Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fog

foggy quoddy light Maine 1996 flash fiction writing prompt copyright KS Brooks
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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18 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fog”

  1. The weather chilled me. Thick fog closed in and my anxiety grew. I continued climbing the cliff, wondering if I would truly, ever know Sam’s reason for leaving. Twenty four hours ago, I would have thought him content, if not happy, with our life together. He smiled and welcomed me home with a kiss on my mouth and an embrace that was both sweet and reassuring.  

    So what had happened?  

    Reaching the top of the cliff, I pulled his note from my pocket. I gripped the tattered paper as the ocean breeze tried to rip it from my trembling hands. My spirits lifted slightly as the breeze cleared the relentless fog, leaving the bay showered in warm, spring sunshine.  

    Perhaps its cloying nearness pushed Sam beyond his limits.  He always said he needed open spaces and sunshine. I knew that life here meant more to me than it had ever meant to him. He’d grown up in a warm climate with palm trees and sandy shores. I, on rocky ledges with seasons, all of which were damp and cool.  

    If only he’d waited.  

    Tears filled my eyes and I blinked, releasing them. I hoped they would wash away his memory, knowing I would never forget his tender touch, his dark moods and quick laughter. 

    As the fog lifted, so did my heart, for there at my door stood Sam.
     
    I shouted and waved from the cliff. “Sam!” 

    His eyes lifted and he smiled. 

  2. A Moment of Fog

    We’d better pull over, she says.

    My very thought, I say to myself.

    Well, she says, what are you waiting for?

    You are so unswerving, I think. However, if you can’t see where you are going, how in the heck can you see where to pull over.

    I think, more than I talk. And much, much more than I do.

    I like to call it thinking but it may be something else. It might be a sadness, like when you are standing in the sunshine, staring out at the sea, smelling the salt air, perhaps catching the magically fleeting sight of Orcas passing, the joyous freedom of that moment and then the pale darkness begins, the mist, the haze from elsewhere, starts to coil in, surrounds you. The moment of exhilaration starts to disappear as you are ensnared in the enveloping miasma.

    We are still moving, she pronounces, pulling me back into her moment.

    I can’t see anything, I plead.

    Then stop, she demands.

    We’re on the highway, I say.

    Tell me something I don’t know, she replies.

    I wonder what it might be that I know that she doesn’t. I am often at a loss for words in her garrulous presence. That is not unusual. In any grouping of two or more, there is often one who dominates. Certainly, in our confederacy of two.

    I had imagined this getaway to Lighthouse B&B might spark something we have lost.

    No!

    I swing the wheel hard right.

  3. A few said my paintings lacked depth, were sheathed in haziness, had no definition. The majority said they got right to the essence of whatever their subject was and eliminated the irrelevant. I, of course, believed the “essence” ones. I did tend to capture the soul of what I saw. And to do it with style and grace. What right did these peasants have to criticize my art? They, who had never so much as picked up a paintbrush.

    But when the check came for my latest sale, I could not read it. I had noticed lately a growing weakness in my eyes and thought now would be the time to schedule an examination. The examination lead to a diagnosis of cataracts which lead to a simple operation to correct them.

    “Your vision will be better than it has ever been,” said the ophthalmologist.

    He was right. The operation was uncomplicated, and I emerged with better than 20-20 vision. I was stunned! The world was full of such beauty, such colors, such clear outlines.

    And then I saw my paintings. Gloomy fog-shrouded lonely buildings. Depressing scenes without light or shadow. How had I ever managed to sell so many of them? I destroyed them all and started over, with brilliant shades of red, yellow, orange.

    It has been five years since my transformation. The strange thing is, I have not sold a single painting since.

  4. Two men lost in a pea soup fog, and desperately searching for a safe haven, “Charlie! Charlie! I can’t see my hand in front of my face. Are you sure we’re paddling in the right direction?”

    Charlie lit a match and looked down at his small homemade compass, “George, just keep paddling. We’re heading southwest, right at the peninsula lighthouse and freedom.”

    In the dense fog, George started to panic, “Charlie! What if this fog don’t lift? What if we miss the peninsula and go out to sea? Charlie, we don’t stand a chance in the open water, they’ll hunt us down in their speed boats and kill us!”

    Charlie hushed him, “George! Shut up! And just keep paddling! Sound carries out here! They’ll hear us and kill both of us! Now, shut up and paddle for your life!”

    Soon, salt water started to leak through the sides of their handmade duck tape canoe. Both took turns paddling and bailing it out. Minutes turned into what seemed like hours of paddling and bailing, until, “Charlie! That’s it, I can’t do this no more.”

    George collapsed and so did Charlie. Eventually, the canoe ran aground. Charlie looked up at a beacon of light, “George! We made it to the peninsula lighthouse. We’re free! They can’t hurt us no more.”

    As George and Charlie stared up at that bright light of freedom, a figure stepped out of the shadows, “Boys! Welcome back to Alcatraz. We missed you something awful.”

  5. Sitting on top of the lighthouse and staring into the haze, I cannot help but reflect on all the wasted summers I’ve had at my grandparent’s house. There is nothing to do here on this godforsaken rock. No ships even come through here any longer since they found a much safer route a few kilometres to the north…

    Sometimes I think my grandparents enjoy the monotony, the all engulfing silence. I cannot understand it. At least, when I was younger, I could gorge in the stories they told. Stories about adventure, about monsters and ghosts – the hazy weather adding to the mystery.

    As I stood staring into nothingness, trying to remember the one story about a ghost ship, I began hearing a peculiar sound. I wondered if it was the ocean hitting against the lighthouse, but it definitely had a melody. Forgetting about the story, I peered my ears until everything was silent again.

    I slumped on the railing, disappointed, and my mind drifted again towards the story. And as I did, the melody returned. I imagined it to be a sea chanty, course and without rhythm. Thinking about it more strongly, I swear I heard the creaking of wooden planks very near me – the sounds and music growing stronger.

    But as I tried to rationalise what was happening, the sounds disappeared and I was once again alone in the haze. Maybe there is more to it, this place that nobody visits, a place where stories comes to life.

  6. Through the thick Maine fog she walks slowly to the sea, always her first love. Here is where she feels her safest, hidden by the mists rolling across the rooftops, slowly billowing across the field.

    Her final destination looms eerily ahead, looking more like a leviathan in the murky depths of the sea than the harmless beloved light house it truly is.
    The closer she gets to this lighted beacon the more her minds eye sees herself as a child, running and playing, pretending this place was her private castle.

    Oh the fun she had here!

    When she felt sad or alone she would come to her castle by the sea. Her heart would flutter as she looked out at the ships being lead to safety. She wondered which one would finally bring the prince her child’s mind pined for, the one who would finally chase away the loneliness she so often felt.

    She was in her teens when at last, one of those wonderful ships did bring her the prince she had imagined for so long. She was blessed with a happily ever after for sixty-three years.

    Now it is time to be with her prince again and this time it will be for the rest of eternity. She’s known for some time that this would come to pass, he told her he would wait for her, now at long last the wait is over.

    With a knowing smile she takes a last look at her first love.

  7. The last time Tommy experienced fog like this he was in in is father’s 50 foot in shore trawler off Loop Head in County Clare on the treacherous west coast of Ireland. Counting the seconds between the flashes of that single bulb magnified by glass prisms confired that they were where they expected to be. This time it was a different coastline and a different lighthouse. Tommy did not know this place so the fog only obliterated the landmarks he would not recognise. The cargo,once deposited would pay off the loan on his father’s boat which would allow them to recondition the engine and set upon the Atlantic again next spring. The fog was a help as long as he could navigate the transfer by radar. The spring came and the skipper was happy to be returning to the marks he hoped would see a big catch. The new engine hummed with the rythm of a concertina playing the Bucks of Oranmore. The new crew were eager but untested and all had seen “The Perfect Storm” three times. Skipper didn’t know if that was good or bad but it was unavoidable that it made them all wannabee skippers. He missed Tommy.

  8. The fog was heavy this rainy Sunday. The car had broken down near a field. Luke remembered his grandparents talking about this old farm and the landowners who lived in the 160-year-old homestead. Luke had never seen it and through this thick fog no one could make out anything more than five feet in front of them, but he thought this might be their property.
    He and his buddy, Jake, trudged through the uneven field as best they could. The ground was damp, half frozen. The January rains had turned the field into a swamp, the uneven surface just solid enough to prevent sinking but the bottom of their jeans and their boots were caked in mud.
    It felt as if they had walked an eternity. They came upon a row of untrimmed hedges, bare branches more appropriate for Halloween than mid-winter. In the distance they spied a two-story white home covered by a bright red roof.
    “Is that a light house?” Jake asked, squinting into the mist.
    “It sure looks like it. But the light isn’t on. You’d think with all this fog they’d be alerting ships.”
    “Three chimneys, no smoke. This place must be abandoned.
    Just then a man exited the house, greeting the two and invited them in. As they entered the front door, Luke looked at Jake. “Listen,” he whispered.
    After several moments, Jake whispered back, “I don’t hear anything.”
    “Exactly—no surf.”
    The door shut behind them.

  9. The old Scottish keeper hurriedly climbed the long winding staircase, puffing loudly he grumbled, “Aye, a dreich day! Black as the Earl of Hell’s waistcoat!” At last, he stepped onto the catwalk, gave the dark Fresnel lens a glare and climbed down the small ladder to the lamp.

    Shaking his head with anger, he advanced the wick, gave it a clean cut with his pocket knife and re-lit it. Within seconds a large flame soon burned bright and the glass lens once more projected its lifesaving light out across the foggy sea. The old lightkeeper stepped back to watch, allowing himself the briefest of smiles before his craggy face resumed its customary scowl.

    In the distance a dark shape passed through the fog, just barely visible in the beam of light. A ship, making its way southward, just a few miles away. On board the ship, the Second Mate and Captain were peering into the green glow of the navigation radar screen, when the Mate noticed a light suddenly beaming toward them from shore. He remarked jokingly to the Captain, “Looks like someone finally paid their electric bill.”

    The Captain looked up and frowned in confusion at his Mate. The Second Mate silently pointed to the light. The Captain turned to the light and stared for a few minutes. Finally, his shaky voice whispered, “It is the Dunoon Point Lighthouse.” He turned to the Second Mate, “It was destroyed in a storm, Christmas Day, 1901.”

  10. Esmerelda switched off the lighthouse beacon, two-toned sound system, and climbed to the walkway. Reaching down, she smiled and unhooked the gate’s iron latch. The mist was rapidly swelling to an impenetrable fog. She pulled the hood of her cape over her braided black hair and waited for Joshua, her husband.
    The bartender went to Joshua’s booth to tell him of the phone call about the lighthouse. Joshua stood, winked goodbye to the shapely redhead, and staggered to his truck.
    The pickup inched cautiously through the dense haze. Chomping on his cigar, he wondered, what the hell could have happened to the lighthouse? Hope it’s not gonna take too long. Gotta get back to the bar before some other guy makes out with her.
    Esmeralda saw the misty headlights. Soon, she mused, it will all be over. I’ll be rid of five years of a miserable, thankless marriage and get on with my new life and passionate lover. She chuckled.
    Joshua wobbled to the control panel and saw all the switches in Off. He immediately switched to On. The scent of his wife’s perfume lingered. “That bitch,” he mumbled. On his way to the walkway, to make sure the light was working, his six cans of beer began wearing off.

    He stepped out onto the platform. Esmerelda lunged forward, arms outstretched. The wind twirled her cape over his head. He grabbed it. They screamed hysterically, hurtling through unconcerned fog to the punishing crags below.

  11. “Jeremiah Johnson, I swear you were born with your head in the clouds!”

    “Now Temperance…we’ve been married for thirty years and have lived in this very place for those same thirty years. Yet every time a bit o’ weather moves in, you say the same thing.”

    “JJ, most times I don’t mind it so much. But when you go to work, well — the light doesn’t bother me too much but the NOISE keeps me awake.”

    “Wife, it’s my job. I save lives.”

    “You’re not a doctor are you? Or a fireman. Or policeman.”

    “No, I’m surely not. But look, you do YOUR job well, don’t you? You cook, you clean. Keep a good house, right?”

    “Of course!”

    “Well I do my job well too.” With that JJ peered out the bay window that faced the ocean and saw the fog bank rolling unto shore.

    As he began to climb the spiral staircase leading to the control panel far overhead, he heard his wife call out from below: “Jeremiah Johnson, I swear…”

    The light began to flash into the thickening mist as the foghorn began to wail. There hadn’t been a shipwreck in this area for thirty years.

  12. It was a sudden trip to hill-station. My brother and I were at railway waiting room, taking care of luggage. Srinivas and Ratan went to find a cheap-yet-cosy shelter.

    They came back in despair, ‘Rooms unavailable. Even mediocre houses are demanding star-rated rents’
    We four wandered a lot but could not find any agreeable room.

    By afternoon a teashop owner told us about ‘Sahib Kuthi’ — a two hundred years old bungalow. He alerted, ‘We avoid that premises. It is infamous for ghostly activities. But otherwise grand’

    We talked to the housekeeper and got a great deal.

    The bungalow was luxurious, though, worsened. We had an amazing evening, followed by a sound sleep.
    At 4:40 a.m. I woke up, called mates. One said, ‘It’s too early!’ another excused, ‘It’s so foggy outside’ and finally brother accused, ‘Why envying my comfort? Let me sleep!’
    I headed for workout.

    As I was stepping out I heard —
    ‘Chan-chhanat; chan, chhanat…’
    — like anklet’s sound. I stopped, it stopped. I resumed, it restarted.
    Taken aback; who’s that? I turned around, found none. I roared, ‘Hey! Hello, anybody here?’
    My voice echoed.

    I moved faster; the sound continued in a matching tempo. In the fogged lawn, amidst mysterious installations, thrill was tending to fear. I plugged my trembling hands into hip pockets.

    The mystery was over!
    Pockets were full of coins. I percussed a relieving rhythm on my pockets
    ‘chan-chhanat-chan…’

  13. The alert sounded and woke me from my slumber.
    I leapt from the bed and headed straight for the stairs up to the top of the lighthouse. Someone was in trouble and it was up to me to save them.
    At the top, I saw a heavy layer of fog blanketing the entire coast. The light was already scanning the ocean but the reflection of light back to me indicated it wasn’t making it out very far with the murky fog. Training kicked in and I picked up the handset to the radio and began sending out a message on all channels to locate the boat in distress. Shortly after my broadcast began I heard the voice of a desperate woman. “Can you help? I can’t see anything.”
    “My name is Jacob, relax miss I am in control of the Washburn station.” I hoped my voice was soothing enough because I had no way to direct her in since I did not know where she was. I scanned the radar to see if there was anything to see. Panic set in because I did not want to lose someone and have it on my conscience.
    A loud alarm sounded again and out of nowhere she showed up on the radar next to the coast. I froze and stared at the screen, it was too late.
    “Jacob. Your test is over and you failed. Meet me in the conference room so we can determine what you did wrong.”

  14. The eternal fog is getting to both of us. For me, it’s the fog that surrounds our seaside home. For my 95-year-old father, it’s the fog inside his mind.

    Every morning he tries to get outside. He thinks he must repair the lighthouse equipment, his job of 40 years ago. He believes he must return to his World War II encampment.

    They’ve diagnosed DRC – Dream Reality Confusion. Whenever he awakens, he cannot comprehend that the real world consists of an elderly man living with his aging daughter. What he believes does not seem strange to him – a bear locked in the closet, an intruder attacking with a knife.

    His mind often clears by lunchtime. On our drives through the countryside he directs our path better than my GPS. He remembers that his wife died three years ago. He understands that my presence keeps him out of the nursing home. Just the foggy mornings imprison us both.

    This morning he is gone. He found the hidden key and has escaped. I enter pudding thick fog. I call his name, knowing that he hears only the ocean’s roar. I hurry toward the beach and find footprints in the sand. Bare feet in this weather must belong to him.

    I peer toward the cold water. A painful knot cramps my chest, then migrates to my shoulder. Suddenly, I realize my heart is failing. As I drop to my knees, I think I hear my father calling my name.

  15. “Josh, keep everyone inside. They’re coming.”
    I raced to the lighthouse as the sea fog rolled up over the cliff edge and towards town. I knew what the fog brought on a night like this. Only the lighthouse beam shining out to sea could stop ‘them’.
    I raced up the circular steps.
    Twenty years ago, my father was lighthouse keeper. I’d been playing on the rocks and fallen as the fog rolled in. He’d shone the light and they’d stayed away while Josh climbed down to rescue me. Josh had broken his arm and I was without a scratch.
    I hit the light. The beam shot out across the sea, reflecting from the opaque cloud.
    The beam spun, shining back over the town. Wraith-like figures moved with the encroaching fog. They had come.
    “Turn off the light.”
    Josh stood before me. Glare from the light shone across his translucent body. He reached a skeletal arm to mine. The hand sagged down from a snapped forearm.
    I stumbled back, saw my reflection in the curved glass of the lantern room. My head flopped down behind my shoulder, defying gravity by a stretch of translucent skin.
    “You broke your neck when you fell.”
    Josh’s voice sat in the air. A memory sparked, and another. Smooth rocks, wet tendrils from the fog stroking my forehead. And a realisation: the light didn’t keep them away; it revealed them.
    “Turn the light off.”
    I touched the switch as a ship’s foghorn blared into the night.

  16. The sun had already set, the ambient light was just enough to makr some shapes along the highway . The cold November air was seeping through my creaky chevy, as i rattled along the east coast highway .. towards NY. The road was punctuated with sea ports and bridges. i took an exit to take a break On a secluded turn , this ghost of a house jumps out at me with a towering light house for company. my initial reaction was to keep moving but somehow my car came to a sputtering halt.

    With little hope of finding a living soul. I marched up the front porch . On the side there was a severly broken sign which read I think as ~EAT~NT~EN~TER

    When my door knocks went unanswered I peeped through the glass door only to be met with a set of eyes staring right back at me ! startled ! I took a few steps back .. the door opened and a old lady with a walking stick stepped out..

    “what are you looking for young man ?” ..

    when I looked at the broken signage for the eatery she signalled me to follow.

    i entered and looked at the shambled place I noticed the woman’s feet from behind they were still turned towards me .. blood drained off my face .. as I fumbled for words .. next thing I know I was running towards my car .. looking at the board I now read it correctly as “DEATH DON’T ENTER”

  17. Charlie’s body was stiff as a board. Richard stooped over the lighthouse generator looking puzzled and sad trying to figure out what killed his cat. He sipped his morning coffee and began to ponder the situation. He had to figure out when to break the news to his dear wife Eleanor. One tragedy this month had been enough to deal with already.
    Two nights ago, while Eleanor and Richard were having dinner in the kitchen, she abruptly broke the news that her sister’s husband had died after a brief illness. That evening the waves were crashing extremely hard against the rocky coastline below their lighthouse as a storm moved up the Atlantic coast towards Cape Elizabeth. Richard couldn’t remember the last time they kept anything from each other in four decades of marriage. He felt a little angry and betrayed and couldn’t eat.
    Eleanor leaned over her plate of chicken stew towards Richard and said “I’m sorry Richard, I should have told you right away, but I knew you and Edward didn’t get along. She will be fine, he had life insurance.”
    Richard glared back at her “So, Edward died about a month ago, but you don’t know what killed him?” She just shook her head and continued to ignore her dinner.
    Richard pushed back from the table and hurried out the back door and stepped outside into the dampness and fog. He bent down and left his dinner next to the generator for the cat. Charlie just loved leftovers.

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