Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Watson Lake

Watson Lake 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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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Watson Lake”

  1. “No, Pete,” Freddie chuckled, “not if you look at it from this angle.” He turned and smiled at his friend. “The sun wouldn’t hit it right. Try it from here,” he said, tugging Pete’s arm and leading him over the slippery rocks. They stopped several feet away and turned to face the magnificent outcroppings of the granite mountains.. “How do you like hem apples,” Freddie joked, sweeping his arm encompassing the new view.

    “Oh, you’re right. I get such a clear picture of how it’s going to turn out. Beautiful.” He chomped down on the stub of his cigar. “Let’s get crackin’”.

    The drive back to the city was relaxing as they whizzed through towering pines. Soon, the soft hum of the winds singing through the trees turned to honking horns and revving motors. The city was alive with thousands of people preparing for the dedication that evening.

    Freddie braked the Caddie at the front door and poked Pete awake.
    “Come on. Let’s go tell him.”

    They stepped respectfully through the plushly carpeted halls of the White House and met him at the door to his office. He stood there patting the long waft of hair covering his forehead.

    “We went and checked it out and it’s perfect,” Freddie spoke in hushed tones. “We’ll do it just as you plotted. We’ll blast off the first one and replace it with your image. Roosevelt, Lincoln and that other guy won’t mind,” he laughed, poking the President’s side.

  2. For Editor’s Choice Award Only

    “So, what is it you want to know about Loretta Frank?” asked retired RCMP captain Patrick McLean as he handed me a mug of steaming coffee.

    I had trekked to his cabin near Lower Post, B.C., late in 2018, immediately following the first freeze, to obtain information for a newspaper story I was writing on aboriginal woman who disappeared or were murdered. Prior to Lora’s disappearance—that’s what her friends and family called her—she reportedly had lived with one of her brothers and his family near Watson Lake, Yukon.

    “That’s a tough one,” replied the captain, taking a seat across from me. “I was assigned the case in 1995. The family insists they reported her missing within days of her disappearance in 1990, but for whatever reason, nothing had been done for five years.”

    “That doesn’t sound good,” I said.

    “No, it doesn’t. But truth be told, that’s just the way things were back then. And besides, given her medical history—”

    “Her medical history?”

    “Well, the poor woman, only 19 at the time, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Social services tried to help but never was able to treat her. And then, she started moving around, first to Whitehorse, and, after moving home briefly, returning to Whitehorse, where she apparently met some guy from Haines, Alaska. That’s the last anyone heard from her.

    “When I retired, hers was just one of more than 200 indigenous women missing persons cases on the books. It was overwhelming.”

  3. For Editor’s Choice Award Only

    They’d ridden hard from Severance, giving Fort Collins a wide berth but the horses were tiring and needed watering. Besides, Tom had taken one in the leg and should be tended to or he’d likely not make it through the night at the rate he was bleeding. They’d let him take the lead, hoping to cover the blood trail enough that only the most skilled of trackers could follow. Hooves thundering down the dusty, rock strewn way, they made their escape.

    The four riders approached Watson Lake from the southeast, a little-known path they felt was worth the risk. Folly to push further and risk being caught on open ground. Caleb took their lathered, weary mounts to the water’s edge while Tom tried to drag himself to a nearby rock.

    Cole removed the bullet as Tom mercifully passed out. Night descended and fearing making a campfire, they discussed their next moves in the pitch dark, only the stars above illuminating the land and nearby lake. Caleb took first watch, listening to the crickets’ chirp, the soft nickers of the tethered horses, the lap of gentle waves breaking.

    At dawn’s light the posse found four rider-less, bareback horses. Search as they might, no bodies were ever recovered, no clue as to the fates of the men, one remaining forever nameless.

    The nearby Arapaho tell a legend of four thieves taken long ago by a Wendigo or perhaps the Spirit of the Lake. Rough justice once dispensed in a wild land.

  4. It was that first summer at the lake when I fell in love with her. We were in that age of discovery when nothing but life its own self lay before us. Her hair was red; tied back away from her freckled face like a Gaelic warrior. She was soft on the eyes but physically hard. She was an athlete. She could outswim and out volley all the boys. And, she was LOUD! Always the center of anything and everything at that camp; far away from the hot desert floor of summer.

    But her life was to be far more fruitful than a summer romance. College, an MFA, and so many art galleries made her an expert in all things creative and collectible. She built her career in all corners of the Beaux-arts world accumulating clients and their patrons, representing only the best. Money and champagne flowed through her life as lubricants for her ambitions. She never married. She consorted. And always to her advantage. Cancer was the only obstacle she could not overcome.

    Her surviving siblings waited for summer to bring her ashes back to the lake as she wished. I was invited. We said goodbye below the eroded granite walls of the shimmering blue lake. The solitary blooming aspens dotting the terrain spoke to the power of something so beautiful thriving on its own in rough environs. All I could do was watch, regret and remember how she swam. God, how she could swim.

  5. For Editor’s Choice Award Only

    We stood on the edge of the lake admiring how its rippling blue surface mirrored the cloudless sky. Reflections of brown granite cliffs surrounding the shore plunged into its icy depths. I filled my lungs with cool morning air and exhaled in ecstasy. “Ah, isn’t it beautiful?”

    My companion turned a jaundiced eye on me. “Must you spoil our holiday with this tomfoolery?” He fished a pipe out of his pocket and lit up.

    I coughed and waved away the smoke. “Must you spoil the air with those fumes?”

    “In fact, I must.”

    “Don’t tell me this is a three-pipe problem.”

    “Not at all. The matter is plain. Your smug self-satisfaction, your well-known penchant for spinning tall tales—tales, which, I must add, have received altogether too much attention on this side of the Atlantic, but what can one expect from Americans?—not to mention the signage we passed on the way in. Watson Lake, indeed!”

    He puffed again, and again I waved off the pollution. “So they appreciate my reporting. What’s wrong with that?”

    “In point of fact, this reservoir is named for the president of the Hassayampa Alfalfa Company of Indiana who supported the project with the intent of turning the area’s native grasslands into grain fields.” He blew more smoke into my face.

    I coughed and sputtered, “What! How do you know that?”

    With that churlish grin of his, Holmes replied, “Elementary, my dear Watson. I read the plaque.”

  6. “I fear we’re surrounded by high rocks,” John noted. “We shant be able to escape.”

    His partner nodded and looked at the map. “This body of water is not on our map. What do you make of it?”

    “Well,” John sighed, “This is a rather rugged area. Explorers may not have been able to access the surrounding ground so cartographers would not have noted it.”

    His friend sighed. For once he was at a loss for words, or for wisdom.

    “I see no outlet to the ocean, do you, John?”

    John shook his head. The way the two of them had traveled was very rough and he was not looking forward to the return trip. He had wished there would be another way back to civilization. The body of water gave him hope, which had now turned to despair. “Any ideas, sir, on how we can affect our escape from this area and return to civilization?”

    “Oh, come now—where’s your sense of adventure? You’ve discovered a heretofore unknown body of water. I propose it be known hereafter as Watson Lake, named for its founder.”

    “You humble me, Mr. Holmes. But that will do us no good unless we can get to a cartographer.”

    “Wait! Look to the southwest! An opening to the sea. We need a ship.”

    John Watson shook his head. “No ship, Sherlock. A boat will do just fine.”

  7. Finding Rinkeri

    The landscape around the lake, strewn with the detritus of the world’s glaciers, is a silent but powerful reminder of the dawn of the Quaternary and the Pleistocene period. Thick threads of minerals are sewn haphazardly through the granite rocks, winding like rivers on a map of prehistoric history.
    Lucas Bitterman isn’t interested in the rocks or the minerals in this playground of Quaternary retrospective. He must find the fossilized remains of Zapus Rinkeri, the Genus Zapus. At this point, his research is only a tangled web of taxonomy, nothing without the fossilized remains of the mysterious Jumping Mouse.
    Bitterman, MA in museum science, PhD in geology, set himself up for a storm of indignation by insisting that Genus Zapus inhabited the earth during the Cenozoic era while colleagues insisted the Jumping Mouse lived only during the Mesozoic.
    Daylight disappeared without Rinkeri bones. The disappointed scientist called off his search. He would camp overnight. Surely tomorrow would bring success. Lighting a cooking fire, he found that suddenly pieces of nearby rock flared then burst into flame and melted.
    In the rocks, Lucas Bitterman had discovered high concentrations of lead, zinc and copper with traces of gold and silver leading to rich underground deposits of the minerals.
    Finding Rinkeri would have brought him fame. The 1907 discovery made him rich.

  8. As Mary O’Malley stepped into the time vortex, General Phillips ordered, “Mary avoid the Anasazi Indians. We need to know what those weird drawings of space-suited aliens mean?”

    The time vortex spat Mary out in the middle of the Anasazi central plaza. She bowled over a dozen villagers before slamming into a pueblo wall knocking herself unconscious. She woke up naked where she crash landed in the abandoned plaza. At first, she felt self-conscious about her nakedness, but she quickly found clothes strewn about the deserted streets.

    She made her way up to the cliff drawings where she found her still wet helmet and time suit all covered in red and black paint. Holding her suit up she now understood the strange alien images. She saw where the Anasazi used her stuff to paint the pictures of her crash landing scaring them half to death and showing everyone running away.

  9. Josh watched the shadow crest the mesa above the lake from the rocks in the water. This was the person he’d been chasing for days now, he felt sure of it. Deftly, with a power he’d only recently found he had, he jumped back to shore, ran around the lake, and was at the base of the mesa before two blinks of an eye could happen.
    He looked up, trying to use as little of this precious energy as he could, to get a look at the person. It was them, and they were just looking at him, waiting for him to get up there. He went ahead up, carefully, but still at what would be, for a normal, a reckless pace.
    Hand on his weapon, he reached the top and faced the shadow.
    It was a young girl, who only looked at him placidly.
    “Things have gone wrong in our own time, Father,” she said, “you must come home with me now.”

  10. Watson Lake

    Soon after my dad died in 1944 my mother took my brother 6 and me 8 1/2 to the Big Geysers above Santa Rosa. Following her instruction with her standing in the water holding to the side of one of the heated sulfur pools, she taught us to swim. Mama told us, “Put your heads underwater” and encouraged us to let go near her. After a few days of floating and holding onto the sides of the pool we both were swimming underwater like little tadpoles.

    Verlie 41 herself never learned to swim because of nearly drowning three times in the Pacific Ocean near Los Angeles. When she first arrived in California at the age of 19. She says that was scary to be rescued three times. Try as she might, her feet would not stay on the bottom, and her head would go down.

    We hiked many times along the rocky trails looking at the watercress (used in salads) growing in the wet crevices beside the trails, sniffing the smell of sulfur, and learning about nature. One day we came upon a snake hynotizing a small squirrel and readying it for eating. She explained what was happening so that I never felt disgust nor fear, just interest. That was why I once considered going into the medical field and took biology and chemistry both in high school and college. My brother went on to win several medals for swimming in high school.

  11. Late entry- for editors choice only

    The Alaska Highway – A Road to Love and Adventur

    “That was a very sweet proposal,” said Kristen to her boyfriend Alex over the phone, “I accept.”

    After dating for a year, Alex who was a park ranger, was transferred to Alaska. Their relationship continued – long distance.

    “I was sweating it because I know you were into your job at the Children’s Hospital,” Alex said.

    “We love each other, we should be together,” Kristen said.

    “Okay, come now! We’ll plan the wedding from here.”

    “I have to put in my notice… My new car-I can’t leave it.”

    “Your car will make the overland trip, on the Alaska Highway,” Alex suggested.


    Four weeks later, Kristen stood in Canada, looking at Watson Lake. ” A third of the way there…” Kristen thought.

    After a rest in Whitehorse, Kristen pushed on to Fairbanks, but three hours into the trip, she has a flat tire. The Auto Service said they could ‘try’ to get to her.

    Suddenly, a family with an RV, appears and they all jump out to help her!

    Back on the road, depressed, wondering – what type of ‘guy’ let’s his fiance travel this road alone- she uses the CB radio for her first check point call.

    ” Come back…little lady” squawks the voice.

    “This is Kristen Stevens, my fiance, Ranger Alex Williams,wanted me to check in…”

    “We’ve been expecting you…if we didn’t hear from you, we would have sent people out to look for you…”

    “Really?” Kristen smiled.

    “Yeah, your fiance’, and now the whole community ‘s got your back!”

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