Flash Fiction Prompt: Fall Morning

Photo by K.S. Brooks

A stream in the wilderness in a fall morning.

Is this a scene of serene beauty or of menace?

What happens here?

In 250 words or less, tell us 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 Daylight Time on Tuesday, November 6th, 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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Prompt: Fall Morning”

  1. It was an early fall morning. Clean, clear, crisp with not a cloud in the sky. Beautiful, just as she’d remembered it a year ago. And a year ago, it was the same; she couldn’t believe how lucky she’d been coming here, year after year, waiting. Hoping he’d show up as he had all the previous years.

    For the past ten years, when she’d first met him there, she hadn’t been looking for a relationship. This was her quiet place and she’d been surprised when he had walked out of the brush, seemingly in his own world oblivious to everything around him. He had appeared as surprised as she’d been, standing there alone at the edge of the glass-like water; the reflection of them so clear. At first he looked at her—hesitant—before he’d made his way to the water’s edge and sat down on a grassy knoll.

    When she’d looked into his golden-brown eyes, her first thought had been how magnificent he looked, and how very tall sitting just a few feet from her. She was not afraid to be alone with him in the wilderness. Though she’d heard a specimen like him liked to be alone, she’d remembered looking around, listening for any sound there would be more, but she’d not heard even a din of twigs snapping.

    She’d remembered how safe she’d felt around him then. Now, she watched as he soundlessly approached, looking at her with adoration and happiness—her very hairy, bigfoot friend.

  2. As the sun dropped toward the horizon, the trees cast long shadows on the pond. Chances are it would be days before anyone passed this way again. The leaves on the trees had turned from green to yellow, indicating that the swimming hole would be abandoned again until next summer.
    The woman’s body was barely visible as it slowly sank into the depths of the water. He hadn’t wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t shut up; she wouldn’t stop nagging him about getting a job. He’d spent two years sending out resumes and pounding the pavement. Finally, his spirit had been broken and he’d turned to alcohol for comfort. It deadened the pain, but didn’t silence her. Every day, she had harped on about it; he was drinking too much, he should be looking for work. Over and over again he’d warned her–hell, he’d begged her to stop. She just wouldn’t let up. Finally, he’d lost it and grabbed her by the throat. It had been quick. He just wanted her to shut up. No one would believe it was an accident.
    They had no friends in the area; no one would miss them when he moved south. By the time her body was discovered, he would be far away. Having strangled her, he’d used his lit cigarette to blur her finger prints. Yes, it would be a long time before they found her and even longer before they identified her; by then he would be far away.

  3. Ripples marred the perfect mirror image of the water after Jake cast his line to the center of the canal. His quest to catch a record-breaking bass had led him to this picturesque waterway below the nuclear power plant. He’d overheard Earl and Paddy talking in hushed tones about the monstrous fish they’d seen in that spot. The trouble was, they were near impossible to catch. Conventional bait didn’t work, Earl had said – these bass preferred something larger… and fresher.

    The makeshift rigging was Jake’s own invention – a length of nylon rope anchored to a nearby tree served as a fishing line. Keeping the live chicken beneath the surface required a lot of weight, so he had attached one of the ten-pound cannonballs normally used with a downrigger.

    The rope tightened, singing through Jake’s gloved hands as he struggled to get a grip. He tied a loop of rope around his waist, bracing his feet on a rock at the water’s edge. With some effort, Jake pulled in the slack. He felt something on the end of the line but it didn’t feel like a gigantic fish. It was probably just his bait. He’d have to check the line and try again.

    As the end of the rope approached the shore, a shadow appeared in the water. The monster broke the surface, scales glistening in the morning sun. Jake gaped in awe as the widest mouth he’d ever seen opened and swallowed him whole.

  4. Autumnal viewed the trees about her with a familiar sadness. She knew that this scene spoke for everything she represented: the melancholy beauty of nature’s season of decay and death, but which carried with it the promise of renewal.

    Autumnal could describe the essence of this beauty like no other: the changing leaf colours, which darkened as the days darkened; the returning nakedness among the branches; the crunch of the first frost in weak, yellow sunlight. But the longer nights and colder days comforted her, as they matched so well her loneliness and neglect. Autumnal waited every year, in the vain hope she would be called on and feel needed.

    But instead, fall bullied and pushed his way forward, as he did every year. Autumnal felt no malice towards him, for he was a simple and blunt creature; easy to pronounce and easy to remember. Autumnal only felt a fluttering regret, like a late, tiring butterfly about to succumb to fall’s icy grip. Fall already had so many uses, so many ways in which he’d made himself needed. Autumnal wished that he could’ve left her this one scene, these few days for which she’d been created to describe so perfectly.

    Autumnal knelt and placed her hand in the cold water. Ripples spread outwards soundlessly, and the chill from her fingers ran up her arm to freeze the beauty of her soul. Once again, she thought: perhaps next year?

  5. The swirls of morning mist had just dissipated as the clanking of amour became louder. Breaking through the forest edge walked a knight with a purpose in mind. Marching towards the water’s edge, he knelt and bowed his head as if in prayer. After a moment, he slowly lifted his head, and with it came his hand. Raising his faceplate with his gauntleted hand, he stared out into the lake. He rose to his feet then, and paused. Choosing his words carefully he began, “Oh Lady of the Lake, please show yourself to this lowly knight. I seek your blessing on this eve of tomorrow’s battle.” He waited and the water didn’t so much as ripple. He tried again, “I ask for nothing material. A mere nod, and the bounce of your beautiful tresses, assuring me life beyond tomorrow is what I seek.” He saw nothing as he scanned the water’s surface. He raised his sword. “If not for me then, I ask that you guide my sword to the throats of many an enemy so I may die in honor and not shame my family.” Still nothing. Defeated, he turned and sadly walked towards the woods he had come from, dragging his sword behind him. He was startled from his sorrow by a splashing of water, turning he saw her rising from the water. She said, “Warrior, you will live to fight another day.” He smiled, “Thank you m’lady, I am forever in your debt.”

  6. Watching the ripples splaying into an unending circle, made by the landing of the Grebe, until the wavelet gently reaches the shore dying on the lush ground, already sopping up the blood of my mate and young, I pray for forgiveness. The sunlight reflects the surrounding beauty of the wilderness.

    We came stealthy in the night, carrying the babes, soothing, hushing, communicating the danger that pursued us. These woods are our home given by the Great Spirit for our use, for our welfare, to live in harmony. My family circle has spiraled, through many eons, to arrive upon this day of sorrow.

    The great thunder of the massive birds that spit forth death found us as we flattened ourselves to near invisibility, forgetting these demons can see through the dark while gleefully meting out death. My mate riddled with holes as she tried unsuccessfully to cover the babes beneath her. I, her mantle as the end of my blood slithers off my muzzle, pooling at the feet of the hunter.

    “This is the last of the wolf pack men. Good night’s killing.”

    As my spirit rises, joining my ancestors, I call the Great Spirit to forgive our killers, allowing them to understand His love for all creatures.

  7. It was one of those peaceful, tranquil days that you really only see on HD television. On the stream half a mile below the dam, dragonflies flitted from plant to plant, mayflies dipped and wove through the air and a couple of fishermen lazily cast flies back and forth, finally dropping them in the deep shadows under the trees. A couple of hundred yards downstream, a deer stepped quietly out of the brush, turning this way and that, checking the area before finally dipping down to take a drink. A perfect, peaceful morning…until…
    Through the hazy, golden air came the thunder of a large CRACK, as if a bolt of lightning and the accompanying thunder had struck right next to the stream, mere yards from the fishermen. The deer bolted, the men looked around wildly, terror in their eyes, wondering what the hell had just happened. The sound was followed by another, the sound of millions of gallons of water pouring over a ruptured dam. The men waded frantically toward the shore, but they had no real chance of reaching it, as a wall of water hundreds of feet high bore down on them.
    The water churned and boiled down the riverbed, ripping out trees, rocks and earth, turning peace into chaos, beauty into destruction, life into death. As the water ran, it spread out through the forest, across the plains, washing all away, until only a sea of mud remained, covering all of the beauty that had been there.

  8. I step down into the jon boat, and hoist the camping box off the dock. It slips out of my cold fingers and drops on the aluminum floor in front of me. The boat rocks and I gasp. The setting sun shines through the golden leaves as I row to the middle of the lake. It is a perfect fall day, but the chill in the air lets me know that I am in for another bitter night.
    The anchor plops into the water. I pull the camp stove, a lighter, a can opener, a spoon, and the last can of beans out of the camping box. There is still enough propane for the stove to get me through the winter, but I ran out of gasoline for the motor last week. I balance the can on the stove. No need to get a pot dirty. When I finish the beans, I put the empty can and the spoon in a bag, and try to settle for the night. I wrap the sleeping bag around me, pull my hat down over my ears, and lie in the bottom of the boat. And wait.
    The sky turns from orange to gray to black. The unearthly howling starts. The newly dead rise from their sleep to roam the countryside, looking for prey. They have not figured out how to cross water, yet. I can sleep in safety, until they learn to build a boat.
    I dream that the lake freezes.

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