Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Doorway

Ruins Lake Valley Historical Site Feb 2017 ff prompt Cright 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.

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13 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Doorway”

  1. I woke up in the morning and I realized something just wasn’t right. I needed to go to the bathroom unlike anytime I ever had to before. I remembered that we were on a missions trip and there was only an outhouse about 2 clicks up the path, so I headed out as soon as I could get my shoes on and find some toilet paper to take with me. I must have been gone quite a bit longer than I had realized as I headed down the final stretch of the walking path to get into our hut, I realized it was super smoky and all of walls to our house had disappeared…all that was left was our chimney and then I started crying…I realized that those Kamikaze bombers had destroyed the kitchen, and with that the only box of Cap’n Crunch in the entire country, the one I had smuggled in from the USA. Those Kamikaze’s were gonna pay!

  2. Into The Hills

    “You were saying, Mr. Clayton…”

    He’s a young cop. Thirty maybe, somewhere on either side of that. Clean features, smooth-faced with an inclination to grow a mustache. Might look good with one. Can’t know much. About crime, motive, fear, hatred. It’s a small community. Probably politically appointed. Small towns are like that.

    “Mr. Clayton?”

    “Sorry,” I say, “my mind wandered.”

    “Understandable. Still, I need to know what happened.”

    “Of course,” I said, and started to ramble on, peel my story like it was some talking stick banana. “Stupid, really. Clarice wanted a vacation…Covid had worn her spirit down. Me, I was good. Happy to stay potted like an old plant on a windowsill but she had the travel heebie-jeebies, so we decided on a drive upcountry. Dude Ranch was her idea. I’m not a member of the horsey set. Rode a few times when she and I got together. She grew up with them…did the show horse circuit, the works. Marriage and career got in the way of all that. She missed it.”

    “So, you came to the Triple J?”

    “Yeah. Got here two days ago. Even went for a ride the first evening. Guided…up into the hills. I had a slow horse. Kept up pretty well. Got the lay of the land.”

    “And today?”

    “She galloped off. Lost sight of her. Found her ‘neath that old cabin. One with the chimney. Musta climbed up to catch sight of me. Fell.”

    “Accident?” you figure.

    “What else?”

  3. The Secrets of the Ancient Messenger

    “Here you go, old timer,” said the young man, and dropped a few coins into a tin cup.

    The old man, sitting on the sidewalk, smiled. “Thank you,” he said, and lovingly held an old book.

    “What’s the book about?” asked the young man.

    “It contains secrets,” he whispered. “Secrets about the world.” Then in a raspy voice he said:

    From the ancient Oracles
    to the Pillars of Hercules,
    there are secrets to astonish
    and mysteries to amaze.

    The young man laughed. “You’re laying it on a bit thick, aren’t you?”

    The old man stared at his skeptic. “Do you know… things?”

    “I’ve been to college.”

    “What did they teach you in… college?”

    “History, math, literature. I even got an A in political theory.”

    “I see,” said the old man, with a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve never been to college. But I have been to the lost desert and seen the massive sarcophagi of the giants. I have trekked through the forbidden jungle and witnessed ancient dragons flying above the Pools of Fire. And I have ventured deep into the underground Labyrinth of Pashall and gazed upon the Golden Sphinx of the Sun.”

    Astonished, the young man asked, “How did you know about these things?”

    The old man smiled and clutched the book. “This volume was discovered long ago. It is a Doorway to—”

    “Secrets?” the young man interrupted.

    “Yes,” the old man whispered. “A Doorway to the secrets of the Ancient Messenger.”

  4. The doorway stood, waiting patiently. The walls to either side were gone, open space above and beside it, scarcely more than a half dozen bricks supporting it, its frame weathered and raw.

    It was a mystery with no answer. A conundrum: a riddle. A question, seeking resolution.

    What had happened here?

    The view beyond was unremarkable. Scrubland with few trees. The soil was sour and tired, dirt that barely clung to itself. There was a lack of energy and persistence here; the building could have upped and walked away, severing its connection with this place. The doorway was its only link, a liminal place with few loyalties, more an invitation than a fact.

    The view through the doorway shifted. The scrub blurred, the sky and soil trading places. The light snuffed itself out, darkness reaching through the frame. There was an intelligence there, hidden beyond the customary set of dimensions.

    A cry bled through, and I froze.

    Should I investigate what I heard? What were the risks? Was I in danger already, my soul forfeited as I stood, my heavy feet anchored as though rooted to the ground?

    I took a step closer, curiosity pulling at me. The voice repeated its call. I took a second step, a third, a fourth and a fifth, the ground below me tipping as gravity took hold, its fingers closing around my ankles.

    I felt the cold emptiness of space.

    Night-time and stars.

    The blue and the gold and the white.

  5. Doorway

    The setting was surreal, as if nightmared out of a Salvador Dali painting. It was aberrant, abnormal and absurd! Whereas Dali captured the “above realism”, the fantasy element and the hallucinatory oddness, the setting was beyond eerie. Cautiously walking on eggshells J’dad took measured steps to investigate. Half expecting to fall down a rabbit burrow and emerge in a Western surrounded by stampeding horses or a rock ‘n roll video with surround sound of energy drum bursts, insightful words and earworm melodies, J’dad gripped the wooden door frame.
    Anticipating stepping through the doorway to another dimension, he threw a prop through. Perhaps it would flash into a scene from the “Twilight Zone”? Or appear in a “Star Trek episode”? The prop fell to the ground disappointed on the other side of the doorway. Easing his way behind the doorway, J’dad looked at a young version of himself. Mouth open, J’dad froze. The huge mistakes he had made in his life rolled by in painful killing slow motion. His biggest mistake was to allow his high school sweetheart to roll through his fingers. He should have pursued university and the girl of his dreams at the same time? Fool!

    Like the shallow fool, he had become he remembered that the now tremendously happy blonde with five children and a gift of a husband, was heavily overweight.
    Much better to have a trophy wife with plastic thighs and botox lips to make an impression in this age and profession!

  6. For Editors’ Choice Award Only

    Silvr clif, Colrado
    November 20, 1885

    Dear Pa

    I hurry to rite a few lins befor paking up and leaving silver clif. No longer want to be anywere ner this town or the bull-domingo mine. Yesterday we had a major acident that kilt ten miners. Sum of them was my best frends. As best I can tel ther was a giant powder explosun that stoped all the muschinry suplying pur air to the miners and let them to die of sufokation. Somone sad they was heeting up 100 ponds of dynamit on one of the boilers and it exploded. I cud see smok poring out the mine opening frum the dorway of my hous acros frum the mine opening. Everone is blamin the supertendent and was chasin after him with a rope to lynch him because of frends they lost but the mine owners wer able to get him out of town befor we was able to hang him. Anyway it was a horrible site when the ten men was brout out, including Simon Baptista—yu remember him, he worked on the farm down the rode from us. His son Billy was kilt too as was John Lobby. We stil dont know wat hapened to his son Jeremiah. Remember, he was with me at at Vicksburg, and then Andersonvil, so im rely concernd bout him. Ples tell Ma I stil hav the Bible and comb she gav me wen I went to War. Yur luving son,

    Josiah Stone

  7. The only thing left standing in the ruins resembling its former likeness was the chimney.

    If walls could talk I’m sure the nearby abandoned cabins would have plenty to say. What the brick chimney would have say would make the cabins insignificant.

    “Not again,” the owner of the restaurant said. One of the young that pilots who was a regular had broken an airspeed for the second time in as many days. “Throw one on,” she told the cook.

    Soon, a two inch thick T-bone steak sizzled on the grill.

    Breaking records at the roadhouse was good for a free dinner and plenty of booze.

    Two days later, the major piloted his experimental past the speed of sound. The flight path took him directly over the roadhouse. A resulting sonic boom leveled buildings and flattened trees. The only thing left standing was the brick chimney.

    On this timeline, on this alternate Earth, when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, the sonic boom unleashed destruction. World War II had been raging for over a quarter of a century. The allied forces put the experimental jets to work: high altitude flight spread the shockwave over a wider area. Low altitude flights were able to smash targets with pinpoint accuracy.

    Wars were still fought on this Earth. Nuclear arms were never invented. Of all the worlds in the multiverse I’ve seen, this one may stand a chance of not being incinerated into a piece of radioactive space rock.

    I’ll be back again later.

  8. “Hello, and welcome to the Ghost Tour,” the lady with the soft voice said. “If everyone could follow me…”
    We hung back, following our group slowly. Trust my best friend to insist her birthday party be a ghost tour. I wasn’t a believer, but she was, and that was what mattered.
    We meandered slowly, the sun warm on our backs. Our guide’s voice was so soft it flew away in the wind. I was taking photos of the ruins. He was happy to add commentary.
    “She needs to learn to project. Can’t hear.”
    “Well, we did get here an hour early, thanks to Elaine insisting we leave when we did in case we hit traffic. She was cool to start now,” I said.
    “I guess. Plus, she dressed up like an old timey person.”
    “Old timey?” I laughed.
    “You know what I mean,” he said with a smile.
    “Did you hear that?” I said, turning back around.
    “Probably someone else is late and catching up,” he said.
    “No, we’re all here,” I said, brows furrowed.
    A car stopped at the small road we’d just turned down, unable to fit. A woman got out, megaphone in hand. With a squawk, she turned it on, getting all of our attention.
    “Hi, I’m sorry, did I have the time wrong?” she said with a New York accent. “We usually don’t like groups to wander.”
    “We were just following the guide,” I said.
    “I’m your guide.”
    We all turned around.
    The woman was gone.

  9. Terry’s life seem d to he cursed. No matter what he’s did to make a happy life and succeed failed. He never had a hat sense of belonging. You know that sense that you are home and nothing had will touch you? Well Terry didn’t have to that. He had family and a home but the feeling of not belonging clinged to him. Home from s where the heart is but Terry knew not where his laid. He had no passion for anything. He tried to find something he could put even an exciting ounce of interest and in. But he couldn’t find a care. He had no idea what was wrong with him. Terry felt he had no family, no one in the world. He felt truly alone. He went about his day, smiling. Saying he was okay when he wasn’t. When he first saw the doorway he thought nothing of it. It was just st a doorway. However Terry began seeing that doorway every where he looked. Standing on the tenth floor the doorway is right beyond the window. Crossing the street it’s there in the middle of the road. Staring into the ocean it’s out there. The doorway would appear every where. Terry looked to see how to open the door. It became clear one thing would open the door. Slowly he pulled the razor down his arm.

  10. Record Inmate. #47832 – David Marshall
    9:15 p.m. – Last meal: fish sticks, froz. corn, French fries, peach pie, coffee

    12:01 a.m. Drugs Admin.

    The needle stick of the IV line didn’t bother David. When the drug started to flow though, well that was different. It was liquid ice surging up his arm. He had begun to scream when the curtain slammed down on his consciousness.

    12:15 a.m. Inmate #47832 Deceased

    David was shocked when he awakened, lying in fetal position on a surface of sand and gravel. As he slowly stood he saw a reedy, nearly cadaverous man holding a slender book, standing next to a decrepit rock and mortar doorway, and beckoning to him. As David approached, the man glanced in his notebook.

    “Mr. Marshall, my name is Piter. We have been expecting you… please step this way.” With a slight bow he indicated the doorway.

    As David passed through the thin man gave him a violent shove, sending him sprawling. He lay on the sharp gravel as the thin man leaned over him.

    “You’ve been a bad boy, Mr. Marshall, a very very bad boy. Tell me, Mr. Marshall, before all this were you a member of the faithful…a believer?”

    David stared up at the man, “What? Like in heaven and hell? Nah.”

    The man called Piter glared down at him and then smiled, revealing too many rows of needle sharp teeth.

    “Well Mr. Marshal, you were half right.”


    Tom Wayne limped out of the mine shaft blocking the glare from the sun with his forearm and a squint.

    He stumbled down to the dirt road, subconsciously avoiding the protruding sharp rocks. His right knee barked when he stood on the path. He gave it a rub, not asking why he knew it was aching, and carried on.

    It wasn’t before he approached the demolished stone hut before he realized he was only following muscle memory. Why did he feel like a skipped record?

    He curiously took in the sight this time. Like he knew he hadn’t before, whenever before was. The wooden door frame looked to have been placed in the stone after the fact. After the blast? Tom’s ears started ringing again. Deja vu. Was he just thinking about stepping in with his right foot? Or was he seeing himself as his own mirage from some memory that he couldn’t explain?

    He peaked around the edge, as to question his urge to step through the frame in the first place. Nothing made sense, but he convinced himself to go left foot first this time.

    Tom Wayne limped out of the mine shaft blocking the glare from the sun with his forearm and a squint.

    He stumbled down to the dirt road, subconsciously avoiding the protruding sharp rocks. His left knee barked when he stood up before crossing the path. He gave it a rub, not asking himself why he knew it was aching, and carried on.

  12. Doorway

    The years have passed, and I had resisted coming back here. However, standing here now, looking at the fieldstone fireplace and doorway of our burned-out home, there are many memories.

    It was just a doorway –
    Growing up, I used to run through it to see my friends. At the end of the day, the smell of a delicious meal would greet me when I returned.

    It was just a doorway –
    Dad would return after a long day working in the mines, and we both looked forward to the moment our eyes locked, and I ran into his arms.

    It was just a doorway –
    When I didn’t hear from my parents after a couple of weeks, I found them frozen together in their final cuddle.

    It was just a doorway –
    I remember the day I carried Ruth through the door after our wedding ceremony.

    It was just a doorway –
    Thirty-four years, four kids and the door never needed any repair.

    It was just a doorway –
    Away on a business trip, I wasn’t here when the massive fire consumed all the houses in the area. Ruth never made it out that simple doorway.

    It was just a doorway –
    Our kids never blamed me for not being there that day. They didn’t need to…I knew who was to blame.

    It was just a doorway –
    I’m here today because our kids want me to rebuild the house for a summer place for their kids. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not just a simple doorway.

  13. Fires are pretty predictable. If you know how intense one is and how fast it spreads, you can pretty much know what’s going to be left of a building.

    Tornadoes, on the other hand, are capricious. They’ll disassemble a house but leave the most surprising things. There’ll be nothing but a single toilet standing there in the middle of a foundation, or maybe something really weird like a china cabinet that belongs to the neighbors up the road, set down so nice and gentle it doesn’t crack a single dish.

    I still remember the tornado that blew away the old McMillan place, right down the road from us. I saw the whole thing while I was running to the storm cellar. The house just came apart, like something out of a Carrie Underwood song.

    Afterward, the only things left were the chimney and the door from the kitchen to the back porch. Every time we’d go by, I’d look at that door to nowhere and imagine it was a portal into a magical realm.

    One day I came home to find it gone. There was nothing left but a pile of dirt, the grave of all the memories, the joys and sorrows, the birthdays and graduations and weddings and funerals of all the people who had lived there.

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