Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Concert

steve winwood gorge george washington august 2008
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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15 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Concert”

  1. Stairway to Hell

    By Annette Rey

    CSI staff had never processed a scene like this before. Hundred of contorted bodies sprawled in the elevated seating at the outdoor arena. The task of handling such a large number of individuals required additional investigative teams to be called in from surrounding agencies.

    “What in the world happened here?”

    “I don’t know for sure, Captain. They were attending an event billed as the Who Needs Drugs? concert.”

    “So, Sergeant, you’re saying this attracted non-users?”

    “It’s possible. Look at these bodies. You don’t usually see such odd body positioning in overdoses. These people looked like they died in agony.”

    “And why all of them, Sergeant? It looks like none of them got away.”

    “I only know, if a poison was used, it would have to be a military-type agent to affect everyone in this open-air space.”

    Before Sergeant Wilkins could say more, a patrolman rushed forward.

    “Captain! Captain!”

    “What is it, Simpson?”

    “We have a witness. This little girl.”

    Captain Salos spoke gently. “I see your name is Ginny. Say’s so right on your name tag. What happened here last night?”

    “I’ve been hiding, afraid to come out. My mommy and daddy wandered off, mumbling to themselves. They forgot me.”

    “We’ll find them. It’s a good thing you saw them walking. Now what happened here?”

    “We had seats at the very back and could hardly hear the music.”

    “And?”

    “My parents said they couldn’t stand it anymore, they were being bored to death.”

  2. The Fall
    By D. Douglas Mains

    It felt like heaven. He stood elevated above mankind as blinding spotlights appointed him the chosen one. His resonating voice rippled the sea of people. The sea replied as cheers crashed upon him like a tidal wave, baptizing him in adoration.

    Even the falling sun sacrificed itself to illuminate his back and offer a halo. It painted the sky for him; shades of orange, red, and yellow stroked the horizon fading into the night canvas. Beauty, even as this, was inferior to him; the sun was dim in his shadow.

    Music rumbled. Swelling, it awarded him the climax upon which he mounted like a chariot. The roaring sea could no longer be heard beneath the symphony soaring above it. He reached down and graced their mortal ears.

    Memories of when he was but a man were lost to the glory of a god. He was king now; he was success; he was heaven.

    ————————————–

    The sun eventually died. The obscurity of the moon took its place. Spotlights switched off. The sea dried up leaving emptied beer cans and crumpled paper for volunteers to scavenge. The symphony left only a nagging remnant ring; the kind that forces a finger to pop out of the ear incessantly.

    “You suck!” A short man with wiry hair and a belly peeking beneath his T-shirt howled from across the parking lot. There, the god was but a man packing his guitar into a beat-up Ford Econoline. His heaven had deserted him. He now knew hell.

  3. “That sunset is blinding. Why couldn’t you pop for main floor tickets instead of the cheap seats?” Susan said.

    “Trust me on this,” Nate said. “The concert will be over soon and it will be much easier to leave from here.”

    “Why are you focused on leaving already? The concert started at 2. The main act just took the stage at 5 and it’s only a quarter after 6. What’s the rush?”

    “You’ll see.”

    Susan fumed but tried to enjoy the concert. It was her favorite band and this was a charity concert, raising money for renewable energy. And as today was Earth Day, it was very appropriate. Granted, she hadn’t attended many concerts in this venue—Nate had—but she knew the main acts went on for nearly three hours, not one.

    The stage was drenched with lights, the large speakers sent the music over the crowd and reverberated back from the mountains. The sun was setting, offering a rosy hue to the stage.
    About an hour after the sun had finally set, the speakers abruptly quit. No sound at all except the groans of the fans. Nate grabbed Susan’s arm. “Let’s go.”

    “Why?” she asked as he pulled her toward the exit. They were sprinting toward the car.

    As soon as they slipped into their seats the arena turned pitch black and a long, thunderous cry from the crowd was heard.

    “Because,” Nate panted, “The amps pull too much power from the solar panels.”

  4. Almost fifty years ago, in August, a Zombie apocalypse came upon us, and some believe the sunset of humanity began. The transformation snuck up on all of us with very little we could do about it.

    One by one, men, women and children fell into its trance and left their homes to wander aimlessly throughout the city streets and life. Blind to all around them with everyone swaying unbalanced with every step they took away from their humanity.

    Soon the streets were full of Zombies bumping into each other, swaying back and forth with every step upon the asphalt and concrete pavements. Slowly, their movements aligned into some sort of weird massive rhythmic dance. The zombies slowly aligned into columns and rows pouring out of the cities.

    Now herds of inhuman cattle moving away, in mass, altogether on an unknown leaderless quest. All moving in the same direction, all swaying rhythmically along the highways to a compass point. Unlike lemmings quickly drawn to the sea, the zombies converged toward a long forgotten farm field in upstate New York.

    After fifty years of foot fall screaming and rhythmic wailing, they pushed into the field to hear a hoarse voice from antique speakers screech and scream, “Welcome, to the Fiftieth Anniversary! Let Woodstock 2019 Begin!” Unfailingly, unintelligible screaming and wailing rocked the New World Order of Zombies.

  5. “Ashley, quit texting for a minute and look at this! It’s amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it!”

    Ashley held up a finger. Wait… “What?” she said.

    “Don’t look at me. Look up.”

    “Why? What’s the… Oooo! How did they do that? It’s huge!”

    “And completely silent. I love the effect of silence! And the colors! All red and orange. Fantastic!”

    “It looks like its way off in the distance. And it fills up the whole sky! Like fire, like the sky is burning! Oh, this is too much! What an illusion!”

    “I’ve got to get a shot of this. Send it to Melissa. There. She’s going to be so mad that she didn’t make it here and see this for herself.”

    “Oh, look, she’s answering already.”

    “What does she say?

    “Here. You read it…”

    The text message said: When was the last time you guys actually went outside. At sunset. And looked up at the sky. Never, right?

    “I don’t get it,” said Ashley. “What’s she talking about?”

    Cinda just shrugged. “Who knows?”

    And then the concert started and the wonders of nature were buried and forgotten under an onslaught of man-made flashing lights and electrified sounds.

  6. It was finally here. Closing night in the new outdoor theater. S.R.O. Last act. Final scene. The audience anxious for me to fire the gun.

    She switched on the lights and limped into the room. The white orchid dropped from her gown as she collapsed onto the couch, massaging the cosmetic bruises on her leg.

    “Damn. Damn. Damn,” she cried.

    That was my cue to enter from behind the drapes, but I couldn’t move. I kept thinking about her confession this afternoon. Her affair with the Lieutenant. Planning to leave me after tonight’s performance. Both motoring off to her villa in Tuscany. We’ll see about that, I mused.

    “Damn. Damn. Damn,” she urged angrily.

    I made my entrance, gun drawn, and fired three shots.

    The play ended to thunderous applause from a standing audience screaming bravo, brava, and whistling wildly. Their reception was thrilling, every actor’s dream.

    I sat in my car with the bottle of almond-scented champagne she gifted to me, poured my third drink, and toasted her as she climbed into her Mercedes across the way. Thank goodness she hadn’t seen me sneak out to the parking lot during first act intermission.

    Suddenly, there was an agonizing burn in my stomach and throat. I instantly realized the treacherous little minx had poisoned the champagne! Scented cyanide!

    As life slipped away, my dying sight was her car exploding into smithereens when she turned her key in the ignition I had connected to a mega bomb.

    C’est la vie!

  7. “Stella, we’ve been driving for hours! How much longer will it be?”

    “Well, I told you it was going to be way out in the country.”

    “I know, I know. I’ve never been to an outdoor concert, though. Will there be a lot of people there?”

    “I’m told that the promoters are expecting a big crowd.”

    “Do I look O.K.? I mean, I’m wearing a plain white blouse, slacks and flats. But look at you…cut-off blue jeans, a tie-dyed T-shirt and flip-flops!”

    “Relax. Think of it as a musical picnic — no dress code !!”

    “Stella, I think I’ve got an ear bug.”

    “Huh?”

    “You know…this song I’ve been hearing on the radio keeps going through my head:
    ♫ ♫♫…hmmm…hmm…hmmm ♫ ♫ ♫ ”

    “What’s it called?”

    “I don’t know…’Satisfaction’…something or other.”

    “Well, you’ll be hearing plenty of music soon.”

    “Stella, are you sure I look O.K.?”

    “For the 10th time…YES!”

    “Look Stella. There’s a road sign up ahead! I’m getting nervous! I think we’re almost there!”

    “Yep.”

    “Think we’re gonna get some ‘satisfaction’?”

    “Oh Mother !!”

    The sign read:

    WELCOME TO WOODSTOCK

  8. Lucy, my evening caregiver, enters my room and begins the nightly ritual. As she prepares me for bed, I tell her, “My granddaughter has a concert tonight. She plays the cello.”

    “I know,” Lucy answers. “I’m sorry you can’t be there.”

    “I wish I could listen to her one last time.”

    “Don’t say that, “Lucy admonishes. “You might be able to attend one of her concerts sometime.”

    I sigh. “Thank you, Lucy. But we both know better. I’m so tired and the pills aren’t helping much anymore. It won’t be long now.”

    Lucy brushes my hair and hums softly. She is my favorite caregiver, so gentle with me. I hope she’ll be the one with me at the end.

    After she finishes our preparations, she helps me up from my wheelchair and lowers me onto the hospital bed. She cranks up the head a bit. “Would you like to watch a show before going to sleep?” she asks.

    “Maybe just some music,” I answer. “Can you play the Yo-Yo Ma CD?”

    Before Lucy finds the CD, we hear a ruckus in the kitchen. Lucy hurries from the room to check.

    Moments later she re-enters, followed by three young people. One of them is my lovely granddaughter, carrying her cello. Her two friends have violins. They position themselves around my bed. “We’ve brought the concert to you tonight, Granny.”

    I close my eyes and smile. This could be the perfect send-off for my last night on earth.

  9. Starlight

    Jane’s father told her she would be there, somewhere in the crowd – if she looked hard enough. The last few months were a blur for Jane; the endless hours of practice all melding into a singular point: her violin recital. It was here and now, inescapable, like a tornado bearing down on her preadolescent mind. And amid her whirlwind of emotions: the anticipation, the pressure, the self-doubt and rebounding confidence, her thoughts reverted to her mother. Why couldn’t she be there? Why’d she leave them?

    Her mother, an accomplished violinist taught her at first but things had changed. But never Jane’s passion. Not for music, not for her mother’s hope: that Jane follow in her wake, become a violinist. Jane’s dream was her mother’s dream. This was their bond.

    The air brought a chilly touch that nipped at her and made her core tremble slightly, made her want to be at home ensconced, her mother’s embrace keeping her warm like she remembered. But in the sea of faces her father, teary eyed and proud made her feel secure. What did he mean – “if she looked hard enough?”

    When Jane heard her name, she approached the stage determined; her bow and violin in hand. She played beautifully that evening, and as the crowd applauded, she looked at the stars overhead. At that moment, she understood her father’s words.

    Her mother was there. She had always been there. Watching from the sky – a star – if she looked hard enough.

  10. The Vicissitudes

    Before we hit the stage I looked over at us. Damn we were old and beat. Yup, time had done a number on us.

    Jack our lead guitarist wasn’t the same Jack after his cirrhosis almost killed him. He attends regular A.A. meetings nowadays – I guess his new liver’ll thank him in the end for it. Bobby’s arthritis didn’t let him play the key’s as fast as he used to. It forced us to slow the tempo down some, but that was alright. Bill our former rhythm guitarist said he found God; cut his hair, accepted Christ and became a preacher in Missouri. Last I heard he was preaching about us and our “devil” music. His replacement Jerry self-taught himself all our hits, said he’d been following us since the late 70s and boy could he play. He was a natural. Drew our bassist forgot things – sometimes. He had early dementia but it hadn’t affected his motor skills yet. Our drummer Ronnie had lost an eye in a golfing accident. Doctor’s couldn’t do anything about it. He had to relearn how to play with the one eye left to him. As for me I took care of my voice but I couldn’t hit some of them high notes anymore, but hell, I made due.

    Maybe it was time to retire but shoot – we had a gig tonight. Yup, just some old rockers still a-rocking. We got on stage, the crowd cheered but wait… where the hell’s Drew?!

  11. Dreams

    By Amy Wood

    In 1995 a little girl from Pennsylvania decided she had a dream.

    Her friends didn’t understand when she told them about it; they were busy plaiting their hair and trying to figure out what makeup was. Her dream was beyond their comprehension.

    Her teachers dismissed it as a passing fad; what eight-year-old can say with absolute certainty that they’ve figured out their goal in life? Honestly what adult can?

    Her brother, three years older and trying his best to be cool, nodded and let the girl strum his much-prized guitar. What harm could it do? Kid might be all right.

    Her parents smiled and bought her a guitar of her own. Why not?

    Twenty years, hours of practice and too many rejections to recall later, the girl and her brother stepped out onto a stage emblazoned with their names. The sky was shot silk glowing with the last rays of the departing sun and warm, sultry dusk was falling over the arena.

    Screams from the crowd sent her fingers to her guitar strings and the girl smiled.

    Even a little girl from a normal house in Pennsylvania could become a rockstar if she worked hard enough. Dreams were worth chasing.

    She struck the opening chord of their signature song – ‘Doubters Don’t Count’ – and the crowd went wild.

    220 words

  12. “It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it
    Any old time you use it
    It’s gotta be rock ‘n’ roll music”
    -Chuck Berry

    
    It was addictive, putting narcotics to shame. No one on earth was immune.  Everyone demanded more music by the new band: Peter Perry and the Exterminators.

    A pulsing, living entity, the band’s rhythms rolled over the arena’s audience; tides of a turbulent sea under the command of a full moon.  The music streamed, beamed and spread around the world to over 4 billion people.  And the beat goes on.

    Peter and his group lived for the sound.  They are family: the performers on stage, the roadies, the agent booking the venues.  The members made the whole, working like a disciplined athlete, each limb knowing its place and time in the grand plan.  Tonight, the years of work achieve something unimagined – at least in the modern consciousness.  The sound will rule the world.

    Amid the screams and cheers, the Exterminators make a subtle change.  With that, the collective eyes of half the planet’s population go blank, their mouths fall open slack and silent.  An army of billions now stand at the ready before their new leader.  Peter has missed this feeling.

    Once, long ago, Peter performed this same trick, only solo.  He performed it for a town’s children, and those children grew up to be the Exterminators.  Back then, he used another name; a name many in the audience would have recognized: the Pied Piper.

  13. Making Music
    John P. Marentay

    You never forget your first one. Loud. So loud it feels like your heads going to explode and bleed out your ears. So loud you can hear the ringing start already. Rough. Bruises and contusions, scrapes and even a bite mark. Or two. Driving, thrashing, beating. Getting the mad out.. Finally feeling like you have some control. Screaming away the pain of being young in an old man’s world.

    You know? You can’t forget the middle ones either. The anger of youth, that primal fury has passed. It’s not as loud. Nowhere near as rough. But, it’s empowering, it’s endearing. It binds us closer together, as part of our own little group. There’s a lot of smiling, laughter, sometimes even holding hands. There’s a depth in those middle ones, a fight against the vagaries of growing up, growing old.

    The last ones, well, they’re the sweetest. Unexpected. Bringing back floods of memories. So what if the performers aren’t as athletic as they used to be. So what if the notes aren’t as pure. It’s still joyous and life affirming. Drives away the dull ache of redundancy, the cold knife twist of feeling of being passed by, of being left behind.

    Music makes things better, no matter where you are.

  14. Hello everybody,
    I’m telling you today story of a musical family.
    A huge arrangement; audience was blasting with cheers. At backstage, the ailing lead vocalist’s throat irritation worsened. His wife, a violinist, called on their son, ‘Dad needs immediate medical attention. Couldn’t you lead today? Our show must go on!’

    Parents left. The boy took stand before an wild anticipation. A mere child of ten, started shivering. Many times he had observed dad performing. But never faced such a demanding mass.

    Drummer uncle encouraged, ‘Don’t worry son, we’re here’
    The guitarist echoed, ‘Relax. Do your best. We’ll manage’

    Unbelievable! The tender sweet voice mastered the orchestra, tantalized the crowd.

    In the next morning event organiser came to see the ailing vocalist.
    ‘Sir! We got a stupendous offer for the next week!’

    Wife intervened, ‘Sorry, we can’t accept. Doctor advised him rest of three months at least’
    ‘Not him, madam, the offer is for your son’
    ‘Really?’
    ‘Honorable governor identified the prodigy and wanted him to perform at his palace next week’

    Parents went to see how their little genius performs. The overjoyed father forgot his illness, whistled aloud! And cried out in burning pain. Again he was taken to the doctor.

    The doctor was stunned, ‘It’s Miracle! Swelling is no more. In a week he would recover’

    This was the story of my first ever stage show, seventy-five years back.
    Thank you all. Good night.

    Tomas Edward, the singing legend, concluded his speech.

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