Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Grizzly

flash fiction prompt grizzly bear copyright KS Brooks 2
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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Grizzly”

  1. From Moran Wyoming, Jeremy hiked along the old Shoshone trails on the Buffalo Fork of the Snake. He knew he’d be far away from the kayak flotillas and rapids-running-trout-scaring inflatables.

    Cutthroats had already made their spring trip through the Rockies’ runoff and were tired and hungry. He waded in eagerly at dawn, happily casting his handmade streamers. He was confident. “Luck has nothing to do with it”, he would like to say. But he didn’t see old number 234F in his excitement.

    234F was a twenty-something Grizzly who chose this special spot to raise her two yearlings. They were wearing her out. She was also trying to avoid a suitor who was always looking for her this time of year. A tired bear can be a hungry bear. A hungry bear who knew the forest and the ways of these humans could benefit from her own patience. She would wait on Jeremy’s skills.

    Jeremy felt the streamer hit. “Wow”, he thought, “a big one”. He readied the net, unaware of the plodding of heavy feet in the water behind him until he felt the push from behind and he spilled headfirst into the frigid stream. The hulking mass of 234F stomped him into the water. When he surfaced, all he could see was the grim face of a disappointed grizzly as the trout had managed to elude them both. Jeremy’s last thought was that, in the struggle between man and nature, when mistakes happen, someone has to pay.

  2. I never understood the picture of the bear on my father’s office wall.

    It wasn’t roaring. It didn’t look intimidating. It actually looked bored.

    Just how I expected to look when I asked him about it. “The bear doesn’t have to tell you it’s a bear” was all he said.

    While I wasn’t quite bored, I was underwhelmed.

    But life, as we all hate to admit when we’re older, is just as our parents said it would be. I didn’t have to be told that my little mistake with Becky was a bear.

    And after my father was the one to make me stay (“You made your bed” blah blah blah), I didn’t have to be told the two year stretch for armed robbery to try and feed it was a bear.

    Big Tony didn’t have to tell me he was a bear. Found that out the hard way.

    Well, now, since other people decided to try and make me a mouse, it’s time to move up the food chain. And I’m starting back at the cave. I’m sitting at the desk under the picture.

    Let’s see what cliche the old man has to spit out to try to avoid finding out that I’m a bear.

  3. Grizzly

    Jason had chosen this place for a reason. Kodiak island, Alaska: no people.

    He realized that, maybe, he just didn’t “fit in” to society. He’d always been a loner, yet as the years went by he came to detest people in general. Their politics, their petty squabbles, their “beliefs”…he couldn’t take it any more. So he left. Alone.

    It was beautiful country: snow-capped mountains in the distance, flowering Alpine meadows, the occasional stream teeming with salmon and trout.

    And the wildlife. Jason never tired of using his binoculars to watch the deer frolic, the rabbits scamper, the eagles soaring overhead.

    It wasn’t a hard life – just basic. His physical needs were met and emotionally he took comfort from the interaction of the lives that surrounded him. For example, Jason enjoyed watching the behavior of mother and cubs…loving, playful, protective. And on occasion, he watched males tumble about, upright and pawing fiercely at each other in their disputes over fishing sites (or mating rites).

    So, though “alone”, he wasn’t lonely.

    The abundant life that surrounded him made everything…bearable.

  4. Two Mounties sat opposite Luke, “Let’s go over this again, Luke. You and your family moved up here to get away from the city, right?”

    Sweating Luke nodded his head, affirmatively, “That’s right.”

    The two Mounties sat there waiting, for the explanation which most innocent victims usually gave. Instead, Luke showed no emotion during questioning, this puzzled them. Everything Luke said seemed questionable like he was holding something back.

    One of the Mounties calmly extrapolated, “Let’s try something different. You claim the grizzly you shot and killed had murdered your wife and children. Yet that grizzly had no trace of human blood on its claws, paw pads, mouth or teeth. In fact, it had a stomach full of salmon.”

    Staring down at his handcuffed hands, Luke growled, “That’s impossible, that Grizzly must have killed them.”

    “Did you see it kill them?” The senior Mountie continued, “We know you’re lying about what happened. However, we don’t know why your lying, did you kill your family? Where are their bodies? Perhaps another night in your cell will loosen your tongue. We’ll finish our questioning in the morning.”

    They returned Luke to his cell and clocked out. From the jail steps, they noticed the full moon rising; the younger Mountie started to ask, “Do you think he’ll confess in the morning?”

    The loud howling of a wolf could be heard echoing from inside the jail; they drew their guns as they headed back in, the senior Mountie sighed, “I think not.”

  5. Grizzly bears have very strict hibernation rules. First and foremost: do NOT wake the bears early. It makes them very angry.

    For centuries, Mother Nature and the grizzlies have co-existed quite well together until the early years of the twenty-first century when global warming started wreaking havoc with weather systems, the atmosphere and the cyclical rhythms of flora and fauna. It’s warm—nope, there’s snow—wait, now there’s a thunderstorm. Go back to bed, winter isn’t leaving.

    As humans, we understand what it’s like to be woken early when there was no reason. Grizzlies feel the same way. Especially when there is no breakfast berries for them.

    Go back to sleep, Ted. Mother Nature hasn’t made up her mind yet.

  6. The bear seems comfortable, although still uneasy. I give it a mental pat and a surge of warmth. It relaxes. I have been in the bear’s skin and brain for fifteen minutes now. Half an hour is my limit.

    The bear gives no indication of knowing that it is in captivity, that the pond is artificial, that the forest around it was copied exactly from its natural habitat. It recognizes the scents that reach its inquiring nose as familiar. It does not know that I am here, a presence in its mind, experiencing everything that it experiences. All is well, and my shift is almost over.

    And yet, once again, I cannot seem to shake the vague sense of being watched. The feeling is all mine. It does not come from the bear. The feeling becomes less vague, and then it is blotted out by a strong feeling of…something. Something warm, comforting. Remarkably similar to the way a mental pat feels to the bear.

    I just had a strange thought. Could it be, is it possible, that we are being observed by superior alien beings just as we, the guardians of the zoo, observe the Earth creatures? No. Not possible… Is it?

  7. Joshua started down the hill. It was a path he had trod for many years. Down to the river he went to fish as he had for years. The season wasn’t quite right for it, but the day was warm, the sun was out and he felt compelled to get one last trip in before winter took hold.

    His mother had taught him everything he knew about fishing. How to sit still on the bank and watch the water for ripples. How to read the shadows for good hiding places. How to the shimmer of the water could blind you if not careful.

    As he emerged from the woods to the riverbank, he saw a crowd of people, cameras in hand. Joshua was immediately the center of attention.
    He turned away and headed back up the hill and headed back to his den. There would be no fishing today.

    Definitely the wrong season.

  8. Grizzly

    When my brother Tommy was about nine, he came home from school with a bloody nose, the next day he came home with a black eye, and the next all scratched up with torn clothing. My mother finally got Tommy to tell her it was 12-year-old Donnie Bollinger who lived across the street who was mad at him. He was angry about Tommy telling our mother that Donnie himself was the one who stole the money from his mother’s purse. Donnie’s mother was blaming another neighbor boy.

    My mother had always told Tommy not to fight or hit back and he obediently was not fighting back. The boys were the same height even with the two years difference in age. The mother bear came out in our mother who told him “to hit him as hard as you can.”

    The next day Donnie tried to hit Tommy, Tommy hit him first a hard blow. Donnie never did fight with him again.


    My name is Brianna, and I was raised by a grizzly bear mama for five months. Aside from a few scratches and a special love for deep, earthy scents, there’s nothing different about me to prove that this ever happened.

    My parents went camping when I was just over a year old. Robbers came during the night and took Mom and Dad’s RV and supplies, leaving them tied up. My parents thought they kidnapped me, and reported me missing as soon as they could.

    They didn’t realize that a bereaved she-bear had adopted me as her own. It is believed that I drank bear milk for five months. I wandered off, afraid and crying, sometime during the robbery. This was confirmed by the thugs that attacked my parents, when they were eventually caught.

    I am now 19 years old, and have almost no memory of that time. I remember being very warm, running in the sun, being enveloped in an endless mass of fur. Mama Bear must have realized there was something different about me, that I wasn’t an actual cub.

    She left me by a campsite one night, with some young people. The older girls, amazed, wrapped me in a blanket and called the rangers.

    I was still in the same vicinity where I wandered off. The rangers remembered my story and called my parents, who were beyond overjoyed. No one ever thought to search for me among the bears.

  10. “Shoot,shoot!” Ed whispered to Mike,watching the grizzly move closer to where the two men hid behind a large boulder.
    “I can’t ,” Mike whispered back, “my gun is jammed.”
    Ed’s head whipped around to Mike’s face, then whipped back to the grizzly. He knew who would win.


    “You won, you got it! ” Mikes friend yelled…Mike looked blank,”The lottery in Wyoming , they drew your name to get a grizzly tag.

    The odd thing was my didn’t really like to hunt anymore, if he ever did. But he grew up hunting.

    What were the odds so many people had entered the lottery , just to keep one ticket away from a hunter.
    In Wyoming, Mike met Ed a photographer who grew up around the parks. He won a tag, but was going to shoot photos.

    Ed and Mike hit it off, and stayed up late talking.

    The next day was uneventful for Mike. He never even spotted a grizzly.

    Then they rounded a corner, and almost ran into the oldest grizzly in the park.

    After Mike’s gun jammed, Ed thought of a risky tactic. He took his expensive camera and brought a video of a male grizzly courting a female. he put the playback on a minute delay and told Mike what direction to go fast….

    At the truck Ed said to Mike “Whatever story you want to tell, I’ll back it up.” They smiled knowing they would be lifelong friends.

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