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Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black

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Kerry E.B. Black

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.

 

 

Carrot Ranch 99 Words, 6 Sentence Contributions, and Happy Holidays!

My Prompt Pals are at it again. They offer the gifts of inspiration all year long, too, not only during the holidays!

https://carrotranch.com/2019/12/20/december-19-flash-fiction-challenge/https://carrotranch.com  hosts an “Open Mic Night”, and my 99 word response is below,

and

my 6 sentence contributions this week for the prompt of “Pine” and “In the Nick of Time” follow. You should check out this adorable take on the 6 Sentence prompt and get details on how to participate in the challenges at https://girlieontheedge1.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/in-the-nick-of-time-its-a-6/

Happy Holidays to you all, and a very blessed 2020!

 

Open Mic Winner

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

 

Christmas Eve, we host the annual Open Mic Contest. Acclaimed poets drip seasonally-affected despair. Freshmen giggle and blush through limericks or rondels. Some folks sing.

But then he hopped onto stage. He tilted his seasoned face to see me, standing no taller than my knee. I couldn’t adjust the mic low enough, so I brought up a chair. He leapt up with the grace of a falling feather. Jingly bells upon his costume tinkled like children’s laughter.

I don’t remember his whole recitation, only the end:

“Man in red, or green, white, or brown

Giving heart beating cheer

If only mankind listened.”

 

(*I’ve written a longer version of this little tale, simply because I loved the idea of a holiday visitor taking an artistic break from his duties.)

 

 

Saved by the Ball

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

It clattered down the aisle like an inebriated bridegroom. She feared it might, indeed, tumble into the gutter and ruin her chances. She was out of her league, a single girl in a room filled with couples. Her only chance staggered and meandered, with clattering disregard for its target. 

If only it would stay on track, pick off even a solitary pin, she’d help her team, but if she rolled another gutter ball, she’d be cut from the team. Her vision clouded and she swallowed around a huge lump of gratitude when, at the end of the lane, just in the nick of time, the ball curved and claimed a corner of the bowling pins.

 

Mistress of Christmas

Written by Kerry E.B. Black

No presents rested beneath the tree. No balsamic scent perfumed the air. 

Although the mistress of the house had everything arranged, from presents wrapped and hidden in closets to scented candles in need of a light, none of the wonders of Christmas morning brought joy that year, for the mother languished in a sterile hospital bed. 

“Please,” she begged the staff, “tell my husband to light the advent wreath,” but they smiled with incomprehension and smoothed her hair from her fallen and anguished face. 

“Will she recover from the stroke?” her husband asked as their children’s shock-widened eyes reflected concern.

When she did, theirs was the happiest, though latest, holiday celebration ever.

 

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Thank you all for stopping by, for reading, and for interacting. Sometimes, I feel like I’m writing in a vacuum, so any time I hear from you, it lifts my spirits and inspires my weary brain. See, you’re muses. Did you know?

Happy holidays!

6 Sentences, 1 Story

Through a friend, D. Avery (https://shiftnshake.wordpress.com/)  at Carrot Ranch, (Check out the newest 99 word challenge there! The story must somehow involve Key Lime Pie. https://carrotranch.com/2019/12/06/december-5-flash-fiction-challenge/ I’ve added my B.O.T. 99 word story below, with names changed to protect the guilty.),  I found this charming prompt site. https://girlieontheedge1.wordpress.com/2019/12/04/its-six-sentence-story-thursday-link-up-84/.

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.”)

 

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Sampling 

(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!”

Sins of the Fae

Chasity Nicole and Debbie Manber Kupfer put together a new addition to the “Sins” anthology series, and I’m jazzed. Sins of the Fae? Heck yes!

The Sins series began with “Sins of the Past,” and my short story’s setting was Tudor England, where two gruesome characters developed a fondness for “Princess pudding.” That same duo visited in my addition to “Sins of the Future,” but in my story in “Sins of the Gods,” readers might develop sympathy for an ancient Greek monster.

This latest in the series brings together such talented writers as Jen Ponce, Don Miskal, Cara Fox, Fiona Skye, Misha Burnett, Miracle Austin, and Pat Jackson, and I’m honored to have a story included. (Mine’s called Karam’s Crystal, a retelling of an old story wherein a mother realizes the importance of her child.)

Sins of the Fae is available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

*If you read it, please give it a review. 🙂

Book Review: The Cult Called Freedom House by Stephanie Evelyn

Book Review by Kerry E.B. Black: The Cult Called Freedom House by Stephanie Evelyn 

 

Stephanie Evelyn wrote a powerful, emotionally wracking, and disturbing debut with The Cult Called Freedom House. A teen run away finds a seemingly idyllic new home with a charismatic head and a lot of rules for a place called Freedom House. Still, this disregarded youth is welcomed as a daughter there. A damaged police officer named Sophia Rey goes undercover to find the teen and discover the grisly secrets beneath the cult’s veneer. This first-in-a-series Sophia Rey novel delves into taboos and leaves the reader cringing and sickened. Be warned! This book is not for the weak-stomached. Stephanie Evelyn uses horror and graphic content that leaves readers shocked and disturbed. There’s not much light, but instead Stephanie Evelyn offers an unflinching exploration of the dark, monstrous aspects of man as predator. This book is sure to surprise even hard-core horror fans.

Season of Secrets available on Audible!

I’m overjoyed to announce Season of Secrets is now available on Audible featuring the voice talents of Megan L. Hysell.

https://www.audible.com/pd/Season-of-Secrets-Audiobook/B07ZG7HWXY?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-169129&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_169129_rh_us&fbclid=IwAR2VcwzXDhE-r0Zr2G9Vgxjq7NRn32Lc6cQSCGn4Fvfxp1JY2JtSRPjIp7k

 

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.”

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