Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: It’s Time

flash fiction prompt copyright ks brooks pilot 1980s quabbin
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!

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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: It’s Time”

  1. “Hello, Skipper.”
    “Go ahead, Navigator.”
    “Half a minute to go, Skipper.”
    “Roger, Navigator.”
    “Hello, Bombardier. Bomb bay open. Okay when you are, Bombardier.”
    “Right, Skipper.
    “Steady, boys . . . steady . . . steady.”
    “Counting down, Skipper.”
    “Right, Bombardier.”
    “Five, four, three, two, one, zero . . . Fat Man away, Skipper!”
    “Roger, Bombardier. Turning now, boys . . . hang on . . . turning, turning, turning. Hang on! Hello, Tail Gunner.”
    “Tail Gunner here, Skipper.”
    “Do you see anything, Bierman? Anything at all?”
    “Not yet, Skipper, but—”
    “Bierman? Skipper to Tail Gunner! Bierman! Are you okay?”
    “Sir, I am looking into the Gates of Hell!”

  2. In the end, it didn’t matter how fast he ran; he never would have made it.

    Over and over I’ve replayed the scene, trying to find out where I screwed up. I’ve wracked my brain trying to find some unknown, alternate ending. Something. Anything that would have ensured his survival.

    What could I have done differently to save the man who was like a father to me? Why did we have to land there, of all places?

    I had watched in horror as the beast surged forth from the tree line, foliage and branches trailing in its wake. The guttural howl it unleashed resonated through the clearing. I panicked; torn between preparing for takeoff and screaming for Jack. He wasn’t an agile man, but I’d never seen him move like he did that day.

    The propeller on the nose of the plane whirled to life, but even it wasn’t enough to drown out the horror that approached. I’ll never forget those feral eyes; how they glowed in the sunlight as it barreled through the knee-high grass. It’s gaping maw, lined with rows of pink, blood-stained teeth, salivating for the fleeing meal.

    Jack had screamed as the were-beast closed in on him. I couldn’t hear him, but he mouthed the words.


    My bowels had turned to water when the black-haired beast collapsed on him. I had already begun taxiing down the narrow strip of gravel when it lifted its blood-soaked face to the sky.

    I’m pretty sure he said go.

  3. In Monstoria, Isore, the mad scientist’s loyal assistant burst into his lab screaming, “Doctor Sharkenstein! Doctor Sharkenstein! The monster has escaped, and is dive bombing the village. Oh, the shame and agony of it! What will we do?”

    Crazy, old, mad, Sharkenstein with eyes a blaze, “Isore, how many times do I have to tell you: she is not a monster, she is just misunderstood!”

    “But Master! The Sharkeon is, trying to terrorize everyone by swooping down on them and carrying off their children for snack time. We must stop Sharkeon! Our insurance doesn’t cover monster bites, or rabies shots!”

    “Nonsense, Isore! I will do no such thing. All the villagers have ever done is laugh and scoff at my creations. They must be taught a lesson. You don’t make fun of a Sharkenstein! My greatest creation, Sharkeon, will teach them not to laugh at me.”

    “But Master, they are laughing hysterically at us! Oh, the shame of it!”

    “WHAT? WHY? WHY ISORE? What has gone wrong this time?”

    Isore thought for a moment, “Well for starters, maybe we should have crossed that great white shark with something more vicious like a lion, instead of a pigeon. That way, except for the jaws, it wouldn’t be so small, cute and cuddly. Also the villagers are complaining that it’s making a mess of the mayor’s statue, and we have to clean it up, or else.”

    Sharkenstein sadly groaned, “Another failure! All right, get the brooms from the pigeon coop.”

  4. Six O’clock

    [ static]

    “Sam, I’m going after him.”

    “OK Jim. Watch your six!”

    “Badger 24 flight leader. This is Kunming tower. You will continue your mission. Intercept those bombers! Do you read, over.”

    They were all volunteers having resigned from different branches of the US military. They had seen newsreels of the “Rape of Nanking” and the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Now they were fighting for the Nationalist Chinese government against the Empire of Japan. The 1st AVG squadron.

    [ static ]

    “Badger 24, do you read?

    “Affirmative. They’ve shot down Bill. I’m not leaving my wingman behind!”

    “Badger 24. Do not, repeat do not, deviate from plan. Those bombers must be stopped!”

    [ static ]

    “Negative Kunming. I’m going down to get Bill. Sam can lead the rest of the flight and get ’em. Badger 24 out!”

    They were an odd lot…General Chennault would say “difficult and stubborn”. But they could fight and by using his tactics were achieving considerable success against overwhelming odds.

    Well grandpa Jim never made it home, his Dakota transport shot down on its way to Rangoon for a disciplinary hearing. Bill relayed this story to me as a boy, showed me the medal Chiang Kai-shek had awarded Jim.

    I painted my Cessna with Flying Tigers’ livery in memory of them all.

    The only time I have to “check my six” is for the nightly six o’clock news.

  5. It’s time. That’s all they heard. It’s time.

    The fixed-wing planes sat in a hangar at the far end of a small airport. They were near major airports but far enough away to not interfere with “real” planes—ones with jet engines and seating capacity for several hundred.

    No sir, these small planes flew with the best of them during the war, patrolling the skies for enemy jets over the Midwest, picking up occasional gigs as crop dusters. But their primary job was serving the war effort. Bruce was proud of his service and couldn’t wait for another war to roar back to life to serve his country.

    His pilot would take him out for patrols during the Cold War and, as the decades passed, Bruce realized he was spending more and more time in the hangar, alone, coming out only for occasional joy rides for growing children and later, grandchildren.

    Bruce served father, son, and grandson, but the world was changing. Bruce’s kind was no longer needed and was considered more of an albatross than an asset. He was sold.

    Bruce was pulled out, given a thorough check up, and was declared fit to fly. He couldn’t believe it. After all of these years, he was going in the air again!

    His passengers, he noticed, were quite elderly, many with canes, some in
    wheelchairs. But they were pilots and remembered planes like Bruce when both were younger. He was returning to his roots, flying those who love him most.

  6. Tina sat stiffly next to her husband, Clyde. The familiar roar of the plane’s engine was comforting. When they’d first met, he was the bee’s knees! A dashing wing walker. After going down the middle aisle, she was folded into his flying circus act. By 1926, they were the most prominent wing walkers around.

    She closed her eyes, fighting the tears. It was all balled up. Weeks ago, she told him she wanted to quit and start a family.

    He’d laughed, cruelly calling her a dumb Dora. They were making too much jack to quit now. When she insisted, he said she could be replaced. Then, rumors that he’d been seen driving around in a breezer with some doll reached her.

    “It’s time,” the pilot announced.

    She tucked her brown curls under the cap and adjusted her goggles.

    Clyde whispered, “Remember, it’s easy to slip.”

    The first stunt was choppier than usual; he deliberately wasn’t letting her get her proper footing. She fought for balance against the lashing air. Did he actually intend to bump her off? Tina dodged his next advance. Clyde awkwardly stumbled, teetering uncharacteristically. Was this a trick? She braced herself in place, watching something that seemed unreal. Clyde’s arms flailed helplessly, his wide eyes reflected pure terror as he fell off the edge. A wail cut through the thrashing wind.

    You’re right, it’s easy to slip, zipped through her mind before she began screaming hysterically and pounding on the metal wing to get the pilot’s attention.

  7. The old man inspected the cockpit, then ran his hand fondly over the shark teeth painted on the nose.

    “So the plane may never be fit to fly the way it once did, but I say it is worth preserving,” he said. “It is a tangible reminder of a time we may never see again, and a reminder of the thousands of young men who eagerly learned to fly these planes and flew them into war over enemy territory.”

    “They were young and foolish. But they were also old beyond their years and brave when the need arose. They gave up lives that had barely begun so that we could raise our children to live long happy lives, free and without fear. That’s why we need to preserve this old aeroplane. Not to live in the past, but to honor it and the men and women who gave us our future.”

    The young man smiled. “My sentiments exactly. Will you be here for the dedication?”

    “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

    The young man and the old man saluted, and the old man turned and walked away before the young man could see the tears in his eyes.

  8. There. That’s much better. Got rid of that seat to spread out the sleeping bag and stuff. This is going to be great! Only thing left is to have her repainted. Get rid of the painting of my wife’s toothy smile over the nose cone and paint it with the color Amy wants. I think she’s gonna love it, especially when we finally put a name on it. It will be the first plane she ever owned. She begged and pleaded with her mother who finally loaned her the money to buy my little two-seater. But, Amy had me change the inside. She had dreams of an exciting future. Oh, here she comes now.

    Amy propped her Harley and rushed over to the plane. She didn’t say a word, just nudged me aside and climbed in. Her grin blossomed to a broad smile. I knew she was pleased with my remodeling. Everywhere she looked and touched she nodded approval. She hopped down beside me and kissed my cheek.

    “What a beauty. Thanks so much,” she sighed. A tear rolled down her flush cheek. “When will it be ready?”

    “Couple of days,” I answered. “Will have her all cleaned up and painted. Glad you like it.”

    “Can’t wait to get her up to Heaven,” she sighed..

    “What are you going to name her,” I asked.

    “I dunno. Got any ideas?”

    “Well, how about just your name?”

    “Hmmm. Nice. Yes. Just my name,” she cooed. “Amylia Airheart.”

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