Flash Fiction Challenge: The Adventures of the Cute Assistant

Mr pish field and stream pose yellowstone 102108The little white Terrier acts as the assistant to a wildlife photographer. His keen senses can detect, long before hers, when something interesting is about to happen.

It’s a plan that made perfect sense except for one thing. He’s just too cute. Over the years, she has missed shots of the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, Mothman, and the Easter Bunny. Here he is trying to alert his human to something unusual looming just over the treeline. Once again, she is taking a picture of him instead.

Knowing disaster may strike if he doesn’t act quickly…

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 Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

On Wednesday afternoon, 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 afternoon, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Adventures of the Cute Assistant”

  1. “Mom, run!” he yelled.

    “Wh-what?” In her shock at hearing his voice, she almost dropped the camera.

    “No time!” he called. “Run! NOW!”

    His earnest command finally penetrated through the fog in her brain. She tossed her camera strap over her head and concentrated on the uneven ground at her feet, picking up speed as she went. The little dog ran before her, scouting for cover.

    He noticed a fallen log just ahead. Scampering over it as fast as his short little legs could carry him, he sniffed out the hollow underneath; it would be enough. He jumped up with his front feet on the log, peering over so she could see his head.

    “Quick!” he said. “Over this log; there’s a place to hide here.”

    She followed without a word, clambering over the log and jumping down into the hollow below. She settled beside him, looking at him suspiciously.

    “Keep down,” he whispered. “Look.”

    Pointing with his nose, he indicated the open ground before them. A huge shadow glided across the grass. As they watched, the pterodactyl scanned the empty ground, banked smoothly and flew away.

    “Whew,” he said. “That was close.”

    “It … I … you …” Her eyes were glassy. She shook her head to clear it. “You … talk?”

    “Sure,” he said.

    “But you’ve never …”

    He glanced at her, a wolfish grin on his face. “Hey, you never had a pterodactyl coming at you before.”

  2. Pish yapped and scampered off over the rough grass. Sure enough, the woman followed.

    She shouted: “What is it?”

    After some distance, he indicated to her with a yelp. She turned to see a flash of lightning touch the tree they’d just run from. It cracked, split, and fell.

    The woman looked back at Pish in amazement. “How did you know?”

    Pish wanted to tell her, but that wasn’t his job. For hundreds of millennia and through innumerable hosts, his job had been to observe and teach. His line manager said he was wasting his time. Humans still had too far to evolve, and there were thousands of other planets with species which showed much better prospects. But Pish preferred Earth, and anyway his line manager was light years away.

    Large, cold raindrops fell from the leaden sky, so Pish and the woman hurriedly took cover under a mature fir. She put her camera away, grabbed Pish’s head in her hands and cried: “I love you so much!”

    Pish gave her a wide-eyed look and licked her face, so the love she gave him would go straight back to her. That was his job: showing lesser-evolved species that love is the most powerful force in the universe.

    He knew he’d have to leave her soon enough, move to a different host, and teach another human. But while they were together, they had love. He’d share her joy, ease her pain, and protect her from lightning strikes she couldn’t see coming.

  3. Little Mr. Pish bounded to her. He grabbed the hem of her jeans between his teeth and pulled. She looked down at him quizzically. “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

    He continued trying to pull her towards the car, but instead, she put the camera up to her eye and started snapping pictures of him tugging at her pants. “You are so adorable!”

    With his butt in the air and all his might, Mr. Pish gave one last yank on the jeans. The woman finally knelt. “You want a treat?”

    She pulled a biscuit from her pocket, broke it in half, and offered it to him. His eyes went big: crazed as always, as if each treat were the very last treat on earth. He wolfed it down. When he returned to his senses, it was too late.

    “Are you the author K. S. Brooks?” a man asked from her right.

    Startled, she swung around to look at the man. She studied him: baseball cap, devilish Van Dyke beard, slight aroma of hobo stew. At first glance, she thought it was Richard Branson. But no, that was not her kind of luck. “Um, yes. I’m K. S. Brooks.”

    “Excellent,” he replied, rubbing his hands together. “There are some indie authors who need you.”

    Mr. Pish began barking and snarling at the man. She picked the pup up, then kissed him on his forehead. “It’s okay, Pookie.”

    “Would your dog like a treat?”

    Mr. Pish’s face perked up. The wild-eyed look returned. Did he say…treat?

  4. MysT, my cute seven-month old assistant stays in her little house under my typing table listening when I read my work aloud. Recently she began telling me her adventures.

    “This adventure,” she said, “happened when the world was still young.”

    There lived a poor, but honest, hard-working couple. The older they grew the more difficult to make ends meet. None-the-less they gave thanks for all they had. Willingly they shared with others, even the little dog who came begging then decided to stay. The couple was grateful for his companionship.

    One afternoon the couple found naught but tree roots and bulbs to make a soup. While they gathered what they could the dog sniffed out something.

    “What is it fellow? You found something for the pot?”

    The dog pawed the ground.

    The old man went to investigate. He dug the spot that so interested the dog. At the bottom of the hole there was a huge box filled with silver, gold, jewels and pearls.

    News of the wealth spread like gossip. Town’s people came wanting a part of the treasure. The old couple gladly shared until nothing remained. Still the couple was cheerful, happy and grateful. The greedy lazy town folks bitched, moaned and complained. They despised the old couple for not having more to give.

    The king heard what happened. He sent soldiers to gather the old couple to his palace and take away all the greedy had.

    MysT says each reader must decide the moral of the story.

  5. Mr. Pish loved his outings with his human companion. She took him on wonderful learning adventures, and sometimes he got to see things no human did. He was excited when she took him sightseeing.

    It was just like any other normal day. Lots of picture taking and he was in a lot of them, as usual. He loved to have his photo taken. And he treasured that the children learned all about the places they had been from the picture books Ms. Brooks wrote.

    On this trip, she took him out roaming in the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, Colorado. The time of year was just right—not too hot and not too cold. It thrilled him to race over and around the dunes, tunneling and borrowing in the sand. He was having a lot of fun, but soon he sensed something was following him.

    Every time he turned around, nothing was there. When he’d turn back around to continue with his frolicking, something moved quickly out of his line of sight. He found himself chasing after something pogoing and gamboling in the sand ahead of him. Was this a new playmate for him? He’d stop every so often for Ms. Brooks to catch up with him.

    After a lot of chasing, Mr. Pish was exhausted. Laying down in the shade of one large dune, just as he dozed off, the phantom appeared—a very large rumored jack-a-lope appeared before him. They were real. Mr. Pish fainted.

  6. Damnit, mom, aim that thing somewhere else, like where I’m pointing. How many shots have you already missed because you’re too obsessed with photographing me? Yeah, I know I’m cute and fluffy, but you have a job to do. Dog shots just don’t bring in the big bucks.

    Click, click, click.

    Darn camera makes so much noise. No wonder Sasquatch ran away. And don’t get me started on Nessie. She stared at you for five whole minutes before she swam away. At least turn the sound off. It’s digital for goodness sakes
    Click, click, click.

    Look over there, just above the tree line. What is that monstrous thing?

    Click, click, click.

    Quick, quick! Before it’s too late.

    Click, click, click.

    This time you’re not going to just lose the shot. You could lose your head. Turn around before that thing eats you. It’s closing in.

    Click, click, click.

    Good god, it’s diving right at you!

    Click, click, click.

    It’s on the ground now. You have to move. Run away.

    Click, click, click.

    Can’t you hear it? Can’t you smell its reek?

    Click, click, click.

    Close. So dangerously close.

    Click, click, click.

    I can’t stand it anymore. I have to do something. Be gone you demon!

    “Marge! Your damned dog is attacking my hand glider again. Please say you got the shot this time.”

  7. The terrier’s playfulness vanished, like a brainwave you don’t snag immediately. He was now alert, showing awesome bravery and understanding of what she was doing and what he had to do. He ran around in a curve, forcing her to swivel, until he was directly between her and the trees. She was still bent, focused on him, and he jumped high to get her to look up.

    She did, and was stunned dumb. Her eyes widened; her jaw slid and her mouth formed a flattened O. The tableau froze for a long second, when the camera tumbled out of her hands and was jerked to a stop by the strap round her neck.

    The tug of the strap unfroze her and she screamed, “Scamp, come to me now!” as she grabbed the strap, lifted it over her head, checked the continuous shoot on the camera and aimed at him. The dog, still hyper, rushed to her; just as he tensed to leap into her arms, she was grabbed and whisked up. Shortly after, the camera slipped out of her hands, spinning lazily on its way down.

    Later, they got no answers from the sequence. It whirled around between the dog at one side of the diameter, leaping and barking furiously as he neared and the lady at the other side of the diameter, receding in mind-boggling unassisted flight, screaming and struggling with something unseen.

    Nor did they get answers from the dog, though he yearned to tell them.

  8. With her camera set on the tripod she stepped off to the side and used the shutter cord to ensure she would have the steadiest shot. But it was never to be.

    The earth shook and trembled as she squeezed the button for the initial picture.
    “There, look there,” he barked. “Why can’t you see?” His words, no more than excited yips and barks as he danced around. His eyes locked on the creature in the distance.

    “Did you feel that, Mr. Pickles?” she asked. “I haven’t felt an earthquake that strong since our time in Tokyo.” A few more shots to finish the set, she thought. She scanned the sky and coming dark clouds. “We need to get out of here soon. There’s a storm coming.”

    Mr. Pickles stopped barking long enough to stare at her. Amazed that she would miss another amazing shot, he thought of what he might do to push her attention to the right direction. With a quick lick of his chops he knew what needed to be done.

    With a last bark in her direction he sprinted off into the distance, toward the source of the “quake.” “Mr. Pickles!” she called after him but he pushed down harder and refused to come back.

    Only as she chased after him did she look into the sky and see the ship as it fired beams of light at the earth below. When a beam struck Mr. Pickles, he disappeared before her eyes.

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