Tag Archives: Carrot Ranch flash fiction

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.

Extraction #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about extraction. What is being extracted and from where? Is it an idea? How does genre change the perspective (sci-fi versus romance)? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Conversation Extraction

Marcia’s eyes met Henry’s across the room. He looked as unenthralled and uncomfortable as she was. He raised an eyebrow. Her mouth twitched, part smile. She extracted herself from the conversation. He did the same. They met by the kitchen door.

“Haven’t seen you at one of these shindigs before,” he said.

“First time.”

“Enjoying it?”

“Better now. That conversation was more boring than a tooth extraction.”

“What were they discussing?”

“Teeth extractions. They’re all dentists.”

“What about you?”

“Teacher. You?”

“Dentist.”

“Oh.” She reddened, then smiled. “You should join that conversation.”

“You should join mine. They’re all teachers.”

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

Water Falls #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writes to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, water falls. Where is the water coming from? How does it shape a story? Who does it involve? Go where the prompt leads!

Any creative ideas for incorporating ‘water falls’ into a story dried up and I was left with this piece very much a BOTS (based on a true story) about a weather event that occurred along the east coast of Australia earlier this year. It was devastating for many, and many still suffering the aftereffects are homeless.

Water Falls

The water fell, gently at first then obstinately, in unrelenting torrents, like uncontainable tears from a sky in mourning. A ‘rain bomb’, they said, a ‘one in one hundred years event’. It swelled the rivers and flooded the lands mercilessly, taking lives and homes and destroying livelihoods. Water from dams filled beyond capacity cascaded over spillways, intensifying the deluge. A supercharged natural event not experienced before, never expected again. When the sky opened just a few years later, crying those same mournful tears of loss and destruction, surely the denials would cease.  As indisputable that water falls, they didn’t.

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Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Baby Ducks Ate My Lunch, including mine,can be read at the Carrot Ranch here.

Baby Ducks Ate My Lunch #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to explain “baby ducks ate my lunch.” How did that happen? Who is the protagonist? Where did the baby ducks come from? Go where the prompt leads!

My first thought was of the oft-quoted excuse for failing to complete homework: the dog ate my homework, but I decided to go with a more plausible situation with excited children feeding ducks at the park. I hope you enjoy it.

Baby Ducks Ate My Lunch

A wail fractured the picture-perfect ‘Freedom Day’, the first outing since lockdown began aeons ago.

Father’s mind wandered like the lonely cloud contrasted against the vivid sky, contemplating nothing—no lessons, no video calls, no demands for something to eat or do. Mother absentmindedly stroked his hair as she inhaled the freshness of the sunshine and the scent of nearby gardenias. The children entertained themselves—what luxury—feeding ducks with days-old bread.

The wail amplified, like an approaching train, finally demanding Father’s and Mother’s attention. “What’s wrong?”

“Baby ducks ate my lunch,” wailed the younger. The older one shrugged.

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

Change is Coming #99WordStories

When I read Charli’s prompt at the Carrot Ranch this week to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story to reflect the theme, “ready for a change.” Who is ready and why? How does the change unfold? What happened to initiate the change? Go where the prompt leads! I immediately thought of this Cat Stevens song.

As a young adult, I loved Cat Stevens’s songs and their messages of hope for better days. As an older adult, I still do. We could certainly do with some changes around the world at the moment.

I was lucky to see Cat Stevens in concert in 1972, which must have been about the same time as this video was recorded. It was amazing. So much wisdom. Sadly, we don’t seem to be any closer to the vision of these lyrics 50 years later.

‘Don’t you feel the day is coming

And it won’t be too soon

When the people of the world

Can all live in one room’

It took me a while to get past the Cat Stevens musical memory lane, but this is where I ended up. I hope you like it.

Change is coming

‘Get up,’ Pauline whispered.

He rubbed his eyes. ‘Why?’

‘Shh! He’s here.’

He trembled. ‘Take Rabbit?’

Out they crept, sliding against the wall to the door. A shout from downstairs. They froze. Pauline turned the knob. Quietly. Quietly. She pushed the door. Gently. Gently. Then cool air. Silent toes pattered down the stairs. Across the grass they ran and ran. All three, hand-in-hand. Pauline in front. Rabbit behind.

Finally, they banged on a door. ‘Grandpa! Grandpa! He’s come.’

Grandpa was in the doorway, ushering them into Grandma’s arms, picking up the phone.

‘Hush,’ said Grandma. ‘Everything will be alright.’

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

The Last Piece of Pie

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about free pie. What kind of pie and freedom? Who is involved with pies? How is it free? Go where the prompt leads!

Charli wrote about free edible pie that was available at College in honour of Pi Day. Of course, my mind went somewhere else.

I thought about the pieces of pie we try our best to collect as we travel around and around the Trivial Pursuit board, hoping that when we get a question for a piece of pie, we’ll get one we can answer correctly.

The most difficult is the final question, when the tray is filled with every flavour of pie and the other players decide which question will be the most difficult to answer. This family allowed each player to choose one free piece of pie at the beginning of the game in order to speed it along. I hope you enjoy the story.

The Last Piece of Pie

Josie wished they’d hurry. It was past her bedtime.

“Blue’s the hardest,” said Adam.

“Maybe for you, but she got it before,” said Bridget.

“She got them all, dur.”

“What was her free one? Anyone notice?” said Dirk.

“Yellow,” said Ellen. “Definitely.”

“Here’s your question, Grandma,” said Dirk.

Josie’s eyes were closed. Her mouth was open. A gentle snore rumbled out.

“Is the right answer,” said Adam. Everyone giggled.

Josie snorted awake. “What did you decide?”

“It’s okay, Grandma. We declared you the winner.”

Win or lose didn’t matter in the pursuit of happiness. It was all rather trivial.

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

Robotic Writer #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a robotic writer. Is it an analogy or a battery-operated i-writer? Is it possible? What will happen if robots write? Go where the prompt leads!

This is where the prompt took me — a whole lot of mashed-up similes trying to express the various moods of my writing process. I hope it makes some kind of sense and isn’t all gibberish.

Robotic Writer

When ideas stalled and deadlines loomed, her determined digits thumped the keys, pausing after each stroke, like a robotic writer waiting for the next line of code.

When ideas jostled like unruly children vying for attention, never still enough to focus, she pummelled keys like lightning strikes then backspaced like rowboats in the storm.

When ideas flowed as if channelled from another source, her fingers tap-danced like spring raindrops in a puddle with a magpie chorus joining in.

When the final key was pressed and words were read, with scrunched-up nose, she hit delete and binned the robotic gobbledygook.

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

I’d rather be … #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writes to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “I’d rather be…” You fill in what comes next. What would a character(s) rather be doing and why? How can you use the phrase as a literary device? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

I’d rather be …

‘I’d rather be dead!’

She ran into the street in a downpour of tears, yanking at the sweater as if it crawled with monsters.

‘Don’t worry. She’ll be back,’ said Dad.

‘I only suggested —’

‘I know. But teenagers like to choose what they wear.’

‘She always did. Even a toddler — so dramatic.’

‘Like someone I know. Would you have worn your mother’s old sweater at her age?’

‘I did and was grateful for it.’

‘You were poor. We can afford to buy her a sweater.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with hand-me-downs.’

‘But The Bay City Rollers? Really?’

‘Well —’

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

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.