Dark Clouds — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Dark Clouds
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #170
Word count: 370 words


Photo by Brandon Morgan on Unsplash

“Mom, we’re gonna be late,” Carrie yelled as she ran to the minivan. The large equipment bag hung from her shoulder, bouncing on her hip and her leg as she ran. She gripped the strap of the backpack slung over the top of equipment bag to keep it from sliding and crashing to the ground.

Missy stood under the gym canopy with the other moms while the girls chatted. She clicked the fob, unlocking the door for Carrie.

“Looks like it going to storm,” Rina said pointing to the dark clouds on the horizon.

Missy nodded, worry lines creased her forehead. She had checked her phone, finding angry red blotches on the radar display. It projected the storm would run straight at them.

“Mom lets go.”

Missy said goodbye to Rina, waved to the girls and hurried to the van.


The van’s windshield framed a massive lightning strike. Missy jumped, and Carrie screamed then giggled nervously.  Blinded by the brilliant flash Missy felt the hair on her neck and arms stand on end. She blinked, trying to focus on the highway in front of her.  Thunder cracked and boomed around her, slamming through her chest and rocking the van.

More lightning flashed, rippling across the sky, pulling giant chains of thunder through the sudden blackness it left behind. It was morning, but the sky was dark as night.

“Oh man,” Carrie said as she rubbed her hands over, her bare arms.

Then, almost on cue fat raindrops pelted the windshield and obliterated their view of the highway. Missy slowed the van and turned the wipers on high. The rain rose to the challenge and fell harder as the wipers danced. All around them the storm raged, and Missy slowed the van, pulling onto the shoulder before she stopped. It didn’t take long for the windows to fog as the temperature changed.

Carrie dug a hoodie from her bag, wrapping it around her in the sudden chill. They sat, huddled in the van and watched the greatest show on earth.

As the storm diminished Carrie reached over and held her mom’s hand.

“What a cool reason to be late.”

Missy smiled at her daughter and pulled back onto the highway.



Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Carol of the Bells — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Carol of the Bells
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #167
Word count: 217 words

The cacophony of voices ascended to the church’s vaulted ceiling, swirling into the gilded dome, reaching toward heaven then echoed back to earth. With a sharp “click, click, click”, the director tapped his baton on the black metal music stand. A hush descended. The silence lay thick on the marble floor, muffling small movements as the group took their assigned places.

The director surveyed the group, assessed their readiness, commanded their attention and smiled. He lifted the baton, and everyone inhaled in anticipation. On the first beat, they sang with one voice, a singing bell supported the ostinato and angels reflected perfection to the mortals below.

The director led them through practice twice more before he was satisfied.


Sister Bernadette was called to serve long ago when she was a young girl. Today’s mass was special for her, it marked the anniversary of her ordination. She watched the director raise the baton, the music swelled, and she closed her eyes. Sister Bernadette felt her soul soar with the music when she opened her eyes she gazed upon the face of an angel.

“Please,” the word was barely audible harmonizing with the bells. “May I have a hint? One tiny clue?”

The angel shook his head causing the pealing of tiny bells.

“The answer lies in your heart.”


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Barre Work — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: Barre Work
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #166
Word count: 372 words

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

“Ladies, ladies. Your places at the barre if you please.”

Madame de Valois clapped her hands and ten pink tutus bounced and flounced as the ladies scurried to the barre.

“Today we will work on each pose. I think some of you have forgotten the basics. So, we will drill.”

At the barre, eyes rolled and at least two ladies hung their heads and a few giggled. Vera was the exception. She stood straight, heels together, feet turned out and her arms correctly positioned in first.

Madame de Valois moved along the barre, addressing each one lifting a chin here, straightening a shoulder alignment there and adjusting everyone’s turn out. When she reached Vera, she made no adjustments, only stared at her for a long moment before moving on.

“Now, we will flow into second…” Madame moved her feet and extended her arms as she sang her words to the class. She led the class through each position in order, repeating the positions, reiterating the correct postures as she moved to each lady at the barre.

“You must strive to blend one movement into the next,” Madame demonstrated as she spoke, and the ladies mimicked her. She instructed them in their drills for almost an hour before she allowed them to break.

“Okay ladies, rehearsal, tomorrow, nine am sharp. Do not be late,” Madame clapped her hands as she enunciated each word. Her ladies squealed with delight in being released and some groaned at the thought of tomorrow’s rehearsal. Pink tutus jostled and flapped, and pink leotards shuffled pink ballet slippers toward the door.

“Remind your parents,” Madame called after them. “Nine am.”

At the door, Vera paused, turned and rushed back to Madame to fling her arms around Madame’s slim waist.

“I love ballet, Madame de Valois,” Vera said as she crushed Madame, squeezing her so it nearly took Madame’s breath away.

Madame de Valois petted Vera’s blond curls that had escaped from her tight bun and gave her a small hug before Vera turned and skipped out the door. Alone in the mirrored room, Madame brushed the sudden dampness from her eyes. Without thinking, she took three running steps performed a Grand Jete en Tournant and stepped from the studio.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The Flower Garden — Weekly Writing Challenge

Title: The Flower Garden
Source:  Weekly Writing Challenge #165
The five words: ROUGH, GATE, RAG, HIP, WINE
Word count: 210 words

Photo by Tim Shapcott on Unsplash

It was Tasha’s favorite place in the entire world. A wooden fence that had seen better days encircled the flower garden. There were still places where white paint clung to the rough, weather-worn surface. The broken latch allowed the gate to bang in the wind with the consistency of a deer scarer.

The seasons slowly slipped through time. Greedy yellow finches plucked the coneflowers bare of seeds and the once purple petals faded to rusty brown. The clematis clung to the black iron trellis. Its cloud white petals, blown free by the mornings freezing breeze, lay scattered across the garden.

Whether the scrubby rose bushes held the fence upright, or the fence contained the wild rose was a topic of debate Tasha entertained daily.  This morning she carried the rag woven basket Gram had made for her. Full of matured crimson rose hips, Tasha dreamed of the fragrant tea Gram made each fall.

Even in the flower garden, they harvested everything edible. The elderflowers and their berries were fermenting in bottles, and if she behaved, Gram would allow her a sip of the wine. On a blustery winter’s day, one sip would transport her, warmed like blissful summer the memories would unfurl of the most beautiful place on earth.


Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer