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.
18 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Golden Evening”
Ole Man Jeakyll and Missy Hydey
Go git de leap rake outta da shed, missy
Ma, I got things to do, I ain’t got time to be messin’ wid no leapes, right now,
and b‘sides, last yeah ya got ole man Jeakyll mass ’em up!
Las yeah wuz las yeah, dis yeah’s dis yeah! And, Missy Hydey dis yeah, youse
gonna mak’em blow, ya heah what I say!
I heah ya, Ma, but I doan like what I heah, do I, ain’t I got sum rights, me too
I keep my stuff straight, doan I, Ma? Look at Freddie’s stuff, it be spread all
ovuh da place if he wuz to fix’ya a peanut buttuh samwich you’d be sticky handed!
Ya better get sticky handed, yo’sef, wid da rake, Missy Hydey, deez leapes jez gonna worsen do ya wait.
I doan b’lieve ya, Ma, les jez wait and see do deez leapes ged worser
You gonna ged a hidin’s, sho’ wat you gonna ged, daughter, when Pa ged back. He doan like sassin’, one bit, and when he start a-whoopin’ on you, I doan wanna heah ya hollerin’!
“Wedder station sez we in foh a blow t’day”, Freddie enters from hallway
Mornin’ Ma, mornin’ Hydey
Mornin’ my son, how wuz yo sleep?
Lak a pebble inna creek bed, Ma.
Ya gotta hep me, Freddie, mass up deez Mable leapes in de fron’ yahd.
Cuz why, Sister?
Cuz Ma sez
Dat so, Ma?
Doan ‘clude me in no chillun’s squabblin’
One golden evening, Harmony had a dream she was sitting on a bench in a park, which was located in a small town, in a large state, on the North American continent, on Earth, on a spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, somewhere in the Universe.
While sitting on the bench she opened a book and read a story about a woman, who was reading a book about a man, who had travelled to a distant land, who was told a tale about an old man, named Sam, who had a dream about being in a simulation.
The tale went something like this:
The old man, named Sam, when he was younger, had acted in a large number of stage plays. Doing so meant he had to assume different character types for each role he played. Over the years, he had played so many different characters that he never got to know who he was.
As a result, the old man, named Sam, decided he was going to stop acting. He decided to end his acting career by not performing in the stage play called The Simulation, which was scheduled to open in a local theatre that evening. And so, Sam gave up acting, and he never returned to the stage again.
No one knew what happened to the old man, named Sam. He simply disappeared. But it was rumoured that he spent most of his time observing other people perform their roles in The Simulation.
Ultraviolet light on an Autumn night,
She stood by her car in her heart a fright.
Is this the place that she could meet her true love.
Or is she just dreaming, like a thought from above?
So silent It is not a soul she could see.
But deep in her heart, she wanted it to be.
The night that it happened.
For no longer could she wait?
To meet the man of her dreams,
her perfect soul mate.
The Season It All Changed
It was the last good autumn of my life. The seasons that followed were less passionate, less complete, the leaves, paler than that fall, my dreams, not as precise, the air less pure. I think “pure” is the word I want. Crisp, clean, or maybe that was the feeling she brought to me, to us.
We were, for that brief time, pure.
Still not adults.
I can still play with those feelings.
We were, in a word, young.
And we had time. So much time. It didn’t always seem that way, but time was slow and warm. Our studies made demands. There was that pressure. Students always have pressure. But we had time.
That evening, we walked amongst the fallen leaves. The lights from the pavilion glanced across the leaf-blanketed earth, our footsteps crunching the dry droppings, music from a distant trumpet set the moon aglow.
As perfect as it was, I sensed a shift in the earth, in her rotation, in my place in the universe.
“I leave in the spring,” she said.
I hadn’t asked. Perhaps I should have.
“It’s for certain?”
“Oh, yes. Paris. The Sorbonne. How could I refuse. But you can come. We’ll go together. Europe! Travel!”
The offer was there. It was strong and sure. Love could cross the ocean and survive.
But I hesitated.
Now, I don’t know why.
Her hand slipped from mine.
A few final leaves drifted to earth.
Our time had passed.
By Jenni Romero
We were sitting on a bench in the park. We had only been there for a short time. He sat stiffly, with his arm around me. So quiet, so cold. I knew our time was almost over. I knew it would be our last night together.
I saw someone walk through the park, getting into their car. They paused, saw us, and gave a friendly wave. I smiled and waved back. He didn’t, just staring straight ahead. He never did. The person got into their car and drove away.
“It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?” I asked him. “Those trees, they make the sky look gold, don’t you agree?” As always, he stayed quiet.
I stood, helping him to his feet, and we disappeared into the thicket of trees.
“Goodbye, my love,” I said, dropping his body, already dead for several hours in the hole I had already dug. “Goodbye forever.”
The makeshift gazebo swayed slightly in the night breeze, casting shadows on the nearby stoic trees. No music played, save the leaves muted rustle in the mid-Fall air. There should have been dancing, singing, a cacophony of unintelligible talk and laughter from the few dozen invited. Brightly dressed and coiffed revelers raising voices in toasts and teases, tales of misadventures and milestones in the young couple’s life.
Most thought them perfect, two halves of an idyllic whole. They’d thought so too, for a time. Long enough for promises, pledges, plans and rings. But the charade had collapsed, no blame assigned. Yet. Plenty of time for that in the years ahead. Regrets and recriminations would lay heavy upon them both.
He’d left his tux in a crumpled pile, the red rose boutonniere, petals curling, drying in the crisp air. They’d picked the perfect church, just a short walk down the gravel road. He’d left it to her to clean up everything. One blurred look over her tear stained shoulder was all she’d been capable of giving him before he’d disappeared into the night.
The gold and white dresses of her attendants lay sprawled on the back seat. Her bouquet of purple freesia, orange and white chrysanthemums and red bud roses sat on the seat beside her, fragrant in the darkness.
The air had turned icy and so, shivering, sighing, she stepped out of the shadows and unplugged the lights, plunging the woods and her thoughts into pitch black.
By Diana Garcia
Lottie “Red” Pope stands under the elm tree. The twinkling lights of the gazebo make her forget about her past. Night breezes comb her russet hair, gentle-like. She remembers the time she let Navajo Ted run the ivory comb on her wet hair as she bathed. He never tried to do anything else. She loved him best.
This was her spot, under the tree, always.
She enjoyed watching young lovers kissing in the gazebo, especially at twilight. Once, the lights were not on, but the moon glow made them shimmer, dream-like. The woman, while her neck was being nuzzled, tilted her head just so and saw Red looking back at her. The woman whispered to her lover and they both ran away. Red felt bereft. She had been seen.
Years before, Red tried to explore beyond the park square, but she was locked in place between the gazebo and the tree.
Thinking of her murky past returns her to the gallows where the gazebo presently stands. It is now the town bandstand. She prefers standing under the tree, the farthest she is able to be from the gallows with her invisible tether.
These days, the orchestra plays their gay and patriotic music during ice cream socials and town picnics. They are oblivious to Red, the town’s notorious soiled dove, swinging from the gallows.
They never hear the creaking rope as it rubs on splintered wood, or long-dead onlookers chanting, “Lottie Red Pope/Swinging on a rope/Stabbed Mean Joe Forge/For daring a grope.”
Rose sat on a bench in the small park across from her restaurant and smoked. She loved this little bit of nature on a sloping bluff to the Housatonic River. Her guests enjoyed the expansive view. At night, near closing time, she looked forward to a few minutes alone with her menthol Eves whilst the crew cleaned up for the night.
October nights in the fall were delicious. The river could not be seen but the rich yellows of the sugar maples, illuminated by the street lights, was a treat for the senses as the cool river breeze lifted the aroma of drying leaves and mixed it with her tobacco smoke. And the silence; a pleasure after six hours of bedlam in the kitchen.
Tonight there was a disturbance in her reverie. She heard the crunching sound of feet plowing through a cover of crisp maple leaves somewhere beyond the reach of the street lamps. She took another drag on her Eve. A faceless figure advanced up the small grade until she could see it clearly. A man, perhaps a homeless man for the way he was dressed and the ratty haversack he carried over his shoulder. He approached and stood tall before her as she braced for a confrontation. He was stone-faced and rather handsome but for his road-weary deportment and the odor that announced his presence.
With a thin parting of his lips said:
“Tell me, please Ma’am. How do I get home?”
As the leaves began to decay into winter, darkness cloaked this hum-drum setting. To Timothy Hartly, this was a fine time to be alive.
The scarcity of activity in the eventide gave him room to exist freely, possinly for the first time.
Surrounded by trees that weren’t normal earthen stumps, these were the Zerenium trees famous on Timothy’s imaginary homeworld. This little arch was his stage. The purple LEDs were not Home Depot purchases but the turbo engine lights of his spacecraft.
.”I am Lieutenant Zorgan and this is my ship, ‘The Rolling Lady of the Cosmos’. Welcome aboard!”
His old cane now a Zynaxial telescope, constructed by Eredian copper, the strongest metal in the star system.
His rickety wheelchair transformed into the battle pod suitable for various skirmishes and missions. Propulsion cannons, hydraulic wheels with hovercraft and a sma cupholder for his Canada Dry Ginger Ale.
“Remember the time, Lieutenant, when you battled the Bandits of Bormadia” his sidekick”, Esprit Upenevs, asked
“Yes, I do my dear friend”, Zorgan responded
“However, a man is only as strong as the allies he makes along the way. WE were victorious!”
His crew, all symbols of the diverse world he embraced, from constellations near and far. Neglected in their own worlds but on this tour bus of galaxies, friendship was the enduring theme.
It may have been a quiet place somewhere in Oregon to everybody else, but to him it was Planet Xenox in the Nygocian Belt.
As the day descended into night and to his bedroom he returned, there was a sadness to this tale. In his land he was a guest, defined by a condition and forgotten in a downstairs room.
Still, there’s plenty of time for adventure in a universe he felt comfortable.
From his bedroom window, he gently whispered:
“See you tomorrow my loyal crew. Another day of adventures await”
Until the day the doctors couldn’t assist him anymore, Lieutenant Zorgan and his rebellious band of space travellers would explore each corner of the universe unrestricted by tbe shacklea placed on them
Officer Jackson left his car in the shadow of the trees and cautiously approached the vehicle parked at the gazebo.
“Here comes that old geezer flatfoot,” Mickey sneered. “Remember our secret code. We practiced it ‘nough for you to understand it perfect.”
Rosie sat up and buttoned her blouse. She whipped her comb through her tousled hair and wiped the smeared lipstick from Mickey’s face. How, she wondered, were they going to get away with their mischief?
“Okay, kids. Out of your car,” Jackson ordered.
Mickey reached over and ejected Lady Gaga’s latest disc from the player and stood facing Jackson. ‘Whazzup?”
“You kids know who painted the dirty words on your school’s doors?”
“Wuzzn’t us,” Mickey answered, boots shuffling, and slowly slid the hand with red paint on its thumb into his pocket.
Rosie came and stood between them. “Why don’t you go catch the creeps who done it.” She winced, realizing why she failed in grammar class. “Did it, I mean.” She blushed.
“You’re coming down to the station. Get in my car.”
They huddled in the back seat. “Remember,” Mickey whispered. “If he asks something you shouldn’t answer, I’ll tell’m in code. The old goat’ll never understand it.”
“Where were you tonight,” Jackson called out over his shoulder. “Did you do it?’
“Esyay, e’reway uiltygay, ouyay igbay umbday eepcray,” Mickey bragged in his code.
“Oughtay ucklay, igbay otshay,” Jackson grinned. “I spoke Pig Latin before you were born.”
Stunned, they surrendered. “Ucksshay! You got us.”
As I push Mom’s wheelchair down the path, I chatter incessantly. She does not respond. Her eyes are closed and her chin rests on her chest.
Just a few months ago, evenings were quite different. She would become agitated, restless, needing to go somewhere, wanting to find someone. Now she is almost always lethargic, unresponsive. Her doctor says the end is near. But really, this Alzheimer’s stole my mother away long ago.
We reach the gazebo. I tuck her blanket tighter around her and continue my useless monologue.
“The air is warmer tonight,” I comment. “No breeze. The lake looks like a mirror.”
I lay my hand on her arm. “The leaves are brilliant this year, so golden.”
Suddenly, she opens her eyes and raises her head. Her voice takes me by surprise. “We collected leaves,” she says. “Pressed them for your Girl Scout badge.”
I can barely breathe. “Yes,” I whisper, “we did.”
She pats my hand and a tiny smile brightens her face. “Beautiful,” she says. Then her eyes close again and her head droops.
I am so grateful for this golden moment that I can’t even wipe my tears.
I start wheeling her back and find myself humming an old Girl Scout tune called “Witchcraft.” I think I can hear Mom humming softly with me.
Johnny noticed her from a distance. As she drew closer he could see her flowing red hair, set off by a form-fitted, brown suede jacket.
She was looking at him, too! “I’ve seen you around the Student Center,” she said. “Do you think I’m cute?”
Johnny was flabbergasted, but managed to answer, “A vision of beauty, is what you are. I’m Johnny. What’s your name?”
“Desirée. So Johnny, how would you like to take me out to see Fifth Harmony tonight? They’re playing at the Coliseum.”
“What about tickets?” he asked.
“You can check online! And you can drive us over.”
“Drive, in what?” said Johnny.
“No car, Johnny? Tut, tut. I’ll have to pass. See ya ’round.”
And just like a cold wind, Desirée kept going. Johnny had about $35, and it had to last another week. Imagine buying two last-minute Fifth Harmony tickets! Who did she think he was? Elon Musk?
That evening, he walked over to The Place, a popular outdoor hangout. The autumn foliage was beautiful, even in the dim light, and the black lights in the gazebo cast a pleasant purple glow on everyone.
His friend Penny nestled up beside him, in a green parka. Her eyes were bright as they talked about classes and their teachers. Then Penny said, “Come over for hot chocolate?”
Johnny said, “Will it cost me anything?”
Penny looked at him strangely.
“I’ll tell you a story,” he said.
And off they went.
Ed Bergen jumped from his chair in front of the television showing that political ad for the third time in the past half hour.
“Damn, I missed The Golden Hour again,” he said, camera in hand as he ran to the patio door.
Looking up from her book, his wife Kate asked, “What’s The Golden Hour?”
“It’s the time just before sunset, where daylight’s redder and softer than when the sun’s higher in the sky. It would’ve made all our leaves look like pure gold,” Ed replied with a crestfallen look.
“And this is important because…?”
“It’s important to a nature photographer like me, that’s all,” Ed said. He returned to his seat just as that other political ad, calling the previous one a pack of lies, appeared again.
“I think it’s more important to the guy who still hasn’t raked up all those leaves out back. You said you were going to do it Saturday,” Kate said.
“And even more have fallen since then. So why should I do all that work twice when I can do it once if I wait?” Ed said as he muted the fourth showing of that first ad.
“Your logic stinks, Ansel Adams,” Kate said while she turned on the outside lights, turning the backyard into a golden wonderland.
“Adams worked in black and white.”
“It’s just not the same, Katie. You wouldn’t understand,” Ed said, flipping the channel.
“Of course not,” Kate said, switching off the lights.
Riley and Chloe were lost. Brother and sister had been pedaling fast on their bikes trying to get home before dark. They had recently moved to Vermont and were still learning their way around. Soon they were at a deserted park surrounded by huge trees. Riley looked around in apprehension, he knew they were lost but didn’t want to admit that to his little sister.
“Go faster Chloe,” he said panting with exertion.
“I’m going as fast as I can,” Chloe replied in frustration.
The night had become inky black with a full moon shining down on them. Suddenly, they saw a shimmering light in the distance and instinctively headed towards it. Riley and Chloe both hit their brakes, the light came from a deserted gazebo.
“This place is spooky,’ whispered Chloe nervously looking around as they entered.
Cautiously they walked around and Riley was thinking they should leave when suddenly from a corner of the gazebo a shadowy figure emerged! It was a thin, dark haired boy about their age with huge brown eyes. He stared at them in amazement, “How did you find me?” he asked in a low whisper, “are my parents coming to get me?”
“Do you live around here?” asked Chloe.
The boy looked at her, then shook his head and looked up into the sky. “No,” he said sadly and p0inted upwards, “I live much farther away.” He looked pleadingly at them, “I need your help to get home.”
In the cool night air, Madge went for a walk through the park towards the old gazebo. She loved the way the streetlights made the foliage glow orange and red. She stopped dead in her tracks wondering why on earth the gazebo was glowing a bright violet color.
On the sidewalk behind her, she heard lots of running footsteps coming up behind her. Fearing a street gang, she quickly stepped aside between the trees as her neighbors rushed by her towards the gazebo. As each one entered they disappeared in a bright flash of violet light. Curiously, Madge could not understand why her neighbors were rushing into the gazebo, and what that flash of light was?
More people arrived, it was as if they were human lemmings rushing to their death. She spotted Phil her next door neighbor and shouted at him, but it was no use he ignored her plea and ran into the gazebo and flashed out of existence.
She moved closer to the gazebo when she noticed two small green aliens watching all the humans flashing out of existence. One said to the other, “See the humans are just like bugs, both are attracted to bright lights. Why we will have this place cleaned out of their infestation in no time at all.”
Madge snuck up behind the two aliens and shoved them into the gazebo. They were gone in a flash. She unplugged the human bug zapper and saved the rest of humanity from annihilation.
The summer air died many moons ago, yet even as the crisp flakes of gold speckled the ground in time for costumed antics and turkey stuffing, nothing captured that magic as much as tonight. An amethyst lit canopy twinkled like its own little star, a slice of the heavens aglow on the earth’s surface.
A gentle hand lifted me out of confined spaces, I blushed under the pretense of nippy wind. Each step crackled with laughter, memories of the past, envisions of the future. A branch glided across my fingertips, a velvety film snagged between my pointer and thumb. A light sat in my palm for only a second before fluttering away to join its brethren, a leap I wanted to take with it. The acorn knotted in my heart kept me from finding courage, a curse and gift all in the same.
The artificial rays sat ill on my face, a smile touched his lips anyway. A few blades of amber tumbled in after us, dancing whimsical in curiosity. He scraped a knee in front of me, to say hello to our twilight stalkers. His hand retracted, I fettered my brow.
His voice dripped with sincerity, the leaves twirled in exuberance. Her hopes, dreams, desires all bound in a single loop. The golden evening air rustled the auspicious fern, an acorn said hello to its longtime friend as it tumbled and teetered down the branches to safety on the soft earthen floor. Night burst into light.
The Golden Glow of Optimism
Identical twin sisters, Kate and Kelly, drifted apart after college – Kate going into politics, and Kelly raising a family. Now, brought together by their mother’s death, they learn shocking news.
“I’ll pick you up at the airport,” Kate offered.
Kelly thought nervously,”What would they talk about?”
Driving from the airport, Kate spoke first, ” I don’t think I’m going to win this election, unless I pull a rabbit out of my hat.”
“Your numbers look good…”Kelly offered.
“Not good enough…”
“You’ve always been such an optimist Kate…”
Kate pulled to the side of the road – next to their neighborhood park. The trees were putting on a golden show.
“Not so much anymore… I found out, last week, that I have breast cancer!”
Kelly started sobbing uncontrollably.
Kate reached out to hug her, and said,”It’s going to be okay Kelly.”
“No, no…you don’t understand…”explained Kelly, “I was, also, diagnosed with breast cancer – three weeks ago! I’ve been hiding it from
Tears started running down Kates cheeks.
They both stared at the community park gazebo – the purple lights coming on – where, years ago, Kate and Kelly had dreamed about having their weddings.
“I know what we can do!” Kelly blurted out, “Have a community Thanksgiving dinner in the park!”
“All are welcome” Kate interjected.
“Pay what you can,” Kelly added, “the profit going to breast cancer research!”
“Yes! And maybe a 5K… Mom would love this legacy,” Kate agreed.
The two sisters found their common ground.
There is a time to be born, a time to die. A time to sow, a time to reap.
I heard a noise in the front of our house at 6:02 a.m. that woke me up. Roy had taken Uber to our house and is riding to work with Mark who works in Newport Beach. Roy works near John Wayne Airport which is on Mark’s way. Roy works from home most days of the month.
Roy became my son Mark’s friend when they were 9; they are now 49 and heading towards their golden years. They were both full of youthful pranks, usually instigated by Roy. Recently Roy became my friend on Facebook. He likes to attack my political posts every day; he also argues with any of my friends who post a comment on mine. Roy does not make a simple comment. He writes paragraph after paragraph. Many of my friends message me privately they think I should unfriend him.
Would you like to be a fly on the wall in Mark’s SUV as they drive to work?
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