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?

 

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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.

 

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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.)


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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

 

The Retreat

 

“Why does he do that?”

“Anne, I’m not going over this again,” Lisa sat on the couch next to her son, stroking his hair. “He needs sanctuary—a place to escape.”

“It’s weird,” Anne twirled her hair. “I mean, other people aren’t going to be as understanding as I am. Look at him. He’s just… sitting there staring.”

Lisa stood up, rummaged through the kitchen cabinets, and pulled out some pots. She brought them shoulder level then slammed them together next to Anne’s ear.

“What the hell!

“That is how he feels every day. Would you need a break?”

 

 

Flash Fiction Challenge over at Carrot Ranch

November 11, 2015 prompt: Comfort/Refuge – In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a place of comfort that is a refuge. Have fun…or go dark. Play with the idea of comfort and refuge.

 

Sarah Brentyn Reef 99 Words - sig

 

See Emily Play

 

BlogBattle Sarah B - Emily's Snow2 - sig

 

Emily reached her fingers out to touch the glowing snowflakes. Frosty pine-scented breezes blew in from the forest. She giggled, her brown eyes lighting up, as she watched squirrels scurry up trees and bright red cardinals land on snow-covered branches. The sun grinned then dropped. The moon danced into the sky. Stars settled in her hair. She laughed and took off running along the ground, bare feet landing with soft thuds on plush, purple carpet.

“She’s no better,” Emily’s mother studied her little girl crouched in the corner. “You promised…”

“I said we would try,” the doctor corrected.

“Please. Bring her back to me.”

The doctor stared at the tiled floor, “Emily has been here for three months, Mrs. Stevens.”

“Exactly! Enough! Get her back here from…wherever she is.”

“She’s stable.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“Her vitals are good…”

“I don’t give a damn! She belongs at home! With me.”

“I appreciate what you’re going through.”

“You don’t!”

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Stevens.” The doctor reached for a tissue box.

“I hate this. I don’t understand any of it. I don’t know if Emily’s in pain…” She grabbed some tissues. “Do you even know where she is? If she can hear us?”

“We haven’t been able to reach her. There’s nothing wrong with her hearing, physically, but I can’t be certain what she’s processing. I think,” he glanced at Emily, “she can sense when you’re here.”

Sense me? She’s my daughter. Is that all I get? Can’t I go to her? Tell her to come back?”

The doctor hesitated, “Mrs. Stevens.” He cleared his throat, “I’m not sure she wants to come back.”

They looked over at the little girl in the hospital gown.

Emily’s hand twitched. She grimaced with something resembling a smile, staring with dead eyes at the twirling snowflakes and playful squirrels.

 

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#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

Read more stories and vote for your favorite here.

Week 30 Prompt: Reach
Genre: Drama

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Divided by Itself

 

BlogBattle Sarah B Divided by Itself - sig

 

“She’s gone.”

“What?”

“I’m sorry. We did…”

“Everything you could. I’m a doctor, you fool. I know the drill.”

“A doctor. And couldn’t even save your wife.”

“Excuse me?”

“I said ‘A doctor. Of course. Stevens. That’s right.’” She laid her hand on his arm, “Would you like one of the…”

“No. I don’t need anyone from this place.” He shook her hand off.

“Truly, Dr. Stevens. I am sorry.”

He turned, knowing there was nothing he could do here, not wanting to see his wife lying still. He had watched how family members acted as they entered the rooms of their deceased loved ones. No, he wouldn’t do that. He’d go home.

“There’s no one waiting for you.”

He jumped. Looking wildly around, he squeaked, “Hello?” cleared his throat and barked, “Who’s there? What do you want?”

Silence.

The sunset was an impossible pink. Unnatural. Like a child had scribbled with the wrong color crayons. Surreal and slightly unpleasant. It sunk behind perfectly ordinary grey concrete, which made it all the more annoying.

Dr. Stevens wandered through the parking lot trying to get as much distance as possible between himself and the body of his wife. “Dammit!” he squinted, the light dwindling. Where the hell was his car? He roamed until the sky was thoroughly bruised. Deep purple began turning to charcoal.

“You car is by the entrance. Directly in front of the entrance. Where you left it.”

He spun to find no one. Again. “Get away,” he growled.

“You can distance yourself from her, but not from me.”

He walked some more. Around crushed soda cans, over cigarette stubs, through the sliding doors to room 2357.

“Couldn’t keep your distance?” The voice mocked. Too close. Too angry. Too his.

 

 

#Blogbattle is a weekly writing prompt for flash/short stories hosted by Rachael Ritchey 

Week 27 Prompt: Distance
Genre: Drama

BlogBattle

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