Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Orca

washington state orca june 2001.jpg
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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15 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Orca”

  1. The pod moved toward the iceberg on which Rodriquez was standing. Diving for its surface, he plunged his hunting knife into the ice. This would give him leverage in the event the orcas attempted to up-end the iceberg. He knew if he were standing, with the sun shining from above, the orcas would interpret his shadow as a seal lying on the ice, so better to lie down and hold on for dear life.

    Minutes passed.

    Then, Rodríguez saw it, a two-foot-high wave that could only have been made by living creatures. My God, they’re creating waves to tip the iceberg! he thought. The wave failed to dislodge Rodríguez, and the sea became quiet again.

    What the hell am I going to do? His body was shaking uncontrollably.

    A minute passed.

    Then he saw another wave; this time it was a 15-ton, 4-foot-high wall of water!

    Rodríguez barely had time to comprehend what was happening when the wave hit, thrusting him into the water. A sharp pain in his chest took his breath away, and the numbing cold stopped his heart. Instantly, the jaws of a six-ton killer whale clamped around on his waist.

    Shaking him violently, the killer dove for the depths, dragging Rodríguez’s lifeless body to the bottom of the channel.

    Except for one of Rodríguez’s gloves floating on the surface, there were no signs of what had happened.

  2. Ed’s boat

    Ed, Ski and I, stood at the end of the floating dock looking at Ed’s homemade 15-foot wooden boat.

    “You guys need to come with me for an eight-mile run out to Star Rocks and back.”

    I asked, “How come you painted the bottom white Ed?”

    “That’s easy, no money for the real bottom paint.”

    “It’s your boat Ed, killer whales love white bottom boats, like a cat loves a scratching pole. Commercial crabbers have told us about the killers recently hitting their boats looking for a back rub.”

    “Not a problem, Ed said, we can do 20 knots all day long.”

    “That still leaves them with a 10 know advantage.”

    We were greeted by calm seas, with a two foot swell out of the northwest, as we cleared the outer breakwater.

    “Ski, tall and lanky at six three, looked down at me, then said, Ed why did you build this bench seat so high. Feels like were sitting on top of the boat instead of in it?”

    “Need to see what’s going on.”

    Twenty minutes later we past Stars Rocks. Ed turned the boat towards the harbor.

    Three Orcas surfaced 50 yards off working their way to us. “Guys,” I said, “check our three o’clock.”

    Ed notched the throttle up. The Orcas continued to close.

    Fifteen minutes later we skipped our way into the harbor. The Orcas, our escorts, five feet away, left us.

    Why do Orcas have that smile all the time. They know something we don’t?

  3. Clumsy Princess

    The rumbles of the sinking island trembled through the water as Atia wiggled away in the shape of an orca. She could hear the screams of those who hadn’t managed to escape Atlantis, of those who had not the ability to take another form. The chorus of their anguish rippled the surface of the sea, rippled through her heart as she choked on the guilt.

    Atia could see a boat in the distance, in which people sat huddled and sad, their clothing dark with dripping water, their hair clinging to their faces.

    The people saw Atia coming and made room for her in the boat. She allowed her body to change beneath the water, the shape of orca melting away until she was thin limbs and long hair. When she climbed into the boat, a man took off his shirt and wrapped it around her naked shoulders. “My lady,” he said, speaking with the humbled, withered accent of a slave.

    The others in the boat looked at Atia with large, dark, frightened eyes. They were clad in wet plain linen and their feet were bare. Slaves, then. As a highborn lady, they would expect her to lead. Some of them seemed resentful of the fact, but Atia thought no one resented it more than she. She sat down, hugging herself within the man’s wet shirt, and she watched as Atlantis slowly sank away beneath the waves.

    None in the boat knew Atia was responsible.

  4. “That ain’t real,” Diamond Dan Ricci insisted.

    Al Moretti, his right-hand man, shook his head. “Dunno, Mr. Ricci, but I’m not gonna poke it.”

    Ricci gave Moretti a sour look, but didn’t order him into the water. The huge black and white mass floating there looked all rubbery and fakey, or if not that then deadish. But it couldn’t be dead because it couldn’t ever have been alive. “It’s a kiddie toy or something.”

    Moretti gave the boss a sour look of his own. “An eight foot kiddie toy?”

    “I seen orcas,” Ricci snapped.


    “In the ocean, moron. From my yatch.” Ricci pointed. “They ain’t that small. Twice as big, at least. Maybe three times.”

    “So it’s a baby.”

    Self-control not being his middle name, Ricci punched Moretti’s arm. “Don’t be stupid. What’s a baby orca doing here?”

    Moretti shook his head and shrugged, but it turned out he was right on one point. It wasn’t a kiddie toy. The thing in the water moved, slowly twisting, slowly turning, slowly opening a toothy mouth and closing it again, forcing a spray of water into the air.

    Ricci took a step back. “Schiavone.”

    Moretti nodded sagely. “Gotta be. Just his style. I’ll tell the boys to keep a sharp eye out.”

    “Yeah,” Ricci muttered. “You do that.” And as his underling left to muster the troops, Diamond Dan adjusted his swim trunks and wondered how the hell Schiavone had gotten this thing into his basement swimming pool.


    Pete Mallard boarded the captain’s S.S. ORCA, “Ahoy, Captain Marv.”

    Captain Marv flashed a toothless smile. Pete was nine years old and wanted to be a real-life detective. He and his pals were always hunting for a mystery. Captain Marv had just the thing for them.
    “I’ve found a treasure map,” the captain said.

    Pete studied the map. There was a beautiful picture of a large whale half submerged in the ocean along with one clue—In The Whale’s Belly Lies One Gold Coin.

    “Good luck boys.”

    They went to the library to study whales. Pete thought it would help if they knew what kind of whale the photograph depicted.

    “Bobby, what are you eating?” Pete asked.

    Bobby held up a whale-shaped container, “I’m eating Whalebellies. They’re gummy whales. The captain gave them to me.”

    Pete’s eyes sparkled. “That’s it. Come on gang.”

    They boarded the boat. Pete grabbed another Whalebellies container from a table. He dramatically reached inside. It was empty.

    The captain shrugged, “That was my last one.”

    Later, the librarian informed the boys the whale pictured was an orca whale.

    “This time I’ve got you, Captain Marv.” Pete found a cloth in the bilge of the captain’s boat. He opened it and revealed a gold coin.

    “How did you do it?” Bobby asked.

    “Simple, the clue was a picture of an orca whale that said ‘In The Whale’s Belly…’. Captain Marv’s boat is the S.S. ORCA, and we’re standing in its belly.”

  6. “It’s still a prototype. It needs some finishing touches. But doesn’t it look real?”

    “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen a real orca before.”

    “Well, for heaven’s sake. Use your imagination. That’s what this is all about. Imagination and adventure!”

    “Are the real ones 50 feet long?”

    “Who knows? I’ve never seen a real one either, just pictures. But this has silent motors that will put it up to 15 miles per hour and 30 feet deep. It will sway from side to side, but can’t tip over.”

    “How can you be sure?”

    “Stabilizers. The tourists will have the thrill of a lifetime, riding inside an incredibly realistic orca. This ride will be our star attraction.”

    “One thing you’ve forgotten.”

    “What’s that?”

    “You want the tourists to surface with stories of what they have seen underwater – the schools of fishes, coral reefs, maybe a diver, sharks….all the wonders of the underwater world. Isn’t that right?”

    “Of course it is. What are you getting at?”

    “Just a minor detail.”

    “And what minor detail is that?”

    “No portholes.”

  7. Luyut, young and agile, scooted across the broken ice from one ice slab to the next, pausing often to look for a prowling Orca, the evil sea wolf he hated.
    That’s when Luyut’s sensitive nose caught a familiar scent and he saw the dainty Idana, resting alone on a rugged chunk large enough for two.
    Idana. When they were pups together on the beach, he would gaze into her soft brown eyes. Now, he and his junior band were forbidden to go near females.
    Calculating his chances, Luyut stared at the rocky shore where head bull Thoris and his cronies flipped sand over their backs to keep away the flies. However, he knew they might get restless and charge into the water to fish. If the elders spotted him alone with her, he would be mauled or even worse.
    Whenever he imagined stroking Idana’s sleek body with his flippers, he lost his fear.
    He hoped she would nicer to him than she had been the last time.
    “Leave me alone!” Snarling as if Thoris had himself had ordered it, she forced him to retreat.
    Distracted, Luyut hadn’t noticed the wind pushing Idana further and further away.
    Her warning barks suddenly filled the air.
    Orca was the dark shape lurking in the ice-frothed water.
    One of them would certainly die.
    The sea wolf might choose Idana.
    Luyut barked a loud goodbye to his beloved
    and leapt into the sea.

  8. Sighting

    In the old days, sightings were rare. If you did spot a pod, you’d often be inclined to phone a friend and say, “Whales in the Sound. You might take a boo.” And they might reply, “thanks, I’ll check it out,” or perhaps, “thanks, but I’m busy now.”

    Either way, it was a rare occasion to see those magnificent creatures and sharing the news was much simpler.

    But if you are connected to social media, it hard to avoid whale sightings these days. Phones capture the images, motion pictures as quick as stink, mankind consumed with the immediacy of visceral experience, and there they are, the pod, naked in their whaleability.

    But I got to thinking, if they were aware of man marvelous expansion of information sharing, innovations that permitted, amongst other things, an absolute and total invasion of mammalian privacy in the wild, what might they be thinking?


    “Holy Crazy Captain Ahab, Sheila, what is it with these boats? They’re swarming us like rabid bats.”

    “It’s so unpleasant, Walter. Time was when the seas were inviolate, when we could cruise in wonderful isolation. Oh, we might encounter the occasional fishing vessel or the odd freighter, and, I suppose, one of those solo sailors who seem self destructively intent on setting some sort of endurance record, but they were few and far, oh so far, between.”

    “It’s a different world. We cannot simply BE. Some of us are captured, domesticated. Still, this is a small price to pay.

  9. Jaws

    Never really enjoyed venturing onto the water. Ironic, since my degree is in marine biology. Luckily my research is landlocked in the lab at the Scripp’s Aquarium.

    My newly-minted husband suggested we celebrate our six month anniversary with a whale watching tour off the coast of La Jolla. I could hardly deny him.

    “C’mon honey,” he pleaded, “It’ll be fun and you can teach me a thing or two about your work.”

    We boarded the small tour boat with six other intrepid souls and set out to explore the bay. Waters were somewhat choppy but I managed not to lose my lunch.

    We sighted a pod of orcas frolicking in the waters ahead; the skipper sped up a bit to catch up with them. Their distinctive tuxedo-like coloration made identification easy.

    “Rob, those animals are perhaps the most adept predators in the ocean. Really.” We stood at the rail, craning our necks for a better look.

    A rogue wave tossed our small vessel briefly into the air and I found myself flung over the side. Bobbing about in my life jacket, I watched as the boat began to swing around to retrieve me.

    The orcas swam in circles, seemingly curious. But there was no curiosity in the mind of the huge shark that was barreling straight towards me.

    I clambered aboard the boat, turned and saw an eruption of blood, fins and foam. The great white was gone.

    We watched as my finned guardians headed out to sea.


    There is no denying that it was a freak accident, but still, how in the world could one little Hermit Crab do so much damage? Brian would spend many hours trying to calculate the odds of the mishap that forever changed his life.

    He was swimming too close to the coral reef. From out of nowhere, a Barracuda went speeding by his face, missing it only by inches. He was caught off guard, and backed suddenly into a sharp piece of coral. The fear in his heart, and the pain in his dorsal fin caused him to perform a procedure known to whales as an ” EMERGENCY BLOW”. Brian was speeding to the surface when he collided with the crab.

    The crab escaped, but the conch shell that he had been renting was wedged very near the top of Brian’s blow hole. Luckily, air could still pass through the shell, but unfortunately, the sound that Brian made every time he surfaced was a horrendous bellow that sounded like an air raid siren, being run over by a freight train.

    Brian could no longer hunt with the pod. The seals could hear them coming from miles away. No female Orca would have anything to do with him because every time he had to breathe, he would cut loose with that foghorn, and before he could submerge again, the female was long gone.

    The code of the pod was rigid; Brian would spend the rest of his life alone.

  11. When her father shook her awake, Tulia didn’t understand what was happening; his words were incoherent.

    Outside everything was in chaos. Homes were burning; the street was swarming with villagers. She saw the rebels her father had warned about, then heard gun shots.

    “You’ll escape,” her father whispered as they ran along a twisted path through the jungle.

    Tulia clung to her father’s hand, refusing to join the crowd scrambling onto a docked fishing boat. Her father didn’t seem to be coming with her.

    Gently pushing her, he muttered, “I can’t go with you.”

    “No!” She couldn’t fathom leaving without him.

    “Remember Rhonda Bennett, the anthropologist from a while back?” He placed a card in her hand. “Contact her when you reach America.”

    Her eyes filled with tears, blurring her last view of him.

    “I’ll always be with you.”

    “How will I know?”

    “You’ll see me.” He glanced at the fishing boat, searching for what to say. “Look for a big fish.”

    He watched her board, then disappeared.

    The journey was difficult. Food was limited, and sea sickness ran rampant. Frightened, Tulia kept to herself in a corner. No one knew what awaited them.

    On the fourth day, Tulia looked out at the vast ocean. Suddenly, she spotted a black fin gliding through the water. As the orca surfaced, a salty mist moistened her cheeks. She’d never seen a whale before. To her, it was the biggest fish she’d ever seen; it was her father’s spirit guiding her onward.

  12. The hurricane roared down upon them as Captain Pegleg paced the deck of his whaling ship. He worried aloud to his first mate, “I fear we won’t make our quota this trip.”

    Raising his eyebrow Sharky toothlessly grinned and replied, “Not to worry Cappy, we only need one more sperm whale to…”

    The lookout interrupted and loudly proclaimed, “Ahoy! There’s one in range! She’s a big one with a rich load! Quick Captain fifteen points to starboard and she is ours.”

    Cappy secured the tip of his peg leg into a knothole in the deck and lashed his hands to the wheel. “Heave ho! Ready the harpoons!” The whaling ship shuddered as it pulled against the hurricane gale-force winds and cut across the gulf stream current towards the new heading.

    The giant waves battered the port side with every blow tipping the ship more and more towards the point of no return. The sailors screaming fears and curses were drowned out by the crashing waves and siren winds. The point of no return was breached rolling the ship over with masts, decks, and men disappearing beneath the violent seas.

    The whaling ship is said to still sail on. The gulf stream now fills her tattered sails with a watery current instead of earthly winds. The captain is still secured to the deck and lashed to the wheel. He steers the ghost ship upside down chasing the ghost whales beneath the waves to this very day.

  13. Cora, the Orca, hurtled through the freezing ocean at thirty miles-an-hour. She was leading her pod of twenty-five to the floating ice berg. They had to shift its position immediately.

    There it was. So astonishingly huge. Could they do it, she wondered?

    Cora clapped her jaws and whistled orders to her friends. “Form a semi-circle around the gleaming glacial mass and push it aside. Hurry.” She imagined just the tonnage of their combined weights would do it. Cora, herself, carried almost sixty-five hundred pounds in her nineteen-foot long body.

    The struggle had no effect.

    “Quick,” she signaled, “let’s back away about thirty feet and, at top speed, charge at the oblivious berg and butt it off course.”

    At full contact, only slivers of ice were chipped from the berg. It didn’t budge.

    The pod reorganized and tried once again to shove the mass of ice away. It began to move slightly. “Harder. Harder,” Cora screeched. It inched just a bit further away. She slipped up to the surface and saw the unsuspecting ship bearing down on them. Realizing it was too late, she leaped down to her laboring friends and alerted them to speed away to safety. They raced through the darkening waters just in time.

    The side of the monstrous ship crashed against the ice berg.

    Cora popped to the surface and watched helplessly as the Titanic began to slowly disappear. She wept over the horrible disaster they tried so desperately to prevent.

  14. It was a majestic creature gliding through the water like a bird through the air. This was my first time seeing one for real. Oh sure, I’d seen pics and vids on Youtube but never the real thing. Such sights truly take your breath away.

    Swimming near the boat, allowing me to see it up close and personal, I couldn’t understand why it got the name killer. I know its food of preference was sea lions but that would be like calling cats killer because they like to eat mice.

    As it rose and sank through the waves keeping pace with the boat I noticed a sad truth about the creature . . . it was crying. Tears gently flowed from its eyes. There was a tragic sadness in its stare.

    I couldn’t understand what was causing it such pain until I searched the ocean beyond and found the ugly truth. A few miles away a whaling ship was hauling in the remains of a large mother and her baby calve. They were gone forever, and this poor fellow racing next to my hull would never love again.

    And they call his kind killers.

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