Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Forest of Giants

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: Forest of Giants”

  1. Submitted for Editors’ Choice Award only

    “You’re right. They arrived earlier than last year.”

    “I know. Never saw anythin’ quite like them in this part of the forest. Maybe climate change has somethin’ to do with it. Different species, for sure. As I recall, the first humans didn’t show up until two weeks later this time last year.”

    The two owls, high in a forest of giant trees, twisted and turned, squinted, and gyrated to get a better look.

    “Look how they’re dressed.”

    “You mean those vests?”

    “Yeah, they’re like something issued by the Army. What do they use all those pockets for?”

    “Well, I suspect they for notebooks and pens, cell phones—God forbid they see something and the Thundering Herd isn’t alerted—ChapStick, a snack, and anything else that strikes their fancy.”

    “Man, I remember the days when a few would troop out in shorts, hiking boots, and sunhats, and look around with a pair of binoculars. Now, they’re all over the place, keeping lists on iPads, running competitions, using telescopes—do you believe that?!—and flying in from thousands of miles away just so catch a glimpse of cousin Waldo, that genetic mutation on our family tree.”

    “So, how do you want to mess with their heads this season?”

    “I thought I’d do the mating dance of the great black male ‘bird of paradise’.

    “That should fry a few brain cells.”

  2. “What if trees have intelligence? What if they actually have feelings and can communicate with each other?”

    Oh, Geez. What now? We were supposed to be on vacation, just soaking up the beauties of nature. And Bob couldn’t get his mind off work.

    “My research partner believes trees release tiny amounts of various chemicals that can either harm or benefit animal life. If we can prove they do it purposely…”

    They were studying artificial intelligence. I guess if trees are intelligent that’s about as artificial as it gets.

    “Trees are gorgeous,” I said. “Nothing on Earth is as spectacular as a forest like this, a forest of giants. But intelligent? No. Trees are dumb as dirt.”

    A large pine cone hit the ground in front of my feet. I picked it up. “This’ll make a nice souvenir of our trip.”

    “It didn’t come from these trees” Bob said. “They’re not pines.”

    “Ow!” Another one bounced off my head. “Stupid trees.”

    “You’re insulting them,” Bob warned.

    “Don’t be ridiculous.” I walked on, and promptly tripped over a root, tore my shirt sleeve on a branch, and got bombarded by small pine cones.

    From then on, it seemed like with every step I took I was tripped, or poked, or scraped. I cursed those dumb trees with every breath. By the time we got to the car, I was a mess.

    Bob was untouched. And laughing.

  3. We lay together.

    “What are you thinking?” Jacob rolled over beside me, turning with his face toward mine.

    “Nothing,” I sighed. “I’m meditating. Emptying my head of thoughts. It’s calming, you should try it. You fuss too much.” I continued to lie still, eyes open; staring at the trees, aware but not watchful. It was peaceful, even though there were still noises in the forest.

    “I fuss too much? You think?”

    Jacob sat up, his head turning as he surveyed the trees. He was never one to have a thought he wouldn’t voice.

    “What trees are these, do you think? Pines? Elms? Maybe larch trees?”

    I stiffened, then tried to clear my thoughts and relax. But he wouldn’t give up. I should have known.

    “The English have oak trees, don’t they? Maybe they brought some over and planted a bunch of them here. I bet they’re oaks. Like the one that Robin Hood fellow built a tree-house in. Sherwood Forest, wasn’t it? In Merrie Olde Englande. With the ‘e’s. The English go a bunch on ‘e’s. And ‘u’s too. As in ‘colour’. And ‘aluminium’.”

    “Aluminium has an ‘i’, I think.” I sighed. “And these are redwoods. As in the Armstrong Redwoods State Park. Now…can we be quiet a while? Please?”

    “Okay. Right. Of course. Peace and quiet.”

    It lasted two minutes, if that. I heard a restless rustling and the metallic noises of buckles being undone.

    “Do you want a sandwich? Best eat them fast. I think there’s ants.”

  4. It should have been so peaceful lying here looking up through those branches interweaving from the trunks of the trees, but the bullet in my chest made me moan. They left me to die in this pile of leaves. I could only watch as my faithless wife and her lover disappeared through the forest.

    Yesterday, at lunch, she boasted of her affair with our chauffeur, jabbed a gun into my side and ordered me to get up. “Don’t make a sound,” she whispered. We got to her muscular Romeo. Smirking, he held open the car door as I climbed into the back seat. “Sorry, chum,” he chuckled and slammed shut the door. The smell of leather filled my nostrils. We drove to the deserted woods. They forced me out.

    “I never signed those prenup papers,” she confessed. “We’re on our way to Rio. All yours will soon be all mine, you fool,” fired one bullet into me and sped off with her lover.

    I don’t how long I laid here. Then suddenly, a deer came by and began licking my wound. The beauty seemed to wink at me as though she knew she was saving my life.

    After stumbling to a highway, I flagged an approaching car. He drove me to the nearest understanding doctor who dressed my wound and, without reporting it, sent me on my way.

    Back at our penthouse I made plans for my avenging trip to Rio and loaded my 45.

  5. “Look!” little Samuel cried, bouncing on his toes. “Giants!”

    Mom and dad gazed up into the forest canopy. Dad nodded sagely while mom, smiling, patted Samuel on his three-year-old head. “That’s right!” dad agreed. “Tallest trees in the world, redwoods. Why, some are over three hundred fifty feet tall!”

    “Giants!” Samuel poked at the sky “Giants!”

    Mom laughed. “Giants, and old folks, too. Some of them are over seven hundred years old.” Blue eyes twinkling, she leaned down to Samuel and whispered, “That’s even older than grandma.” She straightened and inhaled the green. “So old, yet so alive.”

    Dad put an arm around mom, pulled her to his side, and kissed her cheek. Then he took Samuel’s hand and tugged him along the soft, needle-matted trail. “Come on, son.”

    Samuel wanted none of that. Craning his neck, walking backwards, he pointed and wailed, “Giants!”

    “Lots more giants to see up here,” dad insisted. “Let’s keep moving.”

    Samuel walked backwards until they passed around the next bend, then turned and shuffled along with downcast eyes.

    A rustle stirred the treetops behind as a great brown hand gently parted the branches above, as a huge green eye peered through the gap at the now-empty trail, as a great sigh stirred the leaves. Then the branches swished back into place. A Stellar’s jay cried somewhere among the trees, and the deep silence of the forest closed in.

  6. In The Land of Giants

    “My gosh Madeleine. They’re ENORMOUS!”

    “Oh, Jason. To you everything is enormous. Or tall. Or gigantic. Jeesh.”

    “But. Maddy, don’t you see the potential?”

    “OK. And that would be…?”

    “Look. Just take ONE of these giants. Why…you could build a road, dam a river, build a house or two. ‘Nuff firewood for a man for a year!!”

    “Oh, Jason. You’re always thinkin’ big thoughts!”

    “What’s so bad about that?”

    “Nuttin’. I’ve grown used to how you see the world. Sumpin’s always bigger, taller, under-used. Someday somebody’s gonna cut your big ideas down to size.”

    “I don’t think so, Maddy. At least I hope not. A fella’s gotta dream, you know.”

    Jason had never let his dwarfism limit his big ideas.

  7. Last Saturday my eleven-year-old granddaughter, Ellen, was sworn in to protect the forest as a National Junior Park Ranger. She was tested on all aspects of forestry and environment as she enjoyed walking through each part of the park. Native wildlife habitat seemed to give her a little consternation because of identifying scat as the ranger quizzed her using her workbook.
    Eventually, with gentle prodding, she passed and was photographed between the American flag and a cardboard rendition of President Teddy Roosevelt signing into law the Antiquities Act in 1906. With badge in hand, she talked about the honor.
    How do you thank a President for foresight? Theodore Roosevelt preserved for future generations (so far, five in our family) our American heritage. With each new generation lies a hope to preserve the American way of life as well as a consciousness of responsibility to the future. His stature grows with each generation and truly he is a giant in the Forest of Giants and that ain’t scat

  8. The tall dark trees swayed slightly against the clear summer sky. A small breeze played among the leaves as a lone bird chirped from a nearby branch, and narrow shafts of sunlight streamed through the tree tops as dust danced in the light. It was a warm day, but laying in the shade felt cool and refreshing.

    Henry loved being in nature, away from the frantic pace of crowded city life. He worked long hours each week in a machine shop. It wasn’t his choice; those things were always established by the Party. But if he was lucky, he would get away one day a month and enjoy some time alone in nature. It was expensive, but well worth the cost.

    “Citizen 2J93X,” droned the voice from the speaker. “Your time is up. Others are waiting.”

    Henry lingered for a moment, then gathered up his things, walked slowly to the entrance of the “Outdoor Dome”, and made his way to the underground travel tube.

    As the train sped through concrete tunnels, Henry recalled reading a book that claimed there was once a Golden Age in earth’s past when people never lived in pressurized domes. It said the country was once filled with lush green forests and wildlife; that people once roamed freely, and they once breathed fresh air. He shook his head and stared at the grayness outside the train window. Why was he thinking about such silly things? They were just tales for children.


    My uncles arrived amidst the magnificent Sequoia redwoods with guns in the trunk of their car but cameras in hand ready to snap pictures of the beauty around them. They took a few pictures of the giants while walking in towards the thicket of undergrowth in the distance. Suddenly they saw a group of brown bears eating berries from the vines growing around them.

    Uncle Shelby, one of the younger brothers, walked toward the largest bear and reached out to her.
    “Here, take a picture of us together,” he called back to his three brothers.

    The bear looked at him and opened her mouth, enclosing his arm between her large teeth.

    One of the brothers snapped the picture at that instant.

    The bear opened her mouth and released his arm, looked at him again, and walked off into the woods.

    I heard this story over and over as I grew up.

  10. When I was young, my family and I would come to this beautiful forest and have a picnic under the trees. It was our favourite magical place where we would imagine seeing fairies through the filtered sunlight of the canopy.
    Many times as an adult, I have found the same tree and enjoyed my own little picnic, wishing my siblings and parents were with me, but that’s a long story for another time.
    On this particular day after eating my picnic, I drifted into a deep sleep and when I woke I was shrouded in darkness. Having never been in the forest after sunlight it made me more than a little anxious.
    I slowly stood and heard a twig snap behind me and at the same time felt a rush of wind to my left, was this my over active imagination or was I perhaps not alone?
    Terrified, I started to run, listening for any sounds behind me but all I could hear was my feet hitting the earth, my heavy breathing and the pounding of my heart. I had no idea where I was running but could hear the distant sound of a waterfall as I increased my pace. Suddenly I felt myself free falling to the end of my world, as there was obviously a cliff edge before the waterfall.
    I now live in the forests with my siblings; we are all beautiful fairies allowing ourselves to be seen as children look through the canopy of our forest.

  11. The Forest Giants’ Message
    An elderly couple holds hands, gazing beyond the tree canopy, focusing on a few small patches of blue. “Can you hear them? They’re trying to ask me something important,” she whispers, clasping her husband’s hand.

    “Hear what, my dear?”

    “I hear the forest giants whisper my name, sending a message to me on the westerly breeze.” She frees her hand and stumbles towards the nearest tree, scratching its gnarled bark with her head bent down as far as her aged spine enables her to stretch. The woman remains there for the rest of that afternoon while her husband sets up their camp nearby.

    He shouts, “Say goodbye to the tree. I made tomato stew to warm your bones. I assure you, our majestic forest giants will still be here tomorrow – like they’ve been these past fifty-five anniversaries!”

    Later that cool spring evening, they watch the stars move high above the forest giants, sipping their coffee – cosy in their sleeping bags. “I probably shouldn’t have sugar, but let’s treat ourselves for once – here – near our favourite trees__”

    “Did our trees reveal any secrets today?”

    “No . . . , but they wondered why we die so young – eighty years if we’re lucky – while they live for more than seven hundred years!”

    “That’s profound”, but his wife has already fallen into a deep sleep. He hugs her and soon falls asleep too. The forest giants weep once more, because they know what the next day would bring.

  12. Ted looked up through the old growth cedars and knew in the pit of his stomach that he and Alice were in trouble. Not only was the sun going down, but they had just made a perfect circle as they tried to find their way back to the trailhead.

    In all his years hiking, he had never led them this far astray.

    Without saying anything, Ted knew that Alice knew. Neither their fierce argument in the car on the way to the trail nor the silence between them afterwards as they traipsed unconsciously along could keep their predicament hidden. They had been married for far too many years.

    “We’re lost, aren’t we,” said Alice.

    He wanted to fudge things a bit, do his usual joking around. For once he demurred.

    “Yeah, we’re lost.”

    “I’m scared, Ted.”

    Instead of saying anything more, Ted took Alice in his arms and held her tightly until her shivers subsided. “We’ve got food, extra clothes.”

    She snuggled deeper into Ted’s embrace. “Check your phone again,” he said. “Mine’s still no good. Maybe yours will work.”

    She powered up her phone and there it was, believe it or not. They had reception.

    She smiled as she showed Ted her phone. He nodded and she dialed 911.

    “Someone’s answering,” she whispered, almost giddy.

    “It’s embarrassing,” he said, “but we’ll be okay.”

    “Yes,” she said, looking up at him. “We’ll be okay.”

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