Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Oliver Owl

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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!

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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Oliver Owl”


    What the hell is she looking at? Why is she taking another picture of me? I know I’m the most gorgeous creature on earth, but enough is enough.. Every day. Every month. They stomp through my most treasured resting places and stop, focus and snap. What do they care if I’m trying to take a little nap, or enjoying a little snack on some unsuspecting spiders and snails, or, even trying to make love to some eager little hen who wants to raise some adorable owlets, for our parliament of lookalikes. I’m just not going to take it anymore! Soon as she turns to take one more shot with that fancy schmancy camera, I’m going to fly and poop on her lens, knock off her Bora Bora Booney Sun Hat and flap out of focus. I hope she drops and smashes that camera. Uh, oh. She’s taking aim. Well, do it. Do it. What are you waiting for? Shoosh.! Okay, she finally clicked the shutter. Here goes!

    Maggie took a deep breath, and thought. What a day! Better get busy packing up everything and get back to class. Hope this last shot of that lovely bird will win First Prize in the university’s Best Animal Photograph contest so I can pay off this rented camera and start my campaign for saving the lives of future owls.

    She turned and ducked as the bird suddenly darted towards her. Her camera went smashing to the ground along with her dreams.

  2. As she came over the shallow dip in the trail, Lili could see that the trap’s great oak log had fallen. What she saw beneath it horrified her. It was the tail end of a black fox, one of the truly sacred animals of the forest. Extremely rare in these lands, the Paugussett called such animals Manitou and they were believed to have supernatural powers on earth. The Paugussett were forbidden by their unique cosmology to take any black fox in the hunt. The black fox was one of the chief earthly manifestations of these powers. The Manitou led the people to see both the beautiful and fearful nature of creation. A dead Manitou, especially a black fox would upset the balance demanded of creation. It would be a very bad omen for anyone associated with the cause of this desecration of the natural order.
    Lili knew though, that there would be no earthly blame associated with this event. No Paugussett would accuse or pursue Lili for her part in it, but the Others might. She immediately felt observed by every tree and creature in the forest. A Burrowing Owl, rare for this northeastern forest looked up from its nest mound with green accusatory eyes. She hurried home.

  3. Owl Movements

    It’s a lot of pressure on me, you know. And not just me. The rest of us, too, eh! The whole owl kit and kaboodle. At least, that’s what I think. You look at us, and immediately expect us to be…thinking… using our brains… being…WISE.


    What a crock. Crikey, if only, eh!

    It’s the damn eyes, isn’t it? Bigger than boulders, they are. Wide eyed. Bulbous. You like that? Bulbous?

    It’s the way The Great Godowl made us.


    My eyes.

    Gives a totally false impression, doncha think?

    Maybe you don’t.

    There is so much about Owl/ Human interface that we don’t know.

    Needs research.

    I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    So, where are we?

    I’m male, you know…and ain’t it a kick in the hayloft that male owls are SMALLER than the ladies.


    That’s a fact.

    Nobody talks about it much.

    Now that the owl is out of the bag, I bet you’re curious.

    Nocturnal missions.

    That’s the clue.

    Us horny owls do our business at night.



    The Prey can’t see us coming.

    Swoop down and gobble up bugs.

    Holy mackerel, I love bugs.

    And wiggly little mice.

    Okay, I admit, I eat most of them. The little woman…well, she’s actually at least a size bigger than me, it’s slim pickens for her.

    What’s a fellow to do?

    I gotta eat

    Love eatin’.

    Maybe its selfish. But, holy hootenanny, that’s the cut of my jib.

    Lookin’ after number one.

  4. “Something had to be done,” said young Roberta, a 5th grade student at Metford Elementary School, “so I did it!” The crowd applauded enthusiastically.

    Their little community had been plagued by squirrels short-circuiting equipment at the Metford Electric Company Power Station, causing frequent power outages. Roberta was especially annoyed when an outage occurred right in the middle of her favorite program, Mr. Science, on Channel 3. But Roberta had an idea.

    She suggested the idea to a friend, whose father happened to be a Metford Electric Company official, and the friend told her father. He doubted Roberta’s idea would work, but decided there was nothing to lose except for a minimal expenditure of the company’s vast income, so he might as well try it. Nothing else had worked.

    Two weeks later, Roberta and the Metford Electric Company official were standing proudly before the population of a grateful town.

    “Twenty realistic plastic owls, placed in strategic spots, and the squirrels are gone,” the official announced. “Our troubles are over, for just the price of a few fake owls. Thanks to our hero, young Roberta.”

    “It may not be very scientific,” the official concluded, as he shook Roberta’s hand and presented her with a handsome plastic owl as a souvenir, ”but it worked!”

  5. An Odd Couple

    “Alright Stanley, where IS it?”

    “I didn’t take it, Ollie. Honest I didn’t.”

    “THAT was supposed to be MY supper. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    “I…umm…that is…”

    “Stop blubbering and help me find my FOOD!”

    “OK, Ollie. You know, I don’t even like meat. I like seeds and nuts and cheese. I love cheese, after all, I’m a mouse.”

    “Yeah, yeah. But I like meat and now my supper has disappeared. And I’m hungry.”

    Ollie took a swipe at Stanley with his speckled wing and sent him tumbling head over heels.

    “I don’t want you to go hungry, Ollie. But I’ve looked everywhere and it’s nowhere to be found. Would you like to share my cheese?”

    “No, no way. I need meat and, by gosh, I’ll have some.”

    Stan looked into Ollie’s huge brown eyes and began to quiver.

    “Ollie, please don’t look at me like that!”

    “Stanley…this just might be the end of a beautiful friendship.”

    [ With apologies to Laurel, Hardy, and Bogart ]

  6. Oliver stepped up onto the mound and turned his attention towards Paulina. She was chatting away among her friends. That girl was the most beautiful hen he’d ever seen. The way the light played about her beak and glinted upon her expressive golden eyes, captured his soul. Each delicate feather, in its place without her even trying. Oliver knew she didn’t have to try. She was just gifted with exquisite and immaculate features.
    He sighed longingly as his heart fluttered.

    ‘If only I had the courage to speak to her. If only she’d notice me.’
    He thought to himself as he took a deep breath.

    ‘Alright Oliver. Today’s the day I’m gonna do it. Today’s the day I talk to her.’
    He inhaled once more and prepared himself.

    Paulina caught Oliver staring at her and gave him a half smile.

    ‘Maybe he has something he wants to say to me.’
    Paulina thought to herself as she gave Oliver a little winged wave of encouragement.
    ‘I heard he’s really sweet.’
    ‘Hopefully he isn’t just creepy.’
    ‘Oh god..what if he’s just creepy.’

    Oliver said absolutely nothing. A knot formed in his stomach and his heart threatened to explode. Eyes wide, as if he were a deer caught in headlights.

    Paulina raised an eyebrow, shook her head and flew off.

    “Paulina I love you!” Oliver frantically blurted out.
    However it was too late. He was left alone with his embarrassment and shame, to be ridiculed by the other owls.

  7. -Why does Bubo get to go on this journey? Bubo always gets to go! Mistress loves him best. And this….am I really seeing this!!?? A brand new body??!! Now there’s two of him. Stupid Heph, why does he listen to her? Why doesn’t he make me a nice shiny new body? I want to go. It should be me.

    Listening to the cling-clang in Heph’s forge, fires stoked as luminous as the jealous, crimson heart pumping bitter, sanguine fluid through covetous, verdigris arteries. The sharp ping-ting of metal pervades his very bones, every whack-smack of hammer offends his very being.

    -I know. I’ll show them. Look, Heph has stepped out, no one else is around! A snip of my beak here, a slice of my talon there. Too small to see. No one will notice. There. Bubo’s metallic mentality doesn’t need to be completely useless, that would be suspicious. His bumbling about will more than show Mistress that I should have been the one to go. It should be me helping rescue the princess.

    Hephaestus returns. A few more bonk-conks of his hammer. A few more snick-snips of his shears. Athena and Hephaestus imbue life in to the heart of the metal contrivance. And with a bleep and a bloop, Bubo gracelessly swoops towards Earth, bumbling towards his colossal journey ahead.

    -He’s gone. Mistress will have to love me now.

  8. Sirens sounded in the sweltering heat, heading their way. The two men, clad in black, jogged on, sweat staining their clothing darker still. The oldest, a wizened elder from the reservation, held back as they reached the edge of town.

    “An owl,” he said, pointing to the bird standing in the field atop a gopher hole mound. “We’re doomed. You shouldn’t have killed that clerk.”

    The leader stopped in the shade of a two-story house. “He would’ve identified us, fool. This isn’t a game. It’s us or them.”

    “But the owl,” said the old man. “Bad luck and death are on their way.”

    The younger man cursed under his breath and then pulled his pistol from his waistband. Without hesitation, he shot the old man in the stomach.

    “You’re bad luck,” he said at the man sprawled on the ground, a look of resignation on his face.”

    “I was only trying to warn you.”

    The younger man listened as the sirens grew louder. He laughed quietly. “You’ve got it wrong, old man. Owls are wise. I’ll be okay.”

    “You’re the fool,” whispered the old man as the light faded from his eyes. “Wisdom is knowing we all die.”

    With that, the old man expired but not before killing the young man with a bullet to the heart.

    At the sound of that second shot, the owl spread its wings and took off, a gopher squirming in its razor-sharp talons.

  9. There is one thing I like about this hateful place, even tho it makes me homesick. Every night before I go to sleep I listen for him.
    Hoo, Hoo, Hoo.
    I say him because I call him Oliver. What I like most is that he reminds me of an owl we had back home in Montreal. Oliver Owl lived out behind our home and Mother liked to have him around because he ate the mice and other things that might get into our house.
    I called that owl Oliver because he reminded me of one of my schoolmates whose name was Oliver. He had big brown eyes and thick glasses that made them look even bigger. He was short and chunky, just like an owl.
    I wonder what Oliver, the boy is doing? He didn’t fit in very well at school. Most of us boys were a mixture of Scots, French and Indian as I am but Oliver was pure British. His Father was a soldier at the fort that kept the peace or tried too after the British drove out the French government.
    Even the other British boys didn’t treat Oliver very well and I use to try to help him and include him in our games.
    Now I am far away on the other side of the continent but I think of home a lot. And I think of Oliver the boy and two Oliver owls as I drift off to sleep.

  10. Oliver Owl

    Little Oliver Owl woke up in a bad mood. His night had not gone well. He complained to his mother. She looked at his bedding and her eyes lit up. She could see the cause. He had eaten a cookie before going to sleep and there were the crumbs under him.

    “The cookie crumbs were annoying you all night long. Here, we will brush them away into the trash.”

    “Thank you, mama. I feel better knowing I will sleep well tonight.”

  11. “What kind of owl is that?”, one of the four middle aged hunters shouted as the group hiked along the rough trail somewhere in the desert of New Mexico.
    “Well, it’s got spots on it, so maybe it’s a Spotted owl”, Bill, the tall leader of the group replied.
    “Or maybe it’s just an owl with spots”, Howard grinned as he looked over at Bill.
    “I think it’s a hawk, it’s got no ears, a pointed beak and a narrow sloping head”, Ted replied getting in his two cents worth.
    “Both hawks and owls can have pointed beak”, said the fat guy Jerry, as he struggled to keep up in the rear.
    “You got a sloping head and a BIG beak too Jerry”, Howard shouted as he spread his arms wide looking back at Jerry.
    The whole group let out a laugh as they hurried along the trail, missing the sign ahead, as they turned quickly to catch a quick glimpse of the owl before it disappeared.
    The Little owl suddenly took flight and began to follow the men, determined and curious to keep up. As it flew directly over the men it, dropped its tracking tag on the trail just in front of the men. Bill scurried over and snatched the tag off the ground.
    Bill looked back at the group – terrified, “This ain’t no owl bird brains, we just got tagged for target practice!”


    Oliver Owl was the proud father of three owlets: Emma, Otis and Apple. Their mother, Alice Owl, fed them the food Oliver brought to the nest. But Apple was a very small owlet, who didn’t get much to eat.

    Bird moms typically don’t fight for their smallest young, but allow nature to take its course, and Alice was no different. Oliver Owl said, “Baby Apple is starving!” but Alice just replied, “Who? Who!”

    Alice was bigger and stronger than Oliver, and it was her job to shred the prey for the owlets: small birds, mice, rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks.

    Oliver would sneak in worms for little Apple. Worms, of course, required no food preparation.

    One day Oliver was out hunting, and spied a baby rabbit trapped in a rose bush. The mother, who only had one bunny, saw Oliver Owl and was frantic. But when Oliver saw the bunny, all he could think of was Apple. He couldn’t kill her. Instead he swooped down and set the bunny free from the rose bush, with his sharp beak. Oliver emerged scratched, but smiling on the inside.

    The mother rabbit looked up, as if to say, “Thank you,” but Oliver Owl flew off. He caught a mouse instead, and returned to the nest.

    “Hoo, hoo!” cried Alice, “Where were you!”

    Alice began feeding the hungry owlets their food. She fed Ellen, Otis, and even Apple. She figured, she had better.

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