Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Walkway

103 dreamy draw 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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14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Walkway”

  1. “Good golly! I just can’t believe it. Come over here. I’ll pick you up so you can get a better view. There. Just look at that! I never in my life saw such small trees. And, look at those mountains way over there.
    Wonder ow long will it take us for us to reach them? Oh, my. That sky’s as clear as a bell. Not a cloud in sight. Such a strange feeling. We better get started. I’ll put you down, poor little thing. Do you think we’ll meet them again on the way there? What fun that last trip was. Come on. Let’s go. Oops! Holy smoke! That pavement is really hot. You can’t walk on that. I’ll carry you in my arms, sweetie. Gee, you’re such a light little bundle. No. No. Stop kissing my face. Behave yourself…… Oh, I’m getting tired. We’d better stop a bit before it gets too dark. Come here. Lay beside me. Remember the last time we took a trip like this? I think you were happier than I was walking along that long road. Then, one by one, we got friendly with those fellows who ventured with us to the end of that road. When we got there, we had so much fun with those little village people. Everything was so much nicer on that yellow brick road. Hey! Is that a rooster cock-a-doodling?”

    Toto bounced onto the bed, tail wagging wildly, and began licking Dorothy’s face again.

  2. The Path We Choose

    It came to pass that there was no escaping the past.

    “It’s all on the record?” asked the last remaining Luddite?

    “Yes, it is.”

    “Everything?” he asked.

    “Everything!”

    “No secrets? No privacy?”

    “None. Absolutely none. Every small indiscretion, every covert gesture, every furtive thought. It’s all there for the looking.”

    “How did it come to be? How could you let it?”

    “Ha, my dear Isolate, how can you dare ask? I’d ask you in return, why did you seek solace? A hermit’s existence? Is the way the world now is not the very thing you sought to escape?”

    “Yes, I admit it. I railed against the imposition of the machine on humanity. I sought simplicity. To my regret, I never imagined the intrusive amount of scrutiny the machine would inflict. If I had suspected for a moment, I would have multiplied my efforts…”

    “And how would you have managed that? Your simple life stole you away from the very thing you sought to curtail. You can’t have it both ways.”

    “One must first perfect one’s self before seeking to guide others to the way.”

    “The WAY? There are many ways. No one took you seriously. For instance, the great Studs Terkel…”
    “What did he say?”

    “If I may quote him, he said he had your tendencies but, ‘I believe in refrigerators to cool my martinis, and washing machines because I hate to see women smacking their laundry against a rock.’”

    “That’s shameful humour.”

    “Words bite, Luddite.”

  3. The walkway curved gently, her ultimate destination out of sight for the moment. Pristine, she noted, surprised as all the other paths today had been strewn with detritus from this decaying society. She’d seen such wreckage on other worlds, the refuse and rubble of civilizations who’d lost their way, their past glories emblazoned in their litter. Gazing to either side, the plants, shrubs tenaciously growing under a powder blue sky gave her a twinge of hope. Even though deemed close to the point of no return, this world might just pull itself back from the brink.

    She moved to the path’s edge, reaching out and lightly touching what the ship’s AI had identified as a “conifer”, the needles surprisingly soft. Sticky sap clung to her fingers and taking a deep breath, she found the scent delightful.

    Scans may tell you much, but field work was invaluable, in her estimation.

    She continued, noting the rocks, the occasional small creature scrambling away, a stray flower here and there. All would figure in her ultimate report, glad that she had taken this particular path, leaving the other divergent walkway to her colleague. She already could tell what his final analysis would say. Hers just might tip the balance.

    None would come back to this forlorn, isolated planet spinning at the outer edges but she opened the little book she clutched as a souvenir. Rereading the words, she stepped carefully, whispers echoing,

    “…that has made all the difference…that has made all the difference.”

  4. Walkway

    Malla pulled her dusty wooden cart down the lonely road. It was deathly quiet. The only sound came from the carts squeaky wheels as they rolled across the sun baked pavement. This was the only accessible road left between the Sister Cities. Malla had started out early that morning and after walking for most of the day she had expected to see the rusty towers of Duna by now. It was already mid day, she had to be off the road before darkness fell and the monstrous sand spiders came out to hunt. They could not stand the light of the sun, so they buried themselves deep below the sand to wait out the day. Malla was posing as a simple peasant with her cart full of meager belongings, but in a hidden compartment lay a cure for a plague that was slowly spreading through the city of Duna. She hoped that any bandits that might be on the road would dismiss her as too insignificant to bother with robbing. Malla had to get through or Duna would fall and the sister city of Delna would lose its last trading partner. All the others who went before her had failed to make it to Duna. She had to make it if the Sister Cities were going to survive. Malla heard a loud screech behind her. She quickened her pace, too afraid to look back.

  5. It was time to move. What always had been sagebrush, pines, mesquite, Indian tea bushes and the occasional ocotillo was soon going to be swept away by the giant dirt movers headed his way. The only home he’d ever known was about to be plowed over.

    The earth shook as the machines neared; he knew the time for dilly-dallying was over. But where to go, what direction to take? He’d never ventured far. He’d heard tales of more than vast spaces of dirt and sky, juniper, rocks and grass but he’d never seen anything more than his own small patch of earth.

    With one last longing look at his happy little abode he started out, humming to himself. The trek would be arduous, fraught with danger. He summoned every bit of fortitude he could muster, was making good time, even if he did say so himself.

    The sun beat down from a cloudless sky as he continued his trek but suddenly stopped, nonplussed by the sight before him, a vast expanse directly ahead. But what was this? Not dirt, not natural rock but smooth, soft yellow and hot from the looks of it, shimmering as it was. How long to cross? Would he survive the attempt?

    The earth rumbled, a sure sign he needed to try. It took him the better part of an hour but eventually he sank down in relief, feeling soft dirt once more.

    Rising, the little box turtle continued his journey, questing for a new home.

  6. An old brown suitcase bounced off the top of a dust-covered bus landing on the side of a dusty backroad. The suitcase latches popped open and out climbed Wizard Wally Warren, “That’s the last time I’ll ever ride coach with you, my back is killing me.”
    As he stretched the kinks out of his back, his pointed crooked and crumpled old hat dropped to the ground and pointed across the Mojave Desert, “Really, you want me to travel across that inhospitable tumbleweed covered terrain?”

    He demanded of his hat, “You do realize I require a road? Stop being lazy and get to work!”

    His hat jumped up off the ground, and out of the hat unrolled a magical road across the empty desert away from the highway. “Now that’s better, but do you really expect me to walk in this heat?”

    His hat twisted and turned and flipped up on to his head where it belonged. “I need more than shade to get across the Mojave Desert today. Well?” The hat just sat on his head and tugged him toward its road. “Well, if you’re not going to provide transport, then I guess I’ll have to conjure up a vehicle. Abra Car Driver!”

    A bright red fifty-seven Chevy convertible appeared. He climbed into the back seat and off they went. With him in the back seat and his hat driving down a road which disappeared shortly behind them as they crossed the desert heading for Las Vegas.

  7. “Come over,” Edna said. “There’s a little park near my house where we can walk.”

    Sheri drove to Edna’s house on a bright summer day. She began walking for exercise and thought walking with a friend would be encouraging. Edna offered Sheri a bottle of water for their walk. “I’ll drive,” Edna offered.

    Sheri thought it odd—why drive if the park is near your house? But they were soon lost in conversation when Sheri noticed the sign “Welcome to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.” Edna lived half a county from this park. What gives?

    “Frank and I come here all the time to hike. They have new walkways.” She pulled a map out of the glove compartment. “We always take path 5. It’s lovely—and we walk along the lakeshore when we’re done.”

    Sheri looked at the map. There were a dozen paths with mileage listed. “It’s five miles! That had better be a round trip.”

    Edna nodded. “Oh, it is.”

    They began walking along a concrete pathway and in the distance Lake Michigan was barely visible behind the sand dunes. The paved path was replaced by wooden planks and then bare ground as it entered the woods. It was an easy walk for novice Sheri. Sheri appreciated the shade trees. Edna stopped. “Are you ready?”

    Sheri looked up. The path ended at the Matterhorn of sand dunes. Sheri couldn’t see the top of it. Edna scampered up.

    “Can’t we follow the paved walkway some more?” Sheri pleaded.

  8. As Jessica ambles alone down the walkway, she visualizes their many years of enjoyable walks. When she and Dave were young and newly-wed, there had been only a path through the scrub oak and junipers. Muddy in springtime, it turned dry and hard by summer. They took care to avoid ankle twisting rocks and dangerous snakes. They learned every bird’s call and plumage as they studied the environment.

    When park management decided to build a wooden walkway, they volunteered to help. They leveled ground, removed rocks, lay boards. They smiled humbly whenever people complimented the fine work. And their jaunts became even more frequent. They didn’t know then how grateful they’d be for the smooth, level path they helped create.

    During their most recent visits she pushed Dave’s wheelchair while he cheerfully warbled to the birds. Many evenings they sat at the walkway’s end and watched the golden sunsets. A great sadness overwhelmed them both when he could no longer join her, even with the wheelchair.

    Today, on their 60th anniversary, she has submitted to his wishes. She has fed him the hoarded pills and held his hand as his fluttering pulse finally subsided. Then she has left their bedroom for one final stroll along their beloved path.

    She knows the law cares not about his pain level or his final requests. And so she watches one last gorgeous sunset and waits for the police to find her.

  9. I took a walk today beside the brook near our home.

    The thermometer had pushed into the 60s. Can you believe it, for the first week in February?! And to think: only days ago we awoke to a temperature of 3, with a wind chill of -15. Not that we could complain. My sister in Chicago said the temperature was -15 with a wind chill of -50. That’s what she gets for living in the Windy City, I said, though I joked it was her politicians who were “windy,” not the weather.

    Here, as they say, Spring was in the air. Literally. It struck me as soon as I stepped from the door, that unique scent I often had experienced as a boy growing up in Wisconsin during the 1940s.

    I don’t know how to describe it as anything but what I smelled on my way to school in early March, when winter’s iron-fisted grip on our lives finally was broken and the snow started to melt, revealing Mother Earth in all her glory. Here and there the shoots of the first daffodils or crocuses would begin to emerge and with them, signs of life renewed.

    Scientists have given us all manner of explanations for the “smell of spring”: the evaporation of thawed moisture, the revival of trees, bacteria on the surface (the wet earth small of geosmin). It matters not. To me, it’s the scent of memories treasured.

    I took a walk today beside the brook near our home.

  10. It’s always the clearest paths that make me the most nervous.
    Along a path like this is where Barry took me for a walk, trying to let me down easy, something he failed to do. People seemed to like to give me bad news walking along the desert road, like the views would make it up to me somehow.
    At least this time I’m walking it alone. No one to tell me what mistake I may be heading for, only me and my own counsel.
    My mother tried to stop me just before I hit the door. “Look me in the eye. Tell me this has nothing to do with Barry or your father. Neither of those things was your fault and you know it.”
    I looked her in the eyes. Then slung my guitar case over one shoulder, my bag with my songbook in the other. “This has to do with me, for the first time in my life.”
    She began another argument, I saw it form behind her eyes, but then she stopped. Nodded, even opened the door for me.
    “You always have a home,” she said.

    Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t see the ambush coming. Barry stepped out from the brush.
    “Mandy, look–”
    “It’s OK,” I said, looking past him to the bus depot, “Gave me the push I needed. Good luck to you.”
    He kept talking, but all I heard was my music.

  11. “How do you feel?” Tom whispered to his buddy Patrick as they casually glided up the walkway taking in the moment. “A bit nervous” Patrick relinquished as he scoured the landscape once covered by a morning dew, now disappeared from the heat of a dry yellowing sun.

    Tom grinned, “Just relax buddy, you got this.”
    “That’s easy for you to say, the pressure’s on me.”

    Patrick laughed as he knew this time would come. He reached down and brushed his hand along the perfectly manicured lawn, the blades caressed his skin. He wiggled his toes, sloshing the white sand in his shoes from an excursion earlier that morning. The two stopped their pace, eyeing the gathering ahead.
    “It’s really quiet here” Patrick thought, expecting more noise than the squawking birds overhead. “Just like I practiced” he told himself while taking in one last deep breath. “Here we go.”

    They watched as the ball sank in the cup amidst roaring cheers from the crowd. Patrick let out an emphatic “yeah” trying to hold back tears as he embraced Tom on the green.
    “Congratulations buddy” Tom whispered to his friend, “you’re the champion!”

  12. A Surfing Dream

    Susan took the walkway over the dunes. Jack would be there, waiting for her answer. It was the life she had been waiting to live – for 30 years. But should she ?

    ***

    Jack called. After years of creatively avoiding this moment, Susan said yes.Yes to a
    drink – nothing else.

    ***

    Jack couldn’t believe she had said yes. He told her he was on his way to Costa Rica, to judge a surfing contest.

    ***

    Drinks at six. They fell into all the typical conversations of old friends.

    “You were always such a good girl… I couldn’t believe you would look at me twice.”

    “You were a great surfer. Being a girl surfer, and lifeguard, I had to watch you.”

    “That’s it?”

    “Oh, no, that was never it,” Susan smiled, “it was always more… with you and me…”

    ” Oh, yeah,” Jack said, thinking back to that hot summer, and Susan’s mint green bikini.
    “Come with me, to Costa Rica,” he blurted out, “I’m judging the surfing circuit for a year. Stay a week or a month… or longer,” he smiled.

    “Maybe…” she smiled back.

    “That’s the first time you didn’t say , no, to me!”

    “My father’s not here, making me say – no!”

    ***

    Jack waited on the beach, near the walkway – hopeful.

    Susan walked up in her shorts, and lime green halter blouse, hair blowing, smiling like a college girl. She slipped her hand in Jack’s, and said, “Let’s go, surfer boy, before I hear my father’s voice in my head…”

  13. Walkway

    My mother made good choices in life. Her sister Hettie described her as the wisest woman she knew. One I think of happened when I was eleven years old. I had had surgery on my left foot crippled from polio and I was on crutches.

    She often would wait for me to come home as I raced as fast as I could on the crutches I was using. One particular day she was waiting and saw me sailing down the pathway of our alley as fast as I could go on crutches. Suddenly I fell head first. Her first inclination was to run to help me up. She turned and went in the house. I didn’t see her.

    By the time I got to the kitchen where she was I was my cheery, happy self. She didn’t mention my spill nor did I. She only told me about it years later.

    Do you wonder why some folks as they walk the pathway of life are afraid to take risks? Why do some accomplish and others do so little.

  14. Francesco and Gloria trudged up the dry country trail, pushing their wagon load of goods to sell in the next town. The young couple was saving up for a trailer.

    Their two goofy dogs, Edie and Rocco, ran alongside. Sometimes they would run circles around the couple, and today was one of those days.

    “Rocco, if you have so much energy, why don’t you push the wagon!” exclaimed Gloria, but Rocco only gave her a quizzical stare.

    Suddenly the dogs’ attention became fixated on something farther up the road. When they caught up, they could see them feverishly licking a small toddler.

    Francesco said, “Enough! Leave it,” and the dogs stopped. They had revived the tiny girl, who was covered with dust, dehydrated and fatigued.

    Gloria picked her up. An empty bottle lay at arm’s length, which Francesco filled with water. The child eagerly drank it, then started to cry. She had a little bracelet with tiny blocks spelling the name, “Charity.”

    “Look, Francesco, she has a name!” said Gloria.

    They took off the child’s dirty clothes and soiled diaper, and replaced it with whatever they could find from their own supplies, wrapping her up. Gloria sat with Charity, while Francesco looked around with the dogs. There was nobody.

    They continued up the road, three instead of two. They would report this to the sheriff in the next town. If no one claimed Charity, then maybe they would buy that trailer sooner than expected.

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