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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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flash fiction

Sponge Cake Petit Fours

The good folks at https://carrotranch.com asked for a bit of April Foolery. (Have you ever played an April Fool’s prank? Been on the receiving end of such a thing? If so, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about it!

Follows is a 99 word “based on a true story” tale of mischief. I hope you’ll enjoy it! 

Sponge Cake Petit Fours

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Cali hummed as she spread a thick layer of buttercream icing over the pink sponge, creating perfect petit fours. She dotted each with stripes of dark chocolate and the first initial of each of her four children’s names. Proud of the accomplishment, she set the completed deserts on a paper doily. She washed the bowl and spatula, put away scissors and discarded tell-tale plastic wrappers.

When each kid came home from school, starting with the eldest, they eagerly grabbed their treats. When they bit into them, though, the cake rejected their bites. “Hey, these aren’t sponge cake! They’re sponges!”

petit fours

Youthicorn

https://carrotranch.com requested 99 word stories about unicorns. Follows is mine. What do you think?

Youthicorn

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

It sparkles in my periphery, silver as moonlight and as illusive. When I turn to catch it with my full gaze, it flees swifter than a shy spirit. Still I feel its unfailing goodness.

 

I used to be good, too, used to befriend the creature that haunts the corners of my consciousness. That was long ago, before age and experience settled upon my shoulders like cloaks layered atop one another. Before I lost my innocent interpretations and bowed to cynicism.

 

Now its glinting horn points to my failure, the unicorn that was but will never again exist for me.

unicorn rampant

A High-Kick Beyond

Charli Mills at https://carrotranch.com issues a weekly challenge to write a story in 99 words based on a prompt. This week’s prompt word is ice.

 

A High-Kick Beyond

A story of ice told in 99 words

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Huge cubes clinked in Aniya’s glass, dazzling as diamonds. She ran one over enflamed pulse-points. Better swelter than shovel.

 

Back home her family complained of freezing temperatures.

 

Not here in Nevada.

 

Not in her line of work. She’d rehearsed and auditioned until tenacity paid off. Headdresses and costumes made her alluring, but a showgirl’s career only lasted as long as her legs, and not a high-kick beyond.

 

She squirreled away money, lived in a hovel knowing the gig mightn’t last. So, ice cubes were her diamonds, but at least she didn’t have to shovel them to get to work.

Lady Fireweed

If you’re a writer (and most everyone who follows this blog is, indeed, a writer.), you should check out https://carrotranch.com for a supportive community and some incredible weekly prompts. You need to tell the tale in exactly 99 words. Are you up for the challenge?

This is my response to this week’s 99 word challenge:

Lady Fireweed

My SpukWu’say cast herself like the seed of the willow herb on an Alaskan breeze, blowing where fate might have her alight. I don’t think she cared if she ever landed. She wanted to experience freedom and, since she’d been nurtured and knew her worth, she felt no fear. She drifted until she found a prairie and a community she admired. There she set down roots. She stretched her abilities like tender greens, practiced healing and aided all. When at last she bloomed, her talents lit her world like translucent fairy dances until all tried to imitate Lady Fireweed.

fireweed4-174x300*Coastal Salish people mixed the abundant, cotton-like seeds of this plant with wool to make warm blankets. The greenery is nutritious, and the plant is used medicinally, especially to aid digestion.

Fondue for Alexis

Charli Mills’ latest https://carrotranch.com 99 word challenge made me nostalgic. It’s bittersweet and below. There’s lots of time to come up with something for the compilation. Check here for details: https://carrotranch.com/2018/02/02/february-1-flash-fiction-challenge/

Fondue for Alexis

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

They craft it with care, a perfect balance of dark and white chocolate fondue formed into a yin yang. Black swirls into white in an eternal dance, captivating as the changing seasons or the passage from night to day. She dips fruit, disrupting the balance with impunity. For this the chocolatier created it, a pot of melted goodness for the birthday girl. But I am not ready.  I fumble with my camera and miss the photo, didn’t capture the precarious moment when she dangled between youth and adulthood. She chomps her chocolate-coated berry, and the fleeting moment is gone.

alexi yin yang fondue.jpg

The Edge

From Charli Mills’ https://carrotranch.com/2018/01/25/january-25-flash-fiction-challenge/ : 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?

knife

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.”

Artistic Pages

This week’s challenge from https://carrotranch.com 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?

Boucicaut-Meister

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 https.carrotranch.com :

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.

Low-balled

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.

 

copper

 

Parenting

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 https://carrotranch.com 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

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