Bryant Laslo, provided an insight into their story, and I hope you’ll enjoy this peek:

Who is Modiry The Forge?

Modiry is an enigma of a woman. She is legend to many. A fairy godmother who appears to grant wishes to the good little boys and girls. To others, she is a specter to be feared; something that is used by parents to make sure the little boys and girls are indeed good. The truth, as in most things, is somewhere in between.

Her age is unknown as her appearance has never changed, at least to anybody’s recollection. Appearing to certain people who find their paths in life facing a crucial moment, Modiry has an uncanny knowledge, not only towards events that she claims will transpire in the future, but what exists inside individuals: their thoughts and desires.

In addition to her apparent clairvoyance, she exhibits some ability to affect the physical world around her, causing objects to appear out of thin air.

However, her most potent trait has always been her ability to manipulate. Combining her insight into the future and individuals, Modiry is often able to sway a person into one choice over another, sending them down a road that perhaps they would not have chosen completely on their own.

What is her purpose? How does she choose who she will appear to and when? Is her intention solely to help a person work through a difficult time and better themselves, or is there a larger, darker agenda to her actions?

While far from the main character in Ella of the Cinder, Modiry The Forge is the catalyst which sets the entire story in motion. Read this short story in the upcoming Glass & Ashes anthology to find out more about Modiry and her true objective!

 

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