Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Plain Sight

3L0A0723 winterfest jan 2020 FF writing prompt sm
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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16 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Plain Sight”

  1. “Hey! You! You lookin’ at me?”
    “Yeah! You! You lookin’ at me?”
    “No . . . I wasn’t looking at you.”
    “Well, I don’t see anyone else lookin’ this way, do you?”
    “I wasn’t looking your way, miss, I—”
    “Gimme a break, will ya! Do ya think I’m blind? Every time I turn around, I see you starin’ at me. I’ve been here for 20 minutes to cash a check, and all I see when I look your way is you lookin’ back at me. What’s your problem, man?”
    “Ah, I don’t have a problem, miss. And I’m sorry if I’ve offended you—”
    “Yeah, yeah . . . I’ve heard it all before. You’re all alike. See someone in a skirt and your brains turn to fluff. Well, back off, buster. This ain’t your day. My alarm didn’t go off, the coffee maker broke, I couldn’t do my laundry last night because all the machines in the basement were full, dinner was delivered late—and cold—and now, having already wasted almost half an hour in this line, I’m definitely gonna be late for work.”
    The man with whom she was talking, who was waiting in the adjacent line, shook his head. “I’m truly sorry, miss. I meant no harm.”
    “Well, as you can plainly see,” said the young woman, softening her tone, “I’m havin’ a bad hair day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.”

  2. Go for A Walk

    As the weeks and the months droned on, Peter started to itch more. Every new itch engendered a twisty motion: his shoulder blades, his hair, his legs.

    “Stop fidgeting, willya?” his sweetie-pie, Maggie, would say.

    At first, he denied the obvious. “I’m not fidgeting,” he yelled. “Just stretching.”

    “Oh, is that what you call it? Well, blow me down and call me blind but I know stretching when I see it and that ain’t stretching.”

    “I’m going to the basement,” Peter decided.

    “Good idea. I’m gonna watch my program.”

    “Old Goat Yoga?”

    “Not with you outta the room,” Maggie fired back.

    In his basement sanctuary, Peter decided to take a shower. Stripped down, he noticed the extra hair on his once smooth portly frame.”

    He rushed to the stairs and yelled, “MAGGIE!”

    “Stop yelling, you baboon. Are you all right?”


    “Oh, that. Yes. You finally noticed.”

    “YOU KNOW? Why didn’t you say something? I look…”

    “Abominable. Yes. In fact, Dr. Gupta mentioned it a few days ago on the CNN.”

    “The Virus causes it?”

    “That’s what they’re thinking. CHM. Corona Hair Matting. Just in men. And only certain men…odd men”

    “Oh, kee-rist,” muttered Peter. “I’m a right creature, aren’t I.”

    “Sweetheart, you’ve always been a bit of a beast. Look, have your shower and go for a walk. Get some air. Remember, keep your physical distance.”

    “Good idea, I need to shake this cabin fever.”

    “That’s a dear. Love ya.”

  3. “NO, this isn’t my Halloween costume…this is what I always look like…what is your excuse?”

    “I think you’re cute.”

    “You must be blind.”

    “Mostly during the daytime. I haven’t seen you here before, where’s home?”

    “About two miles into the woods. Do you want to see my home?”

    “How about we do that sometime next week?”

    “My calendar is pretty full next week. Aren’t you afraid of me?”

    “No. Like I said, I think you are cute.”

    “Thanks, I guess. I’m not used to anyone talking to me. You must have the same problem, do you?”
    “That’s not very nice. However, I can see many of them looking at me, but I can’t understand what their problem is.”

    “Do those wings actually work?”

    “Sure…have you ever shaved?”

    “I don’t know what that is. I like it when it gets cold outside. I can come into town pretty much unnoticed, as everyone is bundled up. In the warmer months you would think they were searching for me.”

    “They are! People have been searching for your kind for years.”

    “My kind?’

    “Look around…do you look like these other people?’

    “No. In fact they all look alike, and some look like they are trying to look like me. You don’t look like them either. You have some big fangs, do you bite?”

    “Only on special occasions.”

    “Is this one of those?”

    “It could be.”

    “Maybe I can clear some of my calendar next week. He noticed her toothy smile.”

    “NEXT in line.”

  4. The Tsunami

    A tsunami was coming.

    They could feel it in the air.

    And it all started with a man wearing a silly ape costume.

    Oddly, no one in the crowd noticed the costumed man. This was rather odd considering he was running around, waving his hands in the air, shouting.

    Then everyone became afraid.

    Did they finally sense the presence of the man in the costume? Or was their imagination playing tricks on them . . . again?

    As the man in the ape suit slowly disappeared, the fear remained. Inexplicably, everyone was still afraid of something; something they couldn’t see; something lingering on the horizon.

    They knew it was there; an intangible force travelling on the wind, a feeling hiding in the shadows, and an acknowledgement in the mind that something wasn’t right.

    Then they heard a rumbling, a distant sound of thunder, and a feeling the earth was moving. It started small, almost imperceptibly. Then it grew louder. They could feel it. An earthquake was occurring. . . .

    And as their world shook in the presence of a great quake, a costumed ape, holding their fears, rode the surging wave of the coming tsunami.

  5. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Randy thinks stepping outside dressed in an itchy gorilla costume.

    He had gotten on his friend’s nerves as of lately and they had had enough. So after a friendly competition, to which the winner would choose the loser’s punishment, Randy found himself in this predicament.

    Making his way through crowds of people surprised to see a gorilla walking amongst them, Randy finally arrived at the booth.

    Four wooden steps lead up to a curtain hiding a platform beyond. A friend joyfully says, “C’mon Randy! The sooner you start the sooner you finish.” A roar of laughter follows from the rest of his friends.

    Taking a deep breath Randy walks up the steps, disappearing behind the curtain.

    “Come one, come all!” a Barker yells, “One dollar will get you three tries! All proceeds go to charity! Come try your luck!”

    The Barker shouts to a passing boy with his parents, “You young man! You look like a talented boy! Show us your skills! Spare a buck for charity!”

    The boy looks to his father who nods and fishes out a dollar.

    “This is gonna suck!” Randy mumbles to himself.

    The boy grabs a baseball, winds up, and throws.

    PTANG! The ball smashes into a metal bullseye.

    SPLOOSH! Randy plunges into a tank of ice-cold water.

    Everyone laughs!

    A soaked Randy climbs back onto his perch and hears the Barker shout the words that will haunt him all day, “Okay, who’s next!”

  6. Title – This ain’t either Hoth or Home, I believe

    The Wookie shook his head and gargled. He wasn’t having any luck today.

    “I’m sorry, bud,” the man said, “but I’m not convinced. You’ll have to try someone else. A little deodorant might help too; not that I mean to offend. It’s just that…you know?”

    This wasn’t Hoth, but it was close enough. It had the same type of weather; the snow, the ice, the forty-five below. Even in the sun, it was always negative, and in the shade, it was even colder.

    “Oh, come on,” said the woman, suddenly appearing. “Why don’t you have some respect? He’s a veteran of the war, probably suffering PTSD. How would you like to be cast out, penniless and alone, without shelter or a thing to wear?”

    “Seems to me he’s well sorted.” The man again. “He’s got fur. He’s not going to freeze. But Kashyyyk is where he belongs. You got that, Hairball?

    The woman was small but very quick, and she moved with authority, standing between the pair; the man, white-faced and the Wookie, with bared teeth. She kept one hand low, by her side, ready to dip beneath her gown, her eyes calm but always aware.

    “I’d advise you to walk away, sir,” the woman said. “It’s just a little friendly advice from someone who knows best.”

    “Yeah, I guess,” said the man, hurriedly stepping away. “I was already getting bored. But who was it made you queen of the world, Princess?”

  7. Stella laid down the law in simple terms she felt even a dolt like Gregory could grasp.

    “I will leave you Gregory and you will be alone, if you embarrass me one more time,” Stella warned him. “I will be gone as fast as your receding hairline, Gregory,” Stella screamed for emphasis.

    She was sure she had made her threat of leaving Gregory clear and loud enough for the idiot to understand.

    Yet, there he was on the front page of the morning newspaper for the whole world to see and snicker at behind her back. There was Gregory growling at the camera dressed in that tacky, matted gorilla suit he was so proud of last Halloween.

    What grown man in his right mind enjoys wearing a costume to hand out candy to a bunch of snot-nosed brats on Halloween? Stupid little man.

    Stella had high hopes for Gregory when they married. As Stella insisted, Gregory got a second job to buy her that baby blue Cadillac, even though it meant they couldn’t afford two cars.

    Stella thought, and said as much to Gregory, that walking to and from the bus stop would be good exercise for him.

    “God and everyone else knows you need the exercise Gregory.” Stella always knew what was best for Gregory. Droll little man.

    Gregory got off the bus just in time to see the tail-lights of the baby blue Cadillac and Stella disappear forever.

    As Stella promised, she was gone. Gregory growled with satisfaction.

  8. Dr. Zaius walked among the humans who he knew were responsible for the world ending. His plan to go back in time worked.

    Noone will forsake my future.

    Zaius gritted his teeth and snarled. The passersby ignored him like any other New Yorker on the street with matted hair and a freaky smile.

    “Your day is coming, Earth. And your darnable dirty pets too.”

    “Here beatnik, get you a haircut.”

    A tall man in a blue suede suit threw him a few crumpled up bills.

    “You. Are. Free from my wrath, thank you. Blue Sir.”

    Zaius eyebrows floated off to the heavens while he picked up the currency.

    If I get a few million more of these, I can start my quest for world domination.

    Zaius smiled back to the good old days when he only had a few unkempt humans to deal with.

    Those were the days. Zaius put the bills in his fur and continued to panhandle for world domination.

  9. So here he was, in the appliance department of McKinley’s, ready to meet his dream woman.

    He’d described himself accurately on the application. Auburn hair. True. Athletic build. True. Ruggedly handsome. True. He’d left out his worst feature, that he was a little short, but he figured height really wasn’t important.

    She had described herself as silver-haired and buxom. He wasn’t sure what buxom looked like, but he thought it meant someone with a big bottom, which he approved of.
    And there she was, big bottom and all, just like she said she would be, standing behind him, wearing a red hat and peering anxiously through the crowd, her eyes seeking his.

    She was lovely. So lovely he could hardly get up his nerve to approach her. What would he say? What would she say? The first impression was so important. Finally he decided that just a simple “hello” would do.

    Her piercing shriek and retreating buxom bottom came as a total surprise to him. For some unknown reason, she did not like what she saw.

    He decided that next time he must hold nothing back. No hiding his worst feature. His lack of height must be mentioned. Honesty was the best policy.

  10. Stare Dare
    The creature is standing in midst of everyone. Everyone is pretending that it is not there.
    Irritating. Everything. The creature. Pretentious everyone.
    The ugly, furry creature stares monstrously. Its protruding teeth seems to tear up flesh from everyone around.
    Disgusting. Everyone’s double standard. As if, nobody can sense the imminent danger.
    It must be contained.
    It is possible that the crowed around it has irked it somehow. Or, that the creature is spontaneously hateful.
    Why everyone else is looking away?
    Has it stared them down? Or, has it chased them?
    Nobody is helping here. Nobody cares. We are too many. Yet, we refuse to act.
    For the sake of the community, now, it is my sloe duty to contain the risk.
    First I am trying to stare it down. The clock is ticking.
    It has started diminishing in dimensions. In thirty seconds, it has shrunk to a dust particle. I cannot fix my gaze on it anymore.
    I exhale and wish if I could have blown it off.
    Then, I turn my head to relax and find that the beast is up again, daring a stare with someone else.
    It regains vitality as its contender loses eye contact with it. Then it shifts it gazes and finds a new enemy. This is the beast’s strategy, modus operandi and secret of perpetuity.
    I should have kept my eyes fixed on it. Leaving all other earthly affairs.
    Alas! It is now out of my hand, my gaze.

  11. I can walk down any street, crowded with noontime workers looking for some lunch, for example, and nobody sees me. I mean nobody. And it’s not like I’m hiding or anything. I’m not invisible. More than that, I sure don’t like your everyday kind of guy. I’m different.

    But nobody sees. Nobody looks.

    Which is a shame, when you think about it, not that anybody does. I get it, I really do. Everybody has their own life to lead, their own concerns and cares and worries.

    But still, you’d think, since I’m really out there, not hiding, just walking down the street with everybody else in plain sight, that somebody would see me, call me out.

    Nobody does.

    In a sense, it’s kind of funny. I mean all these people hurrying here and there, bustling about, making friends, making enemies, hiding from husbands or wives, doing something they shouldn’t, meeting somebody they shouldn’t, but also doing something they should, going to work, playing ball with their kids, taking spouses out to an anniversary dinner. The essentials.

    They’re all doing their thing, their eyes looking down at the sidewalk so they know where to put the next step, so they don’t step in any dog crap. That’s what people do.

    Just like me. Doing my own thing. So be it.

    I’m a monster, get it?

    I kill people.

    That’s what I do.

  12. I’ve carried this anger so long, its second nature. No one ever notices. Not me, not my pain. All they see is the false front I wear in public. But I’m not the strong beautiful woman they all think I am. Inside I’m ugly. I hate my life, myself, and this world. There is nothing here for me.

    Each day I get up, shower, grab a cup of coffee, and go to work, where I pretend to enjoy what I do. The inane bantering of my fellow workers only adds to my seclusion. Who am I to spoil their fun and happiness with my problems? I bury the hairy beast inside me and trudge through the day.

    People smile and laugh as they bustle past on the way home. No one looks at me. I’m unimportant, unworthy of attention. I bite back tears and quicken my steps. Tonight, I’ll make sure no one ever has to deal with me again. I won’t be missed.

    So deep within my demons, I slip on the ice. Throbbing pain fuels the spiral down, and I curse my useless life. That’s when I see it, a small furry lump under a dusting of snow. It’s body quivers in the cold. Words aren’t needed. A pair of soft brown eyes say it all. Alone. Forgotten. Invisible. Just like me. The dog licks my hand and snuggles against me, melting my inner beast. I’ll give life one more day. I’m still needed here.

  13. They walk among us. Real-life archetypes of evil and discord; cretinous creations of our imagination.
    Our senses seem immune to their existence, an acquired talent to ignore their omnipresence.
    Yet they prowl the recesses of our psyche like a virus, creating fear and anxiety, even in times of peace.
    They make us wake up in terror and cold sweat. Solicitously we blame our poor diet and bad behavior.
    Their appearance morphs with the passage of time. No two iterations are exactly alike yet the fear they monger is the same.

    We no longer employ flight in their presence, we accept the fear and try desperately to ignore them. And yet they persist. Never increasing their threat for fear of being recognized, but steady in their menace to support our deepest imagined horror.

    Our suppression of their existence only enhances their power over us and we quietly yearn for freedom from their tyranny, rarely confronting them whilst denigrating those who have fallen under their spell as being weak or lacking character.

    They are neither heroic nor meek. Neither reckless nor prudent. Neither here today nor there tomorrow. They are everywhere. An apotheosis of everything human and still, that which we choose to ignore in ourselves.

    They walk amongst us, dragging their knuckles in abject contempt of our very being. Yet, at every encounter, their hair is always perfect.

  14. There he was, in the center of town, on a busy Saturday. It was Sasquatch, all right, but not quite as you would expect — he was smaller, more timid and his hair was almost downy. Baby Sasquatch?

    Well, no — he was more than a baby. A teenager? No, younger — more like a tween. How he wandered into the middle of town, was anybody’s guess. He lurched up and down the street, exchanging stares with people with outright curiosity.

    One young girl ran directly into him, arms open, yelling, “Chewbacca!”

    Tween Sasquatch responded with a throaty bleat and a gentle embrace. He looked hurt when the girl’s mother ran up and snatched the child back.

    Then things got ugly. Three teenage boys started yelling rude things at the creature, who hung his head and loped away. But they continued to hurl insults and even a soda can at young Sasquatch. The street cleared around the lone, hairy creature. The little girl could be seen crying.

    Suddenly, a new figure emerged from the trees, who could only be Mama Sasquatch. She was almost twice the size of her offspring, and definitely not downy. Everyone froze as she came charging through. She stopped once in front of the three bullies, and roared at the top of her lungs, sending chills down the spines of everyone present.

    Then she calmly proceeded onward and took the hand of her now-vindicated son, leading him back to the woods from whence they came.

  15. “The idea goes back at least to Poe’s “The Purloined Letter.”

    The ogre just grunted, a dubious sound.

    “No, seriously. It was a revolutionary idea back then. People really overestimate how well they pay attention. That’s why juries give so much credence to eyewitness testimony, never mind how many studies show people overlook the obvious.”

    A thought-furrow formed between the ogre’s eyebrows. Make that definite, he was giving the idea some consideration.

    “Also, it’s not like you’re going to be walking around the small town where I grew up. There everybody knows everybody else, and a stranger gets noticed. Here in the big city, there’s just too much going on. So people get tunnel vision, to spare themselves cognitive overload.”

    Now that got his attention. “Will it really work?”

    “Sure. Douglas Adams even had a joke about it, the Somebody Else’s Problem field. I’ll guarantee you that as long as you don’t do anything to attract attention, you can walk the streets and not raise an eyebrow, because everyone’s minding their own business.”

    And that, my friends, is how I enabled an ogre to walk the mean streets of the Windy City for an entire month, until the gate to faerie reopened.

    They are among us, in plain sight. Yet, ignored by many. He wanted to see if they would notice him, so he put on a gorilla suit and headed to the boardwalk. Would people talk to him? Would they ask him why he was wearing that silly costume?
    His excited gait slowed. The smile under the mask left. He stood still among the bustling people. The few who noticed him diverted their eyes to the pavement as they walked by. Invisible. He wondered how it was possible to feel so lonely with people all around, yet not one of them acknowledged him. He jumped up and down and waved his arms wildly, but they just widened their berth.
    He leaned against the old bank building. Gloom lingered inside. He slid slowly down the wall.
    “Who are you, gorilla?” asked a man dressed in rags.
    “Nobody. Like you, I suppose.” He held the tattered man’s gaze until his heart could no longer bear the years of neglect staring back at him.
    “It is better to be nobody here, if it means being somebody there.” The shabby man smiled, his gaze lifting toward the slate gray sky. “I might be invisible here, but my hope makes me visible to the only one who matters.”
    The tattered man’s eyes were warm. Why had he not seen this before? Hope, once again, set in his heart.

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