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.
8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Distant”
My course changed on a dirt road in Dublin. I peddled past a woman on my way to the last destination on my trip. As I rode by, she glided over the green grass, a few steps from the main road. The wind rustled through her hair so it flowed behind free and wild. I turned my head and she offered a smile. I moved to wave when the bike hit a rut and I flew off. The wind forced from my body as I slammed on the ground and rolled through the soft grass. Her laugh, like a bell, filled my ears as she appeared over my prone figure. My heart pounded as I drank in this pale skinned beauty gazing at me from above.
“Are ya hurt?” she asked in a voice as musical as her laughter. She brushed her long hair from her face and her eyes sparkled with desire. I offered a groan and a smile as I sat up. She stepped back before sticking her hand out to offer her assistance.
Her hand was ice and I worried she was ill. No one had seen the sun in days; I offered her my jacket after inquiring if she was cold. She smiled but it held no warmth or happiness and my heart ached to see it.
“It’s not your coat I’ll need for warmth,” she said sliding closer to me. Her eyes locked with mine and I froze as her teeth sank into my flesh.
The small Ford hit the deep rut in the unpaved road. Jeff, his long black hair falling across his eyes, shrugged his head to clear his vision as he pulled hard on the steering wheel, keeping the car on the road.
“Did you fall asleep?” asked Miriam, who was fiddling with her phone. “I can drive.”
Jeff looked out at the surrounding countryside, rolling hills with not a tree in sight. “No,” he said, “I’m fine. But what desolate country. How did we get here?”
Miriam scanned the fields around them. “Your GPS, I guess,” said Miriam. “Sure looks different than along the interstate. How long have we been on this road? It’s not even paved.”
Jeff, skinny and tall, never felt comfortable in this little car. Not much he could do now. “I really don’t know,” he said, looking over at Miriam and then at the gas gauge. “We’ve got half a tank of gas. Civilization can’t be far away. I mean, the fields are plowed, a crop of something is growing. A farm must be close.”
Miriam tossed her phone up onto the dashboard. “No reception. I hope we know where we’re going.”
Jeff laughed at her remark. “I don’t think we do. That’s the problem.”
“Don’t be funny,” she said as she leaned against the door, opening more distance between herself and Jeff.
“Oh well,” said Jeff. “We’ve got each other. That should be enough.”
Miriam turned to look out her window, not saying a word.
I cried when Mother Superior dragged my best friend Stevie out of our fourth grade class muttering something about rules and divorced parents. That was the last time I saw him even though we lived our entire lives in the same small town.
My life was private schools, a law degree, a successful private practice and all the trappings of white privilege. His was a string of juvenile offenses followed by a court-ordered army enlistment and two years in Viet Nam. He used the GI Bill to get a teaching degree but was fired from the school for undisclosed behavior issues.
It was always rumored that Stevie had “connections”. He knew people from Providence that were not in our circle. Gambling. He ran numbers. Took sports bets and invested his extra cash in run-down housing stock. Eventually he built an enormous house on the highest point in town.
We both married and had kids. My wife was a classmate of Stevie’s at the public high school, but we avoided him. We never acknowledged his party invites and gracefully declined the weddings of his two boys. He was no longer our kind.
When my wife’s fiftieth High School reunion came along we decided to go. Sure enough, Stevie was there. He gave me a warm hug. I stumbled a verbal response.
“All these years. Who would have thought we’d live so close to each other?”
“Yeah, just a short road away. Why did you make it feel so long?”
The road spilled out into the rolling hills. In the distance, the blue mountains beckoned.
If she went, it would be hard going. The road was clear for many miles, but further on it grew tangled, muddier…angry.
“You don’t have to leave,” her grandmother said.
“I feel it,” she said, not taking her eyes off the horizon, “I feel the world calling.”
She turned to see the old women smile warmly. “What songs you’ll sing, dear child.”
“It won’t be easy.”
Her grandmother cackled and hammered her cane on the ground. “Oh, so now you listen, child? Good thing, too. No, it won’t. The world is full of wonders…and monsters. Sometimes wonderous monsters. That is leaving out the cold nights and the thorns.”
“Hmm. You think you do. So did I, once, and so did your father. It’s one thing to say, another thing to live.”
The girl hovered on the edge of the road. The painted wagon had been home a long time. The direction her grandmother was headed was the opposite of the road that called her, down another path out from the lonely crossroads. “Will I see you again?”
“You think I’ll ever really be gone from you? One does not escape seventeen years of raising so easily.”
The girl took a deep breath and nodded. She stepped onto the long road. “I love you,” she said. Her feet seemed to move themselves, on and on.
Her grandmother laughed and waved an affectionate goodbye.
The dark cell became Henry’s home and the stench of dank earth marred his endless captivity. He marked his days with digging, permanently lodging dirt under his fingernails and caking his hands. The reward for his work was a baseball-sized jagged rock. He rolled his prize in his palms dreaming of wielding it to gain his freedom.
The hatch to his prison creaked open. Sunlight spilled into his confinement obscuring the figure that descended the wobbly rope ladder. He quickly stood and palmed his weapon concealing it behind his back. Patiently he waited for his captor to finish her decent. She greeted him with a snicker describing the lone dirt road that passed by his private hideaway. After several failed escape attempts, he memorized her movements and the speech she gave as she taunted him with bread and water.
Her voice muffled the sound of his preparation, usually, his wind up on the mound took a few minutes. He drew in a breath and released the best pitch of his life. The projectile hit its target with a deadly thud. Adrenaline ran through his veins forcing his weak muscles to scale the swaying ladder with the precision of a jungle cat. Squinting against the sun he ran toward the horizon feeling his feet sinking into the soil of the street. Mud encrusted his uniform a memento of his crazy punishment for pitching a no-hitter against Sally’s favorite baseball team.
What’re the Odds?
As the car cruised over the hill and onto the straightaway, he finished the story he had been telling for the last fifteen minutes.
“And that’s why he’s so mean! Get it?”
“Mmm”, was his wife’s mumbled response.
Expecting somewhat more, he glanced over at his wife to see that she had her face buried in the ubiquitous fashion magazine.
“Typical”, he thought, and shook his head. “This was her idea… this… this second honeymoon. She ain’t said more’n fifteen words to me in the last four days. Always buried in those damn magazines.”
He soldiered on.
“Y’know, funny thing I read about this road right here, in the last 25 years there have been over 47 fatal accidents on it.
“What’s really weird is that every accident was between two cars, and in each accident a man from one car and a woman from the other were killed. Even more bizarre is that after each accident, the surviving man and woman got together, married, and raised a family. Every single time. Creepy, huh?”
Looking down the road, he saw a car approaching. As he watched, it blinked its lights. In response, he flashed his own lights once and abruptly steered into the oncoming traffic lane. His wife, startled by the sudden change of direction looked up from her magazine and gasped.
“You’re in the wrong lane!”
He looked at her and through a tight-lipped smile said, “I know.”
It’s my 10th day at the Sunny Hills Rehab Center, writing this because they said I have to keep a journal. The counselor said this is supposed to be good for me. But it’s just one more thing I don’t like.
I feel so isolated here. It’s bad enough that I can’t get high, but I can’t even talk to my friends. No cellphone, no texting, no pictures, no apps. Just pen and paper, it’s like we’re in the Stone Ages! A bunch of stoners in the Stone Ages, isn’t that a kicker. Oh, and plenty of books. Imagine, reading a book.
Family Day is next Saturday. Why would I want to see my mother and father? What would they say — I told you so? And why would I want to see my bratty teenage sister, who has a boyfriend and I can’t? Oh, that’s right, Mom and Dad don’t know about her boyfriend, oh that would make for some interesting family drama at Sunny Hills.
Maybe Cara wouldn’t even tag along. Too depressing to see a bunch of drug-deprived sad sacks. I don’t want her to see me like this.
I feel like I’m in the middle of NOWHERE. Is this supposed to be refreshing? I find it suffocating. Lonely.
Someone… someone’s knocking at the door.
“Is my Mom on the downstairs phone? No? You want to talk to me? Me? Sure! I could use a friend. Yeah, right now! I’m coming!”
Orville Rodman, my dad, was accepted as one of 200 teachers by the government to be sent around the world. The program today is called the Peace Corps. He was sent to Manila on the Island of Luzon in the Philippine Islands. He taught high school in Manila for six years. He must have been around 22 years old.
There are snapshots among my mother’s pictures showing him with the Manila, P.I. high school basketball team in the 1920s. They won the championship at least that once according to those photographs, for they had a championship trophy. He was always into sports of one kind or another. In his diaries I remember reading that he played tennis with different friends almost every afternoon. He was quite athletic.
While he was teaching in Manila, his mother died of tuberculosis. And his older brother, Roland, who was working on a farm died of typhoid fever at age 25. Loss through death was a great part of their lives.
After six years he returned home to see his two remaining sisters, Suda and Nira. Nira had married a widower with several sons. In the next years they had five daughters and no sons. After Nira died of tuberculosis, Suda moved in and helped Nira’s husband, Suda’s brother-in-law, raise his children. She never married and later died in a sanitorium of tuberculosis. Because of antibiotics, none of us who are cousins has come down with TB. We have come a long way.
Comments are closed.