Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Zombies

the gorge in george washington aug 2008
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!

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Zombies”

  1. The vaccine was meant to improve the human race. It was suppose to put an end to sickness and increase the life span seven fold. It was suppose to be the greatest thing for the human race. God sent. That was what it was suppose to be.But the man who all hailed a God was a demon in disguise. His idea of improving the human race wasn’t the same as every one else’s. He did kind of deliver his promises. One did not become sick once his vaccine took effect. As for a longer life that was debatable. I guess it matters on your definition of life. If you called stumbling mindlessly around with constant hunger living than I suppose you could say he delivered on his promises. However there was a small flaw in his plan to make himself and a select few the real super race. The flaw had to do with the constant hunger. These new beings would eat anything including the few the demon chose to give immunity to. The out break had backed fired and he had a zombie apocalypse on his hands.

  2. Murphy’s Law

    Murphy always attracted trouble. The rough edges of life were always poking at him. He was the nail in the road, waiting for the inevitable blowout.

    And so it was today.

    They had his home surrounded. Creatures . . . groaning, clawing, trying to break in.

    Absently, he opened his diary:

    It was supposed to be a dream about the future. But it was really just a nightmarish glimpse into the past. A past that played itself over and over again, always rising from the ash heap of forgotten memories.

    In the past people had freedom, but weak and doctrinaire men had let it slip away.

    People became distracted with their own affairs, and those in power had worked their magic, and took away the precious things of life. As the State grew in power, freedom became subverted, and true history was lost. And the media, which was supposed to be the guardian of liberty, became a tool in its subversion.

    Over time people became lost in a sea of falsehood and delusion, eventually becoming crazed in their thinking.

    Then a civil war led to the destruction of the country. And people reverted back to a more primitive way of life. They hunted and were hunted

    And now they were at his door, clawing to get in

    As he waited for the inevitable end, Murphy read the last sentence in his diary:


  3. Granny was a zombie. She said so. At eighty-seven years old, her protesting days were fast becoming the march of the living dead. 

    She thought it was funny. I didn’t. I was thirteen and serious about our causes and about her. 
    When my little brother would monster-walk around the kitchen, moaning like the undead, she’d elbow me. Lighten up! And no, I couldn’t give him something to moan about. 

    She and I marched often. We were against many things and for many more. I learned about climate change and voting rights, why our town needed a homeless shelter, how we all had to stand up to cancer.

    As she’d zoom by on her scooter, off to another Saturday rally with me, the ladies at the nursing home would smile and wave and then talk. I guess they figured Granny couldn’t hear them over the puffing and humming of her oxygen tank. 

    “Silly old hippy. Isn’t it a bit much for a woman of her age?” 

    “What a crazy example for the granddaughter.”

    My Granny wasn’t dead yet. She had more battles ahead. Maybe even, she winked, a zombie apocalypse. 

  4. “Mommy, look a whole bunch of people!”

    “No! Get away from the window.”

    “But I want to see them. Hey, people! You wanta play?”

    “Shush! They’ll hear you! These aren’t people, and they don’t play.”

    They were zombies. She couldn’t expect her seven-year-old daughter to understand the danger. She could hardly understand it herself. One day everything was normal, the next everything was upside-down. Zombies roamed the land. Her sole purpose in staying alive was to protect her daughter from these merciless killers.

    “Look! That lady looks like Grandma. Remember Grandma? When the ‘lectricity went off she taught me to play card games.”

    “Oh, my god! Grandma!” The filthy scarred old woman, marching with the crowd, her fingers lifted like claws, her mind gone, was her mother. Clarissa could not look away from the horrifying site.

    She heard the door slam, and turned toward it. Too late. Her daughter was outside. She turned back to the window and saw the girl running toward the thing that had been her grandmother.

  5. We were on our way to New Jersey, when our bus ground to a halt. 

    “I had a bad feeling about this, Corinne,” said my husband, Jake.

    We’d heard the reports, but nothing could have prepared us for this sea of humanity on the New Jersey Turnpike. The National Guard was out in force, curtailing violence, and keeping a lane open for emergency vehicles. 

    We could hardly distinguish the reanimated dead from others who were forced to abandon their own vehicles. The revived ones actually looked better — were they reborn? 

    The Red Cross provided assistance. Rumor was that when many people reanimated, their clothing was so tattered that they were practically nude, and so they needed help. 

    We met a couple who had joined the crowd in Queens. 

    “St. Michael’s Cemetery looked a mess,” said the pretty young woman. “I’m Jenna, and this is Bart. It says so on our wedding bands.”

    “We don’t remember our wedding,” said Bart, “But we remember the plane crash, four months ago, in Bolivia.”

    “The one where 54 people died?” I asked.

    “I wouldn’t know,” said Jenna, “Most of us only recall our last moments.”

    “I’m sorry, that’s awful!” said Jake.

    “It’s okay,” said Jenna, “We have each other.”

    “Yeah,” said Bart, “We’re blessed. Most people wake up alone.”

    “Maybe you can find somewhere safe to stay,” I said hopefully. 

    “Where should we go?” asked Jenna.

    “I don’t know,” I answered, “But I think we’re stuck on the road, until we find shelter.”


  6. The sun was just coming up and twelve-year-old Linda was cold even though it was summer. On top of that, she—and her parents—were walking along the Burke Gillman Trail with five hundred other people. Nobody was talking. It was like they were a herd of zombies heading for annihilation.

    “Dad, this is so lame,” she whispered. Why was she whispering? This was the great outdoors, the crowded great outdoors. They might as well be downtown.

    “Did we get up on the wrong side of the bed?” asked her dad.

    “No I did not,” she said. “But I could be doing something else. Something fun. Do we ever do anything fun anymore?”

    Linda’s mother, walking on the other side of her, stopped. “Enough,” she said, a scowl crossing her face. “How about something positive? Otherwise, maybe you should be quiet for awhile.”

    With hands on her hips and royal disdain on her face, Linda walked faster, moving ahead of her parents. “At least I’m not a zombie,” she said, loud enough for everyone to hear.

    Her dad took three quick steps and caught up to her before she knew it. He put his arm around her shoulders. “This is a charity walk, Linda. These people would rather be doing something else, too. But they’re here because they want to support our cause.”

    “I know,” said Linda. “I know. It’s just that….I don’t know.”

    Her dad smiled down at her and gently rubbed her bald head.

  7. I bring the car to a halt when I realize getting past the hoard of creatures surrounding, is not an option. I look at my little brother, Sammie, who sits in the passenger seat, gripping a teddy bear tight in his clutch, squeezing his eyes closed. “Sammie” I whisper and put my hand on his shoulder. He opens his teary eyes and looks at me. “Do you see that boat over there?” I ask and point towards the docked boat in the nearby lake.
    “Y-yes.” He nods.
    “Its the only way we’re getting out of here.”
    “H-how do we get to it?”
    “We’re going to have to run.” He gulps and nods his head. He looks at the boat and then back at me. I look around the car to see that the undead creatures surrounding us were now only a few yards away. “Now Sammie!” I yell and on sync, both of our doors fly open. The creatures start limping towards us at a faster pace. I make my way around the car and grab Sammie’s hand as we sprint to the boat. We reach the boat and I motion Sammie to sit in one of the seats. I quickly untie the boat from the dock and give it a push. It drifts across the water as I take a little leap to get in. I make my way back to the trolling motor. I look at the crowd of undead creatures as we slowly drift away.

  8. Deadheads

    I arrived at Woodstock inside of two people, and I left inside of one. My parents were not married at the time, in fact, they met on the first day of the big event. My mother says she started dancing with my father during Santana’s set but dad says it was in the mud when it rained during Joan Baez. What they both can agree on is that I was conceived during Jimi Hendrix’s incendiary version of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which may explain my mild Tourette’s Syndrome.

    My parents toured with the Grateful Dead between 1970 and 1995. When Jerry Garcia died they saw it as a sign to get off the road and settle down. They now live in a modest apartment in Florida where they watch the sun rise and set with these silly but wise smiles on their faces.

    My sister and I grew up selling tie dye T-shirts and veggie burritos out of the back of our orange VW bus (nicknamed “Orange Crush”). We were home-schooled in that bus, with the permission of a hip elementary school Superintendent, and then both went to Deerfield Academy on an academic scholarship. Who knew one could learn so much bouncing around the country in the Orange Crush?

    Now I am married and have two daughters of my own. They drag their “cool hippy dad” with them to as many concerts as they can. Tonight we see our favorite band, Phish. What a long strange trip it’s been.

  9. Execution Day

    The line formed outside the arena; I scratched the chip in my left arm. Initially only used to track violent offenders now placed under the skin of all residence at birth. Thick scar tissue encapsulated the foreign object trying to reject the tracking. Hooded men separated us from our parents; our left wrists flashed with beams of blue light. The data mined, exposing every transgression. Anyone who broke the rules no matter the reason, paid a deadly price.

    Agents shouted orders sorting the mob into groups. Terror and anticipation filled our hearts; today, one of us seals the fate of the guilty. I looked over my shoulder, bursting with pride, searching the long line for my mother. Lieutenant John escorted me to the center stage, calming me with his gentle eyes as I waved at the surging crowd. He placed a sash over my shoulder, identifying me as the Executioner. The citizens in the audience had escaped punishment and frantically searched for family members.

    The accused silently marched onto the stage, each remorseful head hanging low, awaiting instant death. A red button raised out of a trapdoor; a hush fell over the stadium. I raised my hand dramatically, slamming it down on the shiny dome. I heard a familiar voice screaming, “I will always love you.” Turning my head toward the sound and watched my mother’s lifeless body hit the stage.

  10. “Vertical and ambulatory.”

    We used to joke about it around the water cooler every morning at work: instant zombie, just add coffee. But when people started walking, it wasn’t funny any more.

    Old and young, men, women and children, from every race and social class, just stood up and started walking. Expression slack and eyes fixed, they’d just keep walking until they collapsed in exhaustion or encountered something deadly.

    We tried to stop them. Restraints would hold them down, but they’d injure themselves fighting. Sedatives kept them quiet, but even a medically-induced coma produced only temporary relief from that mindless drive.

    Conspiracy theorists muttered about chemtrails, and the Usual Suspects carried on about “da Joooos.” That last hurt, because my cousin’s a firefighter in Israel, and he told me stories of trying to keep the columns of people from walking straight into the Med. He’d go home terrified to hug his wife and kids for fear of giving them whatever caused it.

    Except it wasn’t contagious. There’s not one case of a first responder or health-care professional contracting it from an afflicted person. It just showed up, and then it petered out and stopped.

    Twenty years later, we still don’t know what caused it. Autopsies show no common symptoms. No one’s ever found any sinister equipment, and nobody’s come forth with a confession, not even on their deathbed.

  11. iPocalypse

    There they were. I had never seen so many. They had crushed themselves against our windows, blocking the view, and I couldn’t see the size of the throng. (According to the blueprints, the glass is shatter-proof and over one inch thick so I think we’re okay.) I ran up to the roof to get a better look. Best to know what we’re up against.

    There were more of them than I imagined … lots more, and all of them wanted to get into where we were. I was glad to be up high, away from them. I had been close once. Close enough to see their vacant hang-dog faces, and to see the the hunger … the “wanting” in their eyes.

    Frightening, in a way.

    I headed down to my team. A little pep talk before the onslaught was definitely required. The group had gathered in a rear room. Striving to keep my voice even, I started to addressed them.

    “Okay gang, listen up. You may have noticed there are a few folks outside, but that’s okay. (This brought out a few nervous laughs (a good sign). I have a great team.) We’ve handled groups like this before. Whenever they come out with a new iPhone, every Apple store in the world has a huge crowd the next day, just like what you see outside. We can handle them. Just remember to be patient and take care of our customers. Okay Jordan, you can open up.”

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