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Anxiety times three

February 11, 2022

From Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch is this week’s story challenge.
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!

Anxiety #1





“Are you there, Daniel?”


“Hi Daniel.”

“This is Daniel. Hoffman.”

“I know.”


“How are you, Daniel?”

“Uh, ok. So, y’know the school’s Valentine’s Day dance is coming up… I, uh, thought you might want to go? Y’know, with me. To the dance.

“Daniel, I’d—”

“If you don’t, I understand. Or if somebody else already asked you…”

“No, I’d love to go with you.”


“Ok. I think I should probably go now, Eileen. See you at school tomorrow maybe, ok? We’ll talk?”

“Yeah, for sure!”

“Ok, thanks. Bye.”



Anxiety #2

Russell was uncomfortable.

Tonight’s group had been difficult: too many people and too much noise. He didn’t want to go, but he forced himself because if he didn’t try… if he stayed home, what then?

Russell picked up his pen, opened his notebook and started writing. He journaled in pen because he liked the physical connection between his thoughts and the paper. He wrote quickly, messily, but neatness didn’t matter. Russell wrote until the pain in his cramped fingers was stronger than the pain in his chest. He closed the journal, went to bed. Prayed, and willed himself asleep.


Anxiety #3

Tuesday evening and Robert was driving home from his job at Gregor Hardware. For an afterschool job this was perfect. When it was busy he worked; during downtimes Mr. Gregor encouraged him to study.

Robert was lost in thought when the flashers lit up behind him. He put on his blinker, moved to the curb and stopped.

Stay calm.

He rolled the window down and looked up at the police officer who was shining a flashlight around the inside of his car.

“I saw you weaving back there, sir. Would you mind stepping out of the car?”

Dear God.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2022 4:47 pm

    This one struck a note, times three!
    Vivid and relatable, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. February 12, 2022 1:14 pm

    Michael, this prompt threw me, gave me anxiety, but you nailed it.
    As for my cookie, a thin mint, perhaps? ~nan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. February 13, 2022 2:22 pm

    Wow, a three-fer! You have shown situations that elicit anxiety and leave the reader wondering how things turn out in each story..

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 15, 2022 10:27 am

      Writing three instead of the prescribed one kind of caused me anxiety! I don’t always mind open-ended stories (shouldn’t the reader have some responsibility beyond just reading? 🙂 ), but with these stores it bugged me a little because I left all of them so unhappy and anxious and I felt sort of responsible for making them happy.


  4. February 15, 2022 11:12 pm

    You are inspired and on fire, Michael! This is a great example of how we can write such different stories when we feel the flow of the prompt. Did you feel the shift from each story? That’s creativity in action. Each story has its own merit. You use crisp external and internal dialog to carry out the first anxiety. Then you shift into a close third person to describe the impact of journaling on anxiety. The third leaves us with enough information to fear for the young drive and justice. Well done.


  5. February 27, 2022 4:38 am

    These are all anxiety-inducing situations, Michael. I can imagine all three clearly, though I think #2 spoke to me the most. Please let sleep bring peace.



  1. Anxiety Collection « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

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