“I left my wife for a younger woman.” How dare that fat, ugly, stupid, self-centered husband of Barb’s consider that cliché phrase; how dare a younger woman consider him??

Maybe it was sour grapes, like Barb’s mother hinted.

Maybe Barb was better off, as Barb’s best friend, Lillith, stated.

The most useful response, however, came from Barb’s greatest enemy since childhood, Phoebe. “You know,” Phoebe said, “If you knock him off before he files for anything, you get it all.”

So, much to Barb’s surprise, she found herself plotting with Phoebe. It was like first grade all over again.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Vitaly Gorbachev on

Written in response to Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch:

May 9, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about two who can keep a secret. Is the secret between them or is one keeping a secret from the other. Who are they? What remains unknown? What is revealed? Go where the prompt leads!

The Determination of Youth

Water. People who lived by water -the ocean, a lake, or a wide river- knew water. People who lived by water loved it. They were not terrified by it.

Not so, me.

Landlocked. I did not live by water; did not know water. I did not love it. I was terrified by it.

I thought this; as I inched, grasping, toward my parents. My feet; then toes; then tiptoes felt the pool floor drop, my face cresting the water’s surface. I saw their bobbing forms.

I think.

I think I saw them, just before water drowned them from view.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on

Written in response to Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch:

May 1, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about high water. Hell can be involved, or not. Is high water a new drink? A crisis in nature or the basement? Get in the flow. Go where the prompt leads!

The Giver, Still Giving

[T]he apple had changed. Just for an instant. It had changed in mid-air, he remembered. Then it was in his hand, and he looked at it carefully, but it was the same apple. Unchanged.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

Dale’s hand froze, hovering, wondering that its body could freeze. Up till then, it’d thought all words were only for others -like this place of words was for others.

Here, though, was what it felt. -Words for when dead trees stood against impossibly blue sky. -For when a lonely, vibrant leaf floated in grime.

Dale looked at wreckage of what Had Been, and knew hope.

Photo by aku0131n akdau011f on

©2023 Chel Owens

Written in response to Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch:

March 27 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something impossibly blue. You can go with sky or any other object. What impact does the color have on the setting or characters? Does it lead to action or create a pause? Go where the prompt leads!

Echoes, Shadows, Whispers, and Dreams

Echoes are all that resound down these halls;
Echoes of voices still young, still young.
They’re laughing or talking or screaming –
Or still.
But only sometime, long ago.

Shadows are all that still walk ‘cross these floors;
Shadows of children come late, come late.
They’re flashing to catch up their friends, else
Catch up.
But only sometime, long ago.

Whispers are all that still push dangling swings;
Whispers of glee-songs in play, in play.
They’re jumping and pumping and flying
But only sometime, long ago.

Where are the echoes, the shadows, and whispers?
Only in dreams, long ago.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

Inspired by Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

March 13, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a place where children once played. It can be a field, a playground, or any place that attracted children to play. But now it is empty. Abandoned. Go where the prompt leads!

Life’s Real Purpose and Adulthood, Five Word Weekly Challenge: #gb5ww, #gmgblog

She’d staked a claim in life; gritted her teeth and determined to see it through -no matter what. Oh; she’d been told it would be hard. She’d been told it might be harrowing, even: love, loss, stress, disease, fatigue…

Trials made her more obstinate.

Potential challenges brought out the strongest of stubborn resolve.

She was bound -BOUND, I tell you!- to succeed where others had failed.

And yet, she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling -after adulthood brought more of the grind of monotony than seemingly insurmountable obstacles- that grit had very little to do with life, after all.

Maybe, it was all about surviving tax season.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Written in response to Greg’s Five Word Weekly Challenge! Try it out!

Into Light

The townsfolk knew she lived there; maybe. Sometimes Mrs. Beardy, nine miles North, said she’d seen someone hanging wash. Old Frank, the property South, couldn’t say the same -he didn’t pass Monty McCrae’s place for no reason, he’d said.

Or would’ve said. Maybe.

Old Frank wasn’t into talking, especially about others’ business. Everyone felt that way: leave someone alone if he wanted.

That’s why no one, not even Angelique (formerly Mrs. Monty) McCrae, recognized the lady in red who finally left a life of shadows, walked down the dirt path to a hired car, and rode away to freedom.

©2023 Chel Owens

Photo by Ekaterina Astakhova on

Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

January 16, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a lady shadow. Who is this person and why do they lurk in the shadows. What is the tone and setting for your story? Go where the prompt leads!

Hullo, Rabbit!

Skyford sniffed and stood, his haunches holding his readied weight. It was a powerful thing, to be a rabbit: one could spring away, avoid detection, or squeeze beneath a barbed fence.

He barely twitched when Neumann padded to his side. A whisker moved as Suphia straightened near his foot. Skyford cocked his enviable ears, hearing rabbit after rabbit join their ranks amidst the cabbage patch.

So many men had teased with the expression, “Breed like rabbits.” Skyford’s face hardened into a leer. Today, man would change his aphorisms. Today, man would realize what purpose rabbits had been breeding for.

©2023 Chel Owens

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Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

January 9, 2023, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes rabbits. Is it a family? A strange planet? Some crazy bunny person’s pets? Who are they and what are they doing? Go where the prompt leads!

Speak to Me Only With Thine Dementia

“Oh. My.” She said it every morning. You would think he’d be accustomed to it, even tired of it.

But she had a way of infusing each word with childlike awe.

That was why he loved it; why her daily exclamation touched him every time. By now, he lived for this. He couldn’t imagine his day starting otherwise.

His wife turned, all smiles, and said the phrase she always followed with: “I think I’ve awakened in paradise.”

He rose and put his arm around her. Staring out their bay windows at the private ocean bay; he, as always, agreed.

©2022 Chel Owens

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Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

November 21, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “Oh, my.” It can be used in storytelling or dialog. What is the cause for such a response? Have fun with this one! Go where the prompt leads!

Geneva Steele

Geneva Steele was often asked about her name. After all, she shared it with the local mill (closed). The mill gained its moniker from the nearby resort (gone), which its founder named after his daughter (dead).

But Geneva couldn’t answer with any of that.

“I’m Swiss,” she said.

Or, “I’m from New York.”

Locations and events became more elaborate, until Geneva’s great-granddaughter dragged Geneva to school for show-and-tell. Looking at all those faces, the truth exploded:

“I was conceived at the steel mill, out near the railroad tracks.”

Truth might be satisfied, but Geneva isn’t allowed at school again.

The Daily Universe, Brigham Young University, from L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

©2022 Chel Owens

Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

November 14, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a lie. What is the lie? It can be subtle or blatant. Who tells the lie and why? Is it an unreliable narrator? Go where the prompt leads!

Secret Codes by Secret Means


Bridger Serialkillerton (II) hears the annoyance; notes it. His mind refuses to ignore it. Noise without end meant communication of some kind. Morse code? Tap? Now that he’s decided to give the sound his attention, he feels his mind go to work on deciphering. His body tenses for pauses and assigns them a space-between. The duration and intensity of each annoying tone is given emphasis and potential.


It toys at his experience and verges on the edge of revelation. A call for distress? He’s heard this before, hasn’t he?


It’s a device; yes! His scattered mental search brings this solution. This is no fellow-agent in need. This is a computerized output, set to alert users to the impending completion of its program. At least, he feels it normally operates as such. Whyever it is outputting so erratically sets his mind-gears in motion once again.


The original pattern presents itself again.


He’s heard that sequence as well.


He feels at the tip of resolution …when Bridger Serialkillerton’s forgotten associate shouts at full volume:


Photo by Jep Gambardella on

©2022 Chel Owens