Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fox

3L0A4598 fox flash fiction writing prompt copyright KSBRooks
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!

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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fox”

  1. Like a Fox

    “Quick like a…” I can still hear her say.

    Not bunny. Nothing furball cutesy. Not on your life. Or my life.

    “Time to tank up,” she’d say. We’d pull off the freeway, take the road into whatever little pit-stop town it was. Our needle was always running near empty. That’s the way it felt, let me tell you. “Only fool’s gas and dash, baby,” she’d say to me, and then later, when my sister Bertie popped, her.

    I was always cranky back then. Hungry cranky. So, I was motivated.

    Her scam was butt-simple for a time. After we’d fuel up, we’d drive to one of those supermarkets most towns of a certain size had. It was best if it was close to the freeway but often as not, it was in the downtown section. We’d go in, me pushing the buggy, Bertie sitting inside, her, a proud momma, watching her little man act so adult. We’d get a few provisions and then she’d moan, ‘Oh, Bertie…not now.’ The clerk, usually no more than two, and often one, would look up, see the diaper-changing angst in her face, look confused, until she took control, politely, firmly ask to use a private space to ‘change the bloody diaper.’

    The panicked clerk would lead her away, I’d grab a bag full of wieners and other munchables and hightail out to the car and wait.

    Of course, the sting changed once Bertie got older.

    My old lady; always one step ahead.

  2. Her sides heaved with exhaustion as she hid in the thick underbrush. The baying of the hounds sounded far off, but not far enough. The trickling brook she sprinted over threw them off, buying her a bit of time.

    Safety lay in the green darkness of the forest which lay across barren fields. Her bones and innards ached, and she yipped in pain. The bark of one dog sounded close. He was probably an experienced one who knew all her tricks. A far off trumpet signaled hunters were close.

    She could not wait any longer if she hoped to outrun him. Her coat blended into the sun bleached grass; the white tip of her tail streaked behind her across the distance.

    Ahead the coolness of the treeline beckoned. The scrabbling and urgent bark of the lone dog sounded close, and further behind the rest of the pack.

    She sought the shadows of a rotted log. Panting the stream of saliva drooling from her mouth thickened and her teeth elongated. Her bones crunched and she reminded herself she started as a fox this day, but as a human shapeshifter her true form screamed to emerge.

    The persistent dog sniffed around the decayed tree. His hackles rose in fear, for this was no longer the lithe quarry he had tracked across the fields, but a dangerous enemy. He knew the scent of a wolf well, and he retreated cautiously when a low, warning growl came from the murkiness inside.

  3. Quick Like A Fox.
    Use your legs, my daddy said.
    If you don’t, you won’t jump very far.
    Chickens are awaiting,
    Kind of like dumb clucks.

    Little did they know, we can jump tall fences.
    Important little detail,
    Know when to raid the pen,
    Even if the farmer is watching.

    At the break of dawn.

    Fox tail
    Out straight.
    X marks the spot.

  4. Hiroki said a sunlit rain shower presages a fox wedding. If you follow the flicker of a distant light in such circumstances, you can find it.

    That’s how I lost him. I followed a daytime firefly until I reached the treeline. I was still childish enough to mistake the suburban woods of our neighborhood for a forest. If I was older, I would have known better than to think I might come upon a fox wedding procession in Iwanuma, even if Hiroki said there is only one forest, that all the worldly forests are just where the spiritual breeches the mortal. When I looked back, he wasn’t there, and when I grew up, I stopped believing in those kinds of things.

    I moved to Tokyo, went to school for fashion. I made my own costumes for festivals. On New Year’s I outfitted myself in red and white for the fox parade at Oji Ekimai. I even painted the mask. When the parade came round, I put it on and join them.

    As I follow the parade, the air warms, and the lanterns brighten, so bright that I can’t see until I blink, and I find myself in a forest whose leaves are the color of my kimono. On either side, a veil of rain. Behind me, Hiroki, all grown up, dressed in a montsuki.

    The air behind him moves, as if distorted by some cosmic paintbrush, or perhaps a translucent tail.

    “I finally found you,” he says.

  5. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox …

    Ralph had written it one hundred times on the blackboard for that scrunched faced old crone, Miss Ratherspint, while she droned on about fifth grade English grammar to the class. Now he even dreamed in his sleep of the quick brown fox running and jumping merrily through a field. He could not tell if there was a lazy dog since the grass was tall. It kept replaying over and over and even in his dream he wondered if it would stop after the one hundredth jump.

    Miss Ratherspint had caught him sneaking a peek on Tik-Tok. He had forgotten to mute the sound first. It was embarrassing not to mention tiring standing at the blackboard with his back to the class, not being able to tell if they’re whispering, snickering or pointing at him.

    The fox was entering his dream from the right again, but this time the fox’s face appeared to have morphed into Miss Ratherspint’s. Up ahead red was starting to emanate from within the tall grass and the red was growing huge. Then as the fox lurched into his leap which was now a field of red, a giant red dog’s head appeared while in the middle of a gaping yawn swallowing the fox whole! Clifford to the rescue! Clifford licked his lips and went back to sleep and so did Ralph.


    The yearly Galloping Girlies Tally Rally was ready. I heard their chubby leader screech, “Tally, you Hos”, and knew it would be another wild one. Why didn’t they get together for a game of Parcheesi, or a friendly who made the creamiest Charlotte Russe cake contest? No! They had to tighten their girdles, mount their snorting steeds and race after a pack of foxhounds. Thankfully, I was cunning enough to outfox them.

    Uh, oh. They’re getting closer. I’ll just crawl under these bushes and wriggle into that old hollow log. It looks safe.

    The barking seemed to get farther and farther away. Peeking out, I was blinded by a silvery flash. What the heck was that? Suddenly, I heard whimpering behind me. I turned, and there she was, the most gorgeous vixen I had ever seen. Her silvery fur glittered and glowed. Her button like eyes enraptured me. She nestled under my protecting paws. I realized I finally found the love of my life.

    A stray foxhound started sniffing at one end of the log. My beauty and I made a run for it. We split up as the hunters neared. I watched my love disappear into the woods. A shot rang out.

    A year later, at the next rally, their leader sat at the head of the group waving her crop and, wrapped around her neck, a silver fox boa, it’s familiar button like eyes bidding adieu to my shattering heart.

    Plotting sweet revenge, I sharpened my canines.

  7. I was standing right in front of the temple; in the middle of a jungle. A small lamp was lit, emitting bright, profound light. Evening prayer was going on. In a few minutes a few more people joined; palms together, eyes completely shut.
    “Must be locals.” I thought.
    Moving heads along with the rhythm of the song — the priest was singing with a tuned handbell. The environment was serene and calming, total bliss.

    Suddenly I hear the howling of a fox. Losing my attention and focus, I look back. I see not one; not two, but at least twenty foxes at the bottom of the stairs — lined up in two rows; kneeling on their hind legs, looking at the priest singing. Complete silence.
    “What is this?” I muttered with astonishment.
    “Are they here to pray?”
    “Why so close to humans”?
    “They wont even flee!”
    My mind was full of questions, yet no answers.
    Ten minutes later the priest stopped singing. He put down the handbell, grabbed a plate of sanctified food and started walking down, towards the foxes. My head turned back automatically, as if driven by some magical force.
    One by one, the priest put a handful of food in front of each fox. The foxes ate the food; peacefully, and walked away. No one else except me was distracted.

    “Is it a regular routine?” I broke the silence.
    “They are spirited foxes!” said the man, in a hushed, almost reverent voice.

  8. Martha stood at her kitchen counter, her arms folded across her ample bosom, and stared at the animals on their deck. “There’s a cute fox now,” she said.

    Thomas got up slowly from his chair and walked gingerly over to his wife.

    “So there is,” he said. “We’ve got us a zoo. How wonderful.”

    “You’re being sarcastic again,” said Martha.

    “It’s either sarcasm or fear,” said Thomas, pointing to his swollen ankle where a strange bee had stung him. “I’ve never been stung before. Never. And it hurts! Something’s going on.”

    Besides the new fox, there was a coyote pacing at the back of the deck. Two raccoons eyed the fox warily. A gaggle of assertive geese pushed their way forward. It was the herd of rats, big Norwegians, that unsettled Thomas. He was not a fan of rats. He could handle the fox, but the rats were something else.

    “Maybe if I set some food out, they’ll leave,” said Martha.

    Thomas fumbled in the broom closet, finally extracting the double-barreled shotgun and loading two shells from the box on the counter. Ever since the virus had come and forced everybody inside, Thomas felt abandoned, alone, even afraid. Those animals on his deck did not give him any comfort, none at all.

    “Everybody says don’t feed urban wildlife,” said Thomas. “They get used to it. Then they expect it. When they don’t get it, they take it.”

    “But they look hungry,” said Martha. “Even my fox.”

    “Exactly,” said Thomas.

  9. Flex and stretch. The smooth movement of muscle under skin, of skin under fur. The body is quick, the mind quicker. Eyes sharp for movement; friend, or foe? Predator or prey?

    A fox is both. A hunter in the grass, prey to hunters from above.

    Why is she out during the day? Silence can answer.

    Far from the rumble of humanity, the fox is a frequent sight, a quicksilver visitor to those with patience.

    Today patience is rewarded. Sly vixen is she, slinking through grass with liquid elegance, with sharp purpose. Hunting. Fleeing. Both and neither, always watching, always watched.

    Another hunter watches, following lithe movement down the sight, calm and steady.

    Focused. Always hunter, never hunted.

    Waiting for the perfect moment.

    A click, a snap, shot taken.

    The fox is gone. Leapt to safety, hidden in the grass she hunts in.

    A photographer shifts. Flex and stretch. The smooth movement of muscle under skin, of skin under clothes.

    Eyes sharp for movement, always looking for prey.

  10. The Pain of Generations
    Blameless, I run, pursued by a cacophony of slurs and insults hurled at me.
    At my heritage.
    At my ancestry.
    Sly. Cunning. Thieving. Wily.
    I am none of those. I am a simple creature, feeding myself from nature, ridding the world of despised pests. To live, I guard against predators who seek to make me the object of their gluttony.
    Owls. Hawks. Bobcats. Coyotes.
    I hide when I would prefer the light of day. I shelter when I would prefer a congregation. I mask my identity to avoid death. Attitudes of preservation dictated by life today.
    And yet, my fame–no shield from their prying eyes–is wide. I am Kuyunoha. I am Kitsun. I am Lowrance and Reynard. I was the Indian boy with the magic amulet that turned him from boy to fox.
    But I was also the weapon Sampson chose to seek revenge on the Philistines. My ancestors, their tails set afire, were turned loose in the fields of grain and orchards and vineyards, burning them to blowing ash.
    Angry, the great god Zeus would thus not let the world forget. Turning my ancestor to stone and flinging him into the night sky, Zeus created a sparkling constellation.
    Pursued by Laelaps the dog–Canus Major–I am Canus Minor, the Teumessian Fox.
    Destined to run through the dark and never be caught.
    Destined to run forever until the end of time.

  11. Conrad, the young fox, lived a happy life with his mother, Vita, in their den. Every day, Mama went out, chasing game, and brought back tasty meals to share with Conrad.

    “But why can’t I go out hunting?” asked Conrad. “I’m old enough.”

    “Watch and learn,” said Mama, “Your time will come.”

    So Conrad spent most of his days chasing mice and rabbits, but never really tried to catch them. It was just a game. Sometimes, he thought he could actually taste them — he was that close!

    One day he smelled something strange inside a cave, and he went in to investigate. He saw a ginormous, brown, furry beast, which reared up and blocked his exit.

    “Hide, Conrad! It’s a bear!” cried Mama.

    Like lightning, Vita darted between the bear’s legs, causing the bear to pounce on her, while Conrad escaped.

    Conrad cowered in anguish beyond the cave, as he heard his mother’s cry. He knew the bear was killing Mama, even as she saved his life. How wretched he felt!

    For days, Conrad hid in their den, afraid and in despair. He longed for Mama’s touch and scent.

    Then hunger won out. What should he do? He had to hunt, like Mama. He had the speed.

    It wasn’t so easy, to kill. That first time, it was hard. But he caught a mouse, and once he tasted it, he remembered Mama. It tasted like Mama’s food.

    Everything Conrad ate, would always taste like Mama’s food.

  12. They say Lady Haruko Watanabe is possessed by a fox spirit. I only know that the ambassador’s wife has not attended any public functions for over a month, and from the embassy compound come cries that should not come from any human mouth.

    It makes me think of the time my mother took me to visit her grandparents on the reservation. There I listened to the medicine man tell the old stories, of Coyote and the Thunderbirds and the medicine world.

    Perhaps I should ask him for advice. But what would he say to me, a woman of mixed blood? I still recall his words that he thought I could not hear, that my mother was an “apple,” red on the outside, white on the inside.

    Again that sound comes from over the walls of the Mikado’s embassy to the President of the United States. Half bark, half scream, and nothing like a human voice. Nothing that belongs in a modern city.

    I reach for my phone, to book the trip across the country. If he has no help for her, it will not be because I failed to ask.

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