Red

Dirt caked her soft dress. She’ll wash it later. For now, though self-assigned, she had to complete her mission before the sun set – she had to find it.
Laughter reached her, drifting from the house at the bottom of the yard; soon it’d turn to cries.
She had to hurry.
She sped over the ground, eyes darting.
At last she spotted it, red fabric peeking out beneath the roses.

Hiding behind the gum’s roots, she held her breath as her charge’s carer emerged, collected a red blanket, disappeared and all became quiet inside, as the lights went out.


My contribution to this week’s weekly challenge over at the Carrot Ranch.

The challenge called for a flash fiction piece in 99 words that related in some way to the prompt, dirt.

This piece is driven by the same two characters of my last two Carrot Ranch, prompt-inspired posts, Protector and The Gift.

The Gift

Hiding beneath the roots of a grand gum, she heard the tiny sobs.
Her charge had been playing outdoors again. Did she hurt herself?
The fairy, wings tucked away, peered through grass above. She could see the side of the little girl, hands cupped, tears dripping onto dusty clothes.
Something hung out of her fingers.
Should she let her cry? Her heart ached.

It was still so warm and so soft too. Why wasn’t it moving?
Something buzzed past the little girl.
Her palm itched and she opened her hands.
She gasped as the mouse looked up at her.

Protector

A scream cut through her from across the meadow and she raged into action, dismissing her injury and climbing up the nearest lookout.
Her arms trembled, not used to her own weight, but she needed to ensure her charge was okay.
Her heart pounded at another squeal and she cursed her clumsiness; she would’ve been on top by now.
Silence.
Finally up, she peered through the crisp fog and relief washed over her as she saw the dancing figures, twirling around a ring of daisies.
She leant against the lookout rose’s petals, breathing deep and stroking her torn wing.



This is my contribution to this week’s 99 word Flash Fiction challenge over at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt called for a story that includes a rose.

It’s so much fun writing a suspenseful piece, and revealing all only at the end. I hope you enjoy reading it, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Porcelain

Waves hushed sounds of traffic far behind. Tiny fingers grasped mine, pulling past flowers and trees, little feet skipping over loose stones.
I took one step for her four.
She hadn’t told me our destination; “it’s a surprise Mummy.”
She glanced back, round eyes gleaming and all smiles, “we’re close!”
I couldn’t help but smile with her, adoration running deep.
Her pace slowed and I looked up.
I froze.
Upon a bed of grass, decorated with turquoise waves, lay a porcelain tea set; the one from my first birthday.
“Surprise, Mummy,” she beamed.
I hid tears in her embrace.


This is this week’s contribution to the 99 word flash fiction challenge over at the Carrot Ranch.
Charli’s prompt provided an image and the idea of a garden party, and I used both for inspiration.

New Life

She lay there cold, with legs exposed, as they spoke. Backs turned to her; she caught few words.
“A mess. . .”
“No more feeling. . .”
“Stiches.”
They looked over at her and she held their gaze, wanting answers. The doctor approached, mouth moving in silent speech as he searched for the right words.

“Ma’am, there have been…some tears. You will need stiches to help the healing. I’ll…do my best, but you may never-.”

Her stomach turned, she knew.

A squeak.
She pulled a blanket over her chest as she looked down, heart swelling as her baby suckled.

Warm…and strong.



This week’s contribution to the Carrot Ranch’s weekly 99 word challenge is inspired by an event I will experience in a little under 2 weeks’ time!

After generously sharing some hard times from her past, Charli’s prompt is about finding the semicolon’s in life.

She challenges us to:
“…write a renewal story that proclaims, “This isn’t the end; I will go on.” Think of the mythical phoenix that rises up from the ashes; of Cinderella after midnight on the night of the ball; of a hero that faces certain death; of love after tragedy; of renewing life’s lemonade transitions.”

Our third little one is due on the 27th of April and I know all too well the anxiety that comes with the anticipation of labour. Luckily, I’m more confident this time around and not as fearful, and I thank God for the smooth run of our first two.

Having experienced only minor tearing during our first, I have incredible sympathy for those whose bodies have had to recover from less forgiving outcomes.

Every kind of labour creates changes in a person’s body, changes that can affect the rest of a lifetime. Despite the challenges of the miraculous process, I like to think of the semicolon…

The struggles of labour; the creation of a brand new life.

Now, I know it’s a topic that’s often spoken of; where women need to be honoured and worshipped for their ability to give birth.

Don’t get me wrong here, it’s an incredible ability to have, but I also think a man’s life is just as challenging, but in different ways. Right from social pressures, to the stresses of supporting a family. Times might be changing—slowly—but it’s still a primal instinct as the ‘man of the house’ to protect one’s family.

The birth of a child—and all other results of the process—affect not only the person giving birth, but their life partner also. It’s a process through which equality, respect and support is vital for everyone involved.

The birth process is a lifetime change for not only the female, but for males also, even if the effects aren’t visible.

Free as a Child

Wings spread, songs of flight ring out from her heart as she runs round and round through a forest of legs and chairs. She glides to a halt by the place from where food comes and smiles up at Mumma bird.

Savouring the sharp crunch and sweet juices of a well-earned grape, she takes off.

With a heavy breath, Mumma walks off, arms heavy with a cold, plastic washing basket. Mumma pulls a tiny jumper down over baby bird’s head mid-flight, “it’s freezing.”
Wings bound, baby bird collapses in a heap, tears welling up, “but I have feathers Mumma…”


This week’s prompt at Carrot Ranch Communications is inspired by a Juxtaposition; comparing or contrasting the natural world to our human world.

I haven’t been vigilant enough this week in making the time to look for inspiration for this prompt, so of course, it’s once again a last minute entry.

Today I sat down, wanting to contribute.
Not wanting to make the excuse of being too busy.
Not wanting to say that my Novel was the priority when the real issue was that I hadn’t tried hard enough.

I refused to give in this week to habits of old.

So I sat at the computer, for a good 10 minutes, staring out the window at the trees, the sunshine, the butterflies and our two wonderful dogs, looking for something to write about.

I managed to compile many different lines and ideas in my head.

None of them felt right, so instead, I abandoned the computer and lay down beside our almost-3-year-old daughter.

She sat on the floor, creating a little scenario between her recently favoured little sea animal toys, changing her voice as she spoke between characters.

Her tone lifting and falling with each different emotion.

And I found my inspiration.

I wanted this piece to represent the natural freedom of the imagination in childhood vs. the constriction of the ‘real world’ in adulthood.

With increased responsibilities as we grow older, our minds become preoccupied by the necessary. The things we need to take care of in order to survive in our modern human civilisation.
From finances, to health and appointments, to household maintenance and organisation.

We leave little time for the imagination and it gets pushed aside, fading to the darkness in the back of our minds.

In order to be creative, I think we need to make time to daydream. To let go of this world and create our own. Not to escape—I do so love my life and what I’ve achieved—but to return to our childhood mindset of freedom.

Freedom from the modern and imposed fears of judgement and isolation.

We need to find that freedom in order to create exactly what our hearts truly want instead of fearing what others will think and whether they will accept us.

The act of combining our childhood nature and using it to enhance our experiences in adulthood is a tough lesson to learn, but one that will make us all stronger.

One that will free us.

So little time

He walked in the door. Little feet came running with tiny fingers reaching. Nudging aside a few toys strewn across his path, he made his way to the couch. Little feet followed, their voices tumbling over each other as they fought for his attention. He picked up the oldest for cuddles as the littlest ran off. The littlest returned, struggling to drag him a rocking horse before pounding a tiny fist on his leg. He released the oldest despite protests and gathered up the littlest, mind whirling with tiny voices of complaint and excitement, eyes flicking back and forth.

________________________________________

“Character Symptoms” was this week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch’s Flash Fiction Challenge.

I struggled to find something for this prompt. I think it’s mostly because my expectations were too high. I wanted to write something interesting, something different. I started a piece based on a scene I’m currently working on for my novel, with the hope of learning something more about the characters themselves.

It had an awesome Sci-Fi feel, high-tech and everything. I wanted to represent the perspective of a reformed ex-felon in a high-stakes situation from someone else’s POV…That piece felt forced.

I scrapped it.

This, on the other hand, is something I see almost every day—if he gets home before their bedtime—and it’s another piece written from a tender place.

Character Symptoms” is such a broad topic. Initially I had no idea how to interpret this prompt.

I didn’t want to write about just anything; I wanted to write about something deeper than the usual things the news makes society stress about; I didn’t want to write about superficial things.

Being a parent is one of the great honours of life. Being a parent in today’s society is also unnaturally stressful.

As a parent you want to provide the best for your children and in today’s society, the best always seems to cost inordinate amounts of money. To make that money, one must work. One must work long hours in most cases.

We are lucky in that I am able to be stay-at-home with our little ones, but on the same note, my other half; their dad’s mind is on work for most hours of every day. He carries a lot of responsibilities in order to have the job stability he currently has; his workplace would struggle without him, and thus, there is a lot he must manage and keep on top of.

This means that when he gets home, and is lucky enough to see the little ones for an hour or two before their bed, though they may be super excited to see him and suddenly filled with an abundance of little person energy, his mind is still whirling from the seriousness of his job.
Though he is home, there are things that he can still solve for work if only he used that extra time to continue thinking on issues. If he’s not giving his job all of his efforts, then he doesn’t feel like he’s doing the best he can, and thus shouldn’t have the position or the privileges that come with it.

Unfortunately, his mind becomes so overworked—and I’m sure that most of society can relate—he struggles to make himself emotionally available and present for the little ones.
Every morning he leaves and his heart breaks as they beg him not to go, to stay just a little longer and read them a book or give them extra cuddles. And he can’t even promise that he’ll see them that night.

There are too many stresses in today’s society; you either work and sacrifice precious time together, or you struggle financially and stress about your child’s opportunities instead.

It’s a fine line between managing your time between work and family life. A stress that I think is inevitable; though I do hope more and more families are feeling equipped enough to discover their own balance, and confident enough to make the changes, trusting in their love for their partner and children.

Once again, I’m finding that love comes into play in life. It seems to be the defining factor between the strong and the struggling. Whether it’s love for and from your family or love for yourself. That honest, unconditional love, that forgives human mistakes, can help in almost every situation.

The more of society who understand this concept will mean less stress for all; people will be making better choices for the benefit of everyone, rather than fearing and trying to maintain their own survival in this stressful world.

It’s tough and heartbreaking at times, but worth it.