Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Whale

flash fiction prompt humpback whale copyright KS Brooks
Image 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.

Author: Administrators

All Indies Unlimited staff members, including the admins, are volunteers who work for free. If you enjoy what you read here - all for free - please share with your friends, like us on Facebook and Twitter, and if you don't know how to thank us for all this great, free content - feel free to make a donation! Thanks for being here.

8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Whale”

  1. The old humpback relied on sight now. Half a dozen strokes of its massive flukes would put the creature within striking distance of the school of baitfish.

    When the sun glowed a bright yellow through the clear water, the great beast opened its mouth. Over ten thousand gallons of sea water poured in. Along with it came hundreds of wriggling herring.

    It was tough getting old.

    No longer the master of a pod, the old whale missed having company. He remembered the summers spent feeding. Working together to build the bubble nets. When the scouts spotted big schools the whales split up then closed in, forcing the prey to bunch up by blowing air toward the center of the school.

    Those were the good old days. Some times, the bubble net was almost 100 feet in diameter. On a signal from the master, the old humpback, every whale in the pod dove then swam up through the school.

    As the summer neared the end, the feeding continued day and night.

    Now, the old master got no burst of strength from a meal. The instinct to survive was the only thing driving the solitary hunt.

    This went on until the whale weakened. Memories were all that was left for the humpback.

    There was one thing left to do. The old master forced every bit of air from its blowhole. It tumbled end over end into the depths of an underwater canyon. The whale finally came to rest next to a cavern.

  2. This is a story of a Whale.
    You might call it a Whale tale.
    Others, might call it a tale of a Whale.
    Who’s right?

    Whale tails are long.
    This Whale tale is not.
    Whale tails come out of the water.
    This Whale tale does not.

    Remember reading the story of Moby Dick?
    This is not that story!

    Whales can be found in Alaska.
    Whales can also be found in Hawaii.
    The same Whale might be seen in both places.
    That’s because some make the journey every year.

    Whales are enormous, and
    Whales don’t wait for anybody.
    This Whale is enormous too,
    But seems to be waiting for you!

    I’m sure Whales have friends.
    There’s nothing like friends.
    You can tell them secrets, and
    Good friends keep those secrets!

    If you want a longer tail,
    You’ll have to watch for a Whale.
    I told you this was a short tale.
    I hope you recall this, when you see a whale’s tail.

  3. Whale

    It was the first time I had visited our daughter and son-in-law in their new home. Not only had they moved out of
    the town where both sets of parents lived but they had moved state. Admittedly, Maine was beautiful. How lucky they were to be on the coast and able to eat Maine lobster, shrimp and other delicacies of the sea.

    Me? I had packed on so much weight for one reason or another-blame it on giving birth to six children- that I felt like a whale. Not in the graceful noble unique sense of the word, but in the bloated oversized sense.! One of my rude children born in French Quebec was calling me “une grosse baleine.” A fat whale! Who could blame him; it was true. I could eat …eat… and eat! I was so greedy! Other than walking the dogs, my life had become sedentary. I sat and read. I read and sat.

    Enough pity!

    We all stepped onto a boat! My seams burst with excitement! Difficult to contain my glee on a sailing adventure to see the whales.
    They displayed a grand show of breaching, swimming beside the boat,
    splashing, showing off their flukes, gliding in schools, demonstrating that they really were covered in barnacles. Superb!

    They were black, glossy, the kings and queens of the ocean. Against them, despite being over weight, I felt
    small, insignificant. So insignificant!
    I recalled a SHSU assignment for my Masters of Education in Reading. Having to write about our ethnic background, to my horror, I discovered that both my English and
    Portuguese ancestors had been slave traders. As though that was not terrible enough, my ancestors were also in my eyes wicked whalers.

    “Forgive me majestic whales for my ancestors’ ignorance and cruelty in hunting you to near extinction!” I cried.


    “There’s always the ocean,” Marius said.

    He pitched his cigarette over the bow and let the waters take it. The waves were no more than moderate, the wind a fresh breeze. We were heading into the deeps, the expanse that had taken so much from me already.

    “You’ve got to be joking,” I said. “That’d be madness.”

    Marius raised his eyebrows and shrugged. He began to whistle that tune he always did, the one that never resolved into anything I could recognise. He knew it infuriated me.

    “We’re not equipped for deepwater exploration,” I said. “We couldn’t drop a drone to that depth. We’d have to rely on sonar; trace the pods’ echoes and just hope.”

    Marius continued to whistle. He lifted a hand to shade his eyes, staring out into the blankness. The seas were a Ross’ phthalo blue, the sky a shade or two lighter. We were rolling in place with our engines quiet.

    I needed a reason to continue. I’d gone this far, hoping he’d change his mind, my goodwill for him ebbing away the further out we sailed. I needed a sign it was worth the risk, something to sweeten the pot.

    The whistling stopped. I hesitated, my finger over the starter button. I looked out, trying to see what had caught his attention.

    “I think we’ve got us a contender,” Marius said, a shit-eating grin cracking his face in two. “But we’re gonna need a bigger boat if we’re trying to land it.”

  5. “That looks interesting,” I commented as Jacqueline revealed a photograph of a humpback whale while she shuffled through the stack of photos in her hands. “May I take a closer look?”
    She reached across the coffee table and handed me the photo.
    “Wow, that’s one helluva a shot, all right! And you say Brian took this? I can’t believe it. Where was he at the time?”
    “Monterey Bay. He’d gone there to do some kayaking last July. That’s one of the best months to see these whales, you know, when they come up from Mexico. Besides, there’s a deep submarine canyon off Monterey, so he was always going up there to watch the marine life.
    “Brian loved the ocean. His mother once told me that from the time he was a little boy, he hung around the docks in their New England fishing town to see what oddities the local fishermen might’ve hauled in. He went on to major in oceanography in college and eventually, we came west so he could do a post-doc at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.”
    “Okay, but what happened to him?”
    “We don’t know. He just disappeared. If his camera hadn’t been tethered to his kayak, we wouldn’t even have these photos. The one you’re holding? Of the humpback whale? Apparently, it’s the last one he took.”

  6. Laney stood on the boat. The salty breeze calms her. She always felt at peace near the beach or ocean. She remembers when she was three years old at the beach with her family. Laney didn’t know how to swim so we can call neglect at least. The girl was walking knee deep in the water, following the shore line. All of a sudden a under current swept her under and out. One would think that three year old Laney would panic but it was just the opposite. She felt peace. She didn’t struggle, her arms were at her side and her legs were out behind her Laney’s eyes widen at the beauty around her. She thought she could stay down here forever. But then someone who couldn’t mind their own business grabbed her ankle and pulled her up and out of the water. For years Laney would be bitter about the man who could not mind their own business. She was meant to join the ocean before she became contaminated. Laney tried to join the ocean many times since however the ocean kept spitting her back out. This was her last ditch attempt to join the ocean. If it didn’t work this time she would end it on land. She stood on the edge and dived into the water. She swam next to the boat. Passengers on the boat watch the whale Laney finally found peace.

  7. Calculations

    Doctor Anomaly entered the computer room. “BIG THINK, are you busy at the moment?”

    “Not at all,” the supercomputer replied, rolling its eye towards the doctor. “I was just thinking about humpback whales. Did you know they were big?”

    “BIG THINK…”

    The computer looked at the ceiling.“What?”

    “Never mind. May I ask you a question?”

    “If you insist. Looks like I’ll have to wait to do my calculations on the number of brain cells humans lose while watching cartoons.”

    “Have you been tinkering with the lights?”


    “In the house.”

    “What’s wrong with the lights?”

    “They were flashing off and on for several minutes earlier in the day.”

    “Why do you always blame me when something goes wrong?”

    “I don’t mean to accuse you.” The doctor paused. Then he looked at the supercomputer. “Did you tinker with the lights?”

    BIG THINK stared at the ground.“Yes…”


    “You always question everything I do.”

    “I don’t mean to.”

    “But you do it anyway. Now you’ve hurt my feelings and I won’t be able to do my brain cell calculations.”


    BIG THINK rolled its eye. “I feel one of my spells coming on…”

    “I said, I’m sorry.”

    “You say that now. But you still ruined a perfectly good day.”

    “Please accept my apology.”

    BIG THINK paused again and coloured lights flashed across its panel. “All right. I accept your apology. But don’t do it again. Now where was I? Oh, yes, cartoons and brain cells.”

  8. The humpback whale breached, then splashed back into the ocean to a chorus of oohs and aahs. Sylvie hardly heard them, sitting hunched over against another wave of seasickness.

    So much for Sea Venture’s once-in-a-lifetime experience. After all the fundraising, all the money she’d earned to pay her individual share of the trip, she didn’t even get to enjoy it.

    She’d been so excited when she’d climbed aboard the school bus to Des Moines International Airport for the flight west. A whole week aboard Sea Venture’s famous school ship, seeing whales and other marine life firsthand, having classes taught by actual working scientists – it had all seemed a dream come true.

    Instead, she’d learned exactly one thing – her inner ears refused to adapt to the rolling motion of a ship at sea. She’d never had trouble with carsickness, unlike her cousin who would get nauseous watching her read in the back seat. She’d gone boating at camp without a twinge, and even turbulence in the air hadn’t bothered her.

    But even small waves had her doubling up puking hard enough to make her wish she’d stayed at home. She’d done everything the ship’s surgeon suggested, but even anti-nausea pills had succeeded only in reducing it enough that she could hold down a little broth. Now the chaperones had stopped talking about airlifting her back to shore, but she still couldn’t do anything.

    If she heard one more chin up, she would puke on their shoes.

Comments are closed.