Waiting 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 16, 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.

Waiting by D. Avery

Elsewhere innocuous, here its round face is cruel, returning furtive glances with a cold unblinking stare. The constant television, flickering noise and light, cannot compete with the steady heartbeat of this clock on the wall. It is this metronomic ticking that gives it authority even over their phones, talismans clutched tight in each worried pair of fidgeting hands while its steady hands mark time. In a waiting room full of people, they each wait alone, uncertain, wishing to turn the clock ahead, wishing to turn it back.
Autumned grass tufts sweep
Circular tracks in the snow
Roots remember spring

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Waiting for Godot by Reena Saxena

“Peace will descend tonight from Heaven, and all will be well with the world.”

“Are you sure of those spirits up there – can they even hear our voices?”

“Well, we need to ask the clouds and the sky about how much permeability they offer….”

“Then what gives you that confidence of tonight?”

“Actually, confidence is viewed as moronic up there. But they want us to hold on to another sublime thing – Hope.”

“Waiting for Godot, huh?”

“I don’t mind really, do you? It gives us time to peep within to discover other realities.”

“Start acting on this one first.”

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Problems as a Kid by Mario Milizia

Emily was trying to stay awake for Santa

“Mama. When is Santa coming?” Emily asked falling asleep on the couch.

“I’m sorry, dear. He checks if all kids are asleep before he delivers presents. I’ll help you up to bed.”

“So if I stay awake waiting for him, he won’t come,” she asks as she’s walking up the stairs.

“Yes. Those are his rules.”

“What if he brings me the wrong present? What if I change my mind?”

“You’ll just have to trust him or wait until next year.”

“Santa needs a phone number so we can call him.”

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Waiting for Tod Ogden by Bill Engleson

“Stop looking at your watch.”

“That’s what it’s for.”

“Fine. I know, but it’s irritating. Read a book.”

“Too anxious. Tod should’ve been here hours ago.”

“Could have picked him up.”

“I offered. Said he likes to take his own good time. Always been that way. You know that.”

“Too damned independent. Been on the road too long. What kind of life is that? It’s not like he’s Willie Nelson.”

“Sings pretty good, though. Least wise, used to.”

“Play some Willie…

“Good idea…how about The Party’s Over?”

“Sure, though it won’t begin until he gets here.”

“Play it anyways.”

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The Waiting Game by Anne Goodwin

While I wait I peel and chop an onion. While I wait my baby learns to roll over, learns to crawl. A superstitious streak calls me to cook my grandma’s weekday staple. My daughter learns to walk, to hop, to run.

My girl devours grandma’s peas and mashed potatoes, but she pushes the offal around her plate. I won’t scold her for wasting food – eating pig’s liver won’t fortify hers. She can’t understand why I can’t chase her around the garden. She doesn’t know I’m waiting for a stranger to die and bequeath their healthy human liver to me.

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Vigilance by JulesPaige

It is a strange phenomenon to board a plane by oneself. Normally not a solo traveler. So much hurry up and waiting while attempting to quickly get to the end of a destination. Especially when where you’re going is not to some sunny beach. But to a hospital; the deplaning, cab ride to, entry, all forgotten as the vision of your loved one lays silent. Unresponsive to your presence.

You want to lose yourself in suspended time reliving good memories. A sated family reunion. yet there cries the newest haloed member.

so precious
all life old and new
angelic…

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The Scent of Rain by Doug Jacquier

The water bore’s gone dry and Adam stares at the grey-black clouds that cluster like a bunch of stuck-up girls at a school dance turning him down every time.

He flicks on his solar batteries, powers up his Hendrix-like stack of Marshall amps, loads his player with Classic Hits, turns the volume up to 11, hits play, picks up the microphone and in synchronicity with the soaring guitars and the drums, screams “God, make them dance with me!”

An apocalyptic lightning flash is followed by raindrops like bullets and, as they hit the dust, Adam’s nostrils fill with petrichor.

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Defined by Dark Deeds by Kerry E.B. Black

Situated in the deepest shadow, he hunkered, ignoring muscle cramps and anxious aches. From this vantage, he scouted. His quarry capered beneath campus streetlights, oblivious of potential dangers. Their youth, good health, and privilige glowed from their skin like beacons while he stalked from within the gloom of their absence. They relied on university police, local law enforcement, and the goodwill of their fellows, never recognizing malice mounting from an unlikely source. He sharpened hidden blades with resentment, using imagined slights as the whetstone. Soon, he’d leap from obscurity. Be defined by dark deeds. Until then, he impatiently waited.

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The Last Bus by Dianne Borowski

8 o’clock has come and gone. The once crowded bus stop is now deserted. It’s just me and a shadowy figure dressed in black. I feel cold though the wind is warm, the breeze is balmy. Who is this person I must share space with? If a stranger arrived and offered me a ride I might be inclined to do so.

Ah, lights come around the corner. Finally! The shadow pushes me aside. The bus pulls away. I realize I am alone. My scream fills the lonely night as I slowly disappear.

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Intoxicated by Meredith Caine

They never even know I am here. This position gives me the vantage I need to focus, to plan. It is a precise timing. I worship the rush of adrenaline that comes as the time grows closer. My heart rate ascends so high I can hear it echo off my rib cage. It’s a fast methodical strum. My body temperature gradually rises while I wait and watch. Small beads of sweat start to assemble across my temples. I know the perfect time is here. I feel powerful, like a God. Blood floods my veins as I take a life.

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Waiting For Who by Hugh W. Roberts

I’d been waiting for hours. Why was I here?

‘You’ll soon find out,’ said a voice in my head.

I’d sat on every chair. All were uncomfortable. I paced up and down, breathing in the heavy air of dread.

“Mr Roberts?” a voice whispered. “Follow me.”

I had no idea where the handsome nurse had come from, but I followed him.

“This is it,” he said, ushering me into a room.

A dim light lit up a figure in the bed, covered in a white sheet.

I approached and pulled back the sheet.

My face stared back at me.

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Waiting by ladyleemanilla

There’s a little girl who waits and waits
Her friend borrowed her skates, not back for ages
Mummy will be worried sick
If she’s not back in a tick
Friend not back yet, not anymore playmates

They’re playing hide and seek, she’s the “it”
She can’t find them, they hide well, she’s to admit
It’s getting late
Should be home by eight
She gave up looking, shouted she has to quit

She can’t sleep, something’s bothering her
She kept on tossing and turning
Husband’s fast asleep
Also hear the sheep
And the cat came to the room and purr

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I’m Bored by Norah Colvin

“For Christmas,” said Mum.

“But it’s a looooong time,” said Jamie.

“Not long enough,” said Dad. “Only three more pay days.”

“Wait till you’re my age,” said Grandpa. “It’ll be gone in a blink.”

“But there’s nothing to do,” said Jamie.

“When I was your age,” said Grandpa. “we’d be out all day, playing until dark.”

“Mum won’t let me go anywhere. Dad says no screens until after dinner. It’s boring.”

“Tell you what, kiddo. How’s about you and me take a walk and do some exploring. What d’you say?”

“Can I, Mum?”

“Sure. It’ll do us all good.”

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Are the Results Out, Yet? by Ruchira Khanna

I shouted, “Are the results out yet?” while quickly pulling on my pants and zipping them up, then pushed the door open. 

Mom was busy knitting, and she shook her head no.

“Mom!” I shrieked, refreshed the screen, and exhaled deeply. 

Our eyes met. 

She was calm, wearing a gentle smile despite my reaction. 

The results had not yet been released, so I sat beside her. “I can’t take this waiting game!” I lamented.

“Sing a song!” Mom said. 

“Huh?” I responded. 

“Keep your mind busy, Sara. Time will tick away! Besides, the results are not in your hand.” 

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The Adventures of Aloysius by Nancy Brady

It felt like forever; the waiting seemed to go on and on.

Frankly, I never thought that anything would come of my writing. It started with one prompt that sparked my imagination. Subsequent prompts allowed the story to be finished.

Now, I had to find an illustrator for the stories. My first artist didn’t work out. After waiting months, I discovered a teen with artistic talent; she made drawings for each story.

There was more waiting; the editor worked on the book, putting it all together. Finally, the waiting is over; the book is out: The Adventures of Aloysius.

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The Brothers Understand by Sue Spitulnik

Michael and Tessa moved with the line snaking toward the cruise ship. The slow pace was difficult for Michael, yet he smiled at every set of eyes that met his. When an older man came opposite them in the cue, he said, “Welcome home, brother.”

Tessa burst into tears watching Michael and his brother-for-life shake hands, and exchange understanding nods. The man’s companion touched Tessa’s arm and handed her a tissue. “It hurts my soul that our servicemen wait to hear that from their brothers. I admire your man for sharing his legs.”
Tessa mumbled, “Me too. Thank you.”

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Wishing by Liz Husebye Hartmann

They sat on the carpet, knee to knee. Two, sometimes three rows of them, hands in laps, breathing light, shallow breaths. Good as gold, these little ones.
She knew better than to push her luck.
Raising the book, she announced the title and splayed it open.
The protagonist, Curious George, was always a favorite because he was so relatable. Well meaning, a burning desire to explore and learn, but not sure of all the rules, so more often than not, chaos. And then the regret!
Someone rights the wrong, George is saved, and loved again.
A promise for all.

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Balancing Life by Sadje

Waiting was not easy knowing that he had to reach home by four.

Anxiously, he looked at his watch and he drew a deep breath, trying to calm himself.

He needed to balance his own work and the desire to help out his friends, otherwise both would suffer.

Finally, when his friend arrived, he spoke irritatedly; why are you so late? you know I have to be home before my sister arrives and only I have the key!

Hurriedly, he went over the project with his friend pointing out some mistakes.

He then sprinted home to his waiting sister.

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It’s The Waiting Game by Rockstar Girl

It’s the waiting game until we can press play and restart the story of where we left off in the last chapter but things have changed since the last time we saw each other

Even though within ourselves may have stayed the same but the outside is a completely different story from the person you saw on the inside and sometimes not everything is the same as when you left it

It can either change or become an entirely different story than what you presumed the story was going to be about from the beginning to the very end.

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Encounter on the Road by Joanne Fisher

Jess and Cindy heard the sound of hooves. They both waited, until they saw a rider approach them on a white horse with silver bells on it’s mane. The rider shone with light.

“It’s a fey noble, we also call them High Elves.” Cindy remarked. The rider stopped and examined them.

“Mortals on the Queen’s Road.” She stated.

“I have fey blood.” Cindy told her.

“Be that as it may, what made you think you had leave to be here?” Cindy’s heart sank. She always thought she could wander around Faerie at will, but maybe this wasn’t the case…

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Luna’s Return by Colleen M. Chesebro

After Luna stepped into the faery circle, Faeryn waited for her return. She mulled over her options. How could she get Luna back from the Otherworld?

Sometimes the good neighbors let the witches travel between the veil and the human world, no questions asked. Other times… well, she didn’t want to think negative thoughts.

A snap of a branch got her attention. “Luna, is that you?”

“Yes. The Gentry gave me lunch and sent me back.”

“Did you eat anything?”

“No, I remembered. Never eat anything from the Otherworld.” Luna touched the honey cake she’d hid in her pocket.

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Going Gently by D. Avery

Glasses empty, they sat back on the sofa.

“Well.” He tried a smile. “Now we wait.”

“Yes. Together.” Her smile came easily. He relaxed, happy to see her happy. He took her hand in his.

“You were right all along, Dear. All we’ve been doing, really, is wait.”

She leaned against him. After two years of adamant refusal, he’d surprised her. “No more waiting,” he’d declared. He’d helped plan and prepare. He hadn’t let on to anyone, not even the kids.

“I won’t need help off the sofa today,” he teased.

They laughed together until they no longer could.

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Quick Snax by Geoff Le Pard

When Wei Ting escaped a forced Taoist marriage to philosopher Winnie Pooh, he sought asylum in Little Tittweaking. Catering was his trade. He began designing menus, starting with a series of Chow Mains before adding Chow Staters, Chow Puddings and Chow Coffee and Mints. After success with his Fowl Expressions selection: Peeking Duck, Squinting Pigeon and Staring Ptarmigan, he surprised everyone by joining with Ho Hum, Lee Wards and Fook’s Sake to open a new restaurant that had people were quite prepared to queue round several blocks to enjoy. Wei Ting at Ho Lee Fook was a tremendous success.

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Flood by Simon

The night was filled with terror as his world crumbled. The city engulfed by an unexpected downpour. In the midst of despair, he made the decision to end his life by hanging, fearing impending flood. Three times the rope snapped, but a glimmer of hope ignited within. He saw it as a divine sign not to kill himself. So he waited, anxiously watching as the water continued to rise, reaching his neck. He clung to the rope that was once meant to end his life. Then, the rain ceased, the water began to recede. His patience paid off, fortunately.

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Waiting for Bliss by Sassy

She’d been waiting for this moment so long. When they first met, she found him to be charming and sweet and quiet in a way that seemed so… Unbelievable. She wanted to kiss him, to know him, to be vulnerable, but she’d held back, afraid he was putting on a good show.
But now… Now it had been years of friendship and mutual affection, respect, attraction… Now she knew who he was and she ached for his touch, his gaze, the smell of him on her skin.
When he held her face and brought his lips to hers…
Bliss.

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Waiting by Ann Edall-Robson

Waiting for the New Year
?Waiting for the winter’s hiatus, tree buds pop
Waiting for splashing in rain puddles
Waiting for the summer’s heat, flowers in bloom
Waiting for cooler evenings
Waiting for the sunset’s palette, twinkling stars appear
Waiting for the full moon
Waiting for frosty autumn days, leaves turning colour
Waiting for geese to take wing
Waiting for harvest, the start of hunting season
Waiting for winter snow days
Waiting for skating on frozen ponds, sleigh rides
Waiting for Christmas decorations
Waiting for Auld Lang Syne, mistletoe kisses
Waiting for more of the same
Waiting, always waiting

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Without a Paddle by D. Avery

Tell ya Kid, seems ol’ Shorty’s always waitin fer somethin.”

“Reckon waitin’s kinda her curse, Pal.”

“Speakin a, have we been cursed with the bambeano yet?”

“Huh?”

“There a little LeGume joined us?”

“Yep.”

“What? An ya didn’t say nuthin? Have ya seen it?”

“He. Yep.”

“What’s it— he— look like?”

“Hard ta say. He was swaddled.”

“Swaddled? They swaddled their baby? Thet ain’t right, Kid. Shouldn’t never swat a child, ‘specially a baby.”

“Not paddled, Pal! Swaddled. He was all wrapped up in white cloth. Looked like a… let’s jist say he’s a chip off the fam’ly block.

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Up Shift Creek by D. Avery

“Cain’t wait ta see ‘im. Where ‘zactly the LeGumes live, Kid?”

“It’s a far ride ta their place, Pal. Cuz Logatha’s kinda reclusive.”

“Yeah, only comes out as necessary. But her sister, Cherie D’Sharte, kin be pretty outgoing.”

“No holdin that one back, that’s fer sure.”

“So, Kid? Directions?

“Ride over 2Hard2 Pass, follow Shift Creek. You’ll find ‘em.”

“How?”

“The answer, my frien, is blowin in the wind.”

“Uh, s’pose so. They name the bambeano yet?”

“Yep.”

“Well?”

“Not Will. Doo.”

“Will do what?”

“Baby’s name’s Doo. Doolittle Zippy LeGume.”

“Reckon he’ll be peppy as his pappy, Pepe.”

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Nom de LeGume by D. Avery

“Pal! An unexpected veezit.”

“Couldn’t wait ta check in LeGume. Missus doin okay?”

“Oui, merci, she ees resteeng but ees finest kind.”

“An how’s the baby?”

“De bébé ees also resteeng. He ees doeeng very well.”

“Doo?”

“Do what, Pal?”

“Baby’s called Doo?”

“Sometimes he ees D.Z.”

“Dizzy? Mebbe we should get him to a doctor, Pepe.”

“No, not deezy, D.Z.; sometimes we call him by hees eenitials.”

“O… K… Y?”

“Dees is a writeeng ranch, Pal. Eet’s a writerly theeng, eenitials names, so eet’s feeting, no?”

“Doolittle seems a fittin name fer a certain writer.”

“Dees I know.”

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

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10 Comments

  1. Doug Jacquier

    But wait, we know you want more! What a timely collection and well done to all. What caught my eye this week:
    Waiting by D. Avery – ‘It is this metronomic ticking that gives it authority even over their phones, talismans clutched tight in each worried pair of fidgeting hands while its steady hands mark time.’
    Waiting for Godot by Reena Saxena – ‘we need to ask the clouds and the sky about how much permeability they offer’

    • Charli Mills

      Great images to pull from the waiting, Doug!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Full disclosure: I cheated, I had written that haibun for a d’Verse prompt, just whittled it down to 99 words. (And my second piece is a first draft of what ended up with at my site.)

      Glad the waiting is over for the Millses- congratulations and Welcome, Regis!
      (congrats also to Logatha and Pepe)

      This as a whole, is another wonderful collection, sum wonderful! I’m always proud and pleased to be among this group of writers.

      • Charli Mills

        Warm tidings to Logatha and Pepe Legume! Doo and Regis are already fast friends.

  2. Sabrena Clem

    It is unbelievable how many times I’ve been taken in by these amazing 99 word challenges! It is truly incredible how the brain perceives what is written and then puts one’s soul into the picture in the mini movie being made within seconds. This one was Sassy and Hugh for me! As a woman, that painstaking crush, the self respect of not having to be taken advantage of so the wait is the best option then in for the win! This wait so resonated with me! Hugh’s reflection of self mortality! I’ve dreamed several dreams similar to the wait spoken of in his 99 words!! Magic! That’s what we all do, we bring a level of magic to ordinary words that create situations where people can feel it, relate to it and even express it through our own ways of connecting words. Amazing work here!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sabrena! I love the 99-word art form because it has the capacity to create and compel images. Words are constrained, so we are challenged to tell a story within that framework. Yet, it can be endless how we choose to tell that story, and what images we animate. When writers share their individual stories with the community, the collection becomes something living between all our imaginations. The magic is that we awaken to each other’s dreams and dream figures, opening up to the collective unconscious. I’m happy you see the magic we do as writers, readers, and witnesses to dreaming creativity into the waking world.

  3. Sabrena Clem

    And Charli, I am grateful to you for sharing your experience with being a new grandma. I still have a couple of months before my grandson will be here but reading about your new little bundle is really making me even more excited about my little guy entering the world!! ????

    • Charli Mills

      Hold onto your hat — it’s a ride, Sabrena! I’m only now becoming aware of all the things I missed with my own children because of the shift in perspective. It’s their time to parent, to progress, to make decisions, and cultivate a family pod, yet, as grandmas we get this delicious slowing down to notice perspective. Possibilities renew, refresh. I’m excited for you to welcome new life into yours!

  4. Norah Colvin

    What an amazing collection. I know they always are, but this one seemed to delve a little deeper and a little wider into what it means to wait. So many perspectives, each different but holding just as much truth. Well done, everyone! Congratulations, Charli, on wrangling such a wonderful collection.

    • Charli Mills

      I know what you mean, Norah, and I’m noticing the depth, in particular. Writers did a great job of “expanding” the prompt, which is a skill we are learning and practicing in Dream Tending. To see an example of deep expansion in a collection is exciting! Thank you for noticing! <3

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Waiting Collection – Mom With a Blog - […] Waiting Collection […]
  2. #99Word Stories; Huntress | ShiftnShake - […] out the Waiting collection at Carrot Ranch for some fantastic flash fiction and […]
  3. #99Word Stories; Other People’s Houses | ShiftnShake - […] out the Waiting collection at Carrot Ranch for some fantastic flash fiction and […]

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