Flakes 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.

November 10, 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.

A Southern Drop by Nancy Brady

Once upon a time there was a drop from the south. Life was mostly grand for the drop. Sometimes, she would be dew, sometimes a light shower, but all too frequently, a powerful hurricane. The drop wasn’t thrilled with dumping all that water on land time after time, but what could she do?

Returning to a cloud, she overheard a conversation between other drops, who were talking about a different kind of precipitation, snow. It sounded like heaven to her, and she found out she could hop a cloud to Chicago where, over time, she became a fluffy flake.

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Teasing Flakes by Ann Edall-Robson

In the silence of the night, their arrival slowly commences. Drifting past the window without a sound, taking their place with the others. As the dark sky transitions to dawn, they blend with the gray horizon, numbers continue to grow. Each has made an individual journey. All have come for one thing, to accentuate the silent vista and transform it into a new world. Dusted fields become stunning landscapes, orchestrated into fluffed ornaments on branches. The crisp, white, exquisite, filigreed shapes flounce hither and yon in the breeze. Blankets of winter flakes tease and test the days of fall.

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Flakes of Life by Hugh W. Roberts

Flakes of frosty dread drifted through the old, abandoned house I’d taken shelter in. They weren’t ordinary flakes but echoes of lost souls.

I heard tales whispered by those who’d glimpsed the spectral dance, telling me the flakes carried memories of those who perished here, trapped between two worlds.

Icy fingers brushed my skin as the flakes swirled. The past and present merged in an eerie waltz, unveiling secrets and sorrows long ago buried.

I closed my eyes and joined them.

For those who entered after me, the house held chilling promises of both revelation and haunting, forever entwined.

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Joy in the Morning by Liz Husebye Hartmann

Jack heaved a sigh so huge, the box of Corny Ye-Haws slid clear over the counter’s edge, splattering a fan of sugary flakes across the linoleum. He regretted moving on Darla last night, pushing the limits of their childhood friendship too far. She and Chad had not split up, after all.

She’d rushed out of his house like one possessed, her motorcycle tearing up the country road, and his heart.
Scraping a handful of cereal into his best, cracked blue bowl, he resigned himself to a lifetime of lonely breakfasts.
Then he heard the sound of a motorcycle … returning!

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Retro Black Light Disco by Norah Colvin

On their first date, Paul took Josie to the Retro Black Light Disco. She’d heard about it but never been, so was curious. “Wear something white. You’ll really stand out,” her older friends advised. Josie was amused that Paul dressed all in black, as usual, but guessed some habits were hard to break. Josie absolutely glowed under the lights, but Paul virtually disappeared. Until he turned around, looking like he’d brought a glowworm army on his back. Josie started to say, “How beautiful!” when she realised they were flakes of dandruff. “Gross,” she thought. “I’ve seen enough,” she said.

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Skin by Pete Fanning

Skin. That’s what they called him. Okay, me too, sometimes, be it at the park or the bus stop, where he’d stand hunched, clawing away at the tops of his hands, arms bumpy and red, flakes of dry skin falling like saw dust.

He’d endure it, whatever the teasing, while I stood to the side with a dumb smile—relief—happy the attention was off me. But it never lasted.

“Hey, lazy eye.”

The pack would shift. In a blink I’d see that same relief wash over Skin and I’d snarl at him.

“What are you looking at, Skin?”

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Flake News By Bill Engleson

He’s a cute kid. Standing at the window, yelling at the passing parade, the ghoulies, the goblins, the tiny Trumpsters, which scares me more then ghosts and graveyards, demanding his boodle.
Cookies.
Candies.
I had dragged out an old Nixon mask from my childhood.
Don’t know why I’d hung onto it.
Tricky Dick wasn’t always a treat, was he.
We were out for an hour. Must have hit fifty houses.
He wanted to be a snowflake.
I said, “You mean a ghost?”
But no, he meant flake.
So, a huge paper snowflake it was.
Cute kid, but definitely weird.

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A Flaky Man by Geoff Le Pard

Inspired by his dermatological setbacks and Marc Quinn’s Self*, Dan Druff determined on his life’s work. He joined Little Tittweaking’s hermit community, where he remained undercover. On Dan’s thirtieth birthday, he threw open his yurt to the curious visitors. Sadly a misunderstanding of variable air pressures and an incredible lightness of being rendered nineteen years of assiduously collected dead skin to become airborne as they dispersed across the town.

This gratuitous sharing of DNA generated two observations locally: those ingesting Dan-flakes were surprised he tasted of cardamom; and using forensics to solve crime was rendered pointless for two years.

*Marc Quinn used his own blood as the material for a cast of his own head

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Extract from an Interview with Genghis Khan by Doug Jacquier

Interviewer: “Just one last question, Mr. Khan. We’ve covered the unification of the Mongol tribes, developing the Silk Road, controlling huge areas of the world with your conquering armies. However, perhaps history may remember you most for your unmerciful slaughter of millions of innocent people and the annexation of their lands. Tell me, is there a geographical line somewhere in your head where you will stand and be satisfied that you have achieved all of your dreams ?”

Genghis: “You reporters. Snowflake questions to feed your clickbait headlines. That ‘line’ remains what it’s always been for me. The horizon.”

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Cumulus Corn or Frosted Flakes*? by JulesPaige

Like thin crisps or chips; freshly fried
Look up to see these unreachable delights.
Advertised and tempting
Upon the mottled sky page
That attempts to subliminally
Catch your attention, make your mouth water
Urge you to seek to fill your face
With homemade or store packaged goodies.
Your brain registers the need to eat… something
And yet you are partaking of atmospheric manna
What spiritual quest can you fulfill?
While your brain tricks your eyes…
Are you enlightened, encouraged, sated?

You stand looking up, mesmerized, hypnotized
Are you alone a single ‘flake’
Or have others followed your captured gaze?

*Frosted Flakes; as in the chilled wisps of high atmospheric clouds

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Walk Out by Reena Saxena

The final walkout was not liberation. It was the realization that she had left doors open for manipulators. She disrespected herself by believing flaky promises and catering to his desire for control.

She felt a surge of relief, a burst of freedom, a spark of joy. She felt like she had reclaimed her life, re-discovered herself, reignited her dreams.

She walked away from him, from his lies, from his pain. She walked towards herself, towards her truth, towards her happiness.

She walked away from flaky promises.

She walked towards liberation, into a world where she held her own life.

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Flakes of Ash by Sweeter Than Nothing

Fluttering gently, like a lover’s sigh
Flakes of ash float high up in the sky
Soft and light, they dance and play
A beautiful dream, a nightmare ballet

Their whispers echo, a gentle breeze
A soft caress, a goodnight kiss
Broken hearts used to yearn
Glowing love can only burn

Flakes of ash, they fall like snow
Softly descending, serene and slow
Gentle whispers of a distant fire
Echoes of a past desire

Their delicate touch, a fleeting dream
A memory of a love so extreme
A fragile beauty, a moment’s grace
A fleeting glimpse of a vanishing place

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Paint Constellations by Kerry E.B. Black

Jenna scraped her fingernail under a bubble of paint, peeling a swath from the countertop. The phone rang in her hand, impatient as a striking serpent, while Jenna sent silvery paint flakes spiraling to the blue linoleum floor. Jenna’s heart pounded, anxious about the call, enlarging the blemish on the kitchen counter. As the growing blotch revealed antique wood enrobed in peeling paint, the call pronounced her fear. The doctor answered. Clipt speech. Businesslike manner. His tenor brought an internal quake, and Jenna felt each weighty word wreck future expectations. She collapsed, sat in blurred constellations of silvery paint.

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Grandpa’s Legacy by Anne Goodwin

Snowflakes cling to the cracked windowpanes. Flecks of dandruff fall from Grandpa’s scalp. “This’ll all be yourn when I’m gone.”

I hunch over my cornflakes. Twenty acres and a farmhouse with crumbling walls can’t compensate for years of slavery.

Grandpa coughs. Gurgles. Crackles. Hands hover at his throat. I spring to my feet and thump him between the shoulder blades. No use.

I was the flakiest student on the First Aid course. Failed the Heimlich manoeuvre on account of my withered arm. Mangled by the machine when Grandpa disabled the failsafe device. When he stops breathing, I’ll call 999.

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Glittering Lights by Duane L Herrmann

Glittering on the edge of light of leaping flames, snowflakes fell in the dark. Mysteriously appearing from black sky, glittering momentarily, then vanishing again. Magical!! The fire was small, but the magic was great. I recall it years later. Snowflakes, those bits of sky falling, floating down, have entranced me since I was little. One winter when I was young I was sick and we had a new baby at home. No one wanted the baby sick. I was sent away – to the paradise of my grandmother’s. While there big fluffly snow flakes, fell. I was entranced and remember.

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Chili Flakes by Sadje

A margarita pizza, with blobs of fresh mozzarella cheese and green rocket ( arugula ) leaves was ordered. When baked in an open fire brick/ clay oven and delivered piping hot to our table, its aroma was hard to resist. They provided us with chili flakes, chili oil, and garlic powder.

This was a genuine Italian restaurant and there was no tomato ketchup in sight. In fact, they didn’t serve tomato sauce with their French fries either. It was considered an affront to the tastebuds to offer ketchup with any food.

I remember that quaint little restaurant, in Washington DC, fondly.

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First Snow by Dianne Borowski

It’s snowing. As I watch the wind swirling snowflakes outside my window I long to be a kid again. The snowflakes begin to accumulate, covering the street and sidewalks. I grab my jacket, move down the stairs and out the door.

I loved the first snowfall of winter long ago, ice skating, snow forts, snowballs and sledding. Now I’m grown. Just this once I want to feel snowflakes on my tongue and in my hair. I want to slip and slide down the drive and dance through snow drifts. I want to feel young and alive once more.

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Priorities by Mario Milizia

As a kid, when the first flakes of snow used to fall, it automatically meant snowball wars in the neighborhood. There were always two groups – the strongest, best throwers versus Jack and every other kid in the neighborhood.

Jack’s team usually didn’t win, but they always had fun and that’s all that mattered to him. Jack married one of the tomboys, Julie, that used to join him.

Now, years later, with kids of their own, Jack is struggling to convince their ten year old son, Adam, why he should consider picking some of the weaker kids when picking teams.

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Snow? by Sue Spitulnik

Tessa was riding shotgun while Lexi drove to Emma’s three-year-old well baby check-up. Tessa said, “My mother has turned into a complete flake?”

Lexi asked for details.

“She can’t seem to make up her mind about anything anymore and she’s so hot and cold about so many subjects I can’t keep track of her opinion. Like I said, flaky.”

The “parrot” in the back seat said, “Where’s snowflakes? I can’t see any. I don’t have my coat.”

Lexi grinned. “On you, Gramma.”

Tessa turned, “It’s not going to snow Emma Blossom. Gramma’s make mistakes sometimes.” The explanation satisfied her.

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TricksnFlake by D. Avery

“Kid! Thet dang hog a yers is makin a mess a the bunkhouse.”

“The shift she is Pal. Curly’s potty trained.”

“Talkin bout her flaky skin. I’m ferever dustin an sweepin.”

“Should git better Pal. I been putting lotion on her. Made from goats’ milk. From those kid goats now growed inta milk goats.”

“Oh yeah, yer kid goats. Haven’t heard mention a them in months.”

“Well, they’re mentioned now cause we need the goat milk lotion. Fer Curly’s flaky skin.”

“Thet’s convenient.”

“Yeah… Tell ya what’s flaky, Pal— our writer’s shifty tricks.”

“Cain’t make this stuff up, Kid.”

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Fakin Flake by D. Avery

“Pal, member how I got Curly bout the same time Shorty got her pup, Mause?”

“Yep.”

“An the LeGumes ‘nnounced their bambeano bout the same time’s Shorty ‘nnounced becomin a Granma. D’ya smell what I’m steppin in, Pal? Total flake, thet writer a ours, imitatin stead a originatin, liftin an shiftin Shorty’s stories.”

“There’s nuggets a truth in thet stream a consciousness.”

“Reckon our writer’s no better’n a claim jumper. Don’t know how this’ll pan out, but we gotta let Shorty know our concerns. Tell her the truth bout D. Avery.”

“Shorty might see things dif’rently, Kid.”

“Mebbe. Shorty?”

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Stormin Off, Not by D. Avery

“Hold up Kid, Frankie jist rode in.” 

“Hey Pal. Kid, don’t be headin off. It’s snowin.”

“It’s jist a few flakes. I gotta git ta Shorty. File a complaint ‘gainst our writer.”

“These few flakes is gonna add up ta a whole lotta snow, I don’t advise ridin in this storm even on that high horse a yers.”

“Well, if anyone knows bout ridin in wild weather, it’s you, Frankie. But don’tcha see, yer anuther example a the problem. You showed up in one a Shorty’s flashes an D. Avery took ya over. Appropriatin characters an stories ain’t appropriate.”

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Steppin Down From the High Horse Ta Step Up, Mebbe by D. Avery

“Kid, no two ways about it, we ain’t seein eye ta eye on this.”

“Listen, Frankie, for one, I—”

“Shut yer pie-hole, Kid. You listen. I’m responsible fer me. Pal’s responsible fer Pal. Yer responsible fer— well, what I mean is, now that we all are outta the pen and onta the page, we have life of our own. Cain’t blame our writer. Steppin forward fer a prompt, that’s our choice. We don’t git forced. You of all characters should know that, Kid. Yer always steppin up, heppin out.”

“Reckon Frankie’s right Kid. Ya ain’t never flaked out.”

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Used, Not Amused by D. Avery

“Okay, but… Sometimes feels like D. Avery uses us, uses the whole ranch jist ta git 99 words. Is that fair ta folks? How come, fer example, she gits ta write a beaver pond inta the ranch? With beavers? Why, we got ranch hands mighta wanted platypuses swimmin in the pond. Mebbe’d perfer kangaroos roun here too, stead a goats.”

“That’d be somethin. Wunner if it’s too late ta git some kanga-roonicorns fer the cryptid prompt.”

“Pal! Don’t ya git it? Now kanga-roonicorns’ll be a thing, jist wait an see!”

“Yep. Ain’t thet a joeyful thing?”

“Flaky, Pal. Flaky.”

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

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7 Comments

  1. Doug Jacquier

    Good on yers all, ya worthy bunch of jackeroos. Emerging through the dandruff this week were:
    Teasing Flakes by Ann Edall-Robson – Poetry in motion
    Skin by Pete Fanning – Misery loves company, just for a rest.
    Paint Constellations by Kerry E.B. Black – ‘The phone rang in her hand, impatient as a striking serpent’

    PS – Until every snowflake that ever fell and will fall in future to eternity can be verified as being unique, I remain an unbeliever. 🙂

  2. pedometergeek

    Thanks for getting me out of my 99-word story writing funk with this flaky prompt, Charli. It’s been too long. Hope to be a more regular contributor once again.

    Haven’t read them all yet, but have been impressed with those I’ve read. After my meeting this morning, I’ll be back. For now, gotta run.
    ~nan

  3. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    This collection is as bright and magical as first snow! Each contribution sparkles, each is unique.
    I flaked out this prompt, every idea that fluttered by seemed too flaky. Stay tuned though, Charli will find the Ranch Yarns that got penned and will corral them here.
    Snow flakes, paint flakes, chili flakes, corn flakes, flaking skin and dandruff! You all are amazing. Nancy, your story reminded me of a very special book I inherited and used to read aloud to my students. I think it was called the Little Snowflake, a very common title. It was an old and uncommon book and I think I gave it away but you sent me down a rabbit hole.
    Doug, you don’t believe in the uniqueness of snowflakes (despite the legendary work of Vermonter Snowflake Bentley), but do you contend that history in many ways repeats itself?
    These are all awesome stories. I will try to get out and about later to read again at your sites.

    • pedometergeek

      Thanks, D, for mentioning my story. Sorry about the rabbit hole. I am not familiar with this book (I’ll check it out later), but I just wanted to illustrate the water cycle. With 99 words I had to do some cutting out.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        I just remembered! The title is just Snowflake and the author’s name is Paul Gallico. An old lady friend gave her copy to me years ago. I wasn’t sure if third and fourth graders would be into it but I took a chance. They were enchanted by it. Phew. I gave that copy to a teacher friend when I left the profession that the story would continue to get read and heard.

      • pedometergeek

        Will check it out, D. Thanks for the name and author.

  4. pedometergeek

    Congrats, Charli, I just noticed the photos of your grandson. He’s adorable! Congrats to the whole family, too.

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