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 Pexels.com

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

Photo by lil artsy on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Thomas on Pexels.com

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!

Onset of Night

The sky wasn’t as bright this evening.

She puttered around, feigning finding things she had forgotten she was looking for.

Ah well; it would all come to rights or she’d do without.

The stars seemed dimmer tonight.

She settled in the rocking chair, having given up on pretense. Only the cat saw, anyway.

No matter; likely, she’d get to it or it would get to her.

The sky outside looked darker.

She turned her head, and rocked to the rhythm of purring.

She’d see; the sun would come out tomorrow.

Night fell on incomplete dreams.

Worlds shifted. She slept.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

©2022 Chel Owens

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

October 31, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about how the wheels keep turning. Are the wheels tangible or metaphorical? Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by November 5, 2022. Please use the form if you want to be published in the weekly collection. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines. Stories must be 99-words.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form… Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99WordStories when sharing the Challenge or Collection posts on social media.

Three, Two, One: Bumper Balloons

Flip – flap – flutter
went the bits of man-made rubber
as he took away the rudder
and he waved goodbye to mother.

‘I’m an engine of the sky,’
sang he, loud, while he sped by,
while his mama dabbed her eye,
while his wobbly wings a-try

To lift, or maybe thrust,
by ignoring drag, or just

By the will of boyish hope,
as his canter speeds to lope;

And seven small balloons
circle ’round, like rainbow moons;
dip and swirl ‘gainst the noon;
flutter, drag to boyish tune

Of hasty dreams, of racing knees
Of birthday dreams on summer breeze.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: balloons on a bumper

September 12, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about balloons on a bumper. Is it a spectacle, an occasion, an eccentricity? Why are the balloons there? Who is involved? Go where the prompt leads!

Swipe Right

Stanley Klülez stared across the candlelit table at Cindy Titepaunts. She looked just like her profile picture -a rarity. Stanley had started making a game out of how much his dates would differ from their appearance, as girl after girl after ‘girl’ proved …surprising.

“So.” He cleared his throat. “Do you like the color pink?”

Cindy, dressed head to toe in varying shades of coral, salmon, and rose, blinked at him. “Obviously. Do you like bargain-shopping?”

Stanley puffed out his chest in his cuffed, oil-stained coveralls. “Of course!”

He smiled happily as she snorted. This date was going swimmingly.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Jep Gambardella on Pexels.com

Written in response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt: swimmingly

September 5, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the word, “swimmingly.” which means “smoothly or satisfactorily.” What is the situation? Who is involved? Let the word take you into a story. Go where the prompt leads!

The Measure of a Man’s Best Friend

The Greyhound halted. This was where $200 took James. He disembarked, shouldered his prison-issued backpack, and read the station’s name: Kum & Go.

“Here to rob it?”

James swung to see a man by a pickup; opened his mouth, then shut it. The man had no legs. The truck had a dog.

-But not just any dog. “Buttercup!”

The yellow lab hurtled out and licked him, desisting at her master’s call. James had trained her in prison, as a service animal for a wounded soldier.

James looked up, and both men saw each other -clearly- for the first time.

©2022 Chel Owens

Oh my goodness, Charli! Don’t ever make me do that, again! -I mean, This was written in response to Charli’s prompt at Carrot Ranch:

May 16, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about when a newly released prisoner meets the disabled veteran who adopted the puppy the prisoner trained behind bars. The prompt is based on the short story I wrote for Marsha Ingrao’s Story Chat. Yes, rewrite my story in your words, 99, no more, no less. Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by May 21, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form [on the site]. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.

In Which Amelie Believes, and Disappears #99Word Stories

Scritchy scratchy wax on wall, she thought. No matter. It was the shape she needed right.

*Sniff* a hand ‘cross red nose and puffy eyes. *Stomp stomp stomp* she heard those hobnailed boots but they .stopped. off the other way.

She breathed and scritched and scratched, the purple crayon unwilling to give its wax without a fight.

“There,” she said, and loved the circle she’d formed from the bit of crayon abandoned in the hallway.

“I’m Amelie, and I believe.”

Stuttering hand reached to the middle of the circle. Pushed. And disappeared, where *stomp stomp stomp* can’t find her.

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

For Carrot Ranch’s prompt this week:

March 28, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about disappearance. It can be an event, act, or subtle theme. Who or what disappears? Does it fade or explode? Can it be explained or experienced? Go where the prompt leads!

  1. Submit by April 2, 2022. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. The Collection publishes on the Wednesday following the next Challenge. Rules & Guidelines.
  2. Carrot Ranch only accepts stories through the form [on the site]. Accepted stories will be published in a weekly collection. Writers retain all copyrights.
  3. Your blog or social media link will be included in your title when the Collection publishes.
  4. Please include your byline which is the name or persona you attribute to your writing.
  5. Please include the hashtag #99Word Stories when sharing either the Challenge or Collection posts in social media.

AnXieTY #99Word Stories

tHE groCERy StOre ClerK ScoWled tHE Woman HONKeD NO ONE caMe to BooK gROUp but ThEY SAID they DidN’t hAte Me I boUGht tHe pineaPple laMP he SAid hE LIKed TheN he PrOmIseD hE lOveD me AS he FLiRTed So i GuESS it’S tRUe BuT wHAt is tRue i ASkeD mY cOUNselOR wHO says THIS IS ALL NEGATIVE THOUGHT PATTERNS buT am I ReAlLy NegAtIve OR arE You ALL DElusiOnaL gUess i’ll GO To bEd sInce It’S 3 a.m. AgaIn

ZzZZzzZzzzzzzz

What a lovely, new day. Hello Clerk, Woman, Neighbors, Pineapple lamp, Honey, Counselor. What shall we tackle today?

©2022 Chel Owens

Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

You open the door to mental health and you get strange things, Charli. If the rest of you want to join in, click here. The prompt is:

February 7, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes anxiety. Who has anxiety or what is the source? Is there conflict? How can you use anxiety to further a story? Go where the prompt leads!