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.
10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Curves”
Smooth and Easy
Smooth and easy.
That’s how I like to ride the highways on my Harley.
There are curves in the road and adventure ahead; like life, they’re rough and unpredictable.
My bike picks up speed and I feel the rush of wind and bugs smacking my face.
I open my eyes and see chem trails floating across the clear afternoon sky, even as the ‘ole brain fogs up from too much aluminum and fluoride.
But that’s okay, ’cause I like to take things smooth and easy.
I gun the throttle, scan the road, and see a curve ahead. . . .
Ease up on the gas. That’s it. You don’t want to go flying off the road and eat those fully chromed handle bars. That’s it, ease into the turn, take it slow . . . now straighten the wheel. Steady. Steady. Don’t hit that yellow metal sign; it’s headache inducing. Good. Now give her some gas. Sweet.
Like life, you’ve got to take those curves smooth and easy. Too fast, and you’ll go off the road; too slow, and you’ll get left behind.
On days like this, I like to forget about the cares of life, the bug stuck between my teeth, and the suitcase I left at home, and just hit the road on my Harley.
That’s way I like it. . . .
Smooth and easy.
Extreme Soapbox Derby
“These things aren’t meant to turn, ya know,” I said to the new Scout Master.
“Sure they can, it just takes a little mechanical engineering, that’s the point of it.”
It was the first big event for the new Scout Master since taking over Troop 116 and he wanted to make a good impression with the kids. He organized weekend “building parties” where the scouts met in his garage to build the souped up soapbox racers and drink warm Kool Aid.
At race time there were ten brightly painted cars lined up at the starting line. A starter’s pistol was fired and the green flag waved. The first car hit the first railing and smashed to smithereens. The second and third cars hit the rubble of the first car and were launched over the railing in two graceful arches, eventually crashing into the rocks a hundred feet below. Several of the slower cars were able to negotiate the first few hair pin turns but soon picked up speed. Gravity pulled the cars in a straight line and the young scouts struggled to stay in control. Wheels began to fall off as terminal speeds were hit. Cars barrel-rolled and were shredded all over the twisty mountain road. None made it to the finish line. The highway was littered with twisted wreckage.
“Well,” the new Scout Master said as we all pushed our antennas back into the remote control devices. “Maybe I’ll just stick with the Pinewood Derby.”
Life is full of twists and turns. Some good and some bad. Lately they have all been bad. I felt trapped. Nothing, I did turned out right. I try my best but it is as if I was cursed. Unlike Midas, where everything he touched turned to gold, everything I touched turned to…well let’s just say something not good. Then a relative I didn’t even know I have showed up. He offered to teach me to ride a motorcycle. At first my thought was those things are death machines but he quickly sold me on the freedom of flying down the road with the wind in my hair. Today was my first solo ride and I am so excited to be the one in control. My relative gave me some last minute instructions before we revved up the engines. I felt the power of the machine underneath me. Soon I was flying down the road, wind in my hair and a sense of freedom I never felt before. As I rode everything else seem to disappear, my heart and soul feels light. My problems disappear on the road behind me. Everything was blocked out. I shut my eyes and flew. All of a sudden I became aware of a new sound. I think it was someone calling my name but it was muffled. Then a word penetrated my brain. That word was CURVE! My eyes popped open just as I flew into thin air. Life had litteraly threw another curve at me.
ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS CHOICE ONLY
Somewhere below her Megan could hear the crash of water against rocks. She twisted her head, pain like a plunged knife, shooting through her body. What had happened? She had been driving along the winding coast road when..what? A truck, travelling in the opposite direction, on the wrong side of the road..then the fall, tumbling over and over, her hands and feet crashing against the roof of the pick-up….then nothing. She licked her lips, the salty taste of blood stinging the back of her throat. She tried to focus on the windscreen but all she could see was a crazed jigsaw of fractured glass. She fell back in her seat, the eerie silence only broken by the slow drip- drip of…what, water from a smashed radiator..a broken fuel line? She sniffed the air. Nothing but the scent of pine needles and the sea. She opened her eyes, fear suddenly gripping every fibre of her body as she stared at the crumpled roof of the pick-up. Would she ever see her husband again, and her darling Ellie?
Little Ellie! The thought hit her like a battering ram. Hadn`t she been coming back from picking the child up from her friend`s birthday party? Ignoring the pain she swivelled sharply in her seat and gazed into the rear of the battered vehicle. There it was, the car seat, empty, the broken safety strap swinging slowly like a clock pendulum.
Above, the seagulls hovered, their screeching now mingling with a louder, more primeval cry…
“You knew Dan?!” my drinking partner asked, looking surprised?
We had been exchanging “war stories” at the bar in the Old Ebbitt Grill, not far from the White House, when the subject turned to the Vietnam War and friends we had in common.
“Of course. Old warhorse like him, why wouldn’t I? He worked for the CIA. Was in and out of town all the time. You never knew when he’d show up or where he would be off to next.”
“Tell me, was it true,” ask my friend, now whispering, “was he the last to leave the U.S. Embassy in Saigon as the compound was being evacuated? I heard he actually was the one responsible for destroying all of embassy’s communications and crypto equipment prior to boarding the final helicopter flight to the USS Kirk.”
“You heard right, pal,” I said, shelling some peanuts and throwing them into my mouth. “Dan knew no fear.
“When he was stationed at the U.S. embassy in Poland, he loved to venture onto the streets of Warsaw at 3 in the morning in his souped-up Mustang convertible and lead the Polish police on long, high-speed chases around the city. Then, he’d abruptly pull over, claim diplomatic immunity, and drive back to the embassy.”
My friend chuckled. “That’s the Dan I knew. I wonder whatever happened to him.”
“He died some years ago in a head-on collision with a truck on a curvy mountain pass in the Spanish Pyrenees.”
It was time for Bonnie to explore. She had just turned 16 and she wanted to hit the road. Flick out her thumb. Get dust in her eyes. She wanted to see what this country was about. Her only plan was to walk straight. See where the road would take her. Cash in her pocket and dreams in her mind. She was going to paint the road with her expectations and fill her journal with experiences. Bonnie was going to show her parents that she was old enough to go to the mall by herself. She went to the kitchen and filled her backpack full of juice boxes and Pop Tarts. She tied her laces and rubbed her cherry Bonnie Bell Chapstick on her lips. A little sunblock on her nose, because she wasn’t a fool, and out the door she went. She would walk straight until the road didn’t go straight anymore. She was home by 4:30pm and her parents were none the wiser. That dang windy road ruined everything. She wondered what was on TV.
The windows of the tan ’59 Chevy station wagon were rolled down as the car sped across the plateau. Five of Tom’s friends filled the bench seats, front and back, yelling their heads off as they outdistanced the ’66 Ford Falcon. Tom kept the accelerator pressed to the floorboards as he put more distance between him and the enemy they had bested in the race.
Next to him Jean held onto his arm, eyes wide. The bottle of home brew, tasting like a loaf of bread, was passed around, back seat first, then front. Jean’s friend, Debra, sitting on the far side, took a big swig of the yeasty beer and handed it to Jean, who shook her head no.
Tom grabbed the bottle, laughing at their victory while honking the horn nonstop, and took a great gulp of the warm brew.
Jean signaled to stop, but Tom was invincible. As he reached the end of the plateau, the road dipped down into a series of steep, tight curves. Tom handed the bottle to Jean and held onto the steering wheel as the curves beckoned.
That first curve called for a light foot on the gas. Tom lifted his right foot, bounced expertly on the brakes with his left foot, and roared into the curve. The rear end of the car skidded on the hot asphalt. Tom gritted his teeth as he adjusted his steering, letting the car follow into the curve, hoping it would hold until the end.
My hands are shaking. I can barely grip the steering wheel as I press the gas pedal. I’ve driven this coastal highway before, but never so fast. My little sports car hugs the road as I whip through the curves.
Before the accident, Beth and I would take leisurely drives and watch the waves. We would stop at our favorite beach to see frolicking sea otters and soak in the golden sunsets.
But Beth and little Joey are gone. And every day brings more pain.
In a smoke-filled hut, the shaman told me there was only one way I could speak to the dead. I must risk my own life, demonstrate my courage and control my fear of death. Only then can I hear or see my sweet wife and our baby boy.
And so I race down the highway, sliding into the curves and screaming for my family. As I approach one of the tightest turns at an incredible speed, I see her – my beautiful Beth holding Joey.
Time seems to slow. Beth raises her arm to wave. No. She is motioning for me to stop. I smash the brake pedal, but the car barely slows. As I spin past her and fly off the cliff, I can hear her shouted warning. “You cannot see the dead and continue to live.”
I feel the car flipping end over end. This is not how I imagined our reunion. But I smile. I will soon be with my family again.
The stereo blared Jan and Dean’s “Dead Man’s Curve” – the original, not any of the recent covers. Hamilton Ardmore reminded himself that the song was set in Los Angeles, hundreds of miles south of here.
Still, it was cold comfort as Asa went whizzing along the Coastal Highway, taking turns way too fast. Even when they were kids together in the NASA clone creche, he’d had a reputation as a daredevil.
I should’ve known it was a mistake to let him give me a ride back to school. Ham fought the urge to flinch as the Corvette edged a little too close to the shoulder on that last curve.
Ham didn’t want another snarky comment about his clone-line being a bunch of safety-obsessed straight-arrows. However, he also wanted to get back to Stanford in one piece, and he wasn’t convinced that Asa appreciated the power of this machine.
Ham studied Asa’s long Shepard face, now animated with excitement. Yes, he was singing along, as engaged with the music as his driving.
From underneath the car came a sharp bang, then a bone-rattling thud-thud-thud. Asa managed to bring the Corvette to a stop on a place with just enough shoulder that they could get out and look over the flat. From the look of it, that last swerve had damaged the tire.
Asa glared at Ham. “Don’t tell me you told me so.”
“What’s the point?” Ham headed back to the trunk. “We’ve got a tire to change.”
It was Savannah’s weeked with her father. Her parents were in a nasty divorce. She began to suspect something was wrong when she saw her father engrossed in something, on his laptop. He was distant and distracted.
“What’s wrong, Daddy?” she asked, “Are you sad? Maybe you and Mommy can work something out?”
“No, Peaches, that ship has sailed,” said Ron. “We have to accept reality.”
“But I know you don’t want to,” said Savannah.
“How’d you get so smart, Peaches?” asked Ron.
He took some sleeping pills, and was out cold by 10 PM. When Savannah opened her father’s laptop to see what he was doing, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
The next morning, Ron announced that they were going on a trip. How could her Daddy go through with his terrible plan — no matter how much he hated Mommy?
“Okay, Daddy,” Savannah played along, “Where to?”
“Sightseeing!” answered Ron, “But first, we’re gonna have strawberry smoothies for breakfast!”
“Sounds yummy, Daddy,” she answered, then pretended to play with her tablet. She watched him mixing medication into one of the drinks. She spilled a bottle of water on the floor — accidentally on purpose.
Her father grabbed paper towels, while Savannah switched their glasses.
When Ron dozed off, Savannah called the police, and her mother. She showed them her father’s laptop, with all his research about deadly cliffs, treacherous turns and how much medication was required to knock out a 10-year-old.
Ron woke up in the county jail.
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