Desert Storm: 99 Word Flash Fiction

For this week’s Flash Fiction prompt, Charli asks us this:

In 99 words (no more, no less) write about the day the earth turned brown. How did it happen? What else might be going on? It can be dramatic or even humorous. It can be the greater globe or a localized occurrence. It can be an aftermath or a revival. Follow where the prompt leads you.’

What then of Ken and Muriel?  Here is the conclusion to their story (Part One, Part Two and Part Three) in 99 words, no more, no less:

Volcanic Fire Mountains, Lanzarotte (c) Sherri Matthews

Volcanic Fire Mountains, Lanzarote April 2009
(c) Sherri Matthews

Desert Storm

The Man With No Name sat motionless on horseback, his eyes squinting into the scorched, brown skyline as his horse pawed at the parched earth.

“I need fresh air,” gasped Ken. “I’m sick.”

Muriel smirked, as she followed him up to the deck. “I’ll join you, this film’s boring anyway.”

“I know what you’ve done Muriel,” yelled Ken, as he lurched towards her.

A packet of rat poison fell out of her pocket. “You idiot!” screamed Muriel as a gust of wind sent them both overboard.

Gun fire rang out from inside the boat as a vulture swirled overhead.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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90 Responses to Desert Storm: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Love the flash! Great conclusion to Ken and Muriel’s adventure. Well, okay, not “great” for them… Are you going to compile these or make it into a short story?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Sarah, thank you! Had no idea at first how it was going to end, and then that strong gust of wind came out of nowhere…as they do 😉 Hmmm…I think I would like to make it into short story, yes. Great writing practice if nothing else, but really appreciate the vote of confidence 🙂

      Like

  2. Oh goodness, what a twist to the ending Sherri! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they should both meet their end together. Muriel surprised me though with her rat poison! Thank you for the wonderful short series.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this short series Heather and that the ending didn’t disappoint. I wasn’t sure how it was going to end until I started writing it…and then this is what happened! Haha…well, yes, Ken was the original ‘Water Rat’ 😉 Thank you again for your great support!

      Like

  3. They’re as bad as each other! I guess they both got their just desserts. Like how you managed to get a reference to your mate Clint in there 🙂

    Like

  4. Heyjude says:

    Can’t say I took to either of these characters so good riddance to them. I’m off inside to finish off watching Clint (nice touch there Sherri 😉 )

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Muriel seemed alright at first, but then her true colours came to the fore didn’t they? Haha…yes, they should have stayed watching Clint too; maybe they would have worked things out after all 😉 Thanks for reading along Jude 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. TanGental says:

    I can hear the music in the background; but is this the end? It’s the Reichenbach Fall all over again..

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Me too Geoff! And there’s old Angel Eyes riding in on the dust storm. Haha…yes, well, there is always that assumption… 😉 Speaking of which, can’t wait for the next season of Sherlock…only another year to wait isn’t it?…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent ending to a couple sorry characters.

    Like

  7. restlessjo says:

    What’s the expression? LOL! I guess they had it coming, Sherri 🙂

    Like

  8. The ending is as it should be. They both deserved each other and to fall out of the boat. 😀 😀
    😀 Absolutely riveting. Bravo! ❤

    Like

  9. Clint…boring? They both deserved what they got. 🙂 Great job, Sherri! I really enjoyed how you wrapped things up. The vulture was a nice visual. xo

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha 😀 Yes, as soon as I knew Muriel found Clint boring I knew she had to go!! I’m relieved you enjoyed the way it ended, I didn’t want it to be disappointing! Thanks Jill!!! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Charli Mills says:

    What a brilliant technique to use the movie in the background, and that a “shot” would sound symbolizing their dual murder like old gunslingers. Great writing! You hold onto this gem for a short story contest.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      A different kind of standoff but in the end for sure, they both bought it 😉 Thanks so much Charli! I’m not one for short stories but that was before I started writing flash 😀

      Like

  11. Pingback: The Day the World Turned Brown « Carrot Ranch Communications

  12. prior says:

    very cool ending – the two overboard – along with gunfire sound bits and then vulture in the air – (nice irony with the theme of – let’s see – this tone of depravity and fighting) felt a bit Hitchcock like- two thumbs up…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oooh….two thumbs up, yay 😀 Thank you greatly mon amie, I love that you liked the ending. Had to be… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior says:

        🙂 and it is also one that leaves us wondering – and an example is yesterday my spouse just noted that Better Call Saul does not do that for him (leave him curious or thinking) – whereas BB did – and well, when a little snippet of a story or the writing of a show DOES leaves you wondering – I think that is success….
        and so we wonder – do they get rescued – but the ominous feeling with the vulture and cleaver show playing – hmmmm maybe not.
        you might have to do another installment S

        Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…that’s a great point! How interesting with BCS (still not watched it, daughter has me hooked on House of Cards now but I’ve got her and hubby promising to watch BCS up next) as that is the part that keeps us interested…wanting to know more, more, more!!! But…and here’ the ‘big but’…we don’t know for sure that Ken and Muriel bit the dust – or should I say, left in a watery ‘wake’ 😉 Then again, we all know that when vultures are on the scene, and a couple of gunslingers are shooting it out, well, someone has to come out badly… 😛 😉 😮 Thanks for your great input mon amie 🙂 xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior says:

        well maybe these two start laughing and decide to break down the barriers and things start to…
        just kidding…
        and I do not want topsoil anything with BCS – but I am officially annoyed! I will share more later – have a great day mon amie

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Actually, that did cross my mind at one point, believe it or not!!! And I am so intrigued by BCS…tell me more when you have a mo 😉 I’ll be going off to bed shortly, but over to you first…

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        Hi again mon amie…for some reason, having trouble loading pages, taking forever, so will call it a night and come over to first thing tomorrow… ❤

        Like

  13. Every mismatched, doubting, angry couple should go overboard together! And I love the vulture in the air. You are in excellent form, Sherri!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha 😀 Well, you can see why they had to go can’t you? And how dare Muriel not like Clint? The vulture was happy enough though! Thanks so much Marylin!!

      Like

  14. jennypellett says:

    Ooh, I’m glad to see the back of these two – they deserved each other! Great fun here Sherri. Look out for a short story comp on relationships and you’ve nailed it!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Jenny! I get nervous about short story comps but maybe I’ll give this a go…and I’m glad you enjoyed the ending, ’twas the only way in the end, and a little bit of fun too 😉

      Like

  15. Rachel M says:

    Oh, I was totally duped by Muriel.

    Like

  16. Brilliant writing my friend. I was so craving for more. The excitement, the thrill, the anticipation…the brewing of the words creating that feeling of being at the edge. Sorry, been off the grid lately, life got so really busy. But nevertheless I have everyone in my thoughts and prayers. God bless Sherri. Best of blessings to you and your family.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much my friend! Always such a pleasure to see you, I have missed you around these parts, so a wonderful surprise! I hope that all is well with you and your family and thank you for your kind thoughts and prayers…I say the very same to you 🙂 God bless you and your family too my friend for a Happy Easter week.

      Like

  17. Norah says:

    Rat poison for a water rat! What a fitting end! And Muriel too. Poor Muriel. Was she driven to her crime? Or did she drive him to his? Maybe she was hallucinating? Yeah! And how could she possibly not be enthralled by the Man with No Name. Great work, Sherri. I’d love to see it as a (longer) short story. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, it had to be didn’t it? I think they both got so paranoid that one was trying to finish the other off before the other could get to them. Muriel became a little unhinged at the end and Ken was a desperate man. Hallucinating is an interest angle…perhaps Muriel didn’t wash her hands after touching that rat poison 😛 Still…for someone who doesn’t like Clint, well, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised 😉 Thank you very much Norah,.I think I will have a go at making it into a short story thanks to yours and everyone else’s kind encouragement 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Denise says:

    Great ending! And all done in so few words!

    Like

  19. This is what happens when you leave the party for 6 weeks: you come back, as if from sleep, rubbing your eyes and saying, “Obviously I missed something!”

    Rat poison? Gun shots? Vultures?

    All I could think was, Muriel was my grandmother’s name. She was tough, but she was not wicked.

    Well done, Sherri. What fun!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, you see Tracy, when you disappeared I went a little nuts!! No wonder you were rubbing your eyes when you saw the name Muriel, yikes! Even more so for me to say I’m so glad you enjoyed this, phew 🙂

      Like

  20. amkuska says:

    Awesome flash 😀 thanks for posting. I have this cool photo that this theme reminds me of. It’s an area that burned in california, turning it all brown and black. In the middle of the photo is a sign that is clean and perfect, the only thing still there, that says “Danger. Extreme fire hazard.”

    I forced my mom to pull over (I was a kid then) so I could take the picture. Still love it, decades later.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for reading Amkuska, so glad you enjoyed it 😀 What a great photo that must be, no wonder you love it still 🙂 I lived in California for 20 years and saw a few areas totally burned out like that. I don’t remember taking any photos though, so this one taken in Lanzarote while on holiday a few years ago was the closest I could think of!

      Like

  21. What?! No! She can’t die!

    Brilliant ending, though.

    Like

  22. I somehow missed # 3 so I went back to check that post. Ha! I liked how you ended it, Sherri although I didn’t want it to end. I want more of Ken & Muriel. They are funny characters. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh good, I’m glad you enjoyed the ending Maria but sorry there is no more…at least here. I’m going to make it into a short story and see where it takes me. I still don’t see myself as a fiction writer but it’s fun to ‘have a go’ and I do love flash fiction! Thanks for reading along with these two 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow what a dramatic ending Sherri, I was just starting to like these two. I bet you had fun trying to think of ways to do them both in?

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I did have a lot of fun with this Kath and I’m so glad you had fun reading along too! Going from memoir writing to flash fiction is great as I can have free rein and make up whatever I want to! I love the way fiction takes us along paths totally unexpected and how, in a ‘flash’, a thought quite literally pops into our heads and voila 🙂 Thanks so much for reading the series!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are a natural with fiction Sherri, these short pieces just shine. I can imagine reading a novel with those two main characters. I only just noticed a post came into my inbox about suspense and murder mysteries with the added dash of humour and I thought of your story.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          You know Kath, when I read this I had to take a step back and let your incredibly encouraging words sink in. I was so nervous the first time I published a flash fiction piece here as I had absolutely no confidence in my ability to do so. I honestly thought that nobody would like it, I would do the one piece and that would be it. I had a serious mental block to overcome, but after the wonderful comments I began to just have fun with it and the more I wrote, the more free I became; I was able to let go and let the words flow. And now I feel an excitement welling up at the thought of expanding on flash fiction to short stories…and how knows, maybe one day even a novel! But the memoir first of course 😉 Thank you so much once again Kath. I hope you have a beautiful weekend 🙂 xx

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sherri I am the same, you just start with that dream and I am surprised where it is taking me, you will do many amazing things just keep going and recognise the opportunities when they arise. I will be cheering you on and thats the beauty I have found in blogging, people are so encouraging.

            Like

      • Sherri says:

        So wonderful Kath, let’s keep our dreams alive as we encourage one another 🙂

        Like

  24. TBM says:

    Vultures are never a good sign. Only seen them from afar and I’m totally okay with it.

    Like

  25. So, there’s an end to their troubled relationship; gone in a flash! Very nicely done, Sherri. Your Volcanic Fire Mountains and ‘The Man With No Name’ are an excellent lead-in to the dramatic finale. I can’t help feeling sorry for both Ken and Muriel. Fate is a very bizarre thing, isn’t it? 😕

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…gone in a flash, love that 😉 Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed this Sylvia, despite Ken & Muriel’s watery end. But then again, it had to end somehow…it was meant to be indeed 😮 Thanks so much for reading along 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  26. What an absolute wonderful twist to this story, Sherri. I love the fact you had us watching a film in the first sentence. I had to read it twice just to make sure I was reading it correctly. A wonderful conclusion and one that I certainly never ever expected.
    Thumbs up from me 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Hugh, I’m thrilled with your feedback, I was hoping that I wasn’t confusing the reader with the introduction of the Clint Eastwood film and then back to the boat scene, confirming that Muriel did indeed agree to Ken’s boating holiday. But she only went because she had evil plans of her own to pre-empt her husband’s murderous plot! See how my dark mind works? I’m so glad that I was able to surprise you! And your thumbs up has made my day, thanks so much for reading along with this little series 🙂

      Like

  27. simplyilka says:

    Aw! The end of ‘Muriel & Ken’, a tragic play in 4 acts of 99 words 🙂

    Like

  28. Ha! It was karma that got the end for Muriel and Ken! You ended with a flourish, Sherri! 🙂

    Like

  29. A wicked end, indeed! If you’d wanted to make it really gory, you could have had blood running out Ken’s nose, mouth, and eyes, like the warfarin poisoned rat I once saw lying in the street. But, of course, Sherri, you would never write a horror story like that 😉 I am glad that Muriel’s scheme rebounded on her big time. That vision of the vulture wheeling overhead, is a wonderful closing sentence.

    Like

  30. Me thinks they both got their just deserts! And it was nice to know Clint was there in a way making my day! 😉 Keep the stories coming my friend! xoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Marie Keates says:

    What a great ending. I’m glad they both got what they deserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Mahesh Nair says:

    Interesting end, my friend. Clint and vulture for effect. Hope you’ll start a new series soon. Take care.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you again my friend, so glad you enjoyed the vulture! I love that you enjoyed this series too…hopefully another one will come along soon 😉 And you know Clint is never far away from my blog 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  33. I guess that is the end of Ken and Muriel (unless they return as zombies). Good ending. Enjoyed your foray into fiction (at least I’m sure hoping it was fiction). 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I was very much looking forward to you reading this Irene, can always count on your great input. I actually really do like that idea of zombies (The Walking Dead is one of my favourite TV shows that I watch with my daughter!) 😉 Thank you my friend, you and I are having a lot of fun with fiction aren’t we? Such a great distraction from the memoir…but in the case of Ken and Muriel, I can fully assure you that it is completely fictional 🙂

      Like

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