Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: All Hallows’ Eve

full moon rising 3L0A2469 flash fiction writing prompt 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.

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: All Hallows’ Eve”

  1. The Notice

    It all began on All Hallows Eve.

    The tenants in Wally’s apartment complex usually received notices almost every day notifying them of any future repairs, power shut-offs, or jack-hammering.

    So when he looked through his apartment peephole and saw a notice on his neighbour’s door, he naturally expected find one on his door. But when he checked—nothing was there.

    Confused, he looked down the hallway. All of the other apartment doors had notices on them.

    Why was he excluded? Was the notice important?

    He thought about sneaking a peak at one of his neighbour’s notices. But if he got caught, he knew he would be blamed for doing something nefarious. His neighbours were paranoid and were highly suspicious of other Homo sapiens.

    He rubbed his forehead. Think. Think.

    He ran to the phone to call the landlord. No signal.

    What to do? He panicked.

    He ran to the elevator. After it descended several floors, a man got on it with a cart full of notices.

    Notices! He needed to look at one.

    The man eyed Wally and became suspicious of his preoccupation with the cart. As soon as the elevator door opened, he dashed out, with Wally in hot pursuit.

    The man ran several yards before he tripped, knocking over the cart, and scattering the notices on the floor.

    As Wally ran up to him to apologize, he saw what was written on the paper:

    This notice is to inform you there will be no notice today.

  2. The church was lit solely by candles. The empty house of God was brimming with the souls of the dead. The night would pass in solemnity as it always did. The morning would bring some comfort to a few. The rest would shuffle out and arrange themselves under the trees and upon the monuments, some weeping, others resigned that their time to move on had not yet come.

    All Hallows Eve, the deep breath before the plunge of All Souls Day, the day when Masses would be sung, the dead remembered and those who waited pensively could move on to whatever came next. But always there remained a cadaverous cadre of the unremembered.

    The pews were filled and the ghostly congregants silent as the celebrant lit a votive candle. It’s faint red glow reflected in dead eyes. The priest intoned his Latin, invoking sacred names to bless the forgotten dead. It was a yearly ritual this speaking on behalf of the voiceless. What was spoken here in the world of the living would reverberate in that other place.

    All through the night the priest labored. His pleas for grace for the damned reached the holy infinitude and one by one those who had gained forgiveness by the priest’s intercession faded into the dawn and began their further journey. With the morning the exhausted priest extinguished the guttering candles and those denied God’s forgiveness crawled back into the grave to wait for next year’s chance at salvation.

  3. Sandra had a hard time with her mother-in-law, especially on Halloween. This year was no different. Evelyn was out of control, determined to cook a holiday dish when they should be watching for trick-or-treaters traipsing about as the moon swelled with brightness.

    Instead, Evelyn confiscated a huge pumpkin from the front porch for her special dish. “It’s just squash,” she avowed with a strange laugh. Sure, she stayed in costume, wearing the long black dress and the pointed hat. But did they need squash for dinner tonight? Why not chili or pizza, something to eat in the living room and wait for costumed kids?

    Kevin was no help. He shrugged it off as “Mom being Mom.”

    Sandra wasn’t so sure. “We shouldn’t be eating these jack-o’ lantern pumpkins. They’re genetically modified to get so big. Who knows what we’re really eating?”

    Evelyn just cackled as she scraped out the seeds from the giant squash and cut up the flesh. As she shoved the chunks in the oven, she said, “Just you wait. You’ll be surprised.”

    And they were.

    Evelyn decided she couldn’t stay to eat the squash because she had “stuff” to do.

    Kevin, the dutiful son, ate squash but then raced to the toilet and vomited his guts out.

    As Sandra swallowed her squash, she felt something crawl down her throat. Flushing firecracker hot, she doffed her clothes and ran outside buck naked, scaring the neighborhood and earning her an overnight in a padded cell.

  4. The Wood

    The moon rose over the trees and flooded the ground with soft light. Tall shadows dressed as princesses and super-heroes patrolled the sidewalks,while echoes of “Trick or Treat” rang through the crisp night air.

    She watched as the two boys left the safety of the street and followed the deer path through the woods. Greedy little beasts, she thought, in such a rush to get to the rich side of town, and the promise of full-size chocolate bars and bags of chips, the strict warning to avoid the wood had been completely ignored.

    She followed the boys, her crooked walking stick in hand, as the hem of her long dress stirred the twigs and dirt, a dust mist floated behind her.

    The two boys tramped along the path, oblivious to the hungry eyes that watched, their excited voices grew louder with each step as they got closer to their hallowed destination.

    She could smell the sour breath and see the eyes begin to narrow. She quickened her pace, and tightened the grip on her walking stick.

    The path was now lit up by a river of moonlight and she could no longer hide in the shadows.

    She raised her stick up, pointed it at the eyes now wide with recognition and whispered “not on my watch.”

    The eyes narrowed again and then were gone.

    The boys ran out of the wood, shouts of “ I’ll race ya” and “we love candy” trailed behind them.

  5. It was on a chilly October night like this that it happened, thirty years ago. The moon was full when their parents dropped them off at the edge of the woods. Eight boys, all 12 years old, all laughing and joking, ready for an overnight camp-out in the woods. They were experienced campers, just boys out for a good time together in the woods. They would be gone one night and return the next day.

    The following day when the parents came with their pickups and RVs to drive the boys home, there was no sign of them. A search party was organized. No trace of the boys was found. The search intensified. State troopers were called in. Every inch of the forest was gone over, but no clue was ever uncovered. Not a single scrap of paper, no remains of a campfire, nothing. The boys were never seen again.

    The woods are seldom used now, especially on nights of the full moon. That is when, if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of children laughing.

  6. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS CHOICE ONLY

    The Head

    I remember it, as though it were yesterday. Mrs. Skylar invited me over with my friend, Cora. “Tomorrow’s Halloween,” she whispered, “I yearn to reveal my secret. Will you help me?”

    Over hot chocolate and homemade pie, Mrs. Skylar explained that she killed her husband 32 years ago, and buried his head in the front yard. She didn’t say what happened to the rest of him. She felt that in the presence of a crowd, her secret could emerge more naturally.

    So on Halloween, we told our sixth-grade friends about the Head, and everyone got worked up into a frenzy. At lunchtime, nobody ate, but came running up the block, en masse. It was wonderfully liberating. Even the quietest, most studious types broke away from their usual behavior.

    We stood around Mrs. Skylar’s yard, wondering where the Head was buried. We could see her looking out, smiling at us through the curtains.

    Eventually the police arrived, who escorted us back to school. Why didn’t they do anything?

    The principal came to our classroom and lectured us, since we were too numerous to bring into his office. The next day, two detectives arrived.

    There was no head buried in Mrs. Skylar’s yard, and she never murdered her husband. He died a hero in Vietnam, and it was clearly too much for her. The only thing the detectives dug up was their record of her confession several times before. We should visit Mrs. Skylar once in awhile.

  7. Flo was one of two medical technicians working the 4:00 to midnight shift at the nursing home. It was 8:30 and already they had broken up two fights and three arguments. It was going to be a rough night.

    “Flo, Flo I want my cigarette,” A raspy voice called from the kitchen door.

    “Mildred, you don’t get you cigarette until 9:00. You’ve got 30 minutes, Sweetie,” Flo called as she got up from the table.

    “Flo, I want my cigarette!” Mildred reached over the bottom half of the kitchen’s Dutch door trying to let herself in.

    “Not until 9:00,” Flo tried to be gentle; she knew what it was like to want that cigarette, “I’ll bring you your cigarette when it’s time.” Opening the door Flo took the elderly woman’s hand, “Come on, Mildred let’s go to the lounge.”

    “I want my cigarette, dammit!” Pulling away, Mildred snatched the wooden “Kitchen” sign off the wall where it hung next to the door, swinging it like a baseball bat. Their struggle was brief and when it was over Flo had a bruised shoulder and Mildred was on her way back to the psychiatric ward.

    Later, Flo sat outside finishing her own cigarette. “I should have known you were full tonight,” she said to the pale orb whose dominance overshadowed the fall night, “You’ve brought the wolves out.” She crushed out her cigarette and began to cough, “These things are going to kill me someday.”

  8. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS CHOICE ONLY

    The New Moon

    Before the accident, Halloween symbolized the glorious birth of her father. He had been an imposing figure with a stoic face hiding a giving heart. He loomed over her life promising protection from all the evils of the world. As she grew, he remained a beacon like a full moon pulling her back to safety.

    The crash did not immediately take his life, instead her father slowly wasted away in a hospital bed. His powerful life force drained leaving an empty husk. Her world crumbled. The mourning that followed tarnished the joy the costumes and candy brought each year. Witch shaped birthday cakes vanished from the table. She marked the anniversary of his passing each year with tear stained letters. Each communication littered with questions only a father could answer.

    In a sick twist of fate, her baby entered the world on Halloween. Dread filled her heart and thoughts of despair clouded her vision. The baby did not cry she cackled. The sound echoed off the hospital room walls transforming into her father’s distant laugh. Memories of cartoon witches flashed in her mind connect her baby and father. Tears of joy trickled down her face signifying the renewed tradition celebrating the joy of life.

  9. The full moon appeared over the mountains, that framed the small, rural town where Lynn, Matt, their children, and Rufus – their dog – called home. They moved their young family, to the town, after Halloween, the year before.

    Matt and Lynn loved Halloween. They had so many decorations, that at their previous, smaller house, they had to rotate the decor, from year to year. But not at their new house; a large stand-alone farmhouse with a large porch. They could use all their decorations; it took them three days to decorate.

    “Let’s serve some snacks and cider,” Lynn suggested.

    ” Okay,” said Matt, “… good idea.”

    On Halloween night, the town shut down to celebrate.

    Before the first child arrived for trick-or-treating, Rufus started howling. Not barking – howling like a wolf! Nothing that Matt or Lynn did calmed him down, so they put him in the basement, where he peeked out the windows; snarling, and growling.

    Not one child came to their house. Only a few teenagers were brave enough.

    Lynn said, ” Maybe he was scared.”

    Matt rolled his eyes, ” It’s okay honey, next year, Rufus is going to go to the vet: no Halloween for him!”

    ***

    After hours of a sleeping potion wafting through the towns’ night air, everyone was tucked in their beds – sound asleep.

    At the stroke of midnight, every witch, warlock, ghost, and goblin in the area, came out to enjoy their All Hallows Eve.

    Only the old-timers, in town, knew
    the town’s original name – Salem.

  10. “Grandpa, c’mere and look at the moon. Somebody’s drawing lines on it”, yelled Angela, my 5 year old granddaughter whom I loved to pieces. I had brought Angie to my cabin in the north woods for about a week… maybe longer. She was currently laying out on a blanket, looking at the night sky through the small pair of binoculars (“boculars” to her) I had purchased for her that afternoon. With a bit of grunting, I joined her on the ground.

    “Moon looks pretty much the same to me”, I said.
    “You gotta use your boculars”, was her laughing reply.
    I did and sucked in my breath. I was suddenly glad that, this far north, the sky would be overcast for the next few months.

    Trying to forget the moon, at least for a while, I got up and beckoned to Angela. “C’mon you. Let’s have some cake and then I’ll read stories to you until you fall asleep.”

    Later, with Angela sleeping in my arms, still clutching her favorite book, I thought about what I had seen and what it meant to us. Well, the earth had finally done it. The decades of bomb testing on the moon. Those weren’t lines that Angie saw, they were cracks. The moon was breaking apart, and all the big chunks would be headed toward Earth. No life would survive.

    I looked at Angela, asleep with a gentle smile on her face, and thought, “It couldn’t end at a better time”.

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