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Flutter of hope

May 19, 2022

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s story challenge.

This was an interesting prompt because it’s not like anything we’ve been asked to do before. I found it because it felt strange rewriting someone else’s story, and it was tough whittling down a first draft into a tight 99-word final story that (hopefully) still made some sort of sense. It was a fun challenge.

Here’s the prompt:
May 16, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about when a newly released prisoner meets the disabled veteran who adopted the puppy the prisoner trained behind bars. The prompt is based on the short story I wrote for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat. Yes, rewrite my story in your words, 99, no more, no less. Go where the prompt leads!

Please read Charli’s story before you read mine. Click right here.

Flutter of hope

James woke to something warm on his cheek. He’d fallen asleep again on the sidewalk outside of Donaldsons’.

He opened his eyes, blinked hard. The smiling Lab knocked over the HOMELESS sign on James’ lap in her haste to say hello again.


“She knows you.”

James looked up, saw a tall man with prosthetics where his left arm and leg used to be.

“I trained her. I—”


“Was. Sometimes maybe still am. Vet?

“Iraq. Buttercup, she saved my life.”

James swatted a tear.

The man reached down. “Let me give you a hand up, pal. You hungry?”


11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2022 6:10 pm

    I read Charli’s story and I think you did a great job with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. May 19, 2022 8:00 pm

    First of all, I love your title. My favorite line: “The smiling Lab knocked over the HOMELESS sign on James’ lap in her haste to say hello again.” This shows that there is a STRONG prior relationship between Buttercup and James. Beautiful take on the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 20, 2022 7:26 am

    This piece of flash fiction is full of emotion and kindness. Usually, I wouldn’t say I like happy endings, but I like this one a lot. Well done on participating in and completing this tough challenge, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 22, 2022 3:50 am

      Thanks Hugh. I know what you mean about happy endings, and I agree with you. Life isn’t always happy. But this prompt, because of the spirit of the two characters, it was hard to think of any other outcome that would have felt good to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 29, 2022 3:43 pm

    Flutter of Hope, for all involved. I could feel it. Well done.


  5. May 30, 2022 5:17 am

    You’ve done well, Michael. It’s very touching.



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