Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Window

window flash fiction prompt copyright k.s. 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, 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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14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Window”

  1. Time meant little to Elizabeth. After all, she’d been coming to the window every afternoon for more than ten years. Waiting. Watching. Praying to catch sight of William Conner, the love of her life. They had met while attending high school in Bridgeport, and, were it not for the War to End All Wars, would have married August 13, 1917, a week after the United States entered WWI. It was not to be.

    Driven by patriotism, William had enlisted in the Army. Following basic training, he returned home to say goodbye to Elizabeth. In the bandstand near the lake, dressed in his khaki uniform, he spoke of his undying love while Elizabeth barely uttered a word through her tears. The thought of losing him was more than she could bear. If they were to have a life together in Bridgeport, they both knew it would have to wait until the war was over.

    Then, he was gone. As part of the American Expeditionary Forces, William and his fellow soldiers bolstered the French and British forces who had suffered four years of a bloody stalemate across the entire Western Front. In the end, the Battle of the Argonne Forest was so catastrophic that William’s division suffered devastating casualties, with thousands of America’s bravest left to be buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Military Cemetery. Alas, Master Sergeant William Conner, 53rd Infantry Brigade, 27th Division, US Army, MIA, is not among them.

    But still, Elizabeth watched and waited for his return.

  2. The Importance of Cable

    Above the birds, the scaffold cable broke. The platform slanted and jolted the window washer’s bowels. His vertebra snake-lashed causing nerves to send electric-like shock sensations to his hands. He had no grip. Twisting at the end of a lifeline, his body dangled between soft blue sky and unforgiving gray concrete.

    Spinning free in mid air, the world became a blazing blur, a surrealist painting smearing shapes and colors. In glass reflections of nearby skyscrapers, he caught glimpses of a spider wildly spinning a web, his members thrashing. Dizzy and on the fiftieth turn, his mind told him the spider was himself. He was in the unique position to witness his own death.

    The minimally digested lunch break ham sandwich spewed from his guts. From near unconsciousness, his mind flashed a kaleidoscopic background of asteroids hurling through darkness, with images of himself as a child superimposed on the stars. He fell into a period of peace. A still active part of his brain told him death wasn’t so bad.

    The spinning slowed to a gentle swaying and consciousness returned. Panic fled. His head angled skyward. An object was approaching him, another spider, but this one more controlled, using deliberate movements.

    From a hoist placed on the roof, fire fighters were mounting a rescue.

    Death would not claim this spider today.

  3. Reginald’s eyes narrowed when his sight fell upon the window. That window: the one through which he’d spied to see his betrothed kissing his captain. He cursed the window, and then Catherine and Alexander for betraying him.

    He hadn’t meant to look through the window that day, but something about the way the glare of the sky illuminated the imperfections in the glass – the rather bulbous parts – beckoned him. They had glowed, as if with a power of their own. So he drew nearer. Little did he know that his love and his superior would be standing, hand in hand, gazing out at the layered mountains, and then into each other’s eyes. Reginald figured he was confused – that perhaps one was comforting the other for some pain of the past. But when their lips met, there was nothing left to ponder. It was as if the window had tricked him. It had seduced him with its undulations, then lowered the hammer upon his heart.

    The very next day, the window called to him again. And, again, he saw Catherine and Alexander by the cannon. This went on for days; the window would summon, and he would answer.

    But this morning, Reginald had answered with two flintlocks. He’d pushed the window open and fired upon the two lovers all the while smiling. And now, he would finish what he started. With one pistol, he shot out the glass that had lured him. With the other, he took his own life.

  4. “When can I leave?”

    Isabel stared through the window, over the browns and reds of the wet stone courtyard, over the smooth black iron of the great cannon, beyond the fortress battlements. Fog swirling through the valley below erased all detail from the world. It smudged the treetops and grayed the mountainsides, leaving only the higher peaks untouched.

    “When it is safe.” Marco’s voice, as hard as the fortress wall, stood like a barrier to deflect her questions.

    When had her trusted advisor grown so cold? She refused to look at him. Her eyes had drunk their fill of his face. Her ears had been fed on nothing but those four words. “Two months. One should have been sufficient. Am I a prisoner?”

    “The rebels have greater strength than we knew, your majesty. But they cannot touch you here.”

    “Neither can I rule here.” She was being erased, as this fog erased forest and mountain. Who would be safe: she, or her enemies once she had grayed and blown out to sea on the wind?

    “Be content. You want for nothing.” Soft words, spoken hard.

    In the glass she saw the faintest reflection of Marco’s form, tall, rigid, hard because only stone could protect her now. Shame coursed through her. She should not doubt him. “You are right. I shall be patient.”

    Now his reflection smirked.

    Isabel felt the red leach from her blood.

    Beyond the window, the fog closed in as though to carry her away.

  5. An emaciated, little old man stood there, intently turning his time machine door knob. With every twist of his wrist, either left or right, the scenic view in its glass door changed. He asked himself, “I know it’s there somewhere, why can’t I find it?”

    Exasperated, he released the door knob and stepped away. Still in deep thought, he crossed the room to his desk, and looked back at the scene in the door. He worried aloud, “Will I ever find her?”

    Tired, he leaned against his desk, when he saw the shadow of a figure pass by the other side of the glass door. He went to call to her, but she was already gone. He sighed, wishing it was her, “How could I be so foolish? I should have never let her spin that door knob and walk through that door in time. I’ve got to find her before she’s lost forever.”

    He went back to spinning the door knob, wishing he could end his nightmare. All he wanted was to be with her again. Finally, he heard it click, he looked up at the scene. Excitedly, he knew in his heart this was it. Quickly, he yanked the door open and rushed through, to be with her.

    Sadly, his grandson explained, to the police, “He was obsessed with that door. I don’t know how he ever unlocked those old balcony glass doors. We always kept them locked ever since the balcony collapsed twenty years ago … killing grandma.”

  6. Window

    I remember.

    “Angus, you take EVERYTHING for granted: the glorious morning sunrise, the spectacular crimson sunsets…the very air you BREATHE.”

    Mother was convinced that I didn’t care. Not so…I was just busy living and it seemed to me these things were just facts of life.

    “Son, look around you. There is beauty everywhere to be seen. Take time to enjoy it.”

    Mother died years ago, but I remember.

    Never did change my ways…you know, busy and all that.

    I still live in the house I grew up in with the same view out my bedroom window. Hasn’t changed since I was a boy. Yet I’ve come to notice little things over the years: the changing of the seasons, flowers that bloom in springtime, little critters that scamper across the ground or fly between the trees.

    I remember them vividly. Now. What I scarcely noticed then comforts me, now.

    Most days I simply sit in my rocker and gaze outside, waiting for the dawn to gradually change to dusk, followed by a cloudless night sky festooned with a myriad of stars.

    Those skies are less clear to me now. The stars are dimmer every night. Soon they’ll disappear all together.

    They tell me that I’m going blind.

    But I remember.

  7. Once my breakfast dishes are cleared away by the silent woman whose name I don’t know, I sit at the window and stare out at the countryside. I watch the grass go from the dormant blonde straw of hot summertime to the emerald green of winter and back again. I watch the trees bud out in the spring, their tiny leaves taking on the vibrant color of new growth, then fading somewhat as the months go by, finally flaming up in colors of orange and red and gold, funeral pyres for the year. I look forward to each change, each season. It is as close as I’ll ever get to walking in the woods again in my life.

    Beyond the flagstone patio, the fences start. Wrought iron, fully ten feet tall. Gates locked with chains and heavy padlocks, the links on the chains as big around as sausages. There’s a grassy verge beyond the fence, about twenty feet wide, then the wall. It’s made of poured concrete sections joined one to the next, each fifteen feet high with razor wire looping across the top. The concrete is smooth; no texture at all, no small nodules that could provide a toehold. No climbing that wall.

    And unlike the open land beyond, it never changes.

    I don’t look at the wall. I look at the trees. Birds singing and flitting about. It’s all so peaceful there.

    At least until nightfall, when the zombies come and roar at the wall.

  8. I sat facing the French doors and noticed two of the panes of imported glass appeared to be equalized eyes pleading to comfort me.

    What use, woman, I thought. What will be, will be.

    Reaching out I poured the last of the wine into the silver chalice. It was kind of him to allow me to retain my dignity while waiting
    for the escorts. The bubbling liquid tingled down my throat easing my frantic mind.

    It’s been three magnificent years, I remembered. He was a virile husband who would do anything I asked. One of my biggest regrets was allowing Jane, to serve as my personal maid. It didn’t take him long to seduce the beauty into an illicit affair, just as he had done with me years before. Marriage was not sacred to him. We only had one child, Elizabeth, but I endured the burden of two stillborns.

    When he finally grew tired of me, he accused of me several infidelities, among them adultery, incest and conspiracy. Unfortunately, most of them were true, of course, but much fun!

    I hear the coach arriving, the horses clobbering their hooves on the
    stonework. Boot heels clicking down the marble hall, approaching.

    At last they arrive. I stand and present myself to the bowing men. He was not with them. They regally escort me to the Tower and watched as I climbed to the waiting block and hooded man.

    Whispering echoed through the enthusiastic mob below. “Henry’s wife. Ann Boleyn.”

  9. The castle docent relayed the story of the rainy day and the eldest son, Heathcliff. His father promised to teach him about shooting and other military tactics, so the story goes. Even though the family castle was protected on three sides by sheer cliffs and water, weaponry had advanced. The new-fangled cannon been placed on the parapet just outside father’s bedroom.

    Ah, to be 14 in this exciting, modern age. To be considered a man, not a child. Foolish thoughts and behaviors put aside and forgotten. Heathcliff’s head was mature and cleared for war and its tactics.

    Heathcliff stared long and hard at the cannon, the stones, the gray sky. He swore someone was looking in at him. The parapet was empty. But he distinctly saw two eyes staring back at him. They were at the height of a child but they were much larger than the eyes of a child. One appeared on the each side of the French door, the left one brown and the right one blue.

    He blinked and rubbed his eyes several times. Surely his eyes were playing tricks on him but the more he tried to clear his vision the more distinct they became.

    The docent leading the tour of the castle said that Heathcliff became so frightened that he jumped off the parapet to his death. To this day, a special note is made of the two eyes looking in as they have never faded but have only grown.

    Marriages are complicated but physical violence on any level is a deal breaker. My college roommate didn’t understand that. She stayed with her abusive frat monster through four semesters of bruises and black eyes. I pitied her, and was silently appalled. I get the whole “the devil you know…” psycho-babble. I know it’s really a twisted sense-of-self.
    Walking out of the courthouse, on the first sunny day of the week, I felt I was finally free. All the shouting, the pushing leading to that climatic day when I fell over a kitchen chair and broke my arm. He broke my arm. I’m not without fault. I had spent the boys’ college fund, most of it anyway, on the trip I took with David, my boyfriend. I wasn’t the best wife. Or the best Mother. I admit it.
    But now the war of the Conners has ended. Our weapons of mass destruction still warm to the touch. My trusty cannon is at rest, but never far away. This cannon swivels, side to side and up and down. The barrel can flip completely over and I sometimes look down the sweetly smoldering hole. I’ve even reached around and lit the fuse a few times and nearly blew my head off. Now I duck. Or try to not light the fuse at all.
    I do miss him. It’s too quiet around here. The boys should have a father. The devil you know.

  11. Isabella stares out her window at the destruction. The fertile fields have turned to charred wasteland. Homes stand empty, their broken windows creating grinning death’s heads.

    The union soldiers have imprisoned her in her home for days. They steal her food while they raid nearby plantations.

    Some of them treat her kindly, bringing meals and personal items to her. Others, however, are cruel. They brutally ravage her during the terrible nights.

    All four of her sons joined the Confederate Army. She is certain she will never see them again. This war is lost and her family dead. What reason does she have to remain on earth?

    She kicks at a lower window pane. The glass shatters. Wrapping a cloth around one end, she picks up a pointed shard. Tonight will be the last time they attack her. She plans to stab the throat of the first one through the door, and then her own.

    She hears them staggering down the hall, earlier than usual. She grabs her weapon and stands near the wall. The door flies open and a soldier stumbles into the room, falling to his knees. Before she can wield her deadly knife, she notices his tattered uniform is gray, not blue.

    He turns his blood-caked face toward her. Through parched lips he mutters, “Ma.” She drops the glass and rushes to her youngest son. Now she knows why she has continued living through the horror.

  12. Invisible Enemies

    The curator just had to have it. An antique like none other; a cannon from some bygone era. He can’t recall its history at times; he feels terrible because of it. But the cannon’s appeal, at least to him, and only this once he assures himself, outweighs its historical value.

    The cannon adorned the flagstone terrace overlooking the landscape. It was perfect and added an air of authenticity thought the curator. The museum, whose facade resembles a fortress, sits girdled by undulating hills that bolster his wild notion of a foreign army, a neat, well trained line of elegantly dressed colonial soldiers, marching through the sinuous trails with orders to assail his stronghold. But with this cannon he’d be prepared.

    “What a bleak day,” said the curator looking out the window at his prized possession. The cannon wasn’t gaudy like the other articles in the museum. It was sleek and black, showing signs of weathering but still aging gracefully, like an old vehicle whose owners took care of.

    It hadn’t occurred to him till now that two of the window panes had peculiar whirls that distorted the view outside. He couldn’t remember if they’d been there before. It lent an incongruous look to the window… Or did it? Maybe it wouldn’t be so if they’d been placed in the partitions above, he thought. But then again maybe it would be best to have someone fix it.

    Either way, the cannon stood poised to fire at invisible enemies.

  13. “The glasswork is extraordinary. Don’t you agree?” Major Kendall asked staring expressionless and ghostly white at the new glass windows from the small fort office.

    “It’s beautiful, I suppose,” I replied. I didn’t know how to reply. An important message from one of the native scouts was sitting hard in the major’s heart and stomach.

    “I had them brought up from New York along with a master glazier,” the major continued, “there is no use in living so close to the edge and not keeping some of the modern civilities close. We must remind ourselves what we’re fighting for.” I wasn’t always sure.

    Preparations for a siege hadn’t started, and the major was lost in glass windows while the cannon sat just rusting in the rain.

    “Sir, shouldn’t we be cleaning the cannon? Maybe building a few more defensive palisades outside the wall to slow down the British?”

    “Yes, yes. Of course, good suggestions,” the Major answered, “Get someone here right away so we can get these windows into storage.”

    Never once while saying this did his gaze leave those darn windows. I could’ve almost broken them myself with this dithering about. My men may die needlessly without proper fortifications. The Major shouldn’t have been given this command. But I was just a lieutenant quartermaster.

    Just then, beyond that cannon in the forest, in the mountain mist and light rain, a shout and musket shot rang loud followed by thousands of shouts all around.

  14. “Joel, you’ve got to hurry up here and see this,” Andi Simkins called one Late Sunday afternoon from the patio window to her husband down in what Joel called his Subterranean Lair.

    “I’ll be up as soon as I finish this part of the Times crossword, hon,” Joel replied from his leather lounger, as the Giants versus the Eagles provided a background soundtrack from his 50-inch flatscreen.

    “Lemme see…54 Across…seven-letter word for skyline,” Joel mumbled to himself, with an Eagle’s player’s interception of a late-day sun-blinded Giant receiver’s potential catch sending the Philly crowd into a mega-decibel frenzy in the background.

    Andi called one more time, “Joel, please, you’ll miss this if you wait much longer….”

    When he didn’t answer, Andi sighed once again, stood by the patio window, and recalled all those afternoons Joel would tangle his fingers in her auburn hair and she would beam at him with her gold-flecked blue eyes, as they’d watched the sun sink, a searing communion of light and heat, beyond that southwestern horizon.

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