Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Balcony

marco island marriott resort 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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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Balcony”

  1. Lord of the Swarm

    Willie lived a routine life in a conventional condominium building.

    Nothing ever changed . . . until one Monday morning.

    Willie was in the kitchen when he noticed a couple of fruit flies. Initially, he ignored them.

    After a few days, he saw more of them flying around the condo. They were on the kitchen counter, on the walls, and even on the bathroom mirror. Sometimes they were alone and at other times they were in groups.

    And they were increasing in numbers.

    Concerned, Willie put up several fly strips and placed several vinegar-filled containers around his home, all with the expectation of trapping and killing the little pests.

    But they were clever little fruit flies.

    Willie soon discovered that no matter how many of the flies he sent to bug heaven, there were always more of them to take their place. They bred faster than he could dispatch them. Where they came from, and how they were able to breed despite his efforts to stop them, were questions for which he had no answer.

    After two long, exhausting months, he finally gave up. That night he lay in bed–a broken man.

    In the morning he shuffled into the kitchen. There, covering the counter top, were hundreds of fruit flies, all rubbing their legs together, applauding him.

    They looked at Willie with sympathetic compound eyes; they forgave him of his past indiscretions; and they graciously welcomed him into the fold as their new Lord of the Swarm.

  2. From his secluded perch between the generators Wallace glanced down and noticed how small the passing cars and people were as they scurried between the buildings. The morning sun lit up his face as he looked east at the neatly stacked balconies of the apartment complex on the other side of the street. His face was windburn and his long white hair sweaty from spending the previous three days in the hot sun. His blue maintenance man uniform stained and torn from crawling on the dirty rooftop. A blazing holiday weekend and not a soul in sight, at least not on the tallest building in the city. An eagle in paradise, Wallace thought, and soon the eagle will take it’s prey.

    The local residents in the complex had annoyed him. He had always tried to be nice and help them out with their problems. Some were friendly but most were rude and snooty and always had some smart remark to say about the plumbing or electricity or the foul smells that crept through the vents.

    “I’m not a magician” Wallace would say, “but I can fix anything.”

    There were several residents to choose from as they made there way on to the balconies to sunbath or drink their coffee and read the morning paper. Wallace had some targets in mind – the hot blond on the third level, the older cranky couple on level five.

    He took aim with his Savage 10 BA stealth rifle and took out his prey.

  3. The clock ticked loudly. He sat at the kitchen table waiting, the T.V. on low. The evening news would start soon. Around his neck hung a plastic bag—one of the good ones with the strip that gave a tight seal. Don’t want things flying loose. Inside the bag, his driver’s license and the note. Nothing too sentimental, just next of kin, that sort of stuff. Everybody had agreed it should be done at evening rush hour.

    He slid open the balcony door and positioned his chair against the railing. Climbing up, he thought that it had been a very nice day. Good weather, clear. You really could see for miles from up here. He glanced to his right. Alice Swerner stood on her chair by the railing. On his left, Ben Thompson standing on his. Both had bags around their necks. From the floors above and below he could hear his neighbors encouraging one another. Some were crying.

    Deb would have thought it was the right thing. He wished she were here now. They’d agreed it was time to sell the house, to retire. That day they moved in she looked at the ranks of iron railings. “Looks like a prison”, she’d said. They’d become part of this community of the lost, forgotten and alone. They all sensed they couldn’t go on like this, that this was no way to live.

    It was time.

    They wouldn’t make the news at five, he thought, but definitely the news at six.


    Physicist John Gallagher and his team admired the structure they had created for time travel. Each of a hundred laboratories had a balcony which would launch time travel to a different time and place in history.

    Gallagher and his team had long pondered the issues, particularly non-interference with the timeline. They came up with “Operation Rescue.” Agents from the present would travel into the past and appear at the site of mass casualties, just before people were about to be killed. Since they were already doomed, the sudden disappearance of a few, if carefully arranged, was unlikely to change history.

    People trapped in the steerage of the Titanic would be spirited out. Some of those trapped in gas chambers during the Holocaust would be transported to safety. People working on the actual floors hit by planes on 9/11 would be gone just before the planes struck. They aimed to remove only those who would die, whose history would end minutes later.

    Yet how would they debrief them today? What about culture shock? While their disappearance probably wouldn’t influence our past, their reappearance would certainly revolutionize our future, especially if they entered our mainstream culture.

    On the trip itself, Gallagher would be throwing his agents into chaotic situations from which they might not escape, if something went awry. Also, they would be rescuing only a few souls at a time. How would they determine which ones to snatch from the jaws of death? Who can live with such responsibility?

  5. “On the Subjectivity of Value”

    Four hundred thousand dollars, Bernard reminded himself. He stretched toes and fingers to the max and clipped the carabiner to the base of the railing above his head. Fourteenth floor. Seven left. Piece of cake. Emerald cake.

    Bartholomew Livingston Crampton, blowhard billionaire CEO, owner of the famed Mongoose Emerald, would rub D.C. society’s nose in his gem at a gala this evening. An envious underling, charged with security, had engaged Bernard and his lovely wife Melody to disappear the rock before the party. This climb up Crampton’s flagship hotel was, incredibly, the easiest way to pilfer it.

    Bernard unhooked from the railing he stood on, hauled himself up a floor, flopped over the iron, panted, mounted it, hooked onto the next. His vision blurry from exertion, he gingerly clambered onto the railing just as the sliding door banged open and Melody called, “I got it, Bernie!”

    Bernard yelped and toppled. The rope jerked taught. Melody, wearing a tight red dress, peered down. “You went the wrong way.”

    “No kidding.” He swayed in the wind. “What do you mean, you got it?”

    Melody held up a sparkling ruby. “Mrs. Crampton’s necklace sort of fell off.”

    “Into your light little fingers.” Bernard grunted and climbed back up with a hand from his wife. “That’s not the Mongoose,” he pointed out.

    Melody eyes sparkled with the gem’s glow. “It’s better.”

    “Better! It’s not worth four hundred thou!”

    Melody gave him a chastising look. “It goes with my dress,” she pointed out.

  6. “Boo”

    She was a seriously unhappy poltergeist. Mainly, because after a broken leg turned gangrenous, she was abandoned to die a particularly long and painful death in a swamp that smelled of onions. At least after she died she could flit about wherever she wished, as long as she returned to her body when she needed “rest”. She found that moving something in the living world such as a coffee cup was extremely draining and would require her to “rest”.

    Her anger increased exponentially when while she was “resting”, they built the building known as “The Corn Cob” directly over her moldered corpse. How she raged as they were building the thing. She tried furiously to haunt the workmen, to pass on some of her wrath. A slightly moving pencil didn’t attract even the slightest bit of attention. Then she discovered that because of the building’s circular design, she couldn’t flit very far from the building. In her frustration, she flew the perimeter of the building. Interestingly, as she flew around the building, she felt herself recharge. She used her newfound energy to furiously knock chairs about on the many circular balconies.

    Soon she wearied of that sport and waited, building up her energy to move something that would be the epitome. And there it was. A man sitting on the porch railing. She flew faster and passing the man, nudged… just a little.

    The screams on the way down didn’t make her smile, just a bit less angry.

  7. It’s beautiful! And each cabin has a balcony of its own! Oh, I can’t wait to go on a cruise on this ship.

    Suites, Precious, not cabins. The finest suites on the finest cruise ship ever built.

    Can we go? Pretty please?

    Of course, my darling. I have already booked passage on its maiden voyage.

    How exciting! I can see us, walking the decks arm-in-arm, the sunset on the waves…

    Actually, Dear One, that won’t happen. The decks are all internal. Four decks circling hundreds of exclusive shops featuring the finest jewelry, top-of-the-line world cuisine. All the best in life.

    So we won’t actually see the ocean?

    No, Sweetness, but one of the swimming pools on board is filled with actual salt water and has a wave machine. Besides, the view is overrated. Nothing but water and sky, and one can hardly tell where the sky begins and the ocean leaves off.

    We’ll be on the ocean for months without seeing it? At least we will feel the waves, won’t we?

    Oh, no, my little Love Bunny. This ship has the latest top-of-the-line stabilizer, so one will not have the slightest sense of movement. Isn’t that wonderful?

    Yeah, great. Let’s see… All enclosed, hundreds of little shops, no sunsets, no waves. We might as well be going to the Mall.

  8. Summer sun beat down on Clyde who was tied to the chair facing the wall of balconies, all exactly the same. Sweat poured off the young disheveled man with dark tattoos and an unfinished hair cut.

    “I can’t go in there,” Clyde said to the guards on either side of him.

    “Easy solution,” said the tall muscular guard. “Follow the sentence the judge gave you. Go out for coffee. With someone. Take a hike. With other people. Join a book club.”

    “But I don’t want to be with other people,” Clyde said.

    The smaller guard peered through his thick glasses. “That’s not acceptable,” he said. “Think of the other person. Your attitude hurts other people. Think how they feel.”

    Clyde’s chin fell to his chest, fatigue and anxiety weighing down on him.

    “If you don’t, you go into this condo for six months,” said the smaller guard. “Look how many rooms there are. Think of how many people you’ll have to live with. Do you want that?”

    Clyde sobbed. “I’ll escape just like I did on the cruise ship. You can’t stop me!”

    “Jumping from the balcony of that cruise ship was stupid. Did you think we wouldn’t find you?”

    “I’ll do it again,” said Clyde. “From one of these balconies.”

    The tall guard got down into Clyde’s face. “This cement patio is a lot harder than the water, you fool. Think of the pain.”

    “It won’t be as bad as living with all those people.”

  9. Way Out

    The sun setting cast a dreary shadow on Janet. The railing of the balconies became prison bars trapping her behind her shield of lies. She deflected all the questions concerning the completion of her house. Giving her friends a fake address was harmless until they looked it up on Google Maps. She had passed the construction site every day on her walk to the homeless sanctuary and from the street it looked like any other project. Behind the cranes stood the foundation of a million-dollar home.

    The girls took no time researching the property and the floor plan. The estate covered 10,000 square feet of opulence. Each detail revealed a new crack in her armor making the truth even harder to tell. The billionaire, who commissioned the home found a new hobby halting the work and leaving Janet covered in the shame of her betrayal.

    Straightening her secondhand homecoming dress, Janet rang the bell for apartment 25. The door buzzed releasing the lock. Pulling it open she marched toward the elevator. Her steps fell hard on the marble tile. The ride quickly delivered her to the second floor. The passage to the flat was unlocked expecting her arrival. Her besties gathered around the windows watching flames engulfing her dream residence. She joined them mesmerized by the pyrotechnic destruction. The fire erased her deceit, making it easy to tell them she need a place to crash. Happy birthday, Janet.

  10. Looking back over the balcony of life.

    A letter arrived from Aunt Hettie some time before she died. She said, “I was thinking again about your Mother – going to college to be able to get a permanent job in the school system in Chowchilla. Mr. Merle Fuller gave her a couple years of substitute (probation) if she’d get a degree. So with her nursing over, it didn’t take too long to get the school job and degree. She had classes with nurses, doctors and graduates and made the highest grade of any and all the students at Fresno State College.”

    Aunt Hettie was the great encourager who pushed Verlie to apply for the job as school nurse in Chowchilla. Verlie was so depressed after she was widowed that Hettie tells me she saw her drawing into a shell. Hettie kept telling her she could do it – go out and get a job. Verlie had tried some night nursing but had found it difficult with two small children of 6 and 9.

    Verlie loved her job as school nurse. Helping others became an integral part of her life. One of my fond memories is waiting for her in the car after school or on Saturdays while she went inside helping a family whether it was church work, writing checks for the Salvation Army, or following up on some problem for the school.

  11. Ocean drive was flanked on one side by the ocean, and the other by luxury condos with semicircular balconies. It was in front of the building that the accidents occurred.

    The report, broadcast over the police radio, asked officers available, to respond to a ten car pile-up on Ocean Drive.

    Detective Kelly was the first on the scene.

    All drivers told the same story: something dropped out of the sky, and bounced off their windshields.

    The detective reassured everyone that they may never find out what happened.

    The story was different with witnesses on the sidewalk. They definitely saw someone throw something off a balcony. They couldn’t agree on which balcony.

    Hours later, detective Kelly spotted something on the ground next to the last car. He was surprised by what he found :a rubber eagle, about 12 inches long, with very flexible wings. The image brought back a flood of memories, of his son 20 years ago.

    “Do you think you’ll ever know what caused these accidents detective?”
    asked the tow truck driver.

    The detective was scanning the building’s balconies; when, just then, a four-year-old appeared on the 5th floor balcony, and stuck his arm out, past the rungs of the railing.

    “No sir, I don’t think we’ll ever know. It’ll remain one of those mysteries,” he said, sliding the eagle into his pocket.; glancing back at the balconies… wishing his son was still four years old.

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