Fear – Carrot Ranch

Artwork by Phil Burns

The Carrot Ranch Challenge:
In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story inspired by “dark-eyed”.

Click here to hear the author read his words:


The eyes, dark and deep-set, stare down at me through a vast forest of facial hair.
He is enormous, the biggest person I’ve ever seen, his clothes are filthy rags, and his stench unbearable.
I’m twelve years old, small, skinny, terrified.
And lost in these woods.
He grunts something I don’t understand, then scoops me up in one arm.
I scream, kick and claw at his face.
He averts his head and strides through the trees.
He stops abruptly, drops me on my feet.
I’m amazed to see my village lights, and turn to say thanks.
He’s already gone.

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14 Responses to Fear – Carrot Ranch

  1. Lindsey says:

    I like this one. Excellent description of childhood terror and not everyone being how we first imagine.


  2. When I heard the opening music that reminded me of Psycho I thought “Oh boy, this isn’t gonna end well”.
    What a delightful surprise ending. Loved this boy meets beast piece, C.E.!


  3. This resonated with me.

    As a young elementary school child, on my way home from the bus stop one terribly cold and wintry day, I became stuck in a snow drift. My boot had filled with snow, and I couldn’t dislodge it, no matter how I pulled and cried. A white van pulled up alongside my prison, the kind the news advised child-snatchers drove. I panicked, tugging with all of my might to free my foot, not caring if I had to run home without my boot and in my stocking feet as long as I wasn’t abducted. A young man hopped from the van. He seemed huge, a fearsome adversary I felt certain would toss me like a doll into his van and drive away with me. He reached into the snow and without much trouble freed my booted foot. He’d lifted me over the drift and set me on the packed pathway. I ran, screaming, crying, a complete little fool, and to this day, I feel guilty about never even saying thank you to my winter rescuer.


  4. jenne49 says:

    Angels come in strange disguises!
    And the description of this one is awsome.
    No wonder the wee one is terrified.
    I see the makings of a new fairy tale here… Maybe ‘Puny and the Beast’? (Sorry!)


  5. Liz H says:

    A forest dweller, seemingly uncivilized, retains that very civilized value of protecting children…even others’ kids.
    Well done! And another fine, express oil ve illustration from Phil, too!


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