Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Road Trip

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.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Road Trip”

  1. Road Trip

    “Jason, you’ll never be satisfied, will you?”

    “But Donna, it’ll be fun. Think of all the places/things we’ll see!”

    “Well, what’s so bad about where we are now? Some people DREAM of living in Key West.”

    “It’s the road trip…it’s going there…getting there. It’s the experience.”

    “So your ‘goal’ is to have high tea at the Empress hotel in Victoria, BC. Do you have any idea of how far away that is?”

    “Sure. ‘Bout 3500 miles, more or less. But we can camp out in national forests, chow down on roadside food, hear people talk in their funny accents. Donna, it’ll be an adventure.”

    “An adventure is a Sheraton hotel without a spa. No thanks, I’m not roughing it to satisfy your wanderlust.”

    “But Donna…”

    “Forget about it. I’m staying here. Have a good trip.”

    It was a good trip. A long one, devoid of certain amenities but satisfying a young man’s need to explore/discover. Worst part, though, was that Jason missed Donna dearly.

    He sat in the lounge at the Empress. It was “high tea” and he munched on the scones and jam, savoring the surroundings and ocean view.

    Looking up, he saw her approach his table.

    “Donna !”

    “The flight wasn’t bad, but I’m looking forward to driving back with you, Jason.”

  2. Meghan reached out and tossed the empty champagne bottle into the air. It shattered onto the road behind them. She raised her hand and admired the gleaming wedding band nestled behind the diamond ring guarding it.

    “Oh, Harry,” she whispered adoringly, “such a lovely ring. Such a lovely honeymoon.” She leaned her head onto his shoulder. Her last sip of wine began to make her a bit woozy. “Such a lovely you.”

    Harry smiled and shifted into eighth gear as his foot pumped the pedal. They raced at astonishing speed along the empty road through the western scenery surrounding them.

    Reaching to fasten her safety belt, Meghan pleaded, “Slow down, darling, won’t you?”

    He shifted into ninth gear to kick up his speed as they started racing downhill. “When we get back home we’ll have plenty of places to drive along at boring speed.”

    “Harry. Please,” she shouted pressing her feet into the floor board to brace herself. Her heart began to pound. She reached closer to his protecting body and could barely see the painted road sign they sped over.

    “Look, look,” she shoued. “We’re on the wrong road. The sign we just passed said 99, not 66,” and sat up in horror as she realized they were driving on the left side of the road, as they did back home, not the right side, as they do in America.

    A loaded semi truck slowly approached the curve in the road.

  3. The dust bowl and an impoverished Midwest caused families to risk everything on Route 66 in search of a life that meant more than just survival. One of those brave couples were my parents who sought space and peace from the criminal element in Chicago in the late 50’s. We weren’t destitute, but we were hungry. My uncle offered Dad a job, said we’d live in a house instead of a cramped apartment and go to a good school. We packed up their ’46 Ford and headed West.

    I wanted to experience our trip again so I started in Illinois as we did so many years ago.

    My brother and I counted telephone polls while hot wind tickled our hair from the open windows of their steamboat of a car. Ahh, that soft, warm, breeze. The top down on my BMW convertible, I felt it again just outside Oklahoma City.

    Thru that sweet memory, I felt the weight of what must have been panic for my parents who, like so many before them, trusted the “Mother Road” to bring them to a place where dreams come true.

    “Santa Monica, about 25 miles ahead,” Dad said to us over his shoulder. “Get ready to see the ocean!” His voice was high and happy, a voice we didn’t know. Mom looked back at us and smiled, her dimples deep and long. We felt as warm as the wind that blew across Texas and knew everything was going to be alright.

  4. A white car screeched to a halt. The driver, a Circle, jumped from behind the wheel, shouted,”Officer!”, and ran up to a Triangle. In Geo-World, as an Agent of Perception, Triangles were the arbiters of the law.

    “Yes?” asked the Triangle.

    “Officer, arrest that Square.” The Circle pointed to a Square walking on the other side of the street.


    “Isn’t it obvious?” shouted the Circle.

    “Did you see the Square do anything wrong?” asked the Triangle, perplexed.


    “Has the Square hurt you?”


    “Has the Square threatened you in any way?”


    “Then why do you want me to arrest him?” asked the Triangle. He looked at the Circle and then at the Square across the street.

    “Look at him!” shouted the Circle pointing to the Square. “Can’t you see how flat he is?”


    “Who knows what evil lies beneath–”

    “Beneath what?”

    “The flatness.”


    “Anyone that flat must be up to criminal intent.”

    The Triangle thought for a moment and then said,”You may be on to something. Just one minute.” The Triangle pulled out his radio and said,”Agent Triangle to Control.”

    . . . [Static] . . . “This is Control.”

    “Send out a high priority alert: Arrest all Squares. Over.”

    “Arrest all Squares?”



    “Isn’t it obvious?” replied the Triangle.

  5. “Yo! Let’s go,” shouted Leonard from the driver’s seat.

    Jake sprinted across the parking lot.

    As he approached the passenger side door, Jake quipped, “Oh you should’ve seen the look on that geezer’s face. I was like, ‘Give me all your money mutha—”

    “You didn’t forget them did you?” Leonard interrupted.

    “No Leonard, I didn’t forget them,” Jake said still holding the nine millimeter Beretta.

    “Good. I need one…now.”

    Jake reached into the plastic bag swinging from his wrist and cracked open an ice-cold beer, “Here you go.”

    Without taking his eyes off the road, Leonard reached across and grabbed the frigid slab of aluminum.

    “Does brother need a road soda,” Jake asked with a thick slice of sarcasm.

    “Absolutely. Especially after that stunt you just pulled. You know this car is hot, right? Like, we’re going to federal prison if we get pulled over. You feel me?

    His grin vanished, erased from his face, Jake responded emotionless, “Yes. I know.”

    “Then why didn’t you just give him cash? Lord knows we’ve got a crapload.”

    Jake sat there, rubbing the barrel of the pistol against his stubble, “I don’t know big brother. I just enjoy the chaos.”

    With that, he loaded a round into the chamber and shot it in the air.

    “For the love of God, put that thing away.”

    “Oh come on big brother, I’m just trying to get my kicks.”

    “Shut up.”

    Looking in the rearview mirror, Leonard saw them: flashing lights.

    “Here they come.”

  6. “Last Gas for 200 miles.”

    The jolly toothless man yawned, rubbed his belly and pumped ten dollars of regular into the small white convertible.

    “Check your oil?” he asked the woman with the oversize dark sunglasses.

    She fumbled with her wallet, handed over a wrinkled twenty and drove off without waiting for change.

    She checked the rear view mirror. The landscape was so flat you could see all the way to the mountains. There wasn’t another car on the road. Her head start still held.

    She’s tried before to get away and every time Daniel had found her and her brought back.

    This time was going to be different. Her lawyer had promised.

    The sun was going down when she stopped to pick up the hitchhiker.

    It wasn’t right, she thought, for a boy that young to be out in the desert all alone.

    He slid into the passengers seat and said “Drive”.

    He lit a cigarette and asked, “Can you put the top down? I love to watch the stars.”

    “You shouldn’t smoke. It’s bad for you.”

    He laughed. “You want one?” She took it. He lit it for her.

    The sun went down but it was still warm in the desert night. Over them the stars came out.

    They pulled over to sleep, the top up.

    She woke at dawn. They boy was gone in the night. He left her a cigarette.

    She lit it as two headlights appeared over her shoulder.

    Next time she make sure not to stop for strangers.

  7. “You mean it, Joe? We’re going to take a trip on Route 66?”

    “You betcha we are Clara. It’ll be just like it was 60 years ago when we were kids coming west. Only this time we’ll be going the other direction.”

    “Those were fun times. Remember that alligator farm in Oklahoma?”

    “And remember that time we ran out of paved road? And when the old Nash broke down? And a farmer towed us into Albuquerque?”

    “I remember. At 90 miles an hour down the mountain!”

    “Don’t forget the Burma Shave signs!”

    Joe laughed, and Clara joined him. This would be the trip of a lifetime.

    Two weeks later Joe and Clara headed east in their new Civic towards the desert and out of California but still on a modern freeway. Hours later a sign announced “Route 66 Exit ¼ Mile”.

    “Now we’re getting somewhere,” Joe said.

    He pulled off the freeway onto a flawless paved road with freshly painted lines down the center, not at all like the Route 66 they remembered. A ruined motel overgrown with weeds stood to their left, an abandoned gas station eaten by rust a little further on. Soon they were back on the freeway.

    Clara looked at Joe. “Well. That was disappointing.”

    “They say you can’t go home again. Don’t try to live in the past. I guess they’re right.”

    “Las Vegas?” Clara suggested.

    Joe instantly perked up. “Great idea!”

    And once again Route 66 became just a pleasant memory.

  8. A sunny afternoon, I stop at a red light next to a bank. A bank robber smashes my window, jumps into the car, points his gun and says, “Drive!”

    A high-speed police chase ensues taking us out of the city and into the open desert.

    I try to focus on the road but keep glancing at the gun thinking, “What’s he gonna do? Is he gonna kill me?”

    “Turn off here!” He demands.

    I jerk the wheel down a dirt road toward a mountain, the cops still in pursuit!

    “STOP!” He shouts.

    Slamming on the breaks we skid to halt in the center of a big cul-de-sac with no exit.

    He pulls me out of at gunpoint. The police aim their guns at us.

    The robber calls out, “Well boys what’s next?”

    One of the cops looks at his watch and says, “According to my watch we can start counting our money.”

    Suddenly everyone starts laughing.

    The cops and robber greet each other like best friends.

    Confused I ask, “What’s going on?”

    The robber turns and says, “You really think bank robberies are stealing bags of money at gunpoint?”

    “I don’t understand.”

    The robber continues, “While everyone focuses on the police chase the bank manager logged into the computer and relieved the bank of its profits.”

    “Then why kidnap me?”

    The robber grins, “We need a body for the authorities to find.”

    The cops raise their pistols.

    I try to object but my voice is lost in all the gunfire.

  9. “Not again!”

    I heard the irritation in Paul’s voice, but there was no way I was going to give up this one chance in a lifetime to travel the road of my teenage dreams. Route 66 was iconic, for heaven’s sake, the highway of an America going west, and now I was doing it, leaving behind the old, unwanted life.

    “You said you were fine with this. You know it’s why I wanted to drive cross-country.”

    The road was broken now into alignments from Chicago to Santa Monica, often showing up as little more than a wide sidewalk through backwater towns. I felt, driving on each one, as happy as I ever could remember being, and understood then what it meant to fulfill a dream.

    “Yeah, well, I was wrong. It’s boring, we’re two days behind schedule, and I haven’t had decent bars on my cell for the last hundred miles! I have three gigs lined up. Should’ve taken the plane.”

    I’m not sure what came over me. Maybe it was because I still had seven hundred miles to go and I just knew I wanted to see and feel everything and that wasn’t going to happen with a gnat boring into my head with his incessant complaining.

    I left him grousing about being stranded at a crowded overlook. I threw his suitcase out of my Miata convertible onto the gravel, driving back into the solitude of a road less-traveled, and letting the dream stay real a while longer.

  10. “Remember we’re only going to wear red, white, and blue,” said Jerome. “Hurry, Route 66 is calling.”

    I rolled my eyes, “The wine must’ve been talking when I agreed to this trip. Let’s drop the red, white and blue thing, ok?”

    Jerome always goes overboard. I’ve been dreading driving from Chicago to Los Angeles, alone with him, where anything can happen. We might: be mutilated in an accident, get robbed, or skip the divorce through murder-suicide.

    “Come on. Haven’t you ever played dress up before?”

    My brain goes straight to past quarrels. Somehow our relationship has become a fight between superpowers. There’s no compromise, no empathy, no problem-solving, no understanding, and no make-up sex. We hide behind the mask of the Lone Ranger, pretending everything’s great but never reaching actual adult feelings.

    “Only in bed,” I said. Twisting my body with one hand on my head and the other on my hip, I gave my best sexy eyebrow raise, “I’ll be Wonder Woman.”

    “Oh yeah.” Jerome smelled of testosterone as he held the door of possibilities open. He was silently clapping his hands in front of his face concealing a huge smile and moving from foot to foot. I love this excited boyish side of him.

    This could be fun after all. Bubbling in giggles, I threw my arms and legs around him; we locked lips as he backed me to our sparkling new mustang.

    Jerome whispered in my ear. “This trip… We’re climbing that mountain between us together.”

  11. Road Trip

    My brother told me emphatically it would take 1600 miles exactly to get to his home in Alma, Arkansas, from our house in Whittier, California. I was eager to see his four-bedroom underground house he had recently built.

    My husband and I set off in our new Ford Corolla in 1990. We drove through Arizona enjoying the wigwams where we spent the night, through New Mexico and their rugged landscape and rainstorms. The heat of Texas surprised us. And then we were in Arkansas enjoying the greenery of the state. My brother Tom had told us he would never move back to California. I could see why he fell in love with the state of Arkansas.

    We drove into his driveway wanting to see how much off he was from the 1600 miles he said it would be, so we could kid him. I looked at the odometer that I had set for mileage, and it read 1600.

  12. Eligible only for Editors’ Choice Award.

    Grammy and Grampy took turns driving along Route 66, from California headed to Missouri. No more airports for Tasha and Jacob.

    Their parents were killed about six weeks ago, in another mass shooting, as the family was leaving the airport after vacation. Both parents grabbed the children and hit the ground, shielding them with their bodies. The parents didn’t survive.

    Seven-year-old Tasha had little to say, but the nightmares said it all.

    They stopped for lunch, and prayed before eating, all holding hands. The older, soft hands of Grammy and Grampy were a comfort to the children. They didn’t want to let go.

    The children ordered fries and chicken fingers. Tasha barely ate, while Jacob played with his food: building things, drawing things with ketchup, then finally eating.

    Jacob blurted out, “Why the bad man hated us?”

    Grampy answered, “He didn’t hate you, Jacob.”

    “Then why he shot Mommy and Daddy?”

    “I think he hated himself,” said Grampy.

    “That dumb!” exclaimed Jacob, bursting into tears, “Why him didn’t find a friend?”

    “Good question,” said Grampy.

    “You’re dumb!” said Tasha to Jacob. A tear trickled down her face.

    “We’ll have none of that,” said Grammy, “Nobody here is dumb.”

    After they were back on the road for awhile, and the children fell asleep, the grandparents pulled over and began weeping. Soon Tasha started screaming in her sleep. Jacob started to cry, holding his sister. It would be a long way home, far longer than Route 66.

Comments are closed.