Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black



Away Too Long

Another 99 word prompt has inspired exploration of Ward’s predicament in my novel-in-progress, “Wolves at Bay.”


Away Too Long

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Ward relied on memories as frayed and faded as an old coverlet. Remembered roads looked unfamiliar. Street names sounded foreign. As he struggled to recognize a landmark or some continuity of recollection, the thread unraveled further. He squinted, envisioning younger trees and buildings without patina.

A child carrying a wicker basket rushed ahead. Ward called, “Pardon me? Is this the way to Accalia?”

As he backed away, Ward imagined in his upturned eyes a resemblance to an old school companion. The child clutched his basket. “Can’t talk to strangers.” He ran.

Ward sighed. “Guess I’ve been away too long.”


First Day at a New School

Charli Mills at issues a weekly prompt with the challenge of writing using exactly 99 words. This week, she tasked anyone interested in participating to write about a hello or a goodbye. Deadline is Wednesday, 4 April. Why not give it a try? My response is below.


First Day at a New School

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

When they collided, their books flew to litter the hallway. “Great!” she shouted, bending to retrieve her armful of texts.

He handed her a paper-wrapped volume, smiling shyly. “Sorry. First day rushing.”

She snatched it. “Thanks to you, I’ll be late.”

He nursed his reddening cheek as she flounced ahead. Her skirt and ponytail swayed, an admonishment of his clumsiness.

“Please don’t go into my room,” he thought. But she did, haughty attitude in a seat at the room’s front.

“Great way to start.” He indulged in a deep breath before taking his place.  “Hello, class. I’m your teacher.”


Bad Brakes

I found another weekly challenge, this one issued by Sacha Black. She asked writers to use the word “break” in a 52 word story. Mine is more of a scene, I’m afraid, and leaves the outcome to the reader’s imagination. However, it is an interesting challenge.

Please find the details here and perhaps give it a try:


Bad Break

written by Kerry E.B. Black

Pain seared through Fran’s left leg. From its unnatural angle, it broke when she hurled from the motorcycle. Where’s Paul? She swiveled to find the bike’s owner. The movement agonized, and she collapsed to the gravel with a screech reminiscent of the failed brakes before their collision and slide into oblivion.

Queen’s Final Performance

Charli Mills’ latest March 23, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about an audience. Follows is my offering. Why not give it a try? Writing a story in 99 words is an interesting challenge.

Queen’s Final Performance

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

They gathered for her final performance, to cheer the Queen’s last bow.

She stepped upon the stage, humbled head bowed. Her costume recalled a younger, simpler maid. No warble betrayed her presented lines. “You see before you a woman who commends herself to your mercies. I’ve made mistakes. Who among us has not?”

Their voices rolled into an oceanic wave, crushing her words beneath theirs. Her stomach lurched as she took the mark, center stage. Their faces blurred before her tearful vision.

She recalled days when they loved her. She knelt, neck outstretched, before the axe-man and met her fate.




The latest challenge issued by Charli Mills at : “March 16, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) go down the rabbit hole to a place where art is not allowed. It could be a small story or a dystopian vision. Is there a power struggle over art? Would the general public miss it? Is the end of art a natural evolution? Go where the prompt leads.”

This is where the prompt led.

Background with blank canvas on wooden table


Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Mya blinked back tears.

Her husband Eric clenched his jaw. “I not going to pay for that.”

She held the canvas away from her chest, unwilling to look from a greater vantage. The piece came to life under her scrutiny as it was, filled with riotous joy and an appreciation for intellect and beauty. Subtle hues hid encouragement for future artists, while the highlighted portion danced with real and present victory. As her heart swelled, tears broke through her dam.

She memorized the lines and colors, but since she had no money of her own, she left the art.

Desire and Disappointment

New 99 words in response to Charli Mills and her Rough Riders at Carrot Ranch.

Desire and Disappointment

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 Henry’s head drooped until his chin rested on his chest. His scribbled calculations littered hundreds of pages and filled notebooks. He’d scoured creaking tomes thick with ancestral dust for research, divining ancient secrets for alchemical experiments. Flames flickered beneath miniature cauldrons and beakers. Metals melted into liquid luxury, but none refined as he wished. Just beyond the glow of his workspace, whispers populated the shadows. “He’s close, but he ignores the elemental marriage.” “They never realize the steps they miss in their haste.” With a wave of demonic hands, the metals produce not desired gold but slag and disappointment.


Final Journey

This is my loose interpretation of Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch 99 word prompt for the week.

Final Journey

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Sergeant Thomas refused the comfort of the seat, remaining stiff in his dress uniform, eyes forward, heart heavier than the lead box in his lap. His brother-at-arms whispered, “We have a long trip. Might as well relax.” Thomas ignored the strain in his back and his travelling companion. His gloved hands protected the box.

When they disembarked, both soldiers provided solid imagery. Broad shoulders. Flat stomachs. Erect as chiseled idols of old. Their footfalls fell in time, an innate march to the inevitable. With a salute, they presented a fallen hero whose bravery transcended the box holding her remains.



Charli Mills’ latest 99 word challenge involved a watcher. I turned the theme a bit. I hope she and the folks at won’t mind.



Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 They turned from him, alabaster eyes averted. She’d done this to shame him, turned every statue and tilted the framed paintings so none looked into his eyes. No matter how many times he corrected their stance, they stubbornly maintained a cold distance, as though pronouncing judgement, though it was her fault, not his. She’d grown old, cold to touch, sour of disposition. She lavished attention on the brats, ignoring his needs. She’d twisted their family and friends against him, and now, even the statues turned away, constant in their inattention. Now even his mistress refused to meet his gaze.


Jaguar Baby

This is my response to the latest 99 word challenge issued by Charli Mills at – a rainbow in a puddle.


Jaguar Baby

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

A dreaded rainbow glistened on the garage floor, the tell-tale oil which portends the death of a beloved machine. Chris kicked a pile of tires heaped in the corner. “Darn it. She never listens.”

Fumes from Aunt Connie’s 1968 E-type Jaguar still lingered after her hasty departure. She’d waved, ignoring Chris. “Thanks for fixing my baby!”

Water eddied through the oil slick. She judged from the size of the slick the car would make it to Aunt Connie’s destination, but coming back would not be happening. She packed oil and mounted her Vespa, rushing to rescue her impatient aunt.

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