The Carrot Ranch January 3, 2019, flash fiction prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a character who looks back. It can be a metaphorical reflection or a glance in the rear-view mirror. Who is looking back, and why?

Go where the prompt leads. All writers welcome. Respond by January 8, 2019.




They traveled at night, leaving the uncertainty and danger of the distillation camps behind. They walked, Ahden’s stories a mantra; stories of green, stories of trees that once cooled and soothed the land. Ahden’s most fantastic stories concerned the forked stick he claimed would point to water lying like buried treasure underground. He said he’d find water or die trying.

The three of them sipped carefully from their flask of water. This girl had joined them and hadn’t looked back. Ahden and Leena would tell her what they remembered, teach her all they knew. They lived for her now.


You might recognize parts of this piece. It is modified from a 297 word story that I had submitted to the Carrot Ranch rodeo ‘cool water’ free write challenge. Using TUFF strategies I improved on that piece today and expanded it to 850 words.  I also reduced it to these 99 words (of course), and 59 and 9 words. I have enjoyed experimenting but am not so keen with the pared down results. Maybe that’s because I already knew the longer version. It was hard to pick which details would tell a whole story, and I feel this one may be too incomplete on its own, the characters not clear. Of course, now that I think about it, I didn’t really follow the prompt,  just used it for my own purposes. (Sorry Charli) The exercise made for stronger drafts and revisions of the longer piece, which was my goal. 

14 thoughts on “Treasure

  1. I do recognise snippets from your original story. I think it works quite well as it is. You tell so much in so few words. I have a lot to learn in that respect. Perhaps I need to play with matches. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Buddy. I like the 99 a bit better having slept. It was work whittling this time. I am going work at more words this year, hopefully will have enough to say.
      You have lots to say and your flashes are consistently tight pieces of prose that effectively get your message across. So what’s the lesson? Yer all set, just go for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aw, gee. Thanks. I guess it’s a choice of going for it or not, so may as well go for it. What’s to lose?
        Sleeping on it and looking with fresh eyes can definitely help – in whatever direction.
        I’m pleased you’ll be working on more words this year. You have lots to say.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Looking Back | ShiftnShake

  3. I’m so pleased to see you using the TUFF tools! The cool thing about 99 words is that it is a tool of exploration. Here, you’ve explored the longer piece and mined certain elements. You could also use the 99 word tool to answer questions about the story, the characters or “why” it matters. Explore! And no skin off your story to do so, but might give you new insights.


  4. Pingback: Looking Back « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s