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 Bunyip of the Keweenaw by Doug Jacquier
Professor Drongo Farnarkle’s studies took him to the US to investigate whether diprotodon carrotranchia may have a common ancestor with the Australian bunyip. He hated his work being described as cryptozoology. Such an epithet always contained the whiff of charlatanism and he often had cryptid cross words with anyone skeptical of his proof that the bunyip exists. Recently, he’d heard uncorroborated reports of the hybrid of a flightless bird and alligator living in the Keweenaw. This creature, just like the bunyip, allegedly hugs its victims to death, like some demented grandparent. He was in need of some brave cowpokes.
Big Feet by Bill Engleson
It was name-calling that crafted this career of mine.
Cruel children. They were like their parents. Carbon copies. Anything different and it was to be spurned, shunned, scorned into dust.
They called me Big Feet. Not Foot. Feet. Got it wrong by one. I had two.
They were always big.
I’d never heard of Big Foot or Sasquatch before then.
Sheltered, I suppose.
Mother comforted me. My parents were both…large people.
With humongous feet.
My path was set.
The Himalayas seeking the Yeti.
A thousand other locales.
People paid good money to have me hunt their hallucinations.
Paundrake by Reena Saxena
“This is Paundraka, no ordinary buffalo…”
“Where does it come from?”
“Lord Yama, the God of Death rides it as a vehicle. It starts moving when a human is born and takes a lifetime to reach the person.”
“Then, why not a turtle?”
“Buffaloes signify ignorance, and that is how a major part of the human race lives – oblivious of the opportunity it has in the human body for spiritual work.”
“Have you found a carcass of Paundraka?”
“Shhh … the Vehicle of Death does not die. And it carries souls, not carcasses.”
“Are you a cryptozoologist or mystic?”
Under the Radar by Ann Edall-Robson
How long had they managed to stay under the radar? And now, because of an unfortunate recent slip of the pen and subsequent conversation, nine years of research are in jeopardy. The casual mention of their scientific name had blown the lid off of their fact-finding investigation of this international group. High on the list of data collected was the aptitude of the collective minds and their collaboration in creating the underlying code 99. Fostered by a group of imaginative characters, the tales were conceived. Future analysis by Cryptozoologists is in danger if their mole is found out.
The ‘Richness’ of Dreams by JulesPaige
huddled under the
The garden, skirted with a tarp was supposed to discourage animals from making homes under it. Reese thought a small fox had made a den there and called for some help. Roger Stapleton worked for the county and fancied himself a closet cryptozoologist. He was up with the sun peeking through the tree in his backyard. Would today be the day he found a pine marten? Unlikely, but he was hopeful. The little rodent could make a comeback…
For a deepening
The Cryptozoologist by Norah Colvin
Josie and her cousins stood around the punch bowl, quenching their thirst after a rowdy line dance (family tradition).
Josie was catching up on all the goss she’d missed out while away: who was with whom, who’d broken up, etcetera.
“What about him? Who’s he with?” she nodded towards the lone one in the shadows.
“Don’t worry about him. He’s just with himself.”
“What do you mean?”
Susie laughed. “He’s a cryptozoologist.”
“A crypto-what? Does he mine cryptocurrency?”
“Not that interesting. He studies cryptids.”
“What are cryptids?”
“Imaginary monsters. They’re all in his mind.”
“Oh?” said Josie.
Odd Tracks by Mario Milizia
I give talks to tourists as a cryptozoologist to supplement my income. I got a call from the local park ranger about Big Foot tracks. I rushed to the camp area, located the footprints, and instinctively followed.
I realized, when I was deep into the woods, that I had no gun, no bars on my cellphone, and no idea what to do if I encountered it.
After looking, the prints were too identical to be real. I told the park ranger.
We called the person who reported them. He admitted his girlfriend wanted to go camping and he didn’t.
The Scale By Nicole Horlings
Vragimyre carefully studied the scale, examining its luster, size, and durability, before looking back up at Alyssia. “This is indeed different and not from any creature currently documented by science.”
“So, it is a dragon scale?” the teen asked excitedly.
The herpetologist hesitated. “Well, to jump all the way to that conclu…”
“It’s gotta be. Between Karkenti’s sighting and my discovery of this scale, that proves it! Dragons do exist!”
“No, not necessarily.”
“I can prove that Karkenti wasn’t hoaxing anything,” Alyssia whispered to herself. “I can fix his reputation.”
“Please don’t misquote me while doing that,” Vragimyre begged.
Hunting Nessie by Joanne Fisher
“You’ve been camped out on the shores of Loch Ness for five years now to take the definitive shot of Nessie, and you’ve nothing to show for it?”
“I wouldn’t say that. What about these photos?”
“What about them?”
“Look at this one.”
“It’s a picture of mist.”
“Yes, but Nessie was in that mist.”
“All I see is mist.”
“Well I think this one is pretty definitive.”
“It’s a photo of Loch Ness and you’ve drawn in Nessie with a black marker.”
“Or have I?”
“Is there anything else?”
“How about a picture of Nessie and Bigfoot together?”
Shift’s Getting Real (Part I) by D. Avery
I said I wasn’t a cryptozoologist, I was a scientist, which got a grunt out of the ranch hand behind the plank table. The next question, also hard to understand with the dialect, was ‘which cryptid was I interested in seeing’.
“I’d rather not say,” I said. “People tend to see what they want to see. I just want to look around, find out for myself why Carrot Ranch has attracted so many cryptozoologists.”
“Our critters is legit,” the ranch hand replied. “But yer right bout folks bein predisposed. Thet’s why ya gotta think good thoughts an speak truth.”
Shift’s Getting Real (Part II) by D. Avery
Well. Maybe this Pal (seriously, that’s what the name-tag said) wasn’t such a curmudgeon after all. I was encouraged to roam the ranch, and told that if it looks like a pig in a shaggy angora sweater— it is.
I wandered all around this virtual ranch. Had the place to myself as the visiting cryptozoologists were busy chasing a so-called cryptid around the barn. (Pal clued me in to that hoax in a hat.)
Did I see any real cryptids? Does it matter? I saw that anything imaginable is possible and learned Carrot Ranch is truly a magical place.
Spotted by Melissa Lemay
Paul was determined to prove to the world that Nessie was real. While he understood her predilection for solitude, he needed people to see.
He planned a meeting for a small group. He didn’t tell Nessie. He went to the lake, as he did every morning, and brought her favorite arctic char. He’d forewarned invitees there could be no flash photography.
Guests gathered eagerly. Paul stood by with his fish bucket. Suddenly–a phone flashlight shone into the fog. The last anyone heard or saw of the people gathered that day was a scrambled iPhone recording. People were screaming.
Cryptozoologist Craig by Kerry E.B. Black
A reedy man in flannel extended his hand. “Craig. Nice to meet you.”
Cindy fought nerves as she shook his hand.
He motioned to a chair and turned monitors. “I staked out the area. Concealed surveillance. High angles and low. If your little friend makes another appearance, we’ll get him.”
Cindy chuckled at the irony. The creature that tore the screen door from its hinges was anything but small. Unfortunately, nobody but this gent from the Eastern Region Cryptozoological Society believed her. Friends and family called her insane.
Cindy just wished his name wasn’t alliterative. Craig the Crytopzoologist sounded – well – crazy.
Cryptic Or Not? by Sweeter Than Nothing
They told him he was crazy, called him all sorts of names but he knew what he saw last summer wasn’t just a figment of his imagination. He’d researched this area for months, mapped every nook and made a list of places she could hibernate.
He’d get a much better photo of her when she was sleeping.
He stopped at the mouth of a cave, hearing soft snores from inside and grinned, readying his camera he crept inside.
Sadly, the flash woke the sleeping grizzly and he was never seen again, the rumour of The Yeti claimed another life.
What do Two-Foots Know? by Duane L Herrmann
“What are we going to do, Mamma?” Little One asked. “The Two-Foots don’t think we’re real.”
“We’re as real as we think we are,” Mamma answered.
“So, we are real?”
“We’re here aren’t we?” Mamma answered back.
“Yes,” Little One answered slowly. “But, I can’t see you.”
“Not everything that exists can be seen.”
“Oh. I hadn’t thought of that.”
“No one can see wind, can they?” Mamma asked. “And, air. Most of the time you can’t see air, but when you can, it’s dirt in the air you see, not actually air.”
“Oh. I’m glad.” Little One relaxed.
Crypto-Wotsits? by Geoff Le Pard
Many assume that cryptozoologies thrive in the off-kilter world of Little Tittweaking. Rather, it’s, they’re cousins – the Typozoologists – whose home is here. Led by Sir David Rottenborough, they run a sanctuary for misspelt animals, hoping to reintroduce them to the wild. After an initial success revowelling a prides of loins, they straightened out a confusion of bewildered beests and saved a group of arctic minkeys from hypothermia by extracting them from a shawl of coldfish. Their latest challenge is to persuade a herd of lonely tonies they are really ponies. As Sir David said, ‘Any Paloyourno is a Palomino.’
Hit an’ a Myth by D. Avery
“Dang it, Pal. This prompt ain’t fair ta our shy critters that come ta the Ranch fer refuge. Cain’t believe Shorty’s invitin a bunch a pseudoscientists ta come pokin roun the ranch.”
“Aw, lighten up, Kid. Anyways, it was jist a matter a time afore creeptoe-zollogists foun their way ta Carrot Ranch. It’s hardly been a secret thet we got uni-corns, bigfoots… fairies, rainbow cats… it’s a magical place, Kid.”
“What if all the investigatin undoes the magic? Wisht I never said nuthin. Drop one little comment an dang Shorty runs with it.”
“Kid. That’s part a the magic.”
Shakin an Shiftin (Part I) by D. Avery
Shorty mighta run with Kid’s thinkin, but Kid run fer the hills. Cuz sure ‘nough, the ranch was crawlin with them creeptoe-zollogists. Kid wouldn’t have nuthin ta do with it, went off ta pertect our more unique critters. But I ain’t as free range as Kid, my main job is heppin Shorty, no matter. So I set up a table ta meet an greet all the creeptoe-zollogists, git em headed in the right d’rection. An what a camo-clothed camera-carryin crowd! First through the gate? Nanjo! Only thing worse an admittin ta bein wrong is admittin thet Kid is right.
Shakin an Shiftin (Part II) by D. Avery
Seems Nanjo’d misread the prompt, thought it said cryptocurrency. Well, I got rid a Nanjo some quick.
Next creeptoe-zollogist said she’s lookin fer long lost critters, not necessarily cryptids. Asked bout pantsers, of all things.
Course we got pantsers at Carrot Ranch I told her. Closer then ya know!
No, she says. Wants ta see a cougar. I referred her ta our writer’s character, Ilene. Again, she says no. Wants ta see a big cat. Sent her ta the Rainbow Cat collection.
Then Ernie happened by, an a bunch a these creepy folks chased him up the Poet Tree.
Shakin an Shiftin III by D. Avery
It was a hairy sitchu-ation. Ol’ Ernie didn’t have a poem or a prayer ta git hisself outta thet tree. Then, seeminly without rhyme er reason, all them creeptoe-zollogists left him, started off towards the barn. Fer a new kinda cryptid critter was a comin outta there!
It was stinky an bristly, lurchin about on two feet, but it weren’t no bigfoot, wasn’t much size to it, though the critter made up fer that with yowlin an caterwaulin. Them creeptoe-zollogists was creepin forward an droppin back, skeered an amazed at this heretafore unknown cryptid.
I knew. It was CryptKid!
Shakin an Shiftin IV by D. Avery
Kid hadn’t got far in the mission ta pertect Carrot Ranch’s more exotic critters, fact only as far as the barn. The barn thet Kid s’posedly shovels out reg’lar. Seems Kid’s been slippin in thet department lately, so there was plenny fer Kid ta slip in, an Kid did, slip that is, right inta sticky slimy sh*t. Kep slippin, an slidin, ended up rollin through hay an shavins, which a course stuck ta the sh*t til Kid ‘peared ta be a shaggy monster.
Kid shifted the ‘ttention a them creeptoe-zollogists an our resident bigfoots an unicorns was safe afterall.