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150 words

Geordie

Back to the flash-writing project (#7 for 2017). Today’s prompt is a 19th-c coal mining song from Newcastle, Geordie Black. There are a couple of recorded versions, including this one by Ian Campbell Folk Group.


They say young men can’t imagine being old, but I can’t either imagine being young. There was never a time when my bones didn’t ache, when I slept at night, when I could hear a young lady whispering in my ear, when I had a young lady or two who wanted to whisper in my ear.

There was never a time when I went down in the mine.

This town mines, or cooks and cleans for those that do. I can’t cook, so I must have mined. This town can’t imagine anything more. I look around; all the young men have coal dust for skin. I look around; there are no old men. Young men descend, day after day. They come out old, or not at all. They leave themselves in the mine, bit by bit, swapping self for coal.

I do not recall the mine, but it remembers me.

Hit

Sirisha slid on beaded black evening gloves, concealing the tattoos that wrapped her forearms. If Devudu noticed the intricate traceries, he would never allow her close enough to kill him. The slithery scarlet fabric of her dress plunged here and swooped there, concealing as much as it bared. Sirisha twirled, ensuring her knives were among the items concealed. The blades were brightly polished, but insufficiently formal for tonight. A clutch held only her forged invitation to the gala and a lipstick that matched her gown. Everything else she might require was hidden on her body.

The gallery was packed with people enjoying the champagne and pretending to enjoy the exhibits. Devudu was the pivot around which the crowd flowed, each person hoping for a moment of his attention. Sirisha too desired a moment, a timespan as thin as a blade. She eased her way into the eddy, eager to work.


150-word flash #6 for 2017.
Random Wikipedia prompt

The Ponies

“I wanna play the ponies.”

I turned to face the little man following me around the room. “I already told you that you can’t. Whining won’t help.”

“I was on my way to the track. I’m gonna win big, you know. I always do. You’re costing me huge amounts of money.”

I looked at the threadbare knees of his suit, at his scuffed shoes. “Sure you are.”

I slid into the shuttle command seat, ignoring his grab for my arm.

“I was meeting my friends, they’ll be looking for me.”

“No, Arthur Daniel Jameson, you weren’t. You were going to the track alone, where you were going to lose all your money and have a heart attack. Now sit down and shut up.” Jameson sat, ashen. He might have had that heart attack on the spot, if I hadn’t already fixed it. Couldn’t have my pony keeling over just yet.


Back at it, with another random Wikipedia prompt.

God’s Little Acre

You get two stories today. The previous one was from yesterday; this is today’s, from another random article.

God’s Little Acre

Dandelions and crabgrass covered the carefully tended hillslope, a patch of green drawing the eye amid the landscape of rubble and scorchmarks. So far had we fallen that those weeds were the most beautiful things, and I tended carefully each yellow bloom, guarded each clock, planted each seed myself, distributing them around the fallen gravestones. I keep an eye out for sprouts in the burned area. Someday I will find other plants for my garden.

I have some medical supplies left, bandages, some antibiotics past their prime, a few syringes of morphine. I store them in the chapel, alongside my crates of canned goods. I tend anyone who sees the green and came, but mostly I bury them. I can’t carve them stones, but I plant dandelions on the graves.

She would have liked it, you know. It doesn’t snow here any more, not ever. She didn’t like the snow.

Delivery Only

I’m continuing the 150-word stories, this one from this prompt.

Delivery Only

The Mitsuko latched neatly onto my airlock. These automated delivery drones were the best. I could order anything I wanted without talking to another human, and then it arrived.

I got to the airlock fast, to keep the hexapedal delivery tractor from hauling its load beyond the cargo bay. I didn’t want even a robot poking around my habitat. I unloaded my things, signed the delivery stub, and slammed the lock behind the Mitsuko.

I eagerly rooted through the containers, each sealed with the trademarked arrow. The last batch of parts I needed! I’d been holding back a fraction of the ore I mined for years, not enough to make the bosses suspicious. I was reshaping entire asteroids, building death ray platforms. Delivery drones weren’t smart enough to notice, but a human would be suspicious. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime. They’d made it possible to take over the solar system.

Negotiation

Liza pushed her way to the door as the train rolled through the airlock into San Vital, even though it wouldn’t unlock until the pressure washer finished. Dust got into everything regardless, but rinsing the train at least meant there was less of it. She looked back. No sign of the guy who’d been tailing her, a known runner for the anti-alien Progressives. Liza knew better than to touch her pocket. Either the packet was there or it wasn’t; nothing she could do right now except attract attention.

She slipped out the door the instant it slid open, muttering apologies to the people she shoved past. Her steady walk toward the Pratt Avenue exit barely faltered when the man fell into step alongside. She glanced around for a cop. “Officer, I’m smuggling alien artifacts and this guy is following me.” Yeah, no.

Liza looked up at him. “Let’s talk.”

What a prompt: the 1969 Manitoba election.
You will see some inspiration from that article, maybe, but only in the vaguest sense

Notes from the field

There were no roads into these hills, barely any paths. Donkeys didn’t need much, nor did people used to the climbs. Used to nothing else, living in this landscape. I didn’t have a donkey, just a notebook, a set of sample jars, and a sturdy staff. Somewhere down this dusty path was a village, mentioned in the last census. Nobody had recorded how big it was, or exactly where it was located. I doubted the census taker even managed to find it.

These hills were the epicenter of wild caraway diversity: more wild kinds than than the single weak species grown commercially. More flavor, different volatiles; more power to repel demons. We were desperate. I’d evaded patrols to get this far, hidden by the resistance. I scanned the vegetation as I walked, saving seeds in labeled jars, heading toward an unknown village, hoping someone could point me to a cure.

Blizzard

Snow fell in rainbows, braided swirls of red and orange, indigo and violet, tiny colored crystals glinting in the wind. Where each flake hit the street, it drilled a smoking pinprick hole through the pavement. The trees were tattered, branches ragged and splintering. Miniature geysers marked the path of an unshielded water main. Anika had spotted a squirrel outside as the blizzard began, scampering toward safety. She’d watched it dissolve from behind a double thickness of glass; she wasn’t going outside any time soon. She’d never realized squirrels could scream like that.

Anika wrapped her hands around a mug of cocoa, its heat doing little to relieve her chill. A memory of catching snowflakes on her tongue rose in her mind, a relic of times when snow was white and fluffy, and melted only into water. Sledding, forts, snowmen.

Anika clutched her mug and watched the rainbow snow endlessly falling.


It’s been a long time since I’ve written any word-count flash. This one is exactly 150 words according to Scrivener. Maybe it will make you all feel better about the snow you are getting, if you are.

Snowmen in August

The Clarion West Write-a-thon ended Friday. I haven’t totalled up the words yet, but am pretty sure I fell a bit short of my 5,000 word goal. I missed a couple days of writing, too, for Confluence, and another day lost to exhaustion.

Tamie not just agreed to having her story posted, she insisted that I post it.

So here you go, a quick lunchtime flash. The prompt words were: chard, middle, snowman, hairball, frizzle-inator.


Winter Wonderland
by Sarah Goslee

Parsley curls were not good snowman hair: the poor guy looked like he’d been hit by a frizzle-inator. She wanted her winter lawn art to
look edgy but attractive, not like a hairball left by a giant vegetarian cat. The snowman anchored the middle of the display,
flanked by a snow platypus and a snow pangolin with sculpted scales. If she could get the hair right, her punk snowman and companions would
be the hit of the winter festival. Her neighbor Sam was sure his snow velociraptor was going to win, but dinosaurs were so 2013. Mel looked
around to make sure the tarps were still shielding the yard from view; she didn’t want Sam to see the parsley disaster. She’d never live it
down.

Mel dashed for the kitchen, returning with a handful of chard. Rainbow mohawk, and best of all, she wouldn’t have to eat the stuff.

Ooops

The Clarion West Write-a-thon ends Friday, and I am NOWHERE NEAR my 5,000 word goal.

Or am I?

I have 2,694 words of outline and prose so far, just over half of the 5,000 word target.

But I also have 2,351 words of character notes, 7,766 words on place notes, and 41,485 words of other research notes. Ahem.

I really can’t count those unless I go through and sort out my words from those copied from other sources, since the research notes chunk especially is both my notes and things I wanted to save verbatim for later.

I also have a mind map, though I have no idea how to translate that into equivalent words.

I’ve done better on the “writing every day” plan, though a few days were more research than outlining. I also took a break this weekend while at Confluence: I have not enough brain and energy to do the con and write both.

So pretty good on that front, but I have a lot of words to write by Friday!

To distract you from my lack of progress, here’s the first 150-word sponsor story. All of you lovely people who sponsored me, you need to give me your ideas! Otherwise I get to pick, and, well. Heh. This sponsor chose weaving, perfume, and alchemy, and this is what resulted.


Peace Surpassing
by Sarah Goslee

Strands wound together in a riotous tapestry, under and over, with areas of around and through where soumak mixed with plain weave. The warp of plain white linen was nothing special. The weft, though, was an alchemical marvel, beauty and science blended. This portrait of the city skyline would be the focal point of a new museum exhibit of science-inspired art. Each distinct color of yarn carried not only visual impact, but an olfactory message as well. The weaver meant her tapestry to be touched: a gentle stroke of fingers across cloth would release a carefully-tuned symphony of scent evoking the strengths of the city and its myriad cultures: its food, its gardens, all supported by undertones of concrete and steel. Lurking beneath the perceptible, embedded pheromones would permanently rewire the brains of all who toured the gallery, encouraging them to tend their home and make it
flourish.