Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Grand Entrance

chicago 1996 architecture Flash fiction writing prompt copyright KS Brooks
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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17 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Grand Entrance”

  1. “Where did you find this picture?”
    “In the basement of my grandfather’s luthier shop in Ozone Park, Queens. He had it tucked in the corner of the frame holding a picture of my grandmother, Martyna. They came to the United States after the war and, with the help of Amadei’s brother—Amadei was my grandfather—began fixing violins as well as giving lessons.”
    “So, why do you think this picture was so important to him?”
    “According to the notation on the back—my mother read it to me—this is the grand entrance to one of the two concert halls of the Warsaw National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra in 1938. She also told me Amadei and Martyna had met as students while attending the Warsaw Institute of Music in the mid-1930s, both privileged to have been chosen to study the violin under Maestro Mieczyslaw Mosze Fliderbaum, chief violinist for the Warsaw Philharmonic. But their dreams of becoming professional musicians grew dark with the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. They were finally shattered with the invasion of Poland by the Nazis in September of 1939, and with the couple’s confinement to the largest ghetto in all of Europe. In the end, following the revolt of April, 1943, those who survived, including Amadei and Martyna, were deported to Treblinka.
    “Apparently, this picture was the only thing he took with him except for the clothes on his back.”

  2. A Butterfly was arrested in the Land of the Crawlers for unorthodox speech. She was brought to the Grand Court of the Insect King to answer for her crime.

    “Your speech has had a discomforting effect upon the Crawlers,” stated the King. “What do you have to say in your defence?”

    “Sire,” the Butterfly began. “I was once a Crawler like all of you. Then one day something happened. I changed. I have flown high above the land and I have seen and heard wondrous things. Sire, I believe there is far more in the world than just the dirt and grass in which we crawl. So much more–”

    “That’s enough,” interrupted the King. He sat back to contemplate the Butterfly’s words. Then he said, “Your statements sound like heresy.” Motioning to the guards, he shouted, “Seize her and remove her wings.”

    A dozen guards descended upon the Butterfly. They held her firmly while they methodically removed her wings until she was stripped of her ability to fly. The King then ordered her to be locked in the dungeon.

    The Insect King understood it was the Butterfly’s ability to fly and her observations of the world that had created in her an unapproved habit of thought. Such radical thinking could not be permitted to infect and disrupt the collective order in the kingdom. So the King issued an edict: In the Land of the Crawlers, the act of flying was declared a heretical act.

  3. The grand foyer of our country cabin in the hills of Beverly was just a few feet smaller than the servants quarters in our getaway villa at Cap d’Antibes. All that gleaming Carrara marble impresses the peasants from the studio when attending end of filming soirees. They couldn’t wait for the director to shout “That’s a wrap!” The cast and crew would converge in droves and free their uninhibited urges, relish the bountiful buffet and undulate to the rhythms of the movie’s score.

    “Unzip the back of this rag,” Liz asked Rock. She reached around and swept up the waves of glistening black hair so he could reach the pull tab. “We’ll give them something to knock their bloody socks off.”

    Rock started unzipping as James cozied up beside them. “Let’s go dance with the others,” he asked, taking another sip of champagne.

    “Not right now,” Liz answered. “We’re going to give these boobs something to talk about.”

    “Whoa,” James cried. “Not you, little lady. I was asking the big guy. We’ll really give’em something to talk about.”

    Liz giggled and looped arms with Rock and James. “Okay, kids. Let’s get this giant party on the road.”

    They bumped there way through the boisterous crowd to the middle of the foyer and posed. The lights dimmed. The crowd hushed.

    “Hooray for Hollywood,” Liz shouted, and the three of them began. Cries of ooh, ah, and wow began echoing off the marbled walls and floors.

    Ain’t no people like show people!


    “Meet you in the Grand Hall at six!” he yelled excitedly over the traffic, getting into the taxi.

    I couldn’t believe it was him. Richard.

    He had been my first love, before my husband that is, some five summers before meeting Jonathan – my dear soulmate, who after 25 years, I’d lost to cancer.

    The flight had been wonderful, meeting after all these years, an in-flight reunion, both of us to different business in Chicago. We had chatted like old times – everything and nothing, more than less, but hearts heavier for the years contained within.

    “You’re looking good.” I couldn’t help telling him. The smile escaped from my face to my eyes and heart, as it once had in the day.

    “You, on the other hand, are marvelous.” he claimed.

    I’d forgotten what a flirt he was. “What about Meghan, that was your wife’s name, wasn’t it?”

    “I have had more than my share of tragedy, Lily. I have lost two good women over the years, two of them, after losing you, of course.” he said, matter-of-factly.

    How could he have borne it, my first thought. True, he had found wealth in those years, but happiness had eluded him, so it seemed.

    The Grand Hall. It had once been the city’s meeting place. Restoration complete, it awaited a new era, the new generation would taste the extravagance of ours.

    The Grand Hall. The venue of our senior dance. Perhaps of our restoration as well.

  5. Golden Pond
    “Just saying, you’re too yellow to dive off the balcony” smirked Ted.
    “I just don’t want to, that’s all, still it’s a golden pool. Yesterday, I walked on my hands down the stairway plumb into the water. I slid the stair rail, too, and made a mighty splash.” “Whatever Bobby says.” chortled Ted from upstairs balanced in the corner outside the intersecting balcony railings, “Watch!”, he cried as he sprang from his upright position into a magnificent arcing Swan dive with no-splash entry. Ted surfaced at the stairway where Bobby stood, and Bobby stepped onto Ted’s head. They both disappeared underwater, then punched out directly onto the stairs like Seals clapping and barking and laughing until they choked on it.
    “Put your arms through.“ Sue called as she Frisbee-sailed an inflated inner tube at Bobby from where she stood leaning on the nearest interior hallway inner support column. “Take these chains“ Bobbie (she) said at the Sun patio door, passing them to Claire
    who stood to receive them at the exterior hallway outer column. “They’re heavy” said Claire as she lugged them across the hallway to where Ted was leaned over the stair rail, and relieved Claire of the weight. Here’s the plan, Bobby,” Sue said with her leadership toned voice, “Carry the snow chains out to mid pool position using the inner tube. Anchor the tube in a stationary position in the middle using the chains as ballast, and then we’ll all go skinny dipping, Hooray”

  6. Danielle stood at the top of the grand staircase, taking in all that had changed since their last visit. The sconces still gleamed, casting warmth on the cream marble floor. Less furniture than she remembered, the large potted plants long gone. More austere but then the current owners tended towards that.

    “Oh, Armand, come look, come see,” she squealed, bouncing in place with an effervescent he’d always adored. She held out a slim arm, tangled her fingers with his when he reached her.

    “Dance with me!”

    They floated down the stairs, twirled into a familiar routine of jetés and pliés while Armand hummed a favorite tune and Danielle’s eyes sparkled in joy, cheeks flush with exuberance. A lift spun Danielle towards the blue glass ceiling, stars and Moon above their celestial spotlight. Safe in his arms, always, he guided her back to the marble.

    They stilled for a moment, remembering packed houses, the sounds of applause deafening. Flowers strewn across the stage, tributes befitting their triumphs.

    Tears clung to Danielle’s lashes as she stood en pointe, pressing her mouth to Armand’s. Wrapped up in each other, they didn’t hear the doors open, didn’t see two janitors standing, mouths gaping, until one dropped his mop, water splashing over his bucket onto the cold marble.

    Danielle and Armand backed away, fading into ghostly mist under the staircase in a few blinks of an eye.

    A sign appeared on the doorway the next morning. Help Wanted, Two Janitors, stout constitutions, Apply Within.

  7. Lexi’s Louboutin’s clicked on the gold veined marble, flashes of bold red slashing the path she walked. Briskly she began climbing the stairs to the mezzanine, trailing manicured fingernails nearly as red as her soles up the bright brass handrail.

    She turned when a voice echoed behind her, a pleasing lilt of Ireland in it, “Just finished polishing that, mo ghràidh, he mused. Now I’ll needs swipe it again.” With a flourish worthy of any great thespian, he walked to the bottom of the staircase and buffed the knob.

    “Didn’t touch that part,” she laughed, descending the few stairs above him.

    He stepped back, pulling her down that last step as he turned them both towards the front doors, etched with Harlequin masks covering the antique glass. A brilliant find from an old London Opera house. They’d paired that with Art Deco handles and knobs, an eclectic mix of Old World and nouveau riche Americana.

    “Your dream, he whispered, is nigh to perfect.”

    “Our dream,” she corrected and gave his hand a fast squeeze.

    “Indeed, and almost ready to unveil. Just a few more weeks until we have to share it.”

    “Then what are we waiting for?

    She was looking forward to opening night but not just…yet.

    Lexi grabbed a blanket she’d stashed while Kieran started the projector. She tucked the throw over their legs, tilted her head to his shoulder. Neither spoke as Casablanca lit up the screen.

    He had a hanky ready for her tears.

  8. I stood at the top of the stairs, holding my breath. This was my moment, the culmination of my life thus far and the beginning of the rest from this point forward. The crowd hushed, awaiting my next move. They were waiting for ME, once an insignificant child who must be seen and not heard, but now a woman, ripe for the many suitors who waited below.
    I began my graceful descent, one careful step at a time.
    Then something went wrong. I fell, flailing, grasping for something to stop my fall. The pain. Oh, why did it hurt so? I tried to open my eyes but couldn’t. It was just as well. I couldn’t bear to face them in my humiliation. I was no lady, just a clumsy oaf that had fallen down the stairs on the biggest night of her life.
    I heard horrified gasps from the crowd and felt hands reaching for me, trying to help, then darkness took over.
    “This is the main hall of Thornwood Mansion,” the tour guide explained, “Where the tragic death of a young debutante took place. Shot by a jealous younger sister as she descended the stairs. As the story goes, she was in love with one of the young men who intended to ask for the older sister’s hand in marriage. This is a favorite site for ghost hunters, many of whom claim to have seen the spirit standing at the top of the staircase.”

  9. The snow white marble stairs in the grand entrance were cold and hard but they kept her alert. Elena came to the abandoned hotel every afternoon to secretly visit Jack. It was only here that she could communicate with the Boy Who Loved Stories. The empty rooms of the hotel haunted her so fiercely she wouldn’t even walk past their open doors. She knew the rooms would suck her in and keep her somehow like the last bit of milkshake slurped up in a straw. Jack’s presence on the stairs pulled her like a magnet to nurture their relationship.

    First, her purple pen would scribe a story to Jack and he would pull the notebook toward him. In little boy handwriting Jack wrote with his invisible pen. Usually it was “More Elena more!” Sometimes it was “I liked that one!” Lately he wrote he wished to touch her, just for a second. Elena felt an ache for Jack because he could not leave this place. Elena was afraid to know details.

    Today something was different.

    Jack wrote, Each room has a story.

    Afterwards he wrote only one word: Stay.

    “Ok, I’ll stay longer.” Elena wrote back.

    Her written consent marked with a period escaped and now she was standing next to Jack on the stairs.

    “Welcome to the story hotel” he said as he reached out to hold her hand.

  10. Jacob slept soundly on the courthouse lobby bench until disturbed by his cell phone’s alarm. He groggily fumbled at turning it off. He headed up the worn marble staircase on which so many defendants had climbed before him. Halfway up his alarm went off again. He paused fumbling to get it out but missed turning it off again. Frustrated he shoved it back in his pants pocket and continued up the staircase. Pausing on the second-floor landing, to get his bearings, he checked his paperwork. Muttering to himself, “Courtroom Two B! Oh! Not Two B! I hate Two B!”

    The second floor was dead silent and empty when it dawned on him, “Why am I the only one here? For that matter where’s my attorney? I can’t go into the courtroom without my attorney!”

    Jacob’s phone alarm went off waking him again. He fumbled at turning it off again as he headed up the courthouse staircase. Halfway up, it went off again. Muttering to himself, “Courtroom Two B! Oh! Not Two B! I hate Two B!”

    Jacob’s phone alarm went off waking him again. He fumbled at turning it off again as he headed up the courthouse staircase, again and again. For the rest of eternity, Jacob muttered to himself, “Courtroom Two B! Oh! Not Two B! I hate Two B!”

  11. “Okay, everybody, listen up. The next scene is the death duel between our hero, Grunge, and the MashMonster where they crash through the ceiling and fall 40 feet to the floor.

    “We could use computer graphics, but that is overdone. We want realism! Nobody’s going to get hurt. The floor is padding covered with plastic wrap, but you’d swear it’s polished marble. And the ceiling is fake stuff that shatters like glass.

    “Everybody ready? Jake, got the buckets of fake blood? Sonia, be ready to roll out that fake MashMonster’s head when Grunge chops it off. We won’t get a second chance at this. It’s got to be perfect the first time.

    “Now, make it real!”

    Grunge and the MashMonster engage in a ferocious struggle on the roof. They smash through the ceiling. Pieces spray everywhere. So far, so good.

    Then Grunge somehow gets his pants hooked on a broken ceiling beam and is left dangling upside-down ten feet above the floor. The MashMonster falls, hits the padded floor feet first, and bounces. And bounces. And bounces. In a feeble attempt to keep to the script, MashMonster swings at the upside-down Grunge during his up-bounces. He misses every time.

    The director begins to seriously reconsider computer graphics. After all, he reasons, what is so real about a fake glass ceiling, a fake marble floor, fake blood, or anything else in this movie?

    Computer graphics it is.

  12. The place looked different than he remembered. Brighter, grander. And, yet, it felt as though he’d never been away. He hadn’t intended on returning. His mother had forbidden it. But she’d been institutionalized now for the past decade, so what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.

    He descended the grand staircase, fingers tap-tapping the thick marble railing. It was cold. Freezing, in fact. A chill danced up his spine, nestled into his shoulders. He should probably check the generator. With the storm approaching, one could never be too prepared.

    He reached the bottom step, glanced at the expansive space. It had been meticulously renovated, though it could certainly use a homey touch. Some furnishings. Maybe a nice writing desk right there in the center.


    He spun, nearly lost his footing on the glassy surface. His wife, a vision in elegance, stood before him.

    He smiled. “You know I hate it when you sneak up on me, darling.”

    She moved closer, brushed a silky hand across his stubbled cheek. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just concerned.”

    “About what, darling?”

    “Well, it’s an awfully big place. Danny, do you think we can take care of it?”

    He smiled again, the muscles in his face pulled taut. “Of course we can. It’s our responsibility, after all.”

    His wife nodded and moved across the room, the click-clacking of her heels echoing through the cavernous lobby.

    Danny sighed and breathed in The Overlook Hotel. At last, he was home.

  13. King Eleazar stepped out on the balcony, to greet his loyal subjects and honored guests. At his side was Queen Julia, still dressed in black.

    “People of Tirzah, you may recall that in times past, my older twin brother, Zadok, attacked me while we practiced our swordsmanship. He severed three fingers on my left hand, but I defended myself, and pierced him through.

    “Such was my bittersweet victory, and the nation mourned. We have faced another great loss this year, when Prince Caleb was thrown from his horse, and did not survive.

    “Yet the Queen has brought me astonishing news. For 27 years she has kept a secret, through fears that the past would be repeated. Caleb’s younger twin, Abishai, was secretly sent to Colorado, where he lived among Queen Julia’s cousins.”

    Queen Julia said, “Allow me to introduce our second son, heir to the throne, Prince Abishai of Tirzah!”

    The curtains parted and the young man who stepped through was identical in appearance to the deceased Prince Caleb. There were gasps throughout the Court.

    “How y’all doing?” said Prince Abishai, “I’m surprised and proud to be here! I sure am sorry about my brother, Prince Caleb.

    “But now I have some folks I’d like you to meet. Come on out!

    “This here’s my wife, Princess Ellie, and our young’uns Prince Carl, Princess Mary Jo, and the twins, Princess Amy and Princess Annie.”

    And there they were!

    Joy erupted throughout the Court with laughter, applause and general pandemonium.

  14. Nothing suited Edgar’s many mood swings than standing, with his mop and bucket, in the center of the grand foyer of the Institute after the visitors left for the day. Every night, after thousands of city folk and tourists had stopped gliding along the polished gray terrazzo in their sneakers and huaraches, the museum was Edgar’s. He enjoyed art and it welcomed him; soothing his deep loneliness and often bitter nostalgia.

    He was especially fond of the Hopper exhibit. He could while away an hour or more mentally animating the characters in Nighthawks as if he were waiting for them to finish their coffee, get up, and leave their tips. It reminded him of his early days in Greenwich Village when he was a short order cook for a greasy spoon at Mulry Square. He left for Chicago in the mid-forties when the landlord sold the building to some gas company.

    He liked to stare at Hopper’s short order cook in Nighthawks projecting himself into the familiar scene. On one special night in 1995 on his seventieth birthday he was having lunch on a bench across from the painting when he noticed the lady in red was missing, and so was the cook. He felt the warmth of her presence as she sat beside him on the viewing bench and shared his sandwich. The curator found Edgar’s stiff body the next morning. He was moved by Edgar’s smile in death, saying: “‘Twas as if life had met all his desires.”


    My mother at age 26 walked up the aisle to receive her Registered Nurse certificate at Los Angeles General Hospital in 1929. She knew it was just the beginning, not the grand entrance to the new world others were experiencing. She was grateful.

    At twelve she had rheumatic fever. Like others who had it, she was treated like an invalid for the next dozen years. The high school would not allow her to attend school because she had to walk up the many steps. She read at home and helped the younger ones with the homework they brought home. When her oldest brother brought four of his siblings and a neighbor to California, he found housekeeping jobs for his two sisters. My mother soon went to night school to get her high school diploma.

    At church she listened and learned from the sermons. In Bible classes she listened and assisted the children. Her mother had taught her to sew, mend, quilt, crochet, tat and make clothes. She made her own nursing uniforms as well as her sister’s.

    She amazed one surgeon who was the only woman doctor at the hospital who said “Stop,” in the middle of an operation to point out how others could imitate her use of giving instruments with right and left hands. To be ready with the other when that one was taken. She encouraged mother to become a surgeon, but she chose nursing as a lifetime career because she wanted to serve.


    True Love

    Craig was about to say goodbye to his one, true love.


    They had only known each other a short time- since he was a new employee in the office of promotions at the city zoo.

    He met her at the 150 year old mansion house, the zoo leased out for parties.

    She had startled him on that fateful day…

    “Hi I’m the new employee from promotions,” Craig said,” who are you?”

    “I am Elizabeth Catherine Tilghman Hempfield, of course, and to whom am I making the acquaintance?”

    “I’m Craig Williams, nice to meet you.”

    They started having lunch everyday. Craig knew he was in love with Eliza.

    When the docents from the Historical Society arrived to give their lecture, they brought pictures of the original owners of the mansion house.

    Craig picked up the photo of the original family and froze…

    They’re in the middle of the picture was Eliza-his Eliza.

    “I see you looking at the family’s picture,” one of the lady said to Craig. “Have you been talkin to Eliza?”

    Craig nodded.

    “Did you know she’s not of the here and now?”

    Craig shook his head.

    “She is delightful! It’s one of the reasons I look forward to coming here.”

    Craig investigated and talked to an expert in the Paranormal. If he truly loved her he had to help her get to her family.

    As he held Eliza’s locket the Historical Society loaned to him, over his heart, he said goodbye to her.

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