Shots Fired Collection

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 31, 2023

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.

Reflections by B.C. Graham

I enlisted last year, and I still feel anxious. Fear and excitement argue over who’s more relevant, stirring my blood like a crafty cocktail. I’m buzzed, and completely sober.

Their motto: “The Deeper The Cut, The Deeper The Healing.” They call it “Shots Fired.” Open mic meets experimental psychotherapy. It’s also what the crowd yells when they hear a good insult. Childish ones are most affective; they’re the oldest.

I step onstage and look over at my opponent, “If Mr. Rogers was your neighbor, he’d move!” Echoing from somewhere in time the crowd yells out. My mirrored foe vanishes.

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Shots Fired into White Skin by Anne Goodwin

Clem prepares the needle. The man removes his jacket and thrusts a Union Jack tattoo in her face. Bile sours her throat like love betrayed. Yet, silently, she chuckles. “You realise it’s upside down?”

“Bollocks.”

“People assume it’s symmetrical.” She points a blue-gloved finger along the left-to-right diagonal stripe. “The white should be thicker at the top.”

The syringe approaches his frescoed skin. “Sharp scratch.” Quick in and out, the instructor taught her. Dithering hurts more. She jiggles the needle slowly into the muscle and slaps a flesh-coloured plaster over the puncture wound. A dark-brown dot enhancing the flag.

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Cold Blood by Joanne Fisher

I heard shots fired from the abandoned building. The man I had been tailing had only just walked in there. I found his body on the floor with two gunshot wounds. He had been murdered in cold blood. I heard footsteps behind me, and turned around to see Maria with a gun in her hands.

“Why hire me to follow this man if you were going to kill him all along? I asked. She smiled.

“You were my target all along.” She replied. The man on the floor unexpectedly stood up. Maria pointed the gun at me and fired.

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The Shot by C. E. Ayr

I hear a gunshot.
Through the gloom I see a figure slumped against my car.
I run towards it, my eyes sweeping the area.
Nothing.
As sirens approach, I recognise the pale, huddled form.
And struggle to breathe.
It is Val, the woman I loved and left all those years ago.
Her face is pale, blood seeps through her coat.
Her eyes flicker recognition, her lips twitch almost into a smile.
Take this, she whispers, pushing something into my hand.
I look down at the still warm gun.
She clasps her gloved hands around mine.
Got you, she says.

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Shots Fired by Will

“Shots fired,” reports the police scanner from above the dashboard as I climb into my truck. I lay my still-warm pistol and its magazine on the armrest beside me. Passing headlights briefly illuminate the open van doors and the bodies 50 feet in front of me. She might have been pretty; I couldn’t tell. When I arrived, she was already bloody. The two men had not been kind, and neither had I. Was it justice? The blue lights approach. I’m still not sure why I fired three times–now I have to decide if I should fire once more.

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Who Shot Him? by Norah Colvin

The cadets were in formation as they marched around the oval, looking every bit the soldier with guns and uniforms, and not the pimply partly-whiskered teenage boys they’d return to after graduation. Proud relatives had travelled far to view this passing out parade. Spectators and graduates sweltered under the unforgiving summer sun. Some women armed with fans and umbrellas were the envy of those less prepared. One small cousin pushed through the crowd for a better view. At that instant, a front row cadet fainted. The distressed spectator scampered back to safety. “Who shot him, Mum? Who shot him?”

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Love and Hate by Hugh W. Roberts

I met Hans on the battlefield. Our eyes locked across the chaos of war as shots rang out. At that moment, nothing else existed.

Drawn to each other like moths to a flame, we became united by the realisation that life was too short to waste on hate.

But we parted on different sides as my commander shouted to fall back.

Many years later, when the world was at peace, I never thought we would reunite and our love would be as strong as that day in 1915.

For Hans and I, shots fired had led to love found.

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Where There is Darkness by Jeff Gard

We all saw the body cam footage, the suspect fleeing across the highway on foot, a shadow against flashing reds and blues. Six highway lanes shut down to watch the drama in artificial high-mast lighting, poles bent over as if praying the words of St. Francis.

He was a meth dealer, allegedly. He had stolen a case of beer, allegedly. He resisted arrest, allegedly. He was a father. He was a son. He was nobody. He would become a rallying cry.

One-hundred and thirteen shots fired. We all saw the same footage, but we didn’t see the same crime.

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Bang, Bang in the Night Bill Engleson

It shouldn’t happen here.

That’s city stuff.

Gangs.

We don’t have gangs here. We’ve got farmers. Retirees. A few hobbled dispossessed. Maybe they’ve got guns. There is talk of shooting nomadic dogs. Leashless mutts. Poorly cared for, or, burdened with masters who revere freedom for all and damn the consequences; deer run to ruin.

We do get crews of hunters, off-season as well as legit. Pit-lampers! That sort. Out for their own pleasures.

No matter what it is, we cower in our beds when guns go off in the dark.

It shouldn’t happen here.

It shouldn’t, but it does.

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Longing for Our ‘Normal’ By JulesPaige

In St. Louis, not far from the grand Arch… water pulsating the Mississippi, that waterway, that lifeline that still was used as a north south corridor for shipping goods… We were in a neighborhood that was trying to be gentrified. We were visiting, staying secure in an alarmed home. However, shots rang out in the street below the window. Sirens followed, sunrise couldn’t come fast enough.

Cities can be like that – cutting the population down with nocturnal business activities gone wrong. We knew that, we’d grown up in them. Now we just wanted our colorful sky of the plains.

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Something’s Missing by Charli Mills

Margery Clementine Phillips, Mrs. M.C. to generations of former students, sprawled across the linoleum floor of her former classroom. She remembered the invitation: Would you be our next reading guest? She didn’t remember falling. Did she slip on a pencil? It happened once. Not to her, but the story was legendary for its breakroom retelling like a bad banana peel joke. Did she pass out? She felt dizzy. Her ears rang. She couldn’t move. When a rifle muzzle aimed at her face, she remembered shots fired. She remembered the silly third-grader from 15 years earlier. Where did your humanity go?

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The Shot I Did Not Hear by Duane L Herrmann

I did not hear the gunshot that killed my grandson last spring. He was sitting on the floor of his bathroom. He was twenty-three. I’m sure he was crying. The military lied on his discharge papers. The local court had convicted him on the color of his skin. He owed more money than he had ever imagined and two personnel departments had turned against him based on their assumptions. He was sure his mom and granpa couldn’t fix any of that. He father simply caused problems. We don’t know where he got the gun to blow his brains out.

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The First Salvo by Sadje

The first salvo was fired under the guise of friendly advice, the pointy spindle hidden in the syrupy sweet advice, given presumably to ‘improve’ her habits and social graces.

Their evil was obscure, hiding in a whine and teary face.

She was no sleeping beauty, being exposed to these backstabbers since she was old enough to understand their hidden agenda. She’d rather they clobbered her on her head with their true intent, rather than poison her mind with sweet venom.

Indeed, foes in disguise of family were worse than an honest enemy.

T’was time to expose their lies!

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Eyeballs by Simon

Cynthia pulled the trigger, the man dropped dead. At the attic a murder took place.
Few days later the person is on the news as “Missing”.
Cynthia’s mother stared at her a moment knowing the person isn’t missing but died. Guilty haunted her nights. She forced Cynthia to go somewhere else.
Cynthia didn’t hesitate to pull another trigger, this time her mom gone missing.
Cynthia opened her hobby box from the freezer and filled the 20th bottle with her Mom’s eye. Cynthia said “Mom, I knew one day I’ll keep your eyes too, not so soon, R.I.P my Mother”

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The Rendezvous Part II by Kate Spencer

Gloria slips through the French doors into the dimly lit suite. Approaching the bedroom, she sees someone inside, closing the safe.

“We’ve got company,” she whispers into her two-way earpiece, backing away.

Pulling out her Glock 19, she waits for the intruder in the living room.

Who was this guy?

And then he’s there, his Beretta pointed at her.

“Out of my way,” he seethes.

“Can’t do that.”

“Move!”

“Allô mon Chérie!”

His eyes shift to glance at her partner landing on the balconet.

Gloria roundhouse kicks the gun out of his hand just as he pulls the trigger.

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Some Injuries by Gary A. Wilson

“Jerry, when did you last see Monica?”
“Maybe thirty-two years; graduation day.  Why?”
“She’s approaching behind you.”
“Wha . . .”
“Oh, ick!  Hello Benjamin, and — you.  I would’ve died happy never seeing you again.”
“Um, hello Monica. What a surprise. How are -”
“Only seconds ago, I was fine.”
“Look, I’m sorry, for back  -”
“When you treated me like poison meat.”
“Yea — I apologize for being stupid.”
“And hateful. I’ll consider your apology but until decided — you can just rot.”
“Whoa, shots fired! Monica — he apologized.”
“True. But some injuries too deep for simple apologies to reach.”

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The Flaming Sambucas, etc. by Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking is home to various cocktail bars. The Hot Toddies, the Shots Fired, and the Flaming Sambucas to name three. What makes them unique is the way each turns the drinkers’ brain molten, enabling pain receptors to leave quietly to join other like minded cells. Thereafter they form anarchic analgesic cooperatives, randomly numbing the pained poor, bagpipe testers and anyone with a compulsion to listen to Leonard Cohen. Recently a petition has been raised to curtail these activities after voters were found to have been numbed to politicians’ speeches, to such an extent they began believing the promises.

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Venison for Dinner by Sue Spitulnik

Dear hunting season always affected the veterans at the No Thanks. Some thought of fresh and canned venison and others dreaded they might hear the shooting.
Tyrell told about the first time his sister had harvested a young buck. “Rhodessa tended to aim with the wrong eye and shook with excitement. Result was, she broke the poor thing’s back legs with one shot, then killed it with the second. She was high up on the hill above our parked trucks, so shoved it right down to ’em. That dear had the most tender meat. Still haven’t had any better.”

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Shots Fired by writerravenclaw

There were reports of shots fired.
First on the scene, she wasn’t sure what she would find. So many poachers, killing bears for nothing more than the skin on the animals backs or their babies. To drag them into a life, behind bars, with the pain of loss inside them.
This time she wasn’t going to be late to their party. Standing above him, there was no choice. ”For the bears,” she said.
She saw him, about to fire, and happily pulled the trigger against him.
There were reports of shots fired, but nobody cared, the bears were safe.

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Shots Fired by Ann Edall-Robson

The morning mist floated through the trees. Sounds of shots being fired in sporadic volleys filtered through the branches. The two silhouettes stopped to listen for any voices. Hearing none, they moved on, small puffs of moisture escaping their mouths as they entered the alcove, their steps cushioned by the ground’s needle bed. With a nod, they moved into position, each ready for the inevitable that would soon commence. Easy, fluent motions start to finish. A soft relaxed word, “Pull”. Making eye contact with the inbound target. One shot fired and chunks of clay pigeon dropped to the ground.

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Fired Up, Over, and Out (Part I) by D. Avery

“Bang!”
“Yawww! Dang it Kid! Don’t do thet.”
“Aw, come on Pal, I’m jist funnin ya. Ya too gun-shy fer this week’s prompt?”
“Mebbe I am. Shots fired don’t seem right fer the Ranch. Now what? Duck!”
“That was jist the LeGumes, Pal, out on the veranda shootin the breeze.”
“Reckon thet’s a good place for em.”
“They wanna see us, Pal. Hey Pepe. Logatha.”
“Ello, Keed, ello Pal. We have news.”
“Phew, LeGume, thinkin yer firin some shots. O, shift. Lemme step upwind.”
“What’s yer news, Pepe?”
“I fired a shot alright. Logatha’s goeeng to ‘ave a bambeano!”

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Fired Up, Over, and Out (Part II) by D. Avery

“Pal, what burr’s unner yer saddle now? Hope yer not cranky cuz a the LeGumes’ impendin bambeano.”
“Ain’t thet, Kid. Happy fer em, havin a little stinker. Nah, it’s thet fella thet run away from the circus.”
“From the ‘Literary Artist’ challenge? Whut’d he do?”
“It’s whut I did. Mighta been too quick ta pull the trigger hirin ‘im ta hep out.”
“Reckon a fella like that knows his way roun animals.”
“Too well. Dang cattle’ve all got dance routines now. The hosses all got fancy tricks.”
“Aw, that’s okay, Pal. Seen Curly?”
“Yep. Over in thet cannon.”
“No!!”

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Fired Up, Over, and Out (Part III) by D. Avery

“No!! Don’t fire my hoglet outta that cannon!”
“Why not, Kid? She wants to go across the beaver pond. This is a sure-fire way to get her there quickly.”
“Curly kin walk! Thought ya wanted ta be away from circus life, anyway. Why ya teachin the ranch animals tricks an routines?”
“This Ranch needs a little razzle-dazzle.”
“There’s stellar stories here ever week, thet’s razzle-dazzle enough. We got Rough Writers takin risks in the safe space a Carrot Ranch. Why ain’tcha writin ‘stead a training the livestock?”
“Chickened out.”
“Mebbe ya better cross the road, Hot Shot. Yer fired.”

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Thank you to all our writers who contributed to this week’s collection!

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6 Comments

  1. joanne the geek

    Another wonderful collection. Great job everyone!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Joanne! What a thriller you crafted in 99 words!

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    A twenty-one gun salute for this curation!

    • Charli Mills

      A brave collection, not an easy subject.

  3. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing, Hugh!

  4. Charli Mills

    Thanks for sharing, Norah!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What message does the sky have for you? - […] Click this link to view last week’s entries. […]
  2. #99Word Stories; Impossibly Blue | ShiftnShake - […] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Shots Fired” collection from last week‘s […]
  3. Impossibly Blue #99WordStories | Norah Colvin - […] The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Shots Fired, including mine, can be read at…
  4. #99Word Stories; Dog in the Desert | ShiftnShake - […] sure to go to Carrot Ranch to read the complete “Shots Fired” collection from last week‘s […]

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