Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Ausable

ausable rainbow 80s flash fiction writing prompt copyright KS Brooks
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.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Ausable”

  1. For Editor’s Choice only

    The two men stood silently for a minute, looking at Rainbow Falls. The Ausable Chasm Bridge stood in the background.
    “So,” said the detective, reaching into his suit jacket and pulling out his notebook and pen, “what can you tell me?” As the man to his right prepared to speak, the detective scribbled the date on a blank page together with the words Jane Doe, Apparent suicide, Rainbow Falls.
    “Well, me and Shep—that’s my dog—was walkin’ along these rocks early this mornin’ when I spotted her across the way.” He pointed across the falls. “She was just a-standin’ there, her coat blowin’ with the wind.”
    “Was anyone with her?”
    “Not that I could see . . . just her, by herself. But ya know, the fog was pretty thick, so I may have missed someone. Wait a minute, come to think of it, the wind was breakin’ up the fog at times. Nope, there was no one with her.”
    “And the color of her coat? Do you remember that?”
    “Oh, yes. It was a bright green. I’ll never forget that. The bottom kept whipping up on her, and she used her right hand to keep it down.”
    “And other than that, you saw nothing . . . no car behind her, no other people?
    “No, nothin’? Except—”
    “Except what?”
    “Except she threw the small bundle she was cradlin’ in her left arm into the falls before she jumped.”

  2. Title: Lessons

    What did we know back then? We were just kids.

    As I look at this site today, I wish I had been more vocal about my fears that night.

    It was dark, and we had only been there once before. We could hear the rushing water, but Billy thought that made things more exciting. I wanted to be like my older brother and did things to impress him.

    That night he fixed me up with his girlfriend’s younger sister and told me they had big plans for me.

    When we got closer to the gushing water, I knew exactly what he was going to do. Without any hesitation, I ran towards the spray of water, but before I could jump into the foam, he pushed me out of the way, leaping right into it.

    He turned and smiled at me, and was engulfed by the raging torrent. It took us an hour to climb down to the river bank, but there was no sign of him anywhere.

    The girls were bawling and holding each other. We later told the authorities he slipped and fell into the spray.

    It took them two days to find his body miles down the river.

    Yes, Becky and I had become friends and lovers. We hugged each other tightly, tears streaming down our cheeks. We have a child on the way and hope it’s a boy, so we can name him Billy.

  3. Did It Chas M to Misunderstand the Prompt

    “So, I squinted, eh! To see it better. It seemed to be, like, you know, quite an old photo.”

    “Let me look.”

    “Okay. Here. See?”

    “Uh-huh! Looks kinda like a daguerreotype, almost.”

    “Yeah…it says it’s from the ‘80’s. Maybe they mean the 1880’s?”

    “They have cameras back then?”

    “Think so. Sure…musta.”

    “’Course they did. I can get stupid pretty easy.”

    “Yeah, I know.”

    “Thanks for agreeing.”

    “No problemo. Anyways, I also got confused by the name.”


    “Of the prompt. There.”


    “Yeah. Looks like a typo, doesn’t it?”

    “Do they call it a typo when you leave a space out between words?”

    “That’s what I thought…that they meant a usable?”

    “I can see that.”

    “Yeah, and when you hover over the picture, it says ‘ausable rainbow 80s flash fiction writing prompt.’ See?”

    “I do”

    “Then I thought, if it’s a typo, then what the heck is a usable rainbow? And that thought gave me a headache, so I started digging.”

    “Where did that lead you? China?”

    “You’re not funny.”

    “I’ve been told that often enough. Sorry. So, what is it?”

    “Ausable is a river in upper New York. Rhymes with possible.”

    “Good to know. What’s with the title thing?”

    ”You mean the Chas M?”


    “Phonetic…sounds like ‘cause him.’”

    “Barely. I’m thinking Charles M.”

    “You think what you like. It’s my flash story and I’m sticking to it.”

    “It’s pretty boring.”

    “Think of it as Investigative Flash Fictioning.”

    “I’ll do that.”

  4. Rainbow Bridge

    The rainbow hung across the chasm, spanning it.

    “It looks as though it’s been wrought from unobtanium; you know that metal they had on Avatar?”

    “What?” Hubert wasn’t a movie buff. The last time he’d been to the cinema it had been for a revival; a re-showing of The Third Man. He’d fallen asleep during the first reel, waking up three hours later to find himself alone with only the cleaners for company.

    “Or maybe you’d say it was made from gossamer? Ethereal, but still strong? A spider’s web writ large; the tangible; fashioned from a dream?”

    Hubert shook his head. He wasn’t a reader either. He found the editorial section of GQ a strain, preferring to skim through the descriptions in the pictorial features. He was very well-groomed and always a la mode though, his personal styling impeccable.

    “You really haven’t a clue,” I said, pitying him. “If I was you, I’d take a free step; make a leap of faith. You never know, you might actually surprise yourself.”

    I never realised how little I’d known him. I’d always believed him to be a pragmatist, a man with more of an appreciation of the effects of his actions. I was truly surprised at how small his grasp of reality had been; he’d had no idea of the gravity of the situation. If only I’d realised that before, I might have been able to stop him. But as it stands now, I guess we’ll never know why he jumped.

  5. “I don’t see what’s so ausable about it. Did we go almost to Canada to see a waterfall and sandstone gorge? And pay for the privilege to see it? Heck. We shoulda gone to Niagara Falls. Now that’s a waterfall.”

    Bert knew Shirley was hard to please. She was also stubborn in that cantankerous septuagenarian manner of one who had spent a lifetime of making her own way and her own rules. She was used to asking all the questions and only hearing the right answers that fit her vision of how life ought to be.

    “What do you mean Shirley?” he loved to tease.

    I mean it’s not ausable like the sign said. ‘Ausable Chasm’, indeed! I ain’t never seen anything less ausable. Yeah, it’s nice, sure, but ausable? Niagara’s ausable, the Grand Canyon is ausable! Not this.”

    “Shirley, the river is named Ausable. It’s a contraction of the town’s name, ‘au Sable’ which means something like ‘of the sand’. See the sandstone gorge? All of that rushing water wore that sandstone into a gorge and deposited the grains along the Champlain lakeshore. There’s a fine beach down there where we’re heading next.”

    “Fine, then. Take me there, if it’s free. It is free, isn’t it, Bert? I’m not paying another cent on anything ausable today.”

  6. “State Park Police, Davis speaking.” Who’d be calling her blocked?

    “Belle? It’s me.” Annabelle’s mouth went dry.

    “Well, if it isn’t Deputy Chief Ricky Smith of the NYPD, and please call me Captain Davis.” She felt light-headed.

    “Heard you had a jumper last night. Dispatch said you were out at the bridge, our bridge. I’m five minutes away.” Ricky wasn’t sure how she’d react.

    “River’s outside your jurisdiction, Chief. Not enough action in the Big Apple for you?” Annabelle’s palms were sweating.

    “Something like that, and I remember when you liked me calling you Belle.” Ricky laughed nervously.

    “And I remember a white dress, a chapel full of our friends and no groom.” Was that her heart or the sound of the rushing water so loud in her ears?

    “I’ve wanted to explain, but you haven’t answered my calls.” Ricky got out of his car, patting the ring box in the breast pocket of his jacket. “I’m here. Meet me at our spot on the bridge.”

    “Ok, if you’re brave enough to take a trip down memory lane while I’m armed, Chief.” How was it possible for a man to look that good? Annabelle tried to breathe.

    “I’m willing to chance it, Captain.” Ricky held up both hands as if he were surrendering. He was close enough to smell the scent of her. Lavender. His knees buckled.

    The kiss was the kind they write about in fairy tales, so, of course she said yes – again.

    They lived happily-ever-after.

    The End.

  7. Waves rush over Billy as the rapids push him further down the raging river.

    “How the hell did this—” the current pulls him under before he can finish the thought.

    Tumbling beneath the water, searching for which way is up, Billy’s lungs feel as if a vise is squeezing them.

    Wham! Slamming against a rock Billy is thrown to the surface.

    He breathes deep, thinking, “Focus! Got to get to land! How?”

    Wave after wave washes over Billy, blurring his vision. He searches for anything: a tree branch, a rock, anything . . . nothing . . . just water.

    “It’s hopeless. I’m gonna drown.”

    Suddenly flashes of colors – colored parkas.

    “Wait! What’s that?”

    Further down the riverbank – people – campers.

    “HEL—” a wave silences Billy’s cry for help.

    “Swim you fool,” his brain screams, “SWIM!”

    Kicking – paddling – stretching his neck – keeping his lips above water.

    “HELP! HELP!”

    Down he goes, beneath the rapids, “Did they hear me?”

    Popping back up, gasping for air, Billy sees a camper wading into the water tied to a rope.

    “They heard me! THEY HEARD ME!” his mind explodes with joy.

    Billy catches the rope just as the camper catches him.

    He’s pulled safely to land.

    “I’m safe! I’m safe!”

  8. Endless Sand.
    Knee-deep in sand. I am unaware of everything else. I am not even viewing the fork. The falls gushing vigorously, vying for attraction, eternally.
    My eyes are through lenses of my camera. I am struggling to fix the camera’s gaze on the white tail. How long would it stay afloat?
    It is slipping down. The sand, wet, loose, porous – is engulfing the deer.
    I must capture this phenomenon. It could be a catch of lifetime.
    White tails are never so static. Not even when they come grazing our lawn in wintry evenings around the Christmas.
    Yet I am losing it. It is trying to jump off the sand. More it is putting thrust downward further it is going downward. More it is creating ripples on the surface. More I am losing grip on abysmal sand beneath my feet. More I am shaking.
    Finally, the white tail frees itself from entrapment of sand. It, somehow, caught hold of a dead sunk thick twig by its forelimbs. It waded through soft sand to hardened muddy shore. It sprang above the ground.
    I have just caught the heavenly leap of the deer.
    My vision is gone. My nostrils are full of sand. I breathed some as I was sinking by the commotion created by great leap of the deer.
    I am holding my camera above my head, not sure if it is above the sands.
    I am swimming, blindly, hoping to hit a muddy floor, or, a dead tree trunk.

  9. The setting couldn’t be more appropriate. So serene. I ran over the scenario again. We’ll be standing on the bridge admiring the swirling waters below. Her blue eyes would widen as I extended the little box with the engagement ring.

    “Oh, Poopsie,” she’d moan, reaching out for the gift. Her eyes would twinkle. “For me?”

    I’d lift the ring and slide it onto her wiggling finger. “Yes, darling, for you.”

    I’d then have the thankful little chickee give me her holographic letter leaving her mansion, bank accounts, and everything else she owned, to me, her devoted devotee, just before I knocked her on her head and shoved her dead body into the rapids below. Time for action.

    “Come a little closer to the railing,” I whispered. She shuffled up beside me. “Look what I’ve got,” I said, offering the little box tempting her nearer to her fate.

    Aghast, she tore the box from my hand and stuffed it into her full-bosomed bra. “You think just because I’m an ex- chorus line showgirl, I’m stupid, too?” She ripped the letter to shreds and flipped it flying into the wind. “Well, chump, months ago I tripled the million dollar insurance policy payable to me and told everyone about your fear of heights. Ta ta, sucker!”

    Her high-heeled boot dug into my ankle as she bulldozed me to meet the end of my life. Shucks! Women, I realized as I tumbled, are just more clever than we guys think.

  10. Standing at the edge of the precipice, all I hear is the thunderous roar of water as it pours into the gorge. I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been here, watching, waiting for a sign. My clothes drip from accumulated mist, and water runs in rivulets down my face. The power in these waters leaves me breathless, as does the rainbow that hovers above it. If I reach just a little, I swear I’ll touch it, perhaps find that pot of gold at the end.

    A glint of gold tumbles in the churning water. Maybe it’s merely a reflection of the sun. Either way, the pain inside me is too much to bear, even in front of all this beauty. Everyone I know is gone, taken in the last purge. There’s no reason to continue.

    I breathe in the moist air and lean forward, arms wide. Air rushes past me as I fall, eager for the end. Instead, a blast of air thrusts me back to the top. I tumble onto the ground, far from the waters edge. I should be dead, floating with the rest of this world’s refuse.

    A person stands across the gorge, arm thrust in my direction. Staring at the eerie glow in her eyes, I suck in a breath. Images of people flood my mind, and a new goal. I’m not alone. The figure fades, and I turn and begin my new task. It’s up to me to find the others and start anew.

  11. The spring runoff’s brown water thundered over Ausable Falls as James pushed his wife’s wheelchair along the bridge. Cool mist fell like light rain as they traversed the old concrete viewpoint.

    “Niagara Falls hasn’t changed a bit,” said Lillian as she clapped her hands. “James surprised me when he brought me here on our honeymoon.”

    James, preoccupied with the finances of his wife’s stay at the nearby assisted living facility, looked up at the mention of their honeymoon. “Too bad we never made it there,” said James.

    “You’ve never gone?” asked Lillian.

    “No,” said James. “Remember, I had to work.”

    “My husband never let work get in the way,” said Lillian. “I wish he was here.”

    James stopped the wheelchair in the middle of the bridge and knelt down in front of Lillian. She stared at James. “Do you know my husband?” she asked.

    “I hear he’s a good man,” said James. “He told me he loves you.”

    Lillian smiled broadly and clapped her hands again. “He’s nice,” she said. “He might bring me a candy bar. I love Hersheys. Just chocolate. No peanuts.”

    “You’re in luck,” said James as he reached in his shirt pocket and pulled out three candy bars. “Look what he gave me for you.”

    “James sent those to me?” asked Lillian.

    Lillian took the candy bars and held them tight as James stood up and resumed pushing the wheelchair through the cool mist of Ausable Falls.

  12. It was the day everything changed. It was the day humanity’s long isolation ended. It was the day a few idiots ruined it for everyone.

    A bunch of us guys had decided to take the day off. We went up by the old railroad bridge, brought some dogs and brats to grill, some bags of potato chips and some pop. Steve even brought his boom box.

    A couple of years earlier we might’ve worried about playing music loud enough to attract attention. However, we’d all gotten old enough we could pass as college kids. Bob was even wearing his older brother’s SUNY jacket.

    We must’ve been convincing. When a guy drove by and saw us, he didn’t even question us, just told us to turn on the radio.

    That’s how we heard the news. The whole lot of us looked up at that beautiful blue sky, hoping to catch a glimpse of that alien fleet the ISS astronauts were describing.

    There was a flash on the western sky, so bright it dazzled our eyes and we weren’t even looking that way. The radio cut out, and when Steve tried switching to CD, it was dead.

    Later we found out that flash was a nuke, and the EMP had fried electronics all over North America. The Kitties traced it back to North Korea and tried their whole government for attempted mass murder. But the damage was done, and we’ve been earning back their trust ever since.

  13. “Come with me to Ausable Falls,” said Ronnie. “We can go in my RV.”

    “You want to take me there?” she asked, delighted with the idea of a road trip together.

    “Yeah, just you and me, for a change,” answered Ronnie. “No brothers or sisters tagging along.”

    “That sounds beautiful!” said Jessica. She looked up at him lovingly, admiring his kind, handsome face.

    “Don’t worry,” added Ronnie, “There’s only one bed, but sleeping on it will be just — sleeping.”

    “I trust you, Ronnie.”

    They were on the road that afternoon. They arrived at night, snuggling up in the chilly weather at a trailer park.

    The next morning, the young couple stood over the breathtaking Ausable River, watching from the bridge as water broke over the astounding falls.

    Ronnie moved inside the bridge, away from the edge. “I don’t want to drop this,” he said.

    “Drop what?” she asked.

    He dropped down on one knee.

    “Will you marry me, Jessie, my beautiful dream girl?”

    “What?! Who?!” she exclaimed.

    “JESSICA DAVIS!!! WILL YOU MARRY ME!!!” he shouted over the roar of the waterfalls.

    By this time, a small crowd had gathered.

    “Wow! I mean, YES!” she screamed, as he placed the sparkling diamond on her finger.

    As they stood together, you could hear, with the roaring falls, the clapping of all their onlookers.

    A misty, magical rainbow appeared over the waterfall, much to everyone’s amazement. Ronnie held onto Jessica as he leaned over in a swooning embrace and kissed her passionately.

Comments are closed.