Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Moss Carpet

flash fiction writing prompt leaves-on-moss-colville-101213
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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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Moss Carpet”

  1. Mossed Opportunities

    The trees tower overhead. The trails are maze-like. The rain has stopped for now. I am still drenched, fish-wet, damp clothes sticking to my body like a moldy shroud, almost turning scaly, shivering but for an errant sickle of sunlight slicing the wood- swathed sky.

    I see no end to the trails in this primeval forest. It took so little time to lose my way. The parking lot beckoned, the road had tired me. ‘Come,’ the forest called, ‘walk in me.’

    I am too much encased in concrete these days. Obelisks of opportunity rise to the barely seen skyline. Robots we are, running madly here and there, pushing and shoving our way.


    “Drive up for the weekend,” she said.

    “I don’t need to be asked twice,” I replied.

    “Here’s the map,” she offered. And added. “Stay on the road. Don’t wander.”

    I usually listen well. But there was something that spoke, that I am sure I heard. Perhaps not.

    Highway driving can tantalize, is seductive. And, I thought, as I pulled over to stretch my legs, a few minutes. The air, fresh, invigorating.

    That first path, the sign, Victory Falls, how long had it been since I had seen a river, thunderous falls, and a distant cinematic memory, of “Splendor in the Grass, a combination of senses.

    What leads us to wander?

    There, in the cradle of earth, a soft bed of moss, awaiting my woods-ready soul, a moment of rest before I am ready to proceed.

  2. Jason was sure, no one followed him into the Okefenokee swamp. Sarcastically, muttering out loud, “After all, why would a city boy like me get my feet dirty in the brackish waters down here. Ha!”

    Then he amused himself, “They’re so stupid, thinking I won’t find my way through all this muck and mire, Well They’re Wrong!” He loudly proclaimed, “I bet they forgot that I spent many a summer vacation here, and know this swamp like the back of my hand.”

    So there he was hiking across the thick mossy carpet, on his way to Savanna, and to freedom. He muttered, to himself, “No more chain gangs for me, no sir, not me. Oh! And next time, I’m not going to get caught either, I got me a plan.”

    As the day wore on, he wore down and finally curled up on the soft lush moss beneath a willow tree, and fell fast asleep.

    Suddenly, he was rudely awakened by something poking his face. He was startled to discover a shotgun barrel pointed right between his eyes. The sheriff quickly handcuffed him. Shocked beyond disbelief, Jason snarled, “How did you ever find me?”
    “Why Jason, it wasn’t hard to find you, after all we knew right where you were going, even before you escaped, and it was easy to find you out here, too. “

    “How? Who told you?” Jason demanded.

    “Why Jason, I’m surprised, didn’t you know, you talk in your sleep, good and loud.”

  3. Florian didn’t notice his drop in altitude until he tripped on a tree root. He blinked, sighed and dropped onto a patch of moss.
    The battle had lasted for three days, and he was one of the few left of his Clan. The new Clan, full of young landless sprites, had invaded the forest center like hungry mosquitoes. He’d fought alongside brothers and cousins, but the invaders had more warriors. He’d have to find a safe place to hibernate soon, and rouse the survivors in spring.
    As he slept under a leaf, he healed and dreamed
    Titania appeared in all Her glory. He knelt and blushed with shame.
    “My son, do not fret. I know what happened today. You fought bravely. You will rest through the cold, and I will lead you to a new home in Spring. If you decide you’d rather live in peace.”
    “Where, my Queen? There are fewer forests each year.”
    “I have spoken to the hearts of men, and there is a new preserve nearby. They think it is for bears and deer, but it is for us. ”
    “And I lose the home of my ancestors,” he sighed. He could go see this human preserve, anyway – a quaint idea.
    “Not so; many seeds are from here. You’ll keep treasured memories. Rest now.”
    The next morning, a loud snuffling woke him. He swatted the cat on the nose and spiraled to the top of the tree. He wondered if there’ be cats there?

  4. I was just a lad when he came to live with us. “Just for a time,” he said, but the time stretched on. Not that we minded, not at all. When the work was done and the sun had set and we were all nestled around the fire, he entertained us with stories of fairies and brownies and leprechauns. Often we’d walk deep into the woods, to a valley of soft green moss and scattered bright colored leaves. There he’d point to a patch of moss and tell me, “This is where the fairies dance. If you listen you will hear their music.”

    He believed all the little creatures were real. I know he wanted me to believe too, but I didn’t. I was still young and impressionable, but I was also skeptical.

    Then one day he disappeared just as quickly and silently as he had come into our lives.
    That same day he had told me that he was almost overcome by a longing to return to his old life. I took that to mean he had gone back to wherever and whatever he was before he came to us, and I wished him well.

    One evening I walked into the woods at sunset to see the place where the fairies danced and remember the old man and his stories. I heard faint music and saw fairies dressed in all shades of green whirling like leaves in the wind. The one who winked at me looked familiar.

  5. “Oh for Pete’s sake Peter!”

    “Exactly, Claire.”

    “You’re such a ninny. You said that you were taking me to a ‘goldmine’. Now here we are, standing in the middle of acres and acres of soggy, boggy moss!”

    “Claire, I inherited this land from my uncle Angus. You’re standing in the middle of that goldmine right now!”


    “You see…this isn’t just any old moss. It’s PEAT moss. Now do you get it?”

    “Not at all.”

    “Well, Scotch whiskey has become VERY popular in recent years. But imported whiskey is so expensive — I’ve decided to open our own distillery right here in Maine!”

    “You’ve got to be kidding.”

    “Uh uh. Here’s the thing: to make the whiskey you burn peat to make smoke that dries barley. Then you ferment the barley, distill it and store it in wooden casks. The flavor comes from the PEAT. And we’ll be able to sell it for a lot less than imported varieties. There’s a fortune to be made!”

    “O.K. genius. ASSUMING that I go along with this crazy idea, what are you going to call this concoction, huh?”

    “Oh, Claire. ‘For Peat’s Sake’of course!”

  6. So, you think finding a needle in a haystack is impossible? Well, try finding a wedding band in a forest. Cripes!

    The Captain assigned the case to me and my partner, LaLa.

    “Take as long as it takes, Mike, but bring back the ring,” he ordered. “It’s the only evidence that could help prove his guilt.”

    On the way to the site, LaLa asked, “Why in the world would her husband rip the ring from her finger after killing her?” She crushed her Marlboro into the tray.

    “Maybe just wanted something to remember her by. Killers do things like that. Why else?”

    We pulled into the site drawn on the map.

    The Noon Sun blazed down as we poked through the shrubs.

    We didn’t realize how long it was taking. The setting Sun cast long shadows reaching out.

    “Better wind this up, Mona. Let’s get out of here.”

    “Wait,” she shouted. “I think I found it!”

    She handed the gold band to me. There were microscopic markings covering the inside.

    “Let’s get back to the Lab. Maybe they can decipher it.”

    After microscoping the ring, the technician said, “This laser etching says, ‘If any harm comes to me, it will be done by my husband, who married me for love – of my money. So, if you find this ring, something dreadful has happened. Go get the son-of-a-gun. Hope this helps convict him. Thanks.’”

    Mike winked. “Can you believe this?”.

  7. Rose wakes up and wonders where she is. The last thing she remembers is walking with her sister through the woods.
    “That tree looks larger than it did yesterday!” she exclaims.
    Rose looks around a little more. “Lily! Lily! Where are you?”
    No answer. Rose brushes herself off and starts walking. Everything seems to have grown over night. The leaves, the sticks, the trees. She bumps into a blade of grass.
    “Wow, the grass is big!”
    Walking a bit farther, Rose stumbles upon someone, singing by the boulder. “Hi, can you help me?”
    Troy looks wide eye at Rose. “Who are you?”
    “I am Rose. I am trying to find my sister. Can you help me?”
    “Where did you come from?”
    “I live over there and my sister and I went for a walk. We decided to lay down by that tree over there and I fell asleep.”
    “You live with the giants? Are you a giant?”
    “Do I look like a giant to you? I am the same size as you,” she says with her hands on her hips.
    Troy looks Rose over a bit. When he turns around, Rose covers her mouth.
    “What? What is wrong? Is there something on me?” asks Troy as he turns around and around.
    “No, um, I don’t know. What are you? I see a tail and wings”
    “I am a fairy-elf mix.”
    “Oh, what? Wait?”
    Then Rose wakes up for real and sees Lily, laying down beside her. What a strange dream.

  8. There’s something I’m supposed to look for. Something I need to do. A chill wind sends leaves swirling as I bite my lip, struggling to remember. The sweet, earthy scent of the green forest carpet does nothing to jog my memory or fill my emptiness.

    A granite bolder peaks out from beneath the moss like a large belly wearing a fuzzy jacket. It even has a row of brown leaves to serve as buttons. On one side, a line of sprouts poke through the thick covering, serine in their quiet home. Hunger’s rumble breaks the silence and I try to sooth it with a leaf. One nibble and I spit it out. It tastes like stitching on an old shirt. Food isn’t what I seek.

    I rub my eyes and look again. Memories flood back and I nearly choke in the grief. I know now what this is, what I must do. My fingers tremble as they reach for the line of tiny leaves. Into the pocket I place two hazelnuts, each painted with the likenesses of my children. A pair of silver coins join them. Tears soak the forest god’s mossy jacket where I lay my head. The first flakes fall as I drift off to sleep.

    “Mama. Wake up, Mama.”

    Small, warm hands caress my cheek and last fall’s despair flees. I open my eyes to a pair of faces framed by wavy red hair. They’re taller than before, stronger. Perhaps strong enough to survive winter this time.

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