Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Gotham

chicago 1996 skyline flash fiction writing prompt copyright ksbrooks
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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6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Gotham”

  1. So we were sitting on our deck, staring out at the late summer haze, at the sea below, watching a slow tug pulling a barge with a house on it down the sound… another construction refugee from the big city…when we hear a “yoo-hoo” from the side of the house. And a “Hey, country cousins, thought we’d drop in for some fresh air…”

    We hadn’t seen Margie and Ralph in a dozen years. Neighbours, once, back in our city days.

    I got some beers and Emily rounded up some snacks…fresh raw carrots from the garden, some cherry tomatoes from the green house, goat cheese from Dave and Fern’s farm down the road…and we settled in to reacquaint.

    “We probably shoulda called first but…well, we thought you’d be in the outhouse or chopping wood or… doing something…whaddayacallit… primitive…”

    “That was considerate, Ralph. But we do have indoor plumbing…got it last year as a matter of fact,” I fibbed.

    Ralph never could tell when I was putting him on so I left it ambiguous.

    “Don’t you miss the city, Howie?” Ralph started in. “My god, man, don’t know how you do it. It’s as quiet as… as a bloody grave here.”

    Ralph never disappointed. He was still the kind of unoriginal guy who needed lots of ambient sound enveloping him so he didn’t have to listen to his own malarkey.

    “No, Ralphie, I have to say, don’t miss it one bit.”

    “That’s so sad, Howie. So…whaddaya actually do for excitement?”

  2. The interesting thing about the recent discovery of time travel is that it has destroyed our concepts of fiction and nonfiction. It seems every possibility is a reality that exists somewhere at some time. There is no such thing as fiction and nonfiction. There is the reality we live in, and, because of the infinite nature of time and space, there are an infinite number of other realities, some only slightly different from our own and some so vastly different they are the stuff of comedies or nightmares.

    As a child I had imagined myself magically transported to Gotham, that fantastic home of my favorite comic book hero, Batman. Just a childish fantasy, until one Dr. Elias Espinosa of founder of Time Travel Adventures approached me. He wanted a well-known scientific volunteer (me) to transport into another time to demonstrate the safety of his methods, with the hope of growing a lucrative, although very expensive, travel business. I was happy to oblige. I chose as my destination – what else? – the formerly fictional Gotham.

    And now here I was, high above Gotham, surveying the glorious city like a mighty hero. I wanted to fly through the purple skies. I tried to fly, and nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. I tried wiggling my arms, my legs, a finger, Nothing. I couldn’t move. Nothing moved, not me, not the sky, not the land below me. I was stuck in time.

    Where was Batman when I needed him?

  3. Sometime in the near future, a strange looking time machine materialized in a luxury suite atop a hotel in Chicago. Doctor Zombeski and his wife, Mary, stepped out on to the plush carpeting. As they quietly sipped espresso from their porcelain demitasses, they watched the sunset over the cityscape. Placing his empty demitasse on the gold trimmed marble table, he commented to her, “So this is what Chicago looks like. Isn’t it beautiful Sweetie? it looks like we arrived just in time.”

    Slowly she came over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered into his ear just before kissing him deeply, “Where else would we end up but here, this view is perfect.”

    Sighing deeply he melted into her soft sultry arms, “I think we have more than enough time to have some fun before it happens. Let’s break out the Campaign.”

    Later, a timer buzzed and he chuckled, “Perfect timing, one minute left. Let’s not waste any more time and start the count down. Sixty, fifty nine.”

    As every second passed they got more excited, until the count down hit zero, and they both yelled, “Happy New Year.” Then embracing again, they wildly kissed.

    Finally, they stopped kissing and she said, “Wow! That was fun. Let’s do it again, but this time in Time Square back in two thousand!”

    He nodded his head. So holding hands, they entered their time machine and left for their next New Year’s Eve Celebration.

  4. The city lights below began coming to life.

    When the penthouse doorbell chimed, she got to it first and unlocked it without looking through the peephole. The door crashed open, knocking her on top of me. I was clunked on the head and dragged into the closet.

    The only voice I could hear was her repeated scream, “No. Please, No.” I tried to break out to help, but no luck. The front door slammed shut. Then, silence.

    Fortunately, one of our neighbors had called 911 to report the ruckus. A helpful policeman let me out of the closet. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was crumpled on our patio, dead, with cuts oozing blood. My heart almost broke. Who could do such a horrible thing? She was the sweetest person I ever new. She loved me as much as I loved her. What now?

    Mingling among the gawkers that gathered, my instincts told me the killer was among them. And, sure enough, I spotted drops of blood on the shoe of a man hovering at the back of the crowd.

    I sprang up and knocked him down. Putting all my pressure on his chest, I reached over and clamped onto his foot. He screamed. An officer rushed over, spotted the blood, and handcuffed the wailing killer, her ex-husband.

    “Good work, fella,” the cop said, petting my head. I licked his hand, hoping he liked Great Danes and would adopt me.

  5. “Oh my gawd,” Letta hissed. Even though her friend spoke directly into her ear canal, Jessie’s head was still ringing from the thumping music and she almost couldn’t hear. The crowd was milling about the club door, the line halfway down the block, even though it was already 1:30.

    Letta elbowed her in the ribs. “Look!” she whispered fiercely, jerking her chin toward the street.
    Five or six people away from them, James Somerset was stepping out of a black car. Jessie’s eyes widened. James had starred in this summer’s biggest blockbuster and was the hottest new thing in town.

    “Oh my gawd,” Jessie gushed.

    “Get a picture!” Letta said, her sharpened nails digging into Jessie’s arm as she shook her.

    “No, no, no,” Jessie said. “Be cool, just stay cool.”

    As James and his entourage approached to pass by them, Jessie took a step back to strike her best casual pose. She took a step back…directly onto a storm grate. Her stiletto heel sunk, sending Jessie sprawling over the sidewalk, giving at least a dozen people a good look at the color of her panties.

    Letta, helpfully, gasped. Jessie just closed her eyes. She didn’t have the coordination to attempt to get up just yet, or the fortitude to deal with the magnitude of her embarrassment.

    “Miss, are you alright?” a man asked.

    Jessie recognized that voice. She opened her eyes. James Somerset stood over her, concern writ on his handsome features. He held his hand down to her.

  6. An unknown time; an unknown land; there was a well-known king.
    The king was overly creative, and dominating.
    Once in cabinet-meeting he said:
    ‘Nature is overshadowing my dignity. The disobedient sky is staying above my crown all the time! And those greeneries? — ever-spreading; there might be some conspiracy to engulf my land!’

    One minister readily agreed, ‘It’s thine kingdom highness, how could nature dare overshadow thee!’
    Another echoed, ‘Yes highness, nature is overgrowing too much. Could thou ever misjudge?’

    ‘I’ll show what kingship is. Let all traces of nature be removed from my kingdom.’

    Engineers erected stunning tall palaces to make the sky dwarf. The sky became much lesser visible. Big trees were uprooted. Workers buried and all greens, covered up the earth with artifacts.

    The kingdom looked utterly man-made; classy, neat and clean.
    The king exclaimed with elation, ‘This is what my City’

    Within a month physicians noticed a striking deterioration of mass health; both mental and physical. Some prescribed their ‘City’ patients regular excursion to some natural place.

    Suspecting as spy, the king expelled those physicians and issued an ordinance:
    In any case, my subjects must look happy always. They’ll have to cheer and howl every ten minutes; no excuses.

    Several nearby countries too got inspired by that ‘City’ kingdom. The craze spread world-wide. People preferred burying and covering nature under their fancy artifacts. Unhappy lives continued howling to prove happiness.

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