Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Stockpile

elk city hotel flash fiction 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, 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: Stockpile”

  1. De Luca rose slowly from behind the crates stockpiled in the warehouse at the same time Detective Martelli stepped around the pillar that had been protecting him. As the felon came to his full height, he threw a pistol to his left. Then, turning abruptly, he leveled his UZI toward Martelli and fired. Instantly, Detective O’Keeffe fired several hollow-point slugs into the De Luca’s shoulder, almost separating his arm from his body. Martelli slumped to the floor.

    O’Keeffe grabbed his radio. “SWAT 1, shots fired. Detective down. Suspect down. Need a bus!”

    “10-4. Bus on the way. SWAT 1 coming in.”

    Now, O’Keeffe was at his partner’s side. “Lou! Lou!” Tears streamed down his face. He felt for a pulse but found none.

    A paramedic rushed to Martelli’s side. O’Keeffe sat back on his ankles, his head buried in his hands. He wasn’t a religious man, but still, he turned to God.

    The medic ripped open Martelli’s suit jacket and removed his bullet-proof vest, shirt, and T-shirt. Miraculously, one slug, which had gone almost through the vest, had been stopped by the St. Michael’s shield pendant his wife had given him. Still, it had knocked Martelli cold.

    Then, O’Keeffe heard a familiar voice.

    “Are those tears I see, Detective?” The speech was labored. It was Martelli.

    O’Keeffe was not pleased. “You played me, Lou!” O’Keeffe took out his handkerchief and dried his eyes. “I swear, Martelli, if you tell a soul, you’re a dead man!”

  2. I guess they couldn’t see me watching them. The tree tops made a good cover. The mall, shut down for the night, would open again in a few hours. The night workers were taking a break from re-arranging the mattresses stockpiled below. I never did understand how, after all these months, no one discovered me living in this shopping mall, but, that was fine with me.

    Her name was Orsola. Italian, I think. It was on the freighter from Africa to Naples. She had wandered, as tourists usually do, into the lower room where I was rehearsing my act. It was love at first sight.
    She reached out. We embraced.

    Somehow or other, when we docked in Italy, we were separated and I was accidentally transported onto a ship to America ending up in this shopping mall. America, land of the brave, home of the free?
    What did they know about me and my way of life, or I, theirs?
    Afraid to move out into the world, I decided to make the mall my home temporarily. I knew that one day she would find me and we would be together again.

    When the mall opened the next morning, I saw her running down the mall to my tree. She was crying. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Finally! My happy heart was pounding as I leaped from the tree into her waiting arms.

    “O, Chimp. My lovely ape. At last.”

    I caressed her neck with my tail.

  3. The complex was complete, each apartment furnished in the basic necessities right down to the mattresses which had just been delivered, at tremendous expense, all the way from Earth.

    Joe looked up at the skylights, fake like everything else, set to light slowly then twelve hours later slowly dim, like sunlight on Earth. The trees were obviously plastic. At one end of the complex, storage rooms. Three levels below, hydroponic farms for an endless food supply. An experimental colony on an alien world. Perfect, except that no one could ever leave.

    “Where is everyone?” Joe asked. He and Karla were ordered to return to the cargo ship when the mattress count was complete.

    “At work on the farms,” Karla fidgeted with her belt. “Just finish the count.”

    “What’s wrong? Claustrophobic?” Joe laughed. He counted thirty-nine mattresses for seventy-eight people, two per mattress.

    “You counted wrong.” Karla said. “It’s supposed to be mattresses for seventy-six people. It took years to get that many to agree to live here. No one else was crazy enough.”

    “Not me, that’s for sure.”

    “Me either. Let’s just go. This place gives me the creeps.” The air seemed stale and lifeless.

    Joe felt it too. They ran, their boots clicking on the fake stone floor, clanging up the metal steps. They stopped, horrified.

    The port was sealed, the ship long gone.

    They dimly recalled a lesson from their training. Something about deception being a viable recruiting tool.

    They knew the extra mattress was for them.

  4. They’d jumped at buying the rundown beachfront hotel. Rosalie had fond memories of family vacations taken there. She remembered running through the lobby in flip flops, her skin golden from a day spent building sandcastles. During its prime, it was always packed with tourists.

    She and Carter quit their corporate jobs and sunk everything into this project. The restoration was almost complete, and it had been beyond exciting to book their first guests. Everything had to be ready for the Seaside Vista’s grand re-opening in four weeks.

    They’d just pulled the plastic off the new mattresses that were stockpiled on the second level when they got word of a wildfire approaching the town. Carter joined a group heading to assist the firemen create a firebreak.

    Rosalie watched her husband disappear, shifting her gaze towards the sky marred by a thickening black stream of smoke. There was little word for three days, leaving her desperate for news.

    Now, her concentration wavered as the Fire Captain spoke.

    “I’m sorry…”

    “The sudden wind shift made it impossible for him to escape…”

    “Carter died a hero.”

    She fought the imminent break down and the urge to run towards the ocean screaming.

    “I don’t know what to do.” The words felt like broken glass slicing her tongue. She looked around at her cratering world.

    “You need to know you aren’t alone. All the guys from Station 35 are here, ready to work on this place.”

    Absently, she nodded, unable to hold back the tears.

  5. After three years of being chased by zombies, and watching everyone he knew die or disappear, Harry finally made it to the coast and found his way to the island. He remembered it as a safe haven filled with happy memories.

    He docked the skiff at the marina and unloaded the last of the supplies from the main land; enough canned food and dry goods to last a year or two, all the weapons he needed to defend himself, and of course fishing and crabbing gear.

    He was surprised to discover the island completely deserted, but than again, it was a vacation destination with few locals. The beach houses were totally abandoned and overgrown. Everywhere he went, there were no longer any paths or foot prints in the sand, no signs of zombies, nor of man or beast; just the sea gulls, pelicans and other migrating birds.

    Luckily the inn was still in good shape, and just like old times: he found the key under the door mat. Finally home, in a safe place to stay without the rear of being attacked every single night. At last, he really felt at home.

    Soon he fell into a regular routine: everyday, a dawn walk around the island, then fishing or fixing up something at the inn or a guest house. He even made weekly supply runs to shore, always making sure he was back before dark. Then one day, he disappeared never to return as so many others have done before him.

  6. Bugsy was so excited to be with Big Louie himself. He was so proud of what he wanted to show Big Louie and knew this would secure his place in the inner circle, if not make him the center of the circle.

    Bugsy parked the town car he was driving and he, Big Louie, and two of his chief minions exited. They entered the lobby of the hotel. Bugsy invested his own money to purchase this place. Workmen were going to and fro about the renovation.

    Bugsy led the way, through the lobby to the enclosed courtyard of the hotel. The skylights allowed ample sun to brighten the former lounge area and empty rooms circled the area. Housekeepers were now working on upper floor and were out of earshot. As they entered the area, encircled by a low, red wall, Bugsy smiled broadly as he waved his hand across the area.

    Big Louie was not impressed. A few chairs, a few tables, and a pile of mattresses.

    “Ya got took,” Big Louie said, chomping his cigar.

    Bugsy smiled. “No, take a closer look.”

    Big Louie looked at his minions. The three gave the area another scan.

    “Whadda we supposed to be takin’ a closer look at?”

    Bugsy, still smiling, pointed toward the pile of mattresses.

    “What? Ya startin’ a bed-bug farm here?” The minions laughed at the Boss’ joke.

    “No,” Bugsy said. “The safest bank vaults in the world. Where else would gangsters in Miami hide their dough?”

  7. Toby brushed the loose strands of his wispy, gray hair to the side, turning away from the open window. The view of the surrounding fields always entranced him, and he could get lost in the scenery forever.

    He forced his shaky legs to move and headed toward the door of the room. He had been staying in Room 301 of the Mayweather Hotel for so long that he had forgotten when he checked in. As a child, this was like his second home, and later in life, it had become almost his primary residence. In recent years, he was the only occupant.

    Toby stepped out of his room and into the hallway. He passed old paintings and faded wallpaper, moving toward the second floor’s center.

    Rounding the corner, he stopped in shock. He stood, staring at a pile of new mattresses that were stacked near the rail. The staff were basically non-existent; he could not believe that someone would consider going through the effort of changing out the mattresses.

    Then, he heard far-off banging, the sound of construction.

    Suddenly, a man in a uniform stood behind him, clucking his tongue, “Sir, please leave the premises. This hotel is being restored. You cannot be here.”

    He turned, his view flickering as forgotten memories hit him like a truck; he remembered gasping for air and crumpling to the floor. He had died.

    Then, everything faded away, leaving the worker to stare in horror where the ghost of a man had been.

  8. Lhak trudged up the crater-pocked mountainside, his six legs pumping. His basket, heaped high with dengleroot, chafed his shoulders. He couldn’t wait to sit down and relax with the kids later. Maybe watch a Holo.
    He heard a hiss. Then a “CRAaaaCK” and dust puffed near his foot. Another meteorite. This worried him. Too early for The Fall to begin. He needed three more days to stockpile enough roots to survive the two lunar cycles of stone storms.
    When he saw the front doors of the abandoned storm shelter cave flung wide open, his stomach rolled. Dropping his pack, he sneaked in through the brush-covered side entrance.
    Creeping through the shadows, he found three uniformed Grebbs eating the roots he had worked so hard to gather. Four more slept on the moldy mattresses piled in one corner. Worse, his kids, trussed like trasky birds, squirmed and squealed by a barrel of boiling water.
    Lhak fingered the trigger of his laser. No way he could kill all seven Grebbs quickly enough.
    Meteorites popped outside.
    An idea. Born of desperation. Lhak crept to the Holo projector, queued one of the kids’ monster vids and cranked up the audio.
    He pushed ON. A huge, roaring draquedon appeared.
    The Grebbs ran screaming out the front doors where, peppered by meteorites, they collapsed.
    Standing in the doorway, Lhak finished them with the laser. Then he donned his armor for the chore of dragging the corpses inside. With Fall full on, why waste good protein?

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