The echo of his soot-crusted boots ceased. His kerchiefed breathing slowed. As charred branches, brittle pine boughs, and scorched roots recovered from his recent passing; he realized he was not alone.
Furthermore, Var could not be the only living thing in this unliving world.
There! Ash-strewn sunlight touched a new, green bud. And, there! A lonely peppered moth took flight. Oh, there! Buzzing annoyance nipped a sunburned ear.
But, there! -Most of all, there! In this unnatural glade amidst a smoldering hell of war’s aftermath, he heard an ancient sound: sweet, whistling birdsong.
Written for an early morning, and for Carrot Ranch’s prompt:
May 27, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes tiny flying insects. Think about how the insects shape the scene or add to the action. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by June 1, 2021. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
New-spring mud gripped his ankles, bringing Naaman’s mind to thoughts of bondage rather than freedom. What sort of healing could he find here, at the lowest bank of the river? What sort of fool did that holy man think him to be?
A gesture distracted his thoughts. His wife’s maid dropped her gaze at his stare. Remaining bowed, she once again lifted a hand toward his feet. Her head tilted.
“Would I not do some great thing?” he hissed to himself. Drawing deep within the soul he’d long forgotten resided in his sickly shell, Naaman willed himself to believe.
April 22, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about earthing. Put a character’s hands, feet or body and soul into the earth. Who needs recharging? What happens between the interaction? Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by April 27, 2021. Use the comment section (at Carrot Ranch) to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
Daniel could reach the top of the doorway now. He’d always wanted to -ever since watching Dad swing one big, strong, long arm up and smack it in passing. Daniel watched that arm throughout his life, wondering at his dad’s strength and size.
Up until last year, that is. Up until the cancer.
“I did it today, Dad,” he whispered.
“What, Danny?” His mom raised her eyes from Dad’s headstone and fixed Daniel with a sad, confused gaze.
“Nothin,'” Daniel muttered, looking down. He wondered how long it’d be before he could smack the doorway without cheating. Without jumping.
March 18, 2021, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that takes place a year later. It can be any year. Explore the past year or another significant passing of time to a character. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by March 23, 2021. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
Howdy, writers! It’s officially time to crack your keyboarding knuckles, sharpen your leather-bound journal’s nibs, and dust of that ole thinking cap.
Don’t you dare tell me you don’t enter contests. You’re entering this one! Why?
This is for Sue Vincent. She’s an amazing person, fantastic writer, and supportive blogger. The woman’s fighting cancer and has been the carer for her son for years. Whether you wish to donate or not (it’s voluntary), you can support this and/or tell others about it.
You can win prizes!! The first place grand prize is $100 and the five runners-up will “each receive one paperback from Sue Vincent’s collection of published books (those who live in a region where the paperback is unavailable may receive an e-book instead).”
It’s great writing practice.
There’s nothing to lose.
The Carrot Ranch is a wonderful community.
So, work on 99 words of a story or 99 syllables of a poem. You can do it. I believe in you.
Have I convinced you? Just follow THIS LINK RIGHT HERE to enter, officially. Each person is allowed two entries. And, here are some more numbered items to keep in mind:
DO NOT PUBLISH TO YOUR BLOG. After you submit it all official-like, keep your entry locked up in a box under your bed with your spare socks and bikinis until the winners are announced.
Follow the word or syllable counts. You don’t want to be discounted on a technicality.
Tell all your friends! Tell your enemies! Tell your frenemies!
Cancer sucks. Did you know that? Its insidious cells just stole a close relative of ours; leaving behind her young children, older children, and grieving husband.
Since I know this, I’m helping to promote a writing contest in support of someone battling lung cancer: Sue Vincent.
I don’t know Sue very well but do know she does a lot of work, is one of the best writers and poets in blogdom and beyond, and helps many people in many ways. I followed her site awhile ago and have participated in her #writephoto prompts. Whenever she writes her #midnighthaiku, I read it.
Whether you have been inspired by her selfless encouragement and excellent writings or not, this contest will be a chance for you to challenge yourself, win a sweet prize, and help an amazing woman.
Here are the details:
It’s time for Sue to receive something back from the community she’s been a cornerstone of for a decade. Let’s bring the Rodeo into Sue’s house through her computer, and let’s come together with hearts full of joy. Join us for the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic at the Carrot Ranch – a contest, parade, and celebration all in one! There are many ways to participate. One is to visit the prompt image, “Hidden,” at the Carrot Ranch. The prompt image and entry form will go live on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Enter a flash or a poem by Friday, February 19th, 2021, and you could win either $100 or a copy of one of Sue’s books. The form will allow you to give a small donation for Sue and her family, and a link can be found on the contest page. The winning entries will be announced at the Carrot Ranch on March 22nd, 2021.
If you’re not ready to rodeo, there’s always the “Parade.” Re-blog one of Sue’s posts from any of her sites (Daily Echo or France and Vincent) with a comment about why you found it special. Follow her blogs. Read one of her books, then leave reviews where you can. Several people are already gearing up for the parade – so feel free to check out other people’s blogs for suggestions.
Also, go ahead and reblog, tweet, Facebook, or somehow otherwise share the contest! 99 word literary art is a fantastic way to celebrate a blogging hero and very deserving person.
Saddle up, everyone! It’s time for a Carrot Ranch Rodeo like none ever held before. The Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic begins on Monday, February 1st, and it’ll be a TUFF prompt to fit within 99 words.
I apologize for the number of times you will see this announcement since a fair number of people love her.
January 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about dressing up. It can be a child or another character. Be playful or go where the prompt leads!
Respond by January 19, 2020. Use the comment section [on her site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
Swirled campfire gunsmoked ’round old Ernie’s head. His eyes shone in the firelight, two August moons ‘gainst a desert sky. “An’ that,” he whispered, “whers th’ last any cowboy heard o’ The Coyote Killer!”
The talk still swam ’round the camp like Loui’zana fireflies when a shadow fell ‘cross the nearest cactus; when a howl yipped ‘cross the open sky. “Aowhoooooo!”
Scramblin’ to horse, rock, cactus; no man dared admit what he clearly saw: a baying, skulkin’, fur-dressed man, jus’ like what Ernie’d said.
An,’ like’n old Ernie said, no man lived to tell it still.
This’n was mah entry fer the contest what Colleen won. Hers were fantastic so’s I reckon I don’t feel so bad fer not even gettin’ an honorable mention. 😉
Janie did not like green food. When her mother placed Janie’s toast in front of her, then, she stared at the green slices in consternation.
“Breakfast, Honey.” Mom smiled and ate a bite of her own.
“It’s green mush.”
Mom wasn’t going to helpful. Janie pushed her fork against the offensive topping. It smooshed and slimed into the tines, leaving green behind it on the bread. “Ew!” she cried. “I’m having normal toast!”
“Suit yourself,” Mom said. While Janie was at the toaster, Mom reached across and ate her daughter’s serving.
Now I’m hungry. Thanks, Charli! Oh, and here’s the prompt:
November 12 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story includes avocado toast. How can this be a story or a prop to a story? Use your senses and imagination. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by November 17, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
His gnarled, brusque, tannin hands caressed the watch band. He’d found it and its watch face along Lake Superior; brushed it from forgotten memories and dormant agate stones. Now, warmed in his fingers, the band changed. He saw it new, cut, fresh, oiled; attached to his grandfather’s timepiece for his son’s eighth birthday.
A long time later for one as rough as he, the old leatherworker released a breath. Rising, he set the wind-worn watch on his curio shelf near a faded photograph and a curling crayon picture. Tears in eyes, he shuffled out to put the kettle on.
November 5, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about lost time. You can write a realistic scenario or something speculative. How does lost time impact the character of your story? Bonus points if you include a 1982 brown rubber watch Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by November 10, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.