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.
Suspending Your Ship by Bill Engleson
He was finding himself tiresome. No matter the prompt, he felt an uncontrollable urge to mess with it. Revamp it. Take Floating Your Boat, for instance. It would’ve been a perfectly acceptable title for this particular ninety-nine-word opus.
In fact, that was the first thing he thought to name it.
This was his usual modus operandi.
Invariably he needed a title, a witty aperitif to riff off.
Occasionally he might revise it.
Not often but sometimes the title demanded titular revision.
What the heck did Suspending Your Ship actually mean?
Was he waiting for a shipstorm?
Music on the Water by Sue Spitulnik
When Michael heard the band had been invited to play on a pontoon boat he wasn’t happy. “I’m not going unless I can use my wheelchair.”
Thad gave him a look. “My aren’t we cooperative today.”
“These metal legs were made for terra firma. Balancing on a rocking boat is not something I’m used to. I can relax in my chair.”
Thad replied, “Fine. Whatever floats your boat.”
“Exactly. We’ll all be able to sway with the waves.”
Tyrell rolled his eyes. “Pontoon boats don’t sway, they glide along smooth and quiet.”
“I’ll pretend you didn’t tell me that.”
Shapeshifters by Ann Edall-Robson
Moving from the horizon
Towards the unsuspecting
Unafraid of openness
Nothing stops the charge
Tracking their movement
Anticipation stirs, a calm elation
Visible on the child’s face
No fear in the eyes of one so young
Imagination has no limits
Excitement tingles through tiny limbs
Shapeshifters float into view
Above the grassy blanket
Each different, hovering overhead
Friend, foe, pleasing, and menacing
These shapeshifters gather
Arriving as one, leaving together
Travelling in the wind
A game of guessing, identifying
Images in clouds, their transition
Leaving their story to be told
By those who see the shapes
The child within
Questions at a Parade by Scott Bailey
“Why do those big balloons have ropes?”
“To keep them from floating away.”
“Oh, what makes them float?”
“Helium, a Gas.”
“Oh, like gas in a car?”
“No, that’s a different gas.”
“Oh, what’s that thing with all those flowers and people on it?”
“That’s a float.”
“Oh, do they float like balloons?”
“No, they just drive along.”
“Oh, does our elevator float?”
“Oh, does a boat float?”
“Yes, but only when it’s on the water.”
“Oh, will a float, float on the water?”
“Hey Son, how about we go inside for a RootBeer Float?”
Dreaming by Colleen M. Chesebro
It is night. The darkness swaddles me in a tight embrace. I sense this is a dream, and I glide like a bird in flight, arms extended to catch the air currents; I float. It is in this place of zero gravity where I feel the nothingness of just being. There is no sound other than the steady beat of my heart chakra, a green glow blooming in my chest. With a burst of energy, I soar and dive toward the edge of darkness, which fades into a starry sky.
“Mom, wake up! I’m hungry. When’s breakfast?”
The Creek (Part I) by Miss Judy
The creek flows down from up above, under the bridge where tiny fish float serenely in crystal clear waters, past the weather-worn house sagging with age like the couple who lived within, down past the garden, over-grown and brown, abandoned, on under Pa’s old barn where only rotted beams and boards still stand, past the privy, over stones worn smooth with time, on to the swimming hole at the corner where the children’s laughter can still be heard floating in the air, on it flows winding through the fields and towns, there are still miles to travel this day.
The Creek (Part II) by Miss Judy
Sundays were for family. Aunts, uncles, cousins gathered at the farmhouse by the creek. Ma and Pa’s house for as long as I knew. While the grown-up’s were grown-up’ing, cousins headed to the creek. Sometimes fishing off the bridge or to the swimming hole on a hot summer day. We’d float in old innertubes, swing from the frayed robe, skip stones and catch polliwogs. We might lie in the grass and watch the clouds float by – a parade of odd shapes and sizes – a game, “What Do You See?” Those were the happiest of times, carefree, we were blessed.
Floating by gjef2871
I’m floating at Coogee Beach pool; learning to swim where my Mum learned—my 80-year-old grandma sprightly and upright walking miles up hills and down dales to see us at the beach.
That night I lie in bed and capture the sensation of floating: the relaxation and joy of being in water—being held, supported, and caressed by nature.
My hair gets gold highlights in it and my sister and I walk down the beach searching out shells and treasures.
One time my sister found $10! Just don’t bathe near the storm water outlet cos it makes people sick.
Ship to Shore by Doug Jacquier
I am an island trader, willing to chart any course to avoid emptiness, still floating but in a race against rust. I am a ship of the line that limps into your harbour to refuel and unload its weary cargo. I lean against your wharf when the tide is at its lowest ebb.
You are a net exporter, with warehouses of new dawns, freely welcoming ships of all flags. You send tugs to listing vessels, like this one with its dreams encrusted, and push them to where the cranes are and show them pylons that defy the sucking mud.
Nellie Bly on Blackwell’s Island by Anne Goodwin
At first she struggled but it was futile: there were more of them and the door was locked. Curled up in a ball, she tried to protect her head. She howled when they kicked her in the kidneys instead.
Why had she embarked on this crazy project? She could die on the island and none of her family would know. As another blow landed, death seemed the only escape.
Her body went limp. Pain transformed to buzzing in her ears. Feather-light, she floated above the rag-doll version of her. She would survive to scream her story to the world.
Circle of Love by Hugh W. Roberts
Vikki floated on cloud nine for years while dating two men who had no idea the other existed.
As soon as she knew which one to propose and marry, she’d divorce her husband and end the relationship with the other man she was secretly seeing.
But Vikki couldn’t make up her mind.
Eventually, her bubble burst, and she was bought down from cloud nine with a bump when her husband made up her mind for her when she found him in bed with one of her lovers.
It wasn’t long before all four were floating on cloud nine again.
Just 3 Breaths to Peace by Gary A. Wilson
“It works. I proved it. I was much younger and seeing my doctor. While taking my blood pressure. His huge-breasted assistant embarrassed me by shoving my arm under hers – pressing me against her.”
“Hm, your BP’s high.”
Of course it is, I thought. “Having heard that this worked, I answered, “Give me a moment and let’s try again.” She smiled and studied her clipboard.
I closed my eyes, took three deep breaths and slowly released each while envisioning floating on thick air – completely at peace.”
“Wow! Did you just nod off? Your BP is perfect now.”
“Sink or Swim? Float or Falter?” by MarlaPaige
Laying back, prickly grass jabbing her through her thin dress, she watched the puffy clouds float by. Mind reeling from her most recent break up: “How do I always find the ones who float in and out of my life and never stay? What do I keep doing wrong?”
The thought floated into her mind on a whisper, but slammed down hard like a crack of thunder: “I need to call my ex! He always tells me everything I do wrong!”
She watched as he floated in armed with a mental laundry list of her faults.
She sighed, wearily.
Al salvataggio (Italian for To the Rescue) by JulesPaige
Gertie sat in her office on L’isola Della Donna. All of her daughters, and the lost women she’d found. They all worked together to restore her faith in humankind. While no men were ever allowed on this island, they did have some men who were helpers. Those men like her father and husbands who knew right from wrong. On her desk coded in a musical score an address for her band of angels to float in and out undetected. Another woman to rescue.
Sea of memory
Gentle music playing in
Her old pate
Elixir by Shari Marshall
“Is it so different?” Tallie asks. “Your world, this planet called Earth, floats. It floats in the sea of a vast universe.”
Simon’s eyes flare. “Float! Earth most certainly does not float. In fact, Earth is fall…”
“Are you bonkers?” Tallie gives a fast assessment of herself and Simon. “No wind rushing past, feet on the ground, no discernable indications of falling.” Simon opens his mouth to respond, but Tallie keeps going. “Earth isn’t hanging, there are no strings. Like my planet Earth is buoyant, suspended in the elixir.”
“Elixir? It’s mythical!”
Exasperated Tallie raises her eyebrows. “Is it?”
The Skies Are Friendly Frank James
“Thank you for taking me away from the crowds,” I say to the captain flaming hot air into the balloon. He releases the anchor, and we sail into the Heavens. I watch people on the beach shrink. We pass through the moist clouds and emerge, floating above white pillows. They break, and I peer down to the seashore and see just offshore a shiver of sharks patrolling for dinner. Terror jolts me!
“I see it all the time,” captain smirks. He guides the balloon to a soft landing.
Delight fills me to float in limbo and land on ground.
Drifting by Valentina Okorie
The lecture hall, although hot and cramped, was much friendlier than the blazing sun outside. She was in between the inaudible lecturer and her sleepy mind. For the umpteenth time, she drifted up and away. She smoothed her suit and grabbed her purse. She’d rather brave the blazing sun than spend another minute outside her air-conditioned car. She branched at an eatery and grabbed a bite for herself and her housemate. Smiling as she spun her steering wheel, she’d soon be home. She felt hot again. Raised voices made the lecture hall hotter. The lecture was finally over.
Floating by Duane L Herrmann
Like a feather, but lighter, I drift along – with the clouds, in the clouds, part of the clouds, but my own self. I can hear music, soft, gentle, soothing, refreshing, invigorating. The music gives me strength and energy. I send out thoughts to those around me. We were not alone. We are together in harmony and love. This is such a contrast to what I was used to or what I had expected. Here, there is nothing to fear. This is PEACE! This is so, so much better than my life on Earth. I’m so glad that’s over!
Disappeared 34 by Liz Husebye Hartmann
The mage rocked backward, surprised. Bethany was pregnant, and if he wasn’t mistaken, with twins!
That was fast.
She and the apparently virile older, second husband hadn’t been married that long. He surely couldn’t tell the fragile Joseph about this; any progress they’d made in recovering his memories and resigning him to his situation would be trashed.
Again, he probed Bethany’s cells, and was greeted by twin giggles. Was there an edge of hysteria to them? Floating in the Shadow World, souls often had a sense of what was coming.
Bethany absently placed a comforting hand on her belly.
Magical Tooth by Simon
The floating cup amazed her, papa’s magic was always her favourite, a suspicious person, not lived long.
By the time she entered college, she implanted papa’s gift inside her; a craved magical tooth, that gave her skills to defy from gravity, she could able to move things.
With great power comes great responsibility. She spoiled that quote, she became a magician, like her grandfather.
Luckily, Nana was still alive. She helped her, to use her greater powers to help herself.
God of universe watched all of it, he regretted for wasting 2 generations. Tooth decayed, she lost the tooth.
Floating by Norah Colvin
What a day! The hottest in a long, hot, relentless summer. And it was only just December. After constant interruptions, distracted children and demanding parents, the pool was too enticing to ignore. And she had it to herself. On the Li-lo, miles away, she was oblivious to the world: the knocking at the door, the squeaky gate and the shush of voices as her location was discovered. A sudden WOOF! and a “One, two, three, jump!” annihilated her peace and upended her into the water. “We didn’t know you were going to swim with us, Grandma. You never do!”
Sink Or Swim? by Geoff Le Pard
Near Little Tittweaking is an ancient sinkhole, the Devil’s Rectum which, every May, fills with the turgid brown snow melt from Mount Zit. True Tittweakers join the crowds for the annual float challenge, made near impossible by the water’s lack of buoyancy. Until Dee Cuppe, exotic dancer and courgette sculptress arrived, the best time was 47 seconds. Her record is one hour, though questions have been raised whether her surgically enhanced embonpoint may give her a lift. Her fame has resulted in several nicknames – ‘pillow pecs’ being one – though her unsinkability has led to the most commonly used: Bob.
Cooler Than a Pool by Annette Rochelle Aben
Mom banished all the kids from the pool when she wanted to use it. In fact, she didn’t even want us in the backyard while she relaxed. She turned the radio to her favorite station, donned her sunglasses, and floated on her blow-up raft.
That worked for us! We enjoyed having access to the kitchen when she wasn’t around. One of us grabbed the glasses. Another found the long, skinny iced tea spoons, and I gathered the goodies.
Two scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with cold Vernors ginger ale. She floated her way, and we floated our way!
Processing Time by KL Caley
Laying in the water, she closed her eyes against the blinding sun. Just floating, listening to the water, clearing her mind. In the distance she could hear other sounds, children laughing, seagulls squawking but for now she ignored them all. She just needed five minutes to herself. Five minutes of alone time.
No-one could predict when they would hear bad news, or how they would react when they received it. With children, you don’t allow yourself time to process it, their needs must be met first, your anger, your pain, your processing comes later. Her five minutes were now.
Wings on the Wall by Echoes of the Soul
She always wondered what it was, that drew her to the inanimate wings etched on the wall.
On that fateful night, on the way back from her office, she was surrounded by the uncouth, lecherous ruffians of the neighbourhood who had been stalking her. As she struggled in the clutches of the evil, she felt helpless and violated as the groping hands pinned her to the wall.
Then in a stroke of a miracle, she started to float. The wings had come alive. She soared in the sky, flying free. Then she turned and dived, going for the kill.
Floating by Sadje
Imagine yourself floating serenely on a white cloud. A pleasing wind ruffles your hair gently. It’s all very calm, nothing hurried or urgent about it.
Then suddenly, your cloud deflates and descends towards terra firma, and you’re deposited with a rude shock to the living room of your home.
The whole experiment of disassociating the mind from the body and floating through space failed.
“If you weigh down yourself with the weight of worries and stress, you won’t be able to soar. Let go of all that’s holding you down”, said the instructor.
“Let’s try again!”
Should Not Float by Kerry E.B. Black
Mrs. Tigerio’s fifth grade science class sat cross-legged along the parking lot curb. All seven kids tracked something overhead.
“I really thought the evidence would prove she was too heavy.” Tom blinked, owl-like.
His best friend stroked his chin, searching in vain for the beginnings of beard stubble. “Seemed that way.”
Chrissie shaded her eyes with her hand. “Guess our computations were wrong.”
“Mercury’s denser,” Tom mused. “Who’d’ve thought?”
“So on Mars, we’d weigh least.”
Another chorus of silent nodding.
Chrissie worried. “How’re we getting her down?”
“She’ll reacclimate to earth’s gravitational pull,” Tom’s brow furrowed. “Eventually.”
Hot Air Currents by D. Avery
“Hey Pal. Where’s Kid?”
“Look up, Shorty. Kid’s floatin over the ranch with LeGume in thet infernal fume powered hot air balloon a his.”
“You didn’t wanna go?”
“Thet don’t float my boat. Asides, they’re warn’t no room. Curly hopped aboard, then Burt wanted ta go. Have a look with these bi-noc’lars. Thet’s a horse of a dif’rent color.”
“Yer right. Green. Ew! Duck!”
“They’s a duck up there too?”
“No Pal, Burt’s lost his lunch, it’s floatin down.”
“Hay! Aw, horse feathers! Burt’s ruint ma hat!”
“Shake it off, Pal.”
“Hmmff. I blame LeGume.”
“Rise above it Pal.”