Flash Fiction Challenge: Flowers for Free

Pink Daisies Flash fiction writing prompt Sept 2015 all right reserved KSBRooks
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Every day, Brad and Angela walked past Mrs. Broomfield’s garden on the way to the train station. And every day, Angela pined over the beautiful pink flowers with the golden centers.

Brad checked every flower shop in the area, but couldn’t find any that came close. So one day, he decided to go to Mrs. Broomfield’s house and ask her if he could pick some of them. But when he got there, she was asleep in the chair on the front porch.

Brad looked at the snoozing octogenarian, then glanced at the flowers. He could just go ahead and take a few – she wouldn’t notice, would she?

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. 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. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Tuesday night, judges will select the strongest entries, and on Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Saturday morning, 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. Please note the rule changes for 2015.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Flowers for Free”

  1. ***FINALIST***

    Social services had agreed: although Mrs. Broomfield’s memory and judgment were in decline, she was competent to live alone.
    The sound of rustling bushes in her beloved flower bed startled her awake. Reflexes caused her to remove the .38 caliber revolver from beneath an afghan covering her lap.
    One shot and Brad lay dead.
    “There’s no such thing as a free bunch,” she mused — and promptly returned to sleep.

  2. Brad quietly stepped into Mrs. Broomfield’s garden. On this cloudy day, he was determined not to awaken her. He planned to pick just a few flowers for Angela. He reached for the first flower, only to cut a finger on the sharp edge of a petal. He instinctively pulled back his hand. Stunned, he looked at his bleeding finger and realized he cut it on a metallic flower petal. He bent over to get a closer look at it, and the others, only to discover all the flowers were some sort of sharp metallic solar collectors. “How odd?” he thought.

    Bright sunbeams broke through the clouds illuminating the garden and porch. He was so enthralled with the tiny solar collectors that he did not notice Mrs. Broomfield awakening and mechanically getting up off her rocker. She mechanically, slowly stepping down her porch steps into the garden toward him.
    He heard a metallic thud behind him, quickly turning he bumped into Mrs. Broomfield standing directly behind him. Before he could say anything her hand shot up grabbed him by his throat and easily crushed it. She easily dragged him out of the garden then up the front porch steps and into the house.
    Later, Brad mechanically stumbled out of the front door and collapsed on to the rocker. Mechanically, he plugged his heel into the electric outlet, for his first garden meal. Soon fully charged, he stood up and headed down the steps muttering “Must pick Angela for the garden.”

  3. ***FINALIST***

    “It’s for Angela,” Brad rationalized, as he plucked a few of Mrs. Broomfield’s pink flowers. A malodorous scent wafted up, which he guessed was the fertilizer. He glanced up at the old woman on the porch. Still fast asleep.

    Brad chose the most vibrant blooms. He figured nine should be enough but not so much that Mrs. Broomfield would notice.

    He plucked the last stem and gathered them in a bunch. “Angela’s going to love these.”

    “No doubt,” Mrs. Broomfield said. She stood directly in front of Brad, her gray eyes fixed on the flowers.

    He staggered back. “Oh, I…uh, I’m sorry, you were sleeping—”

    “It’s quite all right, dearie.” A tired smile formed on her lips. “Please, you must come in for some tea.”

    Brad felt more than a pang of guilt. Though anxious to get home to Angela, he was caught taking flowers. “Of course.”

    Mrs. Broomfield led Brad into her home and to the kitchen.

    “Always have some ready.” She poured him a small cup and handed it to him, on a saucer.

    Brad took a sip and smiled politely. He looked around the quaint kitchen. A monstrously large meat grinder sat on a dedicated table in the corner of the room. What was that next to it…a dog collar with tags?

    “That’s quite a meat grinder you got there,” Brad said nervously. He felt his muscles twitch. His vision became hazy.

    “Growing flowers takes patience,” Mrs. Broomfield said. “And an awful lot of fertilizer.”

  4. The spicy aroma of the pink pedaled blossoms filled the kitchen as Angela arranged them in a vase. The smile on her face told Brad that it had been worth it; taking a handful from Mrs. Broomfield’s flower beds.

    “How thoughtful of you Brad, I love them so much!” Angela gushed. “I will have to thank Martha the next time I see her.”

    “Don’t bother. I’ve already taken care of her.”

    Angela thought Brad’s response was strange but quickly forgot about it.

    The couple left the house to catch the train. As they approached Mrs. Broomfield’s lights of a police vehicle flashed red and blue.

    Startled at the sight of their elderly neighbor lying face down in her flower bed, Angela asked an officer near the yellow caution tape. “What happened?”

    “Stay back Ma’am. We’re investigating what looks like a murder.” The officer stated matter of fact.

    “Murder! Who would have done something like this to such a wonderful old woman?” Angela turned to ask Brad only to see him running in the direction of the train station.

    Studying the scene, she saw what appeared to be drops of blood speckling the blunt ended stems of the pink flowers she had adored. Then she saw what may explain her husband’s odd behavior. The golf club she had given him for his birthday lay hidden beneath a nearby shrub.

    Recalling his promise that if she would marry him, he would do absolutely anything to prove his love. He’d apparently meant it.

  5. A walk in the park was all that it took. Janie’s heart was heavy as she considered her friend’s diagnosis of lung cancer. Cassy didn’t have much time according to her doctor. Janie had been in tears all day. She had visited Cassy and the two had exchanged hopes and dreams that would never happen.
    When Janie saw the sun shining on that brilliant autumn day, the sky could not have been bluer, and her heart tried to lift itself.
    Walks in the park were friends to Janie. She used the time to reflect, muse, and make decisions. As she ventured along the woodland edge, she noticed some bits of color that called to her. Instinctively she followed the color to its source and noticed patches of beautiful and cheery purple asters.
    Purple was the favorite color she and Cassy had always shared. The bright, yellow centers seemed to wink invitingly at her. Of course! One bouquet for herself and another for Cassy. They both needed the smiles.

  6. ***FINALIST***

    As he reached out to break the stem of one of the flowers, Brad bumped into several around his target. He hadn’t noticed before the fine powder that coated the center of each of them. The powder filled the air at his touch, and not only coated his hands but it filled his lungs and assaulted his eyes.

    He gasped and choked from the residue and fell back, away from the flowers. His body jerked as he slipped and landed on his hind quarters. He inhaled the powder deeper into his lungs with the impact and a coughing fit consumed him.

    The old lady on the porch awoke with a start to find Brad, rolling on the ground near her prized flowers. She grabbed her cane and hobbled to the garden.

    An impish smile filled her cheeks as she poked at Brad with the tip of her cane. “That’ll teach you,” she said. “Those are my prized ‘Grannie’s Helpers.’”

    Brad fought through his coughing fit to draw in some fresh air. His face had turned a bright shade of red as he eyed the old woman. He could not find the air to breath calmly, let alone form words.

    “Oh, you’ll be able to breathe again soon enough,” she said. “Unless you touched them. That’s the worst thing.”

    In the midst of another coughing fit, pain ripped through Brad’s hands. The blisters had formed across his hands and up his arms.

    “The flowers aren’t free, dear boy.”

  7. ‘What’s love got to do, got to do with it… What’s love but a…’
    The catchy verse played repeatedly in Brad’s head as he stood in front of Mrs. Broomfield’s house. When it came to Angela, he knew ‘love had everything to do with it’.

    It was late in the evening and the cool breeze felt good against his sweaty face. The three glasses of champagne had helped him find his courage but had also made him a bit tipsy.

    Mrs. Broomfield was fast asleep on the porch. A careless giggle escaped Brad’s lips, as he felt light headed and invincible. He tiptoed into the garden and knelt down in front of the pink beauties.

    The flowers danced in the gentle breeze and he could have sworn that they were smiling. Their sweet aroma overwhelmed his senses, convincing him to come closer. The stems kissed the palms of his hands enticing him to grasp them even tighter. Delicate petals whispered sweet nothings in his ear, begging him to take them home.

    Brad closed his eyes and let his hands roam free in the garden of love. The flowers jumped into his arms, one after the other. Their naughty laughter encouraged him to pick them all, pushing his hands to move faster and faster. A loud voice from behind finally put a stop to the frenzy.

    An almost sober Brad sat handcuffed in a dark corner. Angela would understand. After all, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’

  8. ***FINALIST***

    Brad watched Mrs. Broomfield sleep on her porch chair. It seemed a shame to wake the eighty year old to ask about picking flowers. The yard full of blooms drew his gaze, their golden centers and pink petals unlike any others. They looked like a field of eyes. Angela drooled over them every day.

    He hesitated another moment before snipping off a stem. Pained screeches erupted. The beautiful bloom in his hand shriveled. Deep red liquid dripped from the cut ends of the stem and clear fluid flowed from the flower centers. A bloody mess coated his hands. Frantically, he wiped them on his pants and shirt. All it did was spread the gore more.

    “Those flowers are living things,” said Mrs. Broomfield. Her steely gaze made his legs tremble.

    “I’m sorry. So…beautiful…I… just wanted one for my wife.”

    “Well, if you want a plant, you’ll need to prove you’re worthy. Bandage that stem before it bleeds to death.”

    Reluctantly, he took the first aid kit she held out. None of this made sense. His hands shook as he wrapped the damaged stem and buried two aspirin as instructed. The plant continued to quiver for a few more minutes, then sighed and stood still. Brad shook his head, still not sure what to make of it all.

    “Very good. Bring Angela tomorrow. You both have a lot of work to do.”

    After nine months of hard work, they carried home a potted flower with their new baby girl.

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