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.
Lost in a Nightmare by Judy Marshall
“Jason, please come in here.” He hesitated when finding Terri sitting on the sofa. She motioned, “Please, sit.”
Whisper-quiet, Terri spoke, “Jason, you seem distracted, worried. We are concerned. Is everything ok?”
Not wanting this conversation, Jason mumbled, “It’s all good.”
“I’ve spoken with the partners, you are a valuable collegue, but we need you 110%. Take some time off, 6 months, a year, get yourself together. After, if you want to come back, your job will be here.”
Stunned and speechless, Jason left. Six months? A year? Jason wondered, can you fix what you don’t know is broken?
How To Take A Long Break by Hugh W. Roberts
Some think my job is one of the toughest, so I deserve a sabbatical.
Rain, shine, blizzards or gales, I have to do my job. I pledged that I’d never let anyone down. Some think I have too many days off, but people need to learn what goes on behind closed doors.
What’s the best thing about my job? Tearing the date ‘December 24th’ off the calendar and starting my sabbatical for another 364 days.
Nirvana by Reena Saxena
“You failed to fulfil your duties as a wife and mother”…. screamed accusing fingers.
But who says a wife and mother is not an individual, and has her own needs and desires.
The fingers folded into fists which broke through the windows on her private existence. It was an identity crisis for them. How could she claim to have an existence beyond their reach?
“No, you can’t…”
“Yes, I can….”
The battle ensues.
She decides to quit everything other than her independent will – the marriage, house and comfort zone.
She wanted a sabbatical. She attained Nirvana in the process.
Break by Jenny Logan
She buried her husband and waited six months before joining the agency. She hushed her guilty conscience and reminded herself that some people remarried in less time.
Her sabbatical had gone on long enough. She’d left the workplace to be a SAHM, but no children came.
She checked the website daily, then weekly. Nothing.
Turns out nobody wants a Mrs Doubtfire or Nanny McPhee in real life. The jobs went to younger applicants—students who’d sign up for babysitting duties, too.
Before long, her profile was on a different agency.
Stay at home wife wasn’t so bad, after all.
A Required Reset by Nicole Horlings
Lisa found herself at breaking point at the semester’s end. Beyond marking an astounding amount of essays and exams, her Cuba trip during winter break was ruined because her Visa application was denied. The weight of stress was crushing her, with no let-up in sight.
In a fit of anxiety she broke off her TA contracts for the spring semester. When the department head confirmed her release, she realized she had cut off all of her income for the next few months. However, she also felt an excitement for the future that she hadn’t known for a long time.
Yup! Another Year by Bill Engleson
“ ’Nother year in the hopper.”
“Went fast, didn’t it.”
“Don’t remember. I suppose.”
“You don’t remember? The War? The storms? The heatwave? Trump’s taxes?”
“Coulda been almost any year ’cept for that.”
“Not exactly a revelation. You know what they say…the poor always pay more.”
“I need a break from all this.”
“All this what?”
“You mean life!”
“For heavens sake, you’re retired. Stop thinking so much. Relax.”
“Easy to say. Maybe I need to take a…whaddayacallit…a scabbatical.”
“Scab…sab…salve…a change at any rate.”
“Before you leave, pass the bottle.”
Stay Indoors by Liza Mimski
Bomb cyclone. Atmospheric river. Rain pelting. Sandbags. Trees down. Highways, streets closed due to flooding. One hundred mile per hour winds in the North Bay. Thirty-foot waves in the South Bay. Breaks in electricity. Stores closed.
I’d been so tired lately, running here and there, always busy, trying to get caught up, never relaxing. Take this in. Buy that. The dog needs another walk. Now, I sit on the couch watching the Breaking News, reporters planted in front of huge maps of Northern California. It’s advised that residents stay safe by staying indoors, they emphasize, music for my ears.
Death of an Artist by Raelyn Pracht
“Sabbatical? Are you serious?” She dropped her half-smoked cigarette into her styrofoam cup—the bitter black coffee inside extinguishing its power.
“Get away from work. Go somewhere. Stay home. It doesn’t matter.” Dr. Shelley leaned forward. “Just put the paintbrushes and easels away.”
Jayne puffed angry air out her nostrils.
“I won’t see you again until you do.”
Jayne knew Dr. Shelley was serious. She didn’t mince words. That’s why Jayne liked her, plus, she too was an artist.
The mental death of an artist was slow and excruciating.
And Jayne’s gravestone was already being written.
Remotely Working by D. Avery
Finally, he lifted his head up from his phone, saw the suitcase.
“We’re going on vacation?”
“No. I am going on sabbatical.”
“That job gives sabbaticals?”
“No. I’ll continue to work remotely.”
“Then how is it a sabbatical?”
“I’m taking a break from you. From our marriage. It’s way too much work for me lately.”
“You? What about me, I do plenty around here. And why didn’t you tell me you were going somewhere?”
She held in a sigh. “I have told you, many times.”
“Must not have heard you,” and he went back to his phone.
Finally by Liz Husebye Hartmann
She smiled, waiting for the bell to ring, backside leaning against the desk, hands folded in her lap. She said nothing, no longer irritated by the heads bent over ill-concealed cellphones. They waited for release, too.
No need to fill the silence, walk around and urge, by activity, a little class participation. Year-long sabbatical granted, she’d head north tomorrow. No final exams or papers, so no grading. She gazed out the window, at clouds scudding across the sky.
“So, Professor Simpson, will you be offering the next level up in Resilience Studies?”
At that moment, the final bell sounded.
Sad Article by Geoff Le Pard
Briefly Little Tittweaking became famous for its Death Sabbatical Society. Its pitch was ‘Are you dying for [insert preference]? Let us temporarily euthanise you.’ For a fee, DSS would take your life (minimum period: a week) and leave you to rot while you indulged your desires. Life was restored via electric shocks and a chilli poultice to the genitals.
Business remained brisk, even surviving a scandal when the cadavers were squatted by homeless spirits claiming on their life assurance. The business folded, as do so many, when the Inland Revenue decided temporary death was in reality a tax dodge.
Finding A New Balance by Gary A. Wilson
“Hey Lance. Welcome back. All’s well I hope?”
“Ah! Thanks Sharon. Yea, I think all is well; different but okay.”
“And Tracy; everything settle out okay?”
“Yea – she left; moved to a different hemisphere; didn’t want the kids or the dog. She just left.”
“Wow! I didn’t see that coming. You sure you’re okay?”
“I’m just tired mostly; burned one week fighting, a second signing legal papers and helping her pack, then two months with the kids; finding our new balance. They suffered with their mom’s breakdown.
“I don’t know if I need a sabbatical or just survived one.”
Hopeful Harmony by JulesPaige
Jane felt like she had been ‘gifted’ a sabbatical. With time to think and turn old boots into planters. Aunt Gertie had given her a new life. Now there was talk on the island about Emme, a little girl who had been rescued, but would not talk. Was it time to go back to the main house and see if she could coax some words out of the little girl. Jane felt free to once again offer herself to a child.
With the yang
The scales of karma; to teach
And of course to learn
Taking a Break by Sadje
Can I take a break from parenting? A sabbatical from being a mom?
Ah….I know the answer so don’t bother replying. Once a mom, always a mom, even when we don’t need to be. All my kids have crossed their thirtieth birthday, and officially I am not required to mother them. But….
My mother hen instincts override the reality of reason and need many a time and I carry on as if their welfare depends on my actions, till they, irritated tell me to step out of the way so that they can carry on with their parenting duties.
Michael Needs a Break by Sue Spitulnik
Tessa noticed that Michael’s morning routine was taking longer than usual. “Honey, do you feel all right?”
Michael gave her a funny look from where he sat on the bed. “Why do you ask?”
“You act tired and are moving slower.”
“I didn’t think it showed,” he said. “Maybe a type of sabbatical is what I need. Keep up with DC and the band only. That would leave more time for us and guarantee I would be home when Lexi has her baby.”
Tessa sat beside him and took his hand, “That’s a fantastic idea. I’d love it.”
Sabbatical From Me by Elizabeth
One year not being me. Who would I be? A person carrying the weight of the past, or new thoughts would populate my mind. No attachment to society, no deadlines, of course, no blogging or Instagram. Total freedom of being. A cabin on a small island; a beach or a mountain; a fireplace and white lace curtains dancing with the soft breeze. No watch, no time, just flowing as the sun and the moon. Lots of journals and books. A garden with fresh vegetables and fruits. A cat as a companion, a golden one, to brighten up the cabin.
On Sabbatical by Colleen M. Chesebro
“Have you seen Hilda lately?” asked Luna.
“No. After the witch’s conference, they instructed her to leave for a three-month sabbatical,” answered Faeryn. “Don’t repeat this, but I heard one of her spells went awry. She injured a human.”
Luna’s eyes widened in shock. “That’s a supreme violation. How will she come back from that mistake?”
“Well, a sabbatical means she can return to her previous position after her break.”
“You’re kidding. She’s in charge of the Witch’s Committee on Rules. How can this be allowed?” asked Luna.
“That’s the problem with the concentration of power in the Coven.”
On the Hundredth Year by Tabare Alvarez
My people sent me here 99 years ago. To observe from Luna and determine, quote, the best approach. Do we send down a single ambassador? Hundreds of merchants? I suspect that regardless of the initial approach–given how we are (self-righteous but greedy), and given how they are (stubborn)–eventually we will be dropping objects of large mass on them. If I quit, I’ll be replaced. So. I do believe I will fold myself back into the ship. I will write the kind of report that encourages dithering. I will stall. And I will teach the Earth how to prepare.
The First Sabbatical by Anne Goodwin
He’d toiled bloody hard, there was no denying it. Beginning with light so he could see the results when he created the sky, the soil, the sea. Some think he should’ve spent less time on the galaxies, but he never suspected they’d waste their precious resources on rocketing to the stars.
After two days on the animals – land, air and water – he was knackered. Yet he regrets devoting the seventh day to relaxation when there was so much left to do. Those hours swinging in a hammock should’ve gone to improving the humans, ensuring they wouldn’t ruin his work.
Sabbatical? Could They Help? by Nancy Brady
In academia, professors are allowed to take a sabbatical, time off to study, do research, write, rather than teach. While at college, many different professors took sabbaticals during my schooling.
Using my profession as an example, I know pharmacists never have the opportunity to take sabbaticals. Yet all are required to update our medication knowledge through lifelong continuing education, which is completed on personal time, not pharmacy hours. Pharmacists’ vacation time is limited with those hours picked up by other pharmacists.
Maybe If all high pressure professionals could take a sabbatical from their profession, there might be less burnout.
Summer Sabbatical by Ann Edall-Robson
The tranquil, rocking pace soothed her. Relaxing the rein, her horse dropped his head to forge on. Behind them, the pack mule loaded with a month’s supplies followed. The trail through the trees took the trio to a meadow alive with wildflowers, where they stopped at the creek before heading into the rolling hills, to the lake and the cabin camouflaged by trees, hidden, except to those who knew of its existence. A deep sigh escaped her. The meadow view from the veranda and the tranquil pace of her rocking chair had become the summer sabbaticals she longed for.
Takin a Breather by D. Avery
“Pepe? I was expecting Kid and Pal.”
“Ello Shorty. Doze two are steel arguing wedder or not being snowed in at da saloon all dat time counts as sabbatical. Pal says eet was, because dey weren’t doin deir regular chores and eet also was not a vacation. Keed says eet cannot be a sabbatical as dey haven’t even worked here for seven years.”
“No? Seems longer.”
“Dat ees what Pal said. Keed also said dat a sabbatical ees meant to be a producteeve time. All we deed was tell stories.”
“A breath of fresh air, Pepe! Tell Kid— sabbatical.”