Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Sojourn

pittsburg nh july 2000 flash fiction 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Sojourn”

  1. Dedicated to Gladys A. Medina

    The Land of Ninnos was a close neighbor to the World of Trabba-ho, but their ways were very different. In the World of Trabba-Ho, they loved to have people come in from the Land of Ninnos, but secretly, to do their work. They had to leave their young ones behind. This made many parents and children cry, because the separation of families is very tragic.

    Lady Amaris was a brilliant engineer who understood these weighty matters and desired to reunite these families. She invented a special locomotive called the “Liberty Train” that brought rich people on a scenic voyage, back and forth between Ninnos and Trabba-Ho. She designed the Liberty Train with secret compartments to hide the children born in Ninnos, and deliver them to their parents in the World of Trabba-Ho.

    Lady Amaris enlisted the cooperation of special families. Each family would ride the train and hide several children in a secret compartment on every trip. Over 7,500 children were thus reunited with their parents from the Land of Ninnos.

    Eventually someone betrayed Lady Amaris. She was convicted of smuggling, even though she never made a profit. She had helped so many people that she was treated like a dearly loved mother in prison. They released her quickly because the Liberty Train couldn’t run without the wealthy families who were helping the children. And so the authorities now look the other way, whenever the Liberty Train passes by.

  2. Clothes With Shoes
    By:Annessa Burns
    Mom and Sarah had gone to the store. They were going to surprise me with something new. When they
    arrived there was an advertisement for Clothes with Shoes. Mom texted me with a picture, she said,

    “ This store is different and weird. They have clothes with shoes attached like they were some sort of Barbie clothes with Velcro that kept it all together.”

    I was so confused so I texted back,

    “Clothes with shoes?”

    “Yeah weird, I know.”

    An hour or so later Mom and Sarah were back. Mom had gotten me the clothes with shoes. When I put them on, I felt like they were all the same size. So I set them outside and put in stones to stretch out the jeans. The shirt and shoes fit though.

    The next day when I got outside I realized my plan worked. But when I put them on they were too big! When I realized that it was going to rain tonight and Mom had always put clothes out in the rain to shrink a little.
    We hadn’t had a Washer or Dryer since they were so expensive and we lived in the country so mom thought we should just wash our clothes like people did back in the day.
    “ Mom! Can you help me set the clothes out to shrink?” I asked
    “ Sure, thing?” Mom said.

    We got all of it arranged and the next day I dried them and they fit perfectly.

  3. Plausible

    Mrs Grund..

    I ain’t gonna be in yer class no more after wat happened last night. I was settin on the porch wit my dog Bo when my Pa came out and booted me in my butt and say ‘Get me a beer’ and he sets on the raling like he does when its hot out. I went and got his stoopid beer and I bringed it out and then he slaps my hed and ask me where are his smokes. I hate when he hits and kicks me. He does it all the time.

    I got his smokes but when I was come out, I saw a bright light and herd a loud rockety sound. ther was a spaceship landed in our yard. A little green martian was walking toards my PA who yelled at it. The martian took out a raygun and shined it on my Pa then he went back in the spaceship and it took off back to mars.

    I saw that Pa was shrinking from the raygun. Sune he was so small he slid out of his clothes onto the ground. My dog Bo chased him and I thinks Bo ate him. now I have to do all the farm chores so I ain’t gonna be in skool no more.

    Billy H.

    PS. If anyone says that I hit my Step-Pa on the haid with a ax and put him back of the barn, there a dirty liar.

  4. All of the kit was clean. It wouldn’t stay that way long- clearing out the terraforming traps was dirty work- but the sight of the boots and gear laying in the sun was soothing. A whole new day, full of possibility, untouched by the fine, relentless alien mud.
    Aaron hated it. Despite understanding that part of his parent’s homesteading agreement involved cleaning the traps, despite knowing it was vital for the continuing habitability of this world, he hated it with all his heart. He was still small and lithe enough to fit further into the trap and sweep out the mud that collected there every day.
    He turned away from the gear to see his father staring at him and blushed. “I think,” the grizzled old man said, “Today is going to be interesting.”
    “Why do you say that?”
    “You should check the calendar.”
    “It’s just a Monday.”
    “The colony calendar.”
    Aaron drew a blank and just stared.
    His dad laughed and hit him on the shoulder. “Leave the gear. Let’s get on over to the traps.”
    “Leave the gear?” Aaron followed the old man out. “What? Why?”
    They hiked over to the traps, a good four hundred yards from the house. Msot fo the homestead extended away in the other direction. From the traps on forward was bare earth still too alien to grow anything.
    Or not.
    The traps were dry, today, not leaking mud. And beyond them, in the purple-red alien dirt, small green sprouts could be seen.

  5. “Weird. Skinny pant legs with boots… What’s holding those boots to the pants? Legs, maybe? Maybe it’s two skinny people draped over the railing?”

    “Nobody’s that skinny.”

    “And another pair of boots sitting by themselves.”

    “Will you knock it off? We’re here to enjoy ourselves for a few days, not to get caught up in an investigation.”

    “The boots look unused. Very unusual. In fact everything looks new. No signs of wear. No creases, no scuffs. Who put them here?

    “Who cares?”

    “We could go knock on the door…”

    “No, we couldn’t.”

    “I guess you’re right. Whatever’s going on in that cabin is none of our business.”

    The two trained investigators moved on through the forest. They followed a stream, fished, and dined by campfire. They did just about everything they had planned on doing and went home refreshed and ready to resume their duties as investigators with the local police department.

    An investigation was waiting for them. It seemed a serial killer had been seen in their area, a serial killer who liked to display his victims’ clothing, neatly arranged and in full public view.


    Alan hated all holidays but most especially Thanksgiving. All his life, he’d been proclaiming his hatred. This year he did something about it.

    Instead of making his way through traffic that inched along at best or squeezing himself into ever-smaller airline seats on oversold flights, Alan rented a small cabin in the woods where he could commune with his two best friends, Jack and Jim, without having to watch his words or worry what his daughter, brother, ex-wives or investment counselor thought.

    He and his two friends arrived on the day before the holiday. Like all good friends, they had a history together that made them comfortable with and accepting of one another. Once at the cabin, he simply sat down with them and let out a sigh of relief.

    But he knew that peace was hard to come by and harder to maintain. He feared that on Thanksgiving his phone would ring too often with too many recriminations and lectures from his family. They would be miffed that he hadn’t come by for over-cooked turkey and rancorous family debates. But he had warned them that he was done with the holiday, that nothing they could say would change his mind.

    So he shut off his phone.

    Jim Beam and Jack Daniels, together and over a short time, helped him forget those others and their incessant demands. He would be fine, thank you very much, as long as his two friends were around.

    And he was fine.

    More or less.

  7. Two brothers. Over seventy. Irish twins. Lived apart all these years. Bought this cabin in the Caballo Canyon on the San Juan River to escape the summer heat of Phoenix. Loved to fish.

    Grandpa used to say they were too heavy for light work and too light for heavy work, but they survived poor health, bad jobs and poor marriages. Had each other. Had the fish.

    One conservative, the other liberal. One unchurched, the other biblical. Never spoke of politics or religion. Had few relatives left to scorn. Theirs was a lonesome life beyond the cabin. But, they had the fish.

    The San Juan runs cold below the dam in summer and the shallows give up the finest native browns and rainbows to the patient angler. They fished it every day at dawn in their Simms waders and Orvis boots, enjoying the peace of the river if not the company.

    There are often unspoken conflicts; unmentionable affronts that accrete in a brotherhood. They had weathered these on their own terms, and they still had the fish.

    In the late afternoon, with their waders and boots drying on the porch, they would relax with their rye whiskey and talk of the fish and other fishermen. Never would they talk of the pain they knew together over so many years. At six they would open a bottle of red wine and Charley would cook them either a steak or ribs. Fish and fishing were something they could be about together.

  8. Nobody ever knew what happened. Eva was catatonic when they found her, perched midstream on a rock, wearing fishing waders and little else. Her face bore a mild powder burn.

    Matt was nowhere to be found. Within the cabin were the remnants of a heavy drinking session, Tequila Moonglow ingredients everywhere. There were half a dozen empty pints and a half-full quart. Smashed fruits were all over the cabin.

    Sheriff Bludgins stood silently staring into the fireplace, trying to piece together some sequence in his mind that would explain things. He was studying a pair of lace panties in the fireplace and drawing a blank when he heard a rustle behind him.

    “Put it down, Millie. Hasn’t been dusted for prints.”

    Millie, reporter for the Frost Summit Gazette, sheepishly backed away from the half-full bottle. “Has, too. Elmer just finished while you were staring at underwear.” 

    Elmer nodded solemnly. “Not a single print on anything, Chief. Well, except for Millie’s pawprints, now.” Apparently Millie and Elmer’s on-again, off-again melodrama was off again, Bludgins noted.

    “Ok, Millie, it’s all yours. Just forget where you got it.”

    Up the river, the camper family’s 10-year-old girl smashed a bottle on a rock. Eva started screaming at the top of her lungs, over and over, “MURDER! BLOODY BLOODY MURDER! BLOOD EVERYWHERE! Blood everywhere.” She broke off, sobbing.

    The little girl never heard Matt screaming inside the bottle, but she did notice blood everywhere, dripping off the rock.


    Lauren awakened to the sound of the birds outside the window. She looked at the cabin walls, remembering falling into bed exhausted.
    If my mother new I spent the night with Tyler, and slept side-by-side with him all night; without any romance , she would never believe me, 29 year old Lauren thought to herself. She moved carefully trying not to wake Tyler, her old friend from childhood.

    A few minutes later Tyler met her in the cabins kitchen.

    “I’m sorry, did I wake you?” Lauren asked.

    “No, I noticed you weren’t there anymore… And I guess it was the coffee, ” he smiled.

    “I have to give it to you, Tyler; this weekend, learning how to fly fish, has been a workout. I really thought that my daddy taught me everything about fishing.”

    “I’m sorry you missed Thanksgiving with your parents, it’s a shame they weren’t home for your surprise visit. Did you ever get a call through to them?”

    “No, and my vacations over, so I’m not going to bother with getting the key from the neighbor. I’m just going to fly home tomorrow,” Lauren said to Tyler.

    “How about another day of fly fishing?” Tyler asked.

    “Maybe a half day, and then my treat at a restaurant…okay?” Lauren said smiling, more than a friend’s smile.


    That night, Tyler said over dinner that he would come to visit Lauren in Boston. She knew then, that it wasn’t going to be about fishing.

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