Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Abandoned

fall foliage writing prompt 234-downtown-chewelah-home-com
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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Abandoned”

  1. In a few hours it will be night. The darker, the better. I waited.

    The house seemed passive in daylight, but would show its true self at midnight. Even the trembling trees would shiver and shed. No one knew when it started, but shortly after it was abandoned, years ago, unexplained rumbles and moans began echoing after twelve every Halloween night.

    It was last year when I first saw it. Tricked and treated, I started off to bed. It was late, after eleven. Not being sleepy, I decided to take a leisurely walk. I don’t know how I ended up at that house, but there it was. As I stepped closer, the rumbles and echos began. Slowly, the front door creaked open. It stood there, a moaning, hooded cloud, with what appeared to be arms, outstretched, fluttering, luring me to its haunting embrace. I felt the hairs on the back of my head rise. Turning, I ran as fast as I could to the safety of home, vowing to return next year to solve the mystery.

    Now, here it was again, Halloween’s midnight. I cringed as I heard the squeak of the door opening. There it stood, a transparent, shapeless form, floating, fluttering, reaching. “I’ve been waiting for you,” she whispered. The hairs on the back of my head remembered and spun me around.

    As I raced through the falling leaves from the trembling trees, I thought, well, maybe next year.

  2. For the last time, the little old man stepped out the front door. Gently shaking he placed his old suitcase on the porch floor boards. He slipped the keys out of his pocket and fumbled with them as he locked his door.

    He turned and remembered all the living that had gone on here: carrying his bride over the threshold, bringing the baby home for the first time, seeing her off to school, sending her off to college, driving her to the chapel, greeting each of their grandchildren for the first time. Then all the times he unlocked this door for her; oh, how he missed his wife.

    Now, the time had come to abandon this old place because he could no longer keep it up. He could no longer rake the yard or shovel the snow, or paint the front door. It was no longer his to lock or unlock, and it was his time to finally go, too. Without thinking, he slipped the key into his pocket and slowly bent over and picked up his old battered suitcase. His grandson was here to take him away from all these memories. He stopped for a moment and wiped his tears away before heading to the car.

    As they drove away, he saw the flatbed truck with the bulldozer on it , patiently waiting to wipe all his memories away, and he wondered why he even bothered to lock the front door?

  3. Leaves crunched beneath Samantha’s feet as she pulled grandfather across autumn-dim grass toward the farmhouse where, Grandpa said, he’d grown up, raised his children, and lived until Grandma died and he couldn’t stay anymore.

    With each step she kicked a storm of leaves for the cool wind to whisk away.

    A great oak overspread the lawn and cloaked the farmhouse in mystery. Samantha liked mystery. It broke her out in tingling goosebumps.

    “You never knew Grandma,” Grandpa said in his reedy voice. “She died before you were born.”

    “Is she in heaven now?” Samantha’s wondering eyes lifted to the cloud of yellowing leaves.

    Grandpa looked, too. “If heaven looks like that.”

    “It must!”

    “That’s her headstone, you see.”

    “Is she in the tree, Grandpa? Is the tree her?”

    Grandpa patted Samantha’s head and clumped up the steps onto the porch. His hand touched the old door, stroked it for a moment, then pulled.

    Samantha’s nose wrinkled at the ancient smells from within. Grandpa tugged her hand and they entered.

    For a moment all was dark, then light grew and old smells gave way to aromas of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and fresh baked pumpkin pie. Samantha heard a cry of joy as old as the world, and Grandpa nudged her forward into a pair of pale, shimmering arms that surrounded her and filled her with the warmth of their love.

    “Oh my child!” Grandma said, tears in her eyes. “Now I truly am in heaven!”

  4. I’m alone now. Everyone that I loved is dead. My mother, my father, my sisters and brothers, my best friend, everyone. But no one knows that. I refuse to tell anyone in Wickersby that I’m living here alone because they’d make me go live in the orphanage.
    People think that I, Alaina Verity, died alongside my family and friends. They’ve dismissed the noises coming from the woodland cottage, saying that there’s a ghost haunting it. “It was always a rather sketchy place,” Mayor Barry told the village. Now they’re afraid to come to the cottage.
    But am I a ghost? No, I’m sure I’m still alive. Otherwise, how could I still feel the pang of loss, the loneliness of being trapped here with no human contact. Aren’t those signs that you’re still living, or can a spirit feel emotion?
    In all the stories, people said that ghosts felt human emotions. But if that’s the case, how can you tell who’s a ghost and who’s alive?
    I’m not sure who I am anymore. Am I a ghost, or am I a human? Alive or dead?
    No one seems to notice me when I go into town a few days a year. And people speak of me as if I’m nothing more than a memory. “Remember Alaina Verity? She was a good soul. Shame she’s gone,” people say. I guess that I’m really a spirit after all.
    They call me the Ghost of Wickersby Cottage. And I guess that’s what I am.

  5. At dinner, as Allie chattered about her kindergarten class, Ben would mumble, “Um-hmm,” or “Really?” between glances at his phone or the second hour of the same local TV news as the first.

    “C’mon, Ben. Let’s take a walk,” Allie said.

    “Aww, Al,“ he said, but checked his phone and saw he had a free hour. “Okay, let’s go.”

    Tonight, Allie didn’t lead them past the park. Instead, they silently ambled through their old neighborhood.

    Allie stopped and stared at their first rental. Ben kept walking.

    “It’s still empty,” Allie said.

    “What?” Ben said, looking up and not finding Allie at his side.

    “This place. Since we left, it always was for sale and still looks vacant, practically abandoned.”

    “Hmmph, guess so. C’mpn, let’s get back before dark.”

    All the way, Allie conducted a dinner-style conversation with Ben, only in her mind.


    You walked past our house like you do the homeless guys in the park, just part of the scenery, colorless, ignorable.

    What’d happen if you looked into its face, its vacant window eyes veiled with webs and secrets. Afraid it’d feel haunted looking back at you?

    If you stopped to consider this shell full of lonely, would you see its lively times of youth, of family, stolen by time and disinterest? Nah. That’d require recalling yesterday when you barely can grasp today.

    Yeah, move along, Ben. After all, just another part of the scenery.


    Breakfast was silent next morning. As the news repeated, Ben barely noticed.

  6. Homestead

    Harry Fraser’s my uncle. Mom never had a good word for her brother. Harry’s a little strange. Silent!
    The grandparents probably knew it. He was the one child they had who they knew needed some extra care. That’s why Harry lived in the old family shack.

    I call it a shack but it had been in the family for eighty years.

    So it became Harry’s Place. His four siblings including my mother always resented it.

    Then, ten years ago, the town council decided to set aside a chunk of land for a large park, a park to be named after a long dead mayor, Hec Braidmore.

    They settled on Harry’s place.

    The grand folks were still alive and kicking and put up a hell of a fuss. They weren’t learned but they sure were cagey.

    “Don’t seem right,” they said.

    The Council said, “Right as rain. For the greater good.”

    In some places, the States for example, they call it Eminent Domain. Kind of has a regal ring to it. Like it’s the purview of kings and the wealthy.

    In Canada, it’s a little starker sounding. We call it expropriation.

    Well, the council finally won. But it cost them plenty. Had to buy strange Harry a brand new place.

    It was a lot better than the shack. Not as pretty, mind you.

    A Condo tower.

    Thing is, Harry loves his new view.

    “Trees can’t get you up here,” he’s always saying now. “Hate trees. Can’t trust them.”

  7. Brian swore he loved me. He had promised me a diamond ring, a new car, a house, money for clothes, everything I had ever wanted. I believed him. For a while, I believed him. But I was beginning to see that his promises were empty, nothing but promises. I told him I was leaving unless he made good on at least one of them.

    I was instantly sorry I had said such a thing. Brian was a good man, and I loved him. He worked hard to support me and our three young children. I must have sounded horribly mercenary, saying such a thing to him. He left for work that day, saying nothing, and came home late. The following day was the same. I thought my heart would break seeing him so unhappy.

    On the third day, Brian came home early, excited, and told me he had a surprise for me.

    “Get the kids,” he said. “We’re going for a ride.”

    He drove us out to the country and pulled up in front of a beat-up little house, with broken porch steps.

    “It’s all ours! Do you like it?” He was so happy, so proud.

    “I love it!” I said. And I did. We would fix it up together, and it would be perfect. I could see the kids growing up here, and Brian and me growing old together here, in our own house.

  8. ‘Welcome, you are safe in my cottage’
    ‘You live here? Alone!’
    ‘I had come to absorb nature; nature engrossed me’

    After a long silence the old man reassured, ‘Relax in that guest room’

    It was a lifeline. I came in the morning to enjoy an escape from suffocating schedules. Obsessed with landscapes, I walked aimlessly all the day along meadows, villages, amidst soft green nature. The afternoon sky looked like a magic colour palette. I could hardly blink eyes.
    Spellbound, I forgot how remote a place I came to. When my awareness came back, with a shock, it was already twilight. I ran to the main road as fast as I could. But? I saw the last bus passing by yards ahead. I cried loudest, but in vain. It disappeared.

    Alone in the dark deserted land, I started to march expecting some inhabitants nearby, but failed. Within half an hour night became too dark to find a way through. With a sharp twist, nature unleashed its terrifying look.

    I saw a dimming light, approached, and found this cottage. The old man gave me a cup of rich coffee and a cup cake. I fell asleep in the small room provided.

    The next morning, friends woke me up in the cottage. The local police had helped them to trace me.

    I asked, ‘Where is the old man?’
    A police officer replied, ‘Sir, an eminent writer used to live here, 250-years ago. Now it is abandoned’

  9. “The house has been abandoned for years. Best thing you could do is tear it down and start over.”

    “We’ll take your advice into consideration Mr. Jones.”

    The realtor handed over the key and left them to start their new life in a new, old home.

    Hesitating, Ben held it out to his wife. “It’s warm and look…it’s almost glowing.”

    His wife gently touched the golden brass and smiled in wonder. “It looks very old and fancy.”

    Ben turned the key in the lock, stopping short of entering. “Let’s do this right.”

    He lifted his new wife over the threshold nearly dropping her when he saw what used to be dusty and in shambles, now gleaming and beautiful. Shiny floors reflected warm lamplight. A fire glowed cozy in the fireplace. On the mantle a clock chimed the top of the hour.

    Back out on the stoop, the outside with the crooked shutters, missing shingles and peeling paint, hadn’t changed. Indoors they walked from room to room, each more exquisite.

    Ben looked at the key, now a standard metal like one gets at a hardware store.

    His wife smiled. “It’s like the fairytale. We used the magic key at the precise time the clock chimed the top of the hour.”

    “But how?” Ben asked.

    “Do you believe in magic husband?”

    “I have believed since you said yes to my proposal”

    “As have I.”

    And they lived happily ever after.

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