Flash! Friday # 21

Flash! Friday Round 21 is now closed; ladder’s been folded up and stuck back in the barn (which, from the sound of it, probably saved lives). In the meantime, please keep on reading & commenting. Thanks, everybody!

Welcome to #FlashFridayFic Round 21, dearests. I hope you’ve loaded up on protein and taken a moment to stretch those writing muscles (if not, you might try this for an hour or two), because here comes another fun-but-intense bout of competition. I’m giving you NOTHING this week. No character, no emotion, no parameters whatsoever (except, of course, enthusiastic adherence to the guidelines). What happens/happened/will happen here? You tell US.  

Round 21 judgiffity is provided by highly artistic SVW member Kinza Carpenter Shores. Awesome to have you back, Kinza! (Be sure to check out her judge page to see what she looks for in a winning entry.)

Get ready… get set….

Word limit: 100-word story based on the photo prompt. No more; no less.

* How: Post your story here in the comments. Include your word count (100 words exactly, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one.

* Deadline: 11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday’s on Philadelphia time)

Winners: will post tomorrow (Saturday)

Prize: A gorgeously splendid e-trophy e-dragon e-badge, a personally designed original winner’s page here at FF, a magnificent 60-second interview feature next Wednesday, and YOUR NAME SKETCHED IN ANCIENT SANSKRIT in the heavens (more or less). NOTE: Winning and non-winning stories alike remain eligible for selection for Monday’s Flash Points. 

* Follow @FlashFridayFic on Twitter for up-to-date news/announcements/dragon model listings.  And now for your prompt:

Photo courtesy of Mensatic, Morguefile

Photo courtesy of Mensatic, Morguefile


122 thoughts on “Flash! Friday # 21

  1. The Philosophical Carpenter
    100 words by @FraserMcFraze

    Ain’t much to a ladder, is there?

    No, I don’t mean anything by it, I suppose. Just—well, a little lumber, load of plain rungs, a few nails and see here, what the hands of man have made!

    I tell you, simple thing like a ladder but reaching so high up there, sky all blue like that, it’s almost like there’s —well, I dunno. It just makes me feel there’s meaning to life, you know?

    Well, looks like it’s about time. I’ll hold it steady down here, like that, and you’d best be heading on up.

    Take your noose, now.


  2. @StephenWilds
    Vertigo – 100 words

    The wind felt nice in the Georgia humidity.
    Travis squinted, looking up the shaky wooden ladder that he’d been given. The thing wasn’t sturdy. He promised his mom and cousin Troy to help clear the branches and debris from the storm, but as he went up the first few rungs, he began to regret the offer.
    Like many other people, Travis didn’t realize he had vertigo until it began.
    He was beginning to sweat. Hands shaking, he stared up at the sky, trying to focus on the clouds.
    He thought he had it, until he woke up in the hospital.


  3. Marissa Ames
    Above the Trees – 100 words

    “Johnny!” she shrieked.

    After Johnny learned to climb, he never stopped.

    “Johnny, no!”

    She grappled with her child. Johnny keened a high pitch and clung to the branch. He bit and clawed.

    “Don’t climb trees!” she berated. Johnny’s eyes tracked sidelong. No eye contact when mother yelled.

    Johnny couldn’t speak. He couldn’t say what he sought in that tree.

    The day she briefly turned her back, he fell.

    Johnny lay on a red-speckled rock pillow. His eyes fixed on a space of heaven above the trees. With a rare smile, he closed his eyes.

    Johnny had found what he sought.


  4. Wyrm

    John’s skin was prickled by the heat as he climbed into the apple tree to pick the last of the fruit from the highest branches, sweat trickling down his spine as the sweet nectar filled his nostrils.

    Hauling himself stiffly to the top of the rickety wooden ladder, he reached out with a grunt and plucked an apple to the right of him. Just then, he saw a glimmer of light from the corner of his eye, heard a roar which chilled him to his marrow, followed by the whoosh and snap of leathery wings.

    Please, not that.

    Not again.

    100 words


  5. He spotted the ladder at the foot of the tree and stopped, breathless. He glanced back and saw they’d reached the trees behind him. He looked up, knowing it was the only place to go and started climbing.

    His mind raced as he climbed, trying to fathom how they had found him, but cursing himself for thinking he was safe here, that he could relax for one minute. He had to stay on his guard, this was his life now.

    Distracted by his thoughts he hadn’t notice the cloud, and how he was now in it; he just kept climbing.

    100 Words


  6. The Blue

    ‘The old ladder’s still here?’

    ‘Of course,’ she said. ‘I’d never get rid of it. Not now.’

    ‘Do you remember when he made it, Mum?’

    A gentle softness in her face. ‘You were too afraid to climb the tree.’

    ‘But I wanted to be up high,’ I remembered. ‘Up in the blue.’

    Mum blinked, shiny-eyed. ‘He could make anything, your Dad.’

    I nodded, gazing out into the garden. I saw his hands on the wood, heard him hammering the nails, smoothing the rungs.

    ‘If you can’t get to the blue, my darling,’ he’d said, ‘I’ll bring the blue to you.’

    100 words, excluding title.


  7. Frank watches the vehicle roll up. John Ward, the town’s police force ever since Frank was a boy, steps out.
    “Hey there, Frank.”
    Frank gives a single nod of hospitality.
    “Folks been saying you’ve some kind of project going on up in the Orchard.”
    “Martha Jacobs, you mean!”
    “And a few others,” he says searching along the skyline. “Can I look? Will you show me where it is?”
    Frank points up the hill with taciturn elaboration.
    “We need a conversation, Frank. Why do you need a ladder that goes up so high?”
    “It’s not going up, John, it’s coming down.”

    100 words


    • When I first saw the prompt photo, I had the same thought as the last line. You established setting, tone, character, plot, and pacing. This reminds me of some of the short, half page prologues in science fiction. The best ones are of the less-is-more variety, and I think you did that well. Enter with a whimper, leave with a bang. That reveal at the end was the bang and it was great.


  8. @jfliebling

    “The Apple of his Eye” -100 words

    The leaves atop the tree quivered.

    “Sir Isaac I don’t think -“
    “Shutup Frog.”

    Frog lowered the blackboard and wiped his forehead with his sleeve. Only Sir Isaac’s shoes were visible on the rung. The chalk slipped off the ledge and Frog swore.

    “What was that?”
    “Nothing sir.”

    He picked up the chalk. A bead of sweat rolled off the front of his nose and smudged the number under the thick line. He dabbed at it with his damp sleeve. The number was unreadable. What had it been – ‘16’? No, definitely not. He scribbled in ‘12’ as the shoes descended.


  9. A ladder through the tree. Up and away. Does it stop at the top most branch? Or does it go on rung after rung, defying logic, defying gravity? I shall find out. A first step, then another. Solid, dependable old fashioned wood reaching skyward. Half way, branches scratch my bare arms. It already seems a long way down. Onward, upward, explore, breakthrough the canopy. The ladder ends. Am I disappointed?, no. The view, my world from a new perspective. Rooftops, roads, fields and gardens. Children playing. The smell of green leaves and warm earth drifting up to greet me. Glorious.


    100 words


    • I like that you kept this first person and tackled it inwardly as the MC does so outwardly. What at first seems like obstacle is then revealed as an opportunity. Nice thought!


  10. “Jack!” I shouted at the heavens or, more precisely, up the huge beanstalk that had appeared overnight. “Get down!”

    He ignored me and kept climbing, determined to find out what was at the top.

    I had told him what was up there, “Something bad.”

    After all, it wasn’t rocket science, extreme botany perhaps, but not rocket science. When a giant, ominous looking beanstalk appears in your yard, it isn’t likely to bode well for the fool who decides to explore.

    But he climbed up anyway.

    I sighed and plucked a handful of beans. At least there was plenty for dinner.



  11. Maggie’s Tree

    by Allison Garcia (100 words )

    They had planted the tree the day she was born. Each year they had carefully pruned and watered it, and each year they watched them grow, both Maggie and the sapling. Several years had passed, and they began to lose hope. They weren’t gardeners. Maybe nothing would grow.

    But this year was different. First came the buds, then flowers, and then small fruits appeared on the branches. A sweet fragrance wafted through their backyard. It was time to harvest.

    Maggie ascended the ladder on shaky legs. Then, her eyes sparkling in the sun, she plucked off the very first peach.


  12. The Ladder

    I looked up. Looking up was definitely better than looking down, though it was vertiginous in its own way, the ladder stretching forever up into the cerulean sky.

    But looking down? That made my stomach clench. Sure, I could see how far I’d come. But my leaden limbs already told me that. Instead of seeing how far I’d climbed, I simply saw how far I could fall.

    I’d hoped the ladder might end at the top of the impossibly tall tree, but it didn’t. I looked down, briefly, and saw my pursuers, coming fast.

    I sighed, then kept on climbing.

    @radmacher 100 words


    • I enjoyed the notion that this character has picked an escape that kind of becomes a trap. Where they expect the ladder to end comes and goes, along with hope of respite or saving. With the pursuers behind, there’s no other option than to keep climb and hope it takes them somewhere. Actually made me a bit tense thinking about what a position that would be to find yourself in!


  13. Backward cascade

    A primordial urge compelled Stella to grasp the eye-level rung. Grass tickled her ankles, bumblebees droned in a patch of buttercups, the earth dared her to defy it. Inhale. Exhale.

    She took the step. Hand over hand, foot above foot, Stella fell into a backward cascade toward mesmerizing blue. As she climbed, her head numbed; knees wobbled. Why had she never taken more chances? As she climbed, mental wounds oozed. How did she allow such pain to infiltrate her? As she climbed, new hope emerged.

    Stella’s hand topped the ladder. But, her heart tipped beyond to splash in the sky.

    word count: 100 words


  14. Concept Meets Execution

    “How the heck did you get that thing up in the tree anyway?”

    “That’s hardly the issue. We finally have the means to put that damnable bluejay in his place once and for all. Well, not like we have all day, chap…up you go.”

    “Wait. You want me to climb up that? Are you insane? You are, I assume, aware we are cats and do not have opposable thumbs? We’ll break our fool necks.”

    “Oh, I’m not climbing. I’m a big picture type….an ideas man. I’ll leave the grunt work to you. Now, go on.”

    Grumbling, Mittens began his ascent.

    100 words @klingorengi


  15. Memory Trivia

    I grunted. Stupid ladder. My hips protested each step. I was too old for this. Mable was going to be wrong this time for sure. As a retired Memory Caster, I knew the difference between clear and cloudy.

    The day I met Mable was as clear as glass. She spoke to me first, no question. I looked up. The sky was a beautiful blue, but I wished the projection worked from the bottom of the tree.

    Finally. I watched the scene unfold. Dag’nabit! Laundry duty for another year! Perhaps I should concede defeat. Her memory was better. No! Next year…

    100 words


  16. Title: Divine Creation
    Author: J.M. Mendur

    Bobby found Jimmy sitting at the base of the ladder, scribbling furiously in his notebook.

    “What’s the matter, Jimmy?”

    “It doesn’t work, Bobby. I don’t think there’s a ladder long enough in the whole world.”

    “What if someone built one that was long enough?”

    “No, I can’t imagine anyone building it. And even if you did build it, it’d be too unstable. I nearly fell off this little one. Twice. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

    Bobby thought about it. “Maybe if we change it to a ‘Stairway’?”

    Jimmy smiled. “Hey, that could work. And maybe if she bought it.”

    Word count: 100, not counting the title and author lines
    Author’s Note: I’m not even a fan of Led Zeppelin but this story just sort of came to me.


  17. Success!
    Emmy eyed the ladder from her vantage point on the ground. She’d been warned not to go near it. She was too young, too small, the wrong gender. But she could see the apples; just out of reach. And she wanted that ripe, red, juicy fruit.

    Gripping the sides of the ladder, she stepped onto the lowest rung, testing her balance. She could do this. She could get the lowest apple. She would show them all.

    Slowly, carefully, watching each step, she made her way up until she was even with the apple. Reaching, she grabbed it. She did it!



  18. ~~ The Painting ~~

    Rand stood in front of the photorealism painting, drawn into every minute detail. When he had walked into the room, he at first thought the leaves spilled out from the edge … reaching towards him.

    Rationally, of course, it must have been the trompe l’oeil technique.

    His weight shifted uneasily from foot to foot. He wanted to turn away. Why couldn’t he?

    The ladder wanted something of him. At least the blighted leaves were withdrawing. He blinked. Were they farther away than before? And the green healthy leaves beckoned. Again they reached out.

    Rand stepped forward into their waiting embrace.

    100 words exactly; © 2013 Beth E Peterson; @PotterBeth


  19. DARE

    Paul hoisted himself onto a ladder so tall, he could probably climb it all the way to heaven. He set his foot on another rung, wondering if this was worth being allowed to hang out with the cool boys.

    Jim Drake said he had to do something he was afraid of. Climbing the tallest ladder Paul had ever seen, that leaned against what he hoped was a strong branch of an apple tree in the Drake family’s orchard, was scary.

    He reached the top and grinned. Paul looked down to where the cool boys were waiting, but they were gone.

    100 words, excluding title


  20. “Rise to the challenge.”

    “Aim high.”

    For Jenny, failure was not an option. She’d heard every cliched, uninspired motivational phrase ever uttered from her Dad’s weathered lips, in repetition. None held the power to provide comfort in this time of need.




    As she lay beneath the shade of the tree she could never remember the name of—he’d planted—Jenny breathed in the fresh mountain air and tried to fill her lungs with more than the tasteless, odorless, gaseous substance. She wanted to suffuse herself with his whispered wisdom.

    But he’d failed.

    War had won.

    Buried him.

    @blackinkpinkdsk 100 words


  21. UP
    100 words

    I stare up the ladder. I’m halfway already. Leaves rustle quietly around me. The wood under my hands is worn smooth with age. A vine hangs over next to me. Raspberry. The thorns poke lightly against my skin as the wind gusts gently past.

    I love climbing things. Reaching for the sky. Straining, ever upward. Ever higher, up and up and up to the great expanse of the firmament. I’ve always had an obsession with “up.” I always go up. Highest room in the house, always up a tree, never scared of heights, never scared of falling. Always, forever, up.


  22. The Orchard – 100 words.

    Possum stepped off the ladder and kicked at the half-empty bushel. He sat down against the trunk, legs splayed out in the sun. He pulled his tobacco pouch from his pocket and rolled a cigarette.
    He crushed the end under his boot, looked up, and saw the foreman marching towards him.

    “Morning boss.”

    “We pay you to dawdle, boy?”

    “Apples ain’t yet ripe.”

    “Get your ass back to picking,” his boss said. “Or pack it up.”

    Possum stood and socked him in the jaw. The foreman stumbled and fell back.

    “Been waiting months for that,” Possum said. He sauntered away.


  23. The Cat
    100 Words
    Yes, I am a cat stuck in a tree. Why do people always freak out when they see a completely clichéd occurrence such as this? Oh good, good, a ladder. I totally know how to climb perpendicular to the ground, people! Do they expect me to climb down or is someone coming up? Someone’s coming up. He thinks that ladder will hold him? Gotta’ lay off the Fancy Feast there, pal. I just wanted to sun bathe in peace for once. That Bassett next door never stops talking. Oh my goodness, is that a finch down there? Lunch is served!



  24. Squish.

    “Look, dey squish like grapes,” says the Giant.

    “Lemme see.”

    Another tiny bug crawls to the top of the miniature ladder, just visible above the grass. It waves its little arms.

    The Giant takes his thumb and forefinger and squishes it, wipes his fingers on his pants.

    “Ha ha haaaaaa!” laughs the Giant’s lady friend. “Do dat again!”

    “We has ta wait,” says the Giant. “Til anudder comes.”

    “Okay.” The lady friend scrunches her brow and waits.

    “Now dey’s a bunch,” says the lady friend.

    Tiny creatures, waving their arms.

    “I tink some o’ dem is makin’ sounds!”




  25. @HannahStreett1
    Brave – 100 Words

    Kaylee gulped and peered up the ladder. It had looked tiny from her second-story bedroom, but as she quivered on the bottom rung, she realized it towered over her. She wondered if only heroes, like the ones in her night-time stories, could climb ladders. Little girls weren’t that brave.

    But Kaylee had to be brave. Momma lived up there now, and she missed her.

    With a shaky breath, she grabbed the next rung and crawled up the ladder. Momma hadn’t come home last week, and when Kaylee asked why, Daddy had pointed up to the sky.

    So up she went.


  26. They arrived in Winter :100 words
    They arrived in Winter. Brittle bare branches trembled like grasping fingers in the bitter cold. They watched buds bloom and blossoms drop tissue white petals. Fruit now swelled with ripeness.
    Fate already decided, she knew there was no avoiding it, best get on with it. She had a plan, to take the seed with her when they were banished so they could grow their own orchard to enjoy without restriction.
    If they were going to taste forbidden fruit, it had to be from the top where the fruit was plump for picking, the juiciest. She sent Adam for the ladder.


  27. Becalmed.

    Only a galleon built from wood of the sapient pear can sail the Mar del Cielo. But even then, when becalmed, she will sprout.
    Her cream sails hang flaccid.
    The wizened captain listens to the creaks of her mast and bow. He has to act fast. Sprouts make navigation difficult.
    “Boat says, to let us cross, del Cielo needs a sacrifice,” he yells at his sweating crew. “Fetch the ladder and the Engleesh prisoner.”
    With pikes and shouts the gleeful crew prick the hand-tied Englishman to walk the ladder rung by rung. One last stab; he’s falling into the sky.



  28. Industry Secret.

    ‘The apples are gone!’
    ‘All of them?’
    ‘Every last one!’
    Tree, after tree, it’s the same story. We are bewildered, exasperated. Our whole crop has vanished overnight.
    At first we’re too busy looking up, to notice the impressions in the soft ground. Too flustered to recognize the grumbling snore of a contented beast.
    Curled around a trunk, in the middle of the orchard, a bloated Dragon sleeps. Its copper scales glint in the morning sunlight. A soft belch reveals its guilt.
    ‘Which one is it?’
    ‘Bluebell. Get her back to the milking shed, we need to extract that cider.’

    @Brev_ 100 words.


  29. Fearless
    100 words

    Emma hated ladders and always had even as a little girl.

    “You can do it. I’ll hold on.” His voice positive because he knew she was on a mission.

    “Okay, I’m going.” Emma climbed the first three or four rungs easily. “Look! I’m climbing!”


    “This is fun!” She climbed higher and higher exhilarated by the freedom of facing her fears.

    He waited until Emma was almost to the top rung, far enough above the highest branch so she couldn’t grab on. One tiny shake seemed to be enough.

    He walked away and smiled. “She should have signed the papers.”


  30. Stairway to Heaven

    Billie and I sit in the family room and watch Pete’s Dragon a 100th time. In the middle of Brazzle Dazzle Day, I hear the raised voices from the kitchen.
    “Mom and dad are at it again. “ Billie grumbles.
    I sing along, but it doesn’t help.
    “Hush!” Billie says as he tugs my arm and pulls me outside. He starts climbing the ladder; I follow him. It is hot. We pant and sweat, but up and away we go. The sky is blue. There is no sound expect for the sweet chirps of the birds. Sanctuary! Our little heaven.

    100 words


  31. Last Rung

    When Ry returned they all muttered he’d made Last Rung, but I could see in his eyes that he hadn’t.

    They wheeled him out to the gathered to tell tales of twisting green, thin air, and blanket blue, but we couldn’t make sense of it. He mumbled on, the crowd dispersed, lanterns bobbing into the blinking distance. Only I remained.

    This blanket blue, he said, frightened him back, and the memory of it silenced him to sobs.

    The Ladder came down as agreed, bit by bit, over the following days. Ry kept one rung. We use the rest as firewood.

    100 words
    David Hartley


  32. When Life Gives You Apples
    @IsabelleKingUK 100 words

    Another apple fell on Sarah’s head.


    ‘‘Sorry!’’ Laura yelled from her precarious perch in the clouds. The ladder wriggled.

    ‘‘You’re supposed to be stabilising it!’’ Laura snapped.

    …The same way I stabilise everything in your life… Sarah wanted to say.

    She added the fallen apple to her basket. Sarah loved the simplicity of gathering apples.

    Gazing up at Laura, chaotically flinging fruit from the branches in all directions, she sighed.

    When life gives you apples… make a pie! When life gives you a younger sister…well, she never knew what to make of that.

    Another apple fell on Sarah’s head.


  33. Broken Promises

    “If you are lost in the woods, do not eat anything. Enchanted food looks like ours.”

    Mama told me not to wander in the woods.

    I was searching, hungry and lost when Nick Bottom found me. His kind touch calmed me and his golden eyes glowed with mischievous joy when my stomach growled.

    “We must find you food, my pretty girl.” wrapping his arm around me he led to the ladder in the tree explaining the highest fruit in the enchanted tree was the sweetest–”and safest” as if sensing my mama’s words. He held the ladder as I climbed.

    word count:100


  34. Innocent Envy

    The grass tickled her toes as Sarah watched the others running, leaping, tackling – frolicking. Everything from the trees, to the boulders, to the piles of fallen oranges fell pray to their games, brushed by every hand. Sarah dug her own fingers into the dampened earth to the side of her blanket.

    Other than her, the only excluded object was a lone ladder, stretching into the sky. Maybe someday soon she’d be able to climb it, see what mysteries rested at the ladder’s edge.

    “Catch!” Sarah heard seconds before an orange plopped beside her.

    Bobby followed, grinning. “How’s the leg today?”

    100 words 🙂 (@AriaGlazki)


  35. Petunia

    “Not a metaphorical ladder, an actual ladder, up that tree, to fetch Petunia, she can’t get down.”

    “When anyone speaks of ladders I envision success and glass ceilings.”

    “I will envision your success climbing wooden rungs to rescue my kitten.”

    “Why can’t you do it yourself, Ms. Independence?”

    “Fear of heights, and glass ceilings.”

    “Isn’t it a myth that cats need help getting out of trees? She’ll figure it out.”

    “You don’t want that promotion after all?”

    “You would deny me that step up I deserve for not rescuing your cat?”

    “I think I would.”

    “Petunia, sit tight. I’m coming.”

    100 words


  36. Cassidy looked at the ladder towering against her lone apple tree. It seemed to go on forever, endlessly climbing upward to the clouds in the flawless blue sky. She smiled as she was reminded of the her favorite story Jack and the Beanstalk. Where would it take her? What magical beasts would she meet along the way once she reached the top? Her imagination soared ever onward with fantastical thoughts. The possibilities seemed endless.
    “Cassidy, sweetie. Come inside for dinner.”
    The little girl turned her head to where her mother called out.
    “Until tomorrow…” she whispered quietly before running home.

    100 words @bookwormattack


  37. Finch had enough of apple picking from the bountiful trees in the King’s orchard. Yearning for adventure, he decided to climb the forbidden ladder.
    Boldly touching a wooden rung, he immediately felt like he was being stung by a swarm of bees. But he couldn’t let go. His eyes widened in horror as his fingers changed in front of him, forming into branches with twigs and leaves; slowly spreading up towards his shoulders, his chest tightening as the transformation was nearing completion.
    Now Finch knew where the King’s bountiful trees came from as he became part of the orchard forever.



  38. The young one reveled in the sunny day. Bound in child-like wonder, raising arms to the sky, the sun’s rays tickled the young one’s hands. Even with its attention focused upwards, the child remained rooted to the earth, wriggling its toes deeper into the rich, moist soil.
    Then the child paused, startled from playing with the breeze. Something … alien … pressed up against the young one. This thing was tall, but had no arms, and was stiff, still. Dead.
    Luckily, the strange dead thing did not stay long, and soon left the young one to play and grow in the sun.

    100 words


  39. I stood at the bottom of the ladder to the tree house, staring up the ladder. “Bobby? What happened? Where is it?”

    Bobby explained it all again, “I keep tellin’ ya! I put my foot on the ladder to start up, and I looked up, and the house was there. This strange light flash happened, and the whole top of the tree, house and all was gone!”

    I grinned. “It worked!”

    “What worked?”

    “My invisi-ray gun! It worked!” I raced up the ladder into our now invisible tree house, with Bobby following. “It’s the perfect place for us to hide!”

    100 words


  40. Remember how women, tired of a life tending only to children and husbands, waded out to hold hands with the depth of the sea, entering a new kind of forever after? They spooked my mother.

    “Nothing but danger lurks below the surface. Always look up. The sky’s the limit for you, honey.”

    So, I climbed all the ladders I could find. Up, up, always up, except when I fell. Like one big game of Chutes and Ladders. When I finally reached the top rung, the sky looked exactly like the sea. I dove and went over into that great expanse.



    • I don’t know why or how, but the image of the women wading into the ocean somehow feels to me to be …cultural. Like it’s some deep racial memory in the past of my people, somehow. That’s got to be a sign that you’re hitting some deep chord.

      And the ambiguity of the ending is troubling. In fact, now that I say that, the mood throughout is distinctly uncomfortable. Very capably done.


      • Thank you, Fraser. Given our recent conversations, this makes me wonder what all I’m working out (I thought it was just a dour mood). It seems you never fail to make me think. Thank you for that, too.


  41. It had seemed like a good idea at the time. Pulling the ladder out of the muck hadn’t worked, so Corwyn decided to try pushing.

    To push, he had to be flat on the ground.

    Under the ladder.

    He gazed up the length of it into the branches. If he could just get his little brother’s attention, he could run and get help. But if he got his big brother’s attention…

    “What the hell is wrong with you?” came a distinctly feminine voice accompanied by the instant relief of the ladder being lifted away.

    His sister. Thank God for sisters!


  42. The Epilogue
    100 on the nose
    “No! Not until you tell me why this wasn’t your first idea!” The woman yelled from the base of the ladder, holding it aloft.

    The man at the window sighed heavily. He’d thought he was eloping with the most beautiful woman in the world and would live happily ever after with her. Why hadn’t he realized something was awry when she said she would go down first and asked him to hold the ladder until she reached the ground?

    The shouting continued. “Do you have any idea how much my head hurts right now? Because of you!”

    “Damn it, Rapunzel…”


    • Great. I have always loved that fairy tale. This take on it is very fresh! Yeah, it would be painful; no wonder she’s annoyed!


  43. @FlabbergastedMa
    (I am going to try and guess at 100 as I am on my Blackberry)…

    The air caressed my pale skin, lightly blowing my hair against my sweaty neck as I squinted towards the sky and sneezed.

    Rung by rung, I forgot my fear as I broke free of the chlorphyll-filled canopy and drew closer to the sun. The blue of the sky reflected in my eyes, had anyone else been close enough to see.

    For years they had warned us of avoiding the holes. And of the dangers of the sun. I’d read stories of people enjoying the sun and the sky.

    Now I was going to be one of them. Even as my skin began to burn.


  44. >>> SWEET HARVEST <<<

    He says, “You ever play that kids game Chutes and Ladders?”

    “Sure,” I say. “Why?”

    Eyes sparkling, he says, “Come out to the orchard with me.”

    “What for?”

    “Can you just play along? Please?”

    I follow him out of the house, into the trees, and up a half-dozen rungs of an old ladder.

    There, where the sky is cool and blue and the heavy scent of fresh fruit permeates our senses, he kisses me for the first time, his mouth full of questions.

    And I, to my surprise, know all the answers as through I’d memorized them by heart.

    – – – – –
    100 words / @bullishink


  45. Escalera del Jacobo*

    Mi padre had a career ladder, and he climbed it to become the best in his profession. No one could get to the fruit at the very top of the tree like mi padre, Jacobo, el Monocito.**

    We followed the crops north then south again, and he picked until his fingers bled and left stains on the rungs.

    “Por tu,” he always told me.***

    The day I found him at the bottom of the ladder, neck broken, ripe peaches still clutched in his hands, I understood. Mi padre climbed this career ladder so I could climb a different one.

    100 words (sans title)
    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)

    *Jacob’s Ladder
    **Little Monkey
    ***For you


  46. Her heart alternating between flutter and thud, Margaret climbed. It appeared a short distance when standing below, but halfway up the ladder, the journey seemed to stretch endlessly.

    Her swollen feet spread uncomfortably wide on the steps, and fear of her considerable size splintering the narrow wooden rungs forced a slow, tentative pace. She focused skyward, towards the blue azure nothingness she longed to reach.

    Muscles trembling, she arrived at the top. Above the branches in bloom and the chirping birds, a slight breeze cooled her flushed red face.

    Brief calm, a sigh, then a final step, towards freedom.

    100 words
    @jtvancouver on the Twitter


  47. Bottom rung

    Folks always saying don’t look down. Why they never say don’t look up?

    Ladder been perched against that darn tree all day, but he couldn’t even set one shaky foot against the bottom rung one second…

    He’d get it good. Any moment now she’d march herself right across that patch of grass, fingers fisted against her ribs, telling him to get his skinny behind up that ladder.

    But he feared the ladder more.

    Naw, he ain’t climbing that ladder. Make her climb it. It’s her darn cat up that darn apple tree. She could darn well do the job herself.

    100 on the dot


  48. “Okay, son, what’s your name?”

    “I’m Jimmy Evans, officer.”

    “Thank you, Jimmy. Now can you tell me what happened? Why did you call me over here?”

    “Well, Eddy, Tim, and Manuel were climbing the ladder up the tree. They got up into the branches and I was just going to climb up with them and they just disappeared.”

    “And you’re sure they’re not just hiding somewhere?”

    “Yes, sir. Where could they go?”

    As Jimmy continued his account, three new leaves sprouted in the upper branches of the tree and three caterpillars were very happy to discover their tender, new meals.

    100 words


  49. “Perfect Day”
    Violet dreamed of leaving her hometown and starting afresh far away. She wanted to meet new people, see new places, and have new experiences. Only sixteen, she had two more years of being stuck in this tiny town where everyone knows everyone. At Violet’s favorite spot, she climbed the ladder held up by her favorite tree until she could see the expanse of fields surrounding the trees.

    Her heart seized in her chest. She must be hallucinating. Had she smoked that much? The group of things swarmed over the green grass, the sunlight beaming down on them. She was screwed.


  50. Title: He would dare
    “Come on, hurry up with it!”
    “You going to tell me how you got up this damn tree?”
    “I was hiding.”
    “From who?”
    “I’ll tell you later. Just get me down from here!”
    “Sara, I had to run really far with this ladder, and you’re up in a tree with a miniskirt. You’re going to tell me why you’re up there or I’ll leave you up there.”
    “Marshall Drummond, you wouldn’t dare!”
    “I left my sister’s party for you! Please try me.”
    “It’s a little awkward.”
    “Can’t be more awkward than my view right now. Truth or Dare?”
    @JSHyena -100 words


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