Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fast Feline

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 2018.

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14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fast Feline”

  1. “Oh, dear. Let me see if I’ve got this right. Slither into the right position,” Lena Leopard mumbled, as she leaned on the rock to practice. “Make sure my sexy tail is almost strait up. Swing it just a bit, but not too much, to attract attention. Put the back feet, not too close together, firmly on the ground. Suck in the belly. Drop the left front foot slowly. Lead out with the right. Okay. Seems I’m ready to start. One, two… Oh, there’s Papa.”

    “Lena,”Papa Leopard roared. “What are you doing over there? Get back here. We’ve got everything ready.” He turned and sauntered to the man with the camera. Nudging him with the tip of his nose, he sprawled onto his back and waited.

    They had rehearsed it several times, so Lena knew she had to make the romp look very playful and appealing. She pawed his belly and snarled. They rolled and stood and sat and roared and swung paws occasionally stopping, for just a second or two, in the right pose for the cameraman to snap. After all, the best of the pictures was to be used on the posters for The African Wildlife Foundation’s worldwide program for the preservation of wild life.

    When the shoot finished, Lena went back to practicing at the rock.

    “I’ve got to learn this for the foundation’s party tonight. Where was I? Oh, yes. Drop the left, lead with the right and, one, two, cha-cha-cha.”

  2. For Editors’ Choice Award only

    “Honey, have you been leaving milk out for the neighborhood cats?”
    “Why, yes, sweetheart. They’re so loveable. I’ve even named some of them. Let’s see, there’s Tigger; I think he’s a Ocicat, and a beautiful creature, too. He might belong to the Nelsons. And then there’s a young Pixie-bob that popped up in the last week or two—I named her Pepper. And the Manx—now, there’s one beautiful animal. I named him Ashes. Besides those, there’s one I call Jasmine and another I call Samantha. Five in all. They’re here almost every day.”
    “And you have no idea who might own most of ’em?”
    “Well, I never gave it much thought, sweetheart. Tigger just showed up on the patio one afternoon and looked hungry—”
    “He looked hungry? How didja know that?”
    “Well, he was meowing and all. I thought he wanted something to drink, so I put a bowl of milk out for him. He drank it all. And what do you know? Within a few weeks, five cats starting showing up every afternoon, like clockwork, looking for a handout. I think it’s wonderful, don’t you?”
    “Oh, yeah, just great! Wait until ya get a load of the sixth addition to your little clowder!”

  3. Spots

    “There but for the grace of a cat go I.”

    “You are a cat. Look at you. It ‘s obvious.”


    But it was true. As much as I wanted to deny it, it was irrefutable. I was a cat. Not just any cat. A humongous feline. A leopard. Not what I wanted to be. Which was a jaguar.

    Since childhood, I wanted to be something other than what I was. But that was a no-no. My mother, a proud leopardess, was very clear. “You,” my son. “are a leopard. Some have grown to lion size. Why, once, your great uncle, Algernon, a fierce foe of the humans, was cut down in his prime. They still talk about him, his size. A truly remarkable specimen. At least nine feet long. Of course, they skinned him. Stretched his carcass, measured him from the top of his head to the tip of his tail.”

    “His tail?” I queried. “That doesn’t seem right.”

    “Of course not,” my mother said. “Hyperbole.”

    “I don’t know what High…”

    “Hy-PURR-Bow-Lee,” she pronounced. “Of course, you wouldn’t. You’re just an illiterate leopard. But some, mostly human, cannot tell the truth. They embellish.”

    Undeniably, I was an ignorant leopard. I didn’t know the meaning of Hy-PURR-bow-lee and I was similarly at sea with Em-BELL-Ish. But I did know one thing. I had spots. Dots! Lots! I told my mother that. But she said. “Not spots. Not dots. Freckles.”

    I believed her, of course.

    She was my mother.

  4. The gate’s been left open, must have been the new keeper. She seemed a bit distracted today.

    Do I share this chance of escape with the others? Do I take it alone?

    Freedom is on the other side, something we’ve only heard in stories. Freedom to hunt, roam and mate. The elders whisper of their old lives painting pictures in our heads of how life used to be before the keepers came to the jungle.

    The elders tell of being hunted, trapped and brought here by those who are like the keeper. Howls of rage and fear were heard for miles drawing more like us. Some escaped, others were caught. Once here, they were caged to be gawked at by others who, like us have eyes in the front of their heads, but stand on two legs. No spots have they, but predators they are still the same.

    What if I escape and am found? Will they punish me the way they did Kubi? They starved her to death for attempting to jump the moat. Her paw caught on the edge and she fell. The keepers threw a net around her and dragged her back to the pen.

    Born here, I know of no other life, but her desire for freedom beats in my soul. Through the gate I will capture the elders’ memories and I will survive with all the guidance and skills of my ancestors.

    This is for you, Mama Kubi.


  5. The animals were afraid of the great cheetah. So they called a council meeting to negotiate a treaty that would be beneficial to all. The hyenas led the negotiations on behalf of the animals.

    “The gazelles are fearful of your speed,” said the senior hyena to the cheetah. “They humbly ask that you hobble your hind legs.”

    The cheetah agreed.

    “And the zebras have expressed concern about your sharp teeth and claws,” continued the senior hyena. “They give their children nightmares when they sleep.”

    The cheetah agreed to cap her teeth and to have her claws removed.

    This process of demands and concessions continued for hours. In this way many of the cheetah’s strengths and advantages were removed by the cleverness of the hyenas. In return the animals agreed to swear loyalty to the cheetah.

    Soon, the negotiations ended and a treaty was signed. All the animals applauded the wisdom of the cheetah.

    But as time passed the boldness of the animals grew. When the time was right the hyenas struck. They captured the cheetah and placed her in chains.

    “What about the treaty we signed?” pleaded the cheetah.

    “Treaties are just convenient pieces of paper,” they sneered.

    The hyenas paraded the once-proud and powerful cheetah through the town. The other animals, who once trembled before the feline, now openly mocked and jeered her. And so, by means of treachery and deceit, the hyenas revealed how the strong could be defeated by the weak.

  6. “For the love of God, Stevens, I’m the general curator of the zoo. I’ve seen a leopard before,” Dr. Zombrowski scolded the caretaker. “ I don’t have time to be traipsing around watching animal behavior.”
    “I think you’ll want to see this, sir.” Stevens was undeterred. They turned the corner and watched as the big cat walked up to a tree, lightly touched the trunk three times, then began clawing it. Zombrowski stare open-mouthed as it next approached a rock, again lightly touching it three times before leaping to the top of it.
    “I’ll be darned,” the curator whispered.
    “Did they mention any psychological issues?”
    “ Of course not. That never enters discussions of specimens.” He shot a stern look at the caretaker. “But that cat has OCD.”
    “I’m afraid so, Doctor.”
    “Have you noticed any other symptoms?”
    Stevens hesitated. “At first I thought it was just habit, but then I tested it. He won’t eat if you don’t put the food in the same place in the bowls, and the bowls in exactly the same spot.”
    “Yes, sir,” Stevens nodded. “We also noticed he became depressed when we introduced a mirror to see if he would tolerate other cheetahs.”
    “Depressed? Do you think he realized he wanted company?”
    “After testing several theories, he finally recovered when we put a modified poster in with him.”
    “He apparently freaked out that all his spots weren’t the same size. We made them the same in the modified poster.”
    “That’s serious OCD!”

  7. The scene at the zoo on Saturday morning seemed almost apocalyptic. Screams came from all directions making it sound like a freakin’ war zone. Now I usually keep my cool but the entire vibe of the place made it really hard to relax.
    “Mia stay close baby.” That was my mom. She was your typical over-protective parent, always in your business. It got kind of annoying at times, but I loved her all the same. We were running toward the exit when we saw him. The lightning fast cheetah, that somehow managed to escape its cage, pounced on a guy about 10 feet away from us. You would think that zoos would keep this kind of stuff in check BUT I guess not.
    “Watch out!” I heard an older women scream as she dragged the injured man away from the black spotted beast. Finally, animal control came rushing onto the scene of destruction with electrical baton-like objects in hand. They battled the beast as it growled menacingly at them. I saw the hellcat lunge in at one of the brown suited soldiers. The guy dove backwards just barely getting out of the reach of its razor sharp claws. As I turned to my right I saw the black rifle that exploded like a grenade. The cheetah started to slow down suddenly and smacked against the concrete. It was out cold and explosions of celebration erupted. I guess me and my mom manager to survive that catastrophe huh?


    It was an ordinary day at the Wildside Zoo, and no one noticed when Sasha the cheetah escaped her enclosure. She took the road less traveled — right through the flower beds — and climbed over the elegant gates of the prestigious zoo.

    Jorge Henry, a sharp-eyed zoo worker, noticed her climbing down the zoo gates, bolting across the boulevard and entering the Fine Foods Supermarket. The automatic sensor opened the doors for the feisty feline. Meanwhile, Jorge called Wildside Zoo headquarters, which implemented emergency procedures and sent a team to retrieve Sasha.

    Inside the store, customers saw the escaped cheetah. Most people just left. The few that were screaming were quickly hushed.

    The zoo staff arrived and announced: “This is the Wildside Zoo. One of our cheetahs is in the store. Sasha the cheetah is not dangerous. But please leave quietly, as a precaution. Walk at a normal pace and do not run.”

    “We will now play a recording of a lion’s roar, to encourage a submissive attitude in the cheetah. Be ready. We may do this several times.”

    By then, Sasha was in the back of the store, prowling around the refrigerated section and tearing up the meat packages. She paused each time she heard the lion’s roar.

    Her caretaker appeared with a large cage and coaxed her inside, without using tranquilizer darts, which Jorge Henry had ready. She was removed from Fine Foods Supermarket without further incident, enjoying a deluxe package of filet mignon.

  9. Shortly after opening our private illegals’ detention center, we began the Cheetah Races. Tickets and gambling raised substantial capital. Our cheetahs raced behind a mechanical stuffed rabbit. If they caught the machine, we rewarded them with fresh meat.

    Eventually, our audience demanded more violence, more blood. So we started raising prey animals for our cheetahs to chase. The audience would roar with approval whenever a cheetah downed a gazelle or pronghorn. Bets were placed on the amount of time it would take the cheetah to kill and eat the animal.

    But our mob of spectators again became bored. Their virtual reality world was filled with so much violence that watching cheetahs hunt became dull.

    Then my brother proposed another idea. Our center was filled, with more illegal immigrants arriving daily. Why not a human – cat encounter?

    We give the prisoners a huge head start. Bets are now based on the time our cheetah needs to catch the prisoner. There is usually plenty of blood. If the cheetah is hungry enough, the prisoner might even be torn apart.

    Then one day the victim doesn’t run. He grabs a rock and flings it at our cheetah. Fortunately, his aim is bad and the cheetah rips into him. But we realize that we must be more careful in clearing the arena and in choosing runners from the smaller, weaker prisoners.

    After all, we cannot allow our beautiful, expensive cheetahs to get hurt.

  10. “Hey, little mousie,” the leopard said. “Come out from behind that rock.”

    “Why? So you can eat me?” said the mouse.

    “No, no. I wouldn’t think of it,” said the leopard. “I need your help.”

    “How could I possibly help you?”

    “You could pull this thorn out of my paw. See it?”

    The mouse came closer. “Ooo! That must really hurt.”

    “Oh, it does, it does!” cried the leopard. “I can hardly bear the pain. See how thick it is, how it curves, how it is embedded in my tender flesh. Oh, the agony. I’d be ever so grateful if you could remove it.”

    Just then a slightly bigger mouse popped out from behind the rock.

    “Junior, get your little butt home right this minute.”

    “But, Mama…’

    “And you, Mr. Leopard, shame on you. Going after an innocent child, little more than a snack to you, but my only son in the whole world. For shame. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    The leopard hung his head. “But I have this thorn in my paw….” he began. “It hurts terribly…”

    It wasn’t the first time the leopard had tried to pass his claws off as thorns.

    Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.

  11. I frankly don’t think I’ve ever looked better. Despite my efforts to eschew conceit, to avoid sounding self-serving, I must acknowledge I’ve always been handsome. Rugged, yes. Slender, yes. Sleek, of course.

    They said they wanted an action pose for my close-up. This is not what I had in mind. I’m at my best chasing gazelles. Even hyenas, although I would never think of making a meal of one. They’re so coarse. But pursuit….especially the kind of pure pursuit I’ve enjoyed on my home turf….would be extremely difficult to achieve in this small enclosure. It would not have been a contest and I’m nothing if not fair.

    So this is the chosen pose. Iffy. So so. Less stimulating. Yet I think I’m fairly satisfied with it. Note the upright tail, the poised paw. The alignment of spots has never been better. When I was told there would be photographers today, I spent most of my morning grooming, licking the fur on my legs and paws.

    Note the look of intensity on my face. As much intensity as I can achieve when it’s hot and I’m hungry. And the props are so obviously fake. The log and stone are molded gypsum. They smell awful. Almost enough to take my appetite. But not so much that if you dare ignore the sign reading “DANGER. NO CLOSER THAN THE FENCE” there could be unintended consequences.

    Yes, Mr. DeMille, this is my action pose. Ready when you are, C.B. Go for it!


    My granddaughter took the young cat to her home in of Chino Hills. Her younger brother invited his friend over to see the young half-grown kitten. The friend opened the back door and out she ran. She was confused not knowing where she was. The field on the hillside was wide open, and there she wandered for days. She found a half-dead rabbit and ate until she could eat no more.

    Somewhere between the hills and Whittier Narrows she had a run-in with a coyote who wanted a meal. Her left ear was injured so badly it flopped over for the rest of her life . Running as fast as she could, she escaped him.

    The weeks became months and the months became a year. She followed her instincts and finally found that home where she had been fed those first weeks of her young life. She was afraid and didn’t know how to let us know she was there, so she lived on the street with the feral cats who roamed the neighborhood.

    One day I looked out and saw her among some other cats at the curb of our yard. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Her markings were unusual and I looked again. I went out to her, talked to her and she followed me to the door. She would not let me pick her up.
    So I fed her and she looked up at me and said, “Meow.”

  13. Gladys and Bill were in Africa to see the animals of the Serengeti.

    “We traveled all this way, and not one animal sighting,” Gladys cried to Bill.

    “We have a couple more days… Let’s go on that bush ride today,”he said.

    “No, I’m tired of looking, and seeing nothing.”

    But Bill convinced her.

    At the end of the ride, the Jeep, stops on the side of the road, and the guide points to a beautiful cheetah.

    “What a beautiful girl cat, you are…”she cooed.

    “Well, at least we had our one encounter,” Gladys said.

    “I know you are disappointed,” Bill said.

    “We always have tomorrow,” Gladys said optimistically.

    That night, they were tired from their hectic day. They didn’t hear the unfamiliar noise in their room that night.

    Gladys awoke at 5 a. M., to watch the sunrise. There, in the bedroom, was a female cheetah, nursing six cubs!

    Gladys, crawled back into bed, shaking bills shoulder- hard.

    “Bill, wake up, wake up. We have some visitors!”

    Bill sat up with a start,” Who?”

    “A female cheetah!”

    “How do you know it’s female?”

    “She brought her cubs with her.”

    “From the looks of things, I’d say, she had those cubs right here.”

    “You’re right!” Gladys agreed, looking at the soiled blanket, the big cat was laying on.

    Gladys had her up close, and personal experience, with a wild animal of the Serengeti.

    “No one, at home, is ever going to believe this!” she said to Bill.

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