Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Cheetah

phoenix zoo cheetah 2017 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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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Cheetah”

  1. The Sewer System Gang

    By Annette Rey

    “Okay, Barker. Now you’ve done it. He’s dead.”

    “Wotten no-good…”

    “So’s he was. But, youse gotta get rid of what’s left of ‘im.”

    “No pwoblem. I’ll dwag him out, you clean up this place.”

    “Fine. Fine. Just hurry up.”

    Pecky righted the upset round table and picked up the scattered debris from it. Fortunately, Boston hadn’t bled much.

    Barker returned, “Evewything’s good. Boston is now pawt of the good ‘ol New Yowk sewah system.”

    “You’re lucky the others left before you checked him out, Barker. Keep your stupid mouth shut and no one will know why he doesn’t show up next week.”

    “They won’t complain, Pecky…if they knows what’s good for ‘em.”

    “You can’t keep doin’ this, Barker. It’s getting’ hard to find players.”

    “Is it my fault they think they can get ovah on us? You could do a bettah job of digging up mawks.”

    “You think that job is easy? Takes a lot of finesse to fish these guys in. After all, we don’t quite run a fancy, up-town racket, down here by the waste disposal system, and all.”

    “That’s funny. Waste disposal system. You could say I contwibute to that pwetty often.”

    “Too much. I warned you, Barker. And we need another deck of cards.”

    “Yeah. Yeah. Well, stop pickin’ up cheatahs. Youse and me is the only cheatahs allowed around here.”

  2. Mr. Hall held up a picture.

    “Okay, class, this part of the quiz involves identifying animals. Who can tell me its name? Kylie, why don’t you go first.”

    “Um, a lion?”

    “No, it is a big cat, but not a lion. Jason?”

    “It’s name is Fred. Hee,hee,hee!”

    “Sit down, Jason. Monica?”

    “A leopard? A bobcat?”

    “Hey, she took two guesses. That’s not fair. I say cheetah!”

    “I am not a cheater! Nobody said only one guess.”

    “Cheetah, cheetah, cheetah! Mr. Hall, tell her I’m right!”

    “Yes, Jeremy, you…”

    “Mr. Hall, he called me a cheater! He’s a bully.”

    “Monica, that is not bullying. Harassment, maybe, but not…”

    “Mr. Hall, make him stop harassing me.”

    “Monica, he gave the correct answer. Cheetah.”

    “Now you’re calling me a cheater. My mom will get you fired! You’ll be sorry!”

    Mr. Hall put his head down on the desk. Sometimes he wished he had become a big game hunter or some other less perilous occupation than teacher.

  3. Charlie, the Cheetah, loped to the far corner, out of the group’s sight, his tail drooping between his legs. He jumped onto the boulder. The surrounding reeds providing needed privacy.

    Guess I can use this big rock to keep me from stumbling, he thought. They tell me it’s her favorite way. If I want her to want me, I’d better get crackin’.

    Leaping down, tufts of dust bounced up to greet him.

    He remembered how some of the vacationers from the passing safari did it, enjoying their odd movements, the night before they left.

    Let me see, he imagined. I think it’s this one first, and then…..No. No.
    That doesn’t seem right. Maybe, this one first, and then….Uh. Uh.
    That won’t work either. He twisted and turned, growling No No
    and Uh Uh for over an hour. Frustrations began to depress him. He climbed the boulder and stretched out belly-up, panting.

    Charlie pictured her prancing through the group at the gathering tonight, head high and hips swiveling, for all to admire. The vision fueled his desire to master the way.

    Trying to imitate the way safari members did it, he stomped and swayed and began to feel comfortable. And, suddenly, it all fell into place. He realized now that he could do what she liked, she would be his. In perfect rhythm with his movement, and tail happily wagging, he swaggered home, victoriously purring, one, two, cha-cha-cha, three, four, cha-cha-cha.

  4. Cheetah Woman

    When my next interviewee walked through the door I nearly choked on my coffee. Not only was she late, I couldn’t believe what she was wearing. I did a double take hoping she hadn’t seen my reaction as she waltzed in. I played it off, dismissing it and perused her resume. She was qualified I could see. She aptly highlighted the job – front desk receptionist – in her work history (she had been employed as one, three times for three different employers in the last year).

    But, her attire – they actually made those? Were they fashionable? The “in” thing? In what world was it appropriate to wear that to an interview? It was an entire cheetah print suit ensemble for goodness sake! coat, blazer, leggings and to top it off a cheetah print purse. I concluded she really loved cheetahs. I was even compelled to ask what she liked most about them but composed myself keeping my professional air. Someone had to after all. We got the usual formalities out of the way and began the interview. It was standard fare until she talked about her former employers and how she was underpaid and overworked; hardly a topic for an interview.

    I proceeded to describe what the job requisites entailed eventually getting to the possibility for extended work hours. At this, she thanked me, and sprinted out the door as ferociously, as agile, and with all the God-given ability as any cheetah I had ever seen on TV.

  5. Malcolm had waited for years, trained with only the best teachers, and today was the big day. He felt a little out of place, though: Many were wearing stripes and he is wearing polka dots.

    Nevertheless, he was confident he would nail this audition. Costumes and makeup hide imperfections.

    And, yes, Malcolm understood what the producers were looking for and it wasn’t him. But he was a good singer and light on his feet. He was an artiste. Art should come before any other consideration. Besides, typecasting is discrimination. He spoke to the guy next to him.
    “How’s it going?”

    The tiger shook his head. “Man, they don’t call this ‘The Lion King’ for nothin’. Every time one of them shows up in line, they get pulled out and go right in. They’re just now getting to us.”

    “Think we stand a chance?”

    The tiger looked over Malcolm. “Probably not, but they are always looking for dancers. You cheetahs are light on your feet and quick—you might get in for chorus.”

    “I was really hoping for a bigger part than just chorus,” Malcolm admitted.

    “This ain’t ‘Hamilton’—no mixed species casting.”

    The tiger auditioned next. Malcolm watched his every move and mentally prepared for his turn. He had to be bold and daring. He knew exactly what to do.

    When they called his name, he gracefully bounded onto Pride Rock. That’ll show ‘em!

  6. Number Nine
    by William Weiss

    “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
    -Allen Saunders

    The glow and hum of the memory printer fade as Matthew terminates the cerebral link.  An image blossoms to life on the warm sheet of film in his hands; it features a cheetah, mid-leap, moments before it would find purchase atop a large rock.  It is this memory that drew him to the printer the moment he reached his sprawling estate, upon returning from Africa.   

    His excursion to the “dark continent” had been a mixed bag.  He had seen amazing sights on safari, but it had also got him killed in an accident.  Death was just an inconvenience – at least for him.  This was his ninth time.  Activating a new  clone was a luxury he could afford, but the memories that had not been backed up yet were gone forever.  It was during that missing last week of the safari that he is certain something important happened with that cat.  Some unfinished business.

    He wanders out of the house, heading nowhere in particular.  His full attention is on the photo.  As he starts to cross the grounds, he hears it.  

    Chirp.  The rustling of a body in motion on grass.

    It clicks. Just like that, he is certain.  He had purchased it, had it shipped here.  That is what he did that week, isn’t it?  He bought a cheetah.

    It was behind him now.  How long since it was fed?

    Well, there goes another clone.

  7. “Clunk-Shhhikitee.”

    Haroon listened to the chains ramble in unison with the oxen-led cart. It rode through the yellow grasslands of India. His hands clenched the links scolding in the heat and an iron collar bound the elegant neck of a blindfolded cheetah. Perched, it swayed gracefully. Haroon jostled with every bump.

    The prince and oxen-steerer rode in front while Haroon clung in back. They were on a hunt. Haroon had captured and tamed the adult cheetah months prior for this reason. A cheetah’s speed was extraordinary while it’s kill technique quenched Prince Virat’s thirst for blood and gore. Haroon rolled his eyes at Virat’s boyish excitement. Ignorance. Virat believed himself to be immortal.

    The chains faded to a halt.

    The cart stopped.

    Virat spotted on the golden horizon, in the heat of the sun, a herd of gazelles. He mocked the arrogance of a certain buck sauntering among the grazing does.

    At Virat’s command, Haroon rose, slowly unleashing the cheetah and grasping it’s collar. He took the blindfold off. Squinting in the sunlight, the cheetah detected it’s prey and arose vigilantly.

    Haroon inhaled.

    His hands let go.

    The cheetah bolted.

    Virat’s enthusiasm erupted into repulsive laughter.

    Haroon watched the cheetah sprint off singling out the buck and in a minute sinking teeth into the neck. From Haroon’s deepest bowels, emerged a jealousy of the feline victor. His eyes averted to lock on a still-smiling Virat. And glaring, his hands rung the loose chain as the cart neared the kill.

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