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.
11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Snap”
Walking in the woods with my rambling group, I was doodling in my mind. I was not paying attention. Snap! I have heard another say that breaking a leg is like a dry branch snapping. He underestimated the noise. There was a giant implosion which torturously ricocheted from one tree to another. Later, I realized that the ugly sound was my scream from the excruciating torment. The other never mentioned the agonizing, appalling, and atrocious pain!
The designated first aiders in the group huddled around me with solicitous expressions. The verdict was I had neatly snapped my leg. Glad, at least that my body had dictated that the snap was “neat.” It was dexterously stabilized and immobilized. At the mention of the word “blood”- luckily there was none- my head spiralled down into chaos. Powerful hands gently pushed my head between my knees and told me to breathe steadily. As a person who had always been in charge of my own destiny, I actually admired this take control attitude. Oddly, it felt good to be fussed over, the centre of attention, the one in need!
Looking up to my saviour who had a reassuring hand on my back, I sighed like a dizzy schoolgirl. He was brutally handsome in a tough lumberjack kind of way. He was also brutally married! What a lost opportunity; a girl in the woods with a broken leg cannot attract male. Oh, well there is always the doctor. I am such an opportunist!
ELIGIBLE FOR EDITORS CHOICE ONLY
Crackle snap oops
Walking my daily trek to high school, it’s deep into fall. I breathe in the fresh crisp air and dodge the leaves falling all around. I love the crunching sound of dried leaves, forcibly marching on. I am to meet up with Ruth at the 2nd turn. We enjoy this time to gossip about our friends.
The green belt provides a shortcut to school. There is no sign of Ruth, must be her monthly time. Her cramps are debilitating, so she claims. It’s becoming dark and the wind is wild. Rain will be here soon. Hurrying, I trip over raised tree roots, camouflaged under layers of leaves. My ankle turns in and my hands let me down to sustain my fall.
Old man Mr Alders is walking his Tibbles, catches sight of me. “Hey there Jean, what seems to be the problem?” “You need help?”
I’m dizzy from hitting my head on a rock. The thunder and lightning are taking turns with threatening warnings. I yell out “I’m fine, thank you.” As I pull myself up, I regain my stride.
I hear recognizable voices. Peering over the brush I see Ruth with Jack, my boyfriend! Giggling and embracing each other. My face is burning, my mind is in instant rage! Before I can confront them, there is a loud crackle, snap of a tree limb, which knocks them off their feet. Oops!
The snap I heard was confirmed by the birds. They immediately stopped their melody. Pausing on the path, I looked in the direction of the noise.
Nothing but trees.
Why am I so sensitive today? Nothing to be alarmed about. Then I recalled some recent news.
Three hikers were mauled by black bears two weeks ago, and just last weekend, two prisoners escaped from the penitentiary.
I could go back to the truck and get my service revolver, but that would mean I wasted all this time. I should have thought of that before walking four miles into the woods.
Another stare at the woods – nothing. The birds were strangely still quiet.
Another thing I remember, Monday started bow hunting season. I should have paid more attention to the names of the two prisoners who escaped. Would I even remember all the names of the people I put away?
My pace picked up, but in reverse towards my truck. Did I even lock it? Strange that I remember all the weapons for killing inside; 9mm Glock pistol, 30-06 rifle, and hunting bow.
I wondered if anyone else could hear my laughter, as I was now jogging. What a sissy!
I heard the snap just above my head and looked up. Small branches were cascading and the arrow was vibrating in the tree trunk.
Was that the echo of my laughter, or was it someone else’s?
The last time I ran cross-country in combat boots, was in basic training.
The Box on the Mantle
They were walking on a trail one day. He was ahead of her. She was taking photographs.
Then they heard a “snap.”
It sounded like a falling branch.
They heard it again.
They froze and exchanged looks.
Now they sounded like footsteps on dry tinder. And they were getting closer.
She sensed something was moving through the woods. And it was headed in their direction.
She turned and saw what appeared to be a tall, shadowy figure. Its appearance was hidden among the leaves and low hanging branches. Although it was standing uphill, she judged the figure to be almost eight feet tall. It remained motionless, and appeared to be studying them.
She raised her camera and focused on the giant creature. She zoomed in, but still could not obtain a clear image of her subject. Then she began snapping pictures.
As she did so, the creature moved its head forward slightly from the shadows, as though wanting to be photographed. Although its head was still cloaked in darkness, she could see its eyes. And those eyes looked at her with a sullen, yet intelligent expression.
Then it raised a hand towards her. Was it in friendship or aggression?
They didn’t stay to find out and ran…
Over the years, they never spoke about their experience to anyone. And all inquires about a locked box on their fireplace mantle were met with silence.
The same box that contained their secrets and photographs.
Snap Dragging it Out
“When you’re ready. And just to double-check, we’re recording, and you have declined legal representation.”
“Yeah. I see no need for that.”
“Okay then, we’re good to go.”
“We are. I need to explain how I think.
“Sure, we like to hear how guys think.”
“So are we. Get on with it.”
“Of course. Sorry.”
“Save the sorry stuff. We’re on the clock. Makes no never mind to us how long it takes. “
“Right. Well, to begin, maybe you had to be a certain age to appreciate that moment.”
“In the park?”
“Yeah. In the park. The way it seemed. I mean it wasn’t London, and no Antonioni was shooting the movie of my life.”
“Who’s this Anton…?
“Was he there with you? First time you’ve mentioned him…You got any more surprises? ”
“Sorry, He wasn’t there. Been dead, oh, more than a decade.”
“How’d he die? Murdered? Is this another one on your list…”
“Hold your horses. He was an old man when he died. In his nineties. He’s got nothing to do with this.”
“Hey buddy, you’re the one who mentioned his name. You better give us his information.”
“Look, we are getting way off point. He made movies. Great movies. I was referencing one of the best, the weirdest, at any rate. Blow-up.”
“Are we talking bombs, here. In the park? Is that what the dead guy saw?”
“Maybe I do need a lawyer.”
“Interview ended 8:21 am.”
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The murderer was tired, and his brain felt grey. The sounds of the trees soothed him, their leaves whispering in his ear. Maybe today would be the day he’d break his dry spell.
It’d been far too long since his last entertainment.
“Hello,” he said, reaching for his bow. He disguised the action, slipping his hand around the side of his torso, reassuring himself that it was there. He took comfort in finding it, his fingers sliding the length of its long slender limb, curving around its central grip.
I nodded, maintaining my gaze. My adversary was a wily huntsman, long used to running down his prey. I knew I’d be at a disadvantage if I ran, that he would unleash his silent arrows in my direction. He knew the trails as well as I did, each dip and twist they made as they wound around the trees. I would do better if I kept him in close range, using his bulk against him. I had the weight of a seven-inch Marine’s knife resting against my thigh, its blade an edged stiletto. I could open his throat in a heartbeat, running its edge diagonally across his neck. My second blow would be into his chest, my knife’s point finding its place within his primary muscle, dropping him in his tracks.
My reflection returned my nod as I withdrew my knife, its black perfection sliding free. I grinned back at my twin as he raised his own blade.
“Snap,” I said.
Argus bent over, inhaling deeply to catch his breath. He didn’t know where he was. The forest was sparse, but he couldn’t see anything but trees in all directions.
That was good, because he successfully outran the Succularis. It wasn’t hard to do since the Succularis were mostly blind, were slow and relied upon their radar to catch prey.
It was bad because he had never been this far into the woods. He couldn’t go back. If he returned to his village, the Rominian soldiers would kill him. Scalion, the self appointed Rominian prince had killed his father and mother and little sister. He was using the dark magic from the Wells of Windrum and was to gain power.
Argus was the last of the natural princes. His mother told him that his day would come to save the kingdom. When it did, Argus needed to ask for the door to be opened. Argus laughed at himself, “Some prince I am! And where’s the door? I can’t ask to open it if I don’t know where it is.”
Argus turned sharply but didn’t see anything.
The leaves on the ground rustled and the earth trembled. Argus watched as vines grew straight out of the ground, entwining amongst each other into a rectangular frame. Argus was not afraid. Though he didn’t have magical powers himself, he had seen magic all his life. What was this? He walked closer to inspect, then walked under the frame into another world.
Bill Hearne had been an avid hunter ever since he got old enough to be entrusted with a BB gun. He’d spent many hours tramping through the scrubland around his family’s dairy farm, shooting varmints. His dad would give him a quarter for every gopher or starling he caught. Pretty soon he got good enough that he was no longer spending all his bounty money on BB’s. He started saving for an actual .22 so he could shoot groundhogs. Dad gave him a whole dollar for those.
By the time he was old enough for his first deer tag, he’d saved up enough for a real rifle. He made sure it paid for itself in the fresh game it put on the table.
Today he wasn’t hunting. Even if it had been deer season down here, this part of the Texas Piney Woods was too close to civilization for him to be shooting any deer rifle. In any case, he wanted to be alone with his thoughts right now, not scanning his surroundings for deer spoor.
He had a decision to make. Did he stay here on Earth, flying Space Shuttle orbiters and by his silence assenting to the Administration’s latest act? Or did he take his family to Shepardsport, to Farside and exile?
The giant Cedars stood watching creatures scurrying on the forest floor. Twigs snapped under the weight of Carl’s hiking boots. The boughs rustled. Frozen, he inched his gaze to the right. Scanning the base of the trees, nothing, his eyes traveled higher. The bird turned its head, cawing. The alarm echoed in Carl’s head. Blood drained from his face, and he covered his hat with his hands racing down the trail. The toe of his boot caught on a twisted root. His body flew through the air. He hit the ground with a thud. Talons sunk into the black fabric pulling the hat from his head. Sitting up, he brushed pine needles from his shirt.
“Stop clawing my hat.”
The bird flapped its wings, flexing its claws. The baseball cap sailed to the ground.
“Ok, you win. Give me a minute.”
The bird cawed again.
Carl pulled the crushed packet of crackers out of his pocket. The bird snatched the package escaping to the clearing.
“Bring it back, and I will open it for you. Don’t choke on the plastic, you stupid bird.”
The bird ignored him, driving its beak into the plastic, showering the ground with white flakes. Carl bent over, snatching up his hat, beating it on his thigh before placing it back on his head. He shook his head. He never lost his hat training a dog.
The Neolithic standing stones should be just up ahead. The weak morning light made the neglected grave-mound barely visible amongst the trees. Not for the first time, Michael wondered why ancient people had spent so much time and effort building stone monuments.
There they are! As he came closer, the crystals within the stones began glistening in the light of the sun. These megaliths were not from around here, Michael was certain of that.
The birds went silent. An image appeared of a newly made stone circle. Sunbeams were reflected from the megaliths and they encased a small village in a dome of light. The image changed. The stone circle appeared dirty and neglected. A battle was taking place near the stones. Villagers with flint hammers were fighting against warriors with bronze swords. The battle ended and the men with the flint hammers lay bloodied among the stones.
Michael heard a twig snap. A man appeared who was dressed in white robes. Stunned, Michael asked, “Who are you?”
“Were you not curious about my grave and why the stones were erected?”
The sound of birds woke Michael. He found himself on the ground near the standing stones. The clouds had covered the sun but he was sure that it was late afternoon. He couldn’t remember having fallen asleep. He stood up and touched the stone that had shown him the images. Nothing happened.
“Strange dream,” he confessed to the birds — but he wondered if it had been more.
He had wanted to wait for nightfall but he knew in his bones that he had to go when he could. Too many times his compatriots had waited for the perfect moment, for the darkness or the rain, the clouds to cover the sky, whatever was perfect after the trap was sprung.
But if they waited for that perfect moment, it was already too late. The snarling dogs would come, the sharpened knives would flay the fur, the firearms spew their deadly anger. All for a weakened calf or a neglected pet. He had so little choice and such great need.
So here he was disguised as nondescript as possible—flannel shirt, baseball cap, jeans—sauntering seemingly without a care in the world. If he could ramble through this naked grove of pines, cleared of underbrush hideaways, he might elude the predators bent on his destruction.
The loud snap of a twig just over the hill destroyed that illusion. While there was no other sound, he knew the reckoning had come. Now was the time to fight back if he was to survive.
A rifle blasted the quiet to smithereens and only quick instinct saved his sorry hide. He rolled twice and rose upright on all fours, running hard, his ears attending every sound, his teeth barred in readiness. Another hunter fired away, no longer worrying about keeping quiet. So the hunted discarded his regret, shifting his blood-lusting shape.
Now he was also on the hunt.
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