Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Twins

cypress trees orlando 1998 flash fiction writing 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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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Twins”

  1. Double Vision

    By Annette Rey

    “What the…? Where am I? There’s two bodies layin’ over there on the other side of the basement.”

    Malamute scraped himself off the littered floor and reeled over them.

    “That’s the maid and butler. I remember now. They herded me down here. I thought they were goin’ ta kill me and now look.”

    A loud clanking noise from above caught his attention. With blurry eyes, he squinted in that direction.

    “There he is, Sergeant. He’s the killer,” the chauffeur accused.

    Alarm set into Malamute’s sloshed brain which was now beginning to clang like a church bell as the handcuffs snapped on.

    While he sat upstairs surrounded by other officers, Malamute surveyed the comings and goings of his suspects. There was the lady of the manor, her stooge Valentine, the chauffeur, and the other guest, Princess Marion. She wasn’t really a princess, that was her stage name.

    “Officer, every one of these characters have a motive. Take for instance, the hostess. She’s hidin’ somethin’ the indoor staff knew too much of. That scobblelotcher Valentine; he wanted them out of the way so he could move in closer to her money. The chauffeur hated both of the servants; and that actress Marion may not be what she seems she isn’t; if ya know what I mean.”

    Just then Sergeant Wilkins entered the room.

    “You’re off the hook, Malamute. Murder/Suicide.”

    “Gee, Sergeant. And I was gettin’ it all worked out for ya, too.”

  2. The twins were only twelve when they drowned in that river. They had been conjoined at the hip at birth, but a relatively simple surgery separated them at only four weeks. Friends and family joked that the surgery had not worked. They were still “joined at the hip” because they never could be parted for long. They always held hands and did everything together.

    That ill-fated day they had taken a picnic lunch by the river. Spring had been wetter than usual and the river was still swollen and running fast, undermining the banks. When Sarah stood at the edge laughing at an otter playing in the water, the sod on the bank gave way. Though a moderately adequate swimmer, the current was too strong. Sally ran alongside, but when Sarah’s head went under Sally jumped in to save her sister. They found the bodies entwined, lodged in the branches of a downed tree. Their grieving parents buried them together in the same casket.

    Two weeks later they planted two saplings side by side at the spot where Sarah had fallen in. It took only five years until the first branches could touch each other. After that first contact the trunks stopped bending toward each other. As years passed more of their branches became entangled.

    People find it comforting to rest under those branches, to picnic or just to daydream. Some say the trees whisper their joy at being once again “joined at the hip” – or is it “branch”

  3. “Well, I guess this is the day, love,” he whispered, entwining his branches with hers. “It’s been a wonderful life. Look what we’ve accomplished,” he continued, pointing a twig at the other side of the lake.

    She leaned closer and wept a few leaves. “At least our forest of children on the other shore will be spared.”

    Morning breezes wove through the trees on the far side carrying their mournful goodbyes over the rippling waters.

    The frightening roar of the engine made all of them tremble.

    The fat man patted his yellow helmet, chomped on the stub of his cigar and shouted out to the driver, “Start with those two useless trees at the shore.” He slapped the tread of the Forage Harvester and opened another can of beer. “If they wanna get this lakeside resort open for next Spring, we better get a move on.”

    A passing cloud dropped a few tears onto the sadness below.

  4. “Come on, Julie, I’d do it for you.”

    “That’s a laugh! Remember the last time you said you’d do something for me? You were supposed to go to my French class last week so I wouldn’t get detention, but you completely screwed me!”

    “Well, how was I to know Brad wanted to sneak away for the day and go to the shore. Like, what was I supposed to do? Tell him I had to go to some stupid French class for my twin sister, who wanted to stay in bed another few hours because she didn’t get home from her hot date until one in the morning? You’re lucky I didn’t tell Mom!”

    “Well, I couldn’t help it. Jim’s car broke down. Anyway, I don’t wanna do it. It’s not right! At some point, you have to take some responsibility for yourself, Joan. Solve your own problem.”

    “Look, Julie, we’ve always covered for each other. It’s what twins do. Ever since Dad walked out and Mom’s had to work two jobs, who else is there? Plueeze. This is important.”

    “And if I do this for you, what do I get out of it?”

    “I’ll do your laundry for the next month. Every week. Promise.”

    “Oh, all right. I’ll break up with Brad for you and give him back his class ring. I never liked him, anyway. But this is the last time I’m doing this for you!”

  5. It is almost symbolic that the two trees have grown together almost identically.

    This is what I imagined our life together would be.

    There wasn’t much shade years ago when we met here. I had noticed the two similar trees and thought this would be an excellent place to propose.

    We were young, maybe just a little too young, but my heart had found something…no someone, I could be with for the rest of my life. Maybe the two years between our ages left her uncertain about our life together. She said thanks, but no.

    We drifted apart shortly after that. Well, in reality, our bodies went in different directions, but my mind never lost the vision of us. I knew where she went, what she did, who she married, and how many children she had.

    Now I’m here, in this spot to see what we could have been. The two trees are beautiful and closely intertwined. I would give everything I have today to have said different words to convince her of what we would be together.

    I miss her so, and I can only imagine how everyone else who loved her, misses her now, especially her twin girls.

  6. “We’re twins.”
    “We’re trees.”
    “That human over there, the one with the long limbs, just called us ‘twins’.”
    “Humans wouldn’t know a spruce from a fir.”
    “Bruce? Bruce left last winter to be a Christmas Tree. So, if we’re twins, does that mean we came from the same seed pod?”
    “We did come from the same seed pod. Along with a dozen other saplings.”
    “So we’re twins. He he he.”
    “Stop tickling me with your needles.”
    “It’s the wind. You’re my twin and you like it. He he he.”
    “Stop it. You’re embarrassing me.”
    “Oh, all right.”
    “It takes more than a seed to be twins. We’d have to have identical DNA.”
    “So we’d have to be fertilised by the same insect?”
    “Most likely a bee. Bees fertilise thousands of plants every year.”
    “Maybe we were fertilised by a dragonfly. Wouldn’t you like to be part dragonfly?”
    “Now you’re just embarrassing yourself.”
    “Anyway, we’re not identical. I’m nice and friendly and you’re – Ouch! You hit me with your branch.”
    “It was the wind… Now if you don’t stop it, I’m going over to the other side of the clearing.”

    “What do you suppose trees think about?”
    “Nothing. They’re just trees.”

  7. “May I have your attention please?” Roy Shelby rapped on the desk, and the class settled down. He was presenting a simplified form of forensics which he hoped would yield at least one candidate for advanced forensics training.

    The mix of eager prospects cut the chatter and paid attention.

    “First, tell me what you see.” Shelby held up a deceptively simple picture from a cold case file.

    He pointed to a young woman in the first row.

    “Just two trees near water,” she said.

    “Anyone else?”

    A man near the back spoke up. “At the base of the split tree, a girl sitting with her knees pulled up. Sitting beside the other tree, a man with his back turned.”

    Several in the class said. “I don’t see anything like that…”

    Shelby ignored them. “Are you sure?” he asked.

    “I could be wrong,” the man said.

    Shelby was ecstatic. Ten minutes into the class, and already he had a candidate. Modest, not inclined to jump to conclusions, highly observant, not swayed by the opinions of others, unafraid to ask questions. Perfect! He could not believe his good luck. It usually took him months to find a candidate. He gave the man his card. With some training, a high-paying job was guaranteed.

    The man was just as thrilled as Shelby, and also mildly amused by the irony.

    The man in the picture from a cold case file was himself; the girl his very first victim,

  8. A couple sat holding hands that were wrinkled, spotted, and painted with age. They sat upon a baby blue blanket, the one their infant son, Joseph, had clutched with every breath of his short life. He had toddled around with it and now they did, some sixty years later. The sadness had been used up, but the emptiness stayed even after the joy of raising seven other children. When the wife’s dementia flared and she left the blanket behind, her husband stuffed it into the back pocket of his work pants.

    Each day, they took their rest near the wide river that flows through their farmland. They dropped their canes and let themselves be propped by the two single trees they had planted on the first day of their marriage. The branches had so grown together that a traveling squirrel couldn’t determine to which tree they belonged. Their shared root system absorbed the life-sustaining waters, like the waters of baptism had blessed the couple so many years ago. To the waters would they return every evening to give thanks.

    They had met at a dance and seen stars. They were married at the Catholic Church and their love had led to a family of more than one hundred living souls. They had fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith. At the end, they sat on the river bank, eyes closed and heads filled with singing birds and lapping waters, waiting to be called home. Together.

  9. He wakes smothering. His hammock, is wrapped tightly around him, bound with rope, leaving only his face free. He sees the green of leaves above and, uphill, a spark of bright fire.

    He wriggles. Nope. He stretches. Nope. He spins violently and ends upside-down. Now he sees the pile of kindling someone had placed below him. And the rope-like, slow burning fuse that moves closer.

    A quick prayer for rain and he starts pushing his face through the opening. Nope. The fuse burns closer. He smells gas fumes. He panics, thrashing like a chrysalis-bound caterpiller.

    Still, he tells himself. Be Still. How do I make the opening bigger?

    Turning his head, straining, he catches a piece of the hammock in his teeth. He gnaws, grinding the nylon. The wind shifts. He smells smoke. And gas.

    Then – a small tear. Glad its not ripstop. More gnawing. Straining his head to one side he hears a tearing sound. Flipping upside down he pushes out with his arms and forward with feet. Nothing, except his face squishes like toothpaste in a tube.

    Horrified. The fire burns within a foot of the gas-soaked kindling. Feeling like Yosemite Sam he blows at the fuse. Too far away. The fumes catch… “Wooooooossshhhhhh!”

    Heat. Smoke. He thinks he smells bacon.

    Then, the nylon and rope, melting in the flames, stretch and he falls. Skin burning, he runs to the water, sits, and with steam rising, starts thinking about who is going to pay for this. And how.

  10. Mary and Brian paddled their kayaks to Monstree Island in the middle of the fjord, “Brian, how did this island get its name? These dead trees are kind of creepy, can we head back and camp on shore?”

    Chuckling, he replied, “Nah, don’t be scared, the Vikings made the name up to scare invaders away from the fjord, and it worked, too.”

    The two set up their tent and started a small camp fire. Mary still felt uncomfortable about camping here tonight, but she wasn’t going to skip out on him, “Sweetie pie, please tell me the story again.”

    He rattled off the story, “According to Viking legend: there were twin brothers, one murdered the other, then escaped to this island. The first night, Oden struck him dead with a bolt of lightning and as punishment, for killing his brother, transformed him into a man-eating tree. Since then, no man has ever made it alive through the night here. Ok! Are you satisfied, now let’s get some sleep. I’ll be right in, after I cleanup.”

    Brian headed down to the lake to check on the kayaks. Suddenly, he felt something wrap around his ankle and yank him hard to the ground, knocking him out.

    Mary woke, alone in the tent. Outside everything was as they left it. She just started to look for him, when she spotted the last of the soles of his feet being sucked underground between the roots of a dead tree.

  11. Miranda hid in the narrow space between the wall and her bed. She hoped her mother wouldn’t catch her using magic to make her dolls line dance. Months ago, she’d learned that she was different. She was a descendent of an infamous sorcerer. The use of magic was forbidden, except Miranda found the allure of it irresistible.

    Her dolls flopped limply to the floor when the sound of arguing distracted her. She peered out the window to find that it was her two fair-haired cousins fighting again. They were rolling around on the grass at the edge of the lake squabbling over a toy plane. Miranda decided she’d put a stop to this by drenching them with a tidal wave of cold lake water. She recited a spell, casting it in their direction. It didn’t work as planned. The boys morphed into twin trees, branches intertwined, while she watched horrified.

    Panicked, she dashed off to find her older sister, Melanie, and explained what happened. She always seemed to know what to do, especially in a crisis. They stealthily avoided their mother and visiting aunt, eventually managing to retrieve a book of spells from a locked drawer in the study. Luckily, the fix-it incantation was successful. The boys seemed unfazed by the ordeal and were easily placated by an offer of hot chocolate chip cookies ready for them in the kitchen.

    Pure relief swept through her, steadying Miranda’s heartbeat. She squeezed her sister’s hand gratefully as they walked towards the house.

  12. The Potawatomi chief sent a party to search for a secure location. The tribes had gathered near the Great Waters for their annual powwow. But instead of the usual celebration between the tribes, scouts had discovered white men plying the rivers leading to the Great Waters.

    All anyone wanted to do was celebrate the plentiful growing season and meet with their brethren. They did not want war. They did not want to be invaded, either. This was their land.

    The elders had decided that they would negotiate and hope the white men left them in peace, or drowned in the Great Waters. They had heard to stories from the east about these white invaders. Violence didn’t work against them—they kept coming in large boats, the bellies of which were full of them. Tribal elders hoped cooler heads would prevail.

    The scouts knew the location must be significant and symbolic. It needed to be near water and something that would endure for many moons. They found twin trees—close together but separate, along the water’s edge. The trees were young enough that this legacy would endure for a long time.

    The chief was impressed by the choice but curious. “The trees are not twins—look at the trunks.”

    The lead scout acknowledged the difference—one trunk was thick and strong while the other looked like three smaller trunks had grown into the main stem. “That’s tepee where the Great Spirit lives. Keep the white man in line!”

  13. The first rays of morning light reflected off the surface of the lake, signalling the beginning of a new day. On the far shore of the lake, two trees stood with branches intertwined as they had for many years. The twin trees had been planted together by an elderly woman who had lived in a cabin near the lake before her passing.

    The trees had always been inseparable. They had withstood all manner of weather with each other’s support. They were one and the same.

    However, on one particular summer day, their fate was irrevocably changed.

    The property near the lake where they resided had been recently bought. The man who now owned the land held little regard for the landscape; he wanted to build summer homes that could be rented out for a significant sum.

    Unfortunately, this meant that one of the trees was in the way.

    As the sun settled into the sky, the quiet of the lake was pierced by the roar of a chainsaw. The blade rotated at an imperceptible speed as the bark of one of the trees was pierced. Within moments, the chainsaw cut through the heart of the tree, and it let out a groan as it fell lifelessly to the ground.

    The remaining tree waited for the end of its existence, anticipating the blow that would bring its life to an end. However, it never came. Its removal was unnecessary.

    And so the tree endured, half of a whole and utterly incomplete.

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