Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Foam

flash fiction writing prompt copyright KS Brooks machias river convergence 1995
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.

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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Foam”

  1. Old Man Clive’s plan had worked. The mermaids had been terrorizing this area for years. The awful creatures delighted in seducing lonely sailors and dragging them to watery deaths, including two of his sons. When the old man discovered the isolated cove that served as the mermaids lair, he set up a trap to kill the mermaid shoal when they returned from their daily hunting run.

    Old Man Clive hadn’t known that mermaids turned to sea foam when they died. Even in death the mermaids had gotten the last laugh, leaving a big, stinky sea foam blob for the old man to clean up. ‘Revenge isn’t so sweet when it smells this bad’, he grumbled to himself.

  2. Things were not going well back in ’95. Elmer had some serious medical issues and the small company he worked for could no longer employ him. His wife had enough of his bad luck and added to it by saying goodbye. Everything had taken its toll and he had decided to make a final boat trip up the Machias.
    They say things work out the way they are supposed to. Despite all of the bad fortune he had that month, he’s a rich man now. If it wasn’t for all of the bad fortune, he never would have discovered the secret.
    Here’s what he said happened that fateful day. He was going to run his boat full speed into the gas pier. However, he wasn’t surprised in the least when his engine failed. It was the frosting on the cake.
    He contemplated other choices, but for some reason decided to paddle. His temper got the best of him, and he took it out on the water. Soon, the water around the boat turned to foam. It was the final straw. He knew if he dove deep into the water he wouldn’t be able to reach the surface.
    Well, he has a smile on his face when he tells the story these days. However, the authorities still don’t fully understand why the river in that section turns to frosting when beaten.
    He might have a smile, but people also notice a few more pounds.

  3. “Tell us a story, Grandpa!” I cried with my cousins. The adults smiled as we gazed up with pleading eyes at the world’s greatest storyteller. Grandpa knew nothing delighted us more than to hear of his tales as a wildlife photographer in Africa. His enthusiasm grew as he would describe the trouble he would get himself into. “But I always managed to escape because of my partner, Jimmy John Judy James Joe.” My cousins and I would then collapse laughing at such a name, but my oldest cousin, Anclarmenda, would glance from her stitchery and humph. “Grandfather, that’s absurd! Whoever heard of a name like that?” Grandfather would smile and laugh, silencing Anclarmenda. “What happened to Jimmy John Judy James Joe?” someone would ask and Grandpa would shake his head till we all fell silent.
    As I grew older, I never forgot Grandpa’s stories. I even decided to become a wildlife photographer, pleasing my Grandfather. I prepared to leave when he summoned me. “Son, I must tell you what happened to Jimmy John Judy James Joe. We decided to photograph hippos, and he sailed ahead. A foam began to surround him till I couldn’t see him no more. I rushed over, but he and the foam were gone. Nobody ever saw him no more.”
    Later, I forgot Grandpa’s story. I sailed along the Nile, and was swallowed up by the foam. The only thing I could see was a young man, still trying to get a picture of the hippos.

  4. “What the hell is he doing?” the director screamed at his assistants clustered helplessly on the beach. “The foam belongs at the back of the boat…”

    “Stern. The back of the boat is the stern,” an assistant suggested. “I think he is trying to shove the foam back there, sir. To the stern.”

    The director glared at him. “It is supposed to look like he is speeding through the water.” What the hell was he doing, dumping the foam in at the wrong end of the boat?

    The director yelled at the cameraman. “You’re still filming? Stop it! Good lord, you are a bigger idiot than our Esteemed Star. We are supposed to be making a serious documentary, not a slapstick comedy.”

    Although slapstick comedy was not such a bad idea. They had been trying to get rid of the inept Esteemed Star for some time now, even since his last film bombed, and what better way than to make a fool out of the silly man on film for the world to see?

    “Changed my mind,” the director called to the cameraman. “Film away!”

    Esteemed Star had just fallen into the foam and looked like a giant cupcake trying to climb back into the boat. The assistants tried and failed to contain their laughter.

    The completed film was released, and the Esteemed Star was an Esteemed Star no longer. He had become the country’s favorite comedian.

  5. Professor Hardwick could not believe his eyes when he saw the satellite image of an ice pack forming near the north pole. It had been twenty years since Global warming melted all the ice and snow on earth. He wanted to be the first one on to the ice before others contaminate it. He wondered, if it would support his weight and the scientific gear he needed for all his tests.

    Finally, he spotted it in the distance. Excitedly, he gunned the engine of his small craft. The closer he got the more excited he became. He could not take his eyes off the ice sheet. He could not believe that it was not a mirage.

    He killed the engine just before his boat smacked hard into the ice sheet, and almost capsized as it jammed into the side of it. Warm water splashed all over him as he fell forward out of the boat half in the warm water and the rest of him onto the warm ice. That was when he realized some thing was wrong, very wrong here. Not only was the air hot and the water warm, but the ice was warm to his touch and not melting. Getting up he leaned on what looked like a jagged piece of ice sticking up, only to have it snap off in his hand. It was Styrofoam.

    That’s when someone screamed at him, “Hey! Stop that you’re damaging private property! Get off my artificial island!

  6. Angus had fished the shallow waters on the northern coast of Scotland for decades, his domain immune to the depredations of those deep-draft trawlers which he despised.

    He was a traditionalist, some would say old-fashioned. Alone in his skiff, using a hand-knotted casting net, his ability to read the sea surface and scan the skies for indications of her treachery had provided him with a modest income. He was content.

    Last night he bore witness to a true tempest. Safely ashore, he watched the fierce storm rage: the winds howled and mountainous waves thundered down upon the boulders constituting a seawall.

    At first light, he left his humble cottage to survey the damages wrought. Surprisingly there were none and his vessel was safely beached upon the sandy shore of the bay.

    Looking out to sea, he saw something highly unusual: a thick carpet of sea foam, fifty feet wide and a quarter mile in length, stretched perpendicularly to the shoreline. He had seen blocks of spume nestled amongst the rocks before. Never this.

    His curiosity compelled him to follow the floating blanket to its point of origin. When there, he lowered a glass-bottomed cask into the now clear water. And saw it.

    On the transom of the wreck it read: Old Briny–Glasgow. She was reported missing two months previously.

    “‘Tis a gravestone,” he said aloud.

    As he headed towards the local constable to report his discovery, he murmured: “Aye, a gravestone for a lost fine ship indeed.”

  7. “Jesus! Would you look at that!” Nick cried, pointing toward the oncoming mass of white.

    “What is it?” Sue replied as she looked up from her magazine she had brought along to cure the boredom she was certain to experience on the boat.

    As she turned her head in the indicated direction, her jaw dropped at the spectacle floating toward her and Nick. What could only be described as a frothy island of white foam was slowly meandering in the vicinity of their watercraft.

    “Gross. It smells something awful!” Nick exclaimed, holding his nose as the sea breeze carried the foul stench of the odd phenomena along.

    Both teens started to gag as the foam encroached upon their position. Nick dropped his fishing pole and sat back down on the bench of the row boat. Grabbing the oars, he desperately maneuvered their small vessel away from the now rapidly advancing thing.

    ” Faster Nick! Its right behind us!” Sue involuntarily choked on this last word as nausea overtook her. She vomited off the back of the boat and a look of pure horror showed on her face as she looked at the back of her hand after wiping her mouth. Blood stained her skin and its coppery taste still lingered.

    Before she could warn Nick, he started convulsing violently, dropping the oars in the process. Their boat stopped making progress and the foam managed to envelop the entirety of the small vessel.

  8. On the contrary, there was nothing hilarious about the trail of foam that had crept down from the summit of Mount Everstress in the Kindu Hush Massif, snaking its way through the endless necklace of high plateaus and glacial rifts that thread the snowy peaks of the desolate tribal waste—a terrible place, abandoned annually by the yak farmers of the Hurdagurdistan Steppe for the sweeter climes that prevail on the shores of Lake Waddahavwe Hir in search of the Yellow Bogwort that might sustain their dwindling herd—and onward, under granite land bridges, alternatively stretching thin and flat over alpine plains then funneling into chasms that would force it to barge high like the white cliffs of Dozer before tumbling silently forward as Ice Age flotsam might (if such a thing could transcend millennia to still exist) in disintegrating waves, immediately coagulating, lava-like, even more indestructible than before, to continue its five-thousand-mile evacuation to the sea where it was now dispersing in massive, ruggedly-contoured icebergs, hardly capable of sinking transport ships or blocking the numerous village trawlers from getting to the Spearfish shoals that amass each winter off the island’s southern coast in a reproductive frenzy, but definitely having the potential to cause an ugly panic when they would inevitably become so numerous as to make navigation through the treacherous Crooked Straits—already the nemesis of so many young men (some not even old enough to shave)—impossible to imagine, but the old man could not paddle for laughing.

  9. The water was calm, unusually so. About a mile out I saw, well, something that didn’t belong there. A sweet scent I couldn’t identify wafted in from it.

    With nothing better to do, and certainly sensing no danger, I hooked my little Evinrude to the old dinghy and motored out to take a closer look. Whatever it was went nowhere, just bobbed gently with the swell as I approached. That sweet odor got stronger as I closed the distance but I still couldn’t place it. It didn’t fit with anything I knew as normal for the lake.

    When I reached the mass I noticed the edges had begun to melt and spread out. All along it fish came up to nibble on the bounty. I sited along its path and traced the direction it came from back to the local dairy plant a couple of miles upstream. Very strange.

    But that did me what the smell was – vanilla ice cream, or sweet whipped cream. I poked a finger into the mass. Yep, felt cold – creamy, too, though it was melting fast.

    I almost licked my finger, but stopped myself just in time. What if there was something wrong with it? A quick call on my cell to the dairy. “Hey, did you guys lose something?”

    “Um.” An embarrassed sounding pause. Then, “yeah, the new guy opened the wrong spigot.”

    “Whoo-ee!” I hung up, grabbed my bailing bucket and filled it. Vanilla, my favourite. Enough for a party.

  10. Ding-dong!

    Around 5 a.m. I was asleep.

    …then door-knocking; louder.

    — ‘Son, saw your uncle?’
    — ‘No aunty, any problem?’
    — ‘He’s missing’
    — ‘What! Relax, I think I’ll find him near the lake’
    — ‘Please see. Fighting alone against an industry… such a mad he is!’

    People often honor an iron determination as insanity.
    Uncle Thomas is an ex-serviceman; we are friends. Since retirement he dedicated himself to work for nature. Every weekend we frequent the neighborhood lake. He often reminds me, ‘Young man, if one listens to, nature speaks too’

    Months ago, a factory had secretly channeled their waste-water line to our lake. We protested. Uncle called a rally and asked neighbors for support. Only a few responded, sympathized, and then advised, ‘forgive and forget’
    I still stood by him for the sake of kinship.

    Back to this morning, I finally discovered uncle in a boat near the bank.
    I approached, ‘Hello, what are you doing there?’
    Without looking up he replied, ‘See how the foam is spreading. Plankton would die from suffocation. Come join me help them breath’
    I moved bit closer and asked, ‘Who told you about the foaming?’
    In a low voice he clarified, ‘Nature spoke to me. It was an urgent summon!’

    Media persons came to cover the ‘Story’
    A girl insisted him, ‘Sir, could we talk to you, please?’
    Uncle calmly replied, ‘Oh sure, let me clean the foam at first’

  11. From a fallen century-old tree they stood. In clear view sturgeon jump over mounds of foam kicked up by a summer storm. The warm Siberian morning had beckoned them to this place. She a beauty; he a figure of chiseled might. Together, side by side, they mourned their loss. This place was meant to ease their pain.

    A cracking sound from below the embankment interrupted their transcendent communion. They saw a boat. Was the interloper trapped in ice? Was the figure looking for sturgeon? Well practiced in detail, he studied the trespasser, a hunter perhaps, working feverously. Why had he come to this place, their place?

    He felt her warm body nudge his broad shoulder; he knew what he had to do. In lightning speed he leaped from the embankment and raced across the ice crackling under his feet. His steel figure shot into the water, pushing against the soft waves and through the briny froth to the hapless human.

    From the bank he heard her cries, and cries for what? Didn’t she know he could easily master a tiny boat in the forbidding East Siberian Sea? In an instant it was over. Although his 400 pounds had defended the taiga for his kind, on this occasion he cared little for vengeance. Stepping over and between sturgeons, he gathered up his bleeding child cub in his mouth. He knew his tigress waited to say good-by.

  12. “This must be someone’s idea of a joke,” the man complained under his breath.
    He had been called down to the river in the middle of the night to investigate what appeared to be a large mass of “something white and fluffy” floating slowly down the river current.

    Mumbling under his breath about people on drugs and their hallucinations, he took his motor boat out to where the white mass had reportedly been seen. Sure enough, there it was! He motored up to it, and then started to glide into it for a closer look. It appeared to have the consistency of very thick whipped cream. Odd, he thought to himself.

    Gliding further into the mass of thick goo, the motor on the old boat sputtered, and died. He sighed, thankful for the paddle he kept on board for emergencies. Whatever this is, it’s sure thick. Why hadn’t it simply dissolved in the river?

    He started to paddle further into the mass, curious. The white goo was sticking to his paddle. It really did look like whipped cream.

    Tentatively he pulled the paddle up into the boat to get a closer look. He sniffed and tentatively took a tiny taste. I’ll be darned……

    The mass trembled, lurched, and engulfed both the motor boat and the man, leaving no trace of either on the lake.

    Its thirst for revenge temporarily satisfied, it continued to float down river, waiting.

  13. “Let him have it,” said Alice. “He’s almost got it contained.”

    “One more minute,” said Jim as he and Alice watched Mr. Turner corral the foam into a neat circle.

    There was always a little scum floating at the water’s edge this time of year, but this morning the entire lake had been coated with a mysterious layer of fluffy white cream. Mr. Turner was sent out to clean the mess before his coffee and had been grumbling the entire time.

    Just as Turner finished, Jim pointed his finger. “Tempest.”

    A whirling gust ripped across the lake, sending the foam flying. Turner threw his ball cap into the boat and shouted curses. His stomping rocked the craft, nearly tossing him into the water.

    “I bet he never hassles another barista about low foam on his latte again,” said Alice, between bouts of laughter.

    Jim felt heat flush his face just thinking about yesterday’s fiasco. Turner had called him a lazy inept kid who wouldn’t amount to anything. Being dressed down in front of the entire coffee shop and then fired wasn’t half as bad as the way everyone laughed.

    Only Alice had stood by him. She always did. More than a best friend, she was the only one who knew about his magic.

    “I still think you should have zapped some cinnamon on top,” said Alice. “You know that’s how he always takes his coffee.”

    “It wouldn’t change anything,” Jim said, shaking his head.

    “But it sure feels good.”

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