It’s dark at the bottom of the well where deep wishes reside.
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.
Deep Wishes by Goldie
A few years ago, I tried a deep-dish pizza for the first time. Going into that experience, I kept an open mind. Yes, I like my pizza crust thin, but I also love tons of cheese and other toppings. The pie, which we picked up on our way back from visiting our mother at the hospital, was comforting and filled us up pretty quickly.
“What does that have to do with deep wishes?” Charli asked, pointing to the prompt.
“What? I thought it said ‘deep dishes.'” Goldie replied.
“I deeply wish for your eyesight to get better,” Charli chuckled.
Colors of Fortune by D. Avery
lazurite pulse from deep within
night sky, star spilt light seeping through
deep wishes are this shade of blue
in sleek watery hues they swim;
yellow sunlight stirs blue, spins
absorbed by earth, emerges green
deep wishes are what color spring;
shoots poke through snow-melt packed-leaf ground
deep wishes star this soft hewed brown
deep wishes are seeds sown unseen;
who’s the sower? we cannot know
but through the wisdom of a child
who knows deep wishes just grow wild
roots in earth, airy seeds that blow;
free to harvest with good reason
deep wishes bloom in all seasons.
Deep Wishes by Jaye Marie
Sitting in the middle of the field, mysterious in the moonlight,
was a wishing well. It wasn’t there yesterday; of that I am sure.
I mean, why would anyone build a well so far from a house?
Far from looking quaint and old worldly, it looked much too menacing for my liking.
I found myself drawn to it, but was my life really so bad, I needed to make a wish?
There were a few things I could wish for,
a proper home, a better husband, a baby…
If I only had to choose one, which would it be?
Before the Call by Padmini Krishnin
Maria savored the hazelnut chocolate, eyes closed, as each bite melted in her mouth and warmed her heart. She wore her favorite pink lace dress, which now hung loosely around her thin body. However, she no longer cared about her weight.
She touched the pink pearls her husband had given her long ago. They were as fake as he was. But, she had kept both.
Maria walked around her beloved garden, feeling the twilight breeze on her face.
She leaned back and took a deep breath. Then she dialed the clinic to ask for the result of her diagnosis.
Buried Dreams by Anne Goodwin
One was easy: Please water! Please food! It slumbered in his larynx, ready to erupt on reaching dry land. He’d crushed the second in his chest when he learned the consequences of questioning the crew. Desire for coat or canopy to combat gale and hail migrated from his stomach to his bowels. His dreams of home, school, a football pitch dropped deeper with every battering of the boat until they reached his toes. But he’d abandoned hope of seeing his father again so long ago, he’d almost forgotten. That wish, like a surplus body, sinking to the ocean floor.
Deep Wishes by Simon
The night was getting cold, he wished the night could hear his plea. The night was getting darker and colder, his skin shivered as he laid there on the street shirtless. He tried to warm himself, he wished he will get help, he tried to stop the cars that had passed. To his bad luck, no one had turned up or stopped the car. He wished someone will throw an old sweater, he wished someone will give him a shelter, he wished and laid there stared at the sky, and wished he could die, and his wish came true.
The Bargain by Joanne Fisher
“And do you have a wish?”
“I deeply wish the killer comes to know what he took away from me. The love I shared with her. I want him to know the wonderful person she was and the light she brought into other people’s lives. I want him to know that; to finally understand what he took away from us all as he rots away in the darkness of a cell. That’s what I want.”
“I understand. Consider it done, though you have paid a great price.” the voice said. I stared at the pale reflection in the mirror.
Deep Wishes by Nicole Grant
A viral rampage chokes the breath from countless lives that matter to us. We who survive violent firestorms of inadequately masked rage know raw fear. For a full year out of time we yearn for justice and a cure as we shelter in place. We plant ‘victory’ gardens wishing deep in our battered hearts that hope might sprout with healing herbs and flowers in the coming spring. With stubborn shovels we pierce the sodden clay, defying the flood of terror raining from above. Life matters. Breath matters. Seven generations of new lives matter now. Love will surely win again.
Yearning… by JulesPaige
to know a loved one
who left too early; no one
told any stories…
to relive perhaps
that one, only memory;
their calm loving touch
to hear their soft voice
of reassurance; that they
thought was limitless…
One cannot rewrite history without changing the direction of several other futures.
Reality outweighs wishes. That is just the way of it.
So for the things that cannot be changed presently…Imagination will have to suffice.
Whatever that great beyond may hold, one must just have patience.
Faith? Divergent thinking? One night where there are no nightmares.
Lost But Now Found by Annette Rochelle Aben
She felt her knees giving away as she walked up the crumbling concrete stairs. What on earth was she thinking anyway? Rejection might be only a few moments away which was not why she was there.
It took a minute for her to figure out that the door was a push and not a pull. Once inside the building, there were more stairs. She could run. Now would be the time.
The older woman in the wheelchair watched the younger woman come down the hall. As their eyes met for the first time, she whispered, “Candace, I’m your mother.”
Tessa’s Lament by Sue Spitulnik
My ex didn’t need me
He made that perfectly clear
Home I came to help the folks
But in reality, they help me
My children are grown
The oldest chose to move here
Closeness she desires
And a grandmother for Emma
But they would be fine without me
I thought Michael needed a helpmate
But he’s so damn self-sufficient
He helps others in need
The Homefront Warriors welcomed me
But I’m just another voice
And set of understanding ears
PTSD? for a military wife
Nah. Someone please help me
Rejoice in being wanted
Compared to being needed
Hidden Guilt by Sue Spitulnik
The battered senior prom picture Michael sequesters in his wallet comes to light when he suffers alone. Staring at it, he remembers; standing tall on legs, twirling Tessa in her sparkly white dress, donning the crown of the elected high school king in love with the queen. He burrows it back into its cave and looks to the sky; his faith is his strength. He prays to be free from the guilt for the wheelchair he uses, the job he can no longer do, and not being thankful enough. He is driven to hide the pain while helping others.
Bottomless Biddings by Bill Engleson
The country had put much stock in the ability of Bottomless Biddings to right the course, to write the Nations next chapter.
“But he is so ancient,” some said. “On occasion, he seems lost in the past. How can we expect him to anticipate the future?”
But others, those who appreciated the wisdom that age imparted, could impart if the stars had aligned, if life and its many trials had allowed the correct mix of struggle and solemnity, of joy and jest, said, “he will take us to where we need to be. Give it time.”
And they did.
Deep Wishes by Ritu Bhathal
Tired of pleasing everyone else, all the time, and never doing anything for myself.
She noticed my mood.
She notices everything.
Approaching me with a cup of my favourite tea, she settled me on a chair, told me to calm down, before handing me the cup.
“Breathe, Nina. Let it out. You know you’re doing a fantastic job, but you can’t forget your dreams. I remember what you were like when you started here, filled with ambition and amazing ideas. Come on, dig deep. What were your wishes, then? It’s time for you to think about yourself.”
Cream Puffs by Faith A. Colburn
Frigid wind blowing off Lake Erie.
Door blows open; tinkles shut.
Warm smells of baking—golden loaves, croissants
Sweet scent of cookies, cakes, cream puffs.
Crisp crust flakes; filling fills senses
Warm vanilla pudding envelopes the tongue
Eyes widen; an ecstatic surprise.
Me, only three, shy in my Shirley
Temple curls, little fur hat and muff.
We left daddy in the winter, ran to Chicago.
I remember almost nothing, except
This bakery with a tinkling bell and cream puffs.
Later, we returned to Dad and stayed together,
But I long to buy Mom one more cream puff
Where the Deep Wishes Go by Colleen M. Chesebro
Sally gazed into the watery darkness of the well. As if reciting a prayer, she whispered with reverence, “This is where the deep wishes go.”
Her smaller sister Elizabeth asked, “Do we say it now?”
“Not yet. When we see the moon slip inside the well, then we say it.”
At dusk, the white sphere ascended into the sky. A hazy shape reflected in the inky depths of the well. Beyond the shadows from the trees, musket fire sparkled against the sky.
Sally and Elizabeth joined hands. “Please grant our wish and bring our father home safe to us.”
Deep Wishes by Rebecca Glaessner
I feel invisible blows as fear and pain chemicals flood my place within my host’s brain. Her carer is destroying her, setting fire to her mind with every heartache, every forgotten promise, every silence, every lie.
I wish to protect her, to save her.
Her carer’s mind was lost in the depths of its own flood long ago.
My host is an Earthen youngling, at her carer’s mercy, but I am neither.
As she sleeps, I break a vital rule and guide her body through the dwelling, to her carer’s room.
Here, I end my host’s nightmare.
The Get Together by Prapti Gupta
Today my mom and me are very excited. Today we are going to meet with our father after a long time. I am very excited for it. But the meeting period is very short, just 10 minutes.
Mr. Morgan was waiting for us. He was the medium through which we are going to talk with him. We are going to do planchette.
My mom and I haven’t talked with him since the day we two died in a road accident a year ago but my father survived!!!!
It’s really a special day for both of us.
That Damn Phone by Donna Matthews
“Hey, I thought we could go to dinner with the Smith’s tonight. We haven’t seen them in weeks.”
“Uh-huh,” my husband murmurs without looking up.
Irritated, I study him a moment and propose, “And then, let’s go to the plant store and buy some fresh plants for the new bed I’ll be making this weekend.”
“Aaaannnnndddd then later, I thought we could lay in the backyard and howl at the moon.”
“Are you kidding me right now – are you even listening?”
He looks up, but his eyes not entirely focused.
That damn phone is killing us.
Wishing to Be Heard by FloridaBorne
The rains came and three rivers flowed, water rising ever so slowly.
Without speech, or expression through letters, Hope tried to warn others by drawing her tormented dreams. The future apocalypse filled reams, depicting millions floating face down.
Tranquilized worlds seek easy answers, never to venture outside the comforting prison of their disbelief.
Colors screamed louder their message: Danger!
Those she loved sought treatment for her pain.
Medicated eyes stared, devoid of emotion, thirty stories above a city jutting from brown waters.
Biblical flooding heralded an earthquake.
As Hope floated among the dead, her drawings sank beneath the water.
Calming Whisper by Ann Edall-Robson
For a moment the corral silhouettes the full moon trailing over the black morning sky. There’s yet to be daylight’s fire on the Eastern horizon to waken the day. It will come in time, but for now, it’s anticipation. A cool breeze shuffles through the trees, in one truck window, out the other, lifting the notes of the wolf’s song. Eerie calls echoing against the canyon walls and penetrating the predawn mist. A shiver slides down my back, into my soul, speaking to me. There‘s a stillness, a calming whisper trying to answer the deep wish simmering within.
Waiting to Rise by Charli Mills
Lake Superior doesn’t freeze flat like a pond. She’s a non-conformist to the ways of domesticated bodies of water. Into the night, she goes screaming, waves punching with each yell. She thrashes, her hips undulating with deep wishes unfulfilled. When they force her into cold compliance, she fights back. The shock of winter marriage doesn’t smooth her wild edges. Ice grabs hold, insistent, freezing her shoreline, paralyzing her economy. She plunges deep and draws her strength, cracking the façade they give her. Ice fractures over and over. Wishes caught and released, shared among women waiting their turn to rise.
Knee-deep by Doug Jacquier
‘Knee-deep, Mr. Easybean Green.’
‘And knee-deep to you, Mr. Phileas Frog.’
‘Why do we keep saying ‘knee-deep’? What’s wrong with ‘fathoms-deep’ or ‘space deep’ or ‘meaning deep’?’
‘Phileas, have you been at the crème de menthe again?’
‘No, Easybean. I’ve been studying etymology.’
‘Well, Phileas, studying entomology is very important for us amphibians. That’s what I call real brain food. Geddit. Brain food.’
‘Yes, I get it, Easybean, unfortunately. I’m talking about the origins of words.’
‘Well, I guess we’ve got knees and we’re deep thinkers. Seems logical to me.’
‘About as logical as anything else, Mr. Easybean Green.’
Something Else by Norah Colvin
His eyes were as round as the cookie. He shuffled on his seat. His fingers twitched. They slow-walked to the plate and he quickly drew them back. His head bent low over the cookie. He inhaled. Deep. Long. No rule against that. He checked for dislodged crumbs. None. He sighed. The door handle rattled. He sat upright, shoved his hands beneath his buttocks and looked at the ceiling.
“You resisted,” said the examiner.
“Not even a crumb?’
He shook his head.
“Then you may have two cookies.”
“Can I have something else, please? I don’t like chocolate.”
A Simple Wish by Ruchira Khanna
“Mommy, I love you to the moon and back.”
“Aww! baby! my words are coming back to me.” Sheila chuckled as she adjusted her head and wiped the sweat off her forehead.
“Mommy, when can you play with me?”
“As soon as I feel better, doll.”
Hearing that, Liz closed her eyes and waved her magic-wand in her direction.
“What did you wish?” Mom inquired when Liz opened her eyes.
Liz placed her tiny hands over her bald head, “My deepest wish is that you get well so we can play together and go out for pizza and burgers.”
The Wishing Well by Nicole Horlings
Clara ran through the garden gate
Rushing around the grand estate
Looking for a good game to play,
Something new to do that day,
When down and down she fell
Deep down into the wishing well.
She thought she’d fall into the water
And become a stranded daughter,
But she floated in a cloud of wishes
Where a variety of delightful riches
Swirled everywhere around her
That promised fun and pleasure.
With a quick flick of her hand
They nicely followed her command.
She sent them all back up the well
Not realizing the limits of the magic spell.
Tales from “Dragon” by Saifun Hassam
The ancient Dragon Cavern well was covered with golden trumpet vines. People with deeply troubled hearts climbed the hills, threw coins into the well. It had infinite patience as it listened to wishes, never revealing its deeply held secrets.
A sorceress went into the well, to seek out its magic. Perhaps she really wanted those silver coins. She disappeared.
Centuries passed. Earth tremors and rains transformed the caverns into a deep long lake. Fragrant lotus and water lilies grew along the shore. People never forgot the mythic ancient well. Whispers of dreams and wishes floated on the lake breeze.
Wishing Well by Liz Husebye Hartmann
The woods were deep, the path mostly overgrown since the last time she’d padded, barefoot and shining, to find the well. Lost and despairing, Myrna lifted her eyes to the liquid warble and slash of fiery red high above.
It looked down at her with piercing black eyes, raising its crest impatiently, having crossed several lifetimes to lead her home. They had been close partners, once upon a time. Did she even remember? The cardinal shrilled, dove, and shot ahead.
Myrna hesitated, eyes following the cardinal, and took off in hot pursuit. Perhaps wishes could come true, after all.
Diggin’ Deep (Part I) by D. Avery
“What’s up, Kid?”
“Wishin’ I had a story, Shorty. Comin’ up dry fer this prompt.”
“Here’s a story. D’ya know why that old mine is boarded up?”
“Reckon ta keep folks away from yer gold.”
“Ha! Kid, by now ya must know the real gold is right here fer all the ranchers an’ readers ta share. It shines in the comments an’ glitters in the roundup.”
“But was a time a shallow feller’s most fervent wish was fer mineral wealth. Was him that dug that mine. Deeper an’ deeper he dug, fer what he found wasn’t never enough.”
Diggin’ Deep (Part II) by D. Avery
“Ever wish ya had more’n 99 words, Shorty?”
“Ya wanna hear the story, you’ll shush Kid…
That feller kept burrowin’ further inta the mountainside, till one day he stumbled an’ fell inta a deep chasm. Lights out.”
“No, jist his lantern. He come ta rest at rock bottom, engulfed in complete and utter dark.”
“Bet he sure wished ta git outa there.”
“Yep. Gittin’ out become his deepest wish, ta see the light a day, never mind ‘bout gold. Was then they appeared.”
“Chapfaeries. Led him through a side tunnel, come out at our carrot patch.”
In It Deep by D. Avery
“Kid, why’s it me tellin’ stories?”
“Jeez, Shorty. Says up there, ‘member? I got nuthin’.”
“No, I mean, where’s Pal at?”
“Dunno. Went off somewheres mutterin’ ‘bout deep wishes. But look, here comes my puglet. What’s that Curly? Pal’s fell inta the well? No? Squeal agin? Pal’s fell inta the ol’ mine shaft? We’re comin’ Curly, take us ta Pal!”
“Look! The Poet Lariat!”
Hey Pal, grab this rope
ya slipped down a real steep slope
out here huntin’ fer a deep wish
gotta haul ya up like a slimy ol’ fish.
“Wish y’all’d jist pull me up already.”