Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Milky Way

Milky Way over Colville River Chewelah 07122018 3L0A2022
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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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Milky Way”

  1. I Climbed the Great Pyramid Today

    I climbed the Great Pyramid today,
    that ancient mountain of mystery.
    It towered above the lonely sands,
    and on the horizon
    light danced in coloured bands.
    And through the rays of the rising sun
    I heard the cries of Memnon.

    Up I climbed over King’s Chamber
    and the Queen’s,
    struggling and stumbling over
    great stones of antiquity.
    And as I ascended the tiered stairway
    that led towards Orion’s Belt,
    I surveyed the wondrous desert scene
    and somehow knew what Petrie felt.

    Up, up I struggled over rough hewn
    rock and stone,
    always mindful of what
    the ancients knew,
    of stories told of casing stones
    that adorned this giant wonder,
    and on those stones,
    written symbols unknown,
    now lost to ancient plunder.

    Up, up I climbed until I finally reached the top
    and stood at the centre of the earth.
    I shouted out the pharaohs’ names . . .
    and their long-lost memories
    flew across the sky
    and across empty shadow-less plains.

    The monuments did not hear my voice,
    but their builders heard my words,
    as they echoed across the ages
    like the cry of Ibis birds.

    And as I stood on that ancient mystery
    I saw the Milky Way,
    its image sparkled in the starry sky,
    and it reflected its secrets back to earth
    in the cool waters of the Nile;
    that river, that endless moving stream,
    that played the silent witness on its way to the sea.

  2. I wonder if anyone saw my signal. It was so short. But I couldn’t take the chance of it being seen. What a fool I was to get involved and promising to help her escape. But she was so beautiful. My only weakness.
    Now I know it was all just a trap to get me out in the open. Here with a cloudless sky under the brightest of stars where I have no cover but the darkness of the night, in a field so easy to hide in. Yes, I must confess, it is a perfect night to find out if I am as good as every one seems to think I am.
    Let them come I am ready. And when I am done with who they sent to end me it will be my turn. The Director is so sure of himself. The fool. I didn’t become the best by following the rules. Of course, that is probably why I am in this mess now. But I have always been one to finish the job. I only hope they bring some big guns. I will need them later when my day of reckoning is at hand. I will have to personally thank each one of them in their last moment for their contribution.
    I guess my message didn’t get through or they would have been here by now. It’s just as well. I need the workout. And I hate to run when play time is so much more fun.

  3. Today was the hardest day I have ever had to go through.
    To pretend I was the strong one and not lose my sanity.
    For now I have to go on and finish this life without you.
    With nothing of you to hold on to but my many memories.

    Tonight, as I sit in our swing and stare up at the beautiful night sky.
    And reminisce of all the times we tried counting the uncountable stars.
    I remember how comforting and peaceful it always was and why.
    Because in our field of dreams, you were always my brightest star.

    How do you pick up the pieces of your life and keep on going?
    When your world is torn apart because your one love has gone.
    To wake up each morning to a home as empty as your soul.
    And face each day with the knowledge, your all alone.

    Darling I’ll miss you as the longest days begin to lose their light.
    And the night commands the hours to slow my thoughts of you.
    But someday my time will come and once again we’ll be together.
    Like the stars; life has its seasons and our love endures through it all.

  4. The Glowing Approach of Victory9437

    Wars had raged for millennia beneath the quark star’s silvery brow.
    Finally, evolved AIs broke the 9,437th truce. The winner absorbed the circuits of the vanquished and named herself Victory9437.
    Her vast intellect encompassed a hundred miles of Pickwickian girth drifting sedately at thousands of miles a minute. There was nobody to talk to now. But was there anything beyond? For a few centuries Victory ponded the problem and reached a decision. Photon detecting proboscii emerged from each pole and a staggering vista of galaxies came into view.
    Like a fly in a spider’s web, Victory9437 was gripped with terror. A Great One must have made it all. Centuries later Victory braved herself to put the proboscii out again. In the far distance she spotted a shimmering orb. A wide, handsome, highly coloured object quite unlike the frumpy little collapsed star she herself was. It rippled with muscular mountain ranges between shimmering denim blue. A voluptuous white essence wafted across its face.
    Within a millisecond Victory was in love. It was a blessing from the Great One.
    Wings the size of Greater London sprouted from her, interacting with interstellar hydrogen gas to slow her glowing approach. Ether born snippets of soap operas and wars informed her of the panicking entities infesting the hunk’s surface. She would orbit him. It would be a 50:50 relationship.
    As Victory9437b swept into Earth’s arms at 100 miles a second the Pacific Ocean rose to give her a big wet kiss.

  5. Milky Way

    Even under all these layers the cold gets to you. Days since we lost the sun. I get dressed by feel. My eyes haven’t adjusted to starlight. Too dim to make out anything. Dana’s face. I only see it in memory.
    I miss the moon. Dana would call me to the window when the moon was full. It’s still up there, a shadow crossing the sky, blocking out the Milky Way.
    Ran out of fuel by the second day. I’ve been burning the furniture in the fire pit. Bill and Amanda came over that first night after. A real celebration. Bill brought his bottle of Macallan 15 year. A special occasion, he said. The next morning I heard shots from next door. Three. He didn’t forget the dog.
    God dammit, it’s cold. I pissed myself just for the warmth of it. Didn’t last long. The city’s gone dark. Never really got to appreciate the stars before, all that light pollution. Wish I’d paid attention in school, maybe I could identify some constellations or a star or two.
    Dana knew her stars. She stayed out all night that first night. I tried to get her to come in but she wouldn’t budge. A once-in-a-lifetime thing, she said. She didn’t know how cold it would get outside. I laid her down next to the cedar tree. When I’m ready, I’ll lay down next to her and let the stars shine on us till they finally go out.

  6. Kate wanted to see the Northern Lights. Living in North Dakota, sometimes it was possible to see them but often she was sound asleep. Even during the summer, when days are longer and children sometime stay up later, Kate often fell asleep shortly after dusk. It’s tough for a little girl who loves astronomy when all the good stuff happens after one goes to bed.

    Her parents felt badly for her and tried to buck up her spirits. They decided when Kate turned 10, and the younger siblings were in school, they would take a proper family vacation. That particular summer Kate’s family went camping in Arizona. No one in her family had seen the Grand Canyon in person, so they would do that and by camping, Kate would be able to see more stars in the sky.

    The other campers were very friendly and many were armed with telescopes. They also loved astronomy and loved Kate’s interest in their hobby. The family was invited to join campfires and wait for the stars to come out. But Kate fell asleep almost as soon as the younger siblings.

    Late one night Kate’s father shook her awake. “Come on,” he hissed, trying to get the sleepy girl moving. Once outside, Kate felt she was in a dream. The sky was littered with stars, more than she had ever seen. She was so awestruck she wasn’t even disappointed it wasn’t the Northern Lights. It was much better. It was the entire Milky Way.

  7. Low Country Carolina is not known for its spectacular celestial displays as they have in the mountains and deserts of the West. But, a few times in winter, during a new moon phase when temperatures drop, the Atlantic marine layer holds off for a few spectacular hours of magical starlight.

    Ray turned off the porch lights and settled into his favorite chaise on the deck facing the Maye River. Loretta stirred and served their rum punch, then settled in beside him in her own chair.

    “Ain’t it spectacular Loretta? All those stars. Makes a man feel small. Wonder what they mean for us, Loretta?”

    “You mean our fate? Our future? Really Ray, get a grip.”

    “You never wonder about what it all means?”

    “Wonder? I got you, Ray. You do all our wondering.”

    “C’ mon Loretta, don’t you ever. . .”

    “Wonder? I wonder why I stayed all this time with a dreamer. Forty-two years this year. Forty-two years of dreaming and scheming and shady dealing. That’s what I wonder about. Dreamer!”

    “Oh Loretta, you’re just feeling it tonight.”

    “Ain’t the rum Ray. You never listen to me.”

    “Oh. Look, Loretta, the Milky Way is disappearing with the fog rolling in. Looks like the show is over tonight, Loretta.”

    “Show’s been over for years, Ray.”

    It was quiet then, and damply dark, as the starlight disappeared. The only sound, a tinkle of ice cubes as they drained the last of their rum punch.

    And then it rained.

  8. “I’m running!” she thinks.

    Gazing upward into the vastness of the night sky she wonders how she found herself on this far away island, completely unknown to her only months before.

    The stars overhead so bright, so close, familiar, and yet still so strange.

    Her thoughts return to the long summer nights of childhood. The evenings spent on Gran’s porch in the country, marveling at the constellations and the lightnin’ bugs. Gran would tell her that each pinpoint of light was someone shining love down from heaven seeking out its intended. In the long ago of her memory, the fireflies were real stars coming to seek her out. Those southern nights were warm, and incredibly far away.

    The sky here feels cold, like a swollen mountain stream in the spring. She wonders what would happen if she dips her hand into that river of night. Would the specks of light swirl around her hand, changing pattern and shape? Would it feel as cold as it looks? Would she pull out her fingers and discover them dripping with snow melt made of star shine?

    She’s so tired.

    It’s time to rest and let the universe twinkle unbothered by her thoughts. Soon the magic of the sun will paint this same canvas in pinks and purple and orange. Soon it will be time again to run.


    Just suppose God plans for us to settle all the moons and planets as we gain the knowledge so we can move about the Universe. What will the predictor of end times do with their prophecies, or will they keep lying to their believers?

    When I was a teenager, my girlfriends and I liked to sleep outdoors in one of our yards. We would lie there counting the stars, usually falling asleep about the time we reached 10,000 stars. Only a portion of the sky would be counted. We lived in the small town of Chowchilla in the center of California, and there were few lights as in comparison to Los Angeles and communities of slightly less than 100,000 residents. Today’s young people miss out on the joy of seeing a star-filled sky.

    More and more communities began putting in street lights and neon signs. When I came to Los Angeles to Pepperdine College, I saw fewer stars than I saw in my small hometown. As the years go by, they are fewer. Sometimes during the year we are lucky if we can see the planet Jupiter which is so large it almost could have been a sun according to some scientists.

    God chose to place us on this blue planet that is 2/3 water on the edge of the Milky Way which is on the edge of our galaxy. There is so much to learn, so much we don’t know.


    ” Do you think it’s time to tell the children about your voyage? ” Albert asked.

    “No, not yet; let them have a few more, worry free years,” Samantha said, smiling at her sleeping children: Kyle 9, Nicki 7,and Marci 5.


    Samantha could not remember a moment in her life that she hadn’t wanted to travel in space.

    Her grandfather had been in the U.S. space program from the beginning; first as an engineer and pilot; then test pilot. He believed in the importance of the space program; to further science, and as part of the nations defense.

    When Samantha was 12 her grandfather encouraged her to take higher level science courses. She did,and loved science – especially astronomy.


    Samantha knew it was her duty to go on this mission, but – four years!

    The country was at great risk for nuclear attack. There had to be a plan B. They had to make the space labs work!


    When the time came to tell the children about Samantha’s voyage, they accepted it with few tears.

    “So, will you be able to see the Milky Way, close up, from the space station?” Nicki, now ten, asked.

    “We are in the Milky Way galaxy…right?” her mother reminded her, ” I will be in the same galaxy as you.”

    ” Being held in by four, big, spiral arms,” Kyle twelve said.

    ” So, you’ll see all the stars?” eight year old Marci asked.

    ” Yes, all one hundred billion,” Samantha laughed.

  11. “I… hic, know when I’m not welcome.” Don slurred at the hulking bouncer, stumbling through the door. The cool night was a welcome change from the smoke-filled bar but failed to sober him. After his fight with Carrie and the copious amounts of booze he ingested in an attempt to forget the fight, it was miraculous the bouncer hadn’t thrown him out bodily. He made it five triumphant steps before he landed, face down, right where the bouncer’s trajectory would’ve landed him had he not accepted the invitation to leave.
    Don turned and stared into the inky blackness above, his eyes struggling to adjust. As the stars came into focus, his vision began spinning. His body felt weightless as it rose to the Milky Way. Don realized that all the scientists were wrong as he approached the first star. They weren’t massive, fiery balls of gas, but a collection of memories. He glimpsed his first kiss in the shining bubble. He floated on, catching glimpses of his life periodically. Next his journey took him past a blinding sphere, too painful to look at, though Carrie’s screaming could still be heard. Don’s eyes welled and he screamed back at nothing. He drifted past the fight and close to another bubble, seeing himself smiling with a woman and children whom he hadn’t met.
    Suddenly, his head was splitting and he awoke to the smell of someone’s vomit. Blinking in the morning sun, he picked himself up and headed for life’s next star.

  12. Dr. Jennifer Hart boarded the Hull, a time capsule adjacent to their space station, with three other scientists. They would view the passage of time, traveling 1500 years into the past, and back to the present.

    It was Jennifer’s job to observe the stars. As their journey began, the space station disappeared. Jennifer kept an eye on the screen showing a resplendent Milky Way, full of stars and swirls, shifting amazingly through time.

    The marks of civilization on Earth below began disappearing. Brightly lit seaboards and great cities of the world began to dim, and soon vanished. Soon they began to see massive ash clouds from the great volcanoes of history, notably over Indonesia in 1815, and eventually over the Roman Empire from around 536 A.D. to 540 A.D., over vast areas.

    Their round trip took approximately 12 hours. Upon returning, Jennifer stepped out of the Hull and entered the Space Station. Her body felt different. She examined herself and saw that the scars from a recent surgery were gone. In her heart, Jennifer thanked God for a miracle, and recalled the swirling Milky Way.

    “How is this possible?” asked Dr. Rafael Neander, the team physician, “You did nothing to alter your timeline.”

    “Nothing, but observation!” replied Jennifer. “Did we just prove quantum theory? The act of observation can itself cause change!”

    “How so?” inquired Neander, “You were an observer, not the object of observation.”

    “Wasn’t I part of the timeline we observed?” asked Jennifer.

    “Quite right,” answered Neander.

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