Tag Archives: 99 word stories

Stone-stacking #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features stone-stacking. How does the activity fit into a story? Who is involved? What is the tone? Do the stones have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

I tried all week to find a fitting ending to my story beginning but couldn’t get anything I was hoping for to fit. I have ended up with ninety-nine though, so I hope it works, at least a little.

Stacking Stones

Active children were everywhere — throwing, skipping, climbing, swinging, laughing, playing. But over in the garden, on the gravel path, one child was stacking stones.

“What’s he doing?” a visiting teacher asked.

“Jack? Counting stones. He’s been doing it for days now. At the end of playtime, he tells me how many he stacked.”

“Why?”

His teacher shrugged. “He likes counting, I guess.”

“Is he okay, I mean, you know —”

“Oh, yes. He’s completely fine. He just wants to see how high he can count.”

“How high has he got?”

“Twelve.”

“How far does he want to get?”

“Ninety-nine.”

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Memorials, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Well’s Gone Dry #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase “well’s gone dry.” Is it a real well or a metaphorical well? Why is it dry? What is the consequence and to whom? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Well’s Gone Dry

Having lived independently for years, when they moved in together, they had two of everything and needed nothing more. At their public celebration, they advised, ‘No gifts, please. Wishing well contributions appreciated.’

With well-paying jobs, they had no immediate need of the well’s contents, which they didn’t inspect but agreed to keep for a ‘rainy day’.

It sat untouched for many years, until it didn’t just rain; it poured.

“Must be all notes,” they said when it didn’t jingle.

There was but one note: “Always carry an umbrella in case of rain.”

The well remained the only thing dry.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Soldier, Prisoner and Buttercup, which I unfortunately didn’t find time to respond to, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

The collection of stories made in response to the most recent prompt I responded to Mum Selfie can also be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Mum Selfie #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a mom selfie — a story that creates an image of a mom. No one mom looks alike or fits a maternal mold. Who is she? Go where the prompt leads!

Mothering

She paused in the shopping mall, one arm cradling her week-old infant, the other hand her breast as she gently positioned it enabling the infant to suckle. So engrossed was she in her newborn that the world of passing shoppers and nearby café chatter was non-existent. Her face radiated love, peace and joy, the child’s adoration, contentment and bliss. Serenity. I smiled as I passed, captivated in the moment, drawn into the circle of life and love, both envying and admiring her confidence and lack of inhibition in a situation won for her by generations of mothers before her.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Extraction, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Zipper Obsession #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about zippers. What are the zippers for? What challenges do they present to the story? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Zipper Obsession

Jayden was obsessed with zippers almost from birth. The swish of a zipper always turned tears to laughter.

When a toddler, Jayden’s fascination with interlocking teeth equalled the zip-zip-swish. Zippered items were treasured more than any store-bought toys.

When grandparents visited, Jayden targeted Grandma’s handbag. Zip. Zip …

“Is that boy still obsessed with zippers?” said Grandpa. “Has he been tested yet?”

“It’s just a phase,” said Dad.

“Humph,” said Grandpa, opening his Gladstone bag. Swhooosh.

Jayden stopped. What was that?

Grandpa closed the bag. Blonk.

Swhooosh; blonk. Swhoosh; blonk.

Jayden abandoned Grandma’s bag for Grandpa’s.

Zipper phase zipped.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Anxiety can be read at the Carrot Ranch here.

The ’49ers

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the ’49ers.” Who or what are they? What is the significance of the number? Do you follow the Gold Rush history or venture into new territory? Go where the prompt leads!

Here’s a bit of trivia to introduce my story in case, like me, you weren’t aware of the term forty-niner. Forty-niner refers to miners and others who took part in the 1849 gold rushes in California. Charli does say we can go where the prompt leads, but I hung around looking for a nugget. I hope you enjoy it.

The ’49ers

The history buffs needed a name for the trivia competition — nothing mundane and overused like ‘The No Hopers’ or boringly obvious like ‘Work Mates’ — something meaningful, not overly obvious, but not too obscure.

“How about The ’49ers?” one suggested.

“Perfect!” the others agreed.

No one thought too much about the monikers of others, but was it coincidental that each week The ’49ers scored exactly 49?

Another team scoffed. “Should have been ‘Clueless’.”

“They’re certainly not all 49.”

“Forty-nine and more, I’d say.”

When the night’s theme was the gold rushes, the researchers showed their mettle and panned the gold.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt The Wish I Made can be read at the Carrot Ranch here.

The Wish Penny #99WordStories

As many of you know, for the past several years, I have been participating in the weekly flash fiction challenges at the Carrot Ranch. The challenges have begun again with a few changes for 2022. I intend to continue responding to the prompts as often as I can. I hope many of you will join in too. Charli Mills, writer-extraordinaire and convener of the challenges, explains the new format in her first prompt post for 2022. Head over there to check out the details if you are interested in joining in future prompts.  

Charli’s prompt for this week was to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the wish I made.” Whose wish is it and how does it fit into the story? What kind of wish? Go where the prompt leads!

You can read all responses to the prompt in the collection at the Carrot Ranch when they are published each Wednesday. This week’s collection will be published next Wednesday 2 February.

For me, the prompt is an interesting coincidence as I’ve been working on a couple of stories about wish fairies (when I should be writing about a sorcerer’s apprentice — just can’t seem to get these prompts right). This story is nothing like the other stories I’m working on but relates to the warning ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Spoiler alert — it doesn’t have a happy ending. I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

The Wish Penny

Patsy was always wishing for something.

I wish I had a smaller nose.

— luxurious curls.

— a rainbow tutu.

And her wishes always came true. After all, she was a wish fairy.

As soon as one wish was fulfilled, she wished another.

I wish I had pearly white teeth.

— dainty feet.

— a diamond tiara.

I wish, I wish, I wish …

One day, Patsy found a shiny, round, brown object on the ground. She examined it, reading the word engraved, ‘Penny’.

I wish I was a Penny rather than a Patsy, she said; and rolled away silently in the dirt.

Okay. Didn’t like that one? What about this one?

The Wish Penny V2

Patsy was always wishing for something.

I wish I had a smaller nose.

— a warm coat.

— a pair of shoes.

But her wishes never came true. Why would they? There’s no such thing as magic.

But she never stopped wishing and hoping.

I wish I had clean clothes.

— something to eat.

— someone to love me.

One day, Patsy found a shiny, round, brown object on the ground. She examined it, reading the word engraved, ‘Penny’. As she rubbed it, she whispered, I wish I had someone to play with. Suddenly, she heard the children calling, ‘Patsy! Come and play!’

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