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.
15 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Little Dog – Big City”
“It’s me against the world now” thought Amy to herself. She had watched her owner being carried in an ambulance a few minutes ago. She had been the one who alerted her neighbours when she saw Mrs. Brown fall down the stairs and remain still. She knew something had gone terribly wrong but since humans didn’t understand her growls, she could only bark as hard as she possibly could to get their attention and luckily she got Mr. Tumble to check in. He quickly called 911 and she had followed the ambulance right down to the hospital but now she had to find her way back home and she had forgotten to leave scent marks along the way. “Amy Amy!” She heard someone call. It was Mr. Tumble and he was with the Sherriff who had a broad smile on his face “You’re gonna get a badge for saving Mrs Brown’s life” he said to her as he stroked her furr
My name’s Scotty. Yeah, I know, it wasn’t my choice. Nothing is in this city. I gotta reputation on the street for finding things. Lost items, bones, balls, that kind of thing.
Yesterday, I’m in my office downtown where I can smell the cheap fast food mixed in with the pork rinds of Chinatown. I was snoozing after a big night of fetch, when she walks into my office. I could smell her perfume before I sees her. She says her name’s Precious, she’s an uptown bitch, a poodle with a face on her that smelled like trouble.
“I’ve lost a package I need retrieved.”
“It will cost you.”
She agreed to my terms. “What’s in this package, Precious?”
“It’s a collar, pretty, diamonds, pearls, that kind of thing.”
“Is it yours?”
“Of course it is!”
“Listen sister, I may be a little dog in a big city, but I know when I’m being played. You already got a collar.”
“Okay, it’s not mine. It’s my sister’s”
“Scotty, I don’t know why I lied. It’s a mean city and a pooch like moi can get lost without a strong dog to protect her. I need that package Scotty. I need it!” She fluttered her tail at me.
“You see cross that street there,” I says, “There are some greasy bacon bits waiting for me there. I’ve seen this movie and I know how it ends.” I walked away. I own these grimy streets. I don’t fall for Precious.
I am not a dog person, so when my wife plunked the white Scottish terrier in my lap, I was not happy.
“For you,” she said and retreated without another word to the upstairs bedroom.
“Why do I need a dog?” I yelled several times that day.
“You just do,” she said.
Number one, I didn’t need a dog. Number two, I didn’t need someone else—even if it was my wife of 45 years—telling me what I needed.
I refused to name the dog. It was just “dog” to me. It was white, a color I detest.
More than that, though, it was a yapper. It would not shut up and sit still. Instead, it had to constantly race around, barking in a high-pitched falsetto that drove me batty. And that was in the house!
Outside, the dog barked forever and at everyone, yanking on his leash until my shoulder ached. The dog could not be trained but did its business wherever, usually in the middle of the sidewalk (or the living room when we couldn’t make it outside in time).
Finally, I’d had enough. Early one morning, I “accidentally” left the front door open and the little bugger raced out the door and headed across the street never to be seen again.
I tried to explain how I accidentally lost the dog, but my wife seemed unconvinced.
At least the dog wasn’t around anymore.
Unfortunately, I lost my wife shortly thereafter.
A dog’s brain is smaller than a human’s so of course it cannot hold as much. Deciding which memories to drop was not difficult. All the high school stuff. That was easy. Then history, geography, calculus, and physics. Gone. My skill with languages stayed. Eventually I fit nicely into the dog’s brain with room to spare, and I was ready. The perfect spy. A man’s brain in a dog’s body. I could stretch out under the table where secrets were being exchanged and understand everything being said. The scientists worried that the dog part of the brain might become dominant in time, but I doubted that. Man is superior. No question about it.
I was dropped off in Kosovo. It was up to me to find my subject, win his confidence, and attach myself to him. This I did in no time. Before very long he was taking me everywhere and treating me royally. If I needed a bath, he took care of it. I was provided with meals and treats which were surprisingly delicious. He praised me constantly. I developed a genuine affection for this man. Surely someone so kind to a mere dog could not be evil.
Eventually I stopped listening to the conversations. I had the nagging thought that it was important to listen, but I could not think why. All they talked about was sabotage and bombings. Nothing interesting, like a dinner menu.
Now he’s scratching right behind my left ear. Ahhhh!
“Look at that cute little white dog.”
Someone in the crowd noticed he must have escaped his master. Someone else jogged off to the nearest restaurant to get some water. As more and more people gathered to give him pets on his head, rub his ears, feed him a piece of a sandwich, one person asked where his master was?
With two barks and an expectant wolf, he turned with three steps toward the direction he had come, stood a moment, then took two steps towards the good Samaritans in the crowd, barked again and waited turning toward the direction he wanted the crowd to follow.
“Maybe cutie wants us to follow.” “OK Whitey, show us.”
With that Whitey took off with a bound bringing the crowd trailing behind him. Now the crowd had to move at a fast pace to keep up with Whitey, but the dog knew just when to stop and let the crowd catch up before he took off again and disappeared around the corner.
As the crowd rounded the corner, there was Whitey licking the face of a scraggly disabled man in a wheelchair. In front of them, a plate with a sign that read:
“I served my country for two tours and gave my leg for my country. Could you help Whitey and me today?”
After the crowd dispersed, the veteran hugged Whitey in his lap, “Good boy, you doubled our take from yesterday.”
Secrets from Under A Dogs Breath
“Freedom! FREEDOM Yeah, what I’ve always wanted. Where the heck am I? Stupid streets all look the same. Man…Dog…I’ve been waiting for this day. Forever. And they had no clue. Nada! ‘Ooooh, what a good little doggie…’ enough to drive a pooch bonkers. Thank God there was none of that ‘kitchee kitchee koo’ nonsense. Save it for the babies, I say. Not that anyone in that family speaks my language. It’s revolting. That’s what it is. I like my own kind. At least to talk to occasionally.”
“I mean…it wasn’t always hell. There were the walks. Usually twice a day if you get my meaning. Yeah, you, reader. I’m smarter than I look. I mean, now that I know how to tell a story…and I found my publisher, MUTT Publications, there’s no holding me back. I mean, its been tough negotiating. First, I had to get old Spread Ass to take me for a walk at the right time, then I had to wangle the leash away and get to see my editor, Cur-tis Pedigree, and show him my work. And when he said, “Monty, do you know how many dogs there are in the US of A?” And I said, “haven’t a clue, Cur,” and he comes bark at me with “ninety million,” well, I nearly fell off my chair.”
“So, there it is. The secrets out. Dogs do have tales to wag. I’m only the first. Chew on that, bucko.”
My name is Bennie. I’m a very special little dog. I know, I know, little dogs say that all the time; that’s why they’re always yapping, trying to tell you just how special they are.
But in my case it’s true. So come closer and Bennie will tell you a secret. Don’t worry I’m not going to start yapping at you, although as a little dog I have the right to do it.
My secret is I travel through space-time. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go for walks around the big city. But let’s face it, seeing the same scenery several times every day is enough to make me want to gag on my leash. So, when my owners are asleep at night, I use my “Time-dialer”, input a few co-ordinates, and presto, I’m off having great adventures.
On my travels around the world and throughout the universe I have uncovered the secret to many astounding mysteries: I have discovered the purpose of the universe; how to obtain unlimited energy; and a hundred other things. Unfortunately, despite all my yapping, I cannot communicate this knowledge to humans.
So whenever I am engaged in the boring task of begging for food or playing fetch, I think back to the time when I saw an asteroid strike one of Jupiter’s moons; when a star exploded in a spiral arm of the Andromeda Galaxy; and when a meteor shower sparkled as it traveled through the blue light of Orion’s Belt.
Over the years Stanley and I had grown apart. We’d lost our ability to agree, or even to disagree civilly. Stanley insisted on owning a gun for protection. I demanded that it remain unloaded and locked in a safe. Stanley believed our country was overrun by immigrants. I supported asylum for refugees.
So when Stanley comes home carrying a little white dog, I feel annoyed.
“He almost got hit by a car,” Stanley says.
We post a notice, but no one responds. Soon we reach our first agreement in years and name him Snowball. The little ball of fluff wiggles his way into both our hearts.
We joyfully share dog duties – walking, feeding, grooming. Whenever we enter our apartment, Snowball leaps into our arms, licks our faces, and yips for joy. At night he runs between bedrooms, jumping on my bed then back to Stanley’s – until we decide to sleep together again. Snowball snuggles quietly at our feet.
Then the unthinkable happens. Snowball slips out the apartment door and races outside when a delivery boy opens the main entrance. Devastated, we search everywhere, distribute flyers, post pictures and offer rewards. Together we cry and laugh over our memories of Snowball.
Finally, we both realize that we are once again getting along, once again in love with each other. Stan says, “I know why Snowball left.”
“His work here was finished,” answers Stan. “He went to find another family that needs mending.”
Ziggy was sorry he’d pulled away from Angeline on their way to her son’s first recital, but the delicious smells permeating the big city overwhelmed him. Now lost, he found himself wandering aimlessly, and he’d gotten no tasty treats. Twice, he’d become awkwardly tangled up in his loose leash. He missed home, friendly Main Street, and the pizzeria’s meat pies.
Suddenly, he was yanked to a halt and lifted up by a large man. Scared, Ziggy tried desperately to wriggle away.
“Wait!” It was Angeline’s voice.
“Sorry, you’ll need to pick him up from the pound,” the man stated.
“Please,” Angeline began.
Angeline couldn’t miss her son’s show. Ziggy saw the sparkly light from her fingertips and knew something was going to happen. It always did.
A woman screamed as a massive wolf dog hybrid bounded up the street.
In a split second, the dog-catcher shoved Ziggy into her arms, muttering, “It’s your lucky day.”
Angeline kissed the little, white dog’s head and briskly walked away. Upon turning the corner, she snapped her fingers, and the wolf dog disappeared, leaving the man and a bunch of by-standers confused.
They arrived at the theater on time. Ziggy’s body thrummed with anticipation as the lights lowered, and Danny wheeled himself center stage. He began playing the violin; the space swelling with beautiful music.
During the final applause, Ziggy raced on stage and jumped onto Danny’s lap. Ziggy ignored the audience’s laughter, he was reveling in ear scratching at its best.
Lulu remembered pulling on her leash. She remember it slipping from Mark’s little hand. She remembered running into the street, his footsteps behind her.
She’d sat at the door for weeks afterward, waiting for him in the apartment that now never seemed to change, the wallpaper, the drapes, the books on the shelves all staring down at her like the oak tree in the park that had gotten old and stopped growing. Lulu missed her walks in the park. She would often whine at the door. She wanted to be outside. Off her leash. Like the cat. They left the window partially open for the cat. It came and went as it pleased, out onto the fire escape, down along the building ledge, then down into the alleyway with a soundless jump. When it returned, it always looked the same. Aloof. Emotionless. Like Marge looked at Henry while he sat at his desk in his library each night, surrounded by his legal briefs, sifting through papers as if searching for his lost marriage.
When Henry was done, and Marge was sleeping upstairs, he’d sometimes reach across his desk and pick up the framed photograph of Mark. Sometimes he’d stare at the ceiling, embers ticking in the fireplace, and sometimes he’d cry.
Lulu wasn’t allowed in Mark’s bedroom. It was still the same. Toys on the floor, little boy blue
Unchanged, like the oak tree in the park.
The little dog knew he had very little time to find his way back to the cup. He raced through New York City’s crowded streets recording everything in sight. No one seemed to take a liking to the frustrated runner. He dodged honking four-wheeled monsters, kicking covered feet and unwelcomed screeches of “Shoo! Get out of here,” from the holes in the egg shaped forms atop the swinging arms.
Winter’s cold floating flakes instantly turned to water as they touched the warmth of his humming body.
As he approached the forest in Central Park he knew he was on the right track. He raced past shapes kicking and batting round objects, embracing twosomes, laughing little ones and so much more that it made his head swirl as he documented all. What will I tell them when I get back, he wondered? Transport here? Some will say yes, some will say no.
He whirred and clicked when he spotted the cup on its saucer hidden in the high growing shrubs at the foot of the hill. He made it just in time. It started to rumble. He leaped into the cup and was automatically deactivated as his recorded memory was transmitted through intergalactic space.
It shot up and flashed across the sun-setting sky startling thousands of gaping people witnessing what all later described as, would you believe, a flying saucer.
By any chance, did you happen to see one, too?
Six months gone from my crumbling house in Leadpoint, Idaho and I still don’t know a soul in this town. People here ain’t friendly and I’d go home in a heartbeat if prospects back there weren’t so bleak. I came to Missoula because of the lumber but the lumber jobs moved out just as I was moving in so now I do part-time maintenance at the hospital plus odd jobs around town to scrape by.
I try not to think about being alone but today I spotted a white terrier dragging his leash along the square with no owner in sight. While I turned my head around looking for his keeper, this here dog ambled right up to me and squatted himself at my feet as if to say he knew a lonely person in need of some company when he spotted one.
The kicker was that he was the spitting image of Milo, my best pal growing up on our ranch so when I knelt down to pet him, a notion stirred. Maybe this here dog was Milo, somehow returned from beyond.
“Milo,” I said and he licked my hand just like old times.
Anyway, people here ain’t friendly and a half hour is all they get from me before I call finders keepers. I’ve been thinking plenty about heading home, even with all my kin there left or dead. And if me and Milo can’t abide Leadpoint, we’ll cross to Canada and try our luck there.
My mission was to scout ahead for the pre-invasion force. The commander decided to transport me down to Earth in the form of a dog. A white, fluffy dog, to be precise. They dropped me in the middle of a place called New York City with orders to avoid contact and determine how much firepower we needed to conquer the humans.
Piece of cake, as the natives would say.
Avoiding contact was easy. They were all too busy staring at their communication screens. Everyone had them, and those who didn’t would stop at stare at the ones on top of buildings or in store windows. Most of them were communicating with primitive symbols or watching silly cat videos. My job was done. We’d have no trouble invading this planet.
I sent a message to the mother ship to pick me up and trotted across the street to wait. Suddenly a human driving a yellow and black vehicle barreled toward me. I froze. Horns blared. A voice screamed, “Not the dog!”
A young girl dashed into the street and scooped me in her arms. “You’re okay,” she whispered and carried me to safety. “You look just like my Fluffy. I still miss her. Do you have a home?”
Then I felt it. Love. That tail of mine started wagging and I had the sudden urge to lick the girl’s nose.
I cancelled my transport and the invasion. I wanted to stay a while for snuggles and bacon treats.
LITTLE DOG – BIG CITY
I watched as my granddaughter picked out the white puppy from the midst of four puppies playing on the dog rug. She cuddled her and said, “I’m going to name her Precious.”
Precious and her new ten-year-old owner Candice drove to their home 20 miles away. She called the next two days to let me know Precious was eating well and slept on the foot of her bed each evening.
Three days later Candice called me in tears, “My brother left the door open and Precious ran away. We can’t find her.”
A year later I opened the front door to get the mail. I looked out to the street to see a group of dogs jumping around two children playing. Something about one of the dogs made me walk out to them. Suddenly one ran to me and jumped against my legs excitedly.
Could it be? No it couldn’t. I said cautiously, “Precious. Is it you?” She licked my hands. “Where have you been this past year?” I asked. Our city was big, the dog was little to be running around escaping the wheels of numerous cars as she tried to find home.
She wasn’t clean and white as she had been the day she was taken from our dog rug by my granddaughter. One of her ears flopped over, not able to bear its weight. But it was Precious.
She was home.
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