Cerambycidae

 

 

I feel them crawl over my skin before I see them.

Looking up, I notice hundreds of insects skitter across my floor, up the walls. They are everywhere. I want to scream. To call for help. But I don’t.

I study one on my left arm and become entranced with its bright, colored spots and antennae.

I have a memory of school where I learned about this species. The common name, ‘longhorn beetle’, fits well as the antennae extend past the end of their bodies. It’s fascinating. I lean in for a closer look but see only my bare arm.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

May 25, 2017 prompt: Longhorn In 99 words (no more, no less) that includes a longhorn. You can go with any of its meanings or make it a name of a person or organization. Cheese or cattle, technology or place, what can you create from the western icon?

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

Transformation

 

In her 99-word flash challenge this week, Charli said: “We are forged in the fires…[we] want to fully transform into something of beauty and purpose.” This reminded me very much of a tweet I wrote:

 

 

It’s not 99 words, though, it’s 19. Let’s see if I can expand this…

 

I struggle to find what’s real.

My mind feels like melted glass, being stretched and twisted into something I don’t recognize. If someone were to put my mind on display, it would be unsightly and puzzling. I hope it doesn’t turn out that way. If the glass can be manipulated as easily as pulling taffy, I think it can be made into something beautiful and useful. Perhaps a vase.

 

Okay, we’re at 69 words. Let’s just add 30 more…

 

I struggle to find what’s real.

I’m picking up sounds—buzzing and static. I think they’re trying to talk to me. Or maybe it’s me saying something. My words are lost in a haze of unrest.

My mind feels like melted glass, being stretched and twisted into something I don’t recognize. If someone were to put my mind on display, it would be unsightly and puzzling. I hope it doesn’t turn out that way. If the glass can be manipulated as easily as pulling taffy, I think it can be made into something beautiful and useful. Perhaps a vase.

 

Ah. And there you have it. My 99 for this week. 🙂

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

March 2, 2014 prompt: Slag – In 99 words (no more, no less) include slag (a glass-like by-product of smelting or refining ore) in a story. Slag is also used in making glass or can result from melting glass. It can be industrious or artistic.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Maybe

 

She never had a home.

Not as an infant, left in soiled diapers. Or as a child, drawing pictures on the dusty floor of her closet.

Not even when they took her to a real house with her own bedroom, a kitchen that had food in it, and two grownups who tucked her in at night.

She was broken.

Filled with so much shame she felt stuffed. Like a guilty scarecrow with clean clothes.

Maybe they rescued the wrong girl. Maybe if they had gotten her out when she was younger. Maybe then, she’d feel at home here.

Maybe.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

June 22, 2016 prompt: Home In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about home. What is it? How does it impact a character? Explore the idea of home from any spark that creates a story.


Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Guides

 

BlogBattle Sarah B Feathered Skull Stone - sig

 

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 her angels. Guides.

Despite her family’s worry that she would end up alone, Greta was far from it. She had friends, a job, and her books. Admittedly, she was by herself quite a bit of the time but she liked it that way. And, with her guides, she never felt lonely.

She didn’t have a boyfriend, as her brother predicted. They were teenagers when he had teased her about it. It had hurt then but it was a distant memory now, like looking back at an old friend and feeling a remote sense of pity. Greta wasn’t a pretty girl and she 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 the day her father died.

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

 

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

Read more wonderful stories and vote for your favorites here.

Week 59 Prompt: Voice
Genre: Drama

 

This is a piece I extended from a 99 word flash I wrote in February.

 

BlogBattle

 

School Function

 

Children run. Colors blur.

Parents laugh. Voices hurt.

Teacher speaks. Words blend.

Head swells. Brain bends.

Feet stuck. Force movement. Back up. Feel wall. Touch bricks. Need grounding. Mind spinning. Not breathing. Quick gasps. Suck air.

Reach out.

His hand is there.

He grabs my sweaty palm without complaint, squeezing three times to ask if I’m okay. I shake my head. No. He leads me toward the soccer field. Toward quiet. He doesn’t let go so is there when I fall.

Seconds later, sun in my eyes, an outline of his face hovers, not too close. I am safe.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

April 13, 2016 prompt: Helping In 99 words (no more, no less) write about helping someone. What’s their situation? What’s yours? Do they think they need help? How is it received?

(I wrote this piece for last week’s prompt, Agoraphobia: Write a response to an agoraphobic moment. Explore the character’s discomfort.” I used a different flash. I’m thrilled to be able to use School Function for this week’s prompt. Consider it a combo flash.)


Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Agoraphobia as defined by Mayo Clinic

 

I’m Inside My Broken Self

 

My outer shell splits in two. It sits beside me, hollow and smiling, waiting for the next layer to be pulled apart and placed beside us.

There are six. I have six faces that are exactly and precisely me. Yet different.

Some eyes are blue, some green or brown. Some lips red, others pink or peach.

Each one me.

Each one not.

My lunch tray, full of steaming food, makes me gag. Clatter of a dropped fork, shrill pitch of laughter, blur of clothing… These crack my next shell.

Over and over until I am small.

Human nesting doll.

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

April 2, 2016 prompt: Agoraphobia In 99 words (no more, no less) write a response to an agoraphobic moment. Explore the character’s discomfort.


Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Agoraphobia as defined by Mayo Clinic

 

Need

 

Somewhere along the way, she lost the ability to hear her own words.

When she spoke, it sounded as if a nest of hornets had been disturbed. A hollow, distant, buzzing noise that made her head feel full of cotton.

But he heard her clearly.

He loved her and she didn’t understand it. Not the love or the words.

Her thoughts were lucid, though. She watched from afar as tiny fissures formed each day—slowly shattering her mind.

She needed him to see that this life was crushing her but, though he listened with undiluted love, he was blind.

 

 

 

This is a 99 word flash I wrote for my lovely and talented tweep, Katsyarina, who asked for more of my #1linewed.

The prompt was “need” and the original tweet was this last line. Thanks, Katsyarina. Lovely Poetess. ❤

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

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

 

Lost

 

She ran a brush through her daughter’s hair.

“Mrs. Nevins?” The door opened a crack. “Do you need anything?”

“No, I’m…” She looked at her lap. “Silly me. I’ve left the elastic on the table. Could you reach it?” She pointed to the sparkly, green hair band.

“Of course.” The nurse stepped in, grabbing the elastic and handing it over the bed.

“She loves this bright color. What do you call it?”

“I’d say ‘neon’.” The nurse paused. “I’m calling Dr. Nate to get your meds, okay?”

“Can I finish braiding her hair before the medicine makes her leave?”

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

September 9 Prompt: Lost – In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about someone or something that’s lost.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

Crumbling

 

Is this sickness?

Lack of light? Solid darkness? Under canopies of lovely trees, thick with glossy emerald leaves, where sunshine cannot reach?

On the ground. Broken bits of self. Hazy eyes, unfocused from pain—grime on windows to the soul.

Shatter me.

Break apart the clumps of soil. Dig into dirt with naked hands, crumbling until fingernails become half moons of filth.

Till the earth of who I was. From this mangled mass of roots, pebbles, and pain, let something whole and healthy break through the ground. Let something beautiful grow.

This wishing. This futile hope.

Is this sickness?

 

 

June 24 Prompt: Dirt (In 99 words – no more, no less – write a story about dirt.)

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch