Hearts and minds hold dreams, and yet life can deliver the unexpected. Sometimes, what unfolds, we never dreamed. Writers imagined those possibilities as they wrote this week from differing viewpoints.
Writers responded to the prompt, and what follows is a collection of perspectives in 99-word stories arranged like literary anthropology.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
An Artist’s Dream by Saifun Hassam
Jamila lost her right hand when she was 5. She learned to use her left hand. Her sketches and watercolors showed incredible talent and imagination. She loved to draw starscapes and unknown planets in faraway galaxies.
She never dreamed the prosthetics of science fiction would one day be a reality for her. She never knew of the extensive prosthetics research until Hussein returned from the Iraqi war. His left leg was an experimental prosthetic from Altamont VA hospital.
She volunteered for an experimental wrist. She never imagined her extraordinary cyborg art would blossom into science fiction and anime stories.
Final Score by Hugh W. Roberts
Living his life in the closet, Alan never wanted his father finding out he was gay.
He loathed going to watch football every Saturday afternoon with his father. But he never showed how disappointed he was with the season ticket his father gifted him every Christmas.
But on the Saturday after his father’s death, Alan carried on with the tradition.
“Hello. I’m Tim,” came a voice from behind. “Where’s your father today?”
Alan never dreamt that a season ticket would be the key to meeting the love of his life and no longer living his life as a lie.
Some Dreams Fulfilled by Sue Spitulnik
Becca, Michael’s sister, knocked and let herself in. She saw him sitting on the floor by Emma’s toys but there was no baby and his wheelchair wasn’t in sight. “I have baptism pictures.”
“Thankfully it’s you!”
“Why, have you been monkey scooting around the house again?”
“Yeah, it makes Emma laugh. Whoever dreamed my long arms would be used for such a thing. “
“Maybe the same dreamer that pictured you holding a grandchild in Tessa’s family pictures. Can you believe her ex didn’t show up?”
His eyes twinkled. “Two out of three parts of that dream ain’t bad.”
Her Place by Joanne Fisher
Gina unlocked the door and walked in to her place. After a lifetime of renting, she never believed she would finally have her own house. Already her furniture was here, along with all her other belongings lying in boxes everywhere.
No longer would she have to worry about landlord’s demands, or being suddenly evicted for accidentally missing rent or some other reason. This was her house. She looked out the window and saw the garden and imagined herself pottering away in it to her heart’s content. She deeply breathed in the air of her home. This would be awesome.
The Ancestors by Bill Engleson
There he would stand on the bridge of time,
peering over the railing into the vast…
into the vast canyon of dreams,
and catch a glimpse of ancestors,
still nameless, lost in the vacuum of memory,
of so many passing’s, stories left in the grave,
the movements of people, migrations,
both big and small, the shifting of lives,
the young, the old, new loves, sweet, sour,
journeys by endless sea, across dark landscapes,
images of all who had ventured forth,
there on the bridge of time, he would stand
in abject awe peering over the railing into the vast…
My Riches by Gloria McBreen
I have wished upon the great big stars
Many times if truth be told
I only wished for simple things
Not riches and treasures
Not diamonds or gold
The stars they’ve been kind
My life has been fulfilling
My wishes all granted
My dreams I’ve been living
My kids they are my riches
My husband he is my gold
My friends they are my diamonds
My treasures each day they unfold
When my days aren’t going so well
And my smiles are very few
I thank the stars that fill the sky
And feel grateful my dreams came true
Atheist by Simon
Can we go to church?
I don’t believe in God
Show me your face? Is this real?
I never dreamt that I would say something like this, until I questioned the existence of everything.
Don’t mess with God. You’ll be punished
O.K, answer this question, who created God?
Wrong answer, WE created god.
Are you drunk?
No I’m not, but You all are drunk, drunk gallons of lies created by yourself.
God will never forgive your sins.
(Laughing), thanks, God don’t have to.
What’s wrong with you?
I talk reality, I wish you think what I think.
The Victor by R. V. Mitchell
Donny had never really taken life to seriously. He had been the class clown in high school and coasted through college with an art degree which he admitted was based on work that was derivative at best, or just throwing colour randomly on canvas. He got himself a job at a gallery by connections with a girl he had dated in college and lost it about as fast as he lost her. So how could he now be standing in front of a cheering crowd as their mayor? He had only registered as a candidate as a drunken dare.
Old by kathy70
It’s tough to be invisible, some days I wonder do I really exist. Was I 55 or 65 when it happened, is it only with young people or have I achieved an unknown life goal. Next year I’ll be 75 and things will reverse, maybe. This is not a goal I dreamed of as a child or adult but I worked for it. I still have goals and dreams and learn and teach new things. Will the end be Covid or Cancer or Crazy. Never forget old people can dream, hope, create and accomplish the presidency even. It’s time to go home?
Brain Fog by Reena Saxena
They found me in a village 14 kms away from the hospital.
My covid-affected legs are not strong enough to walk the distance. I don’t know how I reached there.
A white rabbit which kept jumping in and out in an unusual manner attracted the attention of the search team. What if the rabbit had not been so sympathetic? Nights out are chilling for a 80 year old like me.
A brain fog for sure, but how did I summon the strength to walk the distance, I’ve never walked in my senses.
It is something nobody had imagined.
Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe by Kate Spencer
“Time 10:52pm.” Abby flipped the switch, turning off the continuous beep from the patient monitoring system.
“When will this end?” mumbled the nurse pulling up the sheet.
Wearily Abby turned to check on her next Covid patient, longing for the days when she’d be treating simple cases like broken bones again. She was jotting down instructions for yet another patient when her pager buzzed. It was Emergency.
Now what, she wondered, rushing to triage.
There was her irate son, sitting in a wheelchair, yelling at the orderly. He wanted to see his mom. He’d broken his leg.
Dreams Fulfilled by Norah Colvin
She dreamed she could control the weather, but never believed she could.
Until she did.
She wished it would rain.
‘It always rains in spring,’ they scoffed.
‘From a blue sky?’
‘Sometimes,’ they said.
She wished the rain would stop.
‘Showers never last long,’ they said.
‘I love rain,’ another said.
‘Can you make it rain forever?’
Rain fell, first gently, then in torrents.
It rained for months, overfilling rivers and washing villages away.
They begged her to make it stop.
‘I can’t,’ she said. ‘I must have dreamed three wishes. I never dreamed this would happen.’
Welcome to the North Pole by Donna Matthews
“I’m so nervous!” Ella exclaimed, pacing outside the little round building on the corner of North and Pole.
“Relax,” Easton, her husband, soothed. “You’ve got this!”
Suddenly, the heavy wood doors creaked open, and Ella heard her name called. Here we go, she thought.
Sitting in front of the diminutive manager, the questions began…
“What experience do you have with polar bears?”
“I once taught a six-week dance class!”
“Elves?” she asked.
“None so far, but I’m excited to learn!”
“You love Christmas?”
Jumping up, he yelled, “You’re hired!”
Never Dreamed by FloridaBorne
“This planet sucks,” I told the 4-eyed being who’d rescued me 10 years before.
Being in love with a creature that bites off the end of its tail, swallows it (eggs and all) and becomes food for its own young can be challenging.
“You’re a fine pet,” It replied.
Yes. It reads minds. When its snake-like body wraps around me, I feel so much love.
“Why am I on Earth…again?”
“I’m happy with you.”
My mind smiled with its joy. It gathered sperm from the “him,” so that when its children were born they would have pets, too.
A Writer Never Dreamed by Duane Herrmann
Repeatedly the young, hopeful writer had applied for a writing fellowship. This year the call for submissions was not made. He was busy building the house his family was living in, room by room, and couldn’t devote much time to wondering. One morning he was upstairs in the master bedroom working while admiring the wheatfield outside. Wind made waves rustling softly in the sea of green.
The phone rang.
“Your submission last year was so good, we decided to give you the award this year.”
Stunned, the young man collapsed on the bed.
“Duane? Duane? Are you still there?”
(56) Damned Family (Norman: Dream, Dream, Dream…) by JulesPaige
Norman had never dreamed that he would fall in love. He was introduced to her by a contact that perhaps had perhaps conflicting motives. One was to get Norman a normal life or was it to get another ‘agent’ in the ‘network’? And then Ned had convinced Norman to let her go…
Now Norman could only dream that Jesse actually had his journal and could somehow find her way to him. This morning he’d found out that Jesse had left the protection detail in the dust. No one knew where she was. He hoped she was dreaming about him.
She Never Dreamed by Hanna Steng
He was it.
Ever since she was a little girl, she’d heard it proclaimed from every podium she’d ever been around: “this is what to look for in a man, and here’s the list of things to avoid”. Every pharaphrase eventually came to the same conclusion- “make sure he’s God-fearin’, and if he isn’t, stay as far away as you can”.
She’d been so sure she knew what she wanted, she could have never dreamed that just a smile from this scuffed up, kind- eyed, “worldly” man would have her questioning everything and leave her with only one answer- he was it.
I Never Dreamed by Pete Fanning
The dogs are tangled and frisky in the chill of the evening. I’m focused on work, bills, Covid-19, when I stop in the road.
My Christmas lights glow warmly on the house. Framed in the window, my wife holds our baby girl. My son is upside down on the couch, kicking his feet in the air, no doubt firing off questions. A well of curiosity that never runs dry.
The span of the window holds my good fortune. A life I never dreamed would happen. With a smile I walk in the house.
And then the baby starts crying.
The Art of Cooking by Ruchira Khanna
“Yummy! did you cook this?” inquired my teen as he licked the last crumbs off his plate.
“Obviously! In this shutdown, I’ve been cooking every day.” I said in an exasperated tone, which was easily caught upon.
“Chill, Mom. I was complimenting your cooking.”
That praise made me quickly come and hug him since getting appreciated for my cooking was the last thing I had ever dreamed would happen.
I had become better at planning my meals with limited ingredients, but to make a delicious one was like a cherry on the cake.
I guess: Practice makes one perfect.
Harold’s Dream by Doug Jacquier
Harold never dreamed he would one day build his own classic science fiction saucer, containing everything he needed. Kitchen, sitting room with a panoramic view through reinforced glass, bedroom with a skylight to the stars, composting toilet. (Although he did have to settle for sponge baths because of the weight of water.) Powered by an anti-gravity perpetual motion generator of his own invention and steered by a GPS-guided rudder, Harold could travel the world, and did, chuckling at the UFO sightings reported on the interweb. It’s just as well Harold didn’t actually dream of this because it never happened.
At Heaven’s Gate by Colleen Chesebro
December 14th began like any other Monday. However, in the early hours before dawn, he watched the green flashes of Geminids meteors whiz by in the early dawn sky.
A few hours later, he watched the blackness creep across the land as a total eclipse of the sun descended, leaving South America under a cloak of darkness.
Surely these auspicious astronomical events foreshadowed a significant event.
The angel named Beau glanced out over the cosmos. He smiled. A total eclipse of the Sun had officially confirmed Joe Biden as the President of the United States—a dream come true.
What if I Had Only Dreamt? by Miss Judy
I never dreamt of seeking fame or fortune. I never dreamt of my success or failure. When two roads diverged, then, and only then, did I decide which path to follow. I look back sometimes and wonder, “what if I had chosen the other?”
The road has been rocky and steep at times, but I am happy and thankful for what I have become, the people I have met and for family. There will be more paths to choose and bridges to cross in this life. And, as I look back, I wonder, “What if I had only dreamt?”
Twins Reunited by Anne Goodwin
As kids they shared a bedroom, a secret language, clothes. Finished each other’s sentences; dressed dolls and made daisy chains; raced cars and fought with sticks. The elder by forty minutes, Faith didn’t mind ensuring Ryan adhered to playground etiquette, doing their homework, answering questions from grown-ups.
She never dreamt he’d wander where she couldn’t follow, where no-one sane would go. She never dreamt he’d shrug off her protection, make his own mistakes. Never dreamt he’d turn up to mock her mortgage, her daughter’s music lessons, her middle-class friends. Spoil her soirée. Make her wish he’d leave for good.
Hot Pepper Takes a Chance by Charli Mills
Carlotta rode a mustang named Hot Pepper. Her gelding was a small but snorty horse belonging to the Two Bar Ranch. She taught school at the one-room cabin on a desolate hill of sagebrush central to the ranches in the valley. Hot Pepper trotted the full three miles to school and back where Carlotta passed a ranch house half-built. She often wondered why the rancher never finished what looked like a beautiful design with promise. She never dreamed the horse would throw her in front of the house, meeting the young widower who never dreamed he’d find love again.
The Banshee of Ruby Valley by Charli Mills
The banshee rode a ghost-horse named Pogonip. Her steed snorted a chilling frost that withered primrose blossoms and diminished frail spring calves. She bedeviled the broad basin between the Ruby Mountains and the Smokeys, preying on the people who built ranches and tended cattle among sagebrush and trickling waterways of the Nevada desert. The banshee and Pogonip extinguished the young rancher’s bride, delighting in how he halted construction of his house, never lifting his brown eyes from sorrow. The cold-hearted banshee never dreamed that harassing the flighty gelding the new teacher rode would renew joy in the haunted valley.
Not So Prodigal Kid by D. Avery
“Hey Pal, how’ya doin’?”
“Livin’ the dream Kid.”
“Yep. Never dreamed I’d git dreamed up ta live out my days as a ranch hand.”
“Whoa. Kid, ain’tcha never movin’ on?”
“Where would I go? Sure this is a virtual ranch, but we got it real good here.”
“Dang. Never dreamed I might be ferever stuck with a greenhorn. Kid, shouldn’t ya follow yer own dreams, seek fame an’ fortune an’ sech?”
“This here’s fiction, Pal, but that there’s illusion. Done made my way ta where I am. Here I be.”
“Be-lieve yer livin’ yer dream Kid.” “Write on, Pal.”
Pawsitively by D. Avery
“I’m purty excited Pal. Never dreamed Shorty’d git us a puppy.”
“Shorty ain’t gittin’ us a puppy.” “But… I thought…”
“Get real, Kid. Thet’s Charli Mills is gittin’ a puppy.”
“Well cain’t we git a puppy too? A ranch needs a good dog.”
“Now yer an expert on what a ranch needs?”
“Well…” “Did a ranch need elefints?”
“Was jist an idea, Pal.”
“Does a ranch really need goats? Where are them goats now? You couldn’t even keep a cat unner yer hat, Kid.”
“We’re gittin’ a puppy, Pal.”
“We are, ‘cause I never dreamed we wouldn’t.”
Doggone (Part I) by D. Avery
“Kid, where’n heck ya been?”
“Saw a advertisement fer young dogs, fer sale at the Slim Chance Ranch. Slim seemed real tickled, me wantin’ a dog. Hopin’ you’ll be happy fer me too Pal.”
“Hmmf. Uh, Kid yer pup’s got kinda a flattened face.”
“It’s its breedin’, Pal. This here’s a puglet.”
“Uh-huh. Kid yer puglet ain’t got much fur. It’s kinda pink.”
“She ain’t fully growed. Like baby rabbits or mice.”
“Uh-huh. Kid, why’s yer puppy wearin’ booties?”
“Slim did that ta pertect her paws, said they ain’t fully developed yet. Never dreamed I’d have my own puppy!”
Doggone (Part II) by D. Avery
“Kid, it behooves me ta tell ya somethin’ ‘bout yer puppy.”
“What kin ya say ‘cept how dang cute she is? Look’t her waggin’ her tail. Might call her Curly. What d’ya think a that?”
“Oh, it’s a fine name fer yer puglet, Kid, but—”
“Look’t how she likes ta be scratched behind her ears.”
“’Bout them ears, Kid…”
“Hey, it’s Shorty.”
“Hey Kid, hey Pal. Oh, Kid! Yer gonna raise yer own? Musta gone down ta Slim’s.”
“Yep, got a puglet of my own. Gonna train it ta hunt.”
“Really? Never dreamed there’s truffles on the Ranch.”
Doggone (Part III) by D. Avery
“Truffle huntin’ might work out, Kid, but I figgered you’d be raisin’ this piglet up fer bacon. Not surprised ya went ta Slim’s when he advertised young hogs fer sale.”
“I’m more of a hoss person, but I’d say ya got yerself a real fine piglet, Kid.”
“Jist keep her outta the carrot patch. I ain’t fergittin’ yer trouble with goats, Kid, but reckon we kin accommodate yer bacon project.”
“Takes a lot Kid, ta raise yer own, ta look yer food in the eye.” “
Never dreamt I’d give up bacon. Come Curly. Good girl.”