Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fried

Mammoth hot springs yellowstone flash fiction writing 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Fried”

  1. For Editor’s Choice Award only

    “So, this is it…Old Faithful. The place looks pretty fried to me,” my traveling companion uttered with noticeable disappointment.
    “Well, I don’t know what you were expecting,” I said. “The geyser had probably been erupting regularly for more than 15,000 years, and the super-heated, sulfur-smelling water, delivered by the thousands of gallons with each eruption, would’ve been expected to leave the landscape burned to a crisp and covered in travertine. Actually, the streaked terraces around some of the geyser sites up here, which once produced gentle cascades, are rather beautiful, don’t ya think?”
    “I guess so,” he replied, without much enthusiasm. “But it’s kinda strange.”
    “What’s strange.”
    “I thought we’d have more company here. The parking lot is virtually empty, and there are only two other couples down the walk from us. They aren’t even paying attention to where Old Faithful is supposed to erupt.”
    “Ah, Alan, I forgot, to tell you; there will be no eruption. Old Faithful has given up the ghost.”
    “Whaddaya talkin’ about.” It was easy to see from the look on Alan’s face he wasn’t happy.
    “Drought conditions that beginning in the early 2020s caused a lengthening between Old Faithful’s eruptions that actually began toward the end of the 20th century, and once the hot, dry weather became severe, the eruptions ceased altogether. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the geyser hasn’t erupted since May 24, 2033.

  2. FRIED

    He was born that year. The year the whole town went up in flames. No one’s fault. Leastwise, no one we could point a finger at. There had been a couple of fellows in town who always seemed to have their eyes light up when a house or a field fell to fire.

    Old Charlie Lemke’s house burned down or up if that’s your preference, back in ’82. I remember both those two standing in the crowd, watching the explosions. Later it was noted in the Hyacinth Times, our local rag, that Charlie had been a purveyor of illegal fireworks, and his supply added to the noisy conflagration.

    Like that was a surprise to anyone with half a wit and the price of a roman candle.

    Course, they weren’t the only ones. We all were prone to succumb to the awful majesty of fire. Just saying, these two fellows seemed creepily consumed by the pleasure of fiery destruction.
    Nothing was ever proved against either one, and in time, one died from what we assume were natural causes and the other just plumb vanished one day. Or one week. He was a loner and no one that we knew of was keeping tabs on him.

    And we still kept on having fires.

    Then one day, the day little Freddy was born, the whole town burned down.

    We moved.

    Had no choice.

    Our town was tinder.

    As a joke, we started calling Freddy little Fried.

    Just seemed the thing to do.


    “Grandpa, I’m glad you and Grandma were able to come on this Yellowstone trip with us. For someone almost sixty, you still have your get up and go.”

    “Thanks sweetie, but maybe just a little too much get up, would be your grandmother’s opinion. When is your due date?”

    “Around the week of December 13.”

    Suddenly quiet, he studied Old Faithful for signs of life.

    “Are you okay?”

    “I’m not sure anymore. Gramma used to joke about me being Old Faithful, but when she found out the test results, she’s taken to sleeping in the other room.”

    “I would say it’s a little too late for that. When is she due?”

    “It’s going to be one hell of a strange Christmas this year.”

  4. The Secret Enemy

    The dog let out a low whine as a small crowd gathered on the cold, misty ground.

    “This is the spot,” declared professor Martin, pointing to where the dog stood. “This is proof that they were here.”

    “Who?” asked Tyrol, his assistant.

    “The secret enemy.”

    “What do you mean?”

    The professor looked at his young assistant, carefully checked his surroundings, and then whispered, “They have awoken from the ashes of the old world. They have arisen to walk the earth to reclaim what was taken from them. Even now they lie in wait to plan their evil deeds.”

    “Where are they professor?”

    “They are everywhere. They even look like us. They have infiltrated every level of society: politics, the military, media, and even intelligence. Some of the nicest, most benign people you know—could be one of them. They communicate using a special code. They use this code openly, but most people are not aware of it. Once you discover their method of communication, both the identity of the enemy and their evil plans become evident.”

    While he was talking, the police grabbed the professor, and placed him in handcuffs.

    “What are you doing?” Martin cried. He turned to his assistant. “They know I have their secret, Tyrol. Call my lawyer. Tell him. Hurry.”

    As the police dragged away the professor, Tyrol picked up his cellphone and called the lawyer. But first he inputted a special code. The lawyer understood immediately.

  5. The demon sniffed at the foul air, savouring it like a fine wine. “There’s a little more trace ammonia today,” it said, a smile arcing across its face. “Just the way I like it.” It turned and then indicated another mud-pool, offering it up as a choice.

    “No. I don’t think so,” I said. “Not today.”

    I had been considering suicide for months, weighing the relative harm of the methods. I had ruled out most of the obvious ones. Jumping from a building was unsure and could leave you physically broken with few options of finishing off what you’d begun. But the choice of parboiling myself in a pool of superheated filth seemed perfect, offering a virtually zero chance of failure.

    I hadn’t reckoned on it having a guardian, though.

    “I’m here every day,” the demon smirked. “And every night too if you need a special after-hours service. I only live to serve, you might say.”

    I was suffering from a classic case of cold feet. Although my imminent immersion in a pool of semi-molten alluvium would obviously alleviate that problem. It was mainly the thought of me having company that was putting me off.

    “I promise you I’ll not enjoy it,” the demon suggested, picking up my thoughts. “In fact, I’ll swear an oath; I’ll happily suffer with you if you like.”

    “Well, that’s a definite no, then,” I said, getting another flashback. “I’m a life-long Pittsburgh Steelers fan; the last thing I want is company when I’m dying.”

  6. Fried
    The male film directors were choosing a background for the film “Fried.” In a room full of arrogant, know-alls with IQs the size of postage stamps, but enough vanity if bottled to fuel every vehicle in London, tempers and opinions ran riot.

    The film projector showed a surreal scene of burnt dying trees against a backdrop of snow. The contrast of black against white, dead against live had the directors in ecstasy, yet they still argued.

    “I say the Martian tourists dramatically exit their space bus here and snap selfies!”

    “The Martians are loathsome, not fun loving! Selfies? Really! We choose this scene for the end. The Martians are trapped. Surrounded by a squad of vigilante warriors, they retreat and melt into horrible jellied blobs in the snow.”

    “May I remind you that the film is entitled “Fried”, therefore logically the Martians should be fried, hence the burnt trees.”

    “It is a PG-13 film, so tone the violence down! No mutilations or horror! The screen to me shouts romance. The hero Martian falls in love with a human who walks mystically out of the billowing snow.”

    An authoritarian female voice cut through their arguments like a serrated knife, “Little Boys, did none of you read the script. “Fried” is actually a movie with a built-in cooking show. The Martians learn to fry everything from Mars Bars to fish and chips.”

    “Who the hell are you, woman?” one overly puffed up director asked.

    “Your boss. You are so fried.”

  7. The sky barely has any clouds. The sun is beating down on the trees and grass, which are now brown. To survive the trees shed all their leaves. They are now standing bare and lonely. The suns burns the grass, along with everyone’s skin. A stick from the trees lays on the ground. The sun is bright. Everyone is waiting for winter.

  8. Duke

    While visiting Tom, a retired volunteer firefighter, I noticed a large German Shepherd sitting and staring out the back screen door. For hours it sat there, unmoving, not even blinking for minutes at a time.

    “That’s Duke… he belonged to Henry Tharp… raised him from a puppy… they were inseparable”, said Tom. “He’s the best damn search and rescue dog I’ve ever seen, among other things.”

    “Why’s he sit like that?”, I asked, “He hasn’t moved in over an hour. He looks kinda like he’s stuffed or something.”

    “Well, about a year ago, Henry and his friends went missing on a camping trip. There was a pretty big wildfire and we were concerned that they might have been in trouble. We took Duke in case we needed him to help. We found their campsite whole and unharmed, but no campers. So we brought out Duke and let him sniff around. Suddenly he became excited and took off into the woods, heading toward the blackened area where the fire had moved on.”

    “We followed Duke as best we could and when we caught up, he was sitting like that and he ain’t done much since then. Y’see, he found the hikers and in there with ‘em, was his lifelong friend. They had gone out on a hike… never had a chance.”

  9. “Something came down last night, out in the hollow past the creek.”

    I told my dad I’d take a look at it as soon as I got chores done. Not that I meant to put him off, but I was uneasy enough to want the livestock taken care of before I headed out. I hadn’t gotten a good look at the light that had filled the sky just a little before midnight, but it had left me profoundly uneasy.

    Finally I could delay no longer. Fighting down a profound dread, I headed across the back forty in the direction the light had descended.

    As cultivated land gave way to scrub, I noticed the vegetation had taken a strange aspect, as if stricken by a blight. The trees were losing their leaves, although it was hardly August.

    When I crested the last rise, I looked down upon a blasted landscape reminiscent of a war movie, except for the strange quality of the light. It cast everything in a pearlescent glow, and I swear it smelled of ashes and dust.

    Years ago I read a story about a mysterious meteor landing in the New England back country and the creeping blight that followed. I still find it more frightening than all the alien invasion stories I’ve ever read, even the original HG Wells War of the Worlds.

    Could it have been more than just a story? And what could I do if it was?

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