Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Build

this is the place building SLC Utah 1995 Flash fiction prompt 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Build”


    A Lost Paradox

    Several workers had gathered to build new log homes for the community. Since they were building these homes near a known archaeological site, a State-appointed archaeologist was on hand to oversee any discoveries.

    While they were digging a foundation for one of the homes, two workers discovered something unusual.

    “Ay! Caramba!” one of them exclaimed. “Manuel, look!”

    To their astonishment, the workers had uncovered a piece of shale rock that contained a preserved 20-inch long human footprint that was next to a three-toed, 30-inch long dinosaur footprint. Both footprints had been made at the same time and in the same layer of rock sometime in the remote past.

    Surprised by their discovery, the two workers carefully freed the shale rock containing both sets of footprints from the surrounding rock bed and carried it to the archaeologist’s trailer.

    Once in the archaeologist’s presence, one of the workers exclaimed, “Señor, you must see.”

    When the archaeologist saw the footprints, he questioned the workers thoroughly as to the location of their find. Having ascertained the information he required, he thanked the two workers and then bid them to leave.

    Once the workers were gone, the archaeologist retrieved a hammer and smashed the footprints into a dozen pieces. Then he placed them inside a box and locked it. Tomorrow he intended to destroy the rest of the footprints at the site.

    The State must not only control the present and the future, it must also control the past.

  2. In 2014 a tornado took out half the old barn. It also damaged the produce store and one corner of the house, but those were minor issues.

    This is Mennonite country. When disaster takes down a barn all the neighbours gather the next day for a “barn raising”. It doesn’t matter if they are from the same sect.

    How long does it take to “raise a barn”? Don’t laugh. This one took four days. I know. I was there.

    They looked askance when I offered to help with whatever the women do. After all, I wasn’t one of them. What would I know about cooking for such a group, or about how they organize such events. But they didn’t say no. By the third day I had earned a grudging respect. I knew my way around a kitchen.

    A side test came when I was told the men would be served first and we would have to wait to eat until they had finished. My hostess raised a surprised, but approving eyebrow at my answer. “Of course. They’re doing the hard work.”

    Four days to build a barn that rivals any around. And only three to build bridges across two cultures. When the produce store re-opened the owner asked for my advice.

    “Should we put the windmill sign back up?”

    “Definitely,” I said, “It’s your landmark. It’s what your customers look for as they drive by.”

    They put it back up. It remains there to this day.

  3. “Contemporary or classic?”


    “That wasn’t a choice.”

    “There is always one. That would depend on how you want it maintained after the build.”

    “…and who will manage.”

    In grief, it was difficult reaching consensus now that we were all adults, married to folks bereft of our historical ties. Some of us lived oceans away now. In deciding to construct on this bequeathed acreage, sometimes the sibling with the largest bank account also had the most persuasive (read: loudest) voice.

    As for me, having lived longest on the outside, I held no opinion. It was down to the three who lived closest to the site, two of whom harbored sentimental pangs of what ought to be the best way of honoring the generation just passed.

    “You should have thought of honoring them in life,” I thought but didn’t bother articulating.

    “Practicality,” is what I heard myself say instead. “Mom would not have wanted to burden us. Why do you think she opted to die abroad while with me? She was resigned to her fate and didn’t relish the fuss over a display of how the cancer ravaged through her.”

    “Of course, there is always the private mausoleum at the church. She chaired their fund-raising campaign. Custodial and security are already built in.”

    “But what do we do with this land?”

    “Donate and get the write-off?”

    “Invest the proceeds.”

    “Sell not construct. Support hopes for a rainy-day bucket to draw from. No objection to that!”

    “Let it happen then.”


  4. “Scraping the bark off logs? This is supposed to teach us something?”

    “According to Management, it’s a Team Building Exercise.”

    “What are we supposed to be building?”

    “A team, Dummy. This is supposed to teach us to succeed as a team.”

    “All I’m learning is I shouldn’t have worn my office clothes today. My shoes will never be the same again.”

    “Scrape faster. Team A is gaining on us.”

    “Why me? Why don’t you scrape faster?”

    “Because I have a better idea. We’ll change the letters from Team B to Team A on enough of the logs to put us ahead.”

    “Oh, ho. Pretty clever.”

    Other than a slight mix-up and a minor misunderstanding, the scheme might have worked. If only Team B had not mistakenly changed the letters in favor of their rivals…. If only Management had not seen what Team B did….

    What Team B had done, in management’s opinion, was level the playing field for the less adept Team A. Management had never seen such a disgusting display of sportsmanship. This unheard of event would be brought up at board meetings for years to come.

    The members of Team A moved on to Phase 2 of the training exercises. The members of Team B, at last report, were signing up for unemployment benefits while contemplating the meaning of the phrase “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive…”.

  5. After our temple’s fiery destruction, the elders decided we should rebuild in the wilderness.

    So we worked with little rest, laying the foundation, cutting and setting timbers, adding walls and a roof. We adorned the interior with brilliant stained glass and intricate woodwork. Finally we moved our sacred relics from their hiding place to our holy space.

    When our new building was complete, we filed inside to worship and offer prayers of thanksgiving. We had barely knelt when our sentries sounded the alarm. From the dark woods poured the blue-eyed, yellow-haired barbarians, waving their swastikas and torches, shooting their rifles and pistols.

    We initiated our practiced response. Mothers and children hurried into the safe room. The rest of us reached beneath our benches to pull forth our weapons – automatic rifles, grenades, machine guns, even rocket launchers.

    We rushed to our assigned locations behind metal-plated, reinforced walls and bullet-proof windows. Carefully, we aimed through the pre-built firing slots. Then we began launching deadly fusillades at the bewildered attackers.

    About half of them dropped before the rest retreated toward the forest. There, our mop-up units waited to decimate them.

    Not one member of our congregation fell wounded. Our victory complete, we returned to our seats to finish our worship, knowing we were safe at last.

  6. The Crew

    As the crew boss, I was responsible for getting the roof done today. Things were not going well. Jim was late again. This time he reeked of beer and had an attitude. He also shunned the white shirt tradition by wearing a black one.

    I ignored him, hoped the others would shame him into behaving. By 10:00 am, it was clear that didn’t work.

    Jonathon, Abraham, and Jim were preparing a rafter when Jim hollered “Hey, Johnny boy, do that there tail cut. Now!”

    “We don’t do the tail cut ‘til all the rafters are installed,” Johnathon yelled back.

    “It will save time, dummy.”

    “That’s not our way of doing it,” injected Abraham.

    “Stupid, what’d you know?” The whole crew stopped to see what would happen next.

    “Jim! A word,” I called and walked away.

    Jim followed and when out of earshot I asked, “What’s going on, Jim?”

    “I’m doing your job since you don’t have the brains to do it faster.”

    “Not now,” I said.

    “Why not? You ‘fraid I’ll show you up?”


    “My way is the only way the roof gets done today.”

    “Jim, you’re done for the day.”

    “What? You firing me? Good luck on gettin’ done today.”

    “If we work together we have a chance. If we fight, we don’t. We don’t need your kind of help”. I said, hating this part of my job.

    Jim stormed off. I looked forward to hammering nails.

    We finished at 5:07 pm.

  7. BUILD

    America was built on the backs of strong men and women who farmed and tilled the land around them. My mother’s grandmother Elizabeth Ann Browning born October 25, 1854, married John Ballenger Garrison to whom she bore 17 children which included one set of twins Jehu and Elihu. One daughter Rachel lived from 1880 to 1982. Her youngest was stillborn. I know her father was John D. Browning born February 12, 1823 and died January 3, 1896. Her mother was Lucenda who was born May 25, 1823. No record of her death or how many children they had other than Elizabeth.

    On October 25, 1935, I was born on Elizabeth Ann Browning’s birthday. It makes me wonder what kind of person she was. Did she really want all those children. A man prided himself in how many sons he had. Those living in the cities lost many children the first couple of years of life from various diseases. Those with Rh negative blood were lucky to have one or two live.

    Life in Kentucky has never been easy. Elizabeth and John gave birth to my grandfather, their firstborn, September 21, 1871, and he died July 9, 1957, a month after I graduated from Pepperdine College. By the time I was born, L.D. was living in California, and he and my grandmother were making a reasonable living by building cabins and houses. They then rented them out to the poor who moved into Chowchilla, California.

  8. It was a combination modern home and a log cabin. It’s the newest in architecture and design. All the rustic-ness of living in the woods with the creatures with all the creature comforts of living in suburbia.

    The only problem is finding the men to build it.

    The men worked very hard and very long hours shaving the tree bark off the trunks, finding and fitting just the right logs for the right places. They were very proud of this masterpiece of construction, but that didn’t stop them from coming up with jokes, the worse the better.

    It, naturally, all began with references to Abe Lincoln. “We’re using Lincoln Logs!” Someone shouted.

    “Maybe we should be wearing stove-pipe hats rather than hard hats.”

    “Will the fence be white-picket or split rails?”

    The guys laughed at each effort at humor. Little did they ever think anything they learned in history class or in English class would come in handy as construction workers. That all came to an end when John posed a conundrum.

    “If we’re building a building, basically, when it is completed it will be ‘built,’ right?”

    The guys grunted in agreement.

    “So why will it be called a building? Why not a built?”

    Everyone froze. Why wouldn’t it be called a built? They’re on a build, they are building, the finished product will be built …

    The foreman yelled at the workers, “Snap out of it before I have you guys sawing the logs with a hatchet!”


    Samuel Johnson was in love with his sweetheart, Minnie Pearl. He started building a house for her, log by log, and put a deep hole right in the middle. He built up a fine seat on top of the hole, where she could feel quite comfortable. He painted everything her favorite color, dusty rose, inside and out.

    Samuel put on his Sunday best suit, on a fine July evening before sunset. He got down on one knee before Mr. Pearl, “Can I have your pretty daughter’s hand in marriage?”

    “If you’ll get up and ask me like a man, I’ll think about it!” said Mr. Pearl.

    Minnie started to faint and everyone ran to catch her.

    “What can you offer my daughter?” asked Mr. Pearl, after Minnie came to.

    Samuel rocked on his heels, grinning, and holding his cap to his chest, said, “I’m building her a house.”

    When they arrived there, the Pearls could hardly believe their eyes. “Do you call this a house? Is this a joke? A doll house?”

    “Oh, no,” said Sammy, “It’s just an outhouse, but you can’t live without one!”

    “It’s the loveliest outhouse I’ve ever seen!” cried Minnie.

    “And there’s more where that came from,” said Sammy.

    “More outhouses?” growled Mr. Pearl.

    “Oh, no, more rooms!” said Sammy, proudly, “Me and my friends is gonna build the rest of this house before summer’s end!”

    It was Mrs. Pearl’s turn to faint.

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