Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Kiva

kiva 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 2016.

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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Kiva”

  1. “Carlos. Carlos! You know him. He’s the guy who’s been helping us on the architectural dig at the kivas used by the ancestral Puebloans. He was pushing a wheelbarrow toward the entrance of one yesterday when he dislodged a large stone. It dropped close to where he was standing. Later, he became dizzy and couldn’t work. It was really strange. According to his wife, the guy’s never been sick a day in his life.
    “So, what happened, Rebecca?”
    “Well, she took him to the doctor, but he couldn’t find a thing wrong.”
    “What’s he gonna do now?”
    “Here’s where it gets really strange. One of the native Indians working with us suggested that if he isn’t feeling better by tomorrow, we should take him to the local medicine man and offer gifts to Father and Mother Earth.”
    The man said nothing.
    “I know that look,” she said. “You find it all very amusing, don’t you?”
    “I didn’t say anything,” he replied, chagrined.
    “Okay, then. What do you think about this? Every weekend, some people get together and read from a book that includes a tale about a burning bush, a story about walls that fell from the sound of trumpets, and prayers for rain. Do you find them strange?”
    Her companion raised his arms in surrender. “You’re right. Who am I to judge?”
    “Indeed,” she said. “Now, the least you can do is keep your opinions to yourself, especially given Carlos has nothing to lose at this point!”

  2. Lessons to be Learned

    By Annette Rey

    Kiva Marie struggled with dyslexia. She resented that people termed her brain orientation as a disability. To her, the disability belonged to others. Their brains were locked into a programmed way of thinking; their thinking was not flexible, like hers. She struggled to fit in the world created by those robot-humans.

    She wondered, “Why does i come before e?”

    She conceded it probably is important to know what order to write numbers or you might expect a trip to take 81 miles when in fact the destination is only 18 miles away. So, logistically, that made sense to her.

    Kiva had a twin, Reva, who also dealt with dyslexia. They had interesting conversations and memorable stories to tell.

    One summer day Reva used the hose to spray her unsuspecting sister.

    “Stop! I just fixed my hair!”

    Reva tried to turn the hose off, but turned the knob in the direction of forcing more water to come from the sprayer, drenching Kiva. Reva often confused left and right directions. This proved to be a problem as she became a young driver.

    “Turn left at the corner, Reva.”

    “Okay, Mom.”

    “Reva! Reva! Left! Left! Not right! You’re going the wrong way on a one-way street!”

    The girls help one another and continue struggling. Love and patience from their family and others assist them as they journey forward.

    They gently ask the robots to learn how to: “Maek room for us in yur werld.”

  3. A relay clicked home and a lamp began to glow.

    The Ranger became aware, its hearing reaching out to the limits of the atmosphere and beyond. The tactical channels were all quiet. It began to frequency hop – searching for intelligible broadcasts – but there was nothing, not even on the millimetre bands, the sub-space hiss its only answer. The world was dead. The last war was over. It began to run its diagnostics, seeking to confirm its conclusion was correct, pinging out pulses it knew would come unchanged, when it sensed something close; a heat signature, moving toward it.

    It was small and non-mechanical, its motions uncoordinated, threaded through with a neural blurring suggesting an organic.

    The Ranger emerged from the cavity in the wall, its long, spindly legs insect-like but possessing a balletic grace. It raised itself to its full height, its programming deploying its solar arrays like sails behind it. It turned, aligning them to the sun to recharge its depleted storage cells more quickly.
    “Oooh, you’re pretty. Are you an angel?” The humanoid dropped to the ground, spreading its skirts around it like a fan. It didn’t seem to be intimidated – it just drew out a water-bladder and began to suckle upon it, studying the mechanism without concern for the nuclear warheads it had ranged upon it. The Ranger took a final sweep of the EM bands and then spoke, unaware of the irony of its words.

    “Little girl,” it said. “Can you take me to your leader?”

  4. It had been worth it. His neighbor Jarvis had escalated the rivalry by flying over the small Norman chapel brick-by-brick and installing it by his Koi pond. Never to be outdone, Worthington purchased an entire ruin from Chihuahua. He’d match Jarvis brick-for-brick to win the title. Jarvis had been winning the Crestview Garden Club’s “House Beautiful” award every year for twenty years.
    Jarvis was a thorn in Worthington’s side. He always seemed one step ahead. Azaleas begat rhododendrons, fountains begat reflecting pools…there was no end in sight. But there was, reflected Worthington coldly, that small windowless chamber in the rock edifice and a pile of left-over stones. Nobody would miss Jarvis.
    Thursday night, after the weekly garden club meeting at the public library, Worthington invited Jarvis to drop by to see his purchase. “I know we’ve had our differences over the years. Let’s bury the hatchet over a glass of Scotch.” Jarvis had agreed and the two men were driven home by Jarvis’ man Hector.
    “Hector is a heck a stonemason,” bragged Jarvis. “He reassembled my chapel in record time.” Worthington felt queasy. Maybe he shouldn’t have had that Scotch on an empty stomach. When he came to a short time later it was dark except for the small rectangle of light that disappeared as Hector mortared in the last stone.

    “This year’s House Beautiful award goes to…” garden club president Milly James, kept everyone in suspense. “William Worthington. Accepting on his behalf is his neighbor Victor Jarvis.”

  5. It was a beautiful day for a picnic, and Adela had the ideal location picked out. A Pueblo Kiva, in the heart of a petrified forest, a mere six hour drive from their home. A cultural experience for the children, and it wouldn’t hurt Donald any to get away from televised football games for a day.

    Donald knew from bitter experience that it was better to just go along with whatever Adela wanted. The children protested at being forced to sit in a car for six hours when they could be home playing hide-and-seek, but no one heard them. Donald had plugged into his hard rock of the 70s and Adela into her classical music, and they drove.

    When they arrived at the Kiva, Donald and Adela stood hand-in-hand, in awe of this huge warren of endless rooms and small openings built hundreds of years ago of adobe bricks.

    “Hide’n’seek?” whispered little Donnie. Little Della nodded eagerly. And they were off and running.

    Donald and Della did not notice. They enjoyed their shrimp cocktails and fruit kabobs and wine, and as the sun set, they folded their blankets and headed for home.

    Three days later Adela said to Donald, “Sweetie, do you ever get a funny feeling that you have forgotten something but you can’t remember what?”

  6. Deputy David Chua knew his grandfather and grandfather’s grandfather were watching over him when he spied the rattlesnake sidewinding across the trail leading to the shack where Zeke Duerson holed up.

    Chua promised his boss, Sheriff Bones McClure, mortally wounded by Duerson days before, he’d bring the bastard back to hang. He knew Duerson couldn’t be flushed by one man. But now he knew he wouldn’t be alone.

    Fetching some cornmeal from his saddlebag, Chua removed his shirt and powdered himself with it.. The deputy began singing a prayer Duerson would never understand. Chua was counting on it. Within the stifling cabin, the killer heard the chanting and poked his .44 out the door.

    “What the hell…?” Duerson said as a half-naked man shutfled toward him, singing and holding what looked like a live rattlesnake.

    “Back off, boy,” Duerson called as the apparition danced closer. Duerson was about to shoot the madman when he saw Chua brush the snake with a feather and drape the uncoiled diamondback in his mouth. Flummoxed, Duerson stepped from the doorway.

    His hands now free, Chua reached behind his back for the Peacemaker stuffed in his belt and shot Duerson through the shoulder.

    After he brought the killer in, town fathers felt compelled to name Chua sheriff…even if he was “just an Indian.”

    “Oh, he’s more’n that,” an old-timer said. “You flatheels know Dave’s clan’s been handling snakes in their kiva for generations? Christ, “chua” is even Hopi for snake!”

  7. The old stone Kiva had been used for centuries by the tribe. It was a place of gathering for celebrations and religious ceremonies to praise the Gods.

    But tonight it would have only one use as the great Shaman of the tribe stepped forth to speak to the Gods. One God in particular . . . the God of Death.

    “Oh mighty Xoltl grant me your favor,” the Shaman shouts to the heavens.

    “Not for me, but for my people who now lay dead before you,” he continues, gesturing outward beyond the Kiva where his entire tribe lay slaughtered amongst the village.

    “For their loyalty to you, for their love of you, I have one request. . . Purge this land of all who dare not believe in you and your divine wrath.”

    Dark clouds form in the sky. A rumble of thunder follows. Suddenly a bolt of lightening cracks the sky, striking the ground of a nearby field.

    From that strike a small fire begins to burn. It grows larger and larger, consuming the entire field, rising as high as a mountain.

    Taking on a life of its own the fire slowly begins moving north like a lumbering beast searching for prey, destroying everything in its path.

    And when the deed is done the Shaman knows he will be the last man on Earth. For only the people of his tribe believe in Xoltl . . . and he is the last of that tribe.

  8. I begged, begged the witchdoctor to delve into the mist of my previous lives. I needed to know who I was, to know what I had to do.

    The guru grabbed my hand, bones and shrunk heads clinking together. A torrent of air engulfed me and a vivid vision whooshed me out of this world.

    I saw a man running in a field of battle, gun tightly gripped, rushing into a rain of bullets and exhorting his comrades to do the same. I knew instinctively that this man was myself in a past life. Then, a bullet clanged against his green helmet and he fell to the ground, lifeless.

    The vision blurred and I became a horse galloping on a plain until a lynx clawed my throat. Lives, so many lives, I was a merchant, a dog, a rat, a worm, then a mother cradling a child, going far back into the past, until I reached what felt like my first life.

    There was a robed man sauntering out of a sandy Kiva, black of skin and wrinkled from the boiling sun. But this man wasn’t me, no. Instead, he pulled out a seed and planted it. I saw a sapling emerging from the ground and I knew I was this tree.

    When the vision ended, the witchdoctor had disappeared. In his place, I saw only the small oval of a seed.

    I dug a hole in the ground and carefully covered the seed, as I would an infant.

  9. Bigsy lit another cigar and tapped Mayer on the shoulder. “Come on. I’ll showya what I mean.” He leaned forward and told the chauffeur, “Back in a minute.”

    They walked to the edge of the pit. “See?” The historical Kiva below them seemed to ripple under the scorching sun. “We clean it up. Do some remodeling. Put the bar at that end. Chorus girls come dancing out of that little hole in the rocks up there and do their stuff. Line that wall with slot machines. Scatter blackjack and crap tables around a roulette wheel over there. Then…..”

    “Bigsy. Bubelah. This ain’t no Times Square, ya know. How we gonna get people to come all the way out here? The middle of no-where!” Mayer moaned.

    Bigsy shook his head. “Ain’t no problem. We can get a ton of big names, who ain’t so big anymore,” he winked, “to come out and perform. That’ll bring ’em in.”

    They strolled arm-in-arm to the limousine discussing the prospects. On their drive to the city, they popped a bottle of Dom Perignon and joyously began harmonizing a rollicking version of Hava Nagila. Driving along main street, Mayer suddenly shouted “Oy! Stop. Stop.” and leaped out of the limo in front of a vacant lot for sale. “This is it. I feel it deep in my bones. Sorry, Bigsy. We’ll build our first Vegas casino right here and call it The Flaming O, or something.’”

    Bigsy just shook his head and muttered, “Meshuggener.”

  10. Joe the Realtor was desperate for a sale. Everything else on the reservation was sold and all that was left was this kiva. It was in good shape, having been excavated only recently. He wasn’t sure what to do, but his grandmother told him he had to be persuasive—“be so persuasive you could sell ice to Eskimos!”

    There were two openings off the courtyard, it was a quiet neighborhood, and sturdily constructed. He went to the local greasy-spoon lunch spot and began working his magic.

    “Hey, Fred, howya doin’? Still thinking of relocating?”

    “Nope,” Fred said. “We’re fine where we are.”

    “Aw, too bad. I have a new property, quiet neighborhood, courtyard access—“


    Joe jerked his head to the right. “Out on the west side of town.”

    “Where they been doing all that excavating?”

    Joe flashed his million-watt smile. “That’s the place.”

    Fred looked at him. “When did they build houses out there? I heard it was a kiva.”

    “It is! I have an exclusive to sell it.”

    “I don’t need a burial site!”


    “Ever! I intend to be cremated.”

    “C’mon-it’s great construction, quiet neighborhood—“

    “Of course it is, Joe—they’re all dead.”

    “Hardly used—“

    “No, Joe.”

    “Two outside entrances—“

    “And zero exits. You’re barking up the wrong tree.”

    “What’ll it take for me to put you into that kiva?”

    Fred looked at him menacingly.

    “Let me rephrase that.”

  11. My bear feet ached on the sharp gravel path. Roaring cheers faded to a low hum, as I moved forward into the shadows. A deep rumbling in the ground made the small stones jump and dance. I pressed my hand against the towering wall to steady my shaking steps. Just then, a searing pain pressed red hot into my palm.
    “Aaaahh.” A cry of pain burst from my lips, as I cradled my burnt hand to my chest. The metallic tang of blood lay heavy in the air.

    Plunk. Scccrape. Plunk. Scccrape. Plunk.

    Heavy, dragging footfalls echoed against the stone walls.

    Chills ran up my spine. Still clutching my aching hand, I ran.

    Blood thundered against eardrums. The piercing ache in my side begged for respite. But I ignored it, and continued to press on.
    The approaching corner allowed a pinprick of hope to blossom in my mind.

    Maybe I’ve lost him I thought.

    I dashed round the corner and- SMACK- slammed my nose into a wall. Hot, sticky blood gushed down my face. I pressed the back of my hand against it, and then stood to listen.

    For a moment the only sound was my ragged breathing accompanied by the soft drip of my blood on the floor.

    And then I heard it. Softly at first. But growing louder.

    Plunk. Scccrape. Plunk. Scccrape. Plunk.

    The stench of animal filled my nose. Hot breath blew on my face. Pain blossomed, and a pair of beady red eyes stared into mine.

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