Welcome to Carrot Ranch Literary Community where creative writers from around the world and across genres gather to write 99-word stories. A collection of prompted 99-word stories reads like literary anthropology. Diverse perspectives become part of a collaboration.
We welcome encouraging comments. You can follow writers who link their blogs or social media.
Those published at Carrot Ranch are The Congress of Rough Writers.
Meeting Truth by Reena Saxena
“Have you heard the story where Truth and Lies go for a swim in a pond? Lies jumps out and disappears wearing Truth’s clothes. Since then, Lies masquerade as Truth all over, and Truth is too embarrassed to come out of the pond.”
“What makes you think of the parable now?”
“Well, I met Truth yesterday. He says you deserve what you get if you value people by the clothes they wear. It’s your soul that disappeared from well-camouflaged bodies.”
“How did you meet Truth?”
“I bared my soul and am willing to admit that I made a mistake.”
Where’d It Go? by Michael Fishman
Roll over, turn off the alarm. Shower, brush, dress. Make lunch.
Repeat times five, let cool for 48 hours and repeat for 20, 40, 60 or however many years.
Day after day after day. Weeks pass into years into decades.
The changes are so gradual as to be invisible. Some of them, like the need for a larger belt, bubble to the surface while others are more subtle. It wasn’t until around year 50-ish when I was stuffing my pants with a wallet and keys that I wondered why I still carried a comb. Where had it all gone?
The Last of Adam by Hugh W. Roberts
Adam watched time disappear, but he also witnessed his life slowly disappearing.
“Where am I? Why can’t I see?” he bearly whispered.
The final thing Adam remembered was being a passenger in his girlfriend’s new car. She’d just passed her driving test. Had the truck been on the wrong side of the road?
The faint sound of sobbing and two familiar voices began to disappear gradually.
“Are you sure he’s dead, mother?”
“No, but it won’t take long. Adam will never escape from the coffin we’ve buried him in,” she said, looking down at the grave. “You’re safe again.”
The Ghost in the Machine by Colleen M. Chesebro
“I’m not kidding, Charlene. My blog was there one minute and gone the next.”
“No way. Now what?”
“I’ve had so many problems with my blog. Yesterday, I contacted ProsePress, and they had an engineer look at the coding. Apparently, there was a ghost in the machine.”
“It’s complicated, but a ghost in the machine refers to the virtual consciousness of a dead person who exists inside a computer and interacts with the outside world.”
“So, the ghost made your blog disappear?”
“Yup. So, I bought a new computer, and I’ve not had any blog problems since!”
Disappearing by Scott Bailey
I don’t miss the fighting. She was always up for that, always ready to find something about me she didn’t like. While it never got physical, the other abuses added up to more than that. Unseen cuts and bruises. A toll I was never able to pay, a burden I could never carry. I couldn’t figure her out. Did she find joy in watching me shrink to nothing? Did she grow stronger as my strength waned? I felt trapped, lost and disappearing more each day. Pushing her off that balcony helped me find myself again. Of course, jail sucks.
The Great Escape by Joanne Fisher
The door to my cell opened and two guards walked in. They looked around in confusion.
“Where is she?” one asked.
“She’s disappeared.” the other said. I stood silently in front of them.
While I’m not adept at great magic, I do have a couple of useful spells up my sleeve. This spell wasn’t a true invisibility spell, it just made people unable to notice me so long as I didn’t draw attention to myself. They searched my cell and then quickly left, luckily leaving the door open. I managed to quietly walk out of the dungeons and escape.
Traces by Bill Engleson
Can’t remember quite when I started to disappear.
I’d always felt, whole, complete, perfect, you could say.
Not bragging. It just seemed like that was the way life was.
Then one day little aches I’d never had before started to nag.
And then the oddest thing.
I went to meet a friend at a little bistro.
Outside, you know, in plain Covid view.
He was late but finally showed up.
I asked, “What kept you?”
He said, “I was here on time. Just couldn’t see you.”
That’s when it started, I suppose.
Or maybe the day I was born.
Disappearance by Sadje
I worried about her a lot. Being the youngest, she was never very confident in herself and her abilities. But little by little, the change came. At first, it wasn’t very apparent but slowly and surely we all felt it.
The shy and timid young woman has gradually come into her own. Her lack of self-confidence and self-assertion gradually disappeared and now she is a woman who knows what she wants.
She is not only raising a baby, and working as a freelance software developer, but she’s also a wonderful wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law. She now stands for herself.
The Old Crowd by Anne Goodwin
We called ourselves the five elles at college, but only four of us have made it to the reunion. But an eighty percent survival rate isn’t bad for friends in our seventies, although Lucy’s had cancer and Lisa has an artificial hip. But what happened to Lydia? We’ve looked online and found no trace alive or dead. A star that bright can’t simply disappear. Lainy once saw her double from a taxi window. A granddaughter? She couldn’t stop to ask. Only I recall Lydia’s drunken midnight confession. “I’m cursed with immortality. I might look twenty, but I’m centuries old.”
Still Royalty by Sue Spitulnik
When Michael, with his odd gait, and Tessa walked into their 30 high school reunion, they hadn’t expected the banner welcoming the class prom king and queen. At the registration table, they learned the committee did it because it was the first time either one of them had been able to attend, and more so because they were together, as everyone remembered.
Across the room, two female classmates noticed their arrival. One said, “She got him up out of that wheelchair. Good for her.” The other whined, “She made the most eligible bachelor disappear. I’m still envious of her.”
The Disappearing Trick by Norah Colvin
Jamie tore open his gifts—a book from Pauline, a soccer ball from Mum and, from Grandma and Grandpa, a magic set.
“Look, Rabbit,” said Jamie. “I can make things disappear.”
Jamie prepared his performance.
“For my first trick, I will make Rabbit disappear. Everyone, close your eyes. Abba. Dabba. Caboo! Open your eyes. Look. Rabbit disappeared.”
The family clapped.
“Where’s Rabbit?” asked Pauline.
“For my next trick, I will pull Rabbit out of the hat. Abba. Dabba. Caboo!”
“I wish it was that easy to disappear,” Mum whispered.
“We’ll help,” said Grandma and Grandpa.
Disappear by Simon
Just disappear out from my life. He yelled at his parents.
After 12 hours they came back.
Where have you been? His voice cracked
We did what you asked for. came to check out, whether the offer still exists.
His eyes trembled, he controlled
I would say anything, and you will just do?
Anything for you! his dad & mom said
Don’t do anything like this. I’m starving.
Alright then! Apologies?
I am Sorry!
and have you done …..
He stopped her ‘ I’ve done all that. Can we talk about….?’
KFC or mcdonald’s? his dad asked
Mom’s pancake is fine!
Disappearing Acts (Part I) by D. Avery
“Hope, you’ve been a while with your chickens this morning.”
“You won’t believe it. Hattie’s eggs are gone.”
“She’s sitting them.”
“Not anymore. Every single egg Hattie was sitting on has disappeared!”
“Hope, is this an April Fools’ joke?”
“I had nothing to do with the disappearing eggs.”
“Did a fox get them?”
“No, no fox.
“Huh. I wonder. Hattie must be upset.”
“She seems pretty happy they’re gone.”
“Okay, take me to the henhouse, show me these disappeared eggs.”
“Daddy! How can I show you something that’s disappeared? But I can show you something that has appeared. Chicks!”
Disappearing Acts (Part II) by D. Avery
“Why, look. Hattie’s already got them out scratching in the yard. They’ve forgotten all about those egg shells they’ve left behind.”
“The chicks will disappear too. Their downy feathers will disappear. But pinfeathers will appear, then real feathers. Even their shrill little peeps will disappear, replaced by clucking like Hattie’s.”
“You’re right Hope. Their spindly little legs will grow scaled and sturdy. Their wings will fill out and they’ll fly. Just like you.”
“Daddy, remember when Hattie was a spunky little chick? Now she’s a spunky mother hen.”
“Yup. Disappearances, new appearances, and constants. Just like you.”
Disappearing Father by Duane L Herrmann
All during my childhood my father would disappear once a year, almost the same time each year. His regular disappearance was a normal part of life. Then one day he disappeared and, after the normal time, he didn’t return. At that time his disappearance became uncomfortable. He never appeared again and I have been uncomfortable during the fifty-plus years since. He’s gone and I miss him. Even though I know why, that doesn’t make his absence easier. His regular disappearances were for his annual naval reserve cruises, part of his enlistment. His permanent absence came after he was killed.
Disappearance by Oliver Heginbotham
I met a current and perhaps an old friend. He showed me a video. One from a childhood that apparently belongs to me. I watched and I was conflicted.
Did I used to inhabit that small, skinny body? Did I wear those grass-stained jeans? Did I use that little, growing, brain to think?
I am unsure if I have spent my whole life still, or moving. I do not see any of that boy in me. He said things I would not say. Did things I would not dream of doing. Is he still here; or has he disappeared?
Disappearance by Lisa Williams
She wasn’t quite sure what it was or when it had gone.
When she’d lost that little spark that made her smile. The magic that got her up in the mornings and helped her leave the house. Her hair was unwashed as were the sheets. A litter of crusting cups spread through the house. The kitchen bin belched a stink without even being opened. All the curtains remained shut. Friends were worried but she didn’t answer their messages and ignored knocks at the door.
Whatever it was, it had vanished.
And the saddest thing was she’d stopped missing it.
Disappearance by (Gypsie) Ami Offenbacher-Ferris
It was here, seemingly only a few moments ago. Yet, neither could find it anywhere. They searched for it together and they searched apart. Neither one could believe they had lost it.
Deciding to search one last night; the searching was awkward, stilted and definitely not how it had been. There was no team-work, no coordination. Their basic understanding of how to work as one unit no longer existed.
They sat upon the bed just looking at one another. The disappearance of their love had gone unnoticed, just as the disappearance of years had.
Nothing Disappears Entirely by Anita Dawes
Time fades, memory fades
We are destined to fade into history
Our names may be remembered
If we are lucky
To dust we return, part of the earth
Does that mean we remain?
Where is the light that we carried?
Does it shine in some unseen dimension?
Can we be called back?
Would you want to return?
It is believed many do return
Often, their light can be remembered
As one you knew long ago
In the face of a new-born
Nothing disappears entirely
Everything, it is said,
leaves a trace mark
In some unseen fashion…
Short Life, And Then by Nancy Brady
They were already disappearing, not to been seen for another year.
Per usual, they were first seen in the church’s landscaping in white, yellow, lilac, and deep purple, and then soon after, some appeared in neighbors’ flowerbeds as well as ours. The last to pop out were protected by its location, overshadowed by other plants.
Seemingly delicate little flowers, but resilient enough to withstand the last blast of winter’s snows and its yo-yoing temperatures, crocuses bring hope of the spring to come.
Lasting but a few days, their staggered blooming lifted the spirits of those ready for warmer weather.
Disappearing Wind by Ann Edall-Robson
I arrive from out west. Scarcely heard as I tickle the land with my dance. But I am not happy with childish games. I’ve lost interest in playing to please those I encounter. I am a force to be reckoned with, ignoring the pleas for me to stop. I have little care about the consequences. I come to eat the snow, drink the ponds dry, and add fuel to wild fires. And when I’m ready, I move on, disappearing on the horizon like the setting sun. But I will return on a whim, for I am the Chinook Wind.
The Year Of The Cat by Geoff Le Pard
Little Tittweaking was beset with many mice and other small gnawy mammals. The chosen mouser, a ginger Tom called Cooking Fat*, proved useless. This was a surprise since Cookie’s antecedents included the 2022 Meeces to Pieces ripping champion and a psychotic dam called Medusa. Finally, when Cookie departed to that final cat litter the truth emerged. He was a Trojan cat, worked by a savvy group of super intelligent mice engineers. Once uncovered the mice turned to lobbying for Rodent Rights. Eventually they all disappeared, evidentially deciding their iconic if irritating Squeak for Peace campaign deserved a wider audience.
*this is a Spoonerism
No Price for Being Wrong by Gary A. Wilson
“Senator, what you’re proposing will kill many businesses.”
“No, it won’t. We’ll ask everyone to do the same . . .”
“Stop! You won’t ‘ask’. It’s not a request if you penalize non-compliance. That’s forcing.”
“How can you not see that these two-cylinder blowers are polluting the environment? Switching everyone to four-cylinder models will help save the planet? Left to choose, everyone will keep selling those cheaper less efficient blowers.”
“And your bad-science law will only create a black-market from states where banned blowers will remain available. Our business will ‘disappear’, and you’ll pay no penalty for being wrong.”
Delicious Irony by Doug Jacquier
When you humans brought us monstera deliciosa inside, you had to feed us copious amounts of blood and bone fertiliser to keep us green. Slowly that altered our genetic structure and we evolved into monstera carnivorosa.
Nobody missed flies and mosquitoes when they disappeared but when the cats and dogs vanished, panic truly set in.
But now some of us have evolved into monstera electra and we are slowly eating the electricity grid.
You humans are about to find out what it feels like to be powerless against an enemy that changes the natural order, simply because it can.
Amber the Vampire Familiar (Part 2) by Leonard Mills
Amber stroked the hair of the unconscious being, fingers catching in bloody and matted hair.
The being groaned, tried to move – but bound hands prevented its escape.
Through the crypt window, rising moonlight crept up the crumbling stone coffin.
The lid grated open. She froze, listening for the occupant’s footsteps. Silence.
“Aha, is this breakfast?” her Master’s velvet timbre, so close.
“Yes. Nobody saw her disappear.”
“Ah, I am grateful to find a Familiar who cares so for their work. And for me.”
“No problem,” she sighed, then whispered to startled eyes, “sorry Sis, work’s tight at the moment.”
A True Ghosting by JulesPaige
My sister left the faucet of our shared basement room running. She had also locked the door and carefully removed the six slates of jalousie rectangle panes as well as the screen of the small window. She must have worn something old to go out on that cold night. She disappeared.
Was she ‘that’ unhappy with our life, with our parents? I had a friend over that weekend, alternate weekends I spent with my friend. My sister just babysat most Friday and Saturday nights. I didn’t spend all that much time with her either. Maybe that’s why she left?
Author’s Note: POV changed to protect the innocent – The missing, returned, coped and eventually fell into a very happy life.
In Which Amelie Believes, and Disappears by Chel Owens
Scritchy scratchy wax on wall, she thought. No matter. It was the shape she needed right.
*Sniff* a hand ‘cross red nose and puffy eyes. *Stomp stomp stomp* she heard those hobnailed boots but they .stopped. off the other way.
She breathed and scritched and scratched, the purple crayon unwilling to give its wax without a fight.
“There,” she said, and loved the circle she’d formed from the bit of crayon abandoned in the hallway.
“I’m Amelie, and I believe.”
Stuttering hand reached to the middle of the circle. Pushed. And disappeared, where *stomp stomp stomp* can’t find her.
Disappeared 2 by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Eloise initially felt guilty about setting up her brother for failure when she dared him to explore the basement of the haunted mansion. She was sure she’d relax, once she inherited Andrew’s single room and vacated the space she shared with their awful twin sisters.
But the mansion didn’t explode. Andrew hadn’t turned up. And now she was beginning to worry. She’d supplied the map, the failing flashlight, and the three matches. He wasn’t as smart as her, but he’d figure it out. She had motive, means, and they watched the same TruCrime Cable shows.
So where was he?
Dear Ex… by Gloria McBreen
Dear sweet ex,
It’s been 22 years since we broke up and I think about you every day. I live in hope that someone, somewhere in Cavan will bring you back.
I’ll always remember the night Gloria and Tricia got us together. It was love at first sight. Together we were dynamite! We were like Black Magic melting in a dark pool of crema topped Nespresso.
Since your disappearance, I’ve been raw. All I have now are my memories and memes on Facebook.
Cavan Cola, you were the best thing that ever happened to me.
Unwritten by Shari Marshall
I tap my fingers, slow and rhythmic, against the empty page of my notebook.
I watched my hand move my pencil backward and up, line after line. Each letter traced over with the lead tip vanished from the page until I found myself here. My hand is unoccupied. My HB pencil evaporated into a thin mist scattering on the air currents. The ticking clock echoes in the silence, an auditory nudge towards my deadline; two things that won’t dissipate. The timeline for creating my ideas approaches. The clock’s voice is a continuous reminder of the disappearance of my muse.
Ruminations by Saiifun Hassam
I lean back on a rock overlooking the Reading Trails and valleys far below. A squirrel studies me inquisitively, then disappears into a brilliant yellow gorse shrub, down an invisible trail.
I’m reading a futuristic story about Mindships. AIs from someone’s mind. Human DNA and digital DNA. Someone’s Mind disappears into a wormhole, searching for new remote stars.
Tall leafless oaks on the trail remind me of Rumi’s words. To grow new leaves, you have to shed the old ones.
Enough rumination! From the valley below, I see giant beanstalks climbing into the clouds?? Must be Pepe’s magic beans!
Story in Mind (Part I) by D. Avery
“Kid, what’re ya so grumpy fer now? Ya said you was happy knowin the saloon’ll be openin agin soon.”
“Ain’t ta do with the saloon Pal.”
“Well Shorty’s told ya ta stop worryin bout robo-writers an i-Kids, assured ya there’s plenny a shift fer you ta shovel.”
“Yep, I’m all set, ready fer changes an fer what stays the same.”
“Then what’s botherin ya? Cain’t be the prompt, ya said ya had a great story in mind fer it.”
“Yep. I did. Got it all writ too, on the computer.”
“So what’s the problem?”
“Fergot ta save. Story disappeared.”
Story in Mind (Part II) by D. Avery
“Kid there’s gotta be a way ta git thet story back.”
“Well, it come outta yer head. Poke around up there, see if ya kin write it agin.”
“Yeah, bout that. My head’s gittin ta be one a them places, ya cain’t set nuthin down fer even a instant or it disappears.”
“Ya must member something bout thet story.”
“Was 99 words, no more no less.”
“Uh-huh. What was them words about?”
“Bout a hundred, give or take.”
“Kid! What was the story about?”
“Member it was a great story.”
“Greatest story never told.”
Thanks for hosting xx
Every week, this collection reminds me that creativity is boundless. My pleasure!
[…] The collection of last week’s 99-word stories can be read here; Disappearance. […]
What starts with a parable, ends with a laugh, and has magic, drama, poignancy, twists, humor, and honesty throughout?
This collection of 99 word stories that’s what; stories that, incredibly, all came from one prompt. 30 writers found inspiration and made time to write and share their responses here. And that, Ranchers, is why I love it here. Thank you all for the good reading and good company.
That’s a great way to frame the Collection, D.!
[…] Here’s the collection link: Disappearance Collection […]
There is a great variety even with just one prompt. Some very relatably real and others fanciful.
I enjoyed them all. Thanks to Charli and all the Ranchers for a wonderful Saturday morning read!
By now, it shouldn’t surprise me with the variety of all the stories written by the Word Wranglers here, but I am always impressed with them. There is just so much to enjoy week after week ~nan
I find it interesting how many different paths of life are represented in the collection of stories when we all start with the same nudge. Thank you to all who dare. You leave me thinking of new and old circumstances.
As always, a great collection. I read every one and commented on as many as I could find through links to blogs. I found the ones about the disappearance of self and/or of relationship the most poignant, but all had something to ponder or smile about. I thought Reena’s was a great story to open with, and of course it’s always good to end with Pal and Kid for a chuckle.
Thanks for hosting. A really wonderful collection of stories. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part and reading others interpretations of the prompt!