Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Gorge

flash fiction writing prompt gorge at Athabasca Falls 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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14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Gorge”

  1. Title: GORGEous

    My life has been continually plagued by numbers.
    In school, my teachers were amazed at how easily I worked math problems.
    For many years now, I’ve just let them lead me wherever they would take me.

    I was born on March 13, which is no biggie, but it is interesting that 313 can be read the same way backwards. That seems to only impress me.

    Tired of my life behind a desk, and in search of adventure, a place in a travel brochure caught my eye, Athabasca Falls. Looking at the location coordinates, of course, to my surprise when I added them up, they totaled 313. I knew destiny was pointing me to that place.
    I thought I heard something over the roar of the falling water. She touched my sleeve, “Isn’t this marvelous?”
    I turned to see something even more spectacular. In that instant, my mouth got ahead of my brain, “Yes, it is, but not as spectacular as you.” Neither of us could look at the falls for several moments. Her smile was gorgeous too.
    Two years later, we are back here on our honeymoon, and both are even more spectacular.

  2. The Reunion

    We cracked open some more beers. Clinked the bottles.
    None of us ever drank from cans. Except Jude. “I’ll drink from anything, my friends. Anything.”
    It was Saturday morning and we had chugalugged our hearts out and had finally paused half way up the Stokely Trail.
    Gators Gorge was our destination.
    We might get there by noon.
    I had almost decided to miss my twenty-fifth high school reunion. The tenth had been great, memories still strong, differences just easing their way into our lives.
    That year, the tenth, the five of us easily made the hike to the Gorge to pay our respects to Danny and Eve.
    Grad night, ten years before, we had all gone there. Dates, too much booze, and all. It’d been the Lemon Gin that won out. Most of us went for a quick dip, built a fire, huddled around, and soaked up the moment. Danny and Eve had other plans scurried off up the falls. Stupid love sh*t. To be alone. We never did know what really happened. The next day, a search party found their bodies. Eve floated onto a rock in the river. Danny’s got stuck under the same damn boulder. Divers had to get him out.
    I wanted to forget the whole damn thing. Twenty-five years of feeling guilty was more than enough. But I trudged on.
    We hit the Gorge at noon.
    Nothing, absolutely nothing had changed.
    The Gorge still rumbled.
    Danny and Eve were still twenty-five years dead.

  3. She stood on a mist covered outcropping few had the stamina or will to attempt save for the creatures who called the Gorge home. There weren’t many of them around since she’d made such a ruckus climbing those last forty feet or so but reaching the pinnacle was important, for herself as much as for him. It had started many years ago but she remembered it clearly. The steel gray sky under a just rising Sun, gauzy cottontail puffs of white dotting the horizon.

    Pine and rich humus had carried on a crisp mountain breeze, the scent of fresh water growing stronger with each step. He’d wanted to show her where his parents had brought him as a child, and she’d felt an instant connection. Both had died before she was born but through stories, pictures, a few old 8 mm films, she’d felt closer.

    They’d sat for a time, him pointing to where he’d kissed his first girl, tasted his first beer, where he’d decided to become a wildlife photographer, the spot where he’d proposed. It had been a day much like that day, he’d said, when he’d caught the inspiration for his first book.

    A fulfilling life, he’d been the most kind and loving dad anyone could wish for.

    Gently lifting his urn out of the backpack, she opened it to the wind, releasing him to the wild he’d cherished. Saying a last goodbye, she started the solitary trek back to loved ones ready to give comfort.

  4. Liam felt a mixture of curiosity and pity for the Indian tribe, all profoundly color-blind since birth. He asked to accompany a group of them on a nature hike, hoping to enlighten them and maybe gain some insight.

    “See the stream rushing over massive rocks, and green….” Liam began

    “What is ‘green’?” one of the Indians interrupted. “We have no understanding of color. You say that everything you see has its own color. But what is color? I see only shades of brightness. Is brightness the same as color?”

    “Tell me what you see,” Liam said. He wanted to understand.

    “I see only chaos. An endless snake slithering its way down through a jumble of shapes,” said an older boy.

    Liam felt a chill.

    “We do not judge beauty by what we see.” The Indian closed his eyes and invited Liam to do the same. “We hear, and smell, and feel, and sense. Hear the water. Smell the pines. Feel the warmth of the sun. Sense the open sky. This is how to know beauty.”

    As the Indian spoke Liam became aware of the warmth of the sun on his back, of the soft singing of the water tumbling down the rocks, of the faint scent of pine. He wondered if color wasn’t just a distraction.

    He tilted his head back, closed his eyes, and felt the beauty of the open sky, and he wondered who was the teacher and who was the student.

  5. They fell with a laugh, a cacophony of joyous sound as they tumbled. They’d been held still for too long or at least that’s how it had seemed. Time to them was relative. Free once again they raced faster, the wind and gravity at odds with their downward flight. In exuberance, they held hands, bumping into more of their brethren. A flash of light, a deep rumble marked their descent and the laughter and amusement grew. The sky darkened, the greens of grass and pines, the rich browns of earth deepened in hues as they continued their journey.

    Some enjoyed the free fall, wondering where they’d land. Others with a keener eye tried to judge the thermals, riding the air, aiming as best they could with a destination in sight. Coming together, bumping apart, they collided and separated in abandon, the ground looming faster in their riotous romp.

    Tree leaves turned up in supplication, silvery in the dimming light but eager to welcome them. Another flash of light above, the air, even the ground rumbling and small creatures dashed and scattered. The wild wind increased, threatening their objective. Ah, but a lucky few saw their prize. The Gorge bubbled, brewed, thrashed; landing in that tumultuous water they flung themselves, cascading over the brink, a raucous free for all, their laughter reaching a fever pitch. At the bottom, exhausted, they glided for a time, a happy respite.

    Calm now, looking skyward, they waited for the cycle to begin again.

  6. I stood at the top of the gorge watching the evidence disappear into the foaming stream below and pocketed my gun. Flicking my cigarette stub, I turned back to my car, slipped in an Ella Fitzgerald disc, and headed back to the city.

    “Where have you been?” my wife asked.

    Did she know what I had done? Let’s see.

    “Remember when we honeymooned in Vegas and you made me promise never to do it again?” I began. “Then, on our Tenth Anniversary, you gave me that thankful hug because you never saw me do it in all those years.”

    She nodded and posed invitingly on the edge of the chaise. “Come here. Give me a little smooch,” she teased.

    “Not till I tell you something.” I reached into my pocket and fondled the gun’s handle. It felt so comfortable, so ready. “All these years I’ve been doing it behind your back. Just couldn’t stop,” I confessed.

    I whipped out the gun. She gasped. I reached over and tapped the gun’s barrel on her forehead

    “What?” Her eyes widened in terror.

    I chuckled. “Don’t worry. It’s just my old cigarette lighter shaped like a gun.” I clicked the flame aglow. “After all these years I finally quit. Am driving back to the gorge and tossing this lighter in, like I did my three cartons of cigarettes this morning. I’ll never smoke again,” I mumbled, crossing my fingers, just in case.

    “You big lug.” She grabbed my ears and pulled me down.

  7. She made for a small birch-covered canoe and dragged it into the Housatonic and paddled downstream. The relentlessness of her Mohegan pursuers surely indicated that her secret had been brokered. Wouldn’t it be just a matter of time before Waramaug traded her to the Mohegan? She would go away; for good.

    She could hear it as she launched the canoe and, as she moved down river, the rapids became an increasing roar. The river at this point narrowed considerably and poured through a gorge of naked granite more than a hundred feet off the water on both sides and down an extended descent through glacial cobbles and jagged outcroppings of gray, fractured basalt. The entire river flowed through this gorge and created a seemingly impassable torrent of water for a small canoe.

    Always a survivor by her own hand, she was thankful to have this choice in ending her own life. Death was an expected part of living. Soon she would be in the afterlife with the Creator in his home in the great Southwest where the sun goes at night. She bore heavily into the paddle, left and right and brought the little boat squarely into the middle of the rapids.

    Her canoe disappeared in the foaming mist and Lilinonah, the Pequot Princess was gone. The canoe, with its birch bark ripped entirely off its fractured ribbing was found weeks later well downstream by a hunting party of Pootatuck. Lili’s body was never found, but her spirit Manitou remained.

  8. Maybe because it was the beginning of a new year. Maybe because the Christmas holiday was spent curled up on a sofa watching travelogues. Maybe it was the desire of a “New Year, New You” campaign. Regardless, Susan fell asleep with all these thoughts percolating in her head.

    She dreamt she was flying, looking down upon plains and mountains and rivers and gorges. The new year is wide open, like the vistas she flew over. The enormity of the mountains, the energy of the rolling rivers was overwhelming her senses. She settled down on a peak high above a gorge.

    The branches of pine trees gently scratched her face as she inhaled the crisp, clean scent. Far below was a placid river which must have, over the millennia, cut through the layers of rocks that abutted either shore. White, puffy clouds were reflected in the water.

    She realized this was as metaphor for life. Layers of rocks to cut through to get to the water—the source of life. The evergreens reminded Susan that life goes on and doesn’t fade. Looking down the gorge made her think of the coming year. We may not see all the twist and turns, but there is a lot of ground to cover.

    Just like with any journey, especially when it’s an inner journey, the first step is the hardest to make. It’s almost like a leap of faith.

    But like her perch overlooking the gorge, that first step would be a doozy.

  9. Early morning is the best time to be out here at the gorge. Dew drops sparkle on the pine needles. The rushing water comforts me.

    But soon the peace and beauty are disrupted by rude, noisy tourists. They run and stomp across the bridge. The children tear through the forest, breaking branches and scaring small animals. They shove each other, and me, aside as they jostle to take their never-ending selfies by the canyon. Sometimes I wish they would all just disappear.

    As I try to breathe deeply and remain calm, I see a teenager scurry around the end of the bridge. He starts to clamber down the canyon wall.

    “Don’t,” I shout. “That’s dangerous.”

    Others watch as he slides downward. Glancing up at me, he says, “Dropped my phone, old man.” Then he continues his careless descent.

    I know I need to find a ranger. But I, too, stand mesmerized by this stupid child. He is almost half-way down the steep wall when he bends to retrieve the lost phone. He raises the phone for us to see then turns to climb back up.

    Suddenly, his foot slips. Still grasping his phone, he reaches with one hand for a protruding branch. It snaps and he tumbles backwards, plunging headfirst into the abyss.

    Someone screams. But everyone else is videoing his fall. I think I am the only one to avert my eyes. Filled with horror and anger, I hurry toward the ranger station for help.

  10. Sean nervously slid the stolen report across the bar room table to Phil, “Everyone thinks the bottomless gorge was cut by glacial flood waters thirty thousand years ago, but our borehole tests prove it is not what it seems to be. At first, we thought someone tampered with the test results, so we ordered a site Lockdown. But we still got the same protein substance every time we bored into the top lip of the gorge.”

    Phil’s eyes widened when he reread the repeated positive blue test results. “I don’t get it! How can this be? You know what this means if you’re right?”

    “Yeah! It means the end of our world because it’s not what we think it is!

    “But this report will turn our scientific world upside down! You would get the Nobel Prize in Science! Why leak it?”

    “Because The military is trying to bury that we have less than nine months to live! You’re with the Press! Get the last Pulitzer! Break this story! Warn everyone! We can’t Stop it!”

    Sean raved on as Phil ordered more drinks for both of them; they drank themselves into oblivion. Finally, the bar closed and kicked the two drunks out. They decided not to tell anyone that the earth was alive and hungry. Two days later, the first video went viral of a giant tongue snapping out of the gorge tens of thousands of feet into the air pulling down a jetliner down to feed the pregnant earth.

  11. The Gorge

    When I see a gorge I think of gorge which reminds me of the story my aunt told about a relative going to their house for dinner. He gorged himself on all the delicious food set before him. Those around him wondered how he could eat so much.

    The man began coughing and coughing. My aunt sat there watching him cough, and suddenly she saw him gag a little. Out onto the empty plate in front of him popped the head of a large tapeworm.

    “Ewwww,” said everyone.

  12. Two siblings, Fred and Cindy, gazed at Athabasca Falls. They had a loving home with their godparents. In a single year, they lost their mother to cancer, and their father in a plane crash.

    Before their famous father, Sam Blendisson, was killed, he revisited the place where he and their mother met on a camping trip, decades earlier. Before boarding the plane that killed him, the singer-songwriter recorded a song that his children, and the world, would remember him by. Along with his other music, it also assured that his children would want for nothing – except for their original parents.

    They played the song on a speaker, there in the woods, looking down into Athabasca Falls.

    Amy, you’re the only one,
    The only woman I need,
    Yet in this life I know there’s no
    Satisfaction guaranteed.

    For so long you’ve been
    With me every day
    How can I go forward now and
    Live another day?

    Foundations multicolored,
    One upon another,
    What we built was precious,
    You are our children’s mother.

    Now you’re gone forever,
    How could you now be gone?
    A stream that flows forever,
    It’s hard to carry on.

    Ath-a-basc-a Falls!
    It’s where my life began,
    You turned and looked at me
    One woman for one man.

    The Gorge, it runs so deep,
    My love runs deeper still,
    The fir trees whisper faith,
    My heart said, Yes, I will!

    Arm in arm, they cried and walked back to the campground.


    Carol trudged up the trail. When she got to the top of the ridge, halfway to The Gorge, she shot some photos.

    Then, at the gorge she looked over the ledge at the interesting outcroppings of rock creating a slit through which you could see that rapidly rushing water below.

    Suddenly she sensed something behind her, and she whirled around, but nothing was there.

    That night, sitting around her fireplace, she was intrigued to find something in her photos.

    Carol printed out a few of the photos and went to diner in town.

    She saw her friend Ed.

    “Hey Ed, have a latte with me.”

    “What’s up?”

    Carol pulled out the photos.

    “Wow! That’s the biggest hover craft I’ve ever seen.”


    “I know… we better be quiet, with all the feds in town,” Ed agreed.

    “What are they doing?”

    “I don’t know, but the cover story is geological testing,” Ed whispered.

    “That doesn’t even sound right to me…”

    “This may be DARPA…” Ed said.

    “What? You know I’m not up on that stuff. ”

    “I’ve read about the advanced military weaponized programs,” Ed explained.

    Joe the manager came over.

    “The national star would probably give you thousands for that photo,”Joe states.

    “What?…a trashy scandal sheet!, Ed scoffed, “CNN!”

    Carol said, “I’ve got to go.” She laughed all the way home.

    At home she had a weird feeling someone had been inside her house. She called Ed.

    Waiting for Ed, Carol realizes that her camera is missing.

    Ed tells her to turn on the computer and bring up the file that holds her photos. All her photos were there except the ones she took earlier that day!

    “I guess my theory of secret government activity isn’t so funny after all,” Ed remarks to Carol.

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