Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Olmsted Point

Olmsted Point North Yosemit june 2001 flash fiction 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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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Olmsted Point”

  1. The sky was an icy blue and scenting the air, knew the recent changes portended an early snow. From her perch on Olmstead Point she could see into the valley below, the few denizens who made their homes there scurrying about. Most could feel the coming storm too. Shaking herself, she climbed higher, relishing the solitude, the quiet calm most would never undertake at such an altitude. The sharp tang of the nearby copse of pines wafted upwards. Conifers were a favorite; such a delicious smell, the needles a pleasing bed to lie upon.

    A sharp crack of thunder echoed and turning, she saw clouds gathering, roiling in the distance. Still, far enough away to take a few more precious moments to enjoy the vista below, the sky above. There were chores to see to, duties to perform soon enough but stretching, moving to the edge of a large boulder, she kept her silent vigil. Home was close, she wouldn’t travel more than a mile or two while young ones needed care.

    For 27 years she’d called this land her home, seldom traveling far. Once she’d ventured further past the river but had flown back home quickly enough when confronted with the stench of acrid smoke and a cacophony of noise. Thunder rumbled again and she lifted her great wings, talons flexing as she rose, indulging in one last lazy circle before landing in the aerie, a plump rat a feast for her two hungry eaglets.

  2. He’d chosen a spot near Olmsted Point for its isolation. In a lifetime spent elbow to elbow with the dregs of society, he relished the peace and solitude found among the rocky crags and canyons. Fresh water from a nearby stream gave him a healthy morning hike down the mountain each dawn. A few hours spent fishing next, his favorite Zen sport, provided breakfasts and more often than not, lunches as well. That was the extent of his hunting. He refused to harm deer or other animals. No rabbits, even though they were plentiful. Not even a snake as he had a fondness for them. He didn’t miss meat…much.

    Chopping wood always brought a healthy sweat, stacking cords a pleasant burn to the biceps. When he’d first moved here, he’d been pasty white from too many days in a corner office and the only burn then had been in his gut. Frequent migraines had plagued him as well but now he sported a healthy bronze glow and couldn’t remember his last headache.

    That evening, the rocking chair creaked as he sat pondering what crops to plant next, whether to invest in a new rain barrel and what other provisions he’d most need in his once a month trek into civilization. While crickets and a light rain lulled him to sleep that night, one singular thought filled his head.

    How quickly could he make the trip to Mariposa and return to where he’d finally found his salvation.

  3. It doesn’t take much to get an old goat’s attention, but thanks to a severe head-butting last spring, this billie can’t chase a nanny like I used to. I still get some looks and flags during the rut but these old legs are too weak, and the girls do like a chase. I can just watch.

    I just spend my days on this rock dome near yonder roadside turn out. There’s plenty of lichen on the rocks and some low shrubs for food. The salt those humans leave on the overlook’s handrails and their discarded crisp bags gives me the sodium I need. But mostly, the occasional human presence and rock domes of the Point keep me safe from those conniving apex predators, the wolves. I laugh when they try to chase me across the domes. Their inferior paws make for a comic diversion as they slide all over and eventually give up. I feel invincible on my rocks, with my two-toed padded hooves. I can out climb or out jump any threat.

    Today, there is a pain deep in my chest. I wheeze and see the blood flowing out of my muzzle down my beautiful snow-white beard and chest hairs. I see the arrow. I never thought it would be an arrow, I begin to lose my footing, as I slowly slide down the curvature of my rock dome, my solitude. I feel darkness descend with me and my last thought is, “poachers!”

  4. “You don’t want to use this photo. It’s the picture I took just as….”

    “Oh, but I do. It’s just what we need to encourage tourism. We want something that typifies the area, something that will make travelers eager to visit. A huge area of smooth rock is not something you’ll find everywhere.”

    “But I think it’s a little more important that…”

    “Nonsense. Nothing is more important than an economic lift for the area, and to do that we need more tourists flocking in with money to spend. This photo will do it.”

    “But imagine when these tourists try to duplicate my photo, and they will you know. People like nothing better than to photograph a scene identical to one that’s been photographed a hundred times before. Look at travelers to the desert. Fifty million postcards for sale, all with pictures of cactus. And what gets photographed? Cactus, that’s what.”

    “Signature Rock . How’s that for a name? We can sell markers to the tourists and let them write messages on the rock.”

    “Are you forgetting that I lost my footing just as I took that picture? That I slid two hundred feet down the mountain and busted both legs? We need fences, warning signs.”

    “Or better yet, we’ll name the rock after you! Put a picture of you in the brochure, describe your death-defying courage in climbing onto its curving slippery surface.”

    “You’d do that?”


    “Well…. I guess the fences and signs could wait.”

  5. Olmsted Point (shot by K.S. Brooks)

    Return sweet home, bring it back to me,
    when last we danced across these rocks.
    Our story will know no end; we’ll last forever,
    if we’ll first begin.
    Pop-up peaks play Papa peekaboo!
    Mama knows what the world will come to mean,
    she brought us together then, likely, she’ll do so again.
    Return sweet home, bring it back to me,
    when last we danced across these rocks,
    whooping our spirits into eternal frenzy
    once, and then,
    something in her photo reminds me who I am.
    Sometime a photo is all it takes to keep us sane,
    guide us within its framed refrain of our lives.
    Mama knows what the world will come to mean.
    Return me back to sweet home, let it be
    as when we dance. Our spirits whoop and sing.
    Our story will know no end; we’ll last forever,
    if we’ll first begin.
    Passage now on who I am, her photo sky
    surrounds me with its blanket of forgetfulness (well lighted),
    surrounds me with its own proof of points and splits
    as Sun pours into barren stone parchment its warmth.
    Words form on my blank slate, likely, the start
    which brought us then will do so, maybe, again.
    Return sweet home, bring it back to me,
    when last we danced atop these rocks.
    Our story will know no end; we’ll dance forever,
    if we’ll first begin
    Hope against hope transforms a mountain pass
    into a remembrance of youth’s palisade-splendor, a token
    of forever (if we’ll first begin)

  6. In Herzegovina halfway up his newly discovered pyramid, Professor Barnam impatiently waited for his guide Maria Klimalotski to fire the grappling hook up to the ledge near the peak, “Professor what do you expect to find on top?”

    Impatiently he answered, “Fire the hook. I’ll never find the entrance to the Queen’s treasure unless I get to the top by sunset.”

    Knowingly she goaded, “What happens at sunset?”

    “Maria, just fire the hook.”

    She fired the mortar and watched the rope race out high above them, she went to test her weight on the rope knowing it had not yet taken hold. Impatiently, the professor pushed her aside grabbing the rope and hurriedly pulled himself up the steep side of the pyramid. “Come on Maria! I have no time for such foolishness! Start climbing or I’ll leave you behind, and all of the queen’s treasures will be mine!”

    Maria slowly and methodically collected her gear and repacked her backpack. She had just attached her safety hook to the rope when she heard a scream. Looking up she saw the professor tangled in the rope and tumbling straight for her. Without thinking, Maria unhooked herself from the rope and ducked just in time as the professor rolled right over her; a small avalanche of rocks and pebbles followed him down.

    Unhurt Maria climbed down to the base of the pyramid. She smiled at the dozens of dead treasure hunters all wrapped up like her Queen’s mummy that her sisterhood was protecting.

  7. It was positively eerie. Not a wisp of wind passed over the sun-baked landscape at this end of the Sierra’s. I could see her weaving through the firs on her way to the hiding place, two policemen chasing behind. Would she make it? No!

    Pocketing my binoculars, I slid down the bed of heated rocks and started to run in their direction, my sniper’s rifle slung over my shoulder.

    I wondered what she would do when she reached my hidden backpack bulging with the half a million dollars I embezzled from the bank. It took me years to steal that much, bill by bill, day after week after month. We planned the whole thing on the first night I met her in my neighborhood’s beer garden. She eagerly promised to help me after I, in a drunken stupor, blabbed the whole story. I knew if the cops caught her, she’d lead them to the money, tell them how I planned everything and she just wanted to return it to the bank and collect a reward. Sure!!! They’d never find it without her help.

    “Stop! Stop, or we’ll shoot,” the officers shouted.

    I watched as she leaned against a tree and raised her hands in surrender.

    Propping my arm on a low hanging branch, I thought of my new seaside villa in southern Mexico set the crosshairs of my rifle’s Steiner scope on her two-timing blonde head, not too far from the casino and happily pulled the trigger.

  8. “Repent! she cried, I cannot last.
    My time is nigh, the die is cast.
    A thirst so great, never assuaged.”
    While far below the fires raged.

    “My cheeks are hollow, deathly pale,
    Cracks deep and wide, they tell my tale.
    Relentless sun and seldom rain,
    Add to my misery and pain.”

    “I once was lovely, lush and sweet.
    Each morning’s Sun, I’d gladly meet.
    At moonrise, under starry sky,
    Eyes watchful as the nights drift by.”

    “But years, they pass and take a toll,
    Now marred and ugly, wan and old.
    Less venture here, my resting place,
    Not many seek to see my face.”

    “So under ice blue chilling skies,
    I’m ready to meet my demise.
    I’ve given up as you have too,
    Mistakes that you will come to rue.”

    “One Earth, one world, I slowly die,
    Despite a few who sound the cry.”
    And with a sigh, abject despair,
    Olmsted Point’s spirit filled the air.

    Gaia was next to lose the fight,
    She fled into the dismal night.
    A barren rock to circle Sol,
    But none were left to see the fall.


    Yosemite has always been the place where honeymooners, dreamers, and campers go to enjoy the wonders of nature. Natives of the Yosemite area have complained for years because of the rigid laws that prevent cleaning up the forests of timber and debris.

    My friend Nancy went to a baby shower in nearby Concow in time to be evacuated from the raging wildfires in Northern California. She came home to her condo with a bad cough from the smoke inhalation she suffered. Last count 79 people have died from the fire around and about Paradise. Over 400 go unaccounted with their families. The entire town of Paradise of 17,000 people is gone, burned to the ground..

    Not far away the Yosemite area is suffering from the many laws enforced because of environmentalism. Our President and our Governor Brown say they will work together to assist in forest preparation in the future. There need to be backburning and controlled burns for prevention, However, nobody can bring back those lost forever to their families.

  10. The Fribourgs had flown from New York to California, soon after receiving the postcard from their daughter. It had been two years since 17-year-old Samantha had left home unexpectedly.

    They received an occasional postcard, which always said, “Don’t look for me. I’m on the move.”

    This one didn’t say that. They were standing below Point Olmsted, the scene on the postcard. Sarah Fribourg remarked to her husband Daniel, “This place is so beautiful, it takes my breath away!”

    “But it can’t be why Samantha came out here,” answered Daniel.

    “You’re right,” said a voice behind them. They hadn’t heard anyone approach.

    “Samantha!” exclaimed her mother, hugging her tightly, “You’re pregnant.”

    “And married,” she answered, “This is Carson Parker, my husband, from our Ahwahneechee tribe.”

    “Why did you come out here, sweetheart?” asked Daniel.

    “You hid my Native American ancestry from me all my life,” said Samantha, “I had to find it.”

    “You surely have,” said Mrs. Fribourg, then turning to Carson, “Are you the son of John Parker?”

    “How did you know?” asked Carson.

    “My grandmother married a Parker,” said Sarah, “and they only had one son. You’re second cousins!”

    The young couple looked at each other and laughed.

    “We didn’t want you to be treated any differently,” explained Daniel to Samantha, “but I guess we goofed. Come back to New York. We’ll help you both pay for your education.”

    “Carson’s already doing his residency in Pediatrics, Dad. Why don’t you move out West?”

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