Flash Fiction Challenge: The Objective

IMG_4228glacier Until two weeks ago, I led a perfectly ordinary life. Ever since I woke up in the hospital, people have been trying to kill me and I have no idea why.

I knew this place had some significance. It was as if I had been here before, but I had no memory of it. Why I was drawn to this place? I knew part of the answer must be here. I also knew I had been followed…

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 Objective”

  1. Must run. Must hide. Must find acorns.

    I ran as fast as my legs could carry me. I weaved through the trees, under the brambles and bushes my pursuers would find impassable. Then, winded and exhausted, I hid behind a tree stump.

    Karma was on my side. A cold rain added insult to injury, and my stalkers retreated to their warm vehicles to sharpen their strategy. I must outwit them.
    The blessed rain smelled of rich earth, green meadows and acorns. I dozed… and the nightmare returned again. The bright lights of the hospital illuminated my legs, the smiling human faces hid lies and gluttony as they examined me. I awoke with a shudder to the sounds of night. They had wanted my legs, wanted to cut them from my body. I owed my life to a young girl who had released me. I didn’t even know her name.

    “Run, Orson, run. Don’t look back.”

    I heard the sound of the shot. Had they killed her?

    I rose cautiously and shook the achiness from my substantial body. Must keep moving.

    I trotted north, following the smells I knew so well until I came to the edge of the forest. There, at my feet, lay an acorn and I munched it eagerly. Were there more? My snout said so.

    A twig snapped, and I was hogtied before I knew what had happened.
    “Hello, Orson. It is your misfortune that the leg of the black-footed pig is a delicacy.”

  2. Just around the bend in the river was a small sandy beach. Footprints led from the treeline to a V shaped indentation in the sand at the water. Someone had left by boat recently, but who? Something about this scene was tugging at my memory but what?

    I followed the footprints back from the beach to the dense forest which lines both sides of the gorge here. Perhaps a hundred feet from the beach I found a deep hole had been dug in the sandy soil. Spades stood around the perimeter of what appeared to be a grave. Either someone had recently been removed from this spot or preparations had been made to bring someone to it.

    I felt something cold, hard, and round press into the small of my back. Hot breath caressed the side of my neck just below my right ear. “Get in,” whispered a soft seductive female voice. It was all coming back to me now. I was back where I started before I clawed my way out what was a shallow grave and stumbled up to Highway 84. This time they dug deeper. This time, they would check my pulse before covering me with dirt. This time there would be no second chance.

  3. I stood at the edge of the massive lake and was overwhelmed by the wilderness. What the hell had brought me here? More importantly, what was I going to do now?

    I tried to clear my head, hoping the energy, or whatever it was, that had led me here would tell me where to go next. It was getting dark, and I had no tent, no food, no water. I was weak. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten.

    Swooning from hunger and fatigue, images of white and red flashed through my mind. Blood splattered on a wall, then a table, then a pair of safety glasses. Had I witnessed a murder?

    The wind shifted, buffeting against my face. There it was – that “thing” that had pulled me to this place. I plodded forward into the forest.

    Finally – I saw lights. I quickened my stagger. I burst out into a clearing surrounded by tiki torches. A man in a Hawaiian shirt scuffed up to me.

    “Welcome to Necroville! My name is Kyle, I’m the mayor. You’re Bob, right?”

    How did this guy know my name? “I… I don’t understand. Something beckoned me here.”

    “That *must* be the Cheerleader Teriyaki. We slow cook that for days.”


    “Your heightened sense of smell led you here.”


    “We get this all the time – you woke up in the morgue, not the hospital, sweetie! You’re undead, like us. Now come on, let’s get you something to eat. Are you a leg man?”

  4. He woke to pain and a kaleidoscope of memories, fragments of fire and fang, scream and silence.

    Memory overrode pain. He raised to an elbow, saw from the infirmary window forest slopes lowering to water, before he collapsed back to pain.

    A hand, cool and gentle, pressed his forehead. Opening his eyes, vision fragmenting with pain, he saw a woman with eyes a kaleidoscope of color.

    “They mean to make us grow more poppy to fund their sins!” he cried, then lay back, his awareness broken glass. “I was high on the Caldera, gathering herbs when they came. How am I here?”

    “You are a good man.”

    Blood-stained shards: “They died from . . . what? A monster . . . a dragon?” Fang, fire, screams, wind.

    “Your father was a good man, a good healer, and his father built this place. It is remembered.”

    He saw her now without pain–a small, strong woman, hair the color of slate, eyes like chipped glass. A young woman, and ageless.

    “Who are you?”

    “I am here to help you.”

    “To assist me?”

    The woman looked down, and the healer trembled at the loss of her eyes.

    “Yes, to assist you, at least that.”

    She raised her eyes, and his trembling stopped. Her eyes, a swirl of colors, coalesced to a single hue, one he had seen before deep within the heart of the poppy flower. It was a beautiful color, a healing color. He smiled.

    “You have my mother’s eyes.”

  5. For thirty-minutes this audience heard about nutrition, body-damning foods and habit changes. Time to segue into the seminar’s motivational meat. “The objective is to win regardless the cost. Lord, knows you’ve spent a fortune trying,” I coaxed.

    Two hundred voices fugued, “Right!”

    “Success whatever the sacrifice. You could write a book.”


    “Do you want to win?”

    Ringers started chanting in unison, “I WANT TO WIN.”

    I let the throb build to a minor climax before interrupting, “Hear me now! You want to win, but do you… Need to Win?”

    “I NEED TO WIN,” resounded.

    “Then… why?” I paused. “Then why do you continually tell yourself you’re a looser?” I waited. “A looser trying to lose weight?” I raised my voice. “Tell me, who here is a WINNER?”

    Several yelled, “I am!”

    “Then say it,” I lead the chant. “I’m a winner, I control my weight.” Our determined chins held high, power fists striking the air above. “Say it like you mean it!”

    “What say you to fast foods? ‘I’m a winner! I control my weight!’ One spoonful at a time I fed them situations they’d face, maintaining the mantra.

    They vibrated self-esteem energy. “Prove it! Prove you’re in control. Sing your weight winner mantra. Tell those around you.”

    At seminar’s end it usually took another thirty energy-filled minutes before the singing subsided. The remaining handful needed more, hugs for starters.

    I’m, or was, a motivational speaker. My objective was motivating obese into weight winners. God, I loved that job.

  6. I stood on the shore of the lake exhausted from my hike. Completely exposed now and a certain target for whoever was following me.
    Fragmented images flashed through my mind like reflections from a broken mirror, elusive memories of rock, ice and a deep dark place.

    I splashed into the water and swam towards the mountains on the other side.
    Half way across a low rhythm pulsed in my head, nausea gripped me and the strange thrumming increased when I reached land.

    A glance back revealed three men launching a motorized dingy in pursuit. I ran to the trail which led up the mountain, positive now of my destination. I scrambled along the rocky slope my excitement rising.
    Aware that my pursuers could not be far behind I squeezed through a niche between the rocks and raced along a convoluted passage which culminated at the mouth of a cave.

    I crossed the threshold into the blackness and moved towards the apex of the cavern. Khalana stood there beside our small pod-like craft.
    As we embraced she said, “Khalen where is the phallyte? Time is running out!”
    I made a small incision at the base of my ear and extracted the glowing crystal just as the beams of flashlights swept the cave.

    We entered the pod and inserted the phallyte which would provide fuel for our journey.
    Like molten silver our ship shimmered and the men began firing ineffectually as we sped through solid rock.

    We were going home at last.

  7. “Took you long enough to find the place,” she said. Her voice carried from behind me then into the mists on the lake. “No don’t turn around, not yet anyway.”

    I knew her voice, couldn’t find the face to match it but the voice, ya, that voice. “What’s out there?” I asked. Puzzle pieces all around me but none of them quite fit together. She had moved closer, directly behind me. Cold metal caressed the back of my neck.

    “That’s right,” she said, her voice almost a whisper. “They told me you might not remember. I brought this along just in case.” The gun, a revolver, waved just at my peripheral vision.

    Why would the gun help me remember? I thought maybe she meant more for her own protection. But I couldn’t see her, still couldn’t put a face to the name. “I don’t think you need that.” I turned ever so slightly, still too much for her. The butt end of the pistol tapped me in the side of the head. “I get it, I get it. You have the control her,” I said. “Fine, what do you want from me?”

    “Confess,” she said. “Tell me why…” She pressed the gun into my back and marched me forward toward the cliff.

    At the edge, with nothing to hold onto I looked out over the water, so far below. Realization hit me, or maybe the butt of the pistol. “She jumped,” I said.

    “Why did you live?” she asked.

  8. White. This is obviously a piece of a cloud, right? I burst into tears. A nervous breakdown is funny, right? Ha, ha. Stab out your eyes with chopsticks and see how that tickles your optic funny bone.

    Once again, the nurse places the pieces upon the table and tells me to fix them. “Arrange” is the word she uses. I pick up the scattered and tattered pieces. Oh, the scene is so clear in my brain, yet I cannot recreate the puzzle. 500 Pieces! I need 500 pieces! I begin the count again. Something is still wrong. 491 pieces I count again. I’ve seen the picture before. It was…on the box!

    Again, I will try to place the pieces in order to recreate the dreamy pond scene I recall. I wish I owned my own “Therapy Hospital.” I would never buy jigsaw puzzles at a thrift store. White. Okay, this is obviously a piece of a cloud…”

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