Special recognition for lovely lovely images
A phrase I am determined to find many future uses for
“Go ride the baloney pony!”
Special recogniton for excellent use of prompt words
dell/bordello Kitty 10:23am
ride/iridescent brianrschwarz 12:02pm
dell/yodelling Amy Schaefer 4:48pm
home/psychometry Steve Forti 5:42pm
long/Longfellow's Phyllis E 5:13pm
Grease is the word!
Colin Smith 10:36am
Not quite a story, but holy moly
Christine Seine 11:55am
It's says NOTHING good about me that I laughed like crazy reading this one
Amanda Capper 11:17am
And of course, Carkoon now appears in these stories!
Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli 1:14pm
Special recognition for a story that would have been perfect if the last line got chopped.
Dellwood Acres top child psychiatrist, Dr. Grate, glared at the young boy, “You ride him, you don’t converse with him. Keep that up and it’ll be a long time before you go home.”
The horse in the stall tossed its head.
Dr. Grate persisted, “Say it. Horses don’t talk.”
The boy, as usual, refused to speak directly to the doctor.
A voice came from the stall, “Of course, of course!”
Dr. Grate spun around, “Who said that?”
The boy, his face brightening, whispered, “See?”
And here are the nine finalists:
(1) Julie Weathers 11:34am
"I'll bring him home, little mama," I said. Then Dell and I rode off to war. She lost the baby while we were dealing death at Chicamauga. He was determined to go home to her, but I convinced him to stay. He'd be alive today if I'd let him. When he fell, she wrote and made me promise to bring him home. Like a fool, I did. Now I'm making that long ride home with his horse trailing behind that lead coffin. She'll have a husband to mourn, but be damned if I know whose he is.
(2) Geoff LaPard 4:40pm
Cruz stood back. The remodelling had worked perfectly. It had taken a long time, each brick, each joist requiring care. He allowed himself a small glow of pride.
He spent a few hours installing the furniture - the table his mother left him when she left; the horsehair sofa from his grandmother when his father disappeared; the bed in which his beloved Natalie had died.
He waited for Maisie to appear, as usual skipping - their secret, her daily cookie.
When he bolted the steel doors, designed to muffle her scream he whispered to the cold metal. ‘Quiet. You’re home now.’
(3) Amy Schaefer 4:48pm
Darla jolted awake like she had been unhorsed. She shuffled to the window and scowled. Damn neighbors and their strident yodelling. Waking an old woman in the dead of night.
Those hooligans needed a good scare, and no mistake. She fumbled her box of shotgun shells; they scattered with a sound like hail.
The door flew open. “Mama,” said Cliff. “I know the singalongs get rowdy, but this is summer camp. You can’t shoot buckshot at homesick nine-year-olds.”
She played contrite as he tucked the covers around her chin.
Then, alone in the dark, Darla grabbed the shell he’d missed.
(4) Lisa Bodenheim 6:42pm
The car tires hummed a strident refrain, ‘She’s seeing someone else, she’s seeing someone else.’ How ironic, now that gay marriage was legal. It felt like a knife to the heart.
In the backseat, the kids were zonked out after a frenetic day at the Wisconsin Dells Kalahari Waterpark. I focused on the freeway, steeling my nerves as I drove home.
That night, alone with her in the kitchen, my heart pattered like a mad hatter. “Sheila, let’s quit this horse—”
She knelt on her knees, tears of longing in her eyes, and a small box on her palm.
(5) Timothy Lowe 7:43pm
The bride threw up in her hands.
"It was a horse pill," the bride's mother whispered to an aunt.
"I can marry whomever I choose," she spat, wiping puke from her lips.
Not true. They'd found her yodelling in an alley the night before, drunk as a skunk. The pill had sobered her but made her sick.
"You belong with me," the groom said. He was a ratty little man in a monkey suit. He was also the only one who knew her sister's whereabouts.
"Shall we begin?" said the priest.
The bride swallowed her bile. She took his hand.
(6) Calorie Bombshell 8:26pm
Bride-to-be Ursula Langston Cordially Requests Your Presence.
Hand-delivered on linen paper. Name rings a bell but I can’t place her. Former co-worker? Googled address. Beverly Hills. “No gifts, please.” Classy.
I’m here. Gorgeous home. Which one’s Ursula? Face is familiar. Mannequin smile. But from where?
Headlong dash to buffet table. Mortadella and provolone pinwheels. Mouth stings of horseradish. Deathly allergic. Spit it out. Throat swelling. Mouths move as I stumble.
Remember now? Tenth grade. Ursula’s sister, Becca. Suicide. You tormented her. All of us.
I’ll tell them sorry. Beg their forgiveness. If I can just make it. to. the. door.
(7) Nadine 11:59pm
“He’s been gone a long time.” She held her handkerchief. “I think he’s met someone else. I heard he was seen in the woods with a girl.”
“Don’t think about that. You’re better off without him.”
She stood up. “Maybe he needs a ride back. I should go get him.”
“I wouldn’t bother if I were you.”
“He’s not coming home. He doesn’t love you.”
She glared at me. “Screw you and the horse you rode in on.”
“That’s just the thing,” I said. “He did. I was the girl in the dell.”
(8) A Velez 6:44am
She scrambles into the mill loft. The horse should be clear by now, she thinks. The children safe.
The loft is crammed with grain. No weapon. No escape. She shoves the barrels and they fall longwise like dominoes – flour explodes into air, denser than fog.
“It’s simple Della,” he emerges in the iridescence. “Sign over the homestead, you live.”
“No. I won’t.” And neither will you.
He raises the gun. A white apparition with a red, lying mouth.
He is already a ghost.
Flint to frizzen. A single spark. The glutted air ignites.
The explosion rages across the prairie.
(9) Pharosian 9:58am
"Howdy, ma'am," he said in perfect hayseed. He had that whole farmer-in-the-dell look going on, what with the overalls and straw hat.
"Let me show you where to bring the dining suite," I said, ushering him into my home.
He glanced around, presumably gauging dimensions. "Huh," he said, wiping his horsey face with a bandanna. "Never seen a chaise longue in a dining room before." He pronounced it "shayze lounge."
"It's 'shez long,' I said. I take pride in educating others.
"Smart lady." He nodded toward the wall. "So you know that Ver Meer is a fake?"
I had to read all of these several times to make a final choice. I really loved what you all did with these prompt words.
The winner this week is Congratulations Calorie Bombshell. A funny, yet twisted story with enough ambiguity at the end to really grab us!
Calorie Bombshell you'll email your mailing address to me, I'll send you a copy of The Long Ride Home by Kari Dell. If by some chance you have it already, let me know and we'll figure out something else.
Thanks to all of you who entered. As usual, I loved reading your work. Some of you are very very scary! (Just the way I like it!)