Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Spires

Totem Pole rock at Monument Valley 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Spires”

  1. “No cell coverage, not even one bar,” she said flatly.
    “Are you sure?” he asked, glancing to his right as he attempted once again to restart his car’s engine.
    “Of course, I’m sure!” she snapped. “Here! Look for yourself.”
    She thrust her cell phone in his face. There was no mistaking what it showed: no reception of a signal from any cell tower. The fact was, it would have been impossible for her to place a call, much less reach 911.
    He again attempted to start the engine, but it wouldn’t “catch.”
    “Do you have enough gas?” she asked.
    “Three-quarters full; nothing wrong there.”
    “So, why won’t it start?”
    “I dunno, maybe it’s the igniter. My friend, Jon—you remember him? Jon Parsons—had a similar problem a few years ago. The mechanic told him it was his car’s igniter.”
    “That’s a big help,” she snapped in disgust.
    “ ‘Drive out with me for the day and see the spires,’ you said” mocking him. “ ‘You’ll never forget how beautiful they are.’
    “Well, here I am, and now, we’re not only stuck, but we have no way of calling for help! You do know I have a deliverable due to my boss tomorrow morning, and now, I won’t have time to prepare it,” she said with bitterness in her voice.
    “You’re a dead man, Roger!”
    “Don’t even joke about it, Vicki. I have no idea how were going to get out of here.”

  2. “Five years dating, and you have never taken me for such a long drive,” Vivian said, looking at him for some spectacular answer.

    “The weather was nice for a long top-down road trip.” Scott responded.

    “So, we’re here. What is so spectacular about those spires?”

    “You have to look closely to see what they are trying to tell us.

    Please get out of the car and walk towards them.”

    “You have to be kidding, there are snakes out here. You’re not going to leave me out here, are you? I’m sorry I lost it last night. That wasn’t like me. I’ve had to dance around my mother’s questions about us, and that’s not even mentioning my dad’s.”

    “Please, honey, just take a few steps towards the spires and you will see the answer.”

    “Okay, just because you asked me.” She left the car and took about twenty steps in their direction. “Okay, I think I see the spires look like they are giving the ‘I love you’ sign. Is that what you wanted me to see?” She turned around to look back at him.

    Scott had one knee on the ground and was holding his hand giving the ‘I love you’ sign.

    “Did you fall?” She asked, heading back to him.

    “Look really close.” He moved his right hand up and down.

    “Are you giving me the finger?”

    “In a manner of speaking I am.”

    The sun caught the object perfectly. “Oh my God, it’s beautiful.”

    “Will you marry me?”


    Utah Days

    The Three-Eared Kid shifted in his saddle, scratched his right ear with his left index finger, smiled, and said, “Yup. We’re lost.”
    It weren’t no surprized. The Kid had no sense of direction to speak of but that little growth just below his right ear that jutted out from his jawline and looked like a tiny third ear, especially if you’d had a jug full of corn likker in you and the light was just right, made him look smarter than he was.

    At least to some folks.

    We’d set our sites on Moab for no other reason than the Kid knew that his great-uncle, James Hunt, had been bushwhacked dead there back in ’55 and he’d always meant to pay his respects. Me, I was tagging along thinking we might find some business along the way, our business being robbing and occasionally killing, but Moab didn’t have any appeal to me, and the dead of old were the dead and there wasn’t much else of interest for me to find about the dearly departed.

    Hunt had been part of the Elk Mountain Mission that had tried to set up a trading post at the point where the Old Spanish Trail crossed the Colorado.

    “Kid, maybe we oughta veer north to Cisco. Heard they got them a railroad now. We ain’t never tried trains.”

    “Nope. Moab!”

    The Kid was set in his ways. And I had to admit the pillars of Moab, of the whole valley, were beauts.

  4. “It’s like a cathedral, isn’t it,” he said, gazing up at the spires. “Majesty and awe; none of it made by man. You gotta wonder why we’re here when you see Nature like this. It doesn’t need us; we’re incidental.”

    I drew in a long, hesitant breath. The air was ashen molasses, dry enough to rasp at the lining of my throat. I wondered why I was here too; there was a sun-lounger by a pool somewhere with my name written on it. It was in another land, far away, one with no vultures or snakes, one where the only significant threats to me would be either my country’s government or the inland revenue. I couldn’t understand this. There was no reason for me to be here.

    The sun continued to drop, its shadows lengthening. A chill began to develop, the air thinning, the light purpling, the sky filling in above us. The first stars appeared, dimmed smudges of light at first, but then together, their rich, triumphant chords of colour reverberating over the horizon.

    A quietness filled my head. The pale hum of the collected stilled breaths of the world rose like a wave, cascading down as I choked on our insignificance. The celestial organist cracked his knuckles, beginning to play, hesitantly at first but then with force, skipping octaves as he built up to a crescendo. The heavens blazed, an arc of iced fire filling the sky.

    “Oh yes,” I gasped. “Now I know exactly what you mean.”

  5. Spires on Mars

    Doctor Anomaly entered the computer room in his house. “BIG THINK, I’m planning to go on vacation.”

    “Where?” asked the computer.

    “To the cottage.”

    “You always go to the cottage.”

    “That’s because it’s a short drive, and I can relax, swim, boat, fish, do a lot of things.”

    “Why not go somewhere new, exotic.”

    “Such as?”


    “Mars? Why?”

    “They’re offering a special. Only $4 million dollars one-way.”

    “What am I supposed to do there?”

    “Admire the Spires on Mars.”

    “Can I get out and walk around?”


    “What’ll I do inside the capsule?”


    “How many books can I bring?”

    “One. Weight considerations.”

    “Only one book?”

    “Reading the same thing over and over again reinforces content.”

    “I’ll wind up just staring at the instrument panel.”

    “I find instrument panels… stimulating…”

    “If I go, how long before I return?”

    “Four years. You have to pay extra to come back.”

    “I’ll go batty.”

    BIG THINK paused. “I’m not familiar with that concept.”

    “Go insane.”

    “Are you losing touch with reality?”

    “It’s just an expression.”

    “Should I make a phone call? Do you need professional help?”


    “My data bank lists over 100 psychiatrists…”

    “I don’t need—”

    “Maybe you should lie down. Take a sedative. Listen to some relaxing music.”

    “I’ll be fine. All I need is a vacation at the cottage…”

    “Like you do every year.”


    “Why not go somewhere new, exotic…”

    The doctor stared into space. “I’m experiencing déjà vu.”

    “See, you aren’t well at all.”

  6. Spires

    The postcard made me yearn. It was not the rusty earth colours or imposing surreal rocks and not even the widest, clearest, bluest sky that pulled me into a vortex of nostalgia. It was the title “Spires” which swirled me away on a giddy trip back to my youth.

    The word “Spires” peeled back the years, taking me from a grandma rollicking in Texas to an animated 1970’s youth growing up in Coventry, England. The city was grandly associated with “The Three Spires” on its skyline. Of the three churches, Holy Trinity Church is the only one still complete, emphasizing what destruction they experienced at the whims of tyrants.

    Hitler on 14th November, 1940 full of spite and fury ordered a devastating bombing raid on Coventry. So intense was the blitz that horrific heat and burning smells singed the nostrils of the German bomber pilots. St Michael’s Cathedral crackled a burning inferno until only the spire remained. Later, King George VI in the ruins wept. Ironically, demolition crews were persuaded not to tear the spire down because it had for the last hundred years leaned.

    Only the slender spire of Christ Church narrowly survived the blitz and another war raid.

    The rock and church spires stand hushed, keeping history a secret.

    Did the primitive rock spires witness the thump of dinosaurs? Did the medieval church spires eyewitness the iconic Lady Godiva clad only in her flaming hair and defiance riding a horse? I like to think so.

  7. Grandfather Wins Again

    “Are you sure this is where it happened? Are you certain this is where you saw it?” Samuel Smith was exasperated. His question was accusatory and directed at the old Navajo man standing nearby. The old man moved his lips in silence, looking at his grandson, Hashkeh Naabaah. He then smiled wide, almost too wide. Monument Valley is vast. How could anyone find such a small item here? Apparently Seichii had done just that.

    “Yes. Seichii says this is the spot,” answered Hashkeh Naabaah. “He remembers the stone spires.”

    In his youth Grandfather worked as a movie extra on nine John Ford westerns filmed here. During the 1939 filming of Stagecoach John Wayne, The Duke, had lost his dentures during a rough scene on horseback. Wayne was obsessed about the loss and kept coming back to act in films where he might locate his teeth. Smith collected movie memorabilia, and he was obsessed about finding them. Seicheii was said to have seen it happen and knew the spot. But maybe age had stolen Seichii’s memory. Smith could find no trace.

    “Forget it,” spat Smith, “The old man has lost it.” He turned and left; empty handed.

    Grandfather was silent, but a grin appeared, revealing very old, but intact, teeth. “You win again, Seicheii,” conceded the grandson. “They just never put it together. How many is this now, four you have tricked?” “Five!”, exclaimed Seichii. He smiled, almost too much. But he was proud of his “Dukes”.

  8. Sheila leaned against the fender of the car.

    “God, that’s hot,” she said as she hurriedly stepped away and almost slipped down the red sandstone slope to the flat land spread before the two of them.

    .“Isn’t this grand,” marveled Dan as he locked onto the red and orange spires and mesas that dotted the desert. “I was so ready to get out of the house. These wide open spaces let me breathe. I wouldn’t have lasted another week.

    Sheila, a small brown-haired woman, folded her arms across her chest and looked hard at her husband. “Me, too,” she said bitterly. Her tone grabbed Dan’s attention.

    “Here we are,” he said, spreading his arms. “We’re free at last. Big sky, open spaces.”

    “And heat,” said Sheila, licking her dry lips. “And no people. Just like with Covid. I thought this was going to be a vacation, a chance to get back to normal.”

    “But it is a vacation,” said Dan. “Just look around. Nobody’s here. It’s wide open.”

    “That’s my point,” said Sheila, stamping her foot. “We might just as well be back inside the house. At least we had air conditioning.” With that, she turned away and started walking back the way they’d come. “I didn’t bargain for this,” she said. “I need people.”

    She marched on, wishing she’d at least grabbed her sunhat.

    Dan pulled up in the car and rolled down the window. “Let’s go find us some people. The air conditioning works.”

  9. Hard as Augustine Korlis tried to find the beauty in this rugged land, he saw only desolation. He longed for the hustle and bustle of New Rome, where one didn’t have to go a dozen blocks to find a lecture by a famous scholar or a discussion group on a subject that would be of interest to someone. Kinwani’s tiny Franciscan university simply couldn’t compare with the dozens of institutions of higher learning in the city on the shores of the Bitter Lake.

    However, this was now his land and his people to shepherd. His own preferences in the matter did not matter. At least his years in New Rome had given him plenty of experience in putting a good face on things.

    It didn’t change one simple fact: he wanted more. But how could he bring the sort of intellectual life he preferred to a dusty town of craftsmen and shopkeepers, who believed all you needed was enough reading to understand the catechism and enough figuring to keep accounts?

    He didn’t know, but he had to try. The alternative was to go mad from boredom

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