Thursday, August 22, 2019

WEP/IWSG flash challenge: Red Wheelbarrow

Hey y'all

 I've nearly run out of time to post my submission for the Write Edit Publish/IWSG August challenge; Red Wheelbarrow. I had a story started for this prompt, a nicely bloody tale that needed some editing and - slashing to fit the 1000 word count. The MC just would not cooperate however, and finally I had to give up on the flash and go with a short story. Ten year old developing serial killers can be so needy and attention seeking!

So here I am, posting at the last minute with a hurriedly thrown together flash. I don't know where this story came from - I was watching Disney's Epic as I wrote it. I know, the TV should have been off, but I can't stand silence when I'm writing and music would have been a bigger distraction.

Hope you enjoy twisted fairy tales. No Denise, no blood in this, hence the lack of reader warning, lol.

word count: 868
full critique acceptable


“What happened next Granny?”

“Well, that part is unclear. The little Fairy hid a long time under the red wheel barrow. So long in fact, that the sun was nearly set before she dared peek out. But then,” Granny’s voice lowered and she leaned closer to the troll girl’s bed of rocks.

Gwenda leaned forward, her eyes almost humanly round and wide.

“Then,” Granny drawled, pinching the blanket of moss for dramatic effect. “A firefly buzzed around the wheel barrow, and then another, and another. And then the voices.”

Gwenda shrank back with a horrified gasp. “Was it . . Children?”

“Yeesss! Two boys and three girls. They carried nets, and glass jars with screw top lids. They laughed and squealed at the sight of the fireflies, jumping all around and over the wheel barrow. They stomped, and leaped, kicking the sides and handles of the barrow. It got darker and darker, and only the tails of the fireflies lit the garden area where the Fairy cowered in fear.”

Granny scooted back into her rocker, picked up a fried human ear, dipped it in sludge and chewed noisily. Mimicking the scared Fairy, Gwenda clutched her favorite petrified rat and tried to sink deeper into the rock pillow.

“Scared?” Granny asked brushing crumbs from her lips.

Gwenda shook her head, dislodging an earwig that had gotten stuck in the crevice of her neck. Granny’s scary stories were the best park of spending the day.

“Good girl. Now where was I? Oh yes. The little Fairy was trapped under the red wheel barrow, the Children racing all around, chasing the fireflies.”

“Did they catch them? The fireflies? Why can’t they just turn off their tails and disappear into the dark.”

“Oh yes, they caught them. The fireflies can turn off their lights, but they are too stupid to do so for long. They think the flashes ward off predators. Even us Rock Trolls dare not eat a firefly, they are poisonous even to us.”

“But aren’t the Children predators?” Gwenda sat boulder straight, pulling her knobby knees into her chest.

“Not like us. They just don’t know any better. Children think its just fun.” Granny dipped another ear and offered it to Gwenda.

Gwenda nibbled on a lobe, then asked; “Did the Children run away after they caught the fireflies?” She would be very disappointed if they did.

“No, no. Once they had the fireflies in a jar they wanted to watch the bugs flash about. So the boys reached down, gripped the edge of the wheel barrow, and flipped it on its wheel.”

“They let the Fairy escape?”

Granny laughed, a soothing sound like boulders rolling down a cliff. “They did not know she was there, now did they?”

Gwenda thumped the side of her head to dislodge the rocks weighing down her thinking. Of course the Children did not know the Fairy was there. They were preoccupied with the fireflies.

“Luckily, the Fairy was too shocked at her sudden release to immediately take flight. She was still clinging to a paint chip when one of the girls hopped inside, she nearly squished the Fairy with fingers.”

Gwenda licked her lips at the thought of Fairy jam. Blue Fairies were tastiest, but red ones were rare so worth the faint sweetness. “What color was she Granny?”

“Huh? Oh, green, I think. Green apple.” Suddenly Granny dropped her half eaten ear back into the gourd and shoved it away. She must have been thinking about Fairy jam too.

“But she didn’t get squished.”

“Nope. The Girl Child screamed and pulled her hand away. The Fairy jumped high, flapped her wings twice, and dashed straight into a jar one of the boys had quickly grabbed. Then he closed the lid tight and held it up for all the Children to see.”

“I wish I could see her in that jar,” Gwenda said angrily, rubbing her fingers together in a squishing motion. “Maybe it was the Fairy that released my butterflies.”

“Hehehe. Maybe.” Granny peered at the dimming stalagmites above Gwenda’s bed. “Grampy’s closing the cave, dawn is coming. Its time for all good Trolls to get some sleep.” She leaned over the bed to kiss Gwenda’s nose.

“But the story Granny! I have to know what happened.”

“I’ll finish tomorrow. I promise.”

“I get to stay another night? Yipee!!” Gwenda rolled around her rock bed, grinding small stones with her knees and elbows.

Granny gave a grin the size of a cave mouth and turned to leave.

Gwenda was pulling the moss snugly around her when the rocks in her head shifted again and she had a sudden thought. “Granny, is this a true story? How do you know about the little Fairy and the Children?”

Granny winked. “Perhaps, perhaps not. You know how unreliable bats can be. Good morning little one.”

Gwenda yawned, her thoughts drifting to a red wheel barrow she had seen near a human farm the night before. If it was still there, the little Fairy might still be trapped in the jar.

She fell asleep dreaming of green apple Fairy Jam, and the gossip the Bats would spread about Gwenda’s great battle with the monstrous Children.

This writing is part of the WEP/IWSG bi-monthly flash challenge. Click on this link for a list of other participants and challenge rules.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

IWSG: Writing Surprises

 Hey y'all - How's your summer going? I'm in sales and merchandising, so my summer is pretty much ended, and I'm already planning winter gear and Christmas. Ugh, I've always hated thinking about Christmas before the Thanksgiving Turkey is even baked.

Just goes to show how things don't always turn out as you planned, right?

Welcome to the August 2019 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J Cavanaugh and his minions Renee Scattergood, Sadira Stone, Jaqui Murray, Tamara Narayan and LG Keltner. This month's optional question is:

Has your writing ever taken you by surprise? For example, a positive and belated response to a submission you'd forgotten about or an ending you never saw coming?

    Well, my first short story submission received its acceptance eight months after submission, and was published nearly a year after acceptance. I had given up on the submission after three months, and forgotten the story - and pretty much lost heart in short story writing - within six months. I went back to writing on my novel, which had lots of good feedback for revision, but seemed just as hopeless for publication.

When I got a call from the publisher at Bewildering Stories I was stunned into nearly speechlessness. My response was, of course "Is this a joke?" The ezine held onto the story longer than most, had many many staff discussions regarding the content (8 year old boy takes gun to school) and finally the staff decided that if it was that controversial among the staff, it needed to be published.

And that started me on the path to writing and submitting controversial content. Its still scary, but I believe sometimes you gotta stretch yourself if you want to take steps to achieve your goals.

Not that I always persevere, or succeed, but I am less fearful of putting my writing out there, and more accepting of disappointments.  What can I say - if it can happen once, it can happen twice! And some day, that novel trilogy I'm re-working on might get traditionally published.

There is hope is accepting the unexpected.