Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

October 22, 2014

Carrot Ranch Flash FictionHaving expectations is universal. Mothers expect their daughters to be cherished; a single man expects to find a partner; a partner expects more help with the children. Beyond life-cycle expectations, people have aspirations–for needs like medicine or wants like a dream contract.

Within the realm of expectations the writers explored the ones met or unmet, great or small. It’s a tool for creating tension, developing plot or deepening a character. The following 99-word stories are based on the October 15, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that has an expectation met or missed.

No Way Out Part Three: Godsend by Sherri Mathews

“Bill! Let me in…!”

Laura’s frantic knocking on the front door shattered Bill’s silence. What the…? Panic struck as he grabbed the hose, throwing it back behind the freezer while kicking the scattered toys out of view.

“Bi i i i i i i l…..” screamed Laura. She stopped in stunned silence to the creak of the garage door as it opened and Bill walked out. Turning on her heels, she rushed over.

“Thank god! I’ve been trying to call you, why didn’t you pick up…?”

“I’ve…Laura… there’s something …”

“What…? It’s Joey, you have to come, it’s bad…”


Expectations by Georgia Bell

She waited. She was always waiting for him in some way. Her fingers trailed through the puddle of spilled coffee. She tried not to look at the door as she shuffled through his words in her mind, words that she repeated back to herself, sometimes for reassurance, sometimes as penance. Pushing her phone away she focused on the street, not wanting to watch the minutes pass, or to acknowledge what became clearer each day. Her father had been right about that. Sometimes the only thing you got to walk away with was your disappointment and sometimes, that was lucky.


A Mother’s Hope by Sarah Brentyn

“Let me help you with that,” her mother smiled. She clasped the teardrop pendant around her daughter’s neck. “You look…beautiful.”

Hope played with the sapphire that now hung just above the neckline of her gown. “Thank you, Momma. For this,” she held up the necklace, “for so pretty dress and helping my hair get curls. I never thought me! Me! I could go to this big dance!” Hope grabbed her mother’s hand and pulled her downstairs where they waited for Hope’s prom date together.

He never came. After Hope fell asleep, a little after ten, her mother finally cried.


Stood Up by Sarah Unsicker

Gregory arrived at 3 minutes past the hour, just late enough to make her wonder. He rang the doorbell and waited.


He knocked on the door. He envisioned holding her pale hands with the shiny crimson fingernails. Gregory wondered about women who dressed modestly, yet their fingernails shone like fire engines. What secret was trying to bleed its way out of her?

Grandmother Murray peered out the curtained window. “Are you looking for Jane? She left to visit her brother. About an hour ago, I’d say.”

Gregory checked his calendar. He was three hours and four minutes late.


Eliza Fraser by Irene waters

She was a bad omen, the men said when she came on board heavy with child. She’d left her children to look after the ill captain, her husband. Their ship sunk, holed by coral. She gave birth in the long-boat. The baby cried. She saw it drown. She saw her husband speared and watched him slowly die. She felt alone despite the goodness of the aboriginal women. She longed to join their chatter. She ran into the bush to get away, encountering the corroboree of near naked men. She stared, horrified by her attraction. Her husband and child just dead.


Expectations Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

She was a handsome child, but what were looks when she’d never see her own face reflected in the glass? Those shell-like ears so completely blocked she’d never hear her own screams? Locked in darkness and confusion, our daughter grew wilder with each passing year.

We’d planned to commit her to the insane asylum, when Lottie began tracing shapes on her palm. Some strange occult practice, we thought, and made to lead the child away. But these were letters, words, an entire language written on the hand. Our daughter was reborn, civilised. God had granted us a second chance.


The Mailman by Ruchira Khanna

Looking through the window, she stares at the path wondering if it will arrive as mentioned in the UPS tracking information.

Her feeble eyes look at the volume of the bottle, and she is in a dilemma if she should take the last dose or leave it for a time that is crucial?

Ever since the insurance peaked up the prices for the drugs that she had been taking on a regular basis, she has been relying on the mailman.

Just then the doorbell rang, and that prompted her first to take her scheduled dose before receiving her package.


Draft Dream by Larry LaForge

Sandy Sapperston expects to become a millionaire tonight. He forfeited his college eligibility for this glorious moment.

Sandy sits backstage as player names are called in the professional basketball draft.

Soon he begins to worry. Then he feels panic as the room clears.

Suddenly he is alone, undrafted, with neither college nor professional options.

A sudden jolt has Sandy sitting straight up in bed. Sweating profusely, he dabs his eyes with the top sheet and gathers himself.

Relieved, he looks skyward with templed hands. “Thank you,” he whispers.

Sandy Sapperston then vows to stay in college for his degree.

The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.


The Sideline by Pete

Sitting on a park bench, Mitch watches the war of wills between mother and toddler. She wipes the boy’s shirt clean and his face dry after a spill, her own face bleary but determined. Once he’s brushed off, the boy teeters only a few steps before plopping down, mouth wide and tears streaming.

Mitch thinks back to the early days of their relationship. This same park with these same trees— only two rings ago there was joy and peace and passion. Now, there is…

“Mitch, are you going to just sit there or can you give me a hand?”


One Step Forward by Geoff Le Pard

Mary sorted through the holiday post; Paul made tea. He said, ‘The lawyers?’

‘No. ‘Rupert.’

‘What’s he want?’

‘He has dropped the court case.’

Paul sighed. ‘Thank God. That’s it then, is it?’

Mary folded the letter carefully. Why did he think everything could be so neatly tied up? Had he forgotten she was adopted? Rupert, her half-brother was her Father’s only natural child.

‘Are you ok, love?’

She let herself be held. ‘I need to know, Paul.’

Paul stroked her hair.

Mary wiped her eyes. ‘We’d better have him round.’

Paul shivered as a cloud crossed the sun.


End of the Trail by Charli Mills

In the dark Sarah stood at the embankment, brushy and weedy. She’d never seen grass tall enough to hide prairie wolves or fierce Pawnees. The thought should have pushed her back to the safety of the campfires where Cob sawed an Appalachian reel on his violin. She could hear the thud of men’s boots on the hard-packed ground as they danced and whooped. Cob wanted to buy this road ranch and build a toll bridge across the narrow gorge of Rock Creek. Toiling days and rowdy nights on the Oregon Trail was not a fair exchange for North Carolina.


New prompt on Wednesday. All writers welcome.

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  1. Annecdotist

    Yay, What a collection! Can’t say it foiled my expectations, however, your prompts always inspire us to exceed our own.

    • Charli Mills

      I was thinking in terms of exceeded expectations, too as I read through these!

  2. Sherri

    Talk about Tales of the Unexpected…love all the twists and turns and the different paths these stories led us down. Thanks again Charli for another stimulating flash prompt, looking forward to the next one 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      We can expect twists and turns from those expectations! It was a lovely, winding path.

      • Sherri


    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for posting this, Anne! I’ve become a believer. Not that I expected flash fiction to lead to a novel, but I found that writing in scenes helps me avoid the linear constructions of story-telling and leads to unexpected discoveries (just like Sherri found a new character and Geoff has led us on incredible twists of fate).

      I also believe that flash fiction can help writers with smaller constructs or be a nugget of inspiration for a contest or submission that is a longer short story.

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