Lost Books 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.

June 15, 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.

Bookending by Anne Goodwin

I remember grains of sand between the pages and the seaweed tang of my fingers as I brushed them off. I remember your voice as you read that passage, diving from clarinet to bassoon. I remember folding over the corner so I could come back to it and try to understand. I remember the sting of my cheek where you slapped it and my mouth wide open in shock.

I lost the words when you cleared the bookshelves, the same day you emptied your wardrobe and the kitchen drawers. In taking the book, you took a part of me.

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In Search of a Book by Dianne Borowski

Dan needed information on “Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson” Winesburg is actually Clyde, a small Ohio town not far from our home. We gathered the children and drove the turnpike to Clyde. It took us about ten minutes to drive through Clyde. We patronized several small businesses and wandered the streets where author Anderson spent his formative years.

I purchased a copy of the book from a used book store in Clyde. We lost the book somewhere between Clyde and home but Dan was able to write a clever essay without ever reading the book and aced the assignment.

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Reality Thins by Geoff Le Pard

In Little Tittweaking, reality thins alarmingly, allowing access to parallel universes. Books and keys regularly pass through to more sympathetic environments. Misplaced house keys are turned right round when someone opens doors for them, while lost paperbacks stiffen their spines, turn new pages and refuse to be shelved. Sometimes the plaintive whispers of muted audiobooks may be heard talking their way across, while ebooks join dating sites to form unlikely series with gbooks, pbooks and other alphabet works. Only graphic books are eschewed, still sneered at as mere comics. But they know that they will have the last laugh…

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The Lost Book by Norah Colvin

“What’s all this mess?” said Dad.

“I can’t find my book. I’ve gotta return it today.”

“Where’d you have it last?”

“I put it on my desk. I bet Laura hid it.”

“Why would she do that?”

“She hates me. She wants to get me in trouble.”

“That’s not true. Are you sure you put it on your desk? Have you checked your bag?”

“YES! I can’t go to school. Tell them I’m sick.”

Dad sat, then sprang up. He pulled back the bedclothes, revealing the lost book and a torch.

“So, someone was reading after lights out.”

“Oops.”

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In Living Color by Colleen M. Chesebro

“Gran, what’s in this box way at the back?” Callie shouted.

Gran stood at the bottom, hands on her hips. “I’m not sure. Just bring the box downstairs, and we’ll look inside.”

Callie carried the box down the steep stairs.

“Put it on the table, please.”

Callie obliged. Gran folded back the cardboard. Thick dust covered the books inside the box.

“Look, I thought I lost this old photo album. There’s your grandad as a baby.”

“Why is it only in black and white?”

“This was before color photos. See how lucky you are?”

“Yeah, now we have videos.”

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Moon Sores Cure by Stephanie Mordi

Blood blooms from the crescent sores littering her arms. She quickly flips open a page of the codex on the elaborate pulpit, reciting some words. Seemingly, the blood flows back, her skin, like liquid, melding together until there’s not even a scar left.

“Careful!”, she spits, shutting the book. The little boy she’d taken in as an apprentice cowers at a corner. She glances at him, expression softening,

“We might not be able to undo anymore stray spells”, she says, gesturing at the empty shelves of the library. “Magic books are not immune to fire hazards, it would seem”.

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Emma’s Lost Book (Part I) by Sue Spitulnik

Lexi was folding clothes when Emma came out of her bedroom. “Mama, my book is lost.”
“Is it lost, or did you hide it in its safe place again?”
“I hided it.”
“Then it is not lost; it’s hidden.”
“No, Mama. I tried gettin’ it, an’ it’s gone. You look.”
“It’s hard for Mama to look under your dresser with her big belly. Can you wait for Daddy?”
“Noooo.”
Lexi sighed, “I’ll get the flashlight.”
Once in Emma’s bedroom, Lexi got down on all fours, then crouched so her head was on the floor and butt in the air.

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Emma’s Lost Book (Part II) by Sue Spitulnik

“I can see your book, way back in a corner. Please get me the yardstick.”
Emma ran out of the room but didn’t come back.
Lexi’s belly was pushing on the floor, and her knees hurt, so she rolled onto her side. Now she could hear Emma talking and deduced Adam was home. She yelled, “Help.”
Adam carried Emma, who was giving him his welcome home hug. When he saw Lexi, he exclaimed, “Are you all right?”
“Yes. I was trying to get her book. Now I’m stuck.”
“You look it.” Grinning, he took her photo with his phone.

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A Bill I Found After More Than 45 Years by Sadje

I love reading. As a kid, I had the membership of the British Council library. I discovered many wonderful writers like Victor Canning here. I was instantly hooked on his trilogy about King Arthur, The Crimson Chalice. The library had only the first two books of the series, and the last one wasn’t in their collection.

I looked for this book repeatedly but didn’t find it for years. It was only when I was in America that I found a used copy of this trilogy on Amazon. I finally read the last book that was lost to me for almost 45-48 years.

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Lost and Found by sweeter than nothing

With tears in her eyes, Agatha placed the book gingerly into the trunk, her heart aching. Her grimoire had been handed down through so many generations, all the knowledge and wisdom from woman to woman, mother to mother would be lost forever but she would be burned at the stake just for looking at it.

*****

Bonnie grinned up at her sister, “The rumours were right!” She exclaimed, pulling the last brick loose from the basement wall of her ancestral home, she pulled the ancient tome from its grave and grinned. “Let’s see what our great-great-grandmothers knew about love potions!”

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The Day Xylobb’s Book Went Missing by Joanne Fisher

Xylobb was proud of their Earth collection. Precious artefacts from the human civilisation there. Xylobb’s most treasured piece was a book they kept in their office.

One morning Xylobb found the book was gone. They searched everywhere, but found nothing. There was a knock on the door. Xylobb’s colleague held the missing book.

“Is this yours?”

“Yes!” Xylobb exclaimed gratefully. “Where did you find it?”

“One of my students had it.” They answered. “What is this?”

“It has detailed information about human civilisation, if only we could decipher it…”

They stared at the title uncomprehendingly: The Michelin Guide – London.

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Guardian of the Future by Hugh W. Roberts

Its title shimmered in an alien script, defying decipherment. As my fingertips grazed the ancient pages, knowledge surged.

Words whispered forgotten truths of extinct civilizations, celestial wonders, and untapped technologies into my mind. But the book’s power proved dangerous.

A secret organization hunted it, seeking to control its enigmatic secrets.

With stealth and determination, I became a guardian of the lost book, protecting its wisdom from falling into the wrong hands.

The key to humanity’s next evolutionary leap lies within its pages – AI -Artificial intelligence.

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The Writing Desk by Gordon F Le Pard

“Where’s my Writing Desk?”

“Oh, it’s yours. I thought it belonged to the gentlemen, I put it in their chaise.” Nervously the Innkeeper added, “They are going to Dover, to catch a ship to Jamaica.”

Jane turned to her brother, “Henry, the book is in there, I can’t lose it.”

He rapidly took command, a few minutes later the fastest horse in the stable was saddled and a man sent in pursuit.

A tense hour later the rider returned with the precious box. Jane Austen relaxed, as in her writing desk was the first draft of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

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What Broke the Camel’s Back by Kerry Milam

He ordered for me a vintage Anne Sullivan book like the one I lost when I was little, but I don’t know where it is now. He bought me a bookshelf, too, but I sent it back because I know where all my books are—all but the one. Two Vonnegut books are on my bedside table, and the Dubliners is under the couch for when I’m sad. García Márquez is on the kitchen counter. Or is that one Stephen Crane? I asked him if he would order another Anne Sullivan book for me, but he left me, instead.

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This Was Your Life by Miss Judy

Janice boarded the Uptown bus at 23rd and Broadway and took a seat in the back, 45 minutes to home. Settling in, she noticed a notebook on the floor, she picked it up. Pages filled with stories of someone’s life, she started reading. It read like someone’s diary.
Janice was gripped with emotions, tears, laughter, anger, and joy. There was something vaguely familiar about the stories, but she couldn’t decide what; she read on.
Tears filled her eyes as she turned the final page. It read, “This was your life, Ruth Jamison.” Janice froze, she was Ruth Jamison before.

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Missing Partner by Mr. Ohh!

Of course, I’d finished it. I’d read it some fifteen times, and each time Detective Price followed the clues brilliantly. Now, it was gone. The shelf contained a hundred-fifty books, and it was the only one missing. Where, did it go? Perhaps, left in a Chicago motel, maybe the airport in Atlanta?

It was my traveling companion with a torn cover. A paper friend, with grease-stained pages. We had traveled many miles together. A companion for bars, and restaurants when family and friends were far away. My eyes returned to the shelf.

Time for a new Detective Price mystery.

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The Lost Book by Writing Sparkle

“Rascally missing book!” I grumble, acknowledging that it’s my fault for bringing home a book from the enchantment library. A library with dim lighting cast by floating lights. The old book smell is intense, and the shelving is medieval in appearance. It’s an irresistible building. Regardless, it’s a wonder the book was on the shelf at all. A book that’s proud of its title—The Lost Book. It carries records of where to find lost items. The Lost Book is sought after, but rarely located. It’ll be centuries until someone finds it again. “Why did I set it down?”

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I Found the Book! by Duane L Herrmann

After looking for decades, I found it! It was a People’s Book Club selection from the 1950s. I’d read and clung to it in highschool. It was a story about two sisters, a bossy one and a meek one who finally came out on top. I was bullied and tormented by my mother. Older and louder than myself, I had no hope of success. This story gave me the dream. Now I had found a copy for myself in this thrift story in a town I’d never been to before.

I could give the original back to my aunt!

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Right Oh, ‘Naughty’?! by JulesPaige

My new favorite song is from Matilda the Musical and it is called ‘Naughty’. ‘Literary Lives Matter,’ those poor souls are just written as they are. They can’t really change that at all. There is no compromise for those poetic champions. Which reminded me of a book I’d lost. An English teacher of mine just didn’t return because maybe she thought I was ‘naughty’? Perhaps she only wanted to scare me? Why, I don’t know.

My early poems were written there in dated order, they’re gone! I listen to my own muse these days and keep copies of everything.

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Gothic Nightmare by Liz Husebye Hartmann

“Dammit!” She slammed through another stack, and slid the entire mess of books aside. Some toppled from the pile, featureless cloth covers catching up dust and disappearing under the wooden bench.

Their gold cursive lettering glittered, silently laughing as she muttered, “They all look alike!” She spun and sat, hard. She’d been so careful, hiding the book of tickets inside a specific volume. “Can’t remember which one.”

The grandfather clock ticked relentlessly toward midnight. Outside the leaded-glass windows, the night’s torrential rain pressed down.

With no ticket, the ferry would leave without her. He always arrived, needle-toothed, at midnight.

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Hidden Away by Nicole Horlings

During the tour of the castle, Julia noticed something odd about one of the stones in the turret stairwell. There was no mortar surrounding it. Julia, her curiousity overriding any judgements about what she ought or ought not be doing, wiggled the stone out, while the rest of the tour group continued up to the landing. She discovered a hole in the wall, where an ancient-looking wooden box had been hidden. The box was dusty, yet in surprisingly good condition, and inside was a leather-bound notebook. The first page said, “This diary is the private property of Princess Elisa.”

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Dis-ease by Reena Saxena

How I wish the book was never found…..

It contains recipes for potions used to cure village folk. The healers were worshipped, and charged a king’s ransom for healing poverty-stricken patients.

Amanda, the oldest maid in the palatial household, mentions boxes full of gold bars in hushed tones. She’d earned the honour of visiting the secluded basement, with her unflinching loyalty over decades.

The potions caused muscular atrophy, and none of the villagers recovered from it. It was a ploy to keep them indebted.

How I wish my moneylender grandfather’s name did not appear as author of the book…

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Angry Element by by Kerry E.B. Black

Flood waters, brown as mud, thick with refuse, eddied through the floor drains into her basement. Like a creeping contagion, it mired the cheerful roadways carpet on which she played matchbox cars with her children. As the water level rose, it consumed all in its path. Bins of holiday decorations floated, tipped, sunk beneath the dark, deepening sea. Furnace. Water heater. Laundry facility with its hours of invested work. All ruined.

Yet what sickened her most was the nook she’d created in a sunny corner with stuffed bookshelves and computer pregnant with stories, all destroyed by an angry element.

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The Book I Never Wrote by Bill Engleson

It was the book I never wrote,
a brilliant piece of fiction,
stuck somewhere in my throat,
a serious literary affliction.

Composed of a million notes,
All waiting for thoughtful transcription,
each tale a set of droll anecdotes,
my comedic creative jurisdiction.

Yet, old fate meddled, as she is wont to do;
prescribing a dramatic intervention,
a depressing, wholly unforeseen shade of blue
that left me swimming in a pit of failed execution.

Friends rallied, offered a pastel of verve,
said, “stick with it, do not constrict,”
but I demurred, I’d lost my nerve;
this never-to-be author was licked.

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Bookin Cross Country by D. Avery

“Pal! Seen that book?”

“What book are you lookin fer, Kid? I’m looking fer my atlas.”

“I’m looking fer the Macbook Air.”

“D. Avery!”

“Dang her Pal, she’s done took off an took them books with her. Now how’re we gonna git ta the page?”

“Thinkin thet writer a ours is gonna be mighty scarce, Kid. She’s travelin agin.”

“Well she shoulda left her laptop. Says I write m’sef, but cain’t if I cain’t connect. What if there ain’t no yarns put up?”

“Mebbe Shorty’ll cover. Or mebbe Doc Ranger, Aussie, or the Poet Lariat’ll spin a yarn.”

“Mebbe.”


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

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22 Comments

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, no, Hugh! That was my fault! I missed your story in the line-up. Probably got interrupted by a certain dog and lost my place among all the lost books. It’s included in the Collection and thank you for graciously sharing your link and letting me know!

  1. denmaniacs4

    One prompt! Lost Book! And all the places we went to find this library of possibilities…

    • Charli Mills

      So many misplaced books in our lost library!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Loved yours Bill. I hope you find that book.

  2. Sue Spitulnik

    Soo many different lost books. One could sit and ponder the classics, new stories and also wonder where D. Avery is traveling to. Welcome to all the new writers. We are a friendly bunch at the Ranch.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for the welcoming response to new writers, Sue! I think Kid and Pal’s author is a-tumbling in the vastness beyond the Ranch.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      If I only knew! I’m a tumbleweed, going along with my husband who had a desire to see the country. That’s as far as his planning went, but we’ve been lucky so far with time and place and people. I can’t be sure if I’ll have time and place to write or wifi to post. Cause I never have figured out how to do things with that phone thing. So I have the Macbook air and just now am in wifi spot east of Reno.

      • Sue Spitulnik

        Enjoy the journey. I can recommend taking Rt 66 on the return as long as you don’t mind looking for the signs as it isn’t a continuous route anymore.

      • Charli Mills

        You are some lucky! East of Reno? Why, you are in bonafide buckaroo country! That desert yu see? Safe tumbling!

  3. Jules

    How can we write for more time to read and enjoy everyone’s contributions?
    I always hope to get back and read everyone’s …. however that isn’t always possible.

    Kid and Pal…
    I’m thinking that when there’s a writer there’s a will and a way. D.Avery’s done an escape?
    Or just a ‘Walk-about?” – Look to the stars… perhaps yer future is written there?
    I’m pretty swamped myself with family and summer yard care. But maybe I can find a few spare ‘Keys’ to git y’all a little adventure? 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Time is a tricky thing, Jules. We do our best and I know I enjoy getting to read the individual submissions and then play with arranging them. Thanks for looking to spare us an adventure! Enjoy your summer, too!

      • Jules

        I’ll do my best to enjoy the good weather.
        You too!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Walkabout. Doing my best and decided to leave K&P behind. But as I said to Sue above, I have in fact found some time and wifi to respond a bit. But that all will be uncertain over the next few weeks and I am not going to worry about being away from the Ranch.
      (Except I do not like to be away from the ranch)

      • Jules

        I’m thinking of taking some time off at the end of the year… Maybe even a weekend before. I like writing everyday. I’ve limited my prompts… but sometimes one needs a break. We need to enjoy ‘what’s out there’.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for having fun, Jules!

      • Jules

        We’ll see what trouble Harry can get into…

      • Jules

        Depending on prompts… Harry may make another visit… 😀

      • Jules

        (I’m workin’ on something for the sand prompt… Harry’s still at the Saddle Up… so far I’ve got three parts… for K & P I might post it tomorrow.)

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  1. nd 6.19 When Harry Met Kid and Pal… 3p CR (K&P), OLWG 317, MLMM Story Starter – Jules Pens Some Gems… - […] from the Lost Books Collection at Carrot Ranch The […]

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