Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Alone

flash fiction prompt lone hiker bull island sc 1996 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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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Alone”

  1. The Road Less Traveled

    So I talk to myself. So what?

    They tell me I’m forgetful. Well, I remember plenty…like all the times I’ve been made to feel worthless. Or worse, a burden.

    Why, I’m perfectly comfortable with who I am. What I’ve done, the life I’ve lived. Being alone doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m my own best friend.

    Sure, when I was younger, I moved a little faster. Was considerably stronger. Had lots of hopes — some people would say dreams. Didn’t always work out for me, but that’s life. I’m not complaining. What good would it do?

    I like to go for walks in these woods. Listen to the birds chirping, watch the squirrels scamper around. Breathe the fresh air. It’s better than where I live…something to see, something to do. No arguments, no crazy people acting, well, crazy.

    When I’m here I have no troubles, no worries. And I can enjoy my memories without having to explain anything to anybody.

    Why would someone want to keep me cooped-up? Why would someone want to limit my freedom? I’ve earned it by living a long life.

    They followed the signal from his ankle tracking device and found him near the end of the wooded trail.

    “Come along Mr. Jason. We miss you at the nursing home.”


    Turning her back on the Daufuskie ferry, a $40 well spent in her opinion, Peggy walked the secluded path. Each step one more away from civilization. Easy to see why so many bottlenose dolphins raised their calves here. These waters were protected, as much as any were these days.

    Her destination was Boneyard Beach, and few knew how apt was the name. It was a fair hike from the dock, a meandering trail well suited to her mood today. She thought back to her first trek here, a sunrise so glorious she’d watched it through teary eyes. They’d teased her mercilessly for a time. She’d gotten used to it, much like how they’d called her Margaret, smiling smugly when she’d explain it was Peggy on her birth certificate, no, it was not a nickname. Eventually she ignored them after corrections, ad nauseum, grew tiring.

    Reaching the pristine beach, she stooped to pick up a knobbed whelk poking from the sand. It had a small chip at the base, but she preferred them with flaws. Perfection was tedious. Toeing off her Bocs, she dug her feet into the sand and closed her eyes, letting her mind drift. Sixteen years to the day. Did she have regrets? Certainly. She wished she’d done it eighteen years before.

    Hitching her purse strap more securely on her shoulder, she walked to the water’s edge. She brought flowers to toss into Lake May each year. No paddle-out ceremony; their ashes didn’t deserve it.

    Smiling, she turned.

  3. Gradually, the din subsided. Lysimachus grunted with pain and exertion, straining. No use.

    Sacred oath kept, the huge Spartan lay on his shield. Problem was, the shield lay on top of Lysimachus. Blood flowed from the deep wound on his calf, inflicted by the falling warrior. The helot was keenly aware of his raging thirst, the bleeding wound… and that Similars would be roaming.

    Alone, heartbeat racing, he mentally screamed as movement caught his eye to the left. A huge vulture, arm’s length away. Oionos! Bad, bad omen… huge beak reaching now… He braced himself.

    With an obscene sucking sound, it yanked the Spartan’s right eye out, cocking its head as if to jest, amused by his horror.

    “A very bad omen, friend! But not for you!” Lysimachus flinched at the deep, laughing voice. He’d thought it was the vulture. Huge Athenian hands pulled him free. “You’re property of the State! This omen is for Sparta! But now… you’re Messenian again. No longer a helot.”

    Lysimachus drank deeply of the offered skin. “What…?”

    “Rebel slaves have done what heroes could not. Sparta herself kneels before you… Bind this legend’s wounds!”

    Head spinning, Lysimachus felt the darkness lift from his soul. His love and their children avenged. Murdered by the Kryptia, by the very man lying here.

    They had recognized each other instantly, and in surprise the Similar had lowered his sword tip.

    One moment in eternity…

    Another heartbeat, and both had fulfilled their oaths.

  4. Loraine was a quant. One of only a few such women analysts on Wall Street. She was surrounded daily by the cloying needs of the greedy and the uncertain. But she was certain; certain that her vacations would be spent alone, away from their noise.

    She had valued being alone since she was a child. She was always bookish and nerdy with the unpolished deportment of a healthy country girl. Her innate self-confidence and work ethic drove her success. Her vacations were chosen for their capacity to enhance her rugged independence.

    This winter she chose a low-key, beach-side resort at Cana Gorda. When she checked in, the concierge asked what might make her stay more enjoyable. She answered, “I just wish to be alone”.

    “Ah, the woman replied, “like our Guayacan Centenario”
    “Si, the oldest lignum vitae tree on the island. A treasure in its beauty and loneliness. Just down the road.”
    Intrigued, Loraine set off in search of the tree.

    A small sign directed her down into a vale of cactus and plantain. As she reached the bottom, she found a shaggy, gnarly, sprawling spider of a tree with thin green leaves like a Palo Verde and the splotched bark of a sycamore. A survivor of centuries of storms and the effects of Humans. Protected by this deep gulch, it had thrived.

    Loraine sat on a nearby boulder for hours in reflection. The tree might be lonely as the concierge had said, but it was not alone.

  5. The quiet man, deep in thought, shuffled down the long dirt road.

    His mind drifted back to his graduation from Columbia University and his marriage to Aline, the love of his life. Recalling romping in the backyard, with their five children, filled his chest with happiness. But, the tragic crippling of his daughter, Rose, to poliomyelitis, changed their lives forever.

    Life must go on.

    He stopped and turned a thoughtful gaze at the twisted trunk of the old oak tree pressed against the breast of the earth. “She must be beautiful in the spring with nesting robins between her leaves,” he imagined, sighing with affection. “How does she handle the snow and rain, I wonder?” He pictured the tree’s leafless arms lifted up, as though preying to God, and nodded.

    Nearing the end of his road, he turned for a last glimpse of the noble oak, reached into his satchel for his pencil and notepad and began scribbling onto its pages. It took just a moment. Once again he was on his gentle way.

    His mood had changed. Picking up his pace, he decided, “Oh, yes. I’ll start it out with,” and the young poet sang out with the opening words to what would become one of the world’s most popular poems, “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”

  6. Armand lived for his annual get-away vacation. Two whole weeks to walk where he chose. No walls, no barriers, no artificial restrictions.

    The place he chose this year was new to him. A vast openness, miles from the nearest town, a place without walls or barriers, where he could walk for miles without changing direction. A place where his thoughts would not be destroyed by flashing yellow lights and stop signs. A place of silence, without the constant noise of people and traffic.

    Armand tilted his head back to enjoy the open sky, free of wires and poles and planes. His glance drifted to the field on his left. Strange… The field looked cultivated. But how could a farm this far from anything be profitable? He slowed his steps and heard the murmur of male voices around a bend up ahead. Suddenly he knew, beyond a doubt, what the crop in the field was. He knew who the men were, and he knew what would happen to him if he was discovered. Heart racing, he turned and hurried back the way he had come.

    He lost all appreciation for this isolated location.

    Maybe walls were not always a bad idea.

  7. To find inner peace, it is recommended that one be alone. The virtures of solitude in this second decade of the 21st century is to, in a word, is to tune out everything. Other people, electronic devices, any and all distractions.

    But among the creature comforts we have become accustomed to, the emphasis is on the word “comfort.” We don’t mind camping as long as indoor plumbing is nearby and air conditioning is
    available if needed. We don’t mind walking as long as it isn’t far and the path is fairly even.
    So imagine my surprise when the brochure from the resort arrived, touting all the things one could hope and desire, with an emphasis on solitude.

    “I need to channel my inner Greta Garbo—I just want to be alone,” I explained.

    “Not a problem, you will be,” the travel agent said.

    I looked again at the brochure. “There are vehicles in this compound. That’s not alone enough.”

    “What makes you say that?”

    I noted the tire tracks in the photo.

    “For emergencies, only.”

    “If this is an all-inclusive resort, why is the woman in the photo carrying a purse?”

    She shrugged. “For security?”

    “From what? If she’s alone, why would she need to carry her purse to keep it away from people?”

    The agent was getting perturbed. “I can’t account for people’s insecurities. The guests will be totally alone unless they choose to congregate in the social center.”

    “If she’s alone, who’s taking the photo?”

  8. “Do I stomp through your home?”

    Rebecca nearly dropped her handbag. “Who’s there?” she demanded, scanning the thick greenery on either side of the isolated dirt track.

    “Who’s there!” the voice boomed in the canopy. “Who’s there! What do I look like, a patch of moss?”

    Rebecca dug in her purse for her pepper spray. “Show yourself!”

    “Holy hydrangea, woman! Just look up!”

    Tentatively she looked, half expecting to see Robin Hood lolling about on a branch. But no, she only found the bleached trunk of a half-dead dead tree, green vines snaking up it, and one thick, broken-off limb overhanging the track. She’d seen this tree every day this week on her lunch break. She’d discovered the trail Monday while seeking escape from the chaos of the office. Solitude always restored her balance.

    But today she wasn’t alone. She frowned at the broken branch. It looked like a great neck with a camel’s head carved into the end.

    When the camel blinked, she screamed.

    “Argh!” the branch screamed back. “Must you do that? Can’t an old tree have any solitude? The birds aren’t bad enough, noooo, you have to come stomping and squealing through here, too!”

    Rebecca might have broken a land speed record on her way back to work. Later that night, she looked into meditation classes in the area. They might not be as simple or solitary as a walk in the woods, but at least she wouldn’t have cranky old trees yelling at her!

  9. Ten Little Spacemen scared to death landed on the planet Philadendria. Captain Janet Loftman and her squad of nine discovered an uninhabited lush green jungle-like world. It was apparently devoid of any animals.

    Displaying a tactical map of the area, she pointed to the map, “Clear out, secure and expand this area around our lander for the rest of the landing ships to bring in the heavy equipment to build the base. Peters, Johnson, set up the perimeter security devices out one click.”

    Her nine-man squad immediately started hacking back the lush undergrowth from around the landing area. Within a few hours, a sizable area was cleared for use. The captain radioed each crew member for a quick status. However, she quickly discovered the two sent to secure the area did not reply. She broadcast, “Does anyone have a visual on Peters or Johnson?”

    No visuals, but now four were missing, “Alright, everyone back to the lander. That’s an order!”

    No one showed up, the captain scanned the area, she spotted just one squad member running back through the jungle. She heard a scream, looking up she saw Myers running out of the dense undergrowth, but just as he reached the clearing, a large tree branch with what looked like the giant head of a lion bowed down opening its mouth, swallowed him whole, and then it sprang back up into position.

    A vine snapped around her ankle, breaking it, and violently dragged her across the clearing into the jungle.

  10. Alone, Final Draft, 4/23/2019

    Louisa headed down the dirt road and found the place where the vegetation and trees became thicker. She headed into the forest, and followed the usual markers, known only to herself. There was an important meeting of the Resistance.

    As she continued, she heard sounds not typical of nature or animals. Someone was tracking her. She had to abandon her journey, warn the others and reverse course.

    Louisa took out her whistle and blew it as loudly as she could. The others would hear it and go home.

    No sooner had she done so, than a soldier slipped behind her and placed her in a chokehold.

    “That was very stupid,” he said, “I should kill you now,” he added, as he relaxed his grip and pointed a gun at her back.

    “But you won’t,” said Louisa, “You’ll question me first.”

    The soldier spun around, facing her, and slapped her. Instead of being shocked into submission, Louisa used the moment to disarm the soldier with the self-defense techniques she had learned so well.

    The Resistance refrained from killing individual soldiers unless absolutely necessary. They didn’t want to give the occupying army further reason to hunt them down, or take revenge on the innocent.

    She knocked out the soldier with his own gun, then fired two shots in the air, in rapid succession, followed by two loud whistles. This was a signal for victory. Whistles echoed back to her, from throughout the forest.

  11. Alone

    Missionary wives need other women who are on the same page with them to be happy, to be comfortable. It is said men love things but women love people.

    Aunt Hettie wrote to me about my mother writing to her, “Yes, it must have been a difficult life in the Philippines. Verlie wrote many letters to me about it. One was…

    “‘Men have no morals. Women have no virtue.
    Flowers have no essence, and Birds have no song.’”

    My mother Verlie must have been very discouraged. She was usually upbeat and cheerful of nature. Life was the hardest on missionary wives. Men were there because of a calling. Women were there because of family. She was the only white woman on the Island of Mindanao. She had letters to depend on but she had to wait for the ship to come into harbor. And sometimes there was no mail.


    Virginia didn’t know how this all happened: first, she was going on a customary, solitary vacation, then she stopped by the hospital to see her gravely ill niece; Virginia offer some help, and they ask her to watch their nine-year-old child for a week – spring break! Then, a flurry of activity and the child is going with her on the plane!
    ” sometimes, in life, you need to know when to keep your mouth shut” Virginia thought to herself.

    They trudged down the path in Florida, to the secluded beach they had asked the hotel about; Virginia stayed out of the ruts, but Kaitlin purposefully walked in the middle of them; as if she was a gymnast on a balance beam.

    Kaitlin started pointing out the flora and fauna. “There is the Florida Rosemary, not the herb. But we really have to watch out for the Manchineel tree, it’s the most poisonous in the Americas.”

    “Where did you learn all this?”

    “I looked it up,”Kaitlin smiles.

    Virginia looked at her great-niece with new respect even though she was horrified by the information.

    After enjoying the peace and quiet at the surfers beach, they decided to switch off and go to the more popular beaches for few days.

    Virginia was starting to realize that a little solitude was pleasant, but companionship in life was even better.


    “Tina, get off the phone, NOW,” Gram’s voice trailed from the top of the stairs.
    “One moment, Gram, I’m just saying goodbye to Dave,” Tina replied.
    With that, Tina was jolted from her deep slumber, surprised that despite aging forty more years, her beloved grandmother still managed to reach out using a classic scenario that always put them both at odds.
    “What did you want now, Gram?”
    Tina arose, headed to the front porch and picked up the morning paper. The headline read: High-speed Train Derailed. She shuddered: the train was headed towards the station by Gram’s country home, about a couple of hours away. Tina hopped into her car deciding to check things out herself.
    The station was packed with a throng comprising the media, onlookers, police and hospital workers. So, Tina drove off to Gram’s place instead to wait it out.
    As she was turning into the driveway, she noticed a familiar figure walking alone towards Gram’s house nestled behind greenery.
    The figure turned and forty years melted away.
    Gram never approved of Dave as Tina’s suitor. He was the cause of many an argument between them. That last memory of Dave sadly walking away after Tina chose staying with Gram over elopement with him was her one heartache, despite living a successful life. Both lost touch since.
    “Tina, I heard your Gram passed away while I was abroad; I wanted to pay my respects. And, perhaps, catch up, if you will have me now.”
    “Thanks, Gram.”

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