Tag Archives: Carrot Ranch flash fiction

Dishes #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about the dishes. It can be the every-single-day activity, a precious collection, or any other interpretation of dishes as objects or activities. Who is stuck with the dishes and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I had a few ideas for this one but couldn’t seem to make any work until I went back to my two young girls Amy and Lucy and their favourite toys. I hope this one works. Enjoy!

The Garden Party

Ellie observed that the table looked delightful. Ollie said he’d never used such fine chinaware before. Teddy commented that the fairy cakes were scrumptious and iced tea was perfect for a warm day. Everyone agreed. Amy and Lucy beamed.

Afterwards, the guests offered to help with the dishes.

“No way,” said Amy. “You’re our guests.”

“We insist,” said Ellie. Swiping swiftly with her trunk, she launched the plates likes frisbees. Ollie deftly caught them and stacked them by the sink. Teddy frothed the soap suds and washed while Lucy dried.

“Many hands,” said Amy, putting cups and plates away.

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

Optimism #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that is optimistic. Feel free to explore optimism in all its forms from a positive mindset to toxic positivity. Is it a heartfelt story or a devious one? So much wiggle room for the optimistic writer. Go where the prompt leads!

In her article, Charli linked to another on Positive Psychology called Positive Mindset: How to Develop a Positive Mental Attitude.

The article includes this definition from Kendra Cherry at Very Well Mind:

“[P]ositive thinking actually means approaching life’s challenges with a positive outlook. It does not necessarily mean avoiding or ignoring the bad things; instead, it involves making the most of the potentially bad situations, trying to see the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light.”

The article goes on to list some of the traits of a positive mindset, many (most) of which we encourage in young children. These traits of a positive mindset are often the building blocks for success in life. They include:

Being optimistic and having a go rather than being defeatist and not even trying.

Accepting that things don’t always work out and being willing to learn from what eventuated.

Being strong and resilience when things don’t work out.

Being grateful for all the good things in life.

As a teacher of young children and an aspiring picture book author (I’m optimistic), I know that things don’t always work out as I’d hoped, but I am resilient and never give up, being grateful for the people and opportunities I have in my life.

As both teacher and writer, I always try to respond to Charli’s prompts with children in mind, either as subject or audience or both. This is my optimistic story. I hope you enjoy it.

Building Blocks

Clare’s tower was almost the tallest she’d ever made. One more block would do it.

Harry accidentally backed into it and sent blocks flying.

“Sorry,” said Harry.

“It’s okay. I can build it again. Wanna help?”

“Sure.”

“We need a bigger base. That one was getting wobbly anyway.”

“Let’s go as high as the roof,” said Harry.

They carefully placed the blocks and soon had to stretch on tiptoes.

Clare stood on a chair. Harry passed the blocks.

“We’re outa blocks,” said Harry. “It won’t reach the roof.”

“Let’s build on the table,” said Clare. “It’ll reach the sky!”

Thank you blog post

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

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.

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.

Thank you blog post

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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.

Something Squeaky #99WordStories

Last week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something squeaky. What is squeaky and why? How does it move the story or disrupt a character? Listen, write, and go where the prompt leads!

I didn’t have time to write a story in time to be included in the collection, but I wanted to write one anyway. I’ve stayed with Lucy and Amy and their little red convertible as they play with their toys. I hope you enjoy it.

The Squeaky Wheel

“Shh! What’s that noise,” said Lucy.

Amy stopped the car. Everyone was quiet.

“I don’t hear anything,” said Amy.

The others agreed. Nothing.

They continued on their way.

“There it is again,” said Lucy.

Amy didn’t stop the car, but they all listened.

“I hear it,” said Monkey. “Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.”

“Eek!” screamed Ellie. “There’s a mouse in the car!”

“No, silly,” said Bunny. “It’s a squeaky wheel.”

“Just needs some grease,” said Amy. “Everybody out!”

They all piled out. Amy hoisted the little red convertible for Lucy to grease the wheel, then they were on their way again.

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

Wheels Keep Turning #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about how the wheels keep turning. Are the wheels tangible or metaphorical? Go where the prompt leads!

My first thoughts went to the Rawhide theme song with its ‘Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’’ refrain.

Of course, they’re not wheels that are rollin’, so that song wouldn’t do. But how wonderful to see these actors, who looked so old when I was a child, look not much more than children to me now.

My next thought was of Proud Mary and her big wheel that kept turning.

But that wouldn’t do either.

I wanted to return to my girls Amy and Lucy and their little red convertible from previous stories but couldn’t decide how. You could say the wheels were turning but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Fortunately, I thought of a third song about wheels.

That was more my style and this is my story. I hope you enjoy it.

The Wheels of the Limo

“The wheels of the bus go —. No, wait. The wheels of the limo go round and round, round and round —”

“Why’d ya stop?”

“I didn’t stop. We’re stuck.”

“But the wheels are turning.”

“Must be something underneath. Okay. Everybody out.”

Teddy, Ollie, Ellie, Monkey and Bunny piled out. They watched as Amy hoisted the little red convertible for Lucy to check underneath.

“There’s a rock,” said Lucy. She reached under, withdrew the culprit, and hurled it into the shrubs.

“All aboard!” she called.

The passengers settled back in, and everyone sang, “The wheels of the limo …”

Thank you blog post

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

Bones #99Word Stories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about bones. It can be any genre or tone. Is it spooky, irreverant, poignant? Go where the prompt leads!

All I could think of at first was the children’s song, ‘The head bone’s connected to the neck bone …’ and it took me a while to come up with an idea. Once I got an idea, the ending eluded me. I finally decided to go all-out horror, which is unusual for me, to follow up my entry Beware or Be Scared in the Halloweensie Contest run by Susanna Leonard Hill. That entry was meant to be as Halloween humorous as it was scary. I hope it succeeded. On its own, this one may lack the humour. I hope you ‘enjoy’ it anyway.

Make No Bones About It

“Go and get changed.”

 “But, Muuuum —”

“You will not go to the party dressed like that.”

“Why?”

“It’s not appropriate.”

“But it’s dress up. It’s Halloween!”

“Yes! A skeleton or a ghost. Not a princess. Princesses don’t do Halloween.”

“If I can’t be a princess, I’m not —” The door slammed to punctuate her sentence perfectly.

Mum shook her head. She was teased enough, without being a princess on Halloween.

The following morning, when bones found in the middle of a mystery sticky stinky sludge were identified as her bullies, Margie and Mum gave thanks for their disagreement.

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I See the Light in You #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that references “I see the light in you.” You can use the phrase or demonstrate it in a story. Who is shining and why? Who is observing or reacting? What is the setting? Go where the prompt leads!

In the post, Charli explained the prompt as being inspired by ‘the beautiful Ojibwe greeting of “aanii.” It means, “I see the light in you.”’ Charli suggested it was a great way to greet people, to see their light and avoid judging them. I imagined it as a saying shared by a family over generations. This is a different response from my recent playful  ones. I hope it works, nonetheless.

Gran’s Inside Light

Jamie squeezed his hands and clenched his knees, as if that might still his churning belly and stop his heavy heart from falling. Like recycled paper, his thoughts were all mushed up. They said Gran was sick. She mightn’t get better. What did that even mean? Gloom dragged his face into a frown.

“You can see her now,” said Mum. Jamie looked up, questioning. Mum simply nodded. Jamie tentative step-by-stepped, hopeful, fearful, step-by-step.

“Gran?” he whispered. Dull eyes flickered. This isn’t Gran. Gran’s eyes sparkled.

Jamie trembled. “Where’s Gran’s inside light?” Mum hugged him. “In you and everywhere now.”

I missed responding to Charli’s previous prompt due to lack of time and imagination. However, I decided to write a sequel to Gran’s Inside Light with that prompt in mind. The prompt was to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that expresses the idea, “for the water.” You can find inspiration in water protection movements. Is it a celebration or a dark dystopian warning? Consider your place and the bodies of water that have shaped you. Go where the prompt leads!

Gran’s Light

Jamie sniffled and wiped his face with his sleeve. He and Mum weren’t the only ones crying. Everyone at Gran’s graveside was crying. Even the umbrellas cried teardrops of rain that fell from darkened skies, as if the whole world was grieving his Gran. As the final words were spoken, the clouds parted to let the sun shine through and paint the biggest and brightest rainbow Jamie had ever seen. He squeezed his mother’s hand and pointed. “Look, Mum. There’s Gran’s light.” Everyone looked. Umbrellas were folded and smiles lit faces with joy remembering a life well-lived and loved.

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

A Ritual Involving Tea #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to in 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about any ritual involving tea. It can be a daily afternoon tea prepared specifically or the reading of tea leaves in a cup. What do you know? What do you imagine? Is your story deep and ponderous or bright and flash? Go where the prompt leads!

As a child, I enjoyed playing with my tea sets. It was fun lining up my toys and having tea parties. I remember two tea sets from my childhood. One was a pretty little floral set made of china. The other was red and white plastic.

I remember sitting on the back steps one day when I was about three, washing my china cups and saucers. Perhaps I was getting ready for a tea party or cleaning up after one. I’m not sure. But while I was sitting there, busily at my work, Dad came out and didn’t see my pretty little cups and stood right on them, smashing them into little pieces. He was very apologetic and, surprisingly, I was very forgiving. He would tell the story many times later about how I’d looked up at him and said, “It’s okay, Dad. You didn’t mean to.” I think the adult me could learn a lot about forgiveness from the little me.

As an adult, I consider a very special treat to be a high tea with its cucumber and smoked salmon finger sandwiches, fresh baked scones with jam and cream, and a selection of petit fours. I have enjoyed a number of these over the years, usually in very special locations for very special occasions.

I remember having one with my mum and other family members to celebrate her 90th birthday at a restaurant she had enjoyed going to with her mother when she was growing up. It was definitely a special treat and an occasion to remember.

I’ve allowed some of these ‘special’ thoughts to influence my response to Charli’s prompt as I add another event to Amy and Lucy’s imaginative play. I hope you enjoy it.

The Tea Party

Ollie said the table looked divine. Teddy agreed, adding the fairy cakes were the prettiest and sweetest he’d ever tasted, and the tea was the perfect temperature. Amy and Lucy beamed. The tea party to welcome the happy couple home from their honeymoon was a success. Everyone was there. It was all going swimmingly, until a balloon popped. Ellie started, upsetting the teapot with her flailing trunk and whipping the cakes from their stand. Monkey screeched. Bunny watched tea puddle under the table.

“I’ve ruined the party,” wailed Ellie.

“It’s okay, Ellie,” said Lucy. “No one’s hurt. Nothing’s broken.”

Thank you blog post

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