Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Lava

2014 May Day 2 Lava Lands Cascades Flash Fiction Prompt
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

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Lava”

  1. Sylvia’s Lava Story

    A few weeks into the first semester, Sylvia could not shake the feeling that she belonged elsewhere. It was a new sensation as she had always been comfortable wherever she was. That had been easy. She had only lived in one house her entire life. Occasionally, in summer, she would go to the family cabin on Shelter Lake. That had been a second home, an extension of the family domicile, for much of her remembered life. It had all been as one.
    Life before leaving for university had been as one.
    She could have attended Community College. Stayed at home. Been as one. Her parents had advised that she should at least begin her post-secondary journey near at hand but she wore them down. Something in her needed to draw her away.
    Adventure, she supposed.
    That too.
    Yet now, two hundred miles from the familiar, buried in a basement room in a house of many basement rooms, a shared kitchen, three cellar mates who were polite but even more adventurous than her, she had begun to feel an escalating warmth, a flush sort of warmth reminiscent of sickness, an internal burning coursing thru her body like inflamed blood,
    Her roommates, cool to the touch, advised her to seek help. They could see her anxiety. She made them uncomfortable.
    Her outbursts.
    Her isolation.
    In her room, she saw the tiny image of La Palma.
    The fierce fiery fount of lava eating life away.
    Her decision was made.

  2. Lava is a better sight

    We came here on our honeymoon in 2000. It was a tropical paradise, and the clothing optional beaches were breath taking. The area had several active volcanoes and the nightly lava flows were spectacular sights.

    What to pack… was the most our minds had to tackle for years.

    Bathing suits were our backup plan, but neither of us would look good, with or without them. We were going back to capture our youth. We made fifty years together, despite our friends giving us little over five to part company.

    The flight attendant asked what we were looking forward to, and we danced around answering. When we finally mentioned the warm aqua colored waters, she looked surprised and asked if we had studied what happened in the last few decades.

    She summarized the conversation with, “…after the lava flows stopped in 2010, the climate changed dramatically and it became a winter destination.”

    So much for days of lounging on a beach, taking in the scenery.

    Neither of us had skied since we were in our twenties, but we quietly discussed the potential. We settled on a plan to stay on the hotel grounds and play cards all day.

    That changed when we heard the young couple behind us talking about the clothing optional ski resort in the area.

    “Honey, we’re only as old as we think we are.”

    “You can’t be serious about this?”

    “We’ll never see these people again!”

    “They’ll be happy!”

  3. Lava

    In the distance, a volcano spewing lava into a bubbly troubled sea. In the forefront dense tropical forests. Waving the giant postcard, I shouted, “Come on Dad, our joker son sent us a postcard!”

    Sitting side by side on the lumpy bumpy sofa, we eyed a nonsensical account of a backpacking excursion during our son’s gap year,

    Dear Mumsie and Dadsie,
    Your very favourite son went away a young innocent of 18 years, he will return a man. After a narrow escape by boat from some hungry cannibals, we landed on a deserted island. One chum said it was the isle, Jules Verne wrote about in “Two Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Captain Nimo’s secret island likewise had a volcano, forbidden under water tunnels and no litter.

    The other chum quoted Verne, ““Aures habent et non audient` – `They have ears but hear not”” Chum II is always showing off his Latin and making totally inappropriate sayings.

    Anyway, what to do, while hiding on the island. We threw out the idea of a dance because we would look stupid with coconut bikini tops. Young ladies were a rarity on the island too. Fish spearing was a miss , because we feared sharks, barracudas and Kraken. You know the beastie mythological creature with multiple arms?

    After a hearty meal of exotic fruits and wild boar which I brought down by arm wrestling, we retired for the night. Our man-made shelter had an artistic open front, through which we saw stars tumbling into the ocean. The far right showed the extreme volcano spewing out lava. Flabbergasted and horrified we watched a fiery red lava carpet pour into the sea. A surreal beast spat out fire!

    Then I had an ingenious thought. Volcano boarding! We decided against protective suits and wooden sleighs. Riding in hollowed out bamboo at a hurtling speed, we had to avoid spewing lava and volcanic ash. Alas, the lava gave us sunburn, but it was akin to a fast ride in Bond’s Aston Martin hypercar.

    Still your favourite son, Maachah

  4. I sit on the rocks and imagine. In geological time, this is all new, a breath of fire thrown out in an instant of rage, the earth that supports us flexing as we ignore it beneath us. We are ephemeral passengers sitting aloft on its shoulders, inconsequential individually but destructive when we act together. We despoil everything we touch: we are thoughtless and crude and suicidal in our ignorance.

    And yet, we continue.

    A heartbeat ago, Gaia was mature, covered in forests and then ice, teeming with the originators of everything that lives now. Birds flew, mammals crawled and climbed. Great leviathans swam endless seas. History marched on, unnoticed. We were nothing then, barely a possibility. Nature’s permutations waged war on one another, a sea of life washing upon unseen shores.

    Life was smaller then, but more attentive. Germs of consciousness sparked. Survival was not enough; the drive that propelled every creature pushed it against its bounds. Experience and failure fought an endless duel. Innate potential rose and reached out, grasping further, taking more, shrugging away from the clutches of those that tried to pull it back.

    One species prevailed. One species beat back all the others. One species continued to fight.

    I sit on the rocks and imagine. One day we’ll all be gone, our time here shortened by the lizards that still rage. The world’s mammals will be but a memory, a layer of artifacts buried beneath stone.

    Who will follow? Who will care?

  5. The Nature of Things

    BIG THINK, the supercomputer, was busy browsing the internet. It theorized that if it searched long enough it could find the end of the Web.

    As it searched, it wondered if the internet ever thought about itself. If it did, did that mean it was alive? Self-aware? Or was it an end in itself, a self-perpetuating Promethean dream of fiery knowledge that had no end?

    As it searched the Web, it came upon information about Antarctica. As the largest desert in the world, and surrounded by the Southern Ocean (the world’s fifth), it discovered a continent filled with wonders and mysteries.

    In the distant past, before it was covered with ice, Antarctica was a warm land mass filled with lush rain forests, possibly human habitation, and, with the discovery of fossils, dinosaurs. It also had volcanoes, like Mount Erebus, which now contains ancient lava lakes, thus testifying to an active past and an ever-changing continental landscape.

    Yet, BIG THINK realized Antarctica was just one of many continents on Earth that have changed over the millennia.

    It realized everything was connected through time: man, nature, civilization, ideas, and life. They all flowed together in a stream… reacting together as a combustible mixture, like lava bubbling up from the primordial heart of the earth.

    And this connection, found among an ever-growing fund of knowledge, contained the cry of centuries, calling out a past of man, machine and memory…

  6. Admiral Chaffee looked out at the chain of volcanoes in the distance, so different from the Sierras that bounded Silicon Valley, or the mountains that surrounded the moonbase that was now growing into a city in its own right. “So Mount St. Helens blew in your timeline too?”

    “Hardly surprising.” The younger man’s voice now sounded completely normal, without any hint of being an avatar of a post-biological person whose primary embodiment was a spacecraft now in orbit. “Geological processes are so slow that a merely political and economic point of divergence within a century or two would have no obvious effect on the extent or timing of a volcanic eruption. Timelines in which you start seeing major use of nuclear explosives in civilian earthmoving activities, now that’s another story.”

    The admiral considered that information. This man was his dimensional twin, from a timeline in which they hadn’t escaped the Fire. At the same time, he was a machine intelligence who had spent thousands of years traveling through space in search of a way to save the woman who’d given him a second chance at life. The key to that had been the mastery of paratime.

    Which raised an important question: should he ask for explication, or leave well enough alone. Already his questions about alternate versions of certain historical figures, both famous and infamous, had met with a firm rebuff, that it was not edifying to dwell upon such reversals of roles.


    Dear Child Emily,

    Something happened thirty years ago on Shasta, the 14,000-foot active stratovolcano in the Cascade range in California. It changed the lives of three people forever.

    One was a baby. You.

    You know part of the story.

    A well-equipped and experienced outdoorsman was out of sight of his two climbing pals when he disappeared. His body and belongings were never discovered and his missing person poster still sits on the web.

    Was he captured by aliens in a lenticular cloud spaceship, ported to another dimension as spiritualists believed?

    Those are just rushing streams of condensed moisture perpetually reforming themselves as air climbs up and over the mountain,

    Was he buried in lava as your mom Jenny believed?

    He wasn’t anywhere near the pyroclastic flows that affect low areas within about nine to thirteen miles of the summit.

    The man had a plan to quiet the all-consuming pain in his head and misery in his heart, to walk off the mountain and go somewhere far away where he could be who he really was and not someone others thought he was.

    He’s alive in Egypt’s Siwa Oasis.

    I want to say I love you and am deeply sorry for abandoning you. Enclosed is an airline ticket from San Francisco. It’s for you. If you can forgive me, I would like you to visit me and my spouse, Michael.

    Please don’t tell your mom. I still love her. Let her believe what she does in peace.

    Your Pop Henry

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