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.

Locked Diary: With a Grain of Sand by Rockstar Girl

Where the pearl met with a crab and taught the lesson of life where a line between kindness and love meant to put away the burden where there was no boundary lines
Only invisible thoughts but counting back to the days seemed like a memory was about to fade but then it all came back like it never vanished and then the pearl said to the crab, “let’s go pearling”,
But the crab had wondered why the pearl was being so nice to him because he had a hardened heart and showed no kindness towards anyone.

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A Gritty Life by Mr. Ohh!

My name is Sandy Grain. I live and work on a crowed beech. My job is to support everyone who comes by, but sometimes it’s tough. You have to smile when dealing with the crabs as well as the castle builders. Then there are the days you find yourself wedged in some fat guy’s butt.
Sure, It’s all worthwhile when a sea-turtle pushes you aside to lay eggs, those are warm, but, smelt eggs are just gross. Yea, it’s a tough job. If a cute wave comes by to take you out, you never know if you’re coming back.

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Auguries by D. Avery

The blowing sand didn’t cover my tracks. They found me.
And found him.

He’d croaked on and on about the sands that surrounded us; explaining the area’s geological history; quoting Blake, Longfellow.

It was that poetic crap that wore me down the most. Like the wind, he was relentless, wouldn’t stop. I just wanted him to shut up.

My lawyer says let the prosecution believe I killed him for his last drops of water, not eternal grains of sand.
But I can still hear him blithering about sand. Sand and hourglasses.

“Sands of time!” I hear his haunting laughter.

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The Sands by Pete Fanning

The sand outlasted us, sifting through our days like an hourglass. It coated the floormats of the car, gritty in sandals I’d worn as we’d traipsed along the boardwalk, basking in the tangerine sky of our honeymoon glow.

Back home it rained. Suburbia blotted the sunsets with hills and vinyl siding. The bottle of sand mocked us from the mantel, stained and tangled, surrounded by picture frames.

We tried again. We sold the car, the house. We donated the honeymoon suitcase that still held pockets of sand. We flew west, to the mountains.

Our new vows would involve candles.

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Time to Replant by Liz Husebye Hartmann

A friend’s gifted garden moss becomes dry and flat in its simple cup,
Wire butterfly perched on curved handle.
Too much time wasted, waiting.

Envision an enclosed glass world, layered:
Lake Superior red sand;
Rocks harvested from long-ago summers
(pale girlie feet wavering white under icy waters);
A sneeze of dirt for the moss, that yields tiny, white blooms;
Additional plants to be identified;
A snail or two, sweet company?

Budget store clarifies: Re-use from home.
Window well pebbles;
Superior rocks only;
Drainage moss;
Dirt from the cup;
Hollow glass block: the world.

Vision realized: on time, in budget.

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Shells in the Sand by Reena Saxena

She is neither dead nor alive.

She was waiting for her brother to fetch her, when a sandstorm happened and wiped away all plans.

It was no mean task to plot an escape from prison. The lecherous Emperor had incarcerated her with evil intent. Getting out from the underground pathway felt like an achievement. Her brother would take her home from a certain point, but the sandstorm happened……

People travelling on that route often see a girl with an empty look – like her eyes are drained of hopes, dreams and tears.

A shell has survived for decades, maybe more…

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Creative Expression by Shari Marshall

Writing when the words come little by little, only touching your creative mind without reaching fruition, can be like grasping at fairy dust. Thoughts and words—elusive grains of sand caught in the wind. Some are minuscule and golden with that soft flour-like feel as they slip between your fingers, inviting magic but not achieving it. Others tickle and coat the skin, but are gritty and rough to rub off. The ones that stick, working their way into the creases—an idea that accumulates on paper into a story—build toward something more, evoking the release of creative expression.

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Sandlocked by Bill Engleson

I see it through misty eyes,
the eyes of time,
a young man’s eyes,
so clear, so fine,
so blue.

Yes, those same eyes weep,
while clock towers chime
and sand angels weep,
with fear, with mine
anew.

A cold morning at the beach,
both tide and time
seem more out of reach,
a sand landmine,
overdue.

O time, I cannot breach
your lock on the tide,
forever out of reach,
a distant wave ride,
the lost view.

Still, I see it through misty eyes,
the eyes of time,
a young man’s eyes,
so clear, so fine,
so blue.

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Grains of Sand by Sadje

Time was running out as the grains of the sand flowed out rapidly. Martha kept on staring at the hourglass, thinking how to stop the time?

When the hour ended, this respite granted to her would end too and she would be back amid her crazy, hectic day once again.

Was she wise to squander this special gift by just sitting there staring at the sand dripping down? Shouldn’t she have used this magical time to do something better?

Perhaps, this respite, a breathing space was what she needed the most.

The hour finally ended and she was ready.

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Being Boring by Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking’s industrial base is dependent on boring businesses. Not dentistry, miming or bespoke tunnelling, but those that cause employees to become narcoleptic on clocking on. Terry B. Leigh-Dulle is CEO of Counters, a business so unutterably stupefactory that it’s given up on shareholders’ annual meetings because no one ever stays awake long enough to vote. Despite it tendency to render normal people comatose he has employed a talented group well suited to embracing grinding monotony. Specialisms soon develop, such as timing paint drying, counting the sand grains in egg-timers to ensure a uniform flow rate and…. yawn…. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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24 Seconds by Margaret G. Hanna

She flipped the hourglass over and watched the sand slowly sift downward. They bought it years ago at a garage sale. “Gives a full hour,” the seller boasted.
They timed it. “Fifty-nine minutes, 36 seconds,” she said as the last grain dropped.
“Close enough,” he said.
“Twenty-four seconds will add up over the years.”
24 seconds by 24 hours by 365-1/4 days by many years, how much time together is that?
She picked up their wedding photo and kissed it. His sands of time had run out far too soon.
How many 24 seconds do I have, she wondered.

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The Loss of Love by Anne Goodwin

One million thirty-five thousand four hundred and twenty-one. One million thirty-five thousand four hundred and twenty-two. If she counts them all he’ll come back to her. He’ll be the man she married all those years ago.

The grains sneak under her fingernails. They stick to her sweaty palms. But that’s nothing compared to the loneliness. The loss of love.

Piercing as a baby’s cry, the ring tone ruptures her reverie. It’s him! But a recorded voice warns her that her computer could have a virus. She flings the phone into the sand.

Begin again. One, two, three, four …

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Sand by Dianne Borowski

The day was hot and humid. We huddled under a beach umbrella. Jake and Jenna were busy building a sandcastle. Somewhat bored, I ran my fingers through the sand next to our blanket. The children began arguing. Jake through a handful of sand at Jenna.
She screamed, “My eyes, my eyes!”
I slapped Jake hard. Stunned, we both stared at one another. Jake shuffled his feet in the sand.

I felt the sand, heard the gulls and the waves hitting the shore.
“Donny,” I screamed.
My little brother, gone, his lifeless body lay on the sand.
I hate sand!

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My Story by Writer Ravenclaw

Sands of time, or so they say.
I wonder if an alien is holding a capsule, watching the grains trickle slowly when human kind was young, to a roaring sandstorm as we age disgracefully.
Do they tap to get our attention – warn us of a future we need to change?
Earth as a child, those quarters meant we could speed time up, to a more developed world.
To an adult where we only concentrate on the years, to slow time down.
It doesn’t work though.
Ice caps are melting, the world is heating to dangerous levels
So they say.

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Stranded by Joanne Fisher

“This planet is mostly sand.” She stated. “Just our luck we ended up here.” She scooped up a handful and let it sift through her fingers. I could see grains of sand on her palm glistening in the sun.

“All we need is a lot of water and we could be on a beach planet.” I replied jokingly. We both looked at the desert surrounding us. It went on forever in all directions.

“We could do with some shelter.” She said.

Thankfully the emergency beacon had been rescued from the wreckage. All we could do was wait, and hope.

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What Lays Beneath by Hugh W. Roberts

On the secluded beach, grains of sand held a horrifying secret.

As twilight embraced the shoreline, their malevolence awakened. Slightly serrated edges transformed into razor-sharp teeth, hungry for flesh.

Unseen to the unsuspecting visitors, they slithered beneath the surface.

With a sinister intelligence, they devised a plan. Swiftly, they surged, entangling ankles in a web of gritty terror. Screams of agony filled the air as victims got dragged below, devoured by the insatiable maw of the sand.

Panic swept the beach, but the grains, now stained red, revelled in their newfound power, forever cursed to prey upon the unwary.

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Sand in My Toes by ladyleemanilla

Sand in my toes wet prickly
swear I could taste the water
girl plucks thorny flowers from the bush
mum came and back out quickly

Quickly melts ice-cream in hand
summer’s here with whims and fun
sipping wine watching the sunset
admiring my legs all tanned

Tanned with bitter sweet memories
that was last summer with jaded heart
you came, we fell in love, out of the blue gone
in ravine-rumpled draperies

Draperies on stage of strand
an open play with sea as background
that was so lovely for my birthday
with full moon and my toes in sand

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The Sandman by Colleen M. Chesebro

In the darkness of night, the sandman approaches…
a whirling dervish created from wind, mist, and stone,
twirling the sands of time in the cadence
of wild storms, a hurricane of sand, full-blown

With the crooning white sands of the Bete Grise
the Lord of Dreams weaves his charms,
throwing magical grains of sand
to weigh down your heavy eyes… sweet dreams

For those who will not sleep, beware!
The whirling sandman gathers wide-awake eyes—
spiriting them to his iron nest on the moon
where he feeds his children human eyeballs
without saying a prayer.

Good night-sleep tight!

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The Next Sleepless Night by Michael Fishman

It was 3 a.m. He opened his eyes to the mottled grey ceiling. He wiped the sand from his eyes, and for another in an endless string of nights followed the shadowed stains and patterns and told himself lies.

Like every other night he eventually rolled onto his side, and he ran his hand across the smooth sheet. He pulled the pillow close.

He closed his eyes and begged for sleep.

The sheet, the flat pillow, they held no meaning, carried no memories. They didn’t quiet the lies, but the act of touching them brought him a bleak comfort.

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Sand Written by Kerry E.B. Black

Sand turns up in unexpected places.

On beaches, children positioned along the splash zone squat, their shorts filled with chafing granules. They rub the lotion-sticky stuff into teary eyes.

Adults recline on towels or lounges, as though such measures keep them from donning near-powdered minerals more insidious than glitter in the hands of a three year old sparkle enthusiast. Feet frisk the heat-retaining beach material, picking up more than a layer.

Upholstery, rugs, bedding.

Yet away from shorelines and seasons, sand trickles through Time’s hourglass, each grain another opportunity missed or seized, until the resultant irritant wears away youth.

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Sand Becomes an Enemy by Sue Spitulnik

When I’m a preschooler, I love my sandbox.
Trucks go over dunes and airplanes crash into them.
Sand gets in my hair, clothes, and cracks.

As a blond teenager, I crave the sandy beach.
Suntanned girls and volleyballs. I can’t get enough.

When I’m in Iraq. EVERYTHING is sand color except doors.
Dunes don’t offer reliable protection. I learn to hate the heat.

Now I’m a veteran who hates the sand.
My daughter’s name is Sandy. I call her by her middle name.
My head is shaved.
There will never be sand in my hair, clothes, or cracks again.

Author’s Note: The author is the spouse of a veteran. This could have been written by anyone that served in Iraq.

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I Am a Sinner by Simon

As I lay on the beach, I recalled the sins.
I recalled everything I did, my first addiction mother’s milk. My first heart break when my parents left me alone, my first fear when my brother pretended to lock me in the door, my first fantasy trying on mom’s clothes, my first love, my first sex, my first breakup, my first drugs, and rest I hide.
Will my secret revealed? Not unless I write, what if I write? People read and forget, is it eternal? No! In this big ball of people, I am just a grain of sand.

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Quick Sand by Melissa Lemay

In an hourglass millions of grains of sand glisten
Sand starts and stumbles, tries running before it can
As sand runs quicker, we beg: oh, please listen
Bottleneck movement slows to still–sand grain traffic jam
In an hourglass millions of grains of sand glisten
Hourglass fixed one way–sand can’t go up again
Sand runs long–impatient–asks not one for permission
Anticipation builds as sand comes close to its end
Quick sand offers illusory respite lingers in brief intermission
Sand longingly reminisces about many long gone past friends
Underneath the sun millions of grains of sand glisten

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Grains of Sand Make Pearls by Duane L Herrmann

A grain of sand causes irritation to the clam to which it has come inside. The clam attempts to soothe the irritant. Over time, it eventualy does. Humans call the result: a pearl.
In the same way, a child causes the host parent to change, to be more thoughtful of another – a tiny helpless one. The child causes disruption, the parent adapts and nurtures the child. Eventually, the parent (if all geos well) becomes a serene, peaceful and content person seeing the adult results of their efforts. The child is the pearl of the parent. Next generation repeats.

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Time’s Up by Kerry Milam

The top of the hourglass took only a minute to go from full to empty. Each grain of sand was a moment in time that came to an end when it hit bottom, and if you listened hard enough, you could hear it collide with the one that went before it. You could literally hear time pass in a silent room. But there was no silence to accentuate the sound of time. The room lit with excitement that increased in intensity as the sand fell. Tick tock. Sadly, however, the last grain fell to the din of deflated emotions.

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Meanwhile, at the Saddle Up Saloon…

A Transformative Transcription of Harry by JulesPaige

…5
Harry felt like he was sinking in gritty quicksand. The Sarsaparilla went down smoothly and cooled him off. Kid ducked under the counter and pulled out the box of lost and found items. Pal knew just what Kid was thinking and said; “You might be more comfy iffin’ you found some clothes from the box. We wash the stuff we find here in the saloon, under the Poetree and around the grounds. Its been there awhile so I’m guessin’ it’s’ safe for you to keep whatever you’d like.”

“Getting out of this Tux would be good. Thanks,” said Harry.

6
Harry picked out a yellow Hawaiian shirt with green palm trees, a pair of jeans, and a pair of knee high socks that had dolphins jumping up and down them. He even found a leather necklace that had a small clear bottle with some sand in it. The sand reminded him of something but he still couldn’t quite put a finger on how he ended up at the Saddle Up.

Harry looked himself over in the bathroom mirror. Not half bad he thought as words started to form and fade;

an hourglass
has sand, time flows, want
more, flip it

7
Harry brought the box back to the bar. Pal and Kid looked at Harry and back at each other. Pal voiced, “Well I reckon you must like beachy things. What’s yer shoe size we got a few pair of water type shoes that might fit cha.”

“We generally don’t keep footwear, but water shoes we hose down and dry in the sun. You’d be surprised at the stuff folks leave ‘round the poetry. They come here ta chillax and enjoy the calm,” said Kid. “Also got a box of photographs and postcards. Looky here, maybe somethin’ll trigger your memory.”

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From somewhere…

Scratches in the Sand

“Kid. Where ya goin with thet pointy stick?”
“Yeah, Kid, be careful. You could put an eye out.”
“Oh, hey Frankie. Pal. Don’t worry bout me. Jist writin.”
“Scrapin in the sand, looks like.”
“Ain’t that all it is anyways? The heck with our writer an MacBooks an all that. Got a stick an a patch a sand. All set.”

all it is
grainy grit
mebbe art
kin come of it
an if there’s words
I should rescind
I’ll jist wait
fer the next gust a wind
fer there’s nuthin truly grand
it’s all jist scratches in the san
d

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


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