Tag Archives: #99WordStories

A Lady Shadow #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a lady shadow. Who is this person and why do they lurk in the shadows. What is the tone and setting for your story? Go where the prompt leads!

I pondered how I could make a connection between children and a lady shadow without sinister overtones that seemed to crawl out from the dark with every beginning. I finally decided to write about the fun that children have playing chase with their shadows, knowing that they can never catch their own. I hope you enjoy it.

Chasing Shadows

Unable to catch their own shadows that stretched across the sand, they jumped on each other’s then dashed for safety in the tumbling waves. As they dived and splashed, the playful wind captured their laughter and carried it far.

Dragging their shadows up compacted wet sand, they compared footprints that waves would soon erase. Where it met dry, another’s shadow immobilised them as might a barbed-wire fence. They cast their eyes along the lady shadow’s length, then squinted upward at the face, obscure and unreadable, haloed by the setting sun.

“It’s time to go,” said mum.

“Coming,” they chorused.

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

Rabbits #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes rabbits. Is it a family? A strange planet? Some crazy bunny person’s pets? Who are they and what are they doing? Go where the prompt leads!

I immediately thought of the rabbit holes that many find themselves in when conducting an internet search. I wondered how the rabbits might feel with all those unwelcome intruders, so that’s where I went with my story. I’m not sure if it works or not.

In the Rabbit Hole

Edward completed every form, followed all protocols, even smiled sweetly at bully boss bunny; but his request for leave was denied.

“When numbers ease,” his supervisor promised.

“If ever,” muttered Edward. The monotony was as overwhelming as the numbers that increased exponentially. Who said rabbits multiplied quickly? If only they’d find another burrow to tumble into.

 “Next!”

Edward recorded the unremarkably similar responses without enthusiasm.

“What brought you here? Where did you begin? Did you find what you wanted? What do you want now?”

“Out of this rabbit hole.”

No more than I. Close all tabs. Start over. Next!”

And while on the subject of rabbits, I was pleased to see the prompt’s relevance to Chinese New Year celebrations which begin on January 22nd. In the Chinese Zodiac, this year is the Year of the Rabbit. My daughter and my granddaughter (son’s daughter) are Rabbits, having been born in previous Years of the Rabbit.

The Chinese Zodiac repeats in a cycle of twelve animal years. Unrelated to her Chinese animal year, when she was little, my daughter loved rabbits and had quite a collection of rabbit ornaments and toys. She would have loved a pet bunny, but they are not permitted in Queensland as rabbits are an imported species that has been quite destructive to native wildlife and agriculture.

When the suggestion was made to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Bilby (to raise awareness of the bilby’s vulnerability), my daughter was adamant that it should remain the Bunny. She refused to acknowledge the bilby at all. Fortunately, her heart softened towards bilbies as she got older and became more concerned about the conservation of the species rather than its role at Easter.

Another interesting connection is that, in Chinese culture, rabbits represent the moon and stories are told about the rabbit in the moon rather than the man in the moon as Westerners often tell. Having heard the story, I am always fascinated to see the rabbit in the moon and consider it more recognisable than the man. Have a look next time you’re out on a bright night and let me know what you think.

If you wish to know more about Chinese New Year, please check out a wonderful resource that fellow blogger Mabel Kwong wrote with me a few years ago. It’s on the readilearn website and is free to access. It’s called Let’s read about Chinese New Year.

If you haven’t already met Mabel, then I suggest you pop over to her eponymous blog Mabel Kwong and have a read. Mabel explores her experience of being Asian and living in multicultural Australia. I learn so much from her about how to treat others with respect. Her posts are always a delight to read and incredibly thought-provoking.

Now that’s a little rabbit hole I’ve drawn you into.

As you know, I’ve been having a bit of a break, a sabbatical, from blogging, as I try to get my head into gear for 2023. Last week, Charli’s prompt was to write about a sabbatical. I didn’t join in, but many others did. You can read their stories at the Carrot Ranch here.

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Not My Monkeys. Not My Circus. #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the saying, “not my monkeys, not my circus”. What is the situation that would spawn that aphorism? Have fun with setting and characters! Go where the prompt leads!

This saying was unfamiliar to me, as it was for many of the other writers. It means that it’s not my business, not my responsibility.

For my response, I’ve drawn upon the mountains of lost property that are collected during the school year, items for which children didn’t take responsibility at the time and may not always recognise as theirs when it comes time to claim them.

At the last school I was at, we had one lovely mother who would collect all the items, take them home and wash them, bag those that were named and return them to the owners, and make the others available for collection. She was an angel, and many parents were indebted to her for this very generous and money-saving service. Unclaimed items may have been used as ‘spares’ or sold as second-hand in the uniform shop.

My story is entirely fiction. I hope you enjoy it.

Not My Monkeys. Not My Circus.

Students, instructed to reclaim missing items, trooped past tables overflowing with lost property. Anything not claimed would be discarded.

Henry couldn’t remember what he had to find.

“Not my hat. Not my jacket,” he said. “Not my shoe, not my sock. Not my undies. Pee-ew! Not my lunchbox. Not my water bottle. Not my monkeys. Not my circus.”

“Wait. Monkeys? Circus?”

Henry took the Barrel of Monkeys and the painting.

“Look,” said one helper, amused. “Henry’s mum told him to find three hats, two pairs of shoes and a jacket.”

“Not my monkey. Not my circus,” said the other.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Oh My! including mine, will be available to read at the Carrot Ranch as soon as the WordPress Happiness Engineers work out a technical glitch for Charli. (Good luck, Charli!)

Oh My! #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, “Oh, my.” It can be used in storytelling or dialog. What is the cause for such a response? Have fun with this one! Go where the prompt leads!

I’ve written another episode for Amy and Lucy. I hope you enjoy it.

Amy, Lucy and the Cookies

“I’m home!” Dad crouched at the door; arms outstretched ready to cuddle his girls.

“I’m ho-ome!”

“Shh, in here, Dad,” Lucy whisper-called from the kitchen.

“Oh my,” said Dad, surveying open doors, packets spilling contents on counter tops and floor, bowls, dishes and spoons fighting for space in the sink, and two bright-eyed floury girls.

“What are you making?” he asked aloud. “Other than a mess?” inside his head. “Where’s Mum?”

“Resting. She’s got a headache,” explained Amy. “Chocolate cookies.”

“To make her feel better,” said Lucy. “Wanna help?”

“Can I lick the spoon?”

“Okay,” the girls giggled.

“O-kay!”

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt A Story with a Lie, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Broken Arm #99WordStories

Broken Arm

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a broken arm. What happened? Is there a cause and effect because of the broken arm? Was the injury faked? Why? Go where the prompt leads!

I’m pleased to say that I’ve never had a broken bone. I hope that continues to be true for the rest of my days. Breaks can become more frequent as we age. So far as I know, neither parent had a broken arm, though my brother did when he was five (a big boy fell on him) and my daughter did when she was eleven (an accident at gymnastics caused by a younger child). So, with no personal experience, I’ve stayed with Amy and Lucy and their imaginative play. It’s wet outside, so they’re playing indoors – no red convertible this time.

Teddy’s Broken Arm

The waiting room was crowded. As usual, Doctor Amy was running late.

Nurse Lucy looked at the list. “Teddy!” she called.

Teddy was hugging his arm, trying to stifle tears.

“What appears to be the problem?” asked Doctor Amy, looking over her glasses.

“I think my arm’s broken.”

“Nurse Lucy, we need an x-ray,” said Doctor Amy.

The x-ray agreed with Teddy. Doctor and nurse plastered his arm with plasticene and tied it in a handkerchief sling.

“Lunch time,” said Mum. “Oh, what’s wrong with Teddy?”

“He’s got a broken arm,” said Amy.

“Just a fake one,” said Lucy.

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

Balloons on the Bumper #99WordStories

Balloons on the Bumper

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about balloons on a bumper. Is it a spectacle, an occasion, an eccentricity? Why are the balloons there? Who is involved? Go where the prompt leads!

The prompt reminded me of an occasion just over twenty years ago, when my sister, niece and I attended a ‘hen’s party’ (terrible term) for my future sister in-law. My niece collected a bunch of helium-filled balloons to take home. She couldn’t squeeze them all into the car, and I drove home with one balloon sailing above us and my sister and niece both in hysterics all the way. Needless to say, they’d both had a few drinks to help the merriment. When we got home, my daughter and nephew, both early teens, decided to inhale the helium, and the hilarity began all over again.

Anyway, I decided to revisit Amy and Lucy and their little red convertible from a few prompts ago. I hope you like it.

Balloons on the Bumper

“Where to today?” asked Amy.

“A party,” said Lucy, tying balloons to the bumper of their little red convertible.

“Whose party?”

“Teddy’s. He’s getting married.”

“I didn’t know he had a girlfriend.”

“He doesn’t. He has a unicorn-friend. Mother said I can marry anyone I want. So, Teddy can too.”

“Right. Which way?”

“Over the mountains, across the river, and through the far-away forest.”

“Be home for dinner,” said Mother.

“We will!”

The balloons sailed above the little red car. At the party, the children fluttered with fairies and pranced with unicorns as Teddy and Ollie shared their vows.

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

As floppy as puppy ears

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the idea or phrase, “floppy as puppy ears.” You can be explicit or implicit with your response. What is floppy and why? It doesn’t have to be about dogs at all. Go where the prompt leads!

I’m always pleased that Charli says to ‘Go where the prompt leads!’ because that’s just where I go. It’s especially important to me this week as I have a few other distractions and thought I wouldn’t have time to respond, especially when I don’t know anything about puppy’s ears, let alone floppy ones. Anyway, it made me think of other comparisons, and that’s where I went — some familiar, some silly, some fun, and some special. I hope.

My other distractions will be keeping me away from your blogs for a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can. See you then!

As floppy as puppy ears

As floppy as puppy ears

As cute as a button

As happy as Larry

As cranky as a hippopotamus

As ripe as a banana

As silly as a sausage on a stick

As weird as a walrus (but don’t tell it I said so)

As tall as a giraffe

As small as a flea

As funny as a giggle

As rude as a fart

As crazy as a top hat on a donkey

As scary as the dark unknown

As awesome as a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis

As amazing as children’s imaginations

And, as wonderful …

As you!

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

Memorial #99wordstories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story behind a memorial. Is it a structure, plaque, or something else? What does it seek to remind those who view it? Go where the prompt leads!

Charli’s prompt was in honour of Memorial Day commemorated in the United States on 30th May.

In Australia, we have two main days for remembrance — ANZAC Day on 25th April (which we share with New Zealand), and Remembrance Day on 11th November (which we share with many other countries).

Every evening, The Ode is recited at many RSL (Returned and Services League) Clubs around Australia. The Ode is the fourth stanza of the poem “For The Fallen” by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943). 

At times such as these, I always think of my family members, especially my father, who fought in the Second World War. This is my response. I hope you like it. It is a #99wordstory but it is truth (as I know it), not #flashfiction.

Memorial

As a child, he lived at Yuleba, a tiny town in south-western Queensland. His father was a boundary rider on the fence bordering New South Wales, keeping rabbits out of Queensland. A peaceful if difficult life. Aged 20, he enlisted. His overseas service included the battle at Milne Bay, a turning point of the war. Upon their return, servicemen were told to forget. Memories and nightmares disagreed, but it was years before he could talk, let alone write, about his experiences. After his death, his words were engraved on a memorial in his home town, never to be forgotten.

These are the words on the memorial, a brief extract from a longer poem Ode to the Old Digger by RJ (John) Irwin.

You’ve seen him marching with his mates all in sombre mood;

For they march to pay homage, and remember fallen mates

But, they also remember the horrors of their fates

and they pray to God their sons will never have to face

 a similar situation for there’s never any winners only death.

Aah! But did you see him in his glory, as he stood among the dead

and he wondered why it had to be;

…So look upon him gently for he is not to blame

 For he only fought that all peoples may be free.

So let us honour him, and give him his just due

For he is only man, just like me and you;

But he was called upon to make a stand

against an inhuman ideology, too horrible for minds to grasp

and all he asks for now, is a chance to live in peace.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Well’s Gone Dry, including mine, can 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.

Up and Away #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, “up and away.” You can imagine a story from the photo of hot air balloons, a flying superhero, a natural wonder, or any other direction your inspiration goes. Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Up and Away

April placed a coin onto his palm.

“What will I make for you?”

“A magic balloon, please.”

He scanned her face, searched deep within her eyes, read her every wish.

“A magic balloon,” he said, selecting a dark blue.

He stretched it this way and that, then blew. As the balloon filled, the blue lightened and brightened. It shed sparkles that glistened in the sunlight. He knotted the end, held it out, then twisted and twirled and pulled it into a star.

He wound the ribbon around April’s wrist. “Up and away!” he whispered, as April was whisked aloft.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Never Ending can be read at the Carrot Ranch here. Sadly, I didn’t get to join in with that prompt due to a (brief and mild) tussle with covid.