The Guides

 

She’d always welcomed the voices.

Though Greta knew not to let on she was hearing people speak inside her head, she didn’t think it was a bad thing. They were angels. Guides.

Greta wasn’t a pretty girl and didn’t “grow into her looks”, as her mum used to say. But friends often described her as having a “Mona Lisa smile”.

It was the voices that formed her knowing grin. They moved with her in a steady rhythm, galloping alongside her own thoughts.

Until that one day.

The voices grew urgent, aggressive. They became a stampede that trampled her mind.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

February 24, 2016 prompt: Galloping In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about galloping


Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

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Left Alone

 

My fingers ached.

Miss Williams stood near my small, wooden desk, arms crossed over her flat chest and foot tapping on the floor looking every last bit of the bitter, burned-out teacher she was. She stared out the window with big, bulging eyes I always thought looked extra weird set in her skinny face.

She was not happy having to stay after school with me again.

I’d been sitting for two hours, at least, and my butt was going numb. I shifted in the hard seat and tried to rub the ache out of my cramped hand.

I went back to scribbling on the piece of paper until it was full of words. Miss Williams walked to the cabinet, got another sheet and brought it back to me. “Write,” she said.

I held up my hand, “It’s sore and all red.” It’d been worse. I knew that. But I figured I’d try my luck.

She turned those eyeballs on me for a minute. “It’s been worse,” she said.

Damn.

I sighed, picked up the pencil again, and wrote four words. A stick came down on my knuckles. “I’m tired,” I looked up through my lashes, “I wasn’t thinking.” I made a show of switching the pencil to my right hand. Miss Williams grabbed the paper and read:

I am left-handed

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

February 17, 2016 prompt: Diversity In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story of a character who is diverse. Who is this person? Does this character know, accept or reject being perceived as different?

I didn’t make it this week. I followed the prompt, got it in on time but, technically, my “99 word” flash is not 99 words. It’s WELL over at 220. First time for everything. Sorry, Charli. 😝

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Will Power

 

BlogBattle Sarah B Lollipop sig

 

We never have candy at home. “Waste of money,” Ma says. And there was some just sittin’ in a bowl, askin’ me to take it.

It was the kind I love, too. Those round lollipops wrapped in white paper with the flavors on ’em in different colors.

I wanted one real bad.

I tried to make myself small. Which isn’t that hard. I’m already sorta small. “Scrawny” some kids call me. I don’t get mad.

My teacher says I have no muscle tone. Can’t even ride a bike right. It always falls over ‘cuz I can’t pedal fast enough to keep it up.

I snuck a look over at Ma, then slid down in the chair a little. I kept my eyes on her and stuck my hand out to get one. She slapped my hand away without even lookin’ at me.

“You didn’t ask for one of them pops and, anyway, the answer woulda been ‘no’ if you did.”

“I’m sorry?” The man in the suit said to Ma.

“Are you?” She spat at him.

“What I meant, Mrs. Carter, is that I didn’t understand why you said…”

“I know what you meant,” she leaned forward so her chest was squished into the front of the desk. “I’m not stupid like you think I am. I know what’s goin’ on here.”

“I never implied you were…unintelligent. Nor did I say you were incapable of understanding the situation.”

This was not a good time to open my mouth. I knew that. But I did it. “Ma? Please can I have one of them pops?”

Now she did look at me. Not even out the corner of her eye. No. She turned her whole self to stare me down. I knew that look. Was expectin’ it even. But it still made me shake a little, sorry to say.

“Here you go,” the man reached across his desk and gave me a lollipop with little red fruit on it. I think it was strawberry. But I never tasted it.

Ma snatched that thing outta my hand so fast I didn’t barely feel the stick. She smashed it down on the desk so hard the thing musta cracked and I thought what a waste as I coulda’ been eatin’ it. Made me wanna cry.

I didn’t cry, though. I never cried. That’s a thing about me.

“You wanna give him candy?” Ma stood, palms spread out on the man’s desk staring him down now. “You think that’s makin’ up for what you’re doin’ here?”

The man held his hands up like he was tryin’ to catch raindrops on his fingertips. “I was only trying to give the child a treat, Mrs. Carter. There’s no need for dramatics. Please,” he poked his long nose to the chair, “have a seat.”

So then this is when it happened. All of it.

Ma walked over to the man, raised her arm like she was gonna hit him. She called him somethin’ made my ears go red. The man stood up so fast he dumped his chair right over, crashing into a shelf loaded with stuff that looked real classy, knockin’ some of it on the floor. And I took a lollipop. A fresh whole one with brown spots on the paper that I hoped so bad was root beer flavor.

The man shouted to the big windows behind me, Ma grabbed her bag, I stuffed the pop in my pocket and ran after her.

When we got outside, Ma was cryin’ big, fat tears. She was suckin’ in air. I thought she was gonna throw up. “He’s gone!” she hugged me so hard it hurt a little.

“I know, Ma. I know all that.”

“You don’t know,” she kept those tears goin’. “There’s no will, you understand? No paper sayin’ we get money now he’s gone. Your papa went and left us nothin’. We got no money.”

“I know, Ma.” I wanted so bad to cry with her. But I didn’t. I wiped her face with my sleeve and handed her my lollipop. “I think it’s root beer flavor,” I said. “Your favorite.”

 

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#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey – Join the fun every Tuesday

Read more stories and vote for your favorites here.

Week 49 Prompt: Lollipops
Genre: Drama

 

BlogBattle

 

Game Shows

 

Mum hates TV.

When my father still lived with us, she bitched about how much he watched the stupid thing.

Now she leaves it on all day. “For company,” she says.

I hear the women talk about her. How she couldn’t keep a husband. I want to punch them in the face—they don’t know anything.

I got my father’s temper.

She’s different, my mum. Fights back with her mind, not her hands.

Half the neighborhood can’t pay their bills but they can see our TV glowing through the windows. They know we have power.

And can waste it.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

February 3, 2016 prompt: Power In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about power  

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Sour Milk

 

She squirmed in her chair at the meeting. Something about a new filing system. A co-worker glared at her. She stopped tapping her pencil, immediately beginning to bounce her leg. Could she leave? This stupid meeting had been planned for a month.

No. She’d lose her job.

Thoughts of the milk carton facing the wrong way plagued her. The front, with the cartoon cow on it, was turned toward the orange juice. She had seen it from the front door just as her son opened the fridge for breakfast.

“Excuse me,” she grabbed her bag and left the office.

 

 

 * This was a challenge I created for myself (99 words – no more, no less) from micro fiction I wrote on Twitter. Just thought it needed more space to breathe. Here’s the tweet:

“She squirmed in her chair. Something about a new filing system. Thoughts of the milk carton facing sideways in the fridge plagued her.”

The #FP (Friday Phrases) prompt was “obsession”. 

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Joint Pain

 

I don’t have a happy place.

I saw someone talking about it in a dumb Disney movie. Can’t remember which one. They’re always on in the background at Sam’s house. His little sister watches those things like her life depends on it. Shit, maybe it does. What do I know? Maybe that’s her happy place. Maybe that’s her lifeline or something. Hell of a lot better than mine. Or Sam’s.

He hands me the joint he lifted from his mum’s purse. I fish matches out of my pocket and we wait for the smoke to kill the stench of neglect and the pain of our bruises to fade.

 

 

This is part of a weekly writing prompt hosted by Sacha Black.

Writespiration #77 Prompt: Going to your ‘happy place’

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef Flash Fiction - sig -