Start By Listening

Prompt: People | Word Count: 100 words exactly | Genre: flash fiction

June 3, 2020

People are people. Regardless of their ethnicity, religion or any other characteristic. Let’s just all agree on that to start. Next let’s agree that we don’t and never have realized that idea. Now, we need to figure out how to make that happen. That’s the work we need to do. Even if it hurts. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if we think we know. We don’t. So let’s listen to what is being said. Not argue. Not justify. Not talk. Listen. Very Deeply. Learn. Ingest. Only then can we begin to act in accordance with what we agree should be.

Thank You, Mia!

Prompt: glue | Word Count: 180 words exactly | Genre: flash fiction

June 1, 2020

The Keep Writing Challenge has been salvation during this time of trials. We’re far flung and fortunate to have found this sacred space and its unstinting leader, Mia. We’ve held each other’s words in our hands, giving support and guidance through these long months. All thanks to you, Mia, and the wonderful community of writers you have created.

On the site and on social media, we’ve each risen to each prompt as best we could. We’ve written, revised, and bettered our craft. Now, we’ll have Artists in Lockdown to show for our work, plus over 13,000 new arrows in our story quivers. We started in March with our “orchid” missives and these minuscule challenges have ended up being the “glue” for so many of us. Friendships and mentors forged online. It’s said that in 21 days you make a habit, so I’m afraid, dear Mia, you’re stuck with us now. We won’t give you up.

The touchstone with all of you has kept my sanity intact. Weary though we may be, we weathered this together. I will be forever grateful.

Shepherding Immunity

Prompt: hex | Word Count: 300 words exactly | Genre: flash fiction

May 31, 2020

As she watched the news, Casey felt as though the world were hexed. Well, she thought, if this is a hex, then it’s time for a counter-curse. She was confident that she and the other modern day witches would be able to use their science to stop this thing. Time was their enemy. They needed a vaccine quickly.

As a woman trained in epidemiology, Casey was on a mission to find a vaccine. She’d been working steadily since the news of the virus first surfaced in January. She’d seen the writing on the wall. This thing had the potential to take off, and not in a good way. So she’d rolled up the sleeves of her lab coat and gotten to work.

She and thousands of other doctors and scientists were racing to stop this virus. She knew they could do it to. Despite government roadblocks, and numerous false starts, and faulty testing, collection errors, and dead ends, they’d finally found a way to neuter this fiend.

Then they needed to test. She was hopeful that this drug would make the grade. By June, they were already in phase two trials and the results looked good. But humans were complex creatures and science still had a number of blinders that meant they didn’t always know what would happen in real people with real differences in physiology. It would never be okay to give an untested vaccine on the scale that would be needed to achieve herd immunity. So better to test and find a safe alternative.

As Summer waned, the vaccine proved worthy. Manufacturing, started before the trials finished, now ramped up and additional sites were added to rapidly produce the quantities needed to inoculate the global population. A year from the start, they began distribution of bottled immunity.