99 word flash Fiction: Red river

“We’ve got to pull together to get through before the gate closes.” Ruby yelled to Luke.

“One, two, three. Pull!” They continued upstream pulling together at each gate.

“This is the last one. Hold on tight. You okay? You look blue Ruby.”

She nodded, breathless. “A little tired.” Suddenly they plummeted down a Niagra style drop into the swirling cavern below only to be pumped at speed along a new river which wound through the lush region of alveoli. As they past Ruby smiled, feeling her energy return. “I’m ready for the next run” she said, her colour returned.

In response to Charli’s prompt 

February 25, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes a river and a person (or people). Think about MacLean’s famous line that “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Give it your own meaning. It can be a rivulet of water cutting across a city sidewalk, a farm ditch or a famous world river. Who is experiencing the water? What observations are profound? How can a river and a character merge with meaning?

Respond by March 3, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation.Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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21 Responses to 99 word flash Fiction: Red river

  1. Norah says:

    It sounds like a fun park ride I went on once. Surviving the first time means subsequent journeys are fun. Well done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    Your flash captures that thrill of riding the water and working together as a team. The description of the plummet feels both tense and exhilarating, and I like that Ruby is ready for the next run.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Charli. It did sound like a fun park or riding the white water. In reality I was far too obscure with this one (only someone who lectured anatomy picked it) although I’m interested that it was an okay story for readers as it caused memories to flow and gave the idea of an adventure ride. My obscurity was that they were a red (ruby) and white (Luke) blood cells travelling up a vein back to the heart where Ruby depleted of oxygen was quite blue and rejuvenated after a trip through the lungs. It is a really good lesson in making sure you use language for a wide audience not medical terms or local vernacular. It also is a great example of how the reader interprets what they read. I’m glad you enjoyed it Charli and I loved your description that the plummet feels both tense and exciting. That was exactly the feeling I wanted. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sherri says:

    Haha…Ruby sounds like me (and so glad she recovered, was a bit worried for her at first…) on those fast water rides with those drops, or any rides with drops come to think of it. Get past that and then onto the nice, meandering river bit and then the fear forgotten, ready to go another round. Great flash Irene, love it. Hope you had a lovely weekend my friend 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love all the interpretations this piece has had for everyone. It has really hit a chord in the memory banks or it was something that you could relate to. My interpretation was quite different but I was too obscure and possibly too limiting in my inclusiveness. It does bring up an interesting point though as this is something that memoirists have to face that what they write is taken in a very different way to what is meant. It also shows that you have to be very careful with the use of local language or specialised language. In this case it worked well as I liked everyones interpretations as much as I liked my own meaning so it was like being given multiple tales.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh, having read your reply to Charli I see what you mean now, and I thought the same about the alveoli, as in a peaceful and ‘lush’ area for the water to flow through before coming to the drop once more. But as Charli said, that should have been the giveaway. Now I get it, loud and clear! It more than worked Irene, yes, as you conveyed the tension and then the relief so well. I saw in my mind’s eye a river ride, but now I see those blood cells coursing through those veins, so yes, definitely multiple tales going on here and it’s wonderful 🙂 And you also bring up a very important point about writing memoir. You don’t realise it do you until, you start writing something down in the way you might have spoken in the day, using slang or localised language can be a very difficult thing to contend with. I’m having this challenge in my memoir right now. For instance, when I first went to California with my boyfriend in 1979, it seemed to this English girl of 18 that everyone there lived in what we now call flip-flops but they called them thongs. If I go ahead and write about buying a pair of ‘thongs’ in an effort to look like those Californian girls, you can imagine the misunderstanding o_O So do I call them flip-flops and be done with it? We could talk all day…

        Liked by 1 person

      • We call them thongs here where New Zealand calls them flip flops. You can do things there like how you felt when you first heard the term or how the shopkeeper didn’t know what you were asking for (if she didn’t). Lots of little ways around it but being aware that people won’t always understand what you are saying. That can work to your advantage as well (as long as there is not too much of it) as it gives a sense to the reader that you too would have struggled to understand. Would love to talk all day but ….. I am so looking forward to being able to sit back next year. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Wow, I’ve learnt something today, I had no idea you called them thongs there! And thanks for the great advice, it’s really helped as I wondered about this as I wrote. There are quite a few incidents like this where I heard words and expressions and had no idea what they meant, the world being a much smaller place in 1979 than now! One of the ways I brought it in was how Jon’s brother Ken kept correcting me when I used British expressions. Like when I said some food was ‘nice’ and he said no, you say ‘good’ here. He was a pratt like that 😉
        And yes…I can’t wait 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like you have it covered. Looking forward to it being finished.


  4. kalpana solsi says:

    I love the water rides. Adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    This would be a good tale for my histology students. Two little red blood cells!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: A River Runs Through It « Carrot Ranch Communications

  7. Annecdotist says:

    I didn’t get the blood analogy either, but I do like it working on the different levels. For me, the gate closing, made me think of an enclosure within the national park and they had to get through by nightfall or be left with all the wild animals overnight. they have

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anne the only person who got it was someone who gives doctors anatomy lectures at university so I think I was just way too obsure and a good lesson for me. My husband is constantly telling me when I talk to him that I assume too much knowledge from the person I am speaking too and as I am spare with words (particularly spoken ones) he says people haven’t a clue what I am talking about. He may be right. I used gates to make it less obvious – I should have used valves and a few other hints that when combined may have shed light. As it stands though it is interesting that it evoked meaning and memories for everyone that commented even if it wasn’t my intention. For me it has given me more to ponder and at least a paragraph in my thesis.


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