Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Mist

oak creek canyon overlook flash fiction writing prompt copyright KSBrooks
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 2017.

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Mist”

  1. Mists of Time

    It was a plan, a darned good plan. In the end he would be set for life.

    “You have to be willing to take chances,” he was known to say. This would be his big chance.

    “Jeezus it’s colder than I thought it would be. Just gotta hang on for fifteen seconds then pop the chute.”


    “Hang on, fella!” The bulky bundle made any movement that much more difficult.

    13-14…”NOW!” The canopy blossomed overhead, drastically slowing his rate of fall.

    Through the darkness he could just make out the mist enveloping the dense pine forest floor below.

    “If I can only find a clearing, somewhere.” He continued to drift downwards and sideways in the strong wind. Now, half frozen and increasingly numb, there was little he could do but hope.

    Ironically, hope had started it all…hope would finish it. Hope to start over, hope to live to do it. He’d been swallowed by the darkness.

    “It’s a lot of money, more than enough,” and he patted the proceeds of his negotiations.

    “Wasn’t too hard,” he thought. “Just needed some finesse. No need for violence.”

    Sometimes being nondescript was an advantage. This was one of those times. Nobody had really noticed him before. They didn’t this time. That’s why the whole scheme worked.

    He ended his journey through the night sky.

    The authorities never found “D.B. Cooper” — nor the $200,000 cash — even after 45 years of trying.
    Actually, they never really knew who he was.

  2. The lieutenant quickly unbuckled his parachute and, with some trouble, finally was able to order seven of the men from Company C to move behind the hedgerow to the east. A heavy mist had dropped visibility to under 100 feet. Were it not for the use of “crickets,” which helped them to indicate their presence to one another, it would have been almost impossible for him to get everyone’s attention, much less identify friend from foe. The hedges, thick with foliage, stood more than ten feet high and grew from a three-foot dirt base.
    They hadn’t moved more than a quarter mile to the north when the lieutenant put up his hand. “Shhhh!”
    “What is it, Lieutenant?” whispered Private Allen.
    Lieutenant Tallerday pinched his cricket, but there was no response. He tried again. Two chirps. Nothing. Still, the muffled sounds of men approaching from the opposite direction—apparently on the other side of the hedgerow—were unmistakable.
    The lieutenant put up his hand, signaling everyone to stop. Then, slowly, carefully, he parted the hedgerow and listened for what could be heard.
    “Wir müssen sehr vorsichtig sein, unsere Intelligenzkräfte haben signalisiert, dass die amerikanischen Streitkräfte bereits in diesem Gebiet gelandet sind.”
    “What are they saying, lieutenant?” a private whispered in the lieutenant’s ear. Tallerday motioned him off.
    Within a minute, the Germans were gone, lost in the mist that enveloped the entire countryside. “Thank God for the fog of war,” whispered Tallerday, nervously removing his helmet and wiping his brow.

  3. The moaning grew louder as it neared midnight. The mist, swirling through the trees, increased until it was almost impossible to see. I shuddered as we crept through the bushes groping our way through the undergrowth.

    This was the year the horror is supposed to waken. Every one hundred thirty-one years they are released from the gates of Hell to roam the earth, according to legend. Our group thought this folklore was all utter nonsense and decided to see for ourselves.

    We left the party decked out in our Halloween costumes and went into the forest where the superstition began. Distant moans and groans led us in the right direction. I raised my flashlight to check my watch. 11:50.

    A fluttering form swept through the mist and knocked the light from my hand. Another, bumped against my shoulder, hissing as it disappeared. My friends, who I could no longer see, began yelling and screaming. Something was grabbing my ankles. Terrified, I raced for home. It seemed the demons where chasing right behind me, closing in. I ran into the house and cringed in a corner next to the fireplace.

    Suddenly, my friends poured through the front door laughing hysterically.

    “Gotcha! It took us weeks to set you up. What a baby,” someone shouted.

    The clock on the mantle rang twelve. A thick black cloud swarmed down through the chimney and enveloped the group. They were gone in a clap of thunder.

    Oooohhh! What’s that crawling towards me?

  4. Unforeseen

    “Let’s go on that next!” said my little sister Violet.

    I looked ahead and saw people boarding and getting off a trolley. The side of the bus read Green Giant Forest Tour.

    “Are you sure this is the last thing you want to do while we’re here? We could go to the waterfall instead…”

    Before I could finish, Violet started racing to the trolley. I sighed and followed. We found a seat in the back and gave our attention to the man speaking.

    “Welcome aboard! I’m Shawn, your guide…”

    I zoned out soon as he droned on about rules. Violet slammed the poor guide with so many questions. But, finally, the engine roared to life.

    I had to admit, the scenery around us was beautiful. Violet and I kept our gaze on a mama deer and her fawn lapping at a pond. I noticed some people begin to point and murmur about something in the distance, but I couldn’t tell what it was. Shawn saw this and spoke up.

    “ Yes, we will be turning to the trail on the left since this one leads to an out-of-bounds area.”
    I saw the sign. It read in large letters: DEEP WATER. KEEP AWAY. Beyond that was a thick fog.

    But we never turned left. We went straight ahead, soon engulfed in fog. Everyone panicked. Shawn went pale and talked to the driver. He told us the wheel and brakes broke!

    Violet clung onto me. Everything was going too fast.


  5. The mist unexpectedly slithered down from atop the ridge with ever quickening, stretching, long tendrils into the valley. Wherever it appeared, life disappeared, engulfed beneath it.

    The last two enemies with knife blades held high struggling against each other’s grasping hand on their wrist held high were dancing in this mist covered land.

    Twisting turning spinning flailing. Both trying to shake loose the other’s grasp, all to no avail. Both battling, screaming hateful grunts in a twisting turning dance of death over mist filled fox holes, bomb craters, trenches.

    Two megalithic beasts raging on locked in deadly knife held high combat, as the mist now swirls by their every step, trying to trip and make the other fall, to gain the advantage and slaughter their enemy. Oh, how this senseless struggle wages on by the last enemies left on this war-torn landscape of hate filled battlefield.

    Dancing twisting turning. With knives held high, neither able to make the other die. Then turning twisting in knee-high mist, one mistake, a misstep and down into the mist they dive.

    Now, all is quiet on this worldly field, the mist subsides, the top of a blade still held high appears. Next a glint of light off the blade itself, until the handle with hand still grasping it appears held high in the enemy’s grasp. Now both frozen in Rigor Mortis, as a stone cold monument to hatred, locked in death beneath this mist of mustard gas.

  6. This was our third visit to Mt. Rushmore in as many years. Once again, it seemed we were due to be disappointed. The clouds clustered thickly around the mountains, reducing visibility to zero. Last year it had been thunderstorms; the year before that, the road closed for repairs. As massive as the presidents’ faces were, they would not be visible tonight. Even on the off-chance that they were, Mt. Rushmore was closed to travelers.

    My older brother Charles and I had had a surprisingly good time in spite of this. On our second trip we discovered that we both liked little-known historic places, like Registration Cliff where years ago westward-bound covered wagons stopped to rest. Travelers would carve their names and short messages on the sides of the sandstone cliff. Charles and I spent an afternoon reading them, running our hands over these bits of history, talking easily about our own family.

    The old man suffered when we went our separate ways. Maybe that’s why he specified that both of us must spread his ashes at the foot of Mt. Rushmore. And I was beginning to understand why he wanted it done in November. Maybe because the weather was almost always bad in November, bad enough to delay carrying out his wish, forcing us to make the trip multiple times. Could be. ..

    On our first trip we were distant, on the second cordial, and this time almost fully reconciled. Our father was a smart man.

  7. Paige descended the mountain, weaving through a dense forest in search of a white pine tree. A thick blanket of morning mist enveloped her.

    She’d grown up resentful towards parents that had abandoned her to go travel. On her twenty-first birthday, her aunt reluctantly gave her a box containing their research. She’d said she couldn’t let her continue hating her parents.

    After reading their documents, how could she not be in awe of their discovery? They’d taken several trips through a wormhole to a place described as a Garden of Eden. In their last picture, her mother wore a pink scarf, and her father sported his lucky silver watch. Paige had to find them.

    Locating the albino tree was an exhilarating moment; she was close.

    Paige pulled out a small replica of an Egyptian obelisk and plunged it into the tree’s only knothole. Instantly, a vortex reflecting radiant streaks of colorful light appeared before her. Be brave, she thought as she stepped through.

    She emerged into a lush meadow surrounded by the enchanting smell of jasmine.

    “This is beautiful,” she muttered, before catching sight of two skeletons leaning against a rock. An intense pain ripped through her chest once she recognized the pink scarf and the glint from a watch.

    Suddenly, the pleasant scent turned toxic, and she struggled to breathe.

    “You’re not welcome here,” ominously echoed around her.

    Paige scrambled to escape, but the wormhole closed, sealing her in as she collapsed on the soft, pure terrain.

  8. “Which sled is winning?”

    “Sled? What sled?”

    Four-year-old Penelope stamped a small foot in frustration, but her eyes never left the lodge’s picture window. She pointed a tiny finger to the glass. “Those sleds! I think the one on the left is winning.”

    Chuck peered in the direction his daughter was looking. All he saw were mountains densely covered in pine trees. “I don’t see any people sledding, honey.”

    “Not people,” Penelope’s voice showed her frustration. “The trees. They’re sledding down the mountain.”

    Chuck looked again. “I don’t see any trees sledding.”

    “They’re right there! In the snow!”

    Chuck furrowed his brow. What snow? All he saw was a thick mist covering the mountain nearest to their lodge. It looked more like someone had taken cotton batting and draped it over the mountain.

    Wait … thick, white … OK, it does kind of look like snow. He had to give her that. And that square bank of trees breaking through the mist does kind of look like a sled. There was a group of trees next to it, covered in more mist, but there were two very distinct rectangles of dark green trees breaking through the thick white mist.

    “Oh, I see. You are so clever!” he tousled her hair. “I don’t know who will win. They look to be neck-and-neck.”

    “I say the first sled will win.”

    Chuck smiled. “You do, huh? Why that one?”

    “Because the other one is sinking in the snow.”

  9. Katy starts her bike ride early today. It will be the last ride through her beloved forest before her deployment to the desert. Fog and mist layer droplets on leaves and rocks. Katy can barely see the narrow path. But she knows the way well.

    As she cycles, she notices a large spider web stretched between two trees. The sun begins to penetrate fog and mist. The web sparkles like polished gemstones.

    While Katy admires the spider’s handiwork, two things happen. Her cell phone buzzes and her front tire jams against a large rock. Reaching for her phone with one hand, she loses control of the bike.

    It slides on the wet leaves and flips Katy onto her back. Her cell flies into the web. She feels sharp pain and hears a pop as she lands on a rock. When she opens her eyes, she sees the spider hanging in its torn web.

    She reaches to move the bike off her legs. Agony stabs through her back and chest. She can barely breathe. She can only whisper, “Help,” as she lies helpless and broken.

    Katy recognizes the irony of her situation. For weeks she’s worried about her upcoming deployment, about the possibility of lying wounded along a desert road. Now she realizes that she won’t be going to the desert tomorrow.

    Fading in and out of consciousness, Katy thinks she hears a dog barking. As the cool mist dampens her hair and clothes, all she can do is wait.

  10. Sarah looked at the cloudless sky and tried not to think about her parched throat or what her future held, as she struggled to keep up with Carl. They’d been winding through the forest for days. If only she could create an escape route. Around the next bend, the trees cleared, revealing a cloud filled valley. Sarah stopped walking.

    “Come on” said Carle. He yanked on the rope binding her hands.

    “This isn’t right,” she whispered.

    “Neither was rejecting me. You’re mine.” He snapped the rope again. “Now move. This valley is perfect for our new home; cool and wet.”

    Tears stung Sarah’s eyes as she plodded on. A new home for him, not her. She prayed for a miracle. Thick moist air enveloped them, cutting visibility to inches. It felt like a tropical jungle. Something rustled nearby. Carl cried out and the rope went slack.


    A muffled response was all she heard. Then nothing. Chills ran down Sarah’s back and her heart pounded. Heavy steam blew past her, then a deep laugh rang out.

    “Lets us sees whats we’s caughts sss,” hissed a voice.

    As the mist thinned, two huge red eyes appeared. Then coil after coil of shimmering green scales, one holding Carl’s limp figure.

    “You’s a prisoners nos mores sss.”

    “But what am I to you?” said Sarah, on trembling legs. “Dinner?”

    The serpent chuckled. “Yous tells mes. Its was yours magics thats createds me sss.”

    This time Sarah laughed. Her magic had finally appeared.

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