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.

Plain Facts by D. Avery

Stories are rooted in mountains, and mountains are rooted in stories. It is good and important to share your stories with a mountain. Doesn’t everyone know this? Mountains have stories of their own to share of course, stories of time and timelessness. Often they let Wind and Water tell their stories for them. Sometimes ravens barter with mountains, exchanging one of their stories for a pebble. For a mountain, a pebble is a small price to pay. Once there was a mountain who did not hear stories. Finally, one dark night, it slunk away, never to be seen again.

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Covered in Mountains by Melissa Lemay

We are covered in mountains that push us down
unknown distances into the earth’s mantle, our resting place; that are eroding over our heads as
we speak to the crust of the earth, as a friend that tells another friend deepest secrets. Underneath the
crumbling, crushing weight, we bide time with great patience. We are the creation of the earth, the
roots. The sun tells us one day even tallest mountains will come crashing down. Faithfully
we wait for ocean torrents to wash away the last. We lie beneath the vastness of the mountains
and we hold them up.

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Growing From the Earth, Reaching for the Sky by Sadje

It grew tall and strong from deep within the core of the earth. Its roots lay in the hot molten magma, roiling and boiling in the core of our planet, but its bulk rose high.

With every year, decade, and century layers of rock, stone, water, and dust all added up to make it high, higher, and highest in the land.

It has a desire to be the tallest so it grows, it grows to conquer the wind and the clouds. Its majesty inspires me to try harder to overcome the hurdles in my life, rise above my problems

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My Roots by Duane L Herrmann

Any mountains here eroded eons ago. There had been an ocean, the rocks of my grandparents house are studded with tiny sea shells. I knew Granpa had dug them out of his farm. We, and our lives, are part of this land. Granma was born on a farm on one side of mine and my father on the other. I now own a part in the middle. I go there in order to breathe and look at the sky. There, no house crowds me. I can’t live there, to my regret, but I go in order to stay alive.

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Missing the Mountains by Dianne Borowski

My dad’s folks had a small farm near Bedford, Virginia where the Piedmont Plateau meets the Blue Ridge Parkway. Every summer we’d drive down from Ohio to the farm to spend a few weeks. I always cried when had to leave. I was just a kid…

I have never found a place quite as beautiful. Those blue mountains reaching toward the sky, the dewy grass that tickled my toes, wading in the creek, skipping stones and the quiet, so very quiet.

Home again, noisy neighbors, crowded streets, sirens screaming. I would bury my head in my pillow, tears streaming.

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Finding Grandma by Charli Mills

For years, Little Red Riding Hood’s parents forbade her to visit Grandma. “The mountains are dangerous,” they warned her. Once a year, Grandma visited Red, her arms full of wild-berry jams, eyes sparkling with tales of pegmatites, white waters, and daring ravens who plucked rubies from waterfalls. Red studied at school. She learned hip-hop and violin. She longed to study the minerals Grandma sent her in care packages from the mountains west of Red’s safe monotonous suburbs. When she arrived, Red could see the roots of dangerous mountains in the wolf’s dark maw.

“Hello, Grandma. How wild you are!”

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The Path by D. Avery

She appears as a mountain. She knows your unspoken words: I am lost. Her gentle laughter is dappled sunlight.

She twirls a rope braided from your experiences, woven with your stories; a labyrinthian coil, wide as the mountain, wide as the world.

Again, you set upon this long and winding path. Again, the mists descend. Acceptance replaces expectancy.

You come to a tree cloaked mountain, to where a tossed pebble ripples the center of a sun dappled lake.

You know that it is all yours, that it is you, that even the gentle laughter you hear is your own.

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A Dark Horse by Norah Colvin

The conversation between aunts and cousins stopped abruptly when an aunt exclaimed, “So, the prodigal son returns.”
Everyone eyed the stranger.

“Who is he?” Josie asked. “He’s hot.”

“The family’s black sheep,” whispered a cousin.

“Stay away from him,” said her aunt. “He has roots like a mountain.”

“What’s that mean?” asked Josie.

“Don’t let that cool exterior fool you,” said another. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg,”

“A dark horse then,” thought Josie, her interest rising.

“Still waters run deep – and dangerous,” cautioned her aunt, but Josie didn’t hear.

“Hi, I’m Josie,” she said, extending her hand.

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Grounding Roots by Sue Spitulnik

Michael said to Tessa, “When you left college for marriage, did you ever think about moving home one day?”
“No. I thought my marriage would last and couldn’t see that far ahead. I didn’t know about people growing apart.”
Michael replied. “I had no intentions of returning before I lost my legs. A counselor suggested my mother needed me to and then I heard you were getting divorced. That took care of any indecision.”
Tessa’s eyes watered. “I longed for the hills and colorful seasons. But it’s you and the other vets who ground me because of our experiences.”

Author’s Note: Michael and Tessa were high school sweethearts. She married an Army Officer, and he was enlisted Army. He lost his legs above the knee in an IED bomb in Iraq. They both moved back to their hometown and are now married to each other. The series is three years old.

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Uprooted by D. Avery

His roots ran deep. He and the mountain bore the same name. Folks joked they were the same age too. Said they were equally tough. Formidable even.

“We been through hell and highwater,” he’d exclaim. Fires had roared over and around the mountain. Flood waters fomented in its streams had cut the mountain deeply. Wind storms sometimes took out swaths of trees from its flank.

“She’ll mend,” he’d say. “Always has, always will.” Then he’d tell about another time, a worse disaster, and people both rolled their eyes and sighed relief.

They watched him now, unnerved by his silence.

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You Remind Me by Michael Fishman

He closed the blinds and sat down.

“I used to climb mountains. Did I tell you? I climbed mountains and I fought monsters. I played with fire. My wife, Dolores, was so beautiful…”

He stopped. His eyes glassed over and he was quiet.

Her heart quickened. She saw tears gathering in the corners of his eyes and relaxed.

“You remind me of my daughter.”

She felt her own tears forming and fought them back.

He stood up and walked to the window, opened the blinds and turned back to her.

“I used to climb mountains. Did I tell you?”

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Transplanted by JulesPaige

Can there be a mountain in a swamp? Ancient coral beds are the base of much of the Florida southern Keys, my birth state. It feels like hard cement on your feet. Not the crumbled almost fine wave crushed stone from any given mountain that makes up the sand at the shorelines of oceans. How long does it take to establish roots; two, thirty years? Our neighborhood is in a valley surrounded by hills, not mountains…our ‘northern state home’. This is where we have raised our children and plan to stay for as long as we possibly can.

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Out with the Old and in with the New by Brenda Fluharty

In the heart of a small village, nestled among ancient roots, stood a gigantic oak tree. It had witnessed generations come and go, offering shade and shelter. Confronted with urban expansion, the oak was to be removed. Yet, as its roots were uprooted, the village paid homage, planting saplings in gratitude. Meanwhile, a group of friends decided to climb the nearby mountains to reach new heights. Scaling their fears and embracing the journey, they discovered breathtaking vistas. As they gazed upon the world below, they realized that sometimes, in losing the old, we gain the opportunity for something greater.

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Climb Every Montaigne Geoff Le Pard

Little Tittweaking’s Philosophy Department liked to challenge itself. It didn’t believe in Kant, seeing itself as a Kan do sort of school. Not for it Hobbesian gloom, though the Nietzsche pizza night wasn’t a success when Neil Ism insisted on rejecting every topping. It took a didactic intervention from school head, Harry Stotle to bring order before unlikely couple, Mack E Velli and Di Odge O’Knees proposed a new line of thought: ‘The Devil’s In The Dog’ that promoted good hair and blondness as steps to Utopia via the central aisle in Lidl, under the banner ‘Rocking those Roots’.

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Seeing by D. Avery

Some saw a young girl in a bright green dress, others a woman in brightly colored robes. Still others saw an old woman, sharp-featured, stoic in her thread-bare grays. Most disbelieved and saw nothing at all. Yet stories persisted of a woman-girl born and raised on the mountain. True believers said she was borne of the mountain; said her heart was granite, her eyes sparkling quartz, clear snowmelt streams her veins. True believers just nodded when there was another lumbering accident, when another gold panner was found drowned; nodded, then shuddered in the cold wind gusting off the mountain.

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Roots Like a Mountain by Bill Engleson

‘Swing up through the pass,’ she said. ‘There… in that divot of a valley.’

‘It’s a far piece,’ I reply. ‘Not sure I’m in the mood.’

‘If you only pay heed to your moods, you’ll never hear the mountains sing. For sing they do, in harmony with the sky, the earth, the clouds, the thunder, the roots of the primeval forest, all of this majesty before you.’

‘And all I have to do is veer though the pass?’

‘There’s a little more to it. Your heart has to be in it.

‘Well, then, I am a forever lost traveller.’

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Putting Down Roots by Colleen M. Chesebro

“Hilda, were you born here?” asked Faeryn.

The day was warm, and Hilda paused to think about her answer. She’d lived on the mountain since she was a child, but she hadn’t been born there. She was a transplant—a star seed. How could she explain this to a human?

Her residency only mattered to the old healers. The other witches were glad she’d stayed and put down roots. Had she put down roots?

“I grew up on the mountain, but came from a distant land,” Hilda answered.

“I thought so.” Faeryn smiled. “Your accent is different than mine.”

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Magic of the Ley Line by Sassy

Her voice was raspy as she spoke the words to invoke the powers from the ley lines that ran deep into the roots of the mountain she had asked her cottage to take her to. Baba Yaga had intention in letting her chicken legged cottage walk the ley lines of the countryside before positioning itself at the nexus that ran deep into the heart of the world… Her intention was to bring forth the power of the world into the arrow in her hands in order that it would hit its mark better than cupid ever could hope to.

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Deep Resentment by Kerry E.B. Black

“Do you even know what you’re fighting for?” Minnie’s disgusted smirk inched toward self-satisfaction. “I mean, you’re completely entrenched. Why?”

Minnie’s older sister Theresa studied her manicure. The polish could use another coat. “Sometimes a woman’s just gotta make a stand.”

Minnie’s breath hissed like a braking locomotive. “A stand? What? Are you General Custar?” Theresa’s lip twitched upward. “I’m surprised you know who he was.”

Minnie’s nostrils flared. “Now I’m uneducated?”

“Never said that. Just didn’t think you cared about US history.”

“There’s lots you don’t know.”

Theresa leaned back, fingers knitted behind her head. “And I’m entrenched.”

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Roots by Reena Saxena

The freedom to walk unshackled is priceless. I walked free before this only when I took baby steps, and stumbled against every piece of furniture in the room.

Somebody, obviously not a well-wisher, placed the burden of tradition on my shoulders. I was the eldest in the family, president of the business club and a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

How could I afford to falter?

You will not know how it feels to walk with a mountain beneath your feet. The sky is close, but feet too heavy.

Finally, I did it – cut my feet to sprout wings.

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Roots Like a Mountain (Part I) by D. Avery

“Hey Kid.”

“Hey Pal. Pal, are you at all concerned bout Shorty?”

“Seems chirpy ‘nough ta me.”

“Zactly! Sure, she managed ta move it ta mountains, but this challenge starts with crowin bout merlins.”

“So?”

“This followin fledglings.”

“Least she ain’t wingin it, like thet can one.”

“An duckies. Rubber or not, she’s positively bird brained. Wasn’t long afore that an it was feathers. See what I’m sayin?”

“Hmm. Go further back Kid, ta the complaint prompt.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Leave yer complainin there. Don’t need yer molehill-sized problems takin root aroun here.”

“What’re ya sayin, Pal?”

“Quit yer ravin.”

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Roots Like a Mountain (Part II) by D. Avery

“Whut’sa matter now, Kid?”

“Dang Shorty. ‘Roots like a mountain’. Really?”

“Oh, come on, Kid, ya got this. Solution’s write in front a ya.”

“Yer in front a me Pal.”

“Yep. Member how I’m always ‘splainin ta ya thet I’ve jist always been here at the Ranch, since even afore the Ranch?”

“Yeah…”

“Yep. My history’s been a rocky road.”

“Figger yer older an dirt.”

“Them mountains are. My roots is these mountains thet surroun Carrot Ranch, Kid. I go ta em ta relax and rejuvenate. It’s like goin home.”

“Heavy schist, Pal.”

“Don’t take it fer granite, Kid.”

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


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