More than ice can freeze the bones.
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.
Photo courtesy of 47 North Belly Dance by 2nd Sandbar.
Frozen by Joanne Fisher
“Come in! You must be frozen!” Sonia said as she opened the door wide for her friend. Maddy walked in shivering with her arms hugging her body. She had been caught in a sudden cold snap and felt cold to the bone. “Let’s get you warm.” Sonia wrapped her arms around Maddy slowly warming her with her own body heat. The two of them stood there in silence.
“Thanks.” Maddy said appreciatively. This is what she lived for: being in the arms of Sonia, the girl she deeply loved. If only Sonia loved her the same way in return.
Gut Feeling by Ann Edall-Robson
Inside the log cabin, a sharp crack silenced the voices of the couple sitting at the table.
“What the heck was that?”
He leaned across the table, blowing out the lantern, putting the room into darkness.
“Get on the floor.”
Grabbing his down jacket he headed out the door.
The snapping and groaning from the moon-bathed frozen lake hadn’t convinced him the noise they’d heard had come from here. Turning towards the silhouetted cabin, the sound of gunfire erupted at the same time that his face was sprayed with tree splinters.
Why hadn’t he just trusted his gut?
Frozen by Ritu Bhathal
All I could hear were titters, whispering, and the odd lewd comment, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Well, of course I was telling them to ignore the unignorable, and continue to listen to me, as I explained the importance of probability.
My words fell on deaf ears. I could imagine the screen shots, and subsequent memes flooding WhatsApp.
My face, frozen on screen, with my mouth wide open, eyes closed, as if I was in the midst of something much more pleasurable than teaching maths.
Dang remote learning, unstable internet connections, and bloody live lessons!
Frozen Emotions by Sue Spitulnik
When Mac recognized the handwriting on the package, he froze. His body motionless, his mind raced back almost 50 years to visualize the young Vietnamese woman who had given him a son. “Colm McCarthy and descendants;” why was it addressed such?
Later, with the family assembled, Mac’s wife, Nan, opened the package. She handed envelopes to the three generations, Mac, Thad, and Katie, then read a note aloud. “My husband has died. I would like permission to visit.”
No one reacted.
Finally, Nancy said, “Thad, her situation was forced. I think it’s a good idea.”
Thad wasn’t so sure.
Note:To update new readers, Michael is the lead singer for this band. Thad is a 50/50, half American-half Vietnamese raised by his father, Mac, and stepmother, Nancy. He has no memory of his biological mother. Katie is Thad’s daughter.
Frozen Tears by Diana Nagai
“Nothing’s more sad than the death of an illusion – Arthur Kesler.” I froze at the sight of the plaque, reminded of our past. Your presence overwhelmed me, elevating me onto a pedestal. I ignored my discomfort because you made me laugh. I convinced myself you needed me more than I needed you. Then you were gone. My attempts to reach you were either ignored or returned with blame, leaving me to wonder if we ever truly friends. It’s been years, and death has taken you permanently. Yet, I shed no tears. I mourned the loss of you years ago.
Return to Alaska by Luccia Gray
“Hi, my name’s Suzie. I’ll be looking after you this morning.” I smiled at the pretty hostess.
She showed me some images on her screen. “Where would you like to go today, Maggie?”
I needed to return to the cabin where I had left my unfinished manuscript.
“A beach, the mountains, a lake, or…”
“I want to go back to Alaska.”
Suzie pushed my wheelchair into the viewing room. “Why are you always so keen on Alaska’s frozen landscape?”
“I have to finish my novel.”
Suzie squeezed my limp hand and slid on the 3D glasses. “Alaska it is.”
Catatonia by Anne Goodwin
It isn’t entertainment. It isn’t defiance. Yet they prod me, pinch me, pose me in increasingly awkward positions. I challenge their apothecary, so they challenge me.
They think I can’t feel, yet the ache in my muscles, the cramp, proclaims I’m alive. At night, when my head hits the pillow, I sleep like the dead.
In another life, I’d paint myself silver and wink at the children pitching coins in my hat. Or I’d serve as a sentry outside some palace. But I’m in the madhouse, frozen in sorrow, starved of volition. If an icicle bends, it will snap.
Frozen by D. Avery
Every visit I am grateful for the window, though it’s always shut tight against any air. Today tapered icicles hang down from the eves, their steady drip in the late winter sun inaudible through the panes, replaced by my mother’s hollow chirping.
I sense my mother is afraid to come here alone. She tells me her granny enjoys seeing me but the old lady never even looks up. Says nothing. Just sits there.
Feels like 80 degrees in this room. As always, Granny’s bundled in thick socks, a lap robe, and a shawl.
Still she just sits there, frozen.
The Old Orangutan by Donna Matthews
The kiddos burst inside the house, running up to me and yelling, grandma, grandma, let’s go to the zoo!
“Oh no, I don’t think so.”
Come on, grandma! The lions, the monkeys, the elephants!
Oh, why not? It certainly is a beautiful day.
Wandering beautiful park paths, kiddos running ahead, I take in the sounds of the tropical birds, the lush greens, and delighted laughter. Suddenly, monkeys flying through the air greet us. After the flyers, we come around to orangutans; an old male and I lock eyes, and we both freeze. His sad eyes look away first.
Our New Cat by Nancy Brady
Lisa called us about a stray cat that Marcia, a co-worker, had recently rescued. To be more accurate, the cat had found Marcia’s stoop on a wintry December night, begging to come inside. When she first saw the frozen, frightened black cat, he was backed into a corner by a snarling, hissing cat. Marcia opened the back door and the cat raced inside. Unfortunately, her husband’s allergies flared up, and the cat they had taken to the vet and named Graham had to go. The couple wanted a good family for Graham, and we fit the bill, adopting Regulus.
Frozen in a Field of Pradas by Jack Keaton
“Maximus has something in his mouth!” Janet frantically whispered to Brandon, waking him up. “He’s under the bed!”
When Brandon shined his Maglite under the bed, he saw a three-inch field mouse–scampering into their closet.
“What is it?”
“It’s a mouse, presumably drowning in your Pradas.”
Brandon found the rodent poking his head out of a black pump, frozen in Brandon’s light.
“Where in the hell is that cat?” Brandon complained to no one while fetching a bag and a broom.
But Maximus was coiled on the bed, content that He did his part for his pride.
A Frozen Forager by Michelle Vongkaysone
I’m fine with frozen carrots, I admit that. It’s better than digging in the cellar for them.
They’re ready to use in the freezer. At any other time, I would appreciate frozen carrots.
However, this isn’t any ordinary time. That storm came suddenly, forcing me inside for safety.
I wasn’t properly prepared. At least it was quick, if not ferocious. My house was covered in snow.
Afterwards, I went out to check everything. The pipes weren’t frozen, but my carrot patch was!
By salvaging it, I learned a valuable lesson: I’ve had enough of any frozen carrots for now.
Frozen by Colleen Chesebro
My first walk in the new neighborhood turned up some surprises. Across the street, a fast-running stream bordered the edge of the forest along the walking path.
So, this is where the deer came from, I thought. We’d spotted deer tracks in the snow as they came right up to our front porch. A real Michigan welcoming committee!
Around the corner, I spotted a pond, frozen beneath the afternoon sun. I day-dreamed about the frogs and crickets serenading us in the stillness of a long summer night.
frost-bound pond glistens
cattails rattle in the wind
mourning dove calls spring
New Home by Hugh W. Roberts
Having travelled millions of miles, had it found its new home?
The frozen wastes of space were no place anymore for the light pink sphere.
It had travelled for thousands of years, but the icy blue planet ahead looked the only hope it had of survival.
The glowing rays of a young star rising in the east sent the alien into a potential thaw and deep sleep on this new world.
Millions of years later, it awoke to find new owners’ of the planet had built a city on top of where it had rested.
“Welcome to Wuhan’, it recorded, as it began the fightback to reclaim its new home.
Frozen (not the movie) by Doug Jacquier
He mused upon his woes then
He went out in the snow then
In his ribbons and his bows then
To find his status quo then
and face his demon foes then
No goal, just to’s and fro’s then
Not following the crows then
He felt the icy winter blows then
Right through his winter hose then
He couldn’t feel his nose then
It spread down to his toes then
He thought he’d have a doze then
As everybody knows then
That’s the way he goes then
And there he sits all frozen
Sadder but no wiser; so zen
The Frozen Lake by Emma G. Slayton
Kara was ice-skating on Greenwood Lake. She was in the middle of the frozen lake when a snow machine went by. She was scared and she fell and hurt her leg.
The snow machine guy named Tom looked behind him and saw that she was on the ice and she was hurt. He went back to get her and bring her to the doctor. After that she had a leg brace. They became friends and then they went to college. After college Tom went to be a professional snow machine guy and Kara became a professional ice skating girl.
A Frozen Lesson by Willow Willers
Jasmina was the founder member! Over the years they’d risen to fame internationally.
Geeta was the youngest and most recent member to the group.
The argument all started when Geeta announced they been asked to do an Indian version of Let it Go! Jasmina wanted to dismiss it out of hand, after all she dealt with the bookings.
Well, she was outvoted, to save face she agreed the others could do the video she would direct.
So she picked the costumes and the venue. Dressed warmly she watched from her heated cabin and smiled. They all looked truly Frozen.
Frozen by Anita Dawes
Frozen with horror by the razor-sharp edge,
the blade at my throat, the overlapping fear of warm blood
Free flowing from my body, zoning out into darkness
Falling into a world of blank memory, near to death
I see the dark cloaked figure of an angel gently waking my sleeping body
Not realising, my spirit had decided to jump around the room with joy
Without letting me know where the happiness comes from
I lie there wondering why I had been sent an angel wearing L plates
Would she pull the two halves of my body together in time?
A Necessary Part of the Proceedings by Nicole Horlings
“Sir Gilbert, on trial for treachery and desertion,” one of his guards announced as they marched him into the bright throne room. He squinted up at the Queen, who stared haughtily back at him, clearly annoyed at the distraction from her leisure activities.
“Off with his head,” she said emotionlessly, stifling a yawn.
Gilbert’s jaw dropped. “I have an explanation for my actions. Don’t I have the right to defend myself?”
“This that really a necessary part of the proceedings?” the Queen asked her advisor.
“It is,” he agreed.
“Fine,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. “Then explain yourself, traitor.”
Pine Point 1969 by Bill Engleson
It was a shock to the system,
of this Frontier College guy,
dropped into a snow-swept,
tundra under bright northern sky.
A teacher of the English language,
and the warm-blooded tool crib guy.
Fifty below with wind chill
And death when the arctic winds fly.
A backdrop of constant blizzard
Soil that nothing grows in,
Skin sliced and scissored,
facial baby hair frozen.
This was life in a barracks,
Wild mining camp lore,
an open-pit of errors,
an environmental war
Though now a disassembled ghost town,
Not among the chosen,
A wilderness of darkness
And memories, stark and frozen.
Terra by Saifun Hassam
Khyrie’s ancestors were spacefarers from Earth’s Alaskan Arctic Zone. From digital archives she learned of Earth’s forbidding and daunting frozen wastelands before global warming melted the icescapes, creating catastrophic conditions for life on Earth.
Terra23’s poles were extensive icescapes of glaciers and mountains. Aquatic life teemed in summer under the melting ice.
When jagged chasms ripped apart ice fields, geologists discovered intriguing clues of past open seas. Khyrie, a biologist, was captivated by the diversity of polar life. She left Terra’s green valleys to live at Northern Glacier Habitat.
Gaining Ground a Second Time Around? by JulesPaige
Once long ago was a great rumble
Dino’s lost ground took a right tumble
T’wasn’t till a good hard rap
On their ground did man tap
Bones found frozen in time’s ice bubble
With time them dug bones from the ground, rose
Folks drew up the look of dino’s nose
Handled scraps with respect
Deft, no piece to reject
Some guesses accurate I suppose
Hard to fix features a truthful way
Of something that in the ground did stay
Thousands of years frozen
Some looks were just chosen
So we could see ‘em somehow today
…because RUOK looked prehistoric!
Holy Fishin’ Hole by D. Avery
“Now what ya been up to out in thet cold, Kid?”
“Decided since things is froze up I’d try fishing through the ice on the pond.”
“No Pal, but I had what ya might call a mystical ‘sperience. Heard a voice from on high.”
“Been at Ernie’s cookies agin?”
“No, Pal. Ever time I’d drill a hole in the ice a boomin’ echo-y voice would speak ta me.”
“Sayin’, ‘Don’t drill there. There’s no fish there.’”
“Wait. Pond? Kid, where’s this pond at?”
“Uh, that flat area below the cookhouse.”
“Kid, thet’s a skatin’ rink!”
Chop Bustin’ by D. Avery
“Kid, yer a mess. An’ why’s thet puglet a yers wearin’ glass slippers?”
“Jist let poor Curly in next ta the fire, Pal. Temper’tures dropped considerable. Ever’thin’s frozen. Almost.”
“Me an’ Curly was skatin’ aroun’ a bit on the pond.”
“A pig on ice?”
“Her little hooves was goin’ ever which way. Fin’lly she got ‘em all under her. Then, whomp, all four legs sank through.”
“A stuck pig?”
“I yanked an’ tugged.”
“Fin’lly got her out but the ice clung ta her legs. Gotta git ‘em thawed out.”
“Careful. Smells like smoked ham hocks.”
“Snow” is a transcultural fusion dance drawing on movement from Raqs Sharqi, Datura, DanceCraft, modern, and ballet. It is inspired by the beauty of Lake Superior’s winter shoreline and is dedicated to the Ojibwa Water Walkers, People of the Heart, a group of women who speak up for and protect nibi (water). 47 North is a performance group named for the far-north latitude that skims through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. As a transnational fusion dance troupe, we combine various belly dance styles with modern, jazz, hip hop, and other art forms.
Choreographers – Sylvia Schourek and Allison Mills; Videographers – Amanda Makela, Daena Makela, and Kris Niva; Video Editing – Amanda Makela and Daena Makela; Music – “Luminsade” by Joe Michaelson.