Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Long Haul

hotel hallway IMG_3169 peoria flash fiction prompt comp
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Use the photograph above as the inspiration for your flash fiction story. Write whatever comes to mind (no sexual, political, or religious stories, jokes, or commentary, please) and after you PROOFREAD it, submit it as your entry in the comments section below. There will be no written prompt.

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture at left.  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 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.

Once a month, the admins will announce the Editors’ Choice winners. Those stories 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 2016.

Author: Administrators

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Long Haul”

  1. Tondalullah Lipschitz could see her reflection in the office window. She closed her motel door and walked to the waiting room. Maybe this will work out okay if I get the job, she thought. Think I’ll enjoy Santa Fe.

    The sultry receptionist was very attractive, long black hair, startling hazel eyes and a drop of red at the corner of her lush lips.

    “You don’t have to fill out an application. You’ve got the job, if you want it.”

    LaLa shivered as she felt the piercing eyes remove her clothes, glowing as they stopped at her neck.
    Uh! uh! No! No, instinctively raced through her mind as she remembered seeing that look in many of the Dracula films she enjoyed.

    “Changed my mind,” LaLa called out as she spun towards the exit. She gasped in horror at the figure blocking the door. It was him, grinning from ear to ear, drooling at the sight before him. He stretched out his arms to embrace her.

    LaLa ripped the crucifix from her neck and flashed it before him. He shielded his eyes with his cape and cringed. She raced around him into safety and headed to her Jaguar.

    As she sped past city limits she was thankful the young clerk at the gift shop mistakenly gave her a cross instead of a mezuzah when she asked for a religious remembrance of her visit.

    Tondalullah drove off into the sunset heading for her next adventure.

    Mazel tov!

  2. Mary O’Malley was assigned to fix the Time Frame Breach. If she failed it could really mess up everything, just like the last time when she accidentally brought back a T-Rex and failed to kill Hitler.

    She reluctantly thought, “How I wish I could get out of Time Traveling, I would get married and move to the country.” She sighed, “Mine is not to reason why, mine is to fix time and get out alive.”

    She slowly made her way through the Time Frames to get to the Time Breach. Unexpectedly, she saw a space suited figure heading toward her. Soon, the figure was right in front of Mary and she recognized her. It was herself.

    “Thank God! I made it back to me before I got to far into the past.” her other self said, “There isn’t time to explain. Quick! Back out! Now Go!”

    Mary turned back in the Time Tunnel, but oddly, she stepped out of it into a bright summer day in a hay field, she could smell the aroma of freshly mowed hay. She was confused as she heard a sweet male voice behind her, “Did I tell you that you look ravishing in your gown?”

    Mary blushed and discovered she was wearing a bridal gown. They walked hand in hand out of that hay field. She forgot about meeting herself and time traveling. However, they never forgot their love for each other and both lived happily ever after in the country.

  3. It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning with a light summer breeze rustling through the trees.
    The big day finally arrived! I wore my best suit for the occasion. My new office was finally completed!
    I was walking down the west side of the building toward the office door. I see some doors to my right as I was walking. I thought, “There’s the file room, secretaries’ office, and reception area doors.”
    I wondered why my placard wasn’t up yet but figured they hadn’t got to it yet. I saw what looked to be a bag on the other side of the door but figured I’d deal with it when I put my briefcase down! As I walked toward the door all I saw was the pillars and my reflection in the glass doors and the door was unlocked.
    I opened the door, walked in, and promptly fell on my face onto what felt like wet ground. I thought to myself, “What’s going on here?” I heard a beeping sound of a truck backing up and men walking toward the door. I stood up feeling kind of stupid! There was nowhere to hide!
    I saw the smirks on the construction men’s faces as they walked in. One of the men said, “What are you doing in here? We are about to pour concrete.” I said, “I was coming to my new office!” The construction guy said, “That would be on the west side, the other side of the building!”

  4. Each step was an act of penance. Each supplication emerged from the depths of his heart. The road ahead was long and if each step brought him no nearer the end he wasn’t bothered. He had embraced the notion that this journey, taking a single step, lying prostrate, asking for forgiveness, slowly bringing himself to his feet and taking one more step, was going to last a lifetime.

    At night, after the final rays of sunlight had faded from the sky, he would rest, curl into a ball beside the path, wrapped in a hessian blanket and fall asleep. His dreams were silent flights over rolling landscapes, up into blue skies and though billowing clouds. His arms were wide and he was free. When he woke, before dawn, his body would ache and his belly would rumble. He embraced the hollowness, telling himself it was part of the price he was destined to pay. A pebble from the earth to keep his mouth dry was the only meal he would allow himself.

    As he stepped, bent double, lay against the ground, he would think. His mind a continuos echo of the past. He would see his crimes, his misdeeds. He would feel their anger stirring beneath his skin. He would burn anew with their pain and guilt. Then, from a part of himself set aside and external, a thought occurred. If he continued, without food or water, with his grueling regimen, with his penance, his suffering would be short lived.

  5. Charlie stares out the glass door of the assisted living home, mindlessly toying with his wedding ring.

    Two nurses pass; one hands him his medicine and makes sure he takes it.

    “Are you sure my Wilma isn’t here yet?” he inquires. “She should be here by now.”

    “Sorry, dear,” the nurse replies. “I haven’t seen her yet, but I’m sure she’ll be here soon.”

    Back at the med cart, the newer nurse whispers rather indignantly. “I’m not sure that is the best way of handling this situation. It breaks my heart to see him waiting at that door all day. His wife has been dead five years!”

    “I know it may seem cruel,” the older nurse responds, “but I used to tell him about his wife when he asked. He would mourn her death all over again for hours before he would forget again. I figure a little hope is better than none. Besides, I have faith he will see her again, someday.”

    Back at the door, Charlie mumbles to himself, “She’ll be here soon…” and stares out at the walkway that seems to go on forever.

  6. My diagnosis put an end to the wonderful life I knew. The weakening of my muscles, the fading of my memory and the slowing of my reactions. All of those symptoms revealed themselves as expected. I’m unable to drive and it won’t be long before I’ll be too weak to walk. With each new day, it seems I’ll have lost another piece of my past. Theo, my husband, tests me daily with photos of the children in hopes that today won’t be the day I forget him and our family.

    Outside of the medical staff, my husband of forty two years is the only other one who knows. We promised each other that today we’ll share with Elliot and Cassandra what’s happening to their mother.

    Cassandra and Elliot were excited to accept the invitation to Sunday dinner. We chose to meet at the new modern restaurant. The sun shone through the buildings unique architecture and the natural wooden surroundings created a peaceful, serene feel. Theo wanted me to use the wheel chair but I refused. I needed to walk up the pathway on my own. I didn’t want to scare the children.

    I looked at my Theo and our children through loving eyes. They were having a wonderful time sharing news of their own lives and I didn’t want to ruin it. I looked at Theo and shook my head slightly. He smiled and gave my hand a squeeze, agreeing that the news could wait for another day.

  7. “I love you” Jessica sounded impassioned.
    “So do I” responded Jamie more ardently.
    This was back in summer 2005 when two young high school strangers met during their summer break and fell in love.
    Each day and night they met outside the front desk office of their resort and looked into it’s glass door, at their reflections. They cherished eyeing their togetherness in it.
    They were in love yet too young to foresee practical face of life, and before they realized vacations got over and it was time to say good bye, at least for now.
    So a night before parting away, they cast their reflection into the glass door for the last time and made some promises.
    12 June 2008, a hot afternoon and something seemed bleak about it to Jamie. His reflection had matured slightly over three years, and so did Jessica’s love for him, he fathomed. After two dreadfully long hours in front of the very glass window, as promised between them, he was about to leave just when he was approached by a letter addressed in his name.
    “Dear Jamie,
    In these past two years life was too harsh on me, but not on my love that I hold for you and it shall live till eternity and beyond. By the time you will receive this letter I’d be long gone.
    So until we meet again in the heavens, live loving me.
    Forever yours,
    Jamie collapsed to the ground right where they promised to meet.

  8. I could hardly control my excitement as I rushed down the corridor. My first day in my new condo! Mine, all mine, bought and paid for, the first real place of my own. Ultra-modern, and furnished exactly the way I wanted it.

    I turned left at the end of the corridor.

    All this, from a single lottery ticket. Six of the girls had chipped in and bought six tickets, and this one won! Maybe I should have shared the winnings with the girls, but I didn’t think so. They had trusted me to buy the tickets and hold them. And the winnings weren’t enough to split six ways, only three million. I decided it was only fair to divide the tickets, one for each of us. And somehow, I got the winning one! Of course the girls didn’t agree, even when I pointed out dividing the winnings would leave only half a million each. I thought they were rather selfish. They didn’t agree with that either. Selfish. But there wasn’t much they could do about it.

    So, like I said, I turned left. And a new corridor stretched out before me. I came to another turn, more corridor. I seemed to be going in circles.

    I looked at the recesses in the walls. No doors. This is getting creepy. I have to find the elevator, go back to the main floor, start over.

    It’s been three days now… I think the elevator may be around this next turn.

  9. Phillips, or 2730098-RP in New Mexico’s Corrections System, offered up his hands for the shackles attached to the chains already confining his ankles and waist.

    “Must feel pretty good about today, eh, greener? Cop killer getting off The Row,” CO Baez said. He guided Phillips by the shoulder as he shuffled along the portico to Admin wing.

    “Ain’t seen the sun and those shadows since first day I got here,” Phillips said. “Now I’ll see ‘em every day working Provisions Program, instead of getting the needle over there.” He pointed with his chin.

    At the end of the portico, a buzzer sounded and Baez nudged Phillips through the door. A female CO whose tag read Silvana met them at a desk.

    “Afternoon, Jaime. This the new one?” she said.

    “Yep, all yours now. Says he can’t wait to get started.”

    “We’ll process him right away then,” she said.

    Silvana guided Phillips down another hall, where COs removed his shackles and told him to strip for a shower. Six jets in the tiled wall doused Phillips with soapy water and rinsed him clean.

    “Okay, lifer, the State of New Mexico thanks you for your service to its Inmate Provision Program,” a CO said. “Processing’s through those doors.”

    Phillips walked through and dropped without feeling a thing, the captive bolt pistol popping his skull and entering his brain. His final thought was of walking through a tunnel of light and shadow, as his life sentence ended Day One in The Program.

  10. Friday, 12:15 am. My mobile rang.
    It’s Harry! After a gap of almost 10 years.

    — ‘Peter, could we meet?’
    — ‘Harry! What a surprise. Well, when?’
    — ‘Tomorrow, evening 8:30, at ours lobby?’
    — ‘Okay. Done.’
    — ‘Goodnight.’

    We were in the same Physics batch in college. Then he pursued cosmology, I took technical writing. The hotel-lobby was within a mile from the college campus. It was our hot-spot.

    Saturday, I reached there at 8:25 pm.
    Harry smiled. His dark eyes glittered. He marched to a corner table. I followed.
    I could feel an ambient change in him. My tall, fair, soft-spoken friend appeared more silent than ever.

    — ‘Surprised. Aren’t you?’ He said.
    — ‘Not much, I’m habituated; it’s you’
    Nodded silently.

    — ‘Where have you been Harry?
    — ‘I’m in Maerd’
    — ‘And, your Cosmology papers?’
    — ‘Undecided. I got a better choice’
    — ‘That means?’

    He told:
    During PG research, one midnight I received an unexpected pattern of space-signal. I transcribed. It was from Maerd, a world approximately 255 light years apart. They wanted me join their inter-space exploration team! I could hardly leave the earth, but so tired of earthly struggles was I, I had to accept.
    — ‘Dear, time is over. Keep it secret. None would believe it.’ Harry said.
    — ‘Hey, wait!’ I tried leaning forward to catch him.
    ‘I’m in Maerd, 255 light years from you. It is an image. Take care. Bye-bye!’ disappeared.

  11. “Alisa! It’s me. Won’t you come to me?”

    I followed the direction of the voice. I was breathless from constant running and my panting was loud enough to be heard far and wide.

    I reached that same aisle separating the glass door and myself. The voice seemed to come from that room. I always sensed a silhouette on the other side of the glass, gazing at me.

    The aisle was made up of tree bark textured walls. One side of the aisle had doors and on the other side there were outlets to the aisle each separated by a textured pillar. It appeared to be before noon, as each pillar cast its full shadow on the aisle floor.

    So I advanced, step by step, focusing on the silhouette. As I went ahead I observed a peculiarity; with each step forward, the silhouette retreated by a step.

    My curiosity augmented and I sped up to discover the truth lurking within. Upon reaching the door, I peeped inside through the glass but the room contained a queer tranquility as if it had been untouched by any sort of activity since eons.

    I twisted the doorknob but to my utter shock it was jammed, it didn’t budge an inch as if something held it from the other side. I tried more rigorously, then even more and more…Then suddenly

    “Alisa! Alisa! baby relax, relax my child.”

    I open my eyes to my mother; all sweaty, teary and panting hard. It was the nightmare again.

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