Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Pronghorn

flash fiction prompt pronghorns copyright KS Brooks sm
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.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

14 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Pronghorn”

  1. “Where is there a man when you need one, Bonny?”

    “Do not know, Ann. Ours, Ed, now that he has impregnated all four of us twice has left.”

    Clair said, “They all can just stay away. We are all good and pregnant now. What is our need for them?”

    Dee agreed, “Good reddens to them all!”

    Both Ann and Bonny vigorously nodded their heads in agreement.

    Ed’s harem of four doe pronghorns went on and on like this for some time.

    “I will never allow a buck to do that to me again, ladies,” Ann declared!

    “Right on,” Bonny vowed!

    “Me either, sisters,” said Clair.

    “Like I said, ‘Good reddens,’” Dee bleated loudly!

    Suddenly it came upon them. It was an enticing and familiar odor. The does without saying a word casually wandered in its direction.

    An adult male pronghorn had just finished pawing the ground to create a cleared spot. Frank, with his large, black gland on his jaw below his eye had marked objects in the cleared space. When Frank saw the four females come over the crest, he displayed the gland to them.

    Seeing this signal, Ann, Bonny, Clair, and Dee quickly scampered toward Frank simultaneously.

    “I wonder if any of us will have triplets,” said Ann?

    “I hope we all will, “exclaimed Bonny!

    Clare and Dee both bleated their agreement.

    “Ob la di, ob-la-da, life goes on, bra
    La-la, how the life goes on” by the Beatles from their 1968 “White Album.”


    “Great putt, Lorenzo!” Vic beamed. “Now back to the clubhouse before those clouds decide to dump its cargo.”

    “Thanks, Dad. I’m driving.”

    Father and son rushed to the golf cart parked just outside the 18th green, secured their clubs in golf bags behind it, and prepped to depart.

    BUMP! The cart lunged forward. Lorenzo looked over his shoulder. It was an unusual hoofed animal that came from nowhere.

    BUMP! Lorenzo turned the key and drove off. The creature followed along, speeding up to keep pace with them.

    “What was that? Looks like some large goat!”

    “Goat? More like an antelope, Dad!”

    “Really, Rudolph in the middle of the golf course?”

    “I said antelope not reindeer.”

    “It’s not letting up. I am on full pedal to the metal mode. Like it is challenging us to a race.”

    “Challenge accepted. Stay on the path, Lorenzo.”

    Vic threw a wafer towards the pursuer hoping to slow it down. Rudolph stopped to nibble allowing both a wider advantage. Then it looked up, searching for its prey, leaped and dashed towards the wheeled pair, closing the gap easily.

    “Throw another one, Dad. Clubhouse is within range, just up the bend.”

    Vic threw more cookies while Lorenzo focused on reaching the promised land.

    Upon parking, both hastily grabbed their clubs, rushing into the building while scouting for any sign of Rudolph.

    He was now eyeing them from the nearby practice putting green, still chewing.

    “Oh, I see you’ve met Dasher, our resident pronghorn!” blurted the caddy.

  3. I gently adjusted the knob on my sight, viewing my prey only two hundred yards distant.
    The largest head in the herd perked up. His pronghorns proudly stabbing into the air.
    Then, he relaxes and continues to nibble on the tuffs of shrub underfoot.
    The cross hairs were right where they should be, middle of torso just behind the front leg.
    I gently pressed my finger against the trigger and breathed in.
    What if he flinched? I thought. My bullet not striking his heart and only delivering a wounding blow. He would run, for sure. Maybe even beyond where I could find him. Left as feast for wolves or bobcats.
    What am I doing here? I contemplated. Ready to kill a magnificent animal as though its life did not matter. Was it simply to place another trophy on the wall?
    Readying my shot, I shook the thought from me.
    The great head of the pronghorn rose again.
    Turning in my direction, it was as though he sensed my presence and my purpose.
    Two hundred yards and I could see into his dark eyes.
    Again, I visited missing my shot and sending a wounded animal to certain death somewhere in the valley.
    I imaged a pack of wolves attacking the beast from every angle, tearing into flesh and bone with their sharp fangs.
    Those eyes … those big dark eyes knowing death was near.
    Suddenly, I stood.
    He snorted and bowed his head as the band scattered.

  4. ‘C’mon deer, you know you want to. The kids are almost grown and we have to maintain the population – whaddya say?’
    ‘We’ve a long journey ahead and have to conserve our energy, besides you’re fickle and I can’t trust you for a minute. You say you’re going down the valley to inspect your territory, but I’m not stupid, besides I am the one that has to look after the kids whilst you strut around as if you own the place.’
    ‘You know I’ve only ever had eyes for you deer. This land is wild and I’m the one keeping the peace so you can rest easy with the liitle’uns: they’re fast enough to outrun a coyote now, so we can have a little fun time.’
    ‘And what about the land that you are supposed to keep fertile and free from pests? We eat anything no-one else wants and the water’s foul. I think we need to leave this land and find somewhere safe to live with better prospects for the kids.’
    ‘We have this argument every year beloved: why can’t you accept the inevitable? Nothings gonna change, so we just gotta make the best of it. I doo like you when you’re feisty.’
    ‘Are all your senses concentrated in one area; can’t you see what’s happening around us? Our water is being slowly polluted and the land becoming barren, even the air seems tainted, making it harder to run.
    ‘Okay kids, last one to the water hole’s a cissy.’

  5. “Hey, Rico, take a look at the muscle car that just pulled around the corner onto County Line Road,” shouted Antonio, the pronghorn. They’d been grazing on the range between Alpine and Fort Davis, Texas, watching the racing crowd gather for the night’s festivities.
    “You mean the blue one? The Chevy?” replied Rico.
    “Yeah. It’s a 2019 Camaro. Last I read, the top-of-the line—”
    “Whoa, whoa, good buddy. What’s this ‘last I read’ stuff?”
    “Well, the hands down at the Dawson Ranch left a copy of Car and Driver at the barn yesterday,” said Antonine, “so while I was helping myself to some water at the trough, I paged through the rag and read up on the latest reports. Anyway, if that’s the ZL1, the car has a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that’ll reach 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds.”
    “That’s pretty good. It’d certainly give me a run for the money. Last week I overheard a woman along the fence say she clocked me doing 57 miles an hour when I raced that big red monster—”
    “You mean the Dodge Challenger? You didn’t stand a chance, Rico. The limited-production Demon is rated at 840 horsepower.”
    “Sheesh! Somedays it doesn’t pay to stop grazing, Antonio.”
    “I know. Oh, look, Rico! The Camaro’s being challenged by a Ford Mustang. But even the 526 horsepower Coyote’s going to have a rough time of it.”
    “I know. I think I’ll sit this one out!”
    “I’m with you on that!”

  6. “Dad! We crawled all the way up this ridge for a small herd of does? Where’s my buck?”

    “Easy son. It’s just after the rut so they all lose their horns. That goat in the middle looks large and dominant. Let me show you a trick.

    The father reached into his Carhartt and pulled out a white cotton rag and tied it to the muzzle of his son’s 3030.

    “Goat bucks are protective, but curious. Keep your head down and hold your piece high. I’ll tell you when to look.”

    Minutes passed, then. “Ok, now peek just over the grass line.”

    “Oh, yeah! Dad! It’s working! Here he comes”.

    “Now, patience, son. You will have a direct shot to his chest. But he will still be a small target at that range. DON’T MOVE! That is, until I tell you to with one action: lower the barrel and fire. You are competing with the fastest, best-sighted animal on American soil.”

    “Roger that, Dad.”

    Another short eternity for a young man awaiting his first antelope kill.

    “Oh, no, no! NOW, SON! NOW!”

    As junior dropped the barrel toward his prey and raised his upper torso from its prone position, the expected target seemed to have disappeared. All he could see in the grassy plain was a furious swirl of dust and sage from a spot 150 yards away, and panicked does.

    “Wolves got there first. Antelope may be fast but they’re a little dumb. We can’t always fool Mother Nature.”

  7. The coyotes had them surrounded on three sides. A huge cliff rose on the fourth side. Moose, the largest of the pronghorns, acted much more confident than he felt. It was up to him to lead the does to safety. But he had no answer. The coyotes had them trapped. There was no escape.

    Then Moose heard three gunshots, then three more. It wasn’t enough that the coyotes had surrounded them, now they were being shot at. They were surely doomed.

    Then he heard two more shots and realized that the shots were not being fired at them but at the coyotes. The coyotes were panicking, running in circles, howling and barking. At the first break, Moose lead the does in a mad dash past the coyotes, the pronghorns’ speed rapidly increasing until the coyotes were lost in the distance and they were forced to hunt elsewhere for their dinner.

    The coyotes would not starve, and the pronghorns were safe. The lone hunter smiled. He considered his work done.

  8. Some adventure, this drive across the high prairie to Las Vegas, speeding straight ahead with jagged mountains on the horizon. Together they had decided eloping was necessary but it was also a lark, a chance to break free.

    Instead, they were stuck on the side of the road. Shelly, slight and 19, stood outside holding onto the door of the Ford Ranger, retching from morning sickness that wouldn’t quit.

    Darrel jumped from the driver’s seat and engulfed Shelly in a bear hug. She was slick from the heat and the vomiting.

    “So sorry,” she mumbled. “Not the way it’s supposed to be.”

    “It’s okay,” Darrel said happily. “We’re on the road. Look, pronghorns.”

    Shelly cast a baleful glance at the sleek animals out on the prairie, then closed her eyes as another wave of retching contorted her young body.

    “I want to go home,” she said, tears leaking from her eyes.

    “Can’t,” said Darrel. “Not right now. We can do this.”

    Darrel, taller by a head than Shelly, scooped her up and deposited her back in the truck.

    “Let’s go,” he said, pulling onto the highway. As he pushed on the gas, the pronghorns sprinted alongside them. “They’re the fastest animals around and we’re going to beat them.”

    Shelly looked over at Darrel, joy spreading across his face.

    “You know I love you,” said Shelly, her stomach calm for now.

    They laughed as they rolled along, the pronghorns far behind, the future straight ahead.

  9. I am Rosie Benson, and if I never see another pronghorn, it will be too soon. The eldest of three daughters, I shared a one-room cabin with Mama, Papa and my sisters. Since they had no boys, Papa chose me to bring on his overnight hunting trips. Or so he said.

    At home, I was safe from Papa’s twisted desires, but out in the wilderness, he could do as he pleased. “You say a word, girlie, and I’ll cut your tongue out, sure as I carve up the pronghorn. I’ll just say an outlaw done it.”

    It started when I was 12 years old. Sometimes we were gone for two or three nights. By the time I was 14, I could handle a shotgun as well as Papa. Sometimes I was tempted to turn the gun on him, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I did pray that God would strike him down.

    It didn’t happen by lightning, but a rattlesnake struck that man one night at our campsite. We had a fresh kill and had planned to leave at dawn. But Papa knew that now, we had to travel home by night and find a doctor.

    Still, he wanted to waste time loading the dead pronghorn onto a horse, and I didn’t stop him. I made sure he rode the other horse, because I knew I couldn’t carry his body after the poison killed him. This had to be my salvation.

  10. A lifetime of addiction left my brother, Randy, homeless and destitute. So when he finally got clean at age 50, I celebrated with him. He rented a small trailer in Rock Springs, Wyoming and worked odd jobs.

    When I drove through northern Colorado to visit him, I saw herds of pronghorn antelope grazing in the fields along the way. Randy always wanted to photograph them, but he could never afford a good camera.

    When I get the call from the hospital, I learn that Randy’s years of trouble have ruined his body – stage four colon cancer. For several months he battles this deadly demon, bravely suffering the effects of the chemotherapy poisons that course through his body. But I can see him growing weaker all the time.

    So during one of my visits, I carefully help him into my car, wrap blankets around him, and hand him my new digital camera. Then we drive down along the fields.

    When a large herd of pronghorns appears near the highway, he becomes so excited he almost drops the camera. But he clicks off several excellent shots before they bound away.

    Five days later, I sit with the hospice nurse by his bedside. Randy can no longer speak. We dampen his lips with a wet cloth and thank him for the beautiful antelope photos.

    After the funeral, I drive slowly home with his ashes. Even with blurred vision, I notice that not a single pronghorn is anywhere in sight.

  11. The three pronghorn made their way to the side of the mountain and came to rest in the tall grass.

    “Why are we here?” asked Belle.

    Bonnie looked over both shoulders. “I wanted to find a private place. I think we lost the guys.”

    Sherry sat in the tall grass. “Well, this certainly is private. What’s with the need for privacy, Bonnie?”

    “I’ve heard rumors from the bucks about a fertile plain beyond these mountains. I want to check it out for myself.”

    “Why?” her friends asked in unison.

    “Haven’t you noticed whenever the guys find a good place it becomes a men’s club while we doe get this scrubby grass?”

    Belle nodded. “Yeah, come to think of it.”

    “Well,” Bonnie continued, “I want to get there first. I want us to get there first. The bucks think we doe can’t clamber over mountains. We’re as much pronghorn as them. I say we do it and claim squatters’ rights.”

    Sherry jumped up. “Great idea. Which way?”

    Bonnie turned to look at the landscape. “There has to be a path somewhere around here. This is where I always see them heading.”

    Belle started forward. “With three of us, we are bound to find a way. Let’s go. Two hoofs in front of the other!”

    “Hey,” Sherry stopped in her tracks. “Are those the bucks watching us?”

    Bonnie turned. “Yeah. They’re probably waiting for us to show them the way.”

  12. How did my mother learn how to be so efficient with her hands?! Like a pronghorn antelope learns to run from the lion and slide under a fence because it can’t jump over a fence, the mother of necessity brings us to our own uniqueness. She had rheumatic fever at 12 and was not allowed to work in the fields but had to stay sedentary. The high school had many steps, and she was not allowed to climb them so she was not able to go to the high school.

    My mom’s hands were always busy – crocheting, writing letters, tatting, sewing, and working jigsaw puzzles with me in winter months. That was often when she and I talked. She was a good listener. I could send a design I drew of a dress I saw in a store window when I was in college. Two weeks later , the outfit would arrive in the mail. Wonderfully sewed.

    She did not learn to knit, however, until she was in her mid-fifties. I still have one of her afghans she knitted in varying shades of green. Many had her beautiful doilies she crocheted from earlier years.

    Because she was quick and fast, she found it easier to do things herself, a form of impatience. I might not have developed my reading and writing skills if she had taken the time to teach me.

  13. Jessica’s first day as a park ranger for the prestigious Westin National Park, seemed like it might be her last day.

    Marty, her boss, jumped out of the jeep. “See those pronghorns out there?”

    Jessica saw six Pronghorns in a small herd grazing.

    “We have to inject tick medicine to keep a dangerous new tick from over wintering on them.”

    “Really… You’re kidding…?” Jessica almost laughed. Pronghorns are one of the fastest mammals on earth!

    Marty’s smiled, “No, I’m serious.”


    Marty walked over to the Jeep, and pulled out a long tranquilizer gun, and handed it to her.


    “We know about your championship skeet shooting.”

    “You want me to tranquilize those deer?” Jessica frowned.

    “Not tranquilize, inject the medicine. I have not been successful. If we can’t do it they will bring back the hunting season.”

    Jessica looked out to the pronghorns; she doubted this would work. Sweat trickled down her back.


    Jessica ran into two old friends who were working for a defense contractor developing a new weaponized technology.


    Marty drove out to the grasslands and saw Jessica with something in her hands.

    “What’s going on?”

    “I’m guiding a drone.”

    “How are you injecting the medicine?”

    “It’s weaponized. Friends of mine work for a DOD contractor.”

    Marty looked at the recordings the drone shot flying over the Pronghorns. “Why are they looking up at the drone in happy expectation?”

    “For three weeks we conditioned them by dropping nutritional bars.”

    “You know Jessica, I may get a promotion for hiring you!”

Comments are closed.