Old Lady & the Beast 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.

April 21, 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.

The Old Woman and the Beast by Norah Colvin

Beyond the village, where trees grow thick and tall, lives an old woman in a tiny cottage. Self-sufficient with her gardens, chickens, and one milking goat, she rarely ventures far.

By day, she whistles as she works. When darkness falls, she locks the doors, bolts the windows and draws the curtains.

Then the beast arrives, landing heavy-footed on the roof. Soon the monstrous grunting, growling, screeching and hissing begin. She covers her ears and rocks, humming calming songs without effect. Eventually, the beast retreats. The night grows quiet and still, and she sleeps, awakening at daybreak, another night survived.


The House That Nobody Visits by Hugh W. Roberts

Nobody ever went near the old ladies’ and beasts’ house.

Tears of sadness fell every day. Not even rays of warm sun coming through the windows helped.

When the front doorbell chimed one Saturday afternoon, panic set in.

“Who could it be?”

“I don’t know. Nobody ever comes here because of me.”

“Should we answer?”

“Why not?”

The face of a young female met their faces.

“I’m not afraid,” she said, pushing past them. ‘It’s time I proved the village folk wrong.”

As the old lady fed on the young flesh, the beast knew why nobody had visited him.


The Beast by Joanne Fisher

The old woman caught a glimpse of a hideous evil beast in her mirror. Panicked, she pressed the alarm. As she was a prominent citizen, the police took no time at all to respond. They searched her large mansion, but found nothing.

“We’ve looked everywhere ma’am, but can’t find any trace of this beast you saw.” The police chief informed her. “However we’ll leave a few officers here, just in case it returns.” The old woman nodded gratefully.

Once she was alone, she looked in the mirror again. The beast looked directly back at her.


Beast by Diana Coombes

The old lady and the beast; she often wondered why she stayed with him. Every year, they celebrated their anniversary in the same place, at the same time. He would tip the waiter, just enough for him to move away. He picked the menu, told her what she would like to eat, or drink. Her choice? There was none in her marriage.

Until now.

She stepped back, taking hold of the house phone (she wasn’t allowed a mobile). Dialling 999. ‘Police please, it’s my husband I think I have killed him.’ Only then did she fall to the floor.


Old Lady and the Beast by Simon

On a pleasant sunny day, an old day picked fruits in the garden. 5 theives decoded to steal her pricy necklace and fruit.
Two of them ran faster to snatch the jewels and fruit, she catched them by neck and tightened, at her age she was stronger than they imagined and struggled to get away from her grip.

Other three ran faster, unexpected to reveal a beast exploded from her skin, the 5 theives had their bones crushed by the beast, screamed in pain.

The beast jumped back into her skin, she walked away with fruits like nothing happened.


Wise Enough? by JulesPaige

hooded against rain
yellow slicker holds my wealth
two halves; broken rock

What untold fortune for this old lady? Proof that I slayed the beast attacking the sheep. I would not ask for much, just enough lillies to adorn the plot that my old bones might be buried in. And perhaps a few meals before that time? The trick will be to get them to believe me. I threw the rock, it broke in two when it hit the beasts’ skull. I buried the beast so no one else would lay claim. The blood on the rock, my proof.


Culture Wars by Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking and Dollop on the Nadge’s annual culture war comprised the battle for yoghurt supremacy to win the The Lady Ferne Mented’s Buttermilk Cup. Each town believed its culture produced the finest, most bacteriological dynamic yoghurt. Subterfuge was, of course employed. Little Tittweaking used the famed Old Label that gave its yoghurts a distinct buzz (testing later showed that, when heated, the label realised a psychotropic sap making the final product addictive and erectily perky). Dollop, by contrast incorporated the Yeast from the East, a Siberian fermentation enhancer that left the consumer both frisky and completely unblocked.


Mastering Her Beast by Gary A. Wilson Stories

“Hello Mitchell. I heard about Emma – so sorry to hear that her – um, struggles never seem to improve. I’m praying for her.”

“Thanks Gail. she’s had a hard week but, she’s better today. Thanks for those prayers.”

“And how are you holding up? It can’t be easy – working and taking care of the house for such a frail wife.”

“She’s far from frail. Don’t think for a moment that she’s just an old woman struggling with age. Think of her as trusting your friendship by allowing you to see how she masters her beast of chronic depression.”


The Old Lady and the Beast by SweeterThanNothing

The old lady had been haunted by the beast her entire life. Ever since she took her first wobbling steps into adulthood and had fallen on her knees. That’s when the beast had first pounced. The black dog of depression had nearly broken her.

But she shook him off.

She spent her life evading him, staying one step ahead. Creating, achieving, delighting in the world around her. But time had caught up to her. Her hands were too arthritic to create, her bones too old to achieve. She was too lonely to delight in the world. 

The beast pounced.


The Beast That Does Not Discriminate by Meredith Caine

She had lived a full life, now, she could barely remember her own name. He never even had a life. He could not process the world around him because the voices were too loud. Both fighting a losing battle. Age was their distinction, the beast that haunted them, made them kindred spirits. He was running from demons; she had wandered away. A synchronicity of friendship unfolded on the corner of conscious clarity. No words were spoken, there was not a need. Their beast did not discriminate by age. Yet somehow, they both found lucidity in that moment of knowing.


Beast by Reena Saxena

“Peel onions the right way. There should be no wastage.”

“Boil eggs correctly. They should not be overdone or underdone.”

“Is this the time to read? Aren’t you responsible for housework first?”

“A woman has to place her family on priority. Career is just your indulgence.”

The old woman is fed up of mouthing these words, which nobody pays heed to. She falls into a disappointed and disturbed silence.

She knows it is all irrelevant, but the beast of interference she has endured in her youth refuses to leave her. The words still echo in her now empty nest.


Beauty and the Beast by D. Avery

Katie came to our booth with three slices of apple pie.

“I liked your princess turned artist story,” she said as she slid in beside me.

“Umm, once-upon-a-time… seems so long ago and far away now,” Gloria replied. “Stories change though. Continually.”

“How?” I asked. “What happened to the princess?”

“Sometimes she danced in beautiful light. Other times she stumbled through dark labyrinths, hounded by a beast.”

“A beast?”

“Self-doubt, Penelope. A terrible beast.”

“What happened?”

“She became an old lady. And old ladies and young girls can always defeat the beast of self-doubt.”

Grinning, I stabbed my pie.


Woman’s Best Friend by C. E. Ayr

When he hears the bells, he knows she’ll come dancing out the door.

She looks so young at these times, wearing a pretty bright dress and a hat.
She always takes time to speak to him, promising him his heart’s desire on her return.
Then she skips off towards the high steeple which makes the noise.

The door opens.
He struggles to his feet, tail wagging.
But she doesn’t come dancing out.
The men re-emerge, and carry a long narrow box to the black car waiting at the roadside.

His heart breaks, suddenly understanding that she’ll never dance again.


Night Beast by Michael Fishman

Sarah woke at 2:00 a.m.

Heart racing, she stared at the ceiling and begged God for sleep, but this night would be no different than any other.

“Samuel,” she said to the dark room.

Two years he’s gone and still I can’t let him go.

She didn’t need the picture on the bedside table to see his face, or the home movies Ruthie put onto the video to feel his beautiful smile.

Two years, he needs his rest already.

Empty and guilty, Sarah closed her eyes. She let the tears fall as she waited for the sun to rise.


My Beast Friend-Revised by Bill Engleson

I first knew Gulag as a child. I didn’t know his name then. Whether he was a he or she. It never mattered. All that mattered was that he/she lived under my bed. And he/she scared the bejesus out of me.
For the first few years.
There were no growls, no sudden hoverings over me.
Gulag wasn’t that sort of nightmarish beast.
Gulag, the name I finally chose, grew with me.
Any fear I had, I worked it out with him.
He came with me to my marriage bed.
Supported me as a widow.
Joined me in the grave.


Her Beautiful Life by D. Avery

“He is not a beast,” she countered. “He can be very curmudgeonly, anti-social even, he certainly has questionable fashion sense, but hasn’t actually done anything beastly. I checked.”

“You could do better.”

“Could I? I am an S.O.L., a single old lady, and we tend to outlive and outnumber the old men. Besides he has some very redeeming merits.”

“Like what, Grandmother?”

“That “beast” is an animal. If you know what I mean.”


“If you ask a question, be prepared for the answer. He’s good in bed.”


“I’m not just an old lady. I’m still a woman.”


Not the Ideal Time to Celebrate a Big Birthday by Anne Goodwin

Matty’s centenary gala was set to outrank even the Queen’s official birthday extravaganza, until the beast intervened. Locked in to lock out the virus, how could she grace the stage? Born before the invention of television, she knew nothing of the tablet that could bring the world to her room. But Bluebell knew. The teenage care assistant found the old woman an audience that spread from Alaska to Timbuktu. The beast was tamed, or so it seemed. Aren’t all ogres teddy bears in disguise? Alas another was looming. Could the savage beast of racial injustice crush even Matty’s charm?


An Old Woman and a Beast by Miss Judy

Today like every other Marge stepped out her backdoor for her early morning walk. The sun peaked over the horizon casting a shimmer on the pond. Birds floated above through fresh, clean air from an overnight shower. Squirrels chittered to say “Good Morning.” Marge loved this time of day when the world seemed at peace.

In the distance, she barely heard the guttural growl. “Where and what is it?” She walked on listening. Again, closer, louder. It jumped and pinned her under its huge paws, its fur thick and silky, her eyes opened, “You beast, get off the bed!”


Mister Beast by Gloria McBreen

Heather held the silk scarf to her neck. It felt smooth against her skin. She didn’t need another scarf. She willed herself to put it back but the thing inside her was too strong. Edwin called it Mister Beast.

For over fifty years, Edwin chaperoned his wife everywhere. When he couldn’t be with her, he locked her up. To protect her. From it.

Since Edwin’s death, Mister Beast was in control again. Heather could go wherever she wanted, whenever she wanted—unfortunately.

She zipped open the flap of her shopping trolley, just enough to slip the scarf discreetly inside.


No Peace With Beasts by Charli Mills


Mable refused to open her eyes. It was April. Who rose at the crack of dawn for spring snow?


She rolled over, wrapping her comforter cocoon closer.


“I’m going to kill that beast!” Mable’s bones creaked with each step into her satin slippers. She tossed a thick flannel over her nightshift, one that had belonged to Roy. Not her dead husband, but a dead lover, nonetheless.


Over a cup of coffee, she decided the beastmaster had to go. If Fred couldn’t fix his snowblower’s engine, she’d fix Fred. Just like Roy who wouldn’t stop power-washing.


The Beast of Poverty by Sadje

Extreme poverty is a deadly foe for anyone but when it strikes people in their old age it becomes a beast looking to devour them.

Old amma * belonged to a poor family, working all through her life till the age of 80. Since she had two sons, it was expected that at least at this age they would give her shelter and sustenance. But fate had a different plan. One son died of Covid while the other was a drug addict.

Now she sweeps the streets, in exchange for food and shelter, trying to evade the beast of poverty.


A Cadbury Calm by Kerry E.B. Black

Her family couldn’t reach her, so lost in her timeless pursuits, unmoored from their understanding. Guilt burdened, they found a safe place with trained staff and medical care. Homey. Nice.

She didn’t improve. Confusion swirled like combat around her, a blinding cloud of confrontation. They feared visiting, yet they longed for their loved one. They endured stares and unrecognition, hoping for a flare of the former her.

On Easter, they brought a bunny named Cadbury. Although they worried she’d fly into anger, her troubled mind calmed. She stroked soft fur and cooed the way she used to comfort them.


Off the Grid (Part 2) by Sue Spitulnik

The policemen, still in the car, looked at the growling dog. “You mind leashing that.”
“Beast. Heal.” The dog ran to the man and sat, quiet. “Stay.”
The police got out of the car, one said, “Are you a veteran?”
“Yup. One tour in Iraq and two in Afghanistan.”
“How about the dog?”
“Yup. Now he’s a stud to my ex-old-lady’s bitch. I take the pups I think are trainable and she sells the rest.”
“You have any visitors we might be interested in meeting?”
“At first.” He whistled one note. Three more dogs charged out of the RV.


Off the Grid (Part 3) by Sue Spitulnik

The policemen flinched.
The veteran held his hand to his side, palm facing Beast. The three other dogs stopped short and sat behind Beast. “Folks don’t like my pack.”
“I can see why. Do you have permission to be here?”
“Yup. It’s my ex-in-laws property.”
“Can we look inside?”
“Nothin’ to hide. ” He added, “Beast. Down.” His dog and the three trainees hunched down.
One policeman went into the RV and soon came back out. “Looks good.”
The veteran smiled. “I could donate one of the pups to ya.”
“You would?”
“We’re on the same side, guys.”


Reality Check by Frank James

Great Grandma was from the old country, and she loved farming. She named beasts after days and plants after months, to remember key dates. Every feeding time, creatures flocked to her calls. She loved watching all of the crops grow, until harvest. Although, she adored one immense beast. A boar with gnarly tusks and coarse hair, and one day it charged at her. I ran to her, but she just filled its trough.

“There you go, Friday” she giggled holding an ax behind her back. That Fall, I learned naming livestock made it easier to treat or eat them.


In the Belly of the Beast by Colleen Chesebro

The old woman crouched in the corner of the room. She felt the hot breath of the beast on the back of her neck.

His pursuit of her never wavered. She’d been running for so long. Nights were the worst. That’s when she understood there was no mercy from the decisions she’d made when she was young. Now, she was tired and desired peace.

“Beast, leave me!”

Silence. She stayed in the safety of the corner.

When the alarm sounded, she relaxed. The heavy barred prison doors rolled open.

“Line up for chow,” yelled the guard.

Another day began.


Shorty Ponders Spring Growth by Charli Mills

Shorty closes the calico curtains to the cabin. Spring sounds penetrate like an old lady fussing but not the light. Sometimes, a person just needs a beastly sit in the dark with a good pipe, good thoughts. Writing hands come and go at the Ranch. This is life. A natural rhythm. A writer’s call. Like robins who leave. And return. Shorty puffs the bowl. Yep, everyone needs to learn they can always step away. It’s okay. Writers grow. Writers need to search for more words or stories or poems. Shorty rejoices at Kid’s leaving. Kid’s path is all Kid.


Pal Says: by D. Avery

Once ‘pon a time, in a magical place known as Carrot Ranch, a prompt prompted a mem’ry a Shorty’s. Or mebbe the mem’ry prompted thet prompt. Cain’t remember. But thet was the time thet Frankie stepped outta the past an onta the page, long with her hoss, Burt. Since thet time they become the mail carriers a Carrot Ranch, the beloved old lady with one good eye an one glass eye, an a eye fer rye whiskey who relies on her beast a burden, Burt. Mebbe ya’ve seen em bellied up ta the bar at the Saddle Up Saloon.


Frankie Gives a Damn by D. Avery

“Pal! Where’n heck are ya, you beastly no good cuss?”
“Ello, Mees Frankie. What ees da matter?”
“Oh, hey Pepe. I’m steamed. Look’t whut Pal said bout me. That’s hurtful.”
“Oh, deed you not want Pal mentioneeng your eye?”
“No, that’s fine, is what it is.”
“Deed he offend you by mentioneeng de dreenkeeng?”
“No, that’s fine, is what it is. I admit ta enjoyin an occasional libation.”
“Ees eet where he says dat you are old?”
“I am old, Pepe, an don’t mind it. Beats all the alternatives. But, prompt be damned, I ain’t never been no lady.”


Hair T’day, Gone T’morrow by D. Avery

“Hey Pal, whut’s up?”
“Jist checkin in, Ernie, seein how yer doin.”
“I’m doin real good Pal.”
“How’s yer old lady?”
“Wanda? We’re purty much done, Pal, don’t think she’ll wander cross these pages much anymore. Anyways, I’m stil bein pursued by thet Sassysquatch.”
“Heard thet pursuit runs both ways, Ernie.”
“Ha! Yep. Sassy says I’m a beast. But thet I’m handsome an handy. An, Pal, she’s got such inner beauty, such a big hairy heart. She’s made me a better man, whereas Wanda jist made me a bitter man.”
“Glad yer happy, Ernie.”
“It’s a beautiful thing, Pal.”


No Keedeeng by D. Avery

“Pal, eet ees a good teeng you were not here earlier. Mees Frankie ees very angry weet you. She deed not like to be referred to as a lady.”
“It’s jist an expression.”
“Words are eemportant, no? She does not identeefy as a lady.”
“Hmmf. Did she mention whut she does ‘dentify as?”
“She said she ees embracing her cronehood.”
“Fine, I crown her queen crone. Dang it, LeGume, I got more ta worry bout than rufflin thet old hen’s feathers.”
“What ees goeeng on, Pal?”
“Kid’s picked up an moved on. With Curly.”
“You’re keeding!”
“Wish I were.”


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

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  1. a-zend-life

    Oh the one By Kerry EB Black!! ???? Didn’t put it together till the last paragraph! Profound!

  2. noelleg44

    Some great contributions here!

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    What a beauteous beastly collection! So many beasts, real, imagined, and metaphorical.
    Well done, one and all.
    Charli, I appreciate Shorty’s pondering. The title of that piece puts Kid’s traveling into perspective. Kid can grow from getting out and about. I’m surprised Pal is so upset.

  4. Jules

    I wish I could visit everyone and tell them how I was delighted and entranced by all their tales.
    Some hit close to home and others were homey and yet others… beastly!

    Thank you all for contributing.


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