Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: #506

maclellanville, SC white picket fence in front of house with porch flash fiction prompt
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: #506”

  1. Gaily’s House

    My sneeze can be heard halfway down the block. It seems that way to me. It is early. I do not want to wake the neighborhood. Neighborhoods have their own rhythm, groans and moans from back bedrooms, the first flickering of bathroom lights, the sun, sometimes still hidden, sometimes just peaking over that hill to the east, splashing shimmies of light onto the Granger’s orchard, or that giant poplar at the edge of it, the one Gaily and I climbed so many years ago.
    I wipe my nose, finish getting my nasal issues under control. They only started a couple of years back, ‘increased pollen in the air’, my doctor had said, ’take some antihistamines if you want to but it looks like nature has finally caught up with you.’ He punched his wisdom home with a giant grin as if it were such a small thing so late in life and I should be thankful for decades of nasal peace.
    Which I was.
    As I walk closer to the house that had once been Gaily’s house, a rush of warm late May air swarms me and I can feel her smile from across the years, the playfulness of it, her, her smile, her deep laugh, all of the softly focussed moving parts of time, the way you can temper memories, shape them to the way you want to remember them.
    I spot a paper kid coming my way.
    The funeral is at noon.
    I am still undecided.


    “Five. Oh. Six,” I said, jabbing at the speed bag, landing a punch for every syllable. “Five, oh, six. You know what? This is SO therapeutic. I never knew it’d be this easy to exorcise my demons.”

    My trainer grinned back at me. “A little sweat and few soft punches never hurt anybody,” she said, looking at me appraisingly. “But you really ought to put more weight behind your blows. The only thing you’re likely to damage right now is your manicure. Are you sure you’re not just trying to tickle that bag?”

    McClellanville #506 was where Wallace had lived before his arrest. He was safely out of reach now, but there were still shoals of other two-legged barracudas swimming about where he’d been. I just needed to be sure I could take care of myself. Not all my scars were still on the surface; some of my worst injuries would never show on an X-ray.

    I hated feeling soft and weak. I’d loved being pretty and feminine, but it had made me into a target. There would always be another man who’d see me as a convenient experience. Or a night filled with pleasure with no thought of commitment. That he could take what he wanted and then leave. I’d never be used like that again. The next time it happened, I’d come out swinging, show him I’d no need for him or his winning smile. The prey would become the predator. I would never suffer that way again.

  3. #506 Willow Street
    Something wasn’t quite right. The freshly painted house and the yellow roses appeared welcoming, but a chill went down Amanda’s spine as the garden gate eerily creaked open. Through the screen, she could see into the quiet house. Where was everybody?

    Okay, nothing is wrong. You have an appointment, the young journalist told herself. Gathering her courage, Amanda knocked on the screen door.

    “Hello, is anybody there?” She called out. “Mr. Crowley, I’m Amanda Flint. I am here for the interview.”


    Then she heard the scratching of claws on the hardwood floor and the growl of a cat — a big cat. A moment later, she noticed a large, bloody piece of meat on the floor and starring at her from the shadows were a pair of golden eyes. The shrill growl came again and a huge cat with a bloody muzzle raced towards the door.

    Amanda screamed in terror and bolted down the steps. She called 911. “Hello? I’d like to report…”

    “Where are you?” The dispatcher demanded.

    “I was going to an interview at #506 Willow Street.” Amanda said.

    “Let me guess, you saw a big cat — that’s the fifth report today. Mr. Crowley died last week and the house is empty.”

    “But, I…” The dispatcher had hung up.

    Then she heard a menacing hiss coming from somewhere in the garden.

    She took off running.

    An unearthly laugh was the last thing that she heard as she drove off.

  4. Memorial Tears

    The post office letter apologized for the delay, but indicated it wasn’t their fault.

    I’ve read his letter over and over again, and realize now what should have been.

    We only had the one date in high school and that was to my senior prom. I was surprised, but thrilled he asked to take me. We witnessed the sun rise together and he took part of my heart that morning.

    What I didn’t know at the time, he was leaving for Marine corps basic training the following week. He left and I never saw him again.

    I learned that immediately following basic training, his unit left for Vietnam.

    His name is one of four listed on the memorial in the center of town. They say he died defending his wounded buddies, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

    The letter he wrote came five years after the date he penned – August 13, 1969.

    He said I took a part of his heart that night, and when he returned, he wanted to see if I felt the same way, and that we have a future together.

    Brad, our son, and I visit the memorial often and leave flowers and a flag. After many years of him seeing my tears, I shared who the man on the memorial is and was.

    I don’t blame anyone, but wish things turned out differently. The letter he addressed to me, had our old address before the town changed the street names and numbering.

  5. Spider Apocalypse

    Two friends, Lois and Greta, were driving home from shopping.


    “What is it?” asked Greta.

    “There’s a spider on the car,” gasped Lois.

    Greta leaned towards her friend and saw a spider clinging to the driver’s side-view mirror. “Whatever you do, don’t open the window.”

    “I’m afraid of spiders.”

    “Me too.”

    “I’ll speed up and make it fall off.” Lois hit the gas and the car careened down the highway.

    The spider, which had been casually relaxing on the side mirror, now found itself propelled forward at 50 mph. Against an overwhelming rush of air, it clung desperately to the mirror with eight spindly legs, its little hairs bristling in the wind.

    “It’s still on the mirror,” exclaimed Lois, desperately gripping the stirring wheel. “It’s holding us hostage.”

    “And I was having such a nice day.”

    The car weaved through traffic, hitting speeds of 60 mph, with the spider still clinging to the mirror, determined not to be ejected from its perch.

    After travelling through the city for some time, the car finally pulled into Lois’ driveway at #506.

    “I’m sooo glad to be home,” said Greta.

    “Me too. And no spider!”

    Lois exited the car and locked the door.

    As she did so, the spider launched itself into Lois’ hair. After spending a harrowing time on the car’s side-view mirror, it was happy to be somewhere secure. Happy, because it was pregnant, and secure, because it would soon be giving birth to hundreds of little spiders.

  6. The Uber driver dropped Flegler off at 506 Beach Road; a Carpenter Gothic cottage in America’s oldest Freemen-Governed Community. It was the first time he had been back to his childhood home after three tours of duty in Afghanistan and the incident that nearly changed his life forever. A neighbor, Clara Jones waived to him as she swept her pristine porch,

    “Welcome back, Honey. We been prayin’ fo’ ya,” and with practiced Gullah grace, “Youse hungry? Got some leftovers from yestidy. Good eatin’, still.”

    “No Thank you, Miz Jones. I’m just going to relax on the porch.” He was tired,
    “Kind of you Miz Jones.” He set his bag on the porch and sat in a rickety old rocker his Grandad on his Momma’s side fashioned years ago.

    “Thank God,” he thought, for D.N.A. and organizations that worked for justice. His was not a new story. Wrongfully accused based on circumstances alone and a protracted prosecution seemingly immune to the truth looking only for a closed case.

    He sat for what seemed hours. Daydreaming of recent events and looking back over the years on the same dreams and visions he had as a child in this very chair. Finally, he felt refreshed. As the sun was setting, he urged himself to go inside. There on the dining room table was the front page of the Island Packet left undisturbed for the last three months.


    The pain returned in earnest.



    At the end of the lane, stood a vacant home, #506. It’s said to be haunted by twins Emily and Margaret. Their overbearing mother, found her deceased daughters in the back of the basement on a Saturday in 1933.

    The girls were not identical. Emily was petite and unassuming. Margaret on the other hand was tall, and quite the beauty. Emily relied on her sister for constant reassurance, which irritated Margaret to no end, so she became critical towards Emily. Emily, decided today was her chance to get revenge.

    “Mother, please take us out for ice cream, begged Emily. It was their Saturday ritual. They strolled up the lane until they reached the parlor. After devouring her sundae, Emily told Margaret to hurry up. Hide and seek in the basement was awaiting them. Margaret took her time. Knowing though once the game ended , she could sneak out until dinner. This would anger Emily. It always did.

    It was dark in the back of the basement, one window to let in light. Emily had set up a trap for her twin. As Margaret went to hide in the storage cabinet under the bench seat, Emily wedged the old metal chair against the only entrance and exit. Her air would run out soon. The thought of being free of Margarets mean words disappeared, when a sharp metal point, protruding from the chair, entered her neck. It was to be the twins fatal end, in the back of the basement!

  8. 506 West Live Oak Street

    506 West Live Oak Street, was a dilapidated ancient farm house leaning rather than standing on inhospitable land. Its shutters banged a half-hearted military tattoo while the sun tried to glint on the broken grimy glass. Nevertheless, as a child, hopping past 506 daily, Mattie dreamed. She imagined a wide welcoming porch, gingerbread brackets brimming with character, and architectural running trim full of beauty. Mattie saw beyond the decay and neglect. Potential. Character. Historical and cultural significance.

    For years, she scrambled and scratched to save. Instead of dancing in floaty gauze dresses with beaus, she marched in the kitchen from work table to stove and back. While hand mixing batters, she envisioned trimmed rose bushes framing a majestic restaurant with a neat picket fence. Her dream fueled her to bake, roast, baste, serve.

    A small down payment ensured that the property was hers. Financial setbacks, construction delays and tyrannical nature caused friction in her plans.

    Lost in melancholy thoughts, she wondered, “Is it even worth giving this restaurant a name?”

    Then she threw her shoulders back and thought of a grand name.

    After her heart was repeatedly twisted and reshaped, laughter spilled out from balconies, candle light played on glistening crystal and savoury smells waltzed through HER restaurant. One hand on the balustrade, Matti glided up the stairs, her arm entwined in her husband’s. Her wedding train flowed along burnished wooden floors as guests held up champagne flutes. Outside, the ancient trees dipped their heads to her.

  9. Molly tries to steady her hand before knocking at #506 Poplar Avenue. She must keep this job, or be on the streets again.

    A white-haired gentleman invites her in and introduces his six-year-old grandson, Henry. She greets Henry, but he stares sullenly at the floor. She has already heard tales about this incorrigible boy. Henry’s grandfather returns to his study, leaving Molly to fend for herself.

    Molly grasps Henry’s hand. “How about a snack before our lessons?”

    Henry yanks his hand away and dashes toward the kitchen. He pulls open the refrigerator, grabs a quart of milk, and gulps directly from the container. When Molly reaches for the milk, he drops it on the floor. As she cleans up the spill, Henry races into the dining room.

    Molly finds him playing with miniature soldiers. “Let’s begin our math lesson.”

    “No!” he responds, stamping his feet.

    When she turns to retrieve the math games from her bag, she senses, rather than hears, the flying chair. She spins and blocks it with her mind before gently lowering it to the floor. Then she sends the thought, *We don’t throw things.*

    Henry’s eyebrows raise and his mouth falls open. His thought penetrates her mind, *You’re like me?*

    With her voice she answers, “Yes. And we’re going to be friends. Now place the chair back at the table — with your thoughts.”

    “I don’t know how.”

    Molly smiles. “I’m here to teach you.”

  10. The deadbolt slid into place with a click. My mother pulled out the key and handed it to the landlord’s agent. Another chapter of my life had closed forever.

    For as long as I could remember, 504 North Maple Street was Grandma’s House. How many summer afternoons had I spent playing under the spreading oaks in the back yard, or sitting on the porch swing, sipping lemonade and listening to the Old Time Radio Show through the open living-room window? Even after I got older and we moved to the other side of the state, Thanksgiving and Christmas still meant going to Grandma’s House, although it involved spending more time on the road than on the actual visit.

    I resisted the urge to take one last peek. No, the empty rooms and barren mantlepiece would only reinforce my sense of loss. Better to just remember it as it had been for all those years, as I’d grown from a small child to a competent professional. Better to carry with me the memory of the dappled shadows of light through the leaves of the oaks, the sound of the Glenn Miller Orchestra on the old tube radio, the smell of fresh-baked ginger cookies.

    So long as I still remembered, something of Grandma would still live within me.

  11. The Invitation

    Mrs. Halpern set the table as she usually did at supper, for the eleven people who lived in her boarding house at #506 Willafred Lane. It was Susie Bradley’s turn to assist Mrs. Halpern, and she helped to dish out portions of pot roast, steaming mashed potatoes and vegetables.

    As they ate, Mrs. Halpern asked the usual question. “So what’s the latest news?”

    Peggy Turner piped up unexpectedly, “Mark and I are getting married in about three months.”

    As everyone dropped their silverware, the only sounds that could be heard were of people chewing and swallowing.

    “Have you two been sneaking around?” asked Mrs. Halpern.

    “It’s nothing like that,” replied Mark LaBelle. “Everything is done right and proper.”

    Mrs. Halpern sniffed. “You may have to pay me extra to be your chaperone!”

    “Excuse me, Mrs. Halpern, but we don’t need no chaperone, setting out on the porch of an evening, or walking in the park after church,” said Peggy.

    “‘Sides,” said Mark, “it’s ladies on the second floor, men on the third, no visiting. Same as always.”

    “We’d like you to make our wedding feast,” said Peggy, “Guests in almost every downstairs room, the porch and the yard. We’d pay you well.”

    Mrs. Halpern seemed very satisfied. “We could work something out.”

    “Y’all are invited,” said Mark.

    “Congratulations!” said each of the boarders, in turn.

    Finally, Mrs. Halpern said, “Congratulations! I expect you to be on your best behavior.”

    And everyone enjoyed a hearty meal.

  12. The 1890’s farmhouse featured a long covered porch running the length of the place. Nice old-growth cedar siding was painted white, not a blister anywhere. Neighbors loved walking to the end of the subdivision to admire the house that had been there for so long.

    Finely wrought white filigree accentuated the front door.

    That front door now bothered the neighbors. As they glanced over, they could see clear through to the back door. Why was the front door open? Sure, in this sunny weather, cooling off was necessary. But even this past spring, a cool one, that door remained open.

    They were reluctant to open the gate of the white picket fence and knock on the door.

    The two ancient spinster sisters who owned the house hadn’t been seen for awhile, but no doubt they were traveling, enjoying retirement, though nobody could say what jobs they had retired from.

    Helen and Terry, from the homeowners association, stood before the farmhouse, gathering courage to find out what was what.

    “It’s now or never,” said Helen, her arms crossed across her ample chest. “I say go.”

    Before Terry could respond, shutters on the two tall casement windows in the dormer topping the house clanked open. The two old ladies, dressed in tight black clothing, jumped up with a screeching loud yell. Armed only with super soaker squirt guns, they blasted Helen and Terry without warning, knocking them to the ground.

    “That’ll teach ‘em,” cackled one old lady to the other.

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