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 above. 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.
17 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Kitten”
Submitted for Editors’ Choice Award only
Are you up yet, Elise?
Hey! I’m talkin’ to you. It’s time to get up!
Sheesh . . . she’s been lying there all night, snoring ’er head off like she drank a pint of ripple before retiring. Petite young thing, my arse! And the way she talks to ’er friends on the phone would put a sailor to shame. Look at ’er. ‘Er last boyfriend—with benefits, of course—said she looked like an angel. Well, guess what happened when he tried to clip ’er wings? Yessiree Bob, he got the old ’eave-’o, just like the one before ’im.
Elise, come on, honey! I’m hungry. I’ve already been to “the box”, which, by the way, could use a cleaning and some new litter. It may be okay for your room to look like a pigsty, but please, can’t we at least keep my part of the house in order? I don’t ask much of you . . . three squares a day, a clean place to poop, a little water and milk, some classical music—Mozart and Mahler would be nice—and I’m happy. You, in turn, get my undying love and adoration.
So, whaddaya say? Time to start the day. Up and at ’em!
Okay, Elise, desperate times require desperate measures. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Bob peered in the window again for the hundredth time. His wife Sheila lay on the bed inside, peacefully sleeping next to Alex, his supposed best friend. It had been six weeks now since Sheila had killed him and he had been reincarnated as a cat. Six weeks of confusion and muddled impressions, huddling with his new brothers and sister, searching for Mother’s sweet milk. Finally his memories had returned, and as soon as he gained the strength and agility, he had come to this window, to stare mournfully at his murderer. He had thought about scratching an accusatory message in the sand, but who would see it?
Turning away, he licked a paw and groomed himself thoughtfully. There had to be a way. Stretching, he padded back across the patio to the converted dog house Sheila had made into a nursery. New scents were everywhere, tantalizing, some delicious, others dangerous. He had to focus on his purpose. As a house pet, he could not hope to take revenge directly. But how, what? Could he possibly find a computer keyboard left logged in and painstakingly type an email to the police, one paw at a time?
As he approached the nursery, he froze at a new sound. He was suddenly grabbed and lifted. Looking up, he saw the joyful face of a little girl. Licking her finger, for the first time in his life, he began to purr.
Holy mackeral! Where did she come from? I’ve never seen anyone so gorgeous. Look at those wonderfully inviting eyes, and that beautiful, shining fur coat, almost as nice as mine. Get a load of those long whiskers calling attention to those lovely lips under a perfectly shaped nose. I’ve been here for just a day or two and this is the first time I’ve seen this breathtaking creature. Wouldn’t it be great if we could become friends? Gee, I’d love to have a pal like that to be able to share a bowl of milk, run over the carpets, claw onto the couch and look out the window at those pretty little birds flitting around the backyard looking for someone like me to play with. Hmm. I wonder why that pretty little thing is just sitting there, looking so perfect, staring at me, not meeowing “hello” or anything. I’ll reach out my paw to make friends. Oh, here comes her paw reaching out just like mine, and touching mine.. If only…..
“Hey, get off the couch and don’t knock over that new mirror you’ve been staring at, Kitty Kat,” someone roared.
Kittens and Conniptions
“Who? Me? You got the wrong ball of fur, buddy. It wasn’t me. Though, I can appreciate that you might legitimately think it was.
I am my own little guy. Cute as a…what, a button? A bug’s ear? Do they even have ears? Bugs? Anyways, that’s me. Cute as all get out. But…and this is the important part, I’m not sayin’ I’m not up to a little…mischief. It’s in the DNA, what I like to call my Delightfully Naughty Antics. DNA! Get it? Sure, you get it. It’s pretty obvious. And you humans, you usually get the obvious. If someone points it out to you.
Crikey! It’s the other stuff that zooms by you like a drunk hummingbird. Speaking of which, how come you don’t let me outside more often? Outside in the fresh air, lots of the green stuff to chew on, a billion dark places for me to wander into, our little feathered friends for me to…you know…get better acquainted with…is that delicate enough for your puny hominoid sensibilities?
I like being in at night though. Curling up with good blanket, smelling kibbles. Love those little crunchy bits and bites you keep for special occasions.
Here’s another thing you need to know. Every moment of my life is a special occasion. You heard me. Every single moment. I know, you anthropoids like to curtail your special occasions. Why is beyond me. Celebrate every second, that’s my motto. Live life to the hilt.
Now, let’s eat.”
Staring into a wardrobe mirror nearing the end, he could see himself as a young Tom. Just a kitten, with droopy whiskers and a rakish cleft in his left ear. So much to look forward to. Curiosity without limitation. The promise of adventures-to-come and nine opportunities to avoid the inevitable.
He had lived those lives of fun and frolic in a happy home and he was now in the last of his ninth. He was eager to see what lay beyond, on the other side. Where, he imagined, there were balls of string or squeaky toys of a different sort to charm his feline spirit.
He knew they loved him for the aloof comfort he gave in return. It was not in his nature to care. He thought only of himself and the happiness of just being himself, alone.
He knew it was his time and today was the day. When the screen door to the kitchen was left unlatched, it was simple work to nose his way onto the porch and carefully ease his aging hips down the few stairs to the lush green of the back lawn and slowly saunter off to the forest beyond.
Where the lawn ended and the pine needles began, he stopped and glanced over his left shoulder once more at the swing set where the kids played and the old farmhouse that was home for so long. They would miss him in the morning but these last few hours were his, alone.
Okay, whattaya got for me today?
Sliding across the linoleum and crashing into a table leg? Getting into a paper bag/cardboard box/cooking pot and can’t get out? Chasing a mechanical toy that chases me? Playing with a sprinkler? No?
Oh, that’s right. We already did all those.
Gotta think up something new… I got it! How about I piddle right in the middle….. Hey, I made a rhyme. Piddle in the Middle, that’s what we’ll call it. Catchy title! That’ll get a million Likes.
I’ll just hop up on the bed, maybe slide off and hop up again. That’ll get a laugh. Then I’ll plant my cute little bottom right in the middle of that new comforter of yours, and I’ll…..
You don’t like that idea? Why not? You never like anything I think up.
Yeah, I know. I’m the Star. I’m not supposed to think. Leave thinking to the underlings. I know. Oh, how I suffer for my art.
So whattaya got for me?
A pink bonnet and a pink ruffled dress?
How adorable. Cute little fluffy-wuffy me.
Just hurry up and take the picture.
I’ll need an extra-good cigar after this one. And a little shot of bourbon in the old water dish wouldn’t hurt any.
Sydney was entering a bad part of town, so he had be on his guard.
“What are you doing?” demanded a voice from the dark.
Sydney peered into the night and saw two large green eyes staring back at him. Then a large grey tomcat stepped into the light, followed by a motley crew of other cats.
“N-nothing,” was Sydney’s weak reply. The gang of cats quickly surrounded him.
“Nothing? Hear that fellas?” They all laughed. The big grey cat looked him squarely in the eyes. “You’re walking through our territory. Ain’t that right, fellas.” They all nodded. A mangy black cat yelled out, “You tell ’em Frankie.”
“I was just going home,” said Sydney.
“Home?” Frankie sneered. “Kid, this alley is our home. And you’re trespassing.” The other cats slowly moved towards Sydney.
“I-I broke out of the animal pound,” he said. “And I’m going home.”
Frankie raised his paw to stop the other cats. “You broke out of the pound? No cat has ever broken out of there before. Kid, you’re a runt but you’ve got guts.” The other cats nodded. Frankie thought for a minute. “Tell ya what, we’ll walk with you until you get out of this part of town.”
True to his word, Frankie and the other cats formed a protective cordon around Sydney until he reached safety. As they parted, Frankie said, “Kid, if you ever run into any problems, you’ll always have a home with us.”
I stare down from this hill at the place where I once lived.
I see the window where a sat all day basking in the sun, watching birds drink and bathe from the fountain in the yard.
I wonder if my food and water bowls are still on the floor next to the pantry door and if my litter box is still in the laundry room next to the warm dryer.
I’m not sure what happened, but a few days ago I heard Mommy & Daddy arguing and slamming doors. Then Daddy picked me up, placed me in my travel case and took me to the car. I thought I was going to that place where people touch me and poke things in my body, but instead Daddy took me someplace else.
This place had trees, plants and there were bugs and birds everywhere. He opened my travel case, pulled me out and left me there alone.
I spent a longtime just hiding. I was so scared, but I didn’t want to leave. How would Daddy find me when he came back for me?
It took many days before I realized that he wasn’t coming back. I was hungry and scared, and I knew I couldn’t stay there any longer.
I don’t know how, but I found my way back to my home.
So here I sit at the top of this hill wondering what I did to make Mommy and Daddy not love me anymore.
Princess Carla of Catagoria had a dilemma, and for the first time in her life, she thought long and hard over her choices. The Genie promised to grant her three wishes. Unfortunately, the one thing she wanted was eternal life, however, a Genie is not allowed to give eternal life. She pondered how she could trick the Genie into giving her immortality. Then it came to her, “Genie! I know my three wishes, you are to grant them to me. Now!”
The Genie appeared before her, “Your wish is my command.”
She replied, “For my first wish, I want the most luxuriant tiger skin fur coat in all the world.”
The Genie Grinned, “What is your second wish?”
Next, she demanded, “I want the most elegant diamond necklace in all the world!”
The Genie sighed, “It shall sparkle like the stars in the heavens at night.”
Carla slyly cooed, “For my last wish, I want to outlive the longest life nine times their life.”
The Genie hesitated, “I said I cannot give you immortality.”
Carla coldly ordered, “I said nine times the longest life and nothing about immortality.”
The Genie shrugged his shoulders, there is a way, but you may not want it?”
Carla demanded, “Do as I say, and grant my three wishes now!”
Carla stared at herself in the mirror furious at being turned into a cat; however, her fur coat was the most luxuriant coat she ever wore, and that diamond collar was purr-fect.
Everyone knew that Mrs. Putnam was, well, a bit eccentric. Widowed thirty years ago, she lived alone in a garden apartment condominium on the lower East Side. Now 85, she never had visitors, seldom, if ever, left her flat. Even the delivery boy remarked: “It’s always canned tuna or cat food. I don’t know what SHE lives on !!”
Yes, she loved cats — and her kindness was rewarded with strays availing themselves of her generosity. A bowl of food was always available. Soon her “family” had grown…considerably.
“Well, she must be lonely,” they would say.
“Must need company,” others would chime in.
Mrs. Stein, Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Weatherby (all widows) gathered for their weekly tea — and gossip — gathering.
Gert offered: “Ya know, nobody has seen old Mrs. Putnam in over two weeks now. Maybe we should call the authorities and ask for a ‘welfare check’?”
The police arrived, finding the apartment in a shambles, reeking of cat urine. They discovered the corpse in the bedroom, decomposing and horribly mutilated.
And thirteen well-fed felines.
[ Apologies to cat lovers ]
It wanted to devour me. Those hard green eyes. That firm, downturned mouth. That intense concentration masked by perfect stillness. I was doomed for sure.
I stared back, my eyes locked with its eyes. One false move and it would all be over. Its great upright ears, a pair of sensitive antennae, stood unwavering. Its body was a loaded spring. The death-blow hadn’t come yet, but I had no doubt it would. The creature crouched in the tall grass, waiting, inhumanely patient.
Well of course. It wasn’t human. I was the human, the prey, soon to be lunch.
Slowly, careful not to move a muscle without need, I slid my right hand into the pocket of my jeans, where my secret weapon hid. My fingers found the crunchy little bits and palmed them. Ever so slowly, I drew them out, crouched down, and sprinkled them on the sidewalk. Then I slid backwards, painful quarter step by painful quarter step, matching stares with the mighty predator. Ten feet back, enough to give it room, I beckoned to it.
“Here, kitty kitty kitty!”
The kitten didn’t move.
About then, little Samantha Greene from next door galloped over, squealing, “You found my kitty! You found my kitty!” She scooped it up, gave it a great bear hug, and bounced off again, hanging onto its tail as it flopped about in the air.
I have to say, toys today are a lot more realistic than when I was young…
ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS’ CHOICE ONLY
Otto, the big Golden Retriever, came tearing through his doggy door into the kitchen, heading for his water dish. Unbeknownst to Otto, a kitten came bounding in right behind him.
Pamela looked up from her laptop and saw the kitten. Ever since the kids left for college and she started working full-time, Otto had been lonely, causing mayhem in the house and yard. Now, was he bringing home strays?
But Otto turned around, and was both surprised and delighted. He stared at the kitten, jaws agape, bushy tail rotating furiously, while the kitten sat looking back.
Otto woofed once. The kitten answered, meowing. Otto bowed down, ready to play, and the kitten practically jumped into his waiting paws. When Otto stood up, the kitten walked in and out of his four legs, like he was a piece of furniture, brushing up against him.
Pamela examined the kitten. The tag on her collar said “Tawny,” and she called the number.
The owner turned out to be Jessica, a local animal rescue volunteer, who offered Tawny, free of charge, provided papers were signed.
Pamela could see the two fur balls — one tiny, one extra large — snuggled together on Otto’s bed, with the kitten at the center, and Otto’s back half hanging off.
By the time Pamela’s husband came home, there was little need for discussion. Otto had found a companion. He had reclaimed the center of the bed, and Tawny was asleep on his back.
My parents were in their eighties when the tiny gray tabby came begging. The farmer next door had a litter of barn cats and the runt decided to look elsewhere for food.
My dad started feeding the kitten and calling her Pewter. I suggested he might not be able to handle a pet. He was already overwhelmed caring for Mom as she descended into Alzheimer’s. He was assuming every chore that he and Mom had previously shared.
While he always made sure the kitten was fed, her litter box often went untended until I visited. While furniture had been off limits to animals, Pewter strolled across chairs, tables, beds. Dad was just too worn out to train his kitten. I asked Dad to find another home for Pewter, but he refused.
One day Pewter slipped out and ran to my parents’ neighbor. When John called, he said Pewter had mewed and scratched his screen. John tried to grab her, but she skittered back home. John followed.
Inside he found Dad lying unconscious on the floor, blood pooling around his head. Mom stood panicked and helpless, trying to remember how to call for help. As John called the ambulance, Pewter licked Dad’s face.
When I arrived at the hospital, the doctors had sewn and bandaged Dad’s head. “I’m OK. I just tripped,” Dad said. “I need to get home and feed Pewter.”
“Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll take care of your kitten,” I answered. “She’s my hero.”
The small gray and black kitten sat in the middle of the sidewalk staring up at the couple approaching her.
“I’m not a cat person,” said Levi, pointing to the small animal.
“I’m not either,” said Stacy, though she was really indifferent to all pets, including kittens. Unlike most of her contemporaries, she’d never had a pet and didn’t want one. But she wasn’t a fanatic, she just didn’t care.
Levi laughed, as if Stacy’s comment had given him permission to say what he really felt.
“What I’m going to do with that cat,” he said as he started to run up to it, “is drop kick that sucker from here to kingdom come.”
Stacy was taken aback by his anger. “Wait,” she said. “You don’t want to do that.”
Levi didn’t hear her. Instead, he concentrated on the cat, as if it were a football ready for the point after touchdown kick through the goal posts.
Just before Levi reached the kitten, it’s inner tiger roared out and viciously tore off Levi’s head. Levi’s body crumpled to the ground and his head bounced to the curb and into the street. Stacy, in shock, gingerly stepped over the body and jumped across the river of blood flowing to the curb.
She looked back at the kitten, now staring at her with an inquiring look on her face.
Stacy turned away and hurried on down the sidewalk. She was right. Levi was not the person for her.
She lay there unmoving, near the curb. Someone had dropped her off at our home knowing we might care for her. I had been putting food out for her daily. As often as I tried, she would not let me touch her.
This day she was not waiting for me to give her something to eat, so I went looking.
I sat there beside her, rubbing her lifeless body.
(Eligible for editors choice only)
“Have you seen my brother? He looks just like me, but with stripes,” the kitten asked the mouse.
“I miss him so. We cuddled up together, after a big plate of food. He had the best ideas of where to go, and what to look at, or crawl into.”
The mouse rolled his eyes.
“My brother was always protecting me. He made sure to warn me about the catman, with the big shoes, who always tries to step on us. He also showed me how to make friends with the catlady.”
“I had a sister too, I think. She was black and white, and fluffy. I don’t know where she went either.”
“The big foot catman is coming! I don’t know where to hide. I’m going to cry!”
The mouse scampered away.
“Why do we still have that little runt?”the man asks the lady.
“It’s hard to describe him in the listing for free kittens. He’s not black, he’s not white, he’s not calico, he’s not a striped tabby.”
“Well, box him up, and we’ll drop him off, somewhere on the way out to dinner.”
The yelling was fierce!
He had to hide under the sofa, and shivered in fright, until the yelling stop. Then, he heard the big door slam with a thud.
Uh,oh! He hoped it wasn’t the catlady going through that magic opening.
Suddenly, the catlady gently, pulled him out.
“I guess, it’s just you and me now, little fellow,”she said to him.
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