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.
Caution: Pharmacist at Work by Nancy Brady
At the College of Pharmacy, I made tablets, solutions, emulsions, ointments, creams, and suppositories. Whether I ever made an extract, I can’t recall; however, I can’t imagine that I didn’t. After all, our class even made eye drops with a laminar flow hood. As a pharmacist, I made many compounded prescriptions.
This recipe required vanilla extract, and I wondered: could I make it? Considering that I was out, and with supply chain issues, so was the store. I scanned the shelves carefully, and then I saw it. Wedged behind lemon extract, one bottle of vanilla—I slowly extracted it.
Evicted by Hugh W. Roberts
They’d never wanted to move home. But the time had come.
If the landlord had only looked after the maintenance a little more, they wouldn’t have found themselves homeless.
On the day they were evicted, they’d all clung on for dear life. They hadn’t expected the maintenance to be so bad. Luckily some friends close by took them in.
“It won’t take long, Mrs Knowls. You’re doing very well,” said a rather plump lady dressed in a white coat. “That tooth is severely infected with bacteria who’ve made it their home. I’m about to extract them and their residence.”
Conversation Extraction by Norah Colvin
Marcia’s eyes met Henry’s across the room. He looked as unenthralled and uncomfortable as she was. He raised an eyebrow. Her mouth twitched, part smile. She extracted herself from the conversation. He did the same. They met by the kitchen door.
“Haven’t seen you at one of these shindigs before,” he said.
“Better now. That conversation was more boring than a tooth extraction.”
“What were they discussing?”
“Teeth extractions. They’re all dentists.”
“What about you?”
“Oh.” She reddened, then smiled. “You should join that conversation.”
“You should join mine. They’re all teachers.”
Extra Traction by Bill Engleson
I skid sometimes. My feet give way. I fall. I see my wobbly self plummet to the ground, crash into the earth, become one with the dust.
Sliding, slipping on the hot payment of desire, hankering, she calls it.
Where did that come from?
I feel a tap on my upper arm.
The tap becomes a shake.
“Seriously. I know you’re awake now.”
I guess I blinked.
“Your dreams are becoming pretty X-rated, sweetie,” she laughs.
I roll over, sheepishly.
“What’d I say?”
“HOT PAVEMENT OF DESIRE,” she snickers.
“I’ll make the coffee.
Extraction by Ann Edall-Robson
Water sputters across roof tops from garden sprinklers. Taps open wide. Smoke bellows over the ridge. Flames crowning tree pushed by the fire’s own weather system. Retreat choices are gone. The argument to stay, to fight for my livelihood, my life, lost. I hear the helicopter coming to extract me from this hell I didn’t ask for. Tears splash through grime on my face and I wipe my nose on my sleeve, not giving a damn who sees the raw emotion. Sniffing, I take one last look, before the chopper dips, retreating towards the other end of the valley.
The Extraction by Joanne Fisher
“They think I’m crazy! I need an extraction immediately.” Maz said talking into her wrist.
“And what are we doing out of bed?” The nurse asked shining a flashlight.
“I’m trying to leave.” Maz told her.
“I think you should be sleeping.” The nurse replied. Maz was marched back to her room and given a sedative.
“I don’t like these pills.” Maz complained.
“Just take it, and no more night adventures please.” The nurse ordered. She closed the door behind her, but heard a thud. Opening the door again, she found Maz was gone. “Damn the alien got away.”
The Extraction by Gypsie-Ami Offenbacher-Ferris
“You nervous?” Cheri asked.
“Extremely,” I answered, “Kyle’s supposed to be extracted from Afghanistan soon.”
“Why are medical places always so cold?”Cheri complained.
“I guess to keep the germs out,” I murmured.
“You alright?” Cheri asked.
“I’m really tense, but excited too.” I said.
“Miss Franklin, we’re ready for you now.”
A lady in pink sat me in a medical chair. A tall man in a white lab coat and easy smile, came in.
“Open wide then, let’s get those teeth extracted. Your fiancé’ll be surprised won’t he?” He asked.
I nodded, closed my eyes and opened wide.
Rotten by Gloria McBreen
The masked face stood over my dread-filled body. Inhale through the left nostril, exhale from the right; they said to do, in a book I read once. So I did. Imagine having your feet massaged. Visualise soft hands gently kneading away your fear. I did that too. But I couldn’t relax my tremoring body. I dug my fingernails into the palms of my sweaty hands as his latex fingers came at me.
I cried inside as I imagined life without lemon drops and fudge. I tasted blood. I felt dizzy. Then it was all over. Another rotten tooth extracted!
Trying to Look Beyond the Gray by JulesPaige
From one’s familiar
Bound in gray
Some people know nothing else
The wind rattles truth
Jane thought she could handle her emotions. But the kindness of Gertie let Jane’s tears flow. Even without the wind rattling, Gertie knew there were many unjust actions taken across the ocean known as Pearl Lake. Politicians often staffed their homes from orphanages. Were those children there by choice, or stolen? Did they really lose their parents after one last starry night filled with enjoyment… those memories too soon to fade by harsh realities. Jane sobbed over the loss of her friends.
Mrs Dalloway Comes to Therapy by Anne Goodwin
She would have to buy blinds. On sunny afternoons the room got so hot she risked nodding off. It was bad enough letting her thoughts wander, contemplating furnishings instead of focusing on her client. Mrs Dalloway might have a tendency to ramble but Anne’s job was to extract the deeper meaning from the noise. But it was a struggle. The woman’s preoccupation with her party seemed trivial. Unless Anne’s musings on window-dressing were the key to her unconscious? Perhaps Mrs Dalloway regretted turning a blind eye towards those less fortunate. Perhaps she wanted help to face to the truth.
Guilty? Or Not? Will the Committee Decide? by Judy Marshall
“He’s guilty!” “Arrest him!” everyone knew who was responsible.
The authorities called for calm. They would need ironclad facts to convict. “We need an investigating committee.”
The committee spoke with hundreds of witnesses and gathered thousands of documents and digital records. The days and months wore on, evidence piled up. Nothing seemed enough. They needed the “silver bullet,” the one pointing at Mr. Big.
Would they be able to extract it before it was too late? Time was running out. People were losing confidence in the people assigned to the task.
Will justice prevail? “Time will tell,” they say.
Buried Truth by Simon
What are you doing?
Heard of the phenol‐chloroform DNA extraction procedure? Slightly modified version to blend with our existing virus.
Our DNA have a resemblance with this Virus.
What are you proving here?
Our species don’t belong to Earth, all the theories we read are bag of lies.
Woah! I have no words to say now, except ‘Hands up’
What you doing?
This piece of information dies here.
Our species can do more than we think.
Yes, we can do more, where do you think Newton, Einstein came from? Like me.
Rest in Peace Dr.
Tell Me if This Hurts by Doug Jacquier
Every evening, Dr. Frankenstein returned home from his dental practice (where he made his routine joke with new patients that he was of European extraction) and drilled every ounce of joy from his wife and children that had accumulated within the cavities of their hearts during the day. He would then fill the holes with an amalgam of worthlessness and inferiority, before relaxing in his armchair, crunching nitrous oxide cartridges between his perfect teeth. What he didn’t count on was Mrs. Frankenstein developing a keen interest in cartridges of a different kind. Never again would he hurt their fillings.
Extract by Scott Bailey
Hands shaking with excitement, two archeologists, eager to make a discovery that would overshadow their bumbling incompetence, nervously extract pieces of parchment from a clay jar found deep in a cave.
The ancient text is badly damaged, nearly illegible. Scientific Theories? Holy writings? They guessed wildly while sitting cross legged on the cave’s floor anxiously poring over the eons old documents spread out before them.
Badly misinterpreting words and phrases, until suddenly they break the secret code.
“Eureka!” they shout. Elatedly and triumphantly they proudly read out loud the mysterious and cryptic deciphered text: “We Skipped the Light Fandango”.
After Armageddon by H.R.R. Gorman
Once Armageddon was over, the angels gathered up the dust and bones of all the dead people that had ever existed upon the earth. They separated them in piles: good bones or bad bones, faithful dust or unfaithful dust. They placed the pieces into two boxes, then squeezed and distilled until the souls were extracted from the atoms within.
The good souls remained together, happy to exist in unity. They enveloped the earth and lived there forever.
The bad souls evaporated into the Chaos, and there they’ll stay there, alone, until they can forgive themselves and all of creation.
Cyborg Escape by Saifun Hassam
The CyBorg Starship was closing in on my space yacht. Ahead was the giant star of Cygnet Tau. Better the neverending orbit around the star than to be tortured by Cyborg extraction of my mind. I had seen enough zombie spacefarers on planets that were jumping-off points for exploring deep space.
Fighter yachts shot out of the Cyborg starship. I was already in orbit around the star. The mother ship crashed into the fiery depths of Cygnet Tau. I cheered!
My Mindship Adelia reset the systems drawing on the star’s energy. The Cyborg fighters would return, I was sure.
To The Stars by Duane L Herrmann
“I don’t want to go!”
“I know son, but you must. You can’t stay in this cave forever.”
“It’s scary out there. I might get hurt.”
“It is scary until you get used to it. You have to learn how to be out on your own.”
“Something might eat me!”
“You’ll have to learn to run.”
“OUT!” She pushed her son out into the sunshine.
Leaving the cave is always scary, but staying in would not help mankind progress. We had to go out into the world. Extraction was necessary.
Extraction by FloridaBorne
Extraction can mean removal, mining, origin. What if you were removed from your planet and didn’t remember your origin? Not unusual when the galaxy is run by miners. We were still using the horse and buggy when they pulled us children out of our houses.
Most of the mining is mechanized. I learned how to fix the machinery and they dropped me here at fifteen. Most die at twenty-one. I was twenty when the miners took away their machinery.
It’s lonely out here living in a hut under the stars.
Extraction by Sue Spitulnik
Scott, the young vet that had begun tending bar at the No Thanks was a keen piano player. He enjoyed making up jazz tunes, so his was a totally different sound than the house band. One afternoon, he played the same main theme repeatedly, adding a few more bars of music each time. The whomping of the lower notes drew Mac in, so when Scott finally stopped, Mac asked, “What are you going to name that piece?”
Scott looked startled, like he had forgotten he wasn’t alone. “Extraction.”
Mac nodded. “You have the sound of the helicopters down pat.”
Disappeared 12 by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Eloise shook her head to clear it of the song, but she couldn’t clear it of her guilt. Andrew, pain that he sometimes was, had helped in the past with the twins.
“You’re annoying, but I don’t hate you,” Eloise held her arms out and took a twin under each arm.
“Look, I did a bad thing. I sent Andrew on a Quest, and I don’t know how to get him back home.”
The twins looked at each other and piped up, “We do! Shadow Man needs the right words to undo the spirit extraction. But we gotta hurry!”
Not Again by Sadje
My tooth was giving me so much pain that I was desperate for relief. I rang up my dentist and was told to come in the next day. On my arrival, he took X-rays, and after examining the offending molar closely, he told me the bad news. You can either get rid of this one as it’s the last one on this side or go for a root canal treatment.
I opted for extraction. It was the quickest option. The molar was so firmly fixed that it required quite an effort to pull it out.
I’d lost another tooth!
Step Forward into Altered Destinies by Scott Rhodie
Harsh stubble grates against my luminous work jacket as I listen to the tap of steel toe capped boots. I’m aware my morning grey matter cannot engage with thought.
A dark-skinned unwanted beauty stands waiting in the bus queue; his tight green dress straining over hourglass hips, with exquisite nails, sumptuous red lips, and bright heels to round off her ensemble; she’s dazzling and tragic.
Our journey’s conversation guided us both to the extraction and exchange of ideas in useful directions, knowing we should leave no room for uncomfortable silences and irrational fears as we make society’s shame visible.
Follow Me by Michael Fishman
The day was sunny and warm. The sky was as clear and blue as Cindy’s eyes, and if a fellow wasn’t careful, he could get lost in both.
“C’mon,” Cindy said. “Take off your shoes and follow me.”
“Never mind, just c’mon.”
“I’m not sure—”
“Oh, stop. You’re stodgy. Just do it.”
I did it, but not for long.
The worst part was when the emergency room doctor pulled the rusty Coke pull tab out of my foot and stitched it up.
The best part came later than night as Cindy proved to be an excellent nurse.
Can You Trust Me by Gary A. Wilson
Monica rubbed condensation from the barred window so she could see the moon-lit field.
Kidnappers had pushed her into a van. She fought until one slugged her so hard that she collapsed, barely conscious.
A metallic sound startled her. Having been warned about local sex trafficking, she fought panic as a chain was removed from the door. Someone was coming.
A dim light silhouetted a large man. Her heart seized.
“Who are you?”
“Call me, Driver. I drove the van last night; but I did not sign up for this so I’m extracting you – if you can trust me.”
Out Out! by Geoff Le Pard
Pretentious Fullofhimself was born with a tendency to sneer and belittle. When he started at Little Tittweaking’s School for the Permanently Confused he corrected the teacher’s grammar, questioned the logic of school rules and treated his contemporaries with contempt, accusing them of using terminological inexactitudes rather than fibbing. His teacher, Solid Downtoearth often despaired but eventually embraced Prentitious’s methods: if he wanted him to hurry along, he knew he’d get through if he told him to ‘extract a digit’ rather than pull his finger out.
After several false employment starts, Pretentious found success in the Local Council’s complaints department.
Home On the Ranch At Last Installment (Part I) by Miss Trie Writer
“Dang it Pepe, we been all around the world in this stinkin hot air balloon a yers, still ain’t seen hide ner hair a Kid an Pal.”
“Deed you notice Ernie, dat we saw da whole world an never left da ranch? Dees ees a worldwide community!”
“Thet’s great, but where in the world are Kid an Pal? How’s this Mz Trie Wrighter gonna extract us from this endless mythtry?”
“I teenk you mean extricate, but oui, she ees not much better den D. Avery. We weel land dees balloon behind de saloon. Frankie an dem are waiting dere.”
Home On the Ranch At Last Installment (Part II) by Miss Trie Writer
Frankie and the gang got the balloon secured. After extracting Ernie and Pepe from the basket, they went around to the front of the Saddle Up Saloon.
“Pal! Keed! Where in de world ‘ave you bean?”
“What d’ya mean? Was down by the crick, where ducklins was eatin Kid’s lunch. Next thing we know, here we are.”
“Pal, ducklins was a month ago. Ya ain’t been seen since.”
“Whoa. Stop. Back up. What?!”
“Ees true, Keed. Ees beeg meestery where you two ‘ave bean.”
“Mebbe we all should set at the Saddle Up bar, have a think.”
Home On the Ranch At Last Installment (Part III) by Miss Trie Writer
“Who gives a shift where dees two ‘ave bean?”
“Just sayeeng; dey’re here now.”
“I’m with Logatha. Characters wander. They wander back.”
“Okay, thank you Logatha an Wanda. Tip? Top? Any ideas?”
“Not a one ‘twixt the two of us, Frankie.”
“Haven’t heard much from you Kid.”
“Feel dazed an confused, Frankie.”
“Ah ain’t rulin out alien deduction.”
“That’s it, Ernie!”
“Ain’t neither. Me an Kid weren’t beamed up.”
“No, but we kin let the readers an writers deduce where ya been, let the ranch community extract truth, extricate us from this endless misery.”
This week has felt like extracting teeth, so a befitting collection. I’m happy its Friday, I’m back home, a crisis has passed, but Mercury remains in retrograde. A certain former Army Ranger and technology have been difficult this week. And, if anyone has a missing story, I had 37 pages of spam and it was too much to comb through. Sometimes stories end up there. What a collection, though!
Very few SciFi entries.
I’m happy to see how many people are trying the 99 word prompt.
I think it would be fun to do a genre swapping and get writers to try genre writing or change a genre. It’s great to have diversity and always fun to follow your writing into SciFi, Joelle.
Ha, ha, Norah! Come on fellow Life-Long Learner, you can SciFi! 🙂
I’ve always been a sucker for Sci-Fi, especially if it’s not too serious and has some humor to it.
Sci-Fi= you get to make up all kinds of outlandish stuff!
Sigh-Fi= not so much.
I was surprised by the number of sci-fi. I thought they were second only to teeth. I didn’t count though, so maybe I was wrong. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and I’m not, that could account for the difference in our perspectives. 😂
What a great set of ‘extractions’ this week. I am impressed by all the various ways the Word Wranglers found to extract their story and make them fresh…even the ones that are about tooth extractions. Well done to all. There are so many great pieces, but I have to mention one that really struck me. Doug J., I loved your story, the way you infused all these “dental” words into your story…made me chuckle. ~nan
Many thanks. Amidst the chuckling there was meant to be an insight into the misery inflicted on their families by killjoys like the Doctor.
Doug, the insight was there, too. I saw it and wondered if you knew someone who dealt with that kind of misery.
My Dad was a less extreme version (and he delivered it for 99 years) but I’ve met the full Frankensteins as well. The conundrum for me is why they are like that, beyond the bleeding obvious.
Nan, I forgot about tooth extractions until I began reading, lol! I appreciate how we find different stories and frames and words to craft 99. Doug’s piece struck me for both the playful use of dentistry words and the painful analogy lurking beneath. Thanks for sharing!
I agee with you about Doug’s story.
Great stories this week. It’s really amazing how many ways we can create different stories out of the same prompt. While I enjoyed all of them, there are two that stood out immediately.
Dougs’ “Tell Me If This Hurts”. Great description of Frankensteins abusive personality and the way his wife deals with it. I loved the last word, that really capped it for me!
Anne Edall-Robsons’ “Extraction” was amazing. Her vivid imagery and descriptions drew a scene that was impossible not to see. Add to that, a layer of emotion and you’ve got an all too believable reality.
The rest of the stories were just as good but these two were my favorites this week.
Many thanks, Scott. Out-punned on my last word. Damn! 🙂
Thank you Scott. Real life scenarios creating fiction.
Week after week, creativity keeps flowing and I still get excited to see how the Collections come together, Scott. As I get to know writers, I can see growth, too. Clever, adding to Doug’s dentistry words in your description. Yes, Ann’s story breathed life with her in-the-moment details. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Seems like everyone knew the drill this week. 😉
Nancy – a fun take on the prompt
Hugh – pure cleverness
Norah – extracting humour from painful conversations
Bill – poor fellow, being paid out for your adventures into Lethe
Ann – such a familiar scenario to Australians, movingly described
Joanne – a probing experience? 😉
Gypsie – nice play on the various meanings
Gloria – re-imagining a rotten experience
Jules – superbly wrought nightmare of the orphans
Anne – Unless Anne’s musings on window-dressing were the key to (Anne’s) unconscious?
Judy – Can’t possibly think who you might have in mind 😉
Simon – the man who knew too much?
Scott – blew my ceiling away
HRR – so that’s how clouds are formed?
Saifun – fighter yachts? Do they fire water cannons?
Duane – extreme empty-nesting?
FloridaBorne – mining your history?
Sue – sounds like he was playing choppersticks
Liz – you and your Shadow?
Sadje – Ah, yes, no canoodling in the root canal 😉
Scott – non-binary wisdom or am I missing something here?
Michael – ah, ever the romantic.
Geoff – ‘Pretentious found success in the Local Council’s complaints department’; presumably extracting his digit as rarely as possible?
Miss Trie Writer – I’m stealing ‘mythtry’
A great review of all the submission.
Doug, Thank you for noticing everyone while it seems Charli is still buried in daily life to get to everyone. We are a community.
Oh, wow, Doug! What a fantastic list and response to the whole community who wrote this week!. You sum it all up concisely like you are the Hemingway of review.
That’s brilliant, Doug. I especially like ‘choppersticks’, I think because Sue’s story spoke so strongly to me about trauma and its resultant stress.
This was great!
I wonder if dentists know their trade is one most humans can’t make negative jokes about? Probably.
What fun! I had to read Geoff’s out loud to my husband so we could share the enjoyment of all the names.
I’m glad Pepe, Ernie, and Frankie have been looking for Kid and Pal. We all need their comic relief.
I’m not going to share any negative jokes with my dentist, Sue, lol! The names Geoff comes up with are pure pleasure to read and share. We do need the comic relief of our Ranch Yarns. Mystery, that writer is roaming around. Thanks for all your support here wit the community!
[…] The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Extraction, including mine, can be read at the Carrot […]
Hey, all! What’s going on here? I see another great collection of 99-word stories, gives me a big toothy smile to read them. But Kid and Pal were missing? I don’t know where they’ve been, I’m still away traveling. Went way out west, which I can tell you, was and was not what I expected. More surprising, I did not find Carrot Ranch in my travels, maybe because it is a virtual place, but as I slide into home, I know this place to be more real than ever. It’ll be really good to be back.
And it’ll be good to have you back!
[…] Charli Mills FLASH FICTION 99 WORDS NO MORE, NO LESS […]
[…] Charli Mills FLASH FICTION 99 WORDS NO MORE, NO LESS […]
[…] Charli Mills FLASH FICTION 99 WORDS NO MORE, NO LESS […]