Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Infinity

ruins - Rio Grande 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.

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15 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Infinity”

  1. Title: Filet of Brick

    “Adobe Brick…it’s about time you got home. Would you like to tell me why you didn’t come home last night, and where you spent the night?”


    “What kind of answer is that ‘MISTER warrior’?”



    “Don’t be upset, at least I’m home now?”

    “I still don’t understand what ‘bricks’ means, and where you were last night. Tell me oh GREAT Indian scout?”

    “Light Feather, I can explain.” He watched her return her knife to its holder. “You know all the dwellings look the same. Those are the number of bricks from the well, in each direction to our dwelling.”

    “So, why didn’t you make it here, and where did you sleep?”

    “Maybe I didn’t count them right last night.”

    “Did you go to Wild Bills and have some Firewater…again?”

    “My memory is coming back now.”

    “So, that explains why you didn’t get home, but where did you sleep?”

    He sat on the straw floor and crossed his legs, taking a deep breath. “White Bunny’s…it’s okay, because I didn’t sleep with her.”

    There must have been a big gust of wind, because he never saw Light Feather move so quickly, more importantly, he never saw her pull her knife out.


    When the Chief was summoned, all he heard her whimper over and over was, “Eight-four…Sixty-four.”

  2. Erosion

    We didn’t notice it at first. I certainly didn’t. I had other things to think about.


    The sun.

    Pleasure again.

    And often.

    There came a saturation point, however. One can tire of only conjuring old indulgences.

    I needed a familiar pleasure fix.

    Lockdown might be fine for some.

    Not this hedonist.

    So, two months into it, and against the rules decreed, we decided to go to the beach.

    It used to be fifty-minute drive. We actually thought we’d have the road pretty much to ourselves.

    But thousands were there.

    Jamming the highways.

    Interrupting our indulgence quest.

    She and I had always seen each other in our own personal mirrors.

    That was how we lived our lives back then. We were our own image of perfection.

    The world allowed us that right.

    And then came the fetid Covidian Winds. Fierce storms of disease and pestilence they were.

    We had had a lifetime of self-absorption. It had taken us unawares.

    So, there we were, on the way to Smugglers Cove, a stretch of ocean we’d always romped in.

    The destruction was cataclysmic. Outpost after outpost had been razed. Rotting bodies were everywhere. Many were likely buried under the rubble born by the shredding wind. The poisoned air, full of grit and metallic bits, had gobbled away the homes, the stores.


    At nightfall, we finally reached the sea; it was a magma of foul sewage, sand, scrapped to rock.

    There was nothing to do but weep.

    The world was dust.

  3. It took us hours to explain the layout of chosen boulders to the bumbling laborers, but they finally seemed to understand. They gathered in little groups, made and enjoyed pots of aromatic tea, and settled down to rest before beginning the project. We left the quiet gathering and rode our camels to the nearest oasis.

    After the long, dust-filled ride, the beer, dates and figs in our shaded ice chests were devoured with gusto. A celebration was welcomed. As the stars twinkled above, our happy throng circled around the belly-dancing girls. We kanoodled the night away. The palms swayed approvingly.

    Sunlight peeked through the canvas folds of our tents. The delectable bouquet of brewing coffee made our stomachs swell with the anticipation of a baked bean breakfast studded with nuts, bits of dried fruit and creamed with splashes of goat milk and yogurt. The world awaited.

    Months whizzed by as our entourage caravanned to several of the welcoming water holes scattered throughout the dunes. It soon would be time to return to our unskilled workers and their efforts to create our monument to eternity.

    Gadzooks! The pitiful buffoons had obviously taken revenge on our cavorting with their belly-dancing wives. Instead of erecting the designed pyramid honoring our perfectness, they used the stones to create a maze for the world to eternally memorialize our insensitivity.

    With heads bowed, we prod our camels on a never-ending search for an exit from the maze but, woe is us, we’ll never find it.

  4. A wall between knowledge and superstition was being built for decades now. The gods of old: the Greek gods, the Norse gods, the Egyptian gods, all the gods who once had their chance to shine but have since then slipped into legend, all of them now labored day and night to build the wall. Brick after brick they stacked in the hopes that one-day the wall would be tall enough to allow their return.

    You see the idea was if they could create enough chaos and misery for all mankind humans would become so desperate for help they would abandon all logic and turn their hopes to the skies where the gods of old would be waiting with open arms.

    And so to create chaos the gods began to build a wall in the psyches of all mankind, a wall that would separate them from the very thing that made them civilized, that made them rise above the animals, the very thing that made them great . . . knowledge.

    As of late the gods have been working harder, building the wall faster, and doing so with smiles on their faces. Why, you ask? Because as they labor they watch the planet and the humans who inhabit it, and what they see pleases them very much. The plan is working. Mankind’s madness is growing. Soon they’ll throw out all logic to their thinking and give completely away to superstition, soon they’ll belong to the gods again . . . soon.


    Sisyphus had got into a routine. He felt like he could do this in his sleep.

    “Pick up the brick, make with the trowel, add a dab of cement and then place. It has a natural rhythm to it. Like a train on its track.”

    The big labourer beside him yawned. He’d been mixing up cement for him for hours. Before that he’d been stacking bricks. And before that… Sisyphus couldn’t remember there being much of a before before that. He supposed it must have had something to do with building walls. But at least they were eating well; his friend seemed to bring an inexhaustible supply of sandwiches each day. Just the thing you needed to fuel tired muscles after a long shift on the site.

    Building the wall, building the wall, building the…

    The labourer paused, clutching his side. He usually needed to ease off every day about this time. It usually meant that lunch was coming soon. Sisyphus was hungry and more than a little tired.

    “Hey, bud,” he said, taking advantage of the break, as brief as it was. “How about we stop, take a quick bite, maybe drink a swift flagon or two? We can chat for a few minutes; exchange details, share a couple of stories. Just to be sociable, don’t you think?

    His companion nodded, offering up yet another cloth-wrapped, blood-stained package. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But it’s liver again. And yes, that’d be cool. And by the way, my name’s Tityus.”

  6. Unlimited Capacity
    The teacher says, “And the example is an overcrowded bus. There is always a space for next passenger.”
    Later, stepping on the local train of nine thirty, the student realizes the merit of the example. She felt like bashing her head onto a wall. Of people. Made of flesh and blood. Sweat, off course. Stale, pungent, depressingly odorous.
    The student requests, “Let me sneak inside. I’ll travel far. For a whole hour.”
    Someone replies, “No space to move.”
    Some advises, “Do whatever you can.”
    The student pushes sideways with her protruding elbows and manages to stride, diagonally, leftward. She repeats her action. She moves a pace further, rightward. Thus, moving zigzag she makes to the mouth of the aisle between rows of seats, midway between open doors of train compartment.
    She sighs, feels relieved. It seemed impenetrable. Yet, she has made a place for herself. Not safe yet. Not convenient though. She has made this far without any push from anyone.
    Now it looks same again. No place for another passenger, almost.
    Even then, the much-required push comes. The train is leaving a station. Some more passengers have already entered. Nobody got down.
    The current entrants are striving to get to safer spots. Nobody can afford to be dropped from moving train. Or, on a station other than destination.
    The student is pushed to the safest spot. In the middle of the aisle between rows of seats.
    Perfect. These trains are not limited by maximum capacity.

  7. Jody had lain amongst the ruins, a sand-scoured sleeping bag the only thing between her and certain death.
    They had decided Jack should be the one to go for help. `Back before you know it,` he had said, his head bent against the sawtooth wind.
    That had been two days ago, or maybe three. Jody pulled the sleeping bag tighter around her. An adventure he had said, a chance to see the ancient world before settling down to jobs, marriage, kids.
    The truck the foul-smelling guy had sold them finally gave up after two days. They were in the middle of nowhere, no phone signal, nothing.
    Jody stared at the sky. It seemed like there were a million stars willing her to beat the odds, to be back in the arms of Jack, their idiotic, ill-prepared adventure a distant nightmare.
    Then she heard it, the long, low howl, the sound echoing around the ancient brick walls. A wolf? A jackal perhaps, hungry for food, any food?
    The siren rose and fell as the emergency vehicle negotiated the ridges and valleys of the endless expanse of sand. It came to rest by the ruins, the rising sun glinting on its hot bonnet.
    Jack sprinted over the jumble of bricks, liquid from his water bottle spilling onto the parched sand.
    What was left of the sleeping bag lay strewn across ground, a thin trail of blood snaking into the distance. Jack fell to his knees, his scream mingled with another primeval call.

  8. The round boy, seven years old, was wearing blue shorts, a red and white t-shirt, brown oxfords, and a red and white cap with a small bill and a propeller on top, spinning in the afternoon heat. He stood rocking back and forth on his heels, hands in his pockets.

    “Gosh, mister,” said the boy to the old man stacking the wall blocks, “Whatcha doing?”

    The old man, dressed in a sweat-stained grey t-shirt, khaki shorts, and wearing brown sandals, glanced at the round boy and kept piling blocks, one on top of another. The wall went on forever, jutting at right-angles, heading down to the next corner and the next and the next.

    The round boy squinted in the sun. “You been doing this long?” he asked.

    “Not long enough,” said the old man, not stopping his work.

    “Golly, it sure looks hard,” said the boy, gazing at the waist-high walls that covered the plateau.

    The old man stopped and looked down at the boy. “You sure ask a lot of questions.”

    “Just want to know what you’re doing,” said the boy.

    “I’m building something,” said the man as he went back to the blocks piled nearby.

    “You out here all by yourself?” asked the boy.

    “No,” said the old man. “My wife is over yonder doing her part.”

    “Won’t you tell me what you two are making?” asked the boy, rocking on his heels.

    “A fifty-year marriage,” said the old man. “One block at a time.”

  9. The Clay Below the Sand

    “This place was once a shore, a bank of a mighty river. Now, in the year 2309, no water flows anymore,” explains a teacher as she shows a class of five children a sea of stones on a field trip.

    “What happened to all the water?” asks one of the children after raising her little hand to call attention to herself.

    “Ancient people from the twenty-first century built a dam. This was the beginning. When the large, shared dam caused water ownership disputes between the lower and upper classes, the dam was expanded to have a small dam around each house. This way, everyone would get an equal share of water, or so they thought.”

    “But you always tell us sharing is important. Why did bad things happen to them if they tried to share?” asks a young chubby boy without raising his hand.

    “Their hearts were in the right place, but they didn’t build their homes in harmony with the land. The mini-dams caused the water to well in pools, which drowned the houses and rendered them useless. When the heat spells hit in the later twenty-first century, the wells dried up. Over ninety percent of the population died of thirst. What little water was left comes from the clay below the sand.”

  10. “I hope you boys will listen to the whole story before you make up your minds. Just listen.”

    The old man studied their ragged faces.

    “It started back in the year 2020. The Experiment, that is. No one expected it to succeed so completely, but it did, overwhelmingly and rapidly, before anyone knew what was happening. Oh, there were those who did not believe what the news programs were telling us, but not many. We were bombarded with news of pandemics, disease, death. We were frightened.

    “Our freedom of movement disappeared, and we didn’t notice. Our right to self-defense, gone. We didn’t realize that either. We thought we were safer without guns. We gave up cars for cleaner air. We gave up everything for something we thought would be better. And for awhile it was. But it couldn’t last. The government meals turned into the equivalent of cabbage twice a day. Most kids your age have never been farther from home than they can walk. We live barricaded, three generations in deteriorating apartments with broken windows. And for what? Nobody knows and nobody cares. All that concerns them is these bricks, each one made to commemorate a disease victim.

    “Lies! All lies! There are no disease victims. Each brick represents another victim of The Experiment.”

    The old man’s eyes filled with tears.

    The boys quietly prepared to leave. “Funny old man,” one of then whispered. “Do you think he really believes all that?”

    “Nah, he’s crazy.”


    The volcano steamed and hissed and sent out occasional plumes of smoke. It was clearly ready to blow it’s top. The leaders of the land decreed that the marketplace at the bottom of the mountain be shut down and that all citizens leave the area for higher ground. This mandatory order caused great upset and chaos. Shopkeepers and traders did not want to leave their goods and valuables. They wanted to remain open and have business as usual.

    The marketplace contained shops that sold everything from hand-dyed textiles to bread. Farmers brought vegetables and fruit from their fields. Spices and herbs were sold in small packages. Butchers dressed animals in open-air stalls and packs of feral dogs would gather and vie for scraps. One could also purchase medicines and tonics at the marketplace. One could even get a tooth pulled.

    Of course there was always the seedy under belly in places like this. Petty criminals roved in packs and could easily get lost in the crowds after snatching someone’s goods. There were the ladies of the night who seemed to work all day. Most dangerous were the gangs of youngsters intimidating the shop owners. If one did not want to be robbed they would pay a “protection fee” and be left alone for a period of time.

    Most business owners heeded the warning and left the marketplace but many remained. When the lava covered those who stayed their bodies were preserved in stone and eventually displayed in museums.

  12. “Whoever thought to put a maze in the middle of a desert?”Larson queried.
    Grayson turned from the blazing sun and looked at his companion.
    “Don’t know, do I?”
    “You snarky little Brit. Pass me the canteen.”
    He passed the water and resumed looking in the ball of fire in the sky.
    “You know you can go blind doing that,right?”
    “Don’t care. I’m knackered and not seeing this endless labyrinth will do me good.”
    Larson drank a swig of water and pushed it back into Grayson’s chest. He backed up and grabbed the container before paydirt.
    “Yeah, but if you we’re blind, you wouldn’t have saw that coming.”
    “Bloody wanker. It’s like looking into infinity and only seeing more questions. Where’s the answers? Why are we here? How did we get here? So, you go right ahead and traipse around this endless irony, yeah? and I’ll look into my future.”
    Larson saw that the man’s mind was made up.
    “What about the canteen?”
    “Here!” Grayson threw it and Larson caught it.
    Larson slung the life giving liquid around his neck and muttled on…out there.


    The septuagenarian Sioux sachem rode south from the rugged badlands with his grandson, returning from their spiritual quest in the wilderness. Stopping to water their mounts and refresh themselves, they looked out from a low promontory at the vast plains below. Their painted horses drank from a shallow sink and munched on the abundant autumn grass.

    “What do you see Tito?” asked the old man, as he drew a splash from his goatskin.

    “Grass, grandfather. Tallgrass.” Replied the enthusiastic teenager.

    “What else?”

    “There is nothing else, grandfather. The grass grows far. Far beyond the horizon as if it will never stop. Its golden seedpods reflect the sun itself and with the morning dew, they glimmer in soft plumes. What do you see Grandfather?”

    “You see beauty, my young poet. I see life. The life and story of the Sioux. Can’t you see our fires? Can’t you see our funeral Pyres? Can’t you see the never-ending seasons of grazing buffalo; the drama of the hunt and the victory of the feast that follows?”

    “Yes, Grandfather, but the prairie is immense and stands by itself as an object of wonder.”

    “Such wonder has brought many others. Others that do not cherish this prairie as the Sioux. You may see a never-ending expanse of pretty grass; I see a cycle of Sioux life. I see that that it has an end.”

    “Is it all going to die grandpa?”

    “Not in my lifetime, my son, but I am afraid for yours.”

  14. The stone feels cool under my hand, its surface worn by centuries of neglect and weather. All that remains of the labyrinth are miles of ruins and sandy soil. These ancient oblong bricks have a lot to say, but few know how to listen. Tingles shoot into my fingers. I take a deep breath and brace myself for the wave.

    Past and present converge. My vision shifts. Above me, walls loom. It’s a fortress in a fertile land, surrounded by a colorful city. Merchants and buyers fill the market. So much energy and life, yet my heart aches. None of it is real. Not anymore.

    The only way to learn what was lost when the priests died, is to follow their procession into the labyrinth, join their ceremony. Hours pass, moving through what seems like the same darkened corridors multiple times. Perhaps it is, I’ve no way to tell without breaking the link. All I know is that each turn is deliberate, every step, necessary.

    At last they stop and bow, head to the floor; Speak the same words my father passed to me, and his father before him. With a flash of light, a chalice appears. They raise it and drink.

    I break the vision and kneel, surrounded by broken walls. I’ve walked the path, said the prayers. When I press my head to the ground and whisper the words, the chalice of life arrives. The past now lies with me. I will not let the magic die.

  15. A maze of low mud-brick walls stretched as far as the eye could see. Liu Shang studied the image, struggling to pinpoint what was bothering her.

    Over the years, she’d studied ruins on hundreds of worlds, the works of humans and members of the eight other species scattered throughout this spiral arm by a mysterious alien civilization. While humans on Terra had built a civilization from the ground up, these beings had their their client species, then disappeared from the galactic scene. Terrestrial humanity first encountered them in the form of a wrecked spacecraft, buried under the ejecta of a crater on lunar Farside. Organic remains had deteriorated so badly that its extrasolar origin had to be determined by the balance of isotopes in the structural members.

    Could she be looking at ruins of the earliest civilization of the species Terrans had named the Elder Things, after a fictional species in a pre-spaceflight novel? People had long speculated about those mysterious beings who had earned such names as Ancients, Old Ones, and Star Tyrants among the peoples they’d uplifted to technological civilization.

    Yet something about these ruins did not fit. With growing frustration she got up to get herself some tea.

    As she did, she realized what those ruins reminded her of: honeycomb. Had she made a mistake in assuming she was looking at the handiwork of self-aware individuals? Could all those neatly-laid brick walls be the product of blind instinct, or some kind of hive entity?

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