Category Archives: Flash fiction

The Littlest Goat #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes the littlest Christmas goat. Who does the goat belong to? What is happening? Go where the prompt leads!

When I thought of goats, children and stories, I thought of one of my least favourite children’s stories: The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids. I’ve written about it before, explained why I disliked it, and even wrote another flash fiction in response to one of Charli’s prompts about it.

There was nothing else for it. I had to attack it again in another way, hoping to put it in a more positive light. I hope you like it.

The Littlest Goat

“You’re too little.”

The all-too-familiar chorus stung but he determined to show them size didn’t matter; not the way they thought.

Before long, opportunity came knocking.

The others were too stupid to check before opening the door, too slow to escape the intruder and too big to hide. The littlest one watched from the grandfather clock as the wolf devoured them one by one.

When Mother returned from Christmas shopping, the littlest goat told all. Together, they found the greedy wolf and rescued his brothers.

The littlest goat showed that being clever, quick and brave beat size any day.

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Flight Cancelled #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write about a canceled flight. Where was the flight headed? Who does it impact and why? How does a protagonist handle the situation? Go where the prompt leads!

Due to our Covid-19 lockdowns and border restrictions, it’s a couple of years now since I took a flight anywhere. Even flights of the imagination have been few and far between as a variety of factors have colluded to suppress my creativity as well. However, I couldn’t resist a prompt about flight.

I’ve always thought how wonderful it would be to be a bird and fly above the earth and see it in all its beauty. Looking down on the patchwork quilt from a plane’s window gives me joy and a sense of wonder. How much greater it would be to fly like a bird. I guess other forms of flight would give an experience closer to that of a bird, but I haven’t tried any of those yet (and am unlikely to).

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is one of my favourite books. I have read it numerous times and love the description of flight and the exhilaration it brings to Jonathan.

I know I’m not the only one to be fascinated by flight. Many children wish they could fly like birds and their superheroes. That’s where I’ve gone with my response to Charli’s prompt this time. I hope you enjoy it.

Flight Cancelled

Heron balanced on one leg on the bare tree branch above the water. He spread his wings and stretched his neck to face the breeze. He revelled in the freedom of flight even before his feet lifted from their base — the exultation of gliding through the thermals. Superhero Heron — like his namesake — was ready for take-off.

‘Heron! Heron! Get down. This instant.’

‘I am. I’m flying down.’

‘No. You are using the same ladder you used to get up.’

‘You called me Heron, so I can fly.’

‘You will not fly today. This flight is cancelled. You are grounded.’

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Oh, and before you go, you might like to watch a fun video of a picture book by Mo Willems called Today I Will Fly. I love it. It’s so clever, especially the ending. Unfortunately, I can’t share it here but you can follow the link to watch.

Grandpa’s Tool Shed #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write about tools. Whose tools are they and how do they fit into the story? What kind of tools? Go where the prompt leads!

Charli, of course wrote about writer’s tools and provided a multitude of links to great resources for learning about them. She also wrote about tools for dealing with snow, but I can only imagine using them. My experience with snow is very limited.

I drew upon my memories of childhood for my response. I hope you like it.

Grandpa’s Tool Shed

Jacob worked tirelessly alongside Grandpa. He loved the sweet scent of sawdust curls and the heady smell of fresh paint. He loved that ash from Grandpa’s cigarette fell unchecked into the shavings. He especially liked using Grandpa’s real tools. The plastic bench at Kindy was only a toy.

Jacob’s visits decreased but Grandpa never forgot. He left the house, the shed and all his tools to Jacob. Standing in the dark empty shed, Jacob tried to conjure the smells of Grandpa. There was nothing else to do. He rolled up his sleeves and started planing sawdust curls — in memory.

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Candy Kitchen #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features a candy kitchen. You can interpret the phrase creatively or stick to the traditional. Is it sweet? Ironic? Any genre will do. Go where the prompt leads!

My thoughts about a candy kitchen went straight to Roald Dahl’s book Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What an incredible candy kitchen that was. And then there was the song The Candy Man performed by Sammy Davis Jr.

Who wouldn’t want to be a kid in a candy store, or better yet, a kid in a candy kitchen?

I thought of the busy kitchen of my childhood, with my mother making sweets for Christmas treats. There were rum balls and peanut brittle, chocolate bark and caramel fudge, coconut ice and marshmallow, and who knows what other sweet delights. I don’t remember them all. But I do remember one more recent Christmas when the choice of sweets became a philosophical rather than taste decision.

This is a fictionalised version of the incident. I hope you enjoy it.

Marshmallow Waves

The cooks bustled about my kitchen making sweets to gift.

“I love homemade gifts,” she said.

“Especially when we get to share,” he said, sampling largish crumbs of fudge and coconut ice.

“Marshmallow is amazing,” she said. It mixes up so light and fluffy,”

“What’s in it?”

“Sugar, water and gelatine.”

“What’s gelatine?” he asked.

I dared not tell the vegetarians, but he searched for information on his phone.

“We can’t eat that,” he spluttered. “Gelatine’s made from animal bones!”

The marshmallow mix, so light and fluffy, was binned. Not even a taste for me, although I’m not vegetarian.

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A Muddy Conclusion #flashfiction

Last week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

Although Charli gave an extended time in which to respond, I wrote my story Mud Cake Recipe in the usually one-week allocation. Some of your lovely comments encouraged me to continue the story a little further, which I have done here.

I hope you like it.

A Muddy Conclusion

“It’s just mud. It’ll wash off.”

“But it’s everywhere. Those children are unruly. My children would never —”

“And where are your children now?”

“Hmpff!” said the neighbour, stomping home, muttering about impudence, inconsideration and downright rudeness. “You haven’t heard the last of this.”

“Come on,” said the mother. “Let’s get you and the fence cleaned up.”

With buckets, brushes and rags, the children washed the fence. When it was done, they turned on each other. “Bullseye! Got you!”  They tussled and tumbled. Laughter filled the air.

The neighbour glowered at the mud-covered children. “Well, I never,” she said.

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Mud Cake Recipe #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story embraces the mud. What is the mud, real or metaphor? How does it transform a character or place? What happens? Go where the prompt leads!

As you probably already know, as an educator, I primarily write for and about children. Mud is perfect for young children. It has such a great texture for play and responds in so many ways when we squish it, splatter it, stomp it, throw it, roll in it. There is something enticing about getting wet and dirty, and children seem to find puddles and mud totally irresistible. I hope I’ve captured a little of that excitement in my flash.

Mud Cake Recipe

How to Make Mud Cake

Ingredients

A patch of loose soil

A generous supply of water from the sky, hose or bucket

Rays of sunlight

A sprinkle of imagination

A torrent of laughter

Utensils

Gumboots

Method

Add enough water to soak the soil. It must be wet, not moist.

Stomp until well-mixed with no visible remnants of dry soil.

Squish the mush by hand until the hands are completely encased.

Spread by hand the gooey mixture over face, hair and clothing until well covered.

Terrorise the neighbourhood.

Leave in place until dry in the sun and the mud cakes.

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Whispers #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot RanchCharli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes whispers. It can be beautiful or creepy and any genre. Where are the whispers, who are they from, and what do they say if they say anything at all. Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Whispers

She watched from the side, longing to join in, fearing being ignored. Or worse, banished. Determined to beat her shyness, she’d shuffle one step forward, then the old insecurities would immobilise her, reminding her she didn’t belong. One foot forward. Stop. Another foot forward. Stop. She was almost there when the game paused, and they looked directly at her. She froze. They feigned whispers hidden behind hands. She didn’t need to guess. She ran and hid behind a tree, wishing for invisibility. “I’ll never belong!” Soon one face appeared, then others. “Please come and play with us,” they chorused.

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Rainbow Flotilla #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story uses the phrase, “across the water.” It can be any body of water distant or close. Who (or what) is crossing the water and why? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Rainbow Flotilla

She wrote a message on each piece of paper and folded them into tiny boats. At the lake, she launched them from the bank, then watched the rainbow flotilla sail across the water. Curious ducks investigated, capsizing one or two, but the rest sailed on. A turtle popped up, knocking one off-course. It smashed on the rocks, but the rest sailed on. A dragonfly alighted on one, enjoying the free ride as the rest sailed on, finally reaching the other side. A child fished one out and opened it to dry. He read the message, then smiled and waved.

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Imposter Syndrome #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

I always loved writing with my children at school. It was such a buzz as they put their stories and ideas on paper. They loved making books of their stories and reading them to their classmates and other classes. In fact, to anyone who would listen. I always provided them with as many audiences as I could as, isn’t that the purpose of writing — to be read? They would take their books home to read to their family and pets. Sometimes I would type up their stories and compile them into an anthology for them to take home and share.

In my class, we were all writers, all authors. Sometimes, older siblings felt they had to share their ‘superior’ worldly knowledge and burst their happy balloons. My story is about that and about the fact that sometimes a belief in oneself is more important than what anyone else thinks. I hope you like it.

Imposter Syndrome

When Dave revisited his junior school, he smiled to see the chair in its usual spot.

“Get down,” his big sister had said. “You’re not allowed on there. It’s only for authors.”

“I am an author,” Dave said, holding up the book he’d made in class.

“Not a real author. Real authors have real books published by real publishers, and their feet touch the floor. Anyway, it’s time to go.”

This time, when Dave sat in the chair, his feet touched the floor. The audience hushed as he opened his real book and began to read. Imposter no more.

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The Big Black Horse

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. It is based on a picture book manuscript I am working on at the moment, hoping to submit to a publisher soon. Fingers crossed. That story is based upon another 214-word story I wrote earlier in the year, which you can read here. All three are the same but different. I hope you like it.

The Big Black Horse

The riders considered the available horses. Fergal chose the big black, Valentina the silver. They mounted their steeds and entered the arena. Fergal cantered to one end and Valentina the other. They steadied their mounts and faced each other.

“Let the contest begin! Charge!”

The contestants galloped towards each other.

Nearing the centre of the arena, Fergal’s black steed balked, tossing him off. Valentina wheeled her horse around, dismounted and raced to Fergal’s side.

“You okay, Fergal?”

“It’s only a scratch.”

“I’ll get a plaster from Miss.”

“It’s okay. Let’s go again. Can I have silver this time?”

“Okay.”

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