Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Golden

creston foliage flash fiction writing prompt 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: Golden”

  1. The bug in his brain began to stir. He was sitting by a campfire, toasting smores, when it insinuated itself into his thoughts. He’d hoped it had died while he was asleep – but then didn’t everybody with a parasite in their head?

    “Good morning,” the alien said. “I see you’ve been awake a while.”

    Luther felt the creature stretching itself out, subtly influencing every movement he made. It didn’t exert complete control over his body, although it could do that if it wanted. It was usually content for him to know it was there, a benign dictator without a face, effectively voiceless but impossible to ignore.

    “I was wondering when you’d wake.” Luther spat into the fire, the charred sugar in his mouth suddenly bitter. He pushed his hands toward the flames, wondering who it would hurt the most. Could he drive his passenger out through self-torture?

    “I can simply disconnect myself from your senses,” the alien said, a smug satisfaction radiating out through its words. “Although a little more heat would be nice. Your world is uncomfortably cool most of the time.” It pushed his hands into the fire, overriding the pain reflex that prompted. It let them stay there for several long seconds, long enough for the layer of down covering their backs to begin to burn.

    “Or we could just sit awhile and enjoy the colours,” the alien went on, removing Luther’s hands from the flames. “I do love the reds and golds of your autumns.”

  2. A Walk in Memory’s Wood When Days Were Golden

    I had made the journey, completed it, the one that had always been niggling in my brain, the one back to that wilderness moment of my youth, of the girl, for she was a girl, not yet a woman, somewhere on the way as I was a boy seeking a semblance of maturity.

    We had been freer then, freer than adulthood would ever permit. We had responsibilities, rules that restricted aspects of our lives, but we were not burdened with knowledge. We were seekers then. Of knowledge, of experiences; in fact, we were seeking the people we would become.

    We had met in a church basement, she a neighbor of the church who had wandered over, me seeking a new belief system, testing what I did know, who I was.

    It took time…and we even had our song, Billy J. Kramer, and the Dakotas singing, “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” a song we danced to in that church basement, a church seeking to be relevant to young people.

    That summer was full of our secrets. Moments alone, indoors, outside, with friends, some knowing, others guessing.

    It was a virginal time. Every step just a little closer. Hesitant, controlled, so full of pleasure about to burst, restrained by caution, respect, fear…

    And then, that warm autumn day, there in the golden forest, the commitment.

    But the golden moment did not let us survive.

    How fickle I was.

    How foolish.

  3. The rebel parachuted over the golden trees, and landed on the cold riverbank. She removed her chute harness, and ran toward the cabin, seeing black smoke rising from the chimney.
    She threw open the cabin door, and saw the android standing beside the warm fireplace, holding out a cup of hot coffee. She ran toward him, grabbed the cup, and dumped the coffee onto the dwindling fire, dousing the flames.
    “We don’t have time,” she told her mechanical friend, watching his plastic-skinned face droop with programmed embarrassment.
    “I just wanted to make it warm for you,” explained the android, realizing his mistake. “We have to run now, don’t we?”
    “Yes,” replied the rebel, taking her wanted friend’s hand.
    She led the former human-tracker to the overstuffed backpack by the cabin’s open door, and watched him strap on their camping supplies. She led him from the warm cabin into the cold woods, and together, they ran toward the cave.

  4. Magnificent! Regal! Mellow golds, liquid yellows, sunny cerises and startling ambers. A palette of blissful joy and serenity! Walking along hand in hand, steps in unison, chatting amiably; it was the perfect place to be in love. My fiancé was the planner; he, garrulous about our future, while I the dreamer listened.

    His mellifluous voice mingled with the gurgling of a brook, cast me in a dreamy state. I thought back to college when I had met this wonderful young man. On stage quoting from Robert Frost, he was beyond handsome; he was swoon-worthy. In full command, he began in a dramatic yet carefree way Robert Frost’s famous poem “The Road Not Taken.”
    I fell in love with the reader’s voice, presence, charisma and of course Frost’s
    “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
    And sorry I could not travel both”

    We took the “road less trodden.” Being in love, we did not want to share our intimate moments with the public.

    “Eco-anxiety. I lectured on eco-anxiety today at the Uni. It’s prevalent among young adults; a natural response to earth gone mad,” my fiancé burst into my daydreams of Frost’s ending lines:
    “I took the one less travelled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    Frost would have been disheartened by plastic bottles floating nonchalantly in the water, paper blown like rags against tree roots, plastic bags like so many disgusting bladders hanging from branches.

  5. After the cold and the ice, we danced and skipped through the gentle air and, brushing aside the detritus of the snows, we marveled at the minute seedlings as they strained toward the heavens, straining to live. And the breezes came as we walked through the groves of saplings, straight and strong against the winds, clawing their way to the sky. And then they stood tall, thick and strong, their canopies dimming the light and guarding us from the heat as we strode upon the path. The air was soft with the whispers of the leaves.

    We shuffled to and through the golden time. The adornment of the trees flamed into colors beyond count, a final glory before changing… becoming brittle and brown and falling to earth. Finally, we sat in the cold, watching the skeletal remains desiccate and crumble; their once stout trunks, ravaged by nature, falling to the earth.

    Her head on my shoulder and my head against hers, we thought of seedlings.

  6. I couldn’t see the river through the fog but I could hear it rushing over stones far below in the mist-shrouded valley. I crouched atop the ridge, concealed by clouds, waiting for the sun. The morning was cool and the sun, when it arrived, would reveal the full range of autumn colors of the trees blanketing the hillside above the small village.

    Somewhere far off a train was coursing through the valley. My vantage point allowed a view of the station where the train would arrive some few minutes from now. The tracks at this point converged with the river. As a traveler I’ve debarked there, smelt the fast-flowing waters and felt refreshed, as if some weight had been lifted by the mere act of stepping down onto the platform.

    Today there would be no refreshment, more a sense of dread awaiting the return of the unknown. I wanted to be strong, fearless. I told myself I would show my true colors but I knew they would be dun, like camouflage.

    The train below chugged to a halt. The whistle blew—both announcement and warning. The mist had cleared and I could see the lone passenger descend to the platform. Unmistakably my brother, all six-foot-five, three hundred pounds of him. No longer a guest of the state. Undoubtedly his first stop would be the home I shared with his ex-wife, now my bride. I was a coward. I fled, wouldn’t face him, for the only color then would be red.

  7. One of Those Days

    Dewey knew it was going to be one of those days.

    While making coffee he heard something scratching at his front door. Again. He never opened it. He was always afraid of what might be lurking there.

    At noon, he slipped out the back door. He wanted to escape the scratching and catch the next bus going to Golden Park.

    While on the bus, a complete stranger, with an odd twitch in his left eye, told him, “A spacecraft just discovered a radio signal coming from Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.”

    “That’s astonishing,” said Dewey, desperately holding onto his seat as the bus picked up speed.

    “Meh,” yawned the stranger. “Turns out Jupiter’s moon is just broadcasting some old Mars weather report.”

    The bus finally lurched to a stop in front of the park. As Dewey stepped onto the sidewalk he heard the bus driver laugh manically just before driving off.

    He approached the entrance to Golden Park and was confronted by a long line of people.

    “What’s going on?” Dewey asked a man standing next to him.

    “Everyone has to be scanned before entering the park,” the man replied.


    “To be safe. And in order to be safe, you have to be certified. And in order to be certified, you’ve gotta be scanned.”

    “Doesn’t it bother you?”

    “No. Just knowing the authorities are in control, making sure everyone’s safe and certified, is very reassuring.”

    “Oh.” Dewey thought for a moment. Yup. Definitely going to be one of those days.

  8. At the edge of a steep embankment, Alan levels his tripod and peers through the viewfinder at golden aspen. He shakes droplets off his jacket.

    Alan sighs, knowing he will not get the perfect mountain and aspen shot. Another rainy day continues to ruin his chances. The rest of the photo club has already headed for their cars.

    Then he hears a bull elk’s high-pitched bugling. Alan quickly revises his plan. If he can get a shot of the rutting elk, the trip won’t be a total loss.

    Alan sets the shutter to continuous mode, and waits. When he hears the animals crashing through trees and willows, he holds his breath. Soon a cow elk trots toward Alan, followed by an enormous bull. Alan presses the shutter button.

    Within moments he realizes his danger. The cow has veered around him. But the bull is racing straight toward his position. When the huge animal lowers its head and aims razor-sharp antlers at the camera, Alan grabs his gear and leaps aside. He falls down the brush-covered bank, just as the bull rumbles past.

    As he tries to stand, the sharp pain in Alan’s left ankle shoots up his leg. He’s going nowhere until his fellow club members come searching. Still, he can just reach his camera. Gritting his teeth, Alan opens the LED screen and smiles. A miserable, fruitless week morphs into triumph. The screen displays the massive elk charging straight toward the camera.

    He got the shot.

  9. Title: Golden Journey

    Gold, the color of my ’63 Pontiac. If it wasn’t the color of gold, it might not have prompted her to talk to a stranger. We were never the same after that first conversation.

    A dull gold, the worn path leading up this mountain trail.

    A mixed palette of gold, trees shining brightly against the early morning sun.

    Gold, was the color of her shoulder length hair.

    We walked this path hundreds of times over the years. I remember what she said and where she said it.

    Why did I disagree with her urging?

    I remember replying, ‘If I was meant to fly, God would have given me wings.’

    She rebelled, and took up flying. Then, when that was not enough excitement, she took up piloting hot air balloons.

    Her balloon, ‘The Golden Phoenix,’ shined like the sun when she flew around these mountains and valleys.

    I only missed that one day flying with her. More ‘important things’ to do that morning. Maybe, if I was there, I could have done something to prevent the accident.

    However, if I was there, then our son, Goldie, would not have any parents.

    He followed her passion for flying, and ballooning, and would fly the same route of her fateful journey on the anniversary of her crash. I never really knew how much he mourned his mother. Authorities believe it was another accident. They will never convince me.

    How fitting this bullet color matches those bright golden leaves.

  10. Ted locked their rattletrap of a car and walked up to Nadine, his wife of nine years. Those years showed on her grim face and furrowed brow.

    “Look at the colors,” said Ted, trying to ease the tension. “It was nice of your mom to take the kids. We needed a break. Look at those golden leaves.”

    Nadine scuffed up the old logging road, her eyes on the ground. “Mom knows something’s going on.”

    Ted wasn’t sure how to respond. He and Nadine seemed on different wavelengths lately. Nadine wanted him back at work, but somebody had to stay with the kids. Since Nadine loved her job, that somebody was him.

    “We’re just going through a rough patch,” he said as he followed Nadine up the road. “We’ll get through it.”

    “Dreamer.” There was a catch in Nadine’s voice. Ted wanted to put his arms around her, but he was afraid how she’d react. So they walked, Ted jabbering about golden larches.

    “They’re boring.” She pointed to a maple back off the road. The leaves were brilliant scarlet, popping out from all the gold. “There’s my tree,” she said. “That’s not boring.”

    Ted stopped and stared. “It’s pretty, but I like golden leaves. Looks more like fall.”

    “See what I mean,” said Nadine as she stomped ahead. “We’re different. We’re not compatible. We don’t even like the same color of trees. Don’t you get it?”

    Ted watched Nadine meander down the road. In fact, he didn’t get it.

  11. Golden and Green

    The end of my short hot relationship with Sara came at the top of a Green Mountain ridge, two months after our sophomore year began at Middlebury College.

    “Soon down there it’ll be all golden and sparkling in the sun, Conor.” Black locks framed her dark eyes.

    “But no green,” I said, settling my thin, sunburned self on a rock. “In Ireland, we have
    green all year ’round, every shade of green.”

    She stood over me. “My parents canned Ireland. I have to go home over Thanksgiving.”

    I caught my breath. “I thought you were coming with me, to learn about where I come from and all that?”

    “Why? Your family’s all gone from there now.”

    “It’s still home.” My face flushed. “I don’t know exactly why. Probably just because I’m Irish.”

    “And I’m Jewish. My parents want me home eating kosher turkey.”

    “And dating a Jewish boy?”


    It was out. Despite our physical spark, we’d never get any further romantically.

    “Still friends?”

    “Always.” I gave her a kiss.

    The hike down was quick. Sara bounced off the rocks like a goat.

    Two weeks later, from my window seat, I watched the clouds float patterns on the endless green landscape as my Aer Lingus flight approached Dublin. My heart beat faster.

    My trip stretched out. I transferred to Dublin City University. We skyped for a while, then our calls grew further and further apart, until Sara sent a photo of herself with somebody named Ari.

  12. Today had proven perfect for this visit. The aspens had reached their peak color, which seemed even brighter in the crisp fall air, bringing back memories of growing up here in Colorado.

    Peter Caudill wished there had been enough time to arrange with the family for a visit to his ur-brother’s grave. But the trip out here had been a hurried affair, stepping in for another astronaut who’d been scheduled to do the school visits. Peter hadn’t been sure he’d even have the time for a side trip, and hadn’t wanted to make the arrangements and then not be able to visit.

    So this roadside stop would have to do. From the number of flowers that had been left at the sides of the gate, he was not the only one. Had some of his clone-brothers managed to get out here, or did the neighbors still remember one of the less well-known Mercury astronauts, who was better remembered for his role in the raising of the Space Shuttle Independence, almost two decades after his retirement from NASA.

    On reflection, Peter regretted not going ahead and making those arrangements. With the way things were going, there was no telling when he’d have another opportunity. Already hostility toward clones was becoming more and more socially acceptable, to the point a number of prominent astronaut clones had been exiled to the Moon for speaking out against the situation, and Peter knew he was on more than a few of the decision-makers’ radar.

  13. Willow had climbed Mount Monadnock plenty of times, but the knot in the pit of her stomach at the thought of doing it by herself right now made her hesitate. She was only twelve, but she wasn’t scared of climbing alone, or figuring out how to get back home afterwards, or even explaining to her mom where she’d been all afternoon. No, what made her tremble inside was the fog around the foot of the mountain. It was two o’clock in the afternoon on a bright, golden October Saturday. Any morning fog should have burned off hours ago. It wasn’t natural.

    This low-lying cloud of mist between her and the mountain was motionless and foreboding. She would have to pass through it to start her climb—and climb she must. The kidnappers had Micah up there. If her recent nightmares were a premonition, she needed to get up there now. She winced at the image of a larger-than-life cross engulfed in flames at dusk on the peak of Mount Monadnock and the hate it represents visible for miles upon miles in every direction. She tried not to think about the screaming, which in her dreams sounded inhuman. What if it wasn’t?

    Although she had come to understand a lot about why and how hate happens, now was the time for action. She needed to face this hate head on and stop it. Her friend’s life might be at stake. Taking a deep, determined breath, Willow stepped into the fog.

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