Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Adobe

IMG_1167 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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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Adobe”

  1. Adobe Concealment

    She made a face like she had just swallowed Castor Oil.

    “Tell me you didn’t buy this place.”

    It was hard not to start laughing, but it would have ruined the moment. I bit my tongue to keep from even smiling. Her yellow dress caught a breeze and billowed toward the structure, and she had to hold her hat in place.

    “Well, what do you think?” She bent over holding her stomach and I thought for a moment she was going to vomit.

    “Does it have indoor plumbing?”

    Once again, I had to keep from smiling. “There’s a small outhouse out back.”

    “Does it have any history to it?”

    “I’m surprised you’re asking.” I turned slightly back toward the car. “What the realtor said is that it belonged to a three-generation family, and with each new descendant, there was a new addition.”

    Despite the wind, I heard her take a deep breath, and she turned to look at the home again. “I love you Matt, but this is not a good investment.”

    When she turned back, I was on my knee holding a boxed diamond.

    “Oh CRAP,” she exclaimed, rocking back on her heels.

    “I know how much you love me, but do you know how much I LOVE YOU? Will you…?”

    Before I finished, she let go of her hat, charging to bury herself against me. “Yes, yes…and I don’t care where we live.”

    “Great…I wanted to see your reaction…now let’s go check out the real place.”

  2. The Judas Steer

    Smitty was a quiet one. No getting away from that. Always simmering, waiting to explode. Secretive, too. Did tell Black water, our cookie, though he was an unreliable taradiddler, that he’d been locked up over in the Dodge City calaboose but escaped one night thanks to a john barleycorned jailer.

    Coulda happened, I suppose. Smitty wasn’t much good for nothin’ but drag riding and you could see the trail life was getting under his saddle. Most nights, he and a few of the shave tails would tell each other lies about the shicksters they had known.

    Sam Butters, the ramrod, was no fool. On two previous cattle drives, young blood had boiled over. “They don’t know any other way but being randy, Earle. Take a ride ahead, see if any doves are roosting.”

    So, I set out next morning. It was lonely outriding, but free. I enjoyed that. Two days later, just as night was setting, I struck gold. It was a forlorn looking adobe shack but there was perfumed air aplenty. Had to check it out for myself. The doves had been there for a month, or so said Molly McQueen, formerly of Abilene. Her and her three girls had been bums rushed out of Yuba City, about twenty miles south.

    It took me three days to hook up with the herd. Sam was pleased and let Smitty and the young bucks know we’d be detouring.

    “One matter done with,” he said. “You done good, Earle.”

  3. It was another of those hot, dry days the west was famous for. The sun beat down on my adobe house. I hovered inside the back room watching through the front window and wondered, what’s taking him so long? We had to get into town before the stagecoach came to pick up the prisoner. Would we get their in time? Oh, here he comes now.

    The riotous cowboys gathered outside the hoosegow howling for the sheriff to release the jailbird. “We’s gonna swing the little horse thief til his last breath,” they threatened. Clinking their whiskey bottles in a salute to lawlessness, they headed for the jail’s door but suddenly stopped as two men galloped into their midst.

    “Hold off,” the one on the white stallion shouted. “You can’t take the law into your own hands.” He turned to me. “Go get the scoundrel,” he ordered. “We’ll take him to your place until they calm down.”

    While we toted the thankful prisoner into my back room, a gun- twirling man from the stunned mob screeched, “Who was that masked man?”

    That magnificent white horse rider called out to me, “Come, kemosabe. let’s get crackin’. I’m hungry for some of your tasty grits and beans.” He tugged his reins and roared, ”Hi-Yo Silver, away!”

    I set the table with lit candles and a small bouquet of bluebonnets then whipped up his favorite meal. We sipped the tranquilizing red wine he brought last night. The moon bloomed. What a guy!


    It was 130 degrees in the shade and even hotter in the sun. The thermometer refused to go any higher. It could have been 160, maybe 170 there.

    “You wanted heat, babe,” Joaquín said, mopping his brow. “Don’t say I didn’t deliver.”

    Annalise dropped her towel, letting it fall as it would. The ground was like iron, hard-baked and unyielding. At least the brim of her hat provided her with some relief from the glare. It was a shame it wasn’t air-conditioned as well.

    “I thought there’d be a beach with a pool, Jo, not just rubble. These people don’t even have buildings.” She stomped at the ground, jarring her spiked heels, wincing when they delivered twin shocks through her ankles.

    Joaquín had already raced ahead. He was deep in conversation with one of the natives, his hands punctuating his words like a Karate master. He looked at home here, his swarthy skin almost a match for the soil. She could imagine him stretched out on one of the rocks, basking like a lizard. She felt pale and uncomfortable and above all, out of place. Basildon was where she belonged, not the Dark Ages.

    “Babe, babe,” Joaquín called, beckoning her across. “They’ve got mud-brick dwellings here, some of them prehistoric. It’s the 21st century and they’re still using adobe!”

    “At the moment, I don’t even care if they’ve got Java,” Annalise spat back. “Although, I’d kill for an iced coffee if your new friend can lead us to a Starbucks.”

  5. They say his wife died in mysterious circumstances. No matter. Out here, in the barren wastes of a country where the rule of law holds little sway, Allim continues to live. He goes to sleep with the sound of wolves and wakes with the scuttling of scorpions. He cannot remember when he last washed in fresh, clean water, warmed himself beside the comfort of a dancing flame.
    He has lost track of time in this endless, unchanging landscape. Scraps of memory return like the torn pages of a notebook. Jamarl`s face taunts him in the waking hours before dawn, pleading arms raised to the blood-red sun.
    He watches the snake as it slithers across the hot sand. It raises its head, its body coiled, ready to strike. But Allim is quicker, gnarled hands squeezing its neck until there is no more breath to inhale.
    The blood is warm, comforting, the meat raw, nourishing. He will survive another day.
    They had driven him out, stones and sticks raining down on his body. They called him evil, the devil, a woman killer. He had left the village, walked until he could walk no more, a bloodied trail left across the unyielding rocks.
    The sun sinks below the horizon, a chill filling the darkened sky. In the shelter a body lays curled on the ground. A scorpion scuttles across the floor, pincers extended as it moves towards the figure. It poises, senses the air, before moving again. The body twitches, the images returning.

  6. Abode
    Dezba and Tse lived all their lives in hogans belonging to their respective parents. They even got married in a hogan. But they promised each other to break the tradition and built themselves a pueblo house.
    They are very tensed. They have just started building their pueblo house. They have brought reddish yellow clay. They have brought straw. They have the logs for joists and girders. They have finished the foundation.
    Carefully, every day, they have erected one stud after another. They have tied the studs with joists. They have bound them with girders.
    They have chosen strong floorboards. They have faith that sooner of later they are going to need the basement as well as another floor on top.
    Days passes by. Dezba and Tse has become parents of cute girl, Yanaha. Dezba’s unmarried sister, Kai, has started to live in the basement of their pueblo as she has come to look after Dezba during her pregnancy. Kai stayed even after Yanaha has become able to walk on her own and has earned herself toddler status.
    Elderly parents of Tse has occupied the upper floor of their pueblo house.
    Dezba and Tse has thought of coating the outer walls of the house with mud and straw once more. They need a stronger house. They are now expecting their second child.
    Years pass. Yanaha and her younger brother, Gad has left for their own houses. Dezba and Tse smiles and steals glances while tending gardenia shrubs around their pueblo.


    “The storm is here, the storm is here…”

    My grandfather scurried, warning the villagers to protect their belongings, before we were hammered by intense winds and horizontal rains.

    Dark, stormy night; the rain fell continuously, except slowed at a few intervals, by a violent gust of wind, strengthening to 150 kilometers an hour, which swept up the streets…rattling along the most adobe house-tops, fiercely agitating the struggling dim flame of lanterns against darkness.

    “Get inside, get inside… quickly.” he commanded as he entered the home.

    “Water is leaking into some rooms – it’s scary,” he lamented.

    Our Adobe house was destroyed, crops were gone, gusty wind brought down the trees, cut power and caused considerable flooding.

    My Grandparents’ Adobe had an extensive history; goes back probably about 3 generations.The architecture, the art form of the people who lived in that area, and making adobes was my grandfather’s passion.It was his life, expression of our culture.

    “No weeping for shed milk,” Grandfather nodded ,looking at us.

    “Let’s get to work, we can build this again!!”
    “You can break it up, re-shape it, re-use it with water,” he reiterated.

    And that is what we did.

    Grandfather collected the basic ingredients from ecological materials: clay-rich earth, straw, water.Soon a marvelous ,ecological building was up.Our Adobe was built again.

    “What a work of art!!! Functional art!!!,” we marveled.

    “Awesome, a true testament to human ingenuity!” neighbors complimented.

    “From the earth to the earth!! Our adobe house.” Grandfather boasted.

  8. “So it’s finished,” said Bill, stretching the stringy muscles in his back and legs. “We’ve hauled enough rocks to last a lifetime.”

    Blanche stood before the tiny stone house they’d built under a mushroom-shaped boulder near the foot of the Vermillion Cliffs. Her hands were thrust deep in the large overalls she was wearing, the hot afternoon wind blowing sand around the yard.

    “It’s perfect,” said Blanche. “Such a peaceful change from New York. No more show business. No people. Silence.”

    Bill glanced over at his wife of five years, her physical attributes well hidden by the work clothes. What a change life had sprung on him.

    “It’ll make a nice cabin,” said Bill, “especially in the spring and fall when it’s not so hot. Still, it’s a long way from New York.”

    “I’m not going back,” said Blanche, determination in her voice. “I’m here to stay.”

    Bill sighed quietly. They’d had this discussion on and off for the last two months as the stone house got closer to being finished. “I’m not so sure I’m cut out for living where there’s nothing but rocks and sand and heat and wind. Not sure at all.”

    “But all the hard work and the climate cured your tuberculosis,” said Blanche.

    “That it did,” said Bill, breathing in deeply. “But now that I’m well, I want to live.”

    “Live here,” said Blanche. “With me.”

    Bill came over to Blanche and gave her a big hug. “I’ll visit.”

  9. A little adobe house bathed in the desert sunlight for the fist time. Master finally finished building it after days of hard labor. He looked upon the house with pride thinking, “This is the beginning of a new life. A life of prosperity and happiness, and it all starts here.”

    And yet it was not meant to be. The master’s prosperity never came and he moved on, leaving the little house to slowly succumb to the ravages of time all alone.

    But the little adobe house endured. New masters would come and go claiming it for themselves from time to time. Some were merely stagecoach passengers stopping for a rest. Others were bandits hiding from the law.

    Over the years the little adobe house had many masters but in the end they always left. Loneliness became its constant companion. Eventually no more masters. Barely any visitors. The land upon which it rests has now become a national park for people to come and see a part of history still left standing from an age-old land.

    Even visitors don’t actually visit anymore. People drive by in cars taking pictures, never bothering to step outside away from their air-conditioning to view history up close and touch it.

    The ravages of time continue to chip away at the little adobe house, and it continues to endure. A reminder of days gone by. A relic of the past. An artifact belonging to the museum of the world.

  10. Tall, narrow house. Sky-blue house. Pool-straddled mansion. Little house with a dog outside. Cottages like chocolate chips, scattered evenly across the hills beyond city limits.

    After school, Tom and I used to lean over the back of his sofa, pointing them out to each other. We’d talk about types of lives that might be going on inside – possible jobs, fights, parties, deaths.

    We were only dreaming, like many squashed sprawl kids. But the fixation on some ideal home never faded. It has been a concrete summit, giving each of my life’s tiring steps some clear, accessible meaning.

    Last month I put down a deposit. I’ve settled on something quite different from those cracked towers. Hanging at my dad’s place was this print of an Old West vista: cowboy, cacti, mesa. In the corner was a mud house. The faraway, dreamy quality of that scene gave it a mystical contrast against my own cramped existence.

    Now I live by the desert, in my own adobe house. Built of the Earth’s most ancient materials, I’m told wear-and-tear is sometimes an issue. But I can afford it.

    I don’t quite know what happened to Tom. We stayed friends after we ceased being neighbours, into our 20s. But at some point, a year had passed without seeing him – he slipped away, like a guest in the dwindling, fuzzy hours of a party.

    At my new window, I imagine our conversation. Cactus. Cactus. Dry bush. Sand.

    A quiet gust breezes past, and then away.

  11. When Augustine Korlis planned this outing, he’d picked these ruins for his dig because they had neither archeological nor historical significance. No one would complain about him being an “amateur” archeologist because of his lack of formal credentials. And then the basement wall caved in and everything changed.

    Musty air rose from the chambers beyond the hole. Korlis extended an arm to stop his young proteges from charging in. “We’re going to have to test the air first.”

    As he expected, burning straw guttered out moments after being tossed in. “We’re going to have to wait at least overnight for fresh air to work its way in there. In the meantime, we document everything we’ve discovered today.”

    However, Korlis couldn’t forget what he’d glimpsed. There could be no mistaking that stonework for a village from the Benedictine Wars.

    As long as he was just excavating an abandoned village from the founding years of the Ixilon Papal States, it was of no consequence. Now that he’d discovered an even older ruin below it, built by the mysterious Old Ixilons, it became a matter for the Pontifical Commission on Antiquities. And he had no doubt they would send their people, specialists with degrees, who would firmly but politely request that the local bishop return to his normal duties.

  12. Linda scrubbed the grill after lunch with spring water behind the adobe hut, where three kidnappers held her captive. They lived here for five of the eight months since her abduction.

    Heavily pregnant, she recalled the conversation from last night as Vinny, Carlos and Bobby argued over which one of them was her baby’s father. They kept her around because she cooked and cleaned, and each was convinced he was the lucky father. She was sure it was her husband Kevin back home, and hoped the child wouldn’t be born blond and blue-eyed, unlike her brown-haired captors. How she missed Kevin!

    One of them always stayed behind to guard her, while the others went out on a “run,” robbing stores and sometimes a bank. This time Vinny guarded her.

    She recalled last night’s conversation.

    “I could take her again, preggers as she is,” bragged Carlos.

    “Not me,” said Vinny, “She’s big as a house.”

    “Have some respect!” scolded Bobby, “That’s nature’s way.”

    So she joked around with Vinny, encouraging him to keep drinking his tequila. She had this already planned, watching carefully as he input the codes in his phone. After he passed out, she went out behind the hut, called 911 and told them everything. She deleted the call from the phone log, turned on the GPS, and waited for help.

    When the pickup truck pulled up, it wasn’t Bobby and Carlos who got out; it was four state troopers. Surprise, Vinny! Who’s the prisoner now?

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