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.
Who Is To Blame? by Hugh W. Roberts
‘What are the crowd looking at?’ Ingrid asked herself as she came out of her final writing class.
It was too crowded to find out, so she returned later.
As Ingrid’s eyes peered hard at the poorly-made brass plaque in the moonlight, her life changed instantly.
In memory of the brave authors who fought and gave their lives to stop the outlawing of hardcover and paperback books.
It wasn’t the lack of trees but the use of fossil fuels to charge up electrical devices that almost destroyed our planet.
But is it writing or reading that is the crime?
In Memory of by Michael Fishman
Every year they visit the cemetery. They walk over lumpy grass. Past poplars, oaks, and elms until they stand in front of the faded granite headstone. They read the name. They read the words. They close their eyes and savor a memory. They say a prayer. They put a small rock on top of the headstone: to say hello, to say they were there. To say goodbye. They walk away again, and they cry. It’s said things get easier. The memories blur and the pain dims, but not hurting as badly still hurts. Who’d want it any other way?
A Monument to the Dead, A Monument for the Living by Miss Judy
We see them…
A Cross, flowers, pictures, mementos to mark the spot A school, grocery store, shopping center or by a roadside A tragic accident, a senseless killing, a terrorist act A life lost too soon.
We see them…
A reminder and feel a loved one’s pain A family, a friend stops to grieve, missing a smiling face, a laugh A thought, a prayer, a promise given, a hope to share A life lost too soon.
We see them…
A reminder of a life lost too soon. A Monument to the dead. A Monument for the living.
Remembering by D. Avery
“Shut that fucking TV off!”
“Swear like that again I’ll shut you off.”
But the bartender pointed the remote and the news was replaced by a baseball game.
Baseball wasn’t much better than the news. She signaled for another drink.
Her son liked baseball. Made the high school team. Dreamed of the majors.
“Stupid kids,” she said.
“The news. Building a memorial.”
“Doesn’t change a damn thing. Over two decades and nothing’s changed.”
Nothing, she thought, except dozens more parents were suffering like her from relentless grief, of dreams shot down with their children.
Behind A Memorial by Ann Edall-Robson
We all stayed behind to see what the hubbub was about. Jaunty bagpipe music indicated a celebration. Much better than the usual solemn processions when a new resident is welcomed. A young lady stopped beside our group. She quietly said, “I can feel you near.” Not many connect with us, but those are the ones we treat with the respect they give us. When they leave, they take one last glance, whispering goodbye and promising to be back soon. They are the living we cherish. The ones that recognize us as the true reason and meaning behind a memorial.
In Memory of Marcella by Nancy Brady
The memorial stone Julia passed on her walk around town was no longer a mystery. Julia had moved to the city; she wondered about this marker especially after a pine was removed, leaving the stone exposed. Julia eventually learned the whole story of the woman behind the memorial because she met and became friends with Shirley, Marcella’s daughter. After the pine was thoughtlessly cut down, Shirley started placing silk flowers at the stone throughout the year. Once Shirley became housebound, Julia took up the mantle. Julia still changes the flowers despite Shirley’s dementia because someone needs to remember them.
In Memory Of by Sadje
A faded sepia print in an old-fashioned silver frame is all that I have of my paternal grandmother. Her eyes, much like those of my father and mine are serious in a face devoid of any makeup. The frame sits on a table in the family room where I often look at it. I remember her, if not with affection, but with admiration. She looked after us siblings, three young children aged 4 – 8 when my mom passed away. I’m sure we must’ve taxed her patience to the limit but she was always fair. May she rest in peace.
Memorial of Inhumanity by Reena Saxena
How could they allow this structure to be built here, with scenes of gruesome violence? It offends humane sensibilities.
And why do feminists choose only to portray violence against women, when there are so many atrocities happening to damage humanity?
“Aren’t we a part of humanity?”
They step back on hearing this voice from nowhere.
“This structure is a memorial to document inhumanity in the annals of history. It is a message that the era is now dead and over. If any of these scenes are ever repeated…”
They feel a strong force pushing them back, but see nothing.
Memorial by Norah Colvin
As a child, he lived at Yuleba, a tiny town in south-western Queensland. His father was a boundary rider on the fence bordering New South Wales, keeping rabbits out of Queensland. A peaceful if difficult life. Aged 20, he enlisted. His overseas service included the battle at Milne Bay, a turning point of the war. Upon their return, servicemen were told to forget. Memories and nightmares disagreed, but it was years before he could talk, let alone write, about his experiences. After his death, his words were engraved on a memorial in his home town, never to be forgotten.
Honoring Shannon by Gary A. Wilson
Dear Kent family.
You don’t know me. I was thinking about your daughter, wife and mother, Shannon.
I read about her gift for languages, how she fought and won a battle against cancer, and how she chose to use her skills in our Navy.
I also read how one person, an apparent non-combatant, walking past the restaurant where Shannon was eating — detonated a suicide vest, snatching her away from you.
The date: January 16, 2019.
The city: Manbij, Syria.
Shannon was only 35.
Her memorial is . . . insufficient . . . and, she left us with an impossible-to-repay debt of gratitude.
Memorial to What? by Duane L Herrmann
In the village of Reckendorf, Bayern, as in most German towns, memorials result from the wars: one for the Great War, and the greater war later. My family name is on the stones; family I never knew, before my time, but we are still connected. These memorials, my cousin said (and maybe others), do not so much honor the fallen as admonish the living: “You caused this war. You caused these deaths.”
No victors here.
Maybe all living survivors should have such admonishement: You caused this war. You caused these deaths.
If so, maybe there would be less war.
Flames of the Shoah by Tzvi Fievel
The kever (tombstone) of my maternal great-grandfather, Aryeh, denotes the name of his father, Dovid Shlomo, who was born in Kurland, Russia, and perished in Auschwitz. His last place of residence is listed as Szollos, Vynohradiv, Ukraine. This was to the southeast of where Kurland was located. Kurland became part of Latvia, northwest of Szollos on the Baltic Sea. The Jews of Kurland were expelled at the beginning of WW1, so he may have relocated to Szollos, Ukraine, where he was eventually swept up in the widespread net of the Reich, the same as my paternal ancestors in Bolekhiv.
Memorial in the Marble Written by Kerry E.B. Black
Brom chose the marble for its fine lines and smooth surface, so like her admired skin, cool and pale with fine, blue veins. He ran a hand along its surface and recalled her reaction to his touch. Her shiver of anticipation. His surge of longing when she whispered his name. His eyes misted. He swiped away emotion with calloused hands, determined. Fellow artists advised against this project. Don’t mix personal with professional. Michelangelo saw the angel in the stone. Brom sought the memorial in the marble. With meticulous care, he marked and carved her beloved name onto the tombstone.
Memorials by Geoff Le Pard
Little Tittweaking has no war memorial. It sided with the Zogs of Albania in the Great War and declared itself a Dublin suburb in WW2. Their only war hero was Colonel Hugh N’cry. Captured during the siege of La Plume de ma Tante, he sacrificed a body part to feed his starving men. Now known as the Battle of N’cry’s Buttock, it is remembered for the creation of the side-saddle, which was originally designed to support the lopsided seat of Colonel N’cry. A bronze cast of N’cry’s remaining buttock features in a memorial garden as a novelty birdbath.
Private Enclave (Spot On?) by JulesPaige
A sanctuary for those
As Jane grew comfortable with her new freedom, she found that she needed less time alone.
But she still needed time to reconcile the past, even though she could not control any of it. That she was able to save herself, with the kindness of Gertie Simple, and her people…that had to be enough for now.
Gertie had gifted Jane a secret garden with high walls. She could grieve there, let her makeup run… make cairns to those she had lost, and perhaps would never find.
Disappeared 20 by Liz Husebye Hartmann
“Pull in here!” the twins shrieked as the jeep rounded a sharp curve. Bethany cranked the wheel hard onto a tight dirt road that ran between a wide bank of Honeysuckle and sandstone cliff.
“What the hell!” yelled Eloise. Her seatbelt tightened to a stranglehold.
The haunted mansion cast a chill shadow from above.
“The shortcut through the bootlegger’s tunnel’s here. So’s Andrew.” The twins tumbled out of the back seat, grabbing the first-aid kit and flashlight. “And Shadowman!”
On their heels, Eloise and Bethany slipped past the rune-scratched sign memorializing the 1937 cave collapse of Whiskey Nicolaysen’s Speakeasy.
Out On the Old Highway by Bill Engleson
“Can’t miss it,” Bucky said as we downed reacquainting brewskis at the Curly Cue Lounge, a favorite watering hole before I grew up and left town. I was back to wind up my parent’s estate. They’d passed away together six months earlier.
After the funeral, I’d been hauled back to work.
This week was the earliest I was free to return.
Bucky’d just told me that Callie, an old girlfriend, had been fatally clipped by a Semi two months earlier.
“Flowers! Pictures! The usual roadside memorial.”
“Yeah! Her…her mutt. Want me to come?”
“Nah! I can manage.”
Aftermath by Padmini Krishnan
His soul wakes every Memorial Day and wanders across various tombstones, confused with the crowds and flowers. Perhaps he is trying to find the girl in the green dress he never proposed to, his mother who had prayed for 10 years to have him or the enemy who had asked for water. Or does he look for a meaning to his short life or wonder about people who live beyond 22? Whatever it is, don’t go there. Let his soul rest. Light a candle for him in your heart and revere the freedom he and his likes gave you.
Service Feelings (Part I) by E.A. Colquitt
When he saw her death announced in the paper, Thom thought he’d better go to the memorial. He hadn’t seen her in years – not to speak to – yet still he felt the pull to attend. It was his last duty – but would that really be to her, or to himself? The night before, Thom lay in bed, wondering – worrying, even, about the selfishness of it all. He didn’t think he’d fallen asleep, but her face fluttered above his head, behind his eyelids. She told him that she understood, now. She understood everything. She radiated peace and joy and love.
Service Feelings (Part II) by E.A. Colquitt
He’d never known anything like it… unless it was Aunt Tessie, the family spiritualist, telling everyone about her son from a previous life. Then, he’d been a talented actor. Now, he reaches out from beyond the veil, to guide her in much the same way as this. Or something. Thom usually zoned out whenever Tessie brought it up. Wasn’t it all, he always thought, just a dream? By morning, he was less certain. The priest talked of Heaven’s perfect love blooming out of its perfect understanding. The dead long to share that state on Earth. Thom had felt that.
Rapturicus Rodenticus by Scott Bailey
Pondering the Rapture, “Do we know when it comes?” I asked Elder Squirrel as we sat on a rock, reverently looking over a vast valley, fluffy tails twitching nervously.
“We never do, that’s why we look at every tree and rock as a memorial. Honor the Unaware.” He said.
“Maybe if we’re more aware we’d live longer,” I said, snidely.
“Maybe you’re right!” he yelled while diving off the rock into a thick bramble.
With a bolt from above, I became acutely aware my time had come, as the owls talons sank in deep, Rapturing me up to Heaven.
Owls by Scott Bailey
“Going to the taxidermy shop today?”
“Yeah, pay my respects to my stuffed uncle, just sitting on a branch inside the window. Some Memorial, huh?”
“They have no respect for us Owls. I have to pick up dinner and get home or I’d go with you.”
“Yeah, that’s ok. Hey, look at those two squirrels on that rock. Ever wonder what they’re thinking about?”
“Each others nuts, probably!”
“HA, good one!”
“Yeah, that never gets old! Alright, say hi to your Uncle for me, I think I’ll swoop down and grab the smaller squirrel for dinner, see you tomorrow.”
Immortally Memorialized, Presently by D. Avery
“Pal, how come they’s no memorials on the ranch?”
“Well, Kid, mebbe cuz Carrot Ranch jist IS. Everlastin here an now.”
“Really? We’re in a perpetual present?”
“I’m disagreein, Pal. Carrot Ranch has a history, but more important, Carrot Ranch’s got a future. I want a memorial. Right here, right now.”
“So imagine one inta existence Kid.”
“Ok… Hmmm… It should honor ever’one who dares ta write fer the ranch… readers too… I know! How ‘bout gatherin stories t’gether in one place?!”
“Good idea Kid. Thinkin Shorty calls thet the Collection.” “
Yep, each one monumental.”