Week 17 Flash Fiction Challenge: A Chance Meeting

Photo by K.S. Brooks

One summer day as your character walks along breathing in the fresh salty air, he sees her there. She sits alone on the beach, looking saddened by something. He is moved by her.

What happens next? Does he approach her? Do they speak? Does he realize as he draws nearer that he knows her?

In 250 words or less, tell me a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, April 17th, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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Photograph by K.S. Brooks, used here with the photographer’s permission. Copying or reproduction of any kind without express consent is prohibited. All rights reserved.

For a more detailed explanation of the contest & its workings, please see the post called “Writing Exercises Return with a Twist” from 12/24/11.

By participating in this exercise the contestants agree to the rules of the contest and waive any and all further considerations or permissions otherwise required for any winning entries to be published by Indies Unlimited as an e-book, showcasing all the photos and with the winning expositions credited appropriately and accordingly.


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9 thoughts on “Week 17 Flash Fiction Challenge: A Chance Meeting”

  1. Everything I care about has turned to dust. They say we came from dust, but I find that hard to believe. It seems to me we all start as points of light, balls of flaming gases. We only turn to dust because the world makes us cold. I feel as though I'm filled with dust. It fills my eyes and nose and throat and chokes me. I often wake up in a sweat with the taste of it in my mouth.

    The sea brings me relief. I go there sometimes to escape. I watch the waves crash against the pale smooth rocks and it is the only time I can breathe.

    A woman was there the other day. I followed her along the shore. She was a point of light. She burned so hot I almost couldn't look. I could feel her hot flesh under me, see the fire in her eyes. The eyes burned the hottest right before they went out.

    I felt my feet move and then I was next to her. I felt alive, my lungs and eyes clear. She turned around and smiled at me. It was the same smile my daughter had just for me. My eyes filled with tears and dust.

    “Are you lost, sir?” she said. She could see my dust, leaking out of my eyes and floating out of my mouth with my breath. I shook my head and made my feet take me back. Back to dust.

  2. He was on leave anticipating seeing her again kept seeing her heart shape face and beautiful long hair blowing in the wind in his dreams, and wished he had a picture to take with him when he had to return to his post. They decided to go to the beach to say good bye for he was returning back to his military post that afternoon.

    He wanted more but she promised to be a friend for him and wait for him to come back. Before coming he asked her for moral support to take a picture of her in her favorite dress to keep hope alive as he was away.

    She posed herself to give him the gift he asked for, but could not smile for she was saddened and already was missing her best friend afraid he may not come back home again. After the taking the picture, they embraced, he held her away from him, staring into her aqua green gorgeous eyes of witching magic passion he was so entranced by her beauty.

    Seeing a strange sea shell surrounded by the white sand and tiny glistening rocks for the sunlight danced on it. He picked it up and making a memory necklace to slip on her neck. She cherished the gift and wanted him to come home weakened she sits gently on the warm sand and holding the sea shell as if it was his heart promising to wait for him and he better come home to her.

  3. She looks sultry and beckoning in that white dress get-up, but I remember her in junior high when she was so shy. I must admit I liked that (can't recall her name)"Clara" better than this one.

    I feel as if I am being drawn in to buy her another expensive dress–manipulated–and come to think of it, I do remember she used to do strange things early on, such as walk through mud puddles in her sandals on the way home from Grovesnor after school. I thought she might end up writing poetry, but now, she looks as if she might walk into the water in the white dress (a la Virginia Woolf) and just end it all.

    Think, think…don't feel…Now, yes, I've got it. I suddenly think of the dog in my car with the window down, and that dinner I'm planning for my kids.

    I'm doing it now. Turning around…quietly…without drama, and Run!

  4. Jacob returned to Monterey Bay on business, but he could not stay away from that spot—that beautiful place along the shore where the Pacific crashed against the rocky shore. Away from the beach where so many others gathered on a warm, breezy day.

    They had always come here together, hand-in-hand, each with eyes for no one but the other. Until that awful day ten winters ago—the plane crash that had taken her and broken him.

    It had taken all ten of those years to clear his mind of her and five minutes on the same shore to bring it all back, crashing into his life as violently in his mind as the waves hitting the rocks.

    He shut his eyes tightly as if he could erase the memories with that small effort. Of course, it didn’t work. When he opened them she was there—an apparition appearing out of the shadow of a large boulder. Barefoot and wearing a long, gauzy dress that sailed on the wind as if she was a ship's masthead. But this was no wooden thing. This was Miranda.

    How could it be? He had planted that bomb so carefully. He’d had to protect his family, his children from his obsession with her. “No—I killed you!” he shouted as madness overcame him. She stepped closer, close enough that he knew it wasn’t Miranda after all.

    He looked up and saw the cop waiting on the edge of the rocky outcropping, handcuffs ready.

  5. So many years had passed, yet she was exactly the same as the last time he saw her. Except the sadness in her eyes. In the short year they had been together, he had never once seen her sad. Even the last night, we they both realized they would likely never see each other again.

    The only time he had seen sadness in her eyes was in a dream. Nearly nearly thirty years had passed since she had appeared in his dreams to tell him she was dying. The dream was so real and so disturbing that he spent the following weeks trying to track her down. From Reno to Southern California and on through the southwestern US. But he could not find her. Of course she probably married. Changed her name. Still the dream was so real that part of him grieved even while another part of him held out hope she was alive.

    As he walked closer he saw recognition in her eyes that reassured him she was indeed his long lost first lover.

    He ran to her now to tell her something he should have told her on that first night. “You were my first,” he choked out through the tears that were forming in his own eyes.

    She looked deeply into his eyes and said, “I know, my love. I was your first and so it is I who have come for you on this your last day.”

  6. A lopsided shadow trudged along the shoreline. Its wheezy breath intimidated by the rising humidity. The eerie smile soaked in the redness of the timid sunlight, creasing eyes a consequence of the upheaval spitting inadequate thought. ‘Pray …pray…down on your knees …’ the stupid words always came back at times like this, haunting the hollow space floating between gigantic ears.

    The water battered the sands, consuming the inferior grains, licking the raw exposed wounds. Man or Nature, modest distinction separated the two, perpetrators blending against the backdrop of enforced harmony.

    She was waiting, quiet yet aware of the approaching figure. An ethereal haze surrounded her, untouched beauty pouring from within, exciting the murmur of unreliable persuasion. Her shy demeanor prohibited a suitable response to its unsteady advance.

    Steps quickened as the throbbing in its head obeyed the awkward rhythms propagating the paranoia. The pills, now floating out to sea, did little to relieve it of this tiresome burden. ‘The Lord….Father in Heaven…..Mercy on his Soul…’

    Souls belonged to the weak, meager lives based upon fancy theories. It had no soul and it felt no remorse. The doctors labeled it ‘sick’, on the lines of ‘a major threat to society’. It hid in the shade of unconditional love. Mama fought them till her last breath. Its eyes watered. Love was all it needed.

    She scrambled to her feet, the look on her face……. FEAR. It saw love. She was full of love. It squeezed hard, draining her of every single drop.

  7. The bed and breakfast across the inlet housed the honeymoon suite they’d shared ten years ago. He recalled the endearing terms they had showered upon each other; so different than the angry shouts from a month earlier. He hadn’t seen her since she left.

    They had conversed only through attorneys. Signatures were scrawled on divorce papers, attesting agreement to the marital dissolution—final in a week.

    “You’re selfish,” she’d shouted. He’d stared out the window, silent. They had covered this ground many times in the last five years. He was tired. She was angry. They were divided.

    The invitro had failed. Retirement spent. Sex was reduced to a clinical act. He understood her motherly desire, but did she understand his pain? He couldn’t father a child, giving her the only thing she’d ever needed.

    She wanted adoption. He didn’t want a constant reminder of his failure.

    He looked up from his walk on the beach and saw her sitting there. She was lovelier than on their wedding day; a Madonna vision. She clutched at her heart, something he’d seen her do each time she’d miscarried. This time, his pride was the cause for the ache in her soul.

    He pulled the picture of the curly-headed boy from his pocket. Pudgy hands held a teething ring to his mouth. “You can be his hero, and mine” she’d said.

    Pride whispered, “He’s not yours.”

    Soon, she wouldn’t be either. Unless…

    As the tide rolled in, he called her name.

  8. I came here, because my life changed five years ago today. However, my life isn’t worth anything to anybody. Fate took the love of my life away. I have nothing to look forward to.

    I’m glad I’m alone and there’s not a soul to save me. Choosing this place to join her still bothers me. I wonder if I can do this.

    I felt the cool sand, kneeling to say one final prayer. Happy memories flashed, making it hard to finish. Is she really gone? My tears felt cool on my cheeks.

    The lapping waves were calling me. I need to go before I lose my nerve.

    I wiped the tears, looking to make sure I was alone. I wasn’t. It looks like an angel sitting on a rock nearby. She’s staring at the waves, looking like she’s trying to decide something important.

    Could God have heard my prayer?

    She must have sensed me staring. She turned her head. Our eyes locked, neither of us averting them. I witnessed her lips quiver. The salty air caused her eyes to water. I thought of my love, what I lost, how a chance meeting had changed my life. My tears began to flow again, and so did hers. We broke eye contact both looking toward the ocean.

    I was surprised I was headed towards her. She turned her head…her eyes brightening.

    Did God hear her prayer?

    “I’m sorry to bother you, but I lost someone really special.”

    She smiled, “I did too.”

  9. Retirement was supposed to be relaxing, fun, but since his final night as a fireman Mike had been anything but. He breathed in the fresh salty air and continued his walk down the beach, trying to forget that last fire. Mike and his beautiful wife of thirty years, Sheila, moved to Boca eight months ago, but the image of his friend’s granddaughter, Jackie, leading him out of the firetrap still haunted him.

    Mike gazed down the rock strewn beach and froze. His chest tightened in shock. Jackie sat on a small bolder in a thin white cotton dress, windblown hair trailing. Mike rubbed his eyes, but Jackie remained. He walked to her on shaky legs.

    “Am I hallucinating again?”

    Jackie smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “No.”

    “Did I see you in the fire?” Mike’s voice sounded strained.

    She turned away and stared at the crashing waves, twirling a strand of her brown hair. “You’re not crazy, but if you keep talking about it people will think you are or worse, it’ll attract the attention of some very bad people.”


    “Like the ones who wanted to kill the boy you rescued. They set the fire. We saved him and will keep him safe, but that’s all I’m permitted to say. Please, enjoy the retirement you’ve earned, but let it go.”

    A smile crept across Mike’s face for the first time in months as she walked away. He’d stay quiet, but letting it go just wasn’t his style.

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