Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Explorer

flash fiction prompt pish rainier 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: The Explorer”

  1. By Sunday night, Doris had declared herself officially moved-in to her renovated retirement cottage in Sun City Arizona. She had buried two husbands and traveled the world with her faithful terrier, BJ.

    He was an exceptional companion. Affectionate but independent; curious like a feline, with a bias towards exploration. Whether it was discovering and eating a Sherpa’s lunch in Nepal or finding Banksy’s rats on London’s Portobello Road, BJ did what BJ wanted to do for the pure excitement of it.

    By Tuesday, Doris realized that the desert dust was a nuisance trade-off for the Memphis humidity so she decided to vacuum. BJ did not like the vacuum. There was nothing behind Doris’ lot but more lots, houses, and pools, seemingly forever. The sameness of the neighborhood, its density, and a toy or two, she thought would keep him close at home as she finished her chore.

    In a few hours, there would be no BJ in sight. She waited. She prayed. He was her only friend in this new place. Neighbors hadn’t seen him. By Thursday she had asked the local Sun City Daily to enter a “Lost Dog” personal for her, and she posted her own on boards and poles in the sprawling complex.

    On Saturday morning a jogger found BJ’s collar by the Aqua Fria trail under the T-Bird Overpass. A small convention of black-headed vulture stood by. The brochures never reminded Doris of how efficient the desert is in absorbing the curious and unwary adventurer.

  2. I don’t like to brag, being basically the most modest doggy ever, but I am just about the most famous traveling Jack Russell terrier in the whole country. I have traveled everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. The forest, the farm, just everywhere. You name it, I’ve been there. I’ve got the photos to prove it.
    I know I don’t look like a risk-taker rule-breaker. That is because I am not. Teaching little kids to obey rules is my job, which is why I always set a good example by strict obedience. Okay, maybe not always but almost always. There was that one time when…. well, we won’t talk about that right now.
    Listen, the reason I asked you here was to find out what you think of this pose for the cover of my next book. I think I mentioned already that I don’t like to brag, but do you think this pose is too overwhelming? Too much machismo? It’s hard to hide, but maybe I could tone it down a bit.
    Before you answer, how about some lunch? I have a good selection of crispy crunchies and some lightly chilled water, and I think there may even be something here for you… Oh, yes, here it is. An apple with only one small bite taken from it.
    Have I mentioned before how modest I am?

  3. Mr. P twitched his nose, taking in the crisp, clean mountain air, a light wind ruffling his fur. It was moments like these that he enjoyed most. New scenery, new sounds and smells, such incredible vistas to behold. He had a keen memory and cataloged everything in his mind. Chances were good that if you saw him sleeping, legs scissoring, tail thumping, small barks coming from his furry muzzle, he was recounting one of his many grand adventures.

    He briefly wished he’d brought his sunglasses along but then he tended to lose them in the mad dash out of the car. He’d lost one pair just stretching his neck out the window, but a flock of gulls had waved to him and being a most polite ambassador, he was compelled to answer politely. A yip of greeting and the gulls had continued their flight, happier to have seen Mr. P’s happy countenance.

    Squinting into the sun, he watched a solitary eagle ride a thermal, that feathered form gliding lazily until disappearing behind a cloud. He was most content to be a dog but from time to time did wonder what it would be like to fly. Posing for a picture, something both his human and he enjoyed looking at in quiet moments, he held very still. The shutter snapped, then he turned, taking in the snow-covered mountains. Ever the exuberant explorer.

    Mr. P would wish for no grander legacy than the inspiration and unconditional love he would always spread.

  4. It all started last weekend when my buddy, who laughingly thinks of himself as my master, decided to go hike another mountain. It’s his one passion in life, poor fella. He often dreams of doing Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, with me alongside. Yeah, right.. Can’t you just see me stomping through the snow like that misguided leopard in you know who’s book? Dream on!

    Anyway, here we are on this dinky little hill, having lunch. He’s munching on that stuff that looks like my dog food. I think he calls it trail mix, or student fodder, or some such thing. Every once in a while he’ll flip one of his homemade dog biscuits to me. They are awful! But, hey, I lap ‘em up anyway. Don’t wanna hurt his feelings. Gotta watch out and take good care of the guy, the big lug.

    Oh! What’s that great scent in the air? Look over there, peeking out from behind that tree trunk. Gorgeous red coat. Long blinking lashes.
    I think she wants me. “Woof! Woof!” I’ll just…..

    “Get back here, Fluffy,” he orders me. “It’s a wild fox, not another dog.”

    Darn. My kind of plaything.

    He’s slips that dang harness around me and drags me back to the Jeep. Driving back into town, thank goodness he leaves the window down. I’ll just poke my head out into that gushing wind to get a last whiff of my what might have been. “Woof!”

  5. The (Almost) Greatest Adventure Ever

    “Ready?” the director asked. “Okay, roll ’em!”

    The camera panned over the pine forest and the snow-covered mountains in the distance. It zoomed in on the highest peak then zoomed out to reveal the star of the show, his cream fur and floppy brown ears twitching in the wind. He panted for the camera then spoke, although in a voice curiously like the director’s.

    “Hi, everyone. My name is Edmund. I’m the first dog to stand on the top of Mt. Everest. This is the amazing story of my incredible solo climb to the top of the world. It’s filled with excitement, daring, and danger. I faced hurricane winds, biting cold, and thin air to stand where no dog has ever stood. In this documentary mini-series, I’ll tell you how I did it. Ready? Then here we—”

    “Kyle!” a deeper voice snapped. “Stop playing with the camera! Why did you tie Edmund up like that? What’s gotten in to you?”

    The camera panned to the ground and didn’t quite focus on a pair of hiking boots. “Darn it,” Edmund, or maybe the director, said. “Cancelled before filming one episode.”

  6. In Memory of a Dear Friend and Two Good Dogs

    Judith’s dog Chipper lived in North Carolina, and sometimes wandered off. He never got into trouble. But this time Judith was worried. He had been missing for two days!

    Chipper ran free in the Blue Ridge Mountains. When he grew tired of having fun, he took Mount Mitchell Trail downwards, stopping to drink from a stream.

    There he found Desirée, a lovely Border Collie, weak from hunger. “Why are you here?” Chipper woofed softly.

    “Some guy dumped me,” whined Desirée, “After my dear one died!”

    “He was a bad man!” growled Chipper. He licked her face lovingly. He made trips to the road, barking at cars and trailers, but no one came. He spent the night by her side.

    “You are so beautiful!” woofed Chipper, “I know my Judith will love you!”

    Desirée raised her eyes hopefully, for the first time. She struggled to the roadside with Chipper.

    Meanwhile, Judith called the park rangers. They put out a BOLO on Chipper. Hours later, Judith got a call. Not one, but two wanderers were found!

    When the troopers brought them home, Judith was astonished. “Chipper, who did you bring me? Your girlfriend?”

    Chipper howled mightily. The two quickly devoured the food Judith provided.

    She looked at Desirée’s nametag. It had no other information; only her name.

    Judith thanked the park ranger profusely, before taking both dogs to the vet.

    “I wish I knew your story, Desirée,” said Judith.

    Chipper woofed.

  7. This is my favorite photograph of Russ.
    Mt. St. Helens behind him, that look of contentment on his face. He’s had it good, gone with me all over the world, just like the way it was promised to me.
    And I took him at his word for that. All over the world we’ve gone, Russ and I.
    It’s almost as if…well, I don’t like to think about it, but we’re friends. I can say it out loud to you.
    It’s almost as if the times he’d forgotten his word, that he didn’t honor it, didn’t happen. That I didn’t find him with his secretary. That I didn’t find out he was planning to leave. That the plans he put in motion weren’t going to happen.
    But I put all of that to rest. And, although if he were still human, he probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about the prospect, things have changed. He’s calmed down, he’s living his life within the borders while traveling over, under and around the ones on the map.
    Really, just look at him.
    He’s so much happier now.

  8. “This is Rover, your ‘canine in the pines,’ reporting from western Colorado, where teams are searching for two human hikers who haven’t returned home after a day in the park. According to authorities, the male and female went for a walk with their dog shortly after sunrise and were to return home for lunch.”

    “Rover, this is Buster back in the studio. Do we know the fate of the dog?”

    “Buster, we do know. The dog is the one who came seeking help. He is worried not just because he lost his human’s scent but he was also promised treats after being such a good boy on this hike.”

    “This is a tragedy of epic scale—a good boy goes without a reward because of human negligence

    “Wait—Buster—I think I see something. Let me get a little bit higher to confirm. … Yes, I do see something! It looks like a group of humans.”

    Buster licked his chops and furrowed his brows. “And?”

    “Two of the humans look a mess—they appear to be with rescue personnel. Ugh—a little higher—and—ugh—I think—ugh—yes! I see the dog, the Good Boy indeed. He is jumping around the pair and licking their faces. The humans are smiling, petting him with both hands. Over, Buster.”

    Buster closed the broadcast: “Join us for more on this breaking report at 11 when our eye in the sky, our canine in the pines, updates this story. Over, Rover.”

  9. “That’s the one I want; will you be able to put a hold on it for me?”

    “I’m sorry, ma’am,” the warden stated. “We can’t honor reservations over the phone. It is strictly first come, first served.”

    With that, Sabrina dashed away in her Subaru and sped off, driving like a demon from the Pasco airport towards Walla Walla. It took her a little over an hour to pull into the parking lot.

    “Hi, I called earlier for the poodle; is she still here?”

    The attendant led Sabrina through a door. Darci was in the third kennel down and as Sabrina offered her hand, Darci sniffed and gave it a friendly lick.

    “I’ll take her.”

    “Just know you have three days to try her out first.”

    Sabrina, excited as hell, cuddled Darci while settling the fees. Without protest, Darci obediently jumped up the backseat of Sabrina’s car; new dog owner and pet slowly enroute home.

    Mount Rainer came into view; Sabrina pulled over and snapped a photo of Darci against the majestic backdrop. She attached the snap to a text to her family who lived hours away in Seattle.

    “I took the plunge. I am experiencing life at the spur of the moment. The explorer in me has been awakened and Darci is my companion through this new journey. My cute rescue embodies adventure, wanderlust and the excitement of imbibing new surroundings: attributes that endeared me to her at first sight. May I be as courageous going forward. Love, Sabrina.”

  10. The Explorer

    My mother Verlie enjoyed taking my brother and me on drives into the country and up in the hills around Chowchilla towards Yosemite and Bass Lake. Mrs. Fay Salmon, a close friend of my mother, and my former 5th grade teacher, often accompanied us. We took a picnic lunch on many of those drives. After that we would explore.

    I remember wading in a creek on one of those drives enjoying the freshness of the cool water in the hot afternoon sun. We were splashing and laughing. After a while I walked to where my shoes were and toweled off the water from my body, legs and feet. When I sat down to put my shoes and socks on I discovered between my toes something brown.

    “Leeches,” I groaned and quickly wiped them from between my toes.

    The story is told that George Washington later in life was ill and they put leeches on him and bled him to death. Not a happy reminder. However leeches will eat only dead flesh, so modern techniques sometimes use leeches..

  11. A Chance Meeting: Seattle to Victoria Ferry – A Dog a Girl and a Guy

    by Pat Mills

    “Hey that’s a cute little dog,”Rick said to Allison.

    Rick had a plain face until he smiled, then it was a rockstar smile.

    “Thanks, I’m wrapping up the trip of a lifetime. We’re from Virginia,” Allison smiled.

    “You should stay at my parents B & B when you come back this way. I’ll give you their card ,”Jr yipped as if he approved.

    As she disembarked, the old crusty, bearded ferry boat Captain smiled and said,” he’s a good catch; great job, and he’s easy on the eyes.”

    Allison laughed – the Captain playing matchmaker.

    A week later, Allison was sitting on the deck of Rick’s parents B & B; admiring the majestic view of Mount Rainier. She took some selfies of she & J R.

    Then Rick stopped by and asked her out to dinner.

    “How did you know I was back in town?”

    “I have the inside track, my grandfather is the ferry boat captain.”

    They both laughed.

    A week later Allison was standing on the docks at the waterfront admiring the view.
    When she sees Rick’s grandfather.

    “Fancy running into you today,” he said.

    “We’re on our way back east.”

    “I wish you would let my grandson take you to dinner.”

    “We went out to dinner every night last week, and he’s coming to visit Columbus weekend.”Allison smiled.

    “Is that so…?”

    Yes. My father always said you could trust a man who likes dogs.”

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