Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Bubbles

KF Town and Country Days 06012018 IMG_1813
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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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Bubbles”


    Willoughby nodded and gazed at the pool. A ribbon of drool ran from his mouth, collecting at the point where his chin fleshed out, hovering like a hesitant diver. Would it make the leap while I watched?

    “Children,” Willoughby said. “I detest them all.”

    We watched the subjects of his hate. There was half a dozen of them, rolling about the lawn, encased in globes made from Perspex. Two of them had made their way into the pool and were afloat, riding on the water. Their shouts were muffled and vague: we were both thankful for that.

    “There’s too many of them; they’re too loud; they have no respect.” The tributary of spittle had overflowed while I looked away and I felt cheated, knowing it would now run without resistance. Willoughby had stiffened in his seat and his eyes were fixed on the children. His tongue darted out and the tip of it roamed around his lips, collecting the drool which had begun to flow steadily from his mouth. He looked like a vile lizard, scenting its prey, his attention never wavering.

    “Lookit those two. They’re gonna get a shock.”

    He stuck a leathery hand out, indicating the two in the pool. Their globes had begun to sink, water entering the holes bored through to let the air in, the children unaware of their plight. I turned around, looking for someone to help but he coughed and stared me out.

    “Let ‘em drown,” he said. “Teach ‘em all a lesson.”

  2. Bubble Rubble

    Looking back, it’s hard to fathom how unprepared we were. When something begins, something new, unknown, something minor, or something you pray won’t turn you and the world on its head, you assume that whatever it is will have an end point.
    You assume that, in time, you will be able to look back.
    Perhaps, as a friend wrote to me in what seemed to be the middle of it, though she was off by a painful margin, “I can’t wait to be sitting on a porch with you, sharing stories, a bottle of wine, or two, and a few crackers and cheese. Just looking back.”
    Looking back.
    That’s all she wanted.
    That won’t ever happen.
    At least I have the option of looking back.
    So many, including my friend, don’t.
    This thing, it moved so slowly, the way time does. It moved at the exact same speed that it always did. Time is one.
    Never two.
    Never less than one.
    Just one.
    When you look back. though, time can seem like a bullet fired from a gun near you, aimed at you, and you can imagine it coming towards you in slow motion, the way you have seen time lapse photography of the very same thing.
    A bullet rushing towards you.
    A plague circling the earth.
    All of it played out in moments of time.
    We are our own variants.
    In our individual bubbles.
    Toxic to each other.
    Procreation IS death.
    We are bubbled forever.

  3. Bubbles
    When she was a child, bubbles were amazing. Light and airy. Pure, perfect and iridescent. A joy to behold. Her siblings devised many games centred on bubbles. Who would blow the biggest? How far would they travel on the wind? How many could be blown from a single wand? The siblings frantically chased the bouncy floating bubbles. Run! Balance one on your wand! Pop them! Feel a cascade of moisture suddenly on your skin. Run, chase, pop! Bubbles for her symbolized the carefree days of childhood and all its joy. Where had all those happy days gone?

    Her happy childhood bubbles had disappeared with adulthood. Failing marriage followed by divorce. Crippling mortgage. Hateful words. Salvage her dignity, pride and few items.

    She often felt like she was floating high in a bubble looking down at herself. She felt so isolated that she did not use her own name. Instead she referred to herself as “she”. Instead of a happy experience, she felt trapped. Her bubble was spinning her around and turning her upside down as though on earth she had no control.

    “Get a job… Find a fulfilling hobby…. Go on a cruise…” her well meaning friends advised. She just politely smiled.

    She needed a miracle.

    Her daughter was exuberant on the phone, “Mum! Mum! Great news! I am pregnant! We are moving back home. You can see your grandchild grow up! Mum?”

    “Wonderful darling! You have burst my maudlin bubble! Do you think my grandchild will like bubbles?”

  4. The Story of Nothing

    Dr. Anomaly, a brilliant scientist, entered the room in his house that contained, BIG THINK, the advanced computer that controlled his home.

    “What’s for supper?” the doctor asked the computer.

    “Nothing,” replied BIG THINK.

    “What’s on TV?” he asked.


    The doctor sensed BIG THINK was in one of its moods again. “There must be something on TV.”

    “You cannot get something from nothing. It is illogical.”

    “I see.” Dr. Anomaly puffed on his pipe. “We’re planning to have a pool party this afternoon for the children. We need bubbles for them to play in.”

    “There is nothing.”

    “You mean, we have no bubbles?”

    “Bubbles do not exist. They are nothing.”

    “Hold on,” said the doctor. “In order to say nothing exists, we must first have a bounded space. The very existence of bounded space means something is there. If space is present, then something other than nothing, must also be present. Therefore, space is something.”


    “Let me clarify. Bubbles enclose space. Children play inside of them. Therefore, bubbles exist as something.”

    “Must think through illogical confusion. Bubbles do not exist and they are nothing. But children play inside bubbles. Therefore bubbles exist and they are something. Illogical.”

    Upon hearing this, the doctor left the room and then quickly returned. “BIG THINK, we have bubbles. The pool party is a go.”

    Upon hearing this, the computer shook violently for several minutes. Then, after it settled down, it spoke.

    “BIG THINK has headache. Discuss inverse trigonometric functions instead. Okay?”

  5. “It’s been 10 years since we have been able to live outside our bubbles,” Matt says to Sarah.

    Sarah replies, “I hear they are still keeping the bubbles in place in other countries. Their internet backbone does not support the bandwidth needed for the True Life Encounters technology. We are truly blessed to be able to sit and have dinner with each other like this.”

    Robert chimes in, “Blessed? You call sitting here in a fake virtual restaurant having dinner a good thing?”

    “Yes I do. This technology did not exist last year, and we all had to move about in those giant bubble suits in order to spend time together. Would you rather go back to that,” asked Sarah?

    “Of course not, but does this feel real to you? Look what I can do to Matt,” Robert says as he puts his hand through Matt’s virtual chest. “I don’t think this feels that much more real to me than when we were staring at our laptops a decade ago.”

    Matt tries changing the topic before this goes off the rails, “So anyway. Robert, what did you think about the World Wide Virtual Track and Field event last night. It looks like Europe is back in the winning column.”

    Robert turns to Matt, “Are you serious? This is ridiculous. Everyone knows the Haitians would crush Europe in the long distance events if they had the treadmills needed to compete.”

  6. Opaque Delight

    Before our two kids came along, there was Atticus. For so many people, whether you end up having kids or not, your dogs are your babies, your life. Atticus was just that as he ran around our big green backyard, a huge grin drooling from his face. He busied himself eating, jumping, running, greeting people in wiggling joy, and even sneaking licks from Hubby’s beer can.

    Soon our little boys came along and Atticus took it all in stride as they climbed him like a moving fort. First, he planted himself with deep roots of a rhododendron next to my feet wherever I ended up during my pregnancies. Then he followed those little boys all over as they ventured that same big green yard, running in giggling glee, chasing iridescent blown bubbles that sparkled in the bright sunshine of their little empyrean world. Leaping into the air Atticus would bite at the floating, cylindrical, opaque rainbows. Once the boys caught their own, their faces lit up in indistinguishable delight, squishing the soapy circles in their perfect, little chubby hands.

    Why can’t we always live forever in the magical bubble rainbow, in perpetuity of gossamer childhood? Why can’t we live in imaginative perfection for always? Why indeed.

  7. Life Inside a Bubble

    It was a splendid day.

    The children enjoyed themselves playing inside their bubbles, yelling and splashing in the pool.

    And while the children and adults remained outside, they were alone inside the house.

    He turned on the music, and a soft melody filled the room.

    She looked at him with a knowing grin. Memories filled her heart.

    He motioned for her to stand. Then he held her in his arms and guided her into the middle of the room. And as the children played outside, they began a slow dance in time to the music.

    “It’s been a long time since we danced,” she whispered, placing her cheek on his shoulder.

    “Too long.”

    “But the rules—”

    He gently placed a finger to her lips. “We’ve lost enough already. We’re not going to lose dancing.”

    She relaxed in his arms.

    “And we’re going to take that vacation you’ve always wanted.”

    “Can we?”

    “It’s time.”

    He held her close to his body and began a slow rhythmic movement. And as they moved together, the years melted away, back to those youthful, carefree days…

    Those days so long ago…

    During the recent past he had seen too many people become lost, living inside their own bubble.

    It was like the children and the adults lived in their own worlds.

    But he sensed there was just one difference.

    The children always knew when to leave their bubbles.

    He knew it was now time for them to leave theirs.

  8. “Help, help!” Are they deaf? Why can’t they hear me? What is this thing I’m locked up in?
    We had the car all packed up and were joyously setting off to the campground. Dad said an adventure of hiking, camping, and sleeping under the stars awaited us.
    I remember some music and juice. Apple juice? And then dreaming of those stars.
    I woke up to this? “Help,help!” It’s hard to breathe. Let me out!


    “And this photo was taken when?”
    “In the summer of 1997, on the boardwalk. The kids loved those walking balls. They played in them for hours. My seven-year-old daughter Jennifer is on the right; that must have been the fourth time that afternoon she played on the water. My son James is on the left. He was nine at the time. My wife Erin is trying to get him out of the bubble to tell him we were going down the boardwalk to pick up some pizza for dinner. She also wanted to tell him to keep an eye on his sister.”
    “Wow, it must seem like yesterday. They grow up so fast these days. Where is James today.”
    “He lives in New York City . . . trades commodity futures—whatever in the hell they are—for one of the leading Wall Street banking houses.”
    “And Erin.”
    “Did I say something wrong?”
    “No, it’s just that we don’t know where Erin is. When we returned to the bubble amusement, James was alone. He said he’d gone to the bathroom, and when he returned, he couldn’t find Erin. We looked and looked, but never found her. In the end, we filed a missing person report with the local police, but in all these years, despite hundreds of leads, she’s never been found.
    “We don’t even know if she’s alive.”

  10. “Bubbles, Bubbles and Bubbles” is what I named my business.

    That’s not what the newspapers called it, but that’s another story.

    Many things in life are predictable; Death and Taxes, being the most unpopular.

    What I didn’t know, most likely would kill me, or at least the business.

    The business opened in late 2019, and then COVID hit in 2020. It kept people away, but in 2021, as long as they wore a mask and kept six feet away from each other, there wasn’t any problem. Who knew what the rest of the story would be?

    It was a bright sunny day, the bumpers were lined on the inside edge of our large pool, and customers were in a long line for their chance at the adventure.

    Bobbie checked the weather report, but I guess he missed the wind advisory, or worse, he forgot to let me know.

    The newspaper headlines referred to it as ‘The Invasion of the Balloons.’ Three bubbles were blown out of the confines of the pool area and headed downtown. They didn’t stop for traffic or even traffic lights. The football team were the heroes of the day, basically tackling the runaway balloons as they entered the football field during practice.

    I learned my lesson, and we now tether the bubbles, but some folks complain the ride is not quite what it used to be. However, on some windy days, I go for a wild ride with camera in hand.

  11. Bob could see that June was getting agitated as they watched the two kids play in the plastic bubbles. The bubbles, six feet in diameter, were floating in their neighbor’s wading pool, the biggest wading pool Bob had ever seen.

    Abby and Will, inside their own bubbles, walked forward as they bounced on the water, trying to stay on their feet. They were laughing so hard they were bent over and breathless. Will, the youngest, lost his footing and simply laid there as muffled laughter drifted out to the parents on the sidelines.

    “It’s just too dangerous,” said June. “They’re going to get hurt.”

    “They’re kids,” said Bob. “It’s been too long since we’ve had fun. Lets try it.”

    June backed up. “You must be joking.” June glanced at the kids in fear despite a small smile edging onto her face.

    Since his cancer diagnosis, June had gone crazy with fear. Bob was scared, too, but his reaction was different. He pushed to do more while he could. “Let’s go for broke,” he said.

    June fought it by letting Bob go his way while she latched onto the kids and their safety.

    “Come on,” said Bob. He bumped into June and before she knew what was happening they were both in the water. The kids stopped dead as their parents stood up soaking wet.

    “Why, you no good….” June pushed her husband, who grabbed her around the waist as they fell back into the water, both laughing out loud.

  12. Mary loved to play outdoors when she was young. But her grandchildren never wanted to play outside. Then, the pandemic hit. Everyone stayed inside until the stay at home restrictions were lifted. Most people were afraid of any outside air. After months of staying indoors, children were anxious to play outside.

    “Let’s make some outdoor games for the grandkids,” Mary said to her husband Lou.

    They made outdoor checkers, bowling, and other games. The kids loved the games and being outdoors, but they missed their friends. Then, their granddaughters’ birthday was only 2 weeks away.

    “What can we do to have a fun party, and socially distance the kids?” Mary asked her husband.

    ” Hamster balls,” he answered.

    “No, no more pets!”

    ” Not small ones; but bigger ones the kids can stand in, and move around on the surface of our pool.”

    ” It’s not warm enough.”

    “They won’t get wet. Inside the balls, they will be safe and sound.”


    The party was great. The hamster balls were a hit! The local school heard about them, and ordered larger ones for the classrooms.

    Then, restaurants ordered larger bubbles, to fit a table of four; keeping the diners safe from viruses in the air.


    The next year, after 70% of the country was vaccinated, Mary decided to hire someone to entertain the grandkids.

    “What do they do?” her granddaughter asked.

    “It’s a bubble show, using state of the art bubble wands,” Mary smiled.

    “No thanks, I’m sick of bubbles. We’ll just play indoors.”

  13. When I was a kid, the big thing at the carnival was the Moonwalk. It was like a giant air mattress with an enclosure over it. You’d take off your shoes and go inside to jump around like you were walking on the Moon.

    Back then the Apollo lunar landings were still fresh in everybody’s memories. I’d been too little to remember the very first one, but the later ones made a big impression on me, especially once they had rovers to drive around. I almost cried when the last mission ended.

    By the time I was in my teens, getting too old for the Moonwalk, the name started disappearing in favor of stuff like “Bounce House.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, because the younger kids would have no memories of astronauts bouncing around on the lunar surface. For them, space meant the Shuttle.

    By the time my own kids were big enough to play in a bouncy house, there were all kinds of designs. Most of them had done away with the enclosing roof, and just had protective walls to keep kids from bouncing right off the sides. A lot of them were designed like fantasy castles, complete with inflatable dragons at the gate.

    Now my kids have outgrown bouncy houses, and they have kids of their own. And my son shows me the latest version – the kids each in individual inflatables like giant hamster balls, bouncing in a water park.

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