Journey to Home Collection

Written by Charli Mills

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

August 26, 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.

Mental State by woundedcat

Home is a state of mind for a vagabond like myself. When people say, “Where is your home?” they usually mean a physical location filled with material things such as a chair or a laundry basket. I suppose it’s also where you’re supposed to eat and sleep, but homeless people also do these things. As you can tell, I’ve never really had a home that I could be proud to say to someone, “This is my home.” When you don’t have an anchor such as this, you tend to wander, perhaps endlessly, for something that feels like a home.


Home by Sweeter Than Nothing

“For the night is dark and lacking bus stops.”


“Nothing,” Sarah snuggled closer into Simon’s armpit, stealing all the warmth she could get.

He dropped a kiss on her forehead, “Who’s idea was it to go backpacking without checking the transport times?”

She shrugged guiltily, “It adds to the adventure, plus, I’m not in any hurry to get home.”

The couple carried on their slow march down the empty highway, arms wrapped around each other.

Simon thought back to the times they had shared together these past few weeks, “I already am home,” he said, squeezing her tighter.


Home by Simon

My car moved at 40 mph, after 11 hours of continuous drive, My Car had entered my forest.

From there, there were no roads, I drove at my own pace. Soon my gas will empty. There are no gas stations nearby.

I came here to get stuck. With my old friends, I ran the rat race in a populated city where I gave up my race, my identity, my language and my nature.

It is time, 37 years in an illusion world. Whatever years I am left with, I will be here with my aged friends, nature, MY HOME.


Going Home by Sadje

Retracting her steps, the journey home was perhaps the most natural yet the hardest decision she had taken to date.

Home beckoned, and memories asked to be awakened and relived. But…..

She had not been in touch with her parents in a long while. Since she left home at eighteen, rebelling against the laws laid down by her father.

Like a bird, she wanted to return to her nest. To hug her parents tightly and to say that they were right…. And that she was right too! She had achieved what she desired in life.

Tentatively she knocked softly.


Hiraeth for Hound by E.A. Colquitt

When at last she travels to the east, a part of her will remain there.

Where? That quiet place, at the feet of the western woods.

North no longer exists… just as it was. The old green view over the sea is blocked by buildings; there is now no glimpse, even, of the farmhouse jutting from the crest of the hill like the roots of the eastern fells.

On the southern side, this old collie dozes. Yet through the trees, the puppy turns the corner at the end of the path…

She spots the steading. She bounds for home.


Home for Christmas by Joanne Fisher

Danielle returned home for Christmas. It had been years since she had been back. When she had come out as gay, her family had disowned her. Yet slowly over time there had been a thaw in the ice of their relations, and now she had been invited back to the family gathering. It had surprised her and at first she decided not to go, but then she had her mind changed.

Danielle stood on the porch with her girlfriend Rachel holding hands as she knocked on the front door. There was a long wait, and then the door opened…


Funding Failure by Kerry E.B. Black

After celebratory evening reveries, fellow students remained abed while Cindy set off. Fog ringed the campus, barely-penetrable, intent on protecting Happy Valley. “A modern-day Brigadoon,” she thought, though she hoped when the time came, she’d be able to return.

She turned up the radio, bobbing her head along with her favorite artist, though her fists gripped the steering wheel with all her newly-minted licensed might. She steered carefully, afraid she’d careen off the mountain. Once she crested the apex, daylight would burn the fog from the road. Then it was two hours to home to regroup and reconsider life choices.


Home by Dianne Borowski

Home is not always a happy place to be. Pa worked the mines. He would come home dirty, tired and cranky. If dinner wasn’t on the table he would holler. I would hold my breath, hoping Pa would calm down. Sometimes pots on the stove would end up on the floor and we kids would scatter in every direction, covering our ears. The storm always passed.
Most times though, home meant good times. Pa died young. The mines took him. He worked hard for all of us. In that old house we learned the meaning of love.


Going Home by Ann Edall-Robson

The familiar turn off welcomes me not far from where I want to be. Singing to old favourites coming through the airwaves, the anticipation of my destination bounces through me as I navigate the ruts and pot holes. Two more cattle guard crossings before I continue northwest on the road flanked with aspens and evergreens. I can see the place in my mind. I’ll be greeted by the fenced pasture. In the distance, the hills will dance with colour on their journey to the mountains. This road never fails me. I can count on it to take me home.


The Dream That Goes Unnoticed by Meredith Caine

Here I am once again, a tear rolling down my cheek, as I close yet another door to a place that was supposed to be mine. Home, it’s the only thing I want. A sense of stay, a hug of safety, an echo of laughter up and down its halls. I just stand there, staring at the door as the emptiness sets in. Home fills the hole, it mends my broken. I long for the day I won’t have to leave, when this part of my life is over. When home is my right and not just a dream.


Slipping Away by Nancy Richy

My elderly mother stood by the window, her hand pulling back a section of curtain. “Mom, what are you doing up? It’s nearly 3AM.”

Without turning to look at me, she replied. “I’m waiting for my husband. He’s returning from the war and will be home any minute.”

I closed my eyes and sighed in resignation. One moment she was lucid, the next her mind clouded over like wintry days. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her the truth again.

“Here, Mom. Lie down. Try to get some sleep.”

She closed her eyes as I silently left her room.


Remembering by D. Avery

Robert leaned his scythe against the granite post and joined his mother in the small cemetery.
This time his ma wasn’t by the stones of his younger siblings.
“You were just a little boy when my parents died. One after the other. And so young, really. They both taught me so much about life, but they didn’t teach me about growing old, or even about dying. Had to learn that from my own children. Do you remember them, Robert?”
“I remember, Ma. My grandparents and the children. Each of them died at home. With you by their side.”
“Robert, I’m sorry to burden you. I come out here to these handful of graves and feel sorry for myself…”
“We’ll always feel for them, Ma. It’s right to.”
They stood together looking across the fields to the mountains beyond.
“Dying soldiers all just wanted to go home,” Robert said softly.
She looked up at her son. “Heaven?”
“Home. Reckon they were too young to want anything more. I’d stay with them, talk about home until they passed.”
“How’d you know what their homes were like?”
“Didn’t. Only ever described Vermont. Sure hope heaven wasn’t a let-down.”
“Oh, Robert!”
Anna walked with Robert back to the house. “There’s chicken and dumplings for dinner.”
“I’m surely in Heaven.”
“I’m so grateful you made it home, Robert.”
“I won’t ever be able to forget what I saw. Never.”
“I know, son.”
“But I did some good, in the field hospitals. I’m studying up on doctoring, Ma. I’ll be working with Doc Robinson.”
“Stay away from his tonic!”
Robert laughed. “That’s why I’m studying with Queenie too.”
“Queenie? But she’s a…”
“She knows more about medicine than anyone around.”
Anna smiled to think how Robert might heal all kinds of wounds.


A Quilt Comes Home –True Story by Sue Spitulnik

Twenty years ago, I made a quilt for radio station WBEE’s fundraiser using T-shirts that each on-air personality had signed.
This morning, a listener knocked on the station door and gifted that quilt to Terry Clifford as a retirement present. I don’t know where the quilt has been, but today, it came home to a lovable lady who has given so much to the community for the last forty-five years. Terry will cherish all the memories it holds from the maker, past fellow employees who signed it with her initially, her time on the radio, and at WBEE events.


Where’s “Home?” by Margaret G. Hanna

Not much is left. The house is gone – vandals torched it years ago. The barn lists dangerously – a good prairie wind would finish it. Grass has overrun the yard and garden except for a defiant cluster of brilliant orange-red Oriental Poppies.
And yet . . .
I see Mom and me sitting on the porch swing, plotting and dreaming. I hear the tractor start up – Dad’s going out to finish seeding. Dale barks at my brother to toss the stick she just dropped at his feet.
No need to go “back home” when “Home” is always in my heart.


The Journey Home by Liz Husebye Hartmann

She’d followed their path through the woods, noting how they easily spotted treasures in flora and fauna. Taking only what they needed, they left the rest for future wanderers. Kills were merciful, no parts wasted. One carried firm seeds of three sisters, the other dreamed with moonstones and what might be created from them.
She hid under toadstools and rode the sky in mortar and pestle. She knew a hard world needs strong children. Keeping distant, but sending familiars, she was pleased with the results.
So when they arrived, she opened her door with a welcome waft of gingerbread.


She Went Before Him by Sassy

She’d been waiting for so long. She’d known she’d have to lay the path before he would brave the wilds. She’d known it for years having foreseen it in her dreams. It had taken her so long to get there herself, she’d wondered at times if he’d ever make it… But somehow he had by increments.

It was always when he feared losing her that he would take another step forward.

And she had usually been alright waiting but recently, her faith was shaken and shattered.

Until… Until she saw him on the horizon, moving toward home, toward her.


Far Enough by D. Avery

She looked across the breakfast table at him. “Do you remember what you told me, when we got married?”
“I told you you’d never travel alone.”
“There’s some place I want to go. Now.”
He didn’t trust himself to drive very far. “Where?”
“I want to go home.”
He blinked, looked around. Toast growing cold on the same plates they’d always had. Daily medications next to their juice glasses. “We are home.”
“I want to go on a journey. Back in time. With you.” She pulled a pill bottle from the pouch on her walker.
“Oh. Yes, I’m ready.”


La sua casa rifugio by JulesPaige

Grandpa had two homes. One was a hideaway up in the mountains. Or so it seemed. I don’t think he built the city home, but I know he built the hideaway home with the son from his first wife. I’m not sure what happened to her. My Grandma (mom’s mother) was his second wife.

The home had to be sold to care for my Grandma after Grandpa passed. His son wasn’t happy about that. My step-uncle wanted to keep that home for his own children to enjoy. Some dreams fade away.

that retreat
built by their hands; a


The Hearth Of The Matter by Geoff Le Pard

Dee Zaster feared bankruptcy of Little Tittweaking’s last bus service when the council set up as steam-powered segway concession. She tried offers, concessions and open bribery and was at her wit’s end. Finally she ran a door to door service that promised to ‘take you home to the heart of your family’. This caused dismay for chair of the zombie society, Fletch Eater who pointed out no one in his family had a heart and Dee accused Fletch of deliberately destroying her business. Violence was only just avoided when mediator Kat A’Strophe pointed out both parties were equally heartless.


In the Wind by Bill Engleson

There’s something gusting in the wind,
something sweet and low again,
something I knew way back when,
something I knew when I was young.

Can’t quite get it off my mind.
It’s tied so knotted to the line,
floating in memories that bind.
Home is calling me home again.

There’s something hanging in the sky.
Dawn is breaking on the fly.
Voices from the past wondering why,
why I don’t journey home again.

Can’t quite get it off my mind.
It’s tied so knotted to the line,
floating in memories that bind.
My home is calling me home again.


Leading the Way by Duane L Herrmann

When I was a boy I loved to go out to the pasture on the hill beside our house. There was always wind and sometimes the moon. As I walked the strange familiar landscape, I pretended I was the leader of a group of people searching for a home. I didn’t know who or where, but I was in front. That has never come true in that way, and probably won’t now that I’m past 70, but in another way – my writing may be doing that. Only time will tell long after I am gone. I may never know.


IN SEARCH OF HOME by Reena Saxena

One step forward, two backward but hundred go down
it feels more like quicksand than slippery ground.
Memories charm, but dizzy giant wheels
dim clear vision on many rounds.
Perspectives change; so do stories
I tell myself without sound.

When the sky is clear, yet it begins to rain
I dial a fairy, am accosted by a gnome
Passengers keep boarding; leaving the train
Dialects change; landmarks vanish; Google roams
Changing the map, reinstating milestones slain
Life’s actually a journey in search of home
let the apps say what they want
the journeys home have all been in vain.


Already There by D. Avery

“What’re ya doin Kid?”
“Workin on a song, Pal.

Home, home on the Ranch
where ever one’s got somethin ta say
though it’s preferred in zactly 99 words
writers from roun the world are welcome ta play

“What d’ya think?”
“Thinkin thet tune souns strangely familiar. Least ways, strange.”
“Says you. It’s where the prompt led. I’m already home, might’s well sing bout it.

A great place ta be, with its own Poets’ Trees
an a saloon always open ta all
we read here an write, both heavy an light
an the collections make me yell, Yippee to Y’all!


Allusions by D. Avery

“Seriously, Kid, where d’ya think this prompt’ll lead ya?”
“Kinda obvious, ain’t it Pal? Leads ta home. An fer me that’s Carrot Ranch.”
“Hmmf. Was hopin ya’d feel compelled ta make a journey. Ya’d have a home-comin ta write about. I’d git a break from ya.”
“Incredible idea, Pal. But nope, no way. I journeyed enough. Member, I set out last spring. The April 13 prompt? But all roads led me home. Ta the ranch.”
“Also recall ya kinda missed me Pal.”
“Anyways, Pal, I’m scared ta leave agin.”
“Read somewhere’s ya cain’t go home agin.”


Not So Prodigal Pal by D. Avery

“Don’t be askeered ta leave now an agin, Kid. The ranch’ll always be yer home, yer always welcome back.”
“I reckon. But I’ve seen ‘nough. ‘Nough ta know there’s no place like home.”
“Home is where the heart is Kid. But ya always ‘preciate it more once ya been away fer awhile.”
“Pal, if yer so fired up bout journeyin an returnin, whyn’t you head off?”
“Whut?! Whoa! I cain’t be leavin the ranch. I’m needed roun here.”
“Reckon Shorty could git along fer a bit without ya. I kin do more whilst yer gone.”
“That’s what skeers me.”


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

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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Aw, it’s good to visit back home at the Ranch and read all these fine stories! A wonderful gathering.

  2. E.A. Colquitt

    Great collection, as ever – it’s good to be back at my Ranch home lol!

    I clicked the ‘like’ button on this post – did it work, this time? I’m writing this through the WordPress reader, wondering if that’s the answer to my WordPress problems…

  3. woundedcat

    Such great stories! So glad to be a part of this week’s collection:)

  4. Jules

    Home has many definitions. Just read some of the wonderfilled and wonderful stories in this collection. Leaving, returning to spaces and buildings is just one part. The true home for all seems to be the heart.

    Thanks to all the writers and fictional charactors that participated in coming home to Carrot Ranch.


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