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.
13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Soar”
At that moment I realized, it was not a good idea to try snowboarding, in fact, I had never been on one. The beautiful girl at the rental shed said “it’s easy,” and I’m not one to shy away from a challenge.
As I raced down the hill on my very first sojourn upon this ridiculous board I imagined myself impressing the young lady who rented it to me. I would dazzled her with my athletic prowess and win her heart with my stellar good looks and talent.
When I neared the bottom of the hill and hit the last jump I knew I had made a grave error in the estimation of my own abilities. In direct view of this snow goddess, who I was certain would become my future wife; I went airborne in a not so graceful way and landed in a heap, the snowboard nowhere in sight. I’m pretty sure I lost consciousness for at least a minute and when I came to I saw her angelic face staring down at me. “Are you okay?” she asked. “I think so?” was all I could mutter, not stunned from injury but from the immense humiliation of my snowboard folly.
As she helped me to my feet she smiled and said “that was exactly how my husband broke his leg trying to impress me when we first met.”
My stunt was for nothing, I slumped back into the snow feeling the agony of defeat.
When I was little my parents drove us up into the mountains to a ski resort. I was really excited. I had watched the Olympics and skiing just seemed so cool. I couldn’t wait to be out on the slopes. But, it was not to be. My parents didn’t have the money for renting skis or paying for the lift or anything. We just went to watch other people having a great time. My mother had made up a thermos bottle of beef bouillon and we stood in the cold, in the driving sleet watching all those privileged sons of bitches having a great time while we huddled in the frigid wind sipping hot beef juice.
I still don’t know what the point of that trip was. A glimpse of the good life that I couldn’t have? A reminder of the station in life we occupied? The message was, “You can look, but not touch.” I swore to myself at that moment that one day I would ski. That I’d be one of those privileged sons of bitches. You bet I would.
I took my kids snowboarding last week. They sucked. And they complained the whole time about the cold, about their gear, the food. I had my thermos of bourbon so I stayed warm. I put the whole thing on my credit card. It won’t be paid off until sometime next decade but, that’s not the point. We’re as good as anybody and don’t live vicariously through others, Goddamit.
All the pines in the national forest shimmered in New Year’s Eve’s falling snow.
“This guy’s bigger than Godzilla,”one tree groaned to the shivering pines around him. “He’s got such a grip on my throat. If he doesn’t let go, I’ll…..”, and gasped as the intruder, reaching for the cylinder wedged in nearby branches, began to inch across the parachute cord twisted around the next tree.
“Let’s shake them loose,” a neighboring bough shouted.
“No. No,” another echoed. “There might be something helpful in that object.”
The balancing stranger slid along the cord and thumped into the canister as sunshine glistened on the metal covering science’s treasure. He clutched it, pressing it close to his heart. “Gotcha.” Relieved, he smiled, then wondered, how the heck’ll I get out of this mess ?
Breaking with their tradition of never speaking to strangers, the tallest pine whispered, “What’s in the tank? What are you doing here?”
Astonished, he answered, “It’s a new formula to destroy the blue stain fungus infecting the needles of, and killing, pine trees.” He felt the trunk quiver beneath him. “Lost control of my flight back to Washington and had to parachute the tank and me to safety.”
The forest trembled with joy, waved their branches, and gracefully eased their newly found friend to the cushioning snow below.
He huddled next to a baby ponderosa, reached out and patted it’s top. “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid, and a healthy and Happy New Year for you and yours.”
Spenser didn’t drink much anymore, not after what happened to his brother. He’d have a beer every so often but, make no mistake, he had cut back.
The good side was how clear-headed he felt.
The bad side was his lack of tolerance for alcohol. When he did drink, he was buzzing like right now.
Which explained why—after downing a hot buttered rum—he’d rented the downhill skis strapped to his feet. And why he was shivering on the chairlift heading to the top of the run.
His grandson, a smart aleck high school kid, had made disparaging remarks about Spenser being too old to ski. Instead of taking the rant as a joke, he’d taken it seriously and would show his grandson a thing or two.
Thank you, hot buttered rum, but Spenser hadn’t skied in ten years.
So when Spenser got off the chairlift at the top, he was heading down before he knew it. The first slope was easy. Then he hit a drop and somehow landed on his feet. He tried to snowplow but his knees buckled, forcing him to straighten his skis, doubling his speed. Before he could plant his poles to turn, he was soaring over a slope so steep that he was upright when he landed. No way could he turn left, so he went airborne to the bottom, stopping just short of crashing into the bar.
His grandson cheered as Spenser headed inside for a cup of coffee.
I only did it cos Daisy left me, right. I`m a lumberjack see and when things get a little slack me and the lads think of games to speed the shift on, right. So we`re sitting idly around one day when one of the lads suggests we rig up a wire from tree to tree and do a little wire-walking. Well I guess normally none of us would have put our hand up but hey, you know what with Daisy gone I thought what the hell, right.
So there I am, twenty feet off the ground with the guys hootin` and hollerin` like there ain`t no tomorrow, which looking at the ground beneath me will probably come true. Anyway I takes a deep breath and steps onto the thin wire….
Daisy`s rang, says she wants to come back, right. Says she feels guilty, leaving me like she did. Then it turns out she`s pregnant and `Gerald` can`t stand kids. Apparently he had his prized Steinway nicked by some layabouts whilst he was giving a masterclass on piano tuning to a group of juvenile delinquents. Put him off kids of all sorts for life, she says. I laugh and tell her she`s made her bed and now she must lie in it. Funny really, me saying that, everything considered. I listen to her, a bit longer, pleading, saying what a great dad I`d make. I laugh again and think, I suppose I ought to tell her, about my broken back, right.
“What do you think, Doc? Will he be all right?”
The man next to me—one of the foremost sports surgeons in the United States and a close family friend—apprehensively sucked in his breath through clenched teeth and concentrated on peering at my son through his binoculars.
I let my words hang in the air. Given the doctor’s silence, I thought it best to remain silent as well.
Within seconds, Lawrence soared past us and disappeared behind a stand of pine trees. The boughs of each tree labored under five inches of new-fallen snow.
Then I saw the doctor slowly begin to nod his head. “Yes, Tom, I believe your boy will be just fine. He’s still favoring that right arm a bit—not able to lift it as high as his left arm, from what I see. But still, he does appear to have better than 95-percent freedom of motion. And given what we had to do to save that shoulder, it’s a miracle he can do what he’s doing.
My mind flashed back a year to the previous Thanksgiving, when Lawrence, freestyling down a mountain slope on his snowboard, struck a boulder hidden under the snow. Once medevaced to a hospital, his shoulder and rotator cuff were found to be so severely damaged it took my friend more than ten hours to repair his injuries.
“He’s lucky, Tom,” said my friend. “But if it happens again, he could be disabled for life!”
“If I can make it rain, I can make it snow,” said Abdul Abbar as he threw a handful of dirhams into the air. With those words, massive construction began on what was to be the biggest privately-owned indoor snow recreation area. Abdul only had one year to complete the project so he hired the team that built the ski runs inside the great Mall of the Emirates and had them work around the clock.
Massive banks of LED lights installed on the walls and ceiling allowed them to transform into any image the computer programmers decided. Storms could be simulated with thunder coming through surround-sound speakers, but the LED lights usually portrayed a clear blue sky and snow-covered pine trees lining the sides of the man-made slope.
The project was successfully completed by Abdul’s daughter’s birthday. This was to be the grandest sweet-sixteen party in Dubai. When it came time for the big reveal, the birthday girl was less than impressed. “Um, Dad, I don’t even know how to ski.” Thinking quickly, Abdul said: “It is not just for skiing. It’s for sledding as well. You know how to sit in a sled, right?” “Whatever,” said his daughter, putting away her cell phone. “I guess I’ll go down once.”
Abdul’s daughter hit forty mph before she crashed through the plexiglass wall at the bottom on the run, sending her spinning into the parking lot. Looking down from the top of the slope Abdul said: “Works for me.”
The snow-covered firs filled the air with a resin scent that could be overpowering, especially for someone who’d grown up in the artificial environment of a lunar habitat. It made Riley’s nose itch, and he hoped he wouldn’t have a bad reaction. Some Lunans’ immune systems reacted strangely to terrestrial allergins. At least the nano-treatments had made adaptation to the higher gravity much easier than in the old days.
On the other hand, there was still a lot of controversy about athletes competing after having nano. Riley didn’t like being confined to the exhibition team, but he understood that was the compromise that allowed him to play at all.
Still, there was a certain exhilaration to being up here, balancing on this slender beam while wearing snow boots as bulky as the ones on an EMU. He’d made the cut, he was representing Kennedy University in the NCAA championships, and nothing could take that away from him.
I’m not usually one of those skiers who dislikes sharing the slopes with snowboarders. But when this idiot speeds down the hill toward me, I can’t move fast enough to avoid him.
In the ensuing collision both of my skis detach and I smash into a snow bank. The boarder quickly leaps to his feet and continues on. I hear a muffled “OK?” from him.
By the time I determine that I’ve suffered no serious damage, I am steaming. These boarders are such inconsiderate punks. Before I know it I’ve lost total control of my anger.
That’s when I notice the boarder traveling toward the out-of-bounds area. Immediately, I realize what my anger has created. The huge avalanche roars toward the lone snowboarder. I can see the panic in his movements as he races back toward the groomed slope. He will never make it.
My wife always warns me that I must control my powers. My animosity made this danger and now I must undo it. I squeeze my eyes shut and concentrate all my good feelings toward the boarder. When I open my eyes, I see him soaring several feet above the crushing snow. In moments he has flown away from the avalanche path and returned to earth.
Shaking his head, he flops down on the snow. I wave my ski pole and shout, “OK?” He just stares at me. As I cruise down the slope, I think his buddies will never believe his tale.
MY BROTHER TOM RODMAN. 1938-2008.
My brother Tom was trained by the Air Force in electronics on the planes and eventually was sent to Japan. At 6’2″ he was much taller than all of the Japanese who worked with him. He was invited home with them, and he told my mother when he slept at night in their homes that they put two tatami mats end to end for him to sleep on.
Mother once wrote to me that she was hoping she did the right thing. Tom had written to her that he had met an older Japanese woman (perhaps six years older) and they were planning to marry. The woman’s father was a retired professor and they were Buddhist. Verlie had written back to him that if they would wait six months to marry, that she would give her blessing on the marriage. We never knew why the relationship did not make it. Tom has never told me, and I never had the opportunity to ask.
Another time there was a knock on Verlie’s door in Chowchilla, California, and it was a young man who was in the service with Tommy. He said he just had to come by “to meet Tom’s mother,” because, he explained, in many long conversations about the Bible on the ship on their way to Japan, Tommy had converted him to the Bible concept, and he had been baptized by immersion for the remission of his sins. Acts 2:38.
ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS CHOICE ONLY
The fresh powder covered the ground exciting the Chionophiles. Bundled up in coats, scarves, and mittens, they rushed outside to experience the winter wonderland. Mickey shut herself up in her room, pretending to be on a tropical beach as she inhaled the steam from her tea. Her twin brother’s fists shook the frame of her door. He yelled, “Be in the car in ten minutes. Excellence waits for no one.”
A bitter memory flash in her mind, her family took a trip to Vail, Colorado, and they all enrolled in a snowboarding lesson. She cried the whole day, hating the cold, wet feeling of the snow. She begged her parents to take her back to the cabin. Instead, they stayed all day as her brother; “the natural” soared all over the slope. She shivered as she recalled the day the moving truck pulled up to their home in Palm Springs as she tried to soak up the last bit of the warm sun before heading to the Arctic Tundra.
Never did he acknowledge her sacrifice, he had athletic talent, but her special kinetic abilities allowed him to land his jumps. Excellence did wait for her, and today she sat in the lodge, willing her brother to crash into the trees, ruining his chances of making the Olympic Team and guaranteeing her return to California.
Snow blindness. Hypothermia.
I couldn’t really see anything. It was like looking at a hazy, smoky cloud or frosted glass. Couldn’t really feel anything, either. I knew the warmth that started a few minutes before wasn’t actually real. I was freezing to death and needed shelter fast. But which way to go? I was well and truly lost.
Remembering the highway came into the resort from the south, I decided to risk it all and stumbled sunward. My spirits were sinking lower as I went.
Gradually, I began to make out shadows. Big shadows. Maybe it was a cliff or a steep slope. I began to despair. I started to sob when I thought of my faithful pooch waiting at the door for a master that would never come home. I recorded a last video message for my family as I trudged purposefully onward. I heard noise. Traffic! I felt my spirit soar. I started to wave my arms. Suddenly, a creature leaped at me, striking me as I tried to dodge.
“Whoooa, heads up, dude!” SPLOOSH!
What? Hot water! Something grabbed my face! I struggled mightily.
Then the fog lifted. I was staring at a girl in a bikini. I had fallen into the hot tub at the resort.
“Why were you walking around the hot tub making a video?”
Sheepishly, I realized I panicked when my goggles fogged as I walked past the hot tub towards the slopes. Somebody gave me a beer as everybody laughed.
Amy Jensen was ready. After twelve weeks of hospitalization and rehab, she was going home. A former Olympic contender and head ski instructor, she was known throughout the area for her expertise. But the ski accident left her paralyzed from the waist down.
Her new reality was painful to accept. Her fiancé, Jordan, was there for the trip home. She was amazed at the crowd waiting outside the facility.
“Who are they?” asked Amy.
“Your students, fans, the media…” answered Jordan.
“You never told me –”
“Didn’t want it to distract you,” he replied, “Your doctors agreed. But we’re not going straight home.”
They rode in a van, pulling up to a helipad on the edge of town.
“Wanna go for a ride over the mountains?” asked Jordan.
“Yes!” cried Amy, “I never thought I would see them again!”
Amy transferred from the van to a specially equipped helicopter with Jordan and her family. She watched, in ecstasy, as they soared over towering mountain peaks and snow covered hills.
“Amy,” explained Jordan, “Your friends, fans, students and the town have set up a fund. You can take this flight three times a year. In exchange…”
“Yeah, in exchange, what?” asked Amy, nervously.
“You can do some video coaching for students at the ski lodge. Does that sound acceptable?”
“It’s more than I could have imagined!” said Amy, crying.
When they landed on the helipad, there they all were — the crowd from the hospital, clapping for Amy.
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