Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Valentine

flash fiction writing prompt wedding rings 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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16 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Valentine”

  1. “The calla lillies are in bloom again, such a strange flower, suitable…
    No. No. No, “ she cried. “I can’t bring that line into this movie.”
    Kate flipped open her gold case, and lit another cigarette. She fondled the engraved “Spence” on the inside cover with her thumb and smiled.

    “But, Kate, that was marvelous. You gave it such feeling,” Greg called out from sound stage left. “We’ve go to leave it in. It was pure genius of you to even think of adding it to the dialogue.” He plopped down next to her on the overstuffed couch.

    “Do you really think so, you dear, dear man?” Kate reached out and patted his cheek. She stood and smoothed the rolls from her gown.

    “I know you must be devastated by the closing of ‘The Lake’ but what do Broadway first-nighters know,” he cajoled. “It just wasn’t a good play.”

    “Stop right here, Mr. L,” she ordered, and took his lapel. “Don’t call that bloody Lake, a Lake. It’s a puddle! A miserable pond of sewage!” She reached for her case and lit another cigarette. “My first failure in a play.”

    “Oh, darling, stop torturing yourself. Let’s get on with the movie.”

    “You’re right,” she agreed, grinding her cigarette stub into the floor. “Let’s
    do get on with it. Got to finish off this production and get up the Cape to fix a lobster dinner for Mr. T this weekend,” she grinned.

  2. Expect the Unexpected

    It happens to be Valentine’s day and this is all wrong, so wrong!

    It hadn’t started out this way. We were happy, shared everything. We loved walks in the moonlight, and the fresh ocean breeze, warm in the summer, bracing cold in the winter.

    The last trip we took was to the mountains, secluded in a log cabin, no one around for miles. It was summer. We spent days and nights peacefully roaming the area, enjoying the wildlife, photographing away. Then, Timmy actually found a human bone. That turned our get-away into a zoo; forensic teams, search dogs, helicopters, news cameras. But Tim was in his milieu and loved every minute of it.

    I never imagined what could happen.

    The deceased once lived in our town. And just because of that, we were dragged through the news, followed by the press, even after we went back home to the coast. Even old friends cast suspicious looks. We had never visited that state before, but that didn’t matter to the authorities. They expected proof of a negative. And so, they still pursue.

    And now, I’m faced with this. Tim left me. My shadow is gone. And all I can do is place flowers on his grave.

    People think I’m nuts to do this, to go through all the associated expense for him. But he was my best friend – fur, tail, and all.

  3. All day, Harry sat in his hotel room waiting for Helen’s return.

    For this weekend getaway, he had even agreed to separate rooms. Anxiously, talking to himself,”Just a few more minutes, and she’ll be back from shopping and we will be engaged.”

    His alarm buzzed, it was time to pop the question. He took the Calla Lily bouquet of out of the vase and gently placed the engagement ring inside one, and headed to her room to pop the question.

    The Head Maid and cleaning crew, in their hotel white outfits, were busily cleaning it, “Hello Harry, I’m sorry she’s still out. So while you wait, why not grab a bite to eat in he restaurant downstairs? It’s still open, here I’ll get those flowers back to your room for you.”

    Quietly disappointed, Harry tipped the flowers upside down, dropping the ring into the palm of his hand and pocketing it. Then he handed her the flowers, and headed down to the restaurant.

    The Head Nurse handed Harry’s plastic flowers to the young intern, who innocently asked, “Now, why am I taking these back to his room? Again?”

    “It’s the only way we can keep him quiet: twenty years ago, he killed her in a jealous rage, and all he remembers is the Valentine’s Day he asked her to marry him, so once a day we play this charade. Now, put them back and clean his room, before he gets back from the dining hall.”

  4. Splashing of rain on the windshield of Jack, horns blowing out loud, with white lilies lying beside him on his seat. Jack, staring at the watch in fixed intervals and sound of messages pinging every five minutes.
    As soon as the red lights turned green, Jack’s car roared and speed up leaving behind the alley into the highway.Jack in his mid-twenties was a businessman, dealing in clothes.As a smooth music ran from the speakers, with the car speeding up, rang his phone.
    Abigail: where are you?
    Jack: Will soon be there.
    Abigail(in anger): come fast!
    Jack, horn blowing, Abigail came rushing down, sat in the seat with an angry look, her face showing signs of irritation and fear of parents wariness.Once again the car roared into the alleys, hence parking the car.
    The aroma of freshly baked cakes, with a smell of wine, lightened up the mood of Abigail. In the brief moment, Jack rushed from behind holding the lilies, which he had hid in the trunk.
    Abigail, with a bigger smile, with the aroma of cake, wine and lilies filled her heart with joy.
    As the sun set, Jack and Abigail sipping wine with a cake, lost in love celebrated their second anniversary on Valentine’s day.

  5. Look at this, will you. Lilies for Valentine’s Day. Sent by what’s-his-name to show his undying love. In the palest pink. No doubt to signify Devotion with a capital D. And on a napkin, a linen napkin, like those used in the finest restaurants. Probably to impress me with his impeccable taste, his style. What a sap!

    Each day in February he’s sent me a different flower, sometimes in an elaborate vase, sometimes wound into a wreath. I never acknowledge them, but still he persists. He says my silence is torture, but I rather enjoy it. With the last bunch, lilacs, he said I would have one more chance and then the flowers would stop. Too bad. It’s been fun. He also said that if he could not have me, then no one could. How melodramatic! I have no idea what he meant.

    But what is this, poking out of one of the lilies? Heads of tiny snakes? Yes, tiny snakes! Now I am impressed. This time I just might give him the reply he’s waited for. Oh, look, one of them is poking at my finger. How cute! Like a kiss. I can see the tiny pinpoints it made on my fingertip, so tiny I hardly felt them.

    But something is wrong… My finger swells, then my hand. My body stiffens. Too late, I know exactly what he meant.

    Such small snakes, such powerful venom. Death by snakebite. Typically melodramatic.

  6. Never say Goodbye

    “This is it,” she thought. “You can do this,” Renée whispered. “Yes, you can,” Catherine replied. “But..” “No, buts. You can do this,” Catherine insisted while prodding Renée through the door. “I’ll wait for you here.”

    Once inside, Renée paused. “You’re here to say goodbye,” she asserted. She moved closer. Her resolve weakening once she saw him. “Handsome. Even now.” She reached for his hand. His hands had always made hers feel so small. His touch had always left her feeling loved and secure. Not this time. This time her hand only felt his cold indifference. He was here, present with her and yet, he wasn’t. She hesitantly spoke, “I can’t say goodbye to you.” He wouldn’t look at her. He couldn’t and she began to cry.

    The heartache and the funeral home’s aroma of eucalyptus suddenly became overwhelming. “Breathe,” she told herself. The graceful beauty of the Calla Lilies caught her eye. Renée recalled the message they had shared as they retrieved their wedding rings from within the flower.

    She took a slow, deep breath in. Focus on the beauty in life, and remember that it’ll return even if it disappears for a season. Hold onto love’s innocence and grace as we move forward to conquer life’s challenges. She slowly exhaled expelling the vile bitterness of grief. She broke the silence between them, “My soul should never have to say goodbye to its other half. I will always love you. Until we meet again, my Valentine.”

  7. Fresh flowers, still wrapped perfectly in florist’s paper, lie only a few feet away. A dazzling display of flashing lights, yellow, white, red, and blue, dance across the pristine petals that lie upon the roadside in the biting cold of an early February morning. Maybe he had a few too many drinks, or maybe she was doing something to distract him. Either way, the outcome is the same.

    “They might’ve had a chance if they’d worn their seatbelts,” my partner remarked as he swung what was left of the car’s door out of the way and leaned over the driver’s seat. He suspended himself above the seat on one gloved hand, careful to avoid the gruesome remnants of blood and body fluids on the seat below.

    “Just found a little box in the center console; probably the leftovers of whatever they were high on,” he called to me, “but I’m gonna need a hand. I’ll hand it to you and climb back out.”

    I moved to his side and he held the small box behind him while balancing himself precariously. I tried to ignore what little I could see of the car’s interior, but the putrid smell nearly knocked me off my feet.

    “What’s in it?” he asked.

    I opened the box while he climbed out of the car.

    “It’s not what you thought.”

    I placed the jewelry box beside the flowers and removed two wedding bands, gently placing them upon the delicate flower petals.

    “Maybe in another life.”

  8. Julia woke with the sun in her room. It was Valentine’s Day. She looked out the window, grateful that it was warm in LA.

    She got herself ready as quickly as a seventy-five year old woman could. She walked downtown to the florist shop and bought a small, but lovely bouquet of calla lilies.

    While waiting for the bus she thought how nice it had been to drive her own car, but those days were gone.

    At the park it was pleasantly warm as she made her way along the path she knew so well. At the top, her heart was beating hard, but not only because of the exercise.

    She saw the old pine tree, bent by the wind. She walked to a nearby flat stone and sat, the pain in her hips causing her to wince.

    She knew this spot as well as she knew anything.

    She took a few moments to think and get her breath back. She hugged the flowers to her body and rocked a bit. The sun warmed her face.

    She wiped fat tears from her eyes. Her voice quivered. “I still love you Antonio,” she said.

    At her feet she noticed something white sticking from the ground. A human finger bone. She rose and left the flowers on the stone.

    She gently kicked at the bone which fell over in the dust.

    She picked it up, put it in her pocket and walked away. “I never cheated on you, Antonio,” she said.

  9. “What the heck are these?” Lisa asked, flinging the bouquet back at Mike.

    “Well, happy Valentine’s day to you, too. And for the record they’re calla lilies.”

    “Lilies are death flowers. Valentine’s flowers are red.”

    Mike patiently put the perfectly formed flowers on the counter. “Not always. Don’t confuse some silly little poem with love.”

    “What silly little poem?” Lisa was exasperated. Her favorite color was red. Their wedding colors were red, her bouquet was red. Mike specifically knew she loved only red flowers.

    “Roses are red—“

    “Oh, please,” Lisa sobbed. “You know what I like. Don’t mock me.”

    Mike put his hands on her arms, more like a father trying to explain something to a child. “Lilies also mean love. They’re not death flowers.”

    “Then why are they always at funerals?”

    “Because they mean ‘resurrection’ as well as love. The color doesn’t matter as long as the love is there, does it?”

    He looked into his wife’s tear-filled eyes, willing her to understand what he wanted the flowers to represent: His eternal love for his wife.

    “Now, I could have gotten you red roses like every other husband who puts little thought or effort into their wife’s gift. But I chose these calla lilies specifically because they are perfect and lovely, just as is my wife.”

    Lisa smiled, embracing her husband, as tears of joy flowed down her face.

  10. We were leaving the office together. Louise hurriedly took a cab. I walked towards the parking lot.
    A girl came rushing to me,
    ‘Sir, take this bunch? — fifty rupees only’
    ‘Well, but…’
    ‘Gift her tomorrow. She’ll like it’
    The witty sales girl had observed us perhaps. They had a florist-stall nearby.

    ‘Tomorrow?’
    ‘Yah. It’s Valentine’s day!’

    I forgot. She was right. Her wonderful marketing skill, undeniable persuading compelled me to buy the bunch of rose.

    Louise was my junior, close friend. But, for valentine gift… ?

    The next day when I entered office, Louise was not in her desk. I called her over mobile. Five times at a stretch, no-replies. After half an hour I tried again. She received in a suppressed voice,
    ‘Hey, Jim, a surprise…’
    ‘Yah, what?’
    ‘Guess? I’m with someone special. Manage my desk please. I’ll join tomorrow. Okay— Bye’

    My grip loosened. The bunch of rose fell. I picked up again.

    At lunch-break I came out, marching unwittingly.

    ‘Hi sir, where’s she?’—’Hello! Sir!’
    —I came back to senses, recognized that smiling face. Those inquisitive eyes were utterly personal.

    ‘What’s your name miss?’
    ‘Khusbu.’
    ‘Khusbu, can I gift it you, unconditionally?’ I raised the rose, handed it over to her and strode away back to my office cabin.

    I got absorbed in work. Time slipped to evening. Office assistant forwarded me a memo:

    In all ups and downs
    I’ll be with you.

    Truely yours forever,
    Khusbu

  11. Even after black eyes, bruised ribs, and a concussion, she continued to believe his apologies. But when he broke her arm, she finally escaped.

    The women’s shelter hid and protected her. The social workers helped her learn how to respect herself. She found a new job and moved across the state.

    Eventually, she stopped shaking every time she heard a voice like his or saw a dark beard. She’d made friends at her work. They often enjoyed drinks and dancing on the weekends. She even felt secure enough to adopt a homeless kitten. Her life was on track once again.

    Then came Valentine’s Day and the flowers that were delivered to her door – a dozen black roses. The card pictured a hooded figure saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide.” There was no signature, but she knew he’d found her.

    Her hands shook so badly that she dropped the flowers and card on the floor. She searched the street in front of her house, looking for his sports car. Her breathing became shallow as she began to hyperventilate. She covered her mouth with her hand, felt like throwing up.

    Finally, she told herself, “No. I cannot live like this.”

    She walked back to her bedroom and pulled the new pistol from the nightstand drawer. Then she sat on the bed and waited. One of them would not survive this night.

  12. Cocoonery

    The petals are light, as soft as silk, a membrane of supple indulgence.
    Longing.
    The fragility beckons, like the softest voice you might imagine,
    Summoning you to spread the petals wide…

    “Hold your metaphorical horses, Buddy. Where the heck are you going with this?”

    “I don’t know. It’s kind of a Valentines Day prompt…what are those…Lillies?”

    “Yeah, probably. I’m not a flowers-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue type of guy. The point is, you were starting to wander down a sexual innuendo pathway, weren’t you?”

    “No. Actually, I was visualizing a bouquet of giant flowers, perhaps found in some primeval wood, you know, in those movies where dinosaurs still walk the earth and its humid and the flora and fauna are bigger than a house and you’re lost…”

    “Really. That’s not how I was reading it.”

    “I can’t help if you have a twisted mind that occasionally steps into the gutter garden. Anyway, I’m visualizing giant flowers, lost explorer, seeking a place to rest and he sees these inviting goliath flowers and he thinks…aha…cocoon…maybe it would be okay to just crawl in and be safe?”

    “Fanciful. Cocoon, eh? More like…womb.”

    “Hmm, hadn’t thought of that. A womb? Hmmm.”

    “Yeah, birth, maybe, your birth.”

    “Who is writing this bit?”

    “You are, of course. I was concerned that you were getting into verboten territory.”

    “Wherever I was going, my train of thought is toast, now. But…womb…kind of reminds me I should send some chocolates to my mom.”

    “Not flowers? The prompt ‘s definitely got nothing to do with chocolates.”

    “Once bitten, friend. I am not going to lay an oedipal egg in this tale. Not this yokel.”

    “Okay, write on MacDuff…”

  13. That was a long time ago.

    “I love you.”
    “I love you, too.”

    And the years have gone by…

    “I cared.”

    “No, you never did,,,”

    “You left me.”

    “I never left you — I just couldn’t live with you.”

    “But, I did LOVE you…:

    “You don’t know the meaning of love…”

    Sooo…it’s over?” …

    “Yup.”

    The bullet entered his heart.

    He found peace.

  14. “Shhh. I think it’s about time,” said the larger of two rings, each mounted with diamonds.
    “I can’t see, I can’t see,” worried the other.
    The rings sat within some white lilies, filtered light calming the space but not giving any hints to the impending nuptials. Until this wedding, the rings had been languishing together in a tiny leather bag stuffed into the corner of an ancient cedar jewelry box for years. Before that, they had been worn by a couple wed for over sixty years before being passed on to their grandson.
    “I can’t wait,” said the smaller ring, “It’s been so long.”
    “We’ve always been together,” said the larger.
    “You know what I mean,” smaller ring continued, “I miss the cooking and the babies, the laughing and crying…the little league and the football.”
    “I do miss those things too,” said the other.
    A shadow flashed over the flowers. A tiny hand scooped the rings up along with the flowers, gently placing the rings on a satin pillow.
    “Here we go.”
    “Not since the war.”
    “But the love is the same.”
    “Together forever.”
    And the rings rode the tiny pillow down the aisle to once again serve a happy couple.

  15. To Love and Life
    He pulled up into his apartment parking lot, weary from work. Sitting motionless as the engine idled he listened. On the radio, another valentine’s day song.

    He shook his head letting out a sigh, took a deep breath and exhaled cutting the car off. Glancing at his wrist watch he noted the hour. He was expecting company tonight. Renewed, he quickened his pace. Running up two flights of stairs with glimpses of white flowers in his hand he fumbled for his keys, opened the door and walked through the threshold into his apartment.

    The shower beckoned. After vigorously washing away the day’s toils he rummaged through his closet for his finest outerwear; a fitted gray blazer with finely knitted stripes, a pair of gray slacks, and a lavender dress shirt with a matching tie. Pressed for time he ironed the wrinkles in the clothing smooth with precision. The outfit donned, he walked to a corner of the room where a full body mirror captured his striking semblance.

    Entering the kitchen, he gathered all the necessary ingredients to cook tonight’s colorful dinner; skirt steak with peppers. He had little time left. The table was set. The food plated. The wine poured. The candles lit. And In the center of it all, the bouquet of white calla in a vase. His guest arrived.

    “Welcome. I’ve been expecting you,” he said. Smiling, he raised his glass and toasted to him and his defunct love life. “Bon appétit my dear.”

  16. Ceremony

    Calla lilies, veil, rings—Anna checked each off her list. The callas were the color of real cream, not the color at Home Depot, but the color you could pour out of a carton, so rich and thick she wanted to lick the flowers. She slipped the silver bands on her pinkie.

    This day came faster than expected, although the timing wasn’t a surprise. When two people love each other so much it blocks out everyone, they will be together no matter what. Anna felt like the outsider, just like always. The one in charge of taking care of all the details, making sure everything big or small was attended to, but still standing outside their magical circle. They were always the shining stars, drawing people with their charm and style. But getting close did not mean getting in, you weren’t allowed inside their conversations, full of innuendo and secret meaning built up over years of shared memories.

    The church was full, quiet in honor of the day. As she stepped up to the head of the aisle she realized for the first time she would have center stage, but that brought no joy. Heads turned as she walked toward the front of the church. She kept her eyes on the coffin, a double at her parent’s request. Following her mother’s instructions, she wrapped the wedding veil around the calla stems, tucked the rings inside a flower and placed the bouquet on their crossed arms.

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