Warmup Wednesday!

Directions: Write a scene or an entire story of 100 words on the nose (no more, no fewer), inspired by this photograph. No judging. All fun. (Normal Flash! Friday guidelines regarding content apply.)
Don’t forget to add your Twitter handle & link to your blog, pretty please.

And a few words on how your week’s going? Even yummier!

 This week’s Warmup Wednesday challenge: include a hint of magic.

Trapper Boy. PD photo Lewis Hine,

Trapper Boy, 1908, Macdonald, West Virginia, USA. PD photo Lewis Hine, archived by the National Child Labor Committee.

24 thoughts on “Warmup Wednesday!

  1. Little Trapper Boy

    Little trapper boy,
    West Virginia bound,
    Little trapper boy,
    Gone underground.
    Little trapper boy,
    deep in the ground,
    don’t breathe the dust;
    don’t make a sound.
    Down in the mine,
    just sit and wait;
    open and close
    the trap door gate.
    Let the air flow,
    work its magic in;
    sit in the dark
    til’ it moves again.

    Little trapper boy,
    from those devil hills,
    do you even know
    that coal dust kills?

    T’was your father’s way
    and his’n before.
    The mine eats men
    for evermore.

    I’ll wait with you
    In the dampened cold;
    pray time allows
    you to grow old.

    100 child labour laws (plus 3 in the title)
    My weeks highlight will be playing Pickle Ball tomorrow morning. Clearly, mine is an uneventful life.
    Thanks for the picture. In this Labour (or Labor) Day week, very à propos.


  2. The Tinners [Edit]

    “Leave ya pasty crust for The Tinners, lad, for an arrangement was made long ago when they was starving’ ‘cause they’d eaten all the bugs.

    “When prospectors came, The Tinners put up a strong and united front at first. But hungry eyes, connected to hungry bellies, spied the engineer’s pasty lunch.

    “Part meat, part fruit, it were, jus’ like yourn, and a deal was struck between human and Tinner.

    “And we must abide by that deal by leaving yer crust on the floor or face The Tinners’ wrath.

    “Besides, it’s cleaner. The crust‘s covered in dirt from your ’ands, look.”

    This used to be longer: http://haberdasheryofstories.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/250-words-tinners.html
    Apart from recovering from a bad back, my week is going well as I continue to dodge around the actually doing my dissertation. Much reading ahead!


  3. TO CHIRP OR NOT TO CHIRP (100 words)

    Charlie was in charge of the birds. “My canaries are gods,” he would boast. “They tell you when you will live and when you will die.” It was not an empty promise, the earth’s gases will kill.

    Charlie had a way with birds and it was he who tended to the feathered sentinels. He would haul burlap bags of seed and buckets of water to the rows of cages that lined the first room of the Wilson colliery.

    When the explosion happened, the birds were preening and pecking in sing-song innocence. Their feathers, no time to even ruffle.
    This week I’ve been trying to write longer stories after taking a wonderful fiction writing workshop with the great writer Reif Larson. Boy, is it hard to keep my characters going. I wish they would speak up and tell me what’s on their minds. And it better have tension, intrigue and metamorphosis! I really respect those of you out there who can keep a narrative going in a compelling way. So much more to it than flash fiction. Hmmm, maybe my characters can have attention deficit disorder and change the topic every hundred words or so?


  4. Lost Children of the Mines

    Boredom forgotten, Willie clutched the trapdoor rope to his chest and strained to see into the tunnel’s impenetrable blackness. He’d heard something. A voice, inviting him in. But perhaps it was only the warm air rising from the tunnels. He shivered. 

    The team had just gone down to fill their carts, they’d be ages yet. What harm could it do to look? 

    He tied off the rope and edged inside, holding his candle out like a crucifix. The air seemed to bear down on him, shrinking the flame to nothing. He could be anywhere. 

    “Where would you like to be?” 

    Well my week isn’t going great so far… So thought I’d write something to cheer myself up! 🙂 I think it worked…


  5. Name: dazmb
    Words: 100

    Title: The Devil’s Tattoo

    I’m straining to see, from afar all I can hear is a tap…tap…tap, regular, stubborn, inviting.

    A faint yellowing shimmer draws me deeper until I the other hurriers, trappers, Walt, Mary, Joe standing in a circle transfixed.

    The shimmering becomes beautiful, monstrous. Waxing and waning, twisting and turning, graceful, venomous. Then a body, face, eyes full of malice, looking at each of us. I try to screw my eyes shut.

    Recognition hits me as she hisses ‘Mary’.

    We still work the mine.

    The witch never came back.

    But once in a while you ignore the dread tap…tap…tap…

    am I allowed to develop this a bit for FlashFriday?


  6. @firdausp
    Through a dusty lens
    (100 words)
    I liked wearing filth, it made me invincible. You couldn’t tell where my clothes began and dust ended and vice versa. It was my armour. The older boys were scared to touch me. They looked disgusted everytime I purposely brushed past them. They’d cringe and yell for me to clean up.
    It gave me power. When I thought I had lost some dirt I’d go roll in some more.
    One day I fell ill, and lying on the pavement, my bed, I groaned in pain.
    Someone picked me up. For the first time I realised there was magic in touch.

    My furry baby, Cooper, is ill. I’m so concerned and a better part of my days are spent caring for him and trips to the vet. Everytime he wags his tail it’s a good day.


    • Furry babies are sometimes harder to care for than kids. They can’t tell you what hurts or when they feel better. Good luck with Coops (my nickname for him). I’m sure he will rally. I’ve found that scratches behind the ears and made up goofy songs go a long way for healing, though any good pet lover already know that.


  7. @pixxiecrafter
    (100 words)
    The earth was once magic-rich, feeding wonder into all that grew from it. The trees had faces and whispered stories to the wind. The animals sang to one another, united by the common tongue of being.

    And then humans discovered ways to harness the magic of the earth, twisting it to serve them. They dug craters, extracted it, and sold it to the highest bidders. The rich become powerful, and greedy for the wonder buried beneath the earth.

    When asked why they dug so relentlessly, the miners answered, “We dig so we are fed.”

    So they starved the earth instead.


  8. Day Dreams

    “Hold still, little lad,” the jolly stranger said as he vanished behind the machine and opened the little black curtain. The light flashed. He winked.
    I prayed the master didn’t see me squandering time like that. I wished I had dusted off the soot from my shirt, but the chap just chuckled. “Don’t worry,” he said.
    The old fella came back next week and handed me the photograph. My shirt was snow-white, and I was smiling in the photo. “Don’t fret, lad. This photo shows your future.” His deepest blue eyes twinkled; his belly shook like the bowlful of jelly.

    100 words on the nose.
    I am having a fabulous week. Thanks for asking.
    Here is why.
    Thank you, all the kind dragons.


  9. Harbinger
    Dave @ParkInkSpot
    100 words.
    I saw the kid standing in front of the mine elevator.

    He was a dirty miner kid, maybe ten years old, and he was just standing there staring solemnly at me. He wore plain clothes, a coal-dust smudged shirt which was clearly too large for him, simple linen pants, and a miner’s hat with an oil-wicked lamp. That kind of mining cap disappeared from this country around 1915.

    He just gravely held my gaze and slowly shook his head.

    Seven hours later, an earthquake killed thirty West Virginia miners in a coalmine collapse. My crew didn’t go down there today.
    My week’s going well so far. Time for lunch, tho!


  10. Your Own Private Coalmine

    He was caught inside his pupil

    A student of light

    The narrow passage of vision

    A splinter of rock.


    In darkness a candle moved church bells
    Arrow hitting all eyes targets
    Swayed with a child’s heartbeat.

    Fresh air rushed with a pull,
    Ghost flowers.


    Children’s discarded as pennies
    Per hour
    A darkness with soft voices, rail noise
    A nightmare machine
    Vent for hearts exhaust.


    This is how he felt holding the door

    For beautiful woman at the Waldorf

    He was trapped inside a golden idea

    A chasm that dialated when her yellow smile
    Vanished –

    A hunger that was never


  11. Mount Lauti

    Dad bought Lautaro a small mountain for his birthday. The mountain came with a set of tiny miners.
    “Be tough and be fair with them, son.”
    The miners started working immediately, pushing tiny wheelbarrows of gold, Lautaro’s little fortune. The problem was with the shorter miners, the children.
    Tough and fair.
    The fair thing to do was stop the work.
    And Lautaro did.
    The mines closed. The tiny men settled at the bottom of the mountain and built many tiny farms.

    A real shame. He would have never wasted an opportunity like this, not even when he was Lautaro’s age.


  12. Harvard Placenta

    The year 2056, children where tested inside the womb; algebra, advanced calculus, Quantum physics. When they were born they already had a college degree and a job set up for when they reached, PAL; physical ability level. Childhood was eradicated for better job placement and optimal society participation.

    There were womb university’s that could be downloaded through an implant. The best schools were obtained through money and genetic testing where all ancestors IQ’s could be calculated for proper school distribution.

    Children didn’t play anymore. True sailing was dead.
    No more holes in the knees. No more dirty cloths.


  13. Ballad of the Foster Child

    Strangers door opens.

    Could feel a candle but couldn’t see it, like vision teasing a blink. Radio tuned to a corner.

    Clothes in small suitcase. My secret things. Photo of my mother. Picture of Ace Frehley.

    Bed hard as rock. Door opened for dreams escape.

    Anger a friend. A record of defeat. A friend turning as casual as memory.

    But you cannot remember indifference. It produces no print. Survival. Some places a camera cannot go.

    Here leaves do not change. They hang on – then, the tree falls away. Being left becomes an art.


    Quick sharp click
    of an icicle.


  14. A Very Political Bath

    “Whatever you do, don’t get your clothes dirty! They’ll be here at 8!”

    Outside into childhood summer with baseball trees swinging gentle breeze and bicycle to wind like clock travel down road to stream jumping in finding creatures with comic book map to heart in back pocket superhero horizon and my friend Jake.

    “You wanna play football?”

    Long passes at girl next door, flirting toward her window.

    Fell in ditch. Found bottle. Note inside; “For the future when we’re all covered with water after glaciers melt. We should’ve elected Gore.”

    Back home. Facing my mother at the door.

    “Whose Gore?”


  15. @Emmaleene1
    Trapper past
    (100 words)

    In the mines, I am a ragged candle, with only a flame on my head to see. Under the earth, in darkness so long that I forget all else I know. I wonder what the warm tingle of sunshine on skin feels like.
    The pounding, drilling and hammering are all that exist, inside me like I breathe the sound in on thick gritty air. Raw coughs from blackened lungs rattle and shake out goop onto a soot-lined tongue until my heart explodes. A final breath exhaled.
    Now I am here, out of my hole, blinded by the light of brightness.


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