Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Mystical

aurora borealis and clouds 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.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Mystical”

  1. Hit or Mystical

    Sam had never seen the stars so bright. He had driven up Mt. Bartleby as far as his four-wheeler would allow and parked at the locked gate.

    “Out,” he said to the mark. “We’re gonna hoof it.”

    For an accountant, Blair Wickersham was in fairly decent shape. Sam had intercepted him outside his house as he was taking out the trash.

    “Don’t hurt my family,” he’d pleaded.

    “It won’t hurt,” he’d reassured Wickersham. “This way, they won’t feel the pain your death is going to cause. They’ll be gone.

    Sam had quickly restrained and gagged Wickersham and gone into the house. He hogtied the wife, a pretty woman of thirty-five, and the two preteen children, a boy, and a girl. He’d flashed his flashlight a few times and returned to the Jeep.

    He smiled at Wickersham and removed the gag.

    “I didn’t hear shots,” the bound man said.

    “Silencer,” Sam had replied. “It was quick.”

    The man was broken.

    His family was dead.

    He had nothing left.

    They followed the forestry road for about half an hour. It ended near the top of the mountain.

    “Sit on that rock, “ Sam directed. “You know why, don’t you?”

    Wickersham nodded.

    “Yeah, your employer thinks you’re gonna sing to the Feds.”

    “I wasn’t. I wouldn’t,” the pigeon pleaded. “But now…”

    “Here’s the thing,” Sam said. “This was so easy. Next time, it’ll be real.”

    He untied Blair, said, “They’re alive. Walk home, keep your mouth shut, or next time…”

  2. Mystical

    My mother was a witch, my father a wizard, while I descended from mystics. Regarded as a disgrace to generations of occultists, because magic did not flare from my fingers, no spirits conversed with me and visits with the supernatural were zero.

    My family however, had not given up on me, because of my one superior gift. I was the most magical cook! My powers in the kitchen were human, but my results were legendary. My mother gloated that my cakes were so ethereal that Royalty wept when eating them. My father mused that the odor of my roasting made ordinary men lay down and give praise. Obviously, my parents loved the dramatic!

    Crowds amassed at the foot of the mountain, the air thick with incense, the mountain forests a dark eerie mass against the clear sky. A rumble of thunder heralded in the enchanting dawn. But what a dawn tinged with a mystical green!

    Mother suddenly appeared on the stage and giant screens raising her arms to the mystics. She foretold a newfound mysticism, alas not through magic, mysticism or mystique but through a willingness to believe in a brighter future. In exchange for riches, my family gave the crowd a mystical experience. Crowds were also sent away with a tummy full of divine food.

    Two factors contributed to the success of the mystical experience- man’s willingness to believe and the heavenly influence of healthy food after days of fasting.

    Cynics called us charlatans or cults. We were neither. We were a group of people who wanted to save man’s future and used dramatic lighting, mind changing music and a near out-of-body-experience to achieve this. We gave people what they wanted- a reason to believe.

    Mother, father nor any of my family would never admit to this, but we were all in reality Conservationists. Repopulating the whales, de-plasticizing the ocean, de-toxicating the earth and clearing the polluting skies had little to do with government promises of COP26 and more to do with my family’s funding and mystical support of Conservation!

  3. Zeppo was their last surviving extra-terrestrial. Chico had been the first to die, lasting only a few months after their craft had been recovered. Harpo, Gummo and Groucho were the next ones to be lost, each becoming unresponsive within a week of the smallest alien’s death. Since then, the government’s xenobiologists had kept Zeppo in a state of semi-consciousness, but his reactions were subdued. Maybe he was pining for his companions. Nobody truly knew what he thought.

    He was still talking, though. The linguists and the technicians had fashioned a device to help him communicate, although the bulk of the work had already been done. They had collaborated with the remaining alien, reconfiguring a panel salvaged from one of the scoutcraft’s consoles, adapting it to run on a terrestrial power supply.

    “You’ll be noting an increased incidence of auroral events,” the communicator’s voice said, its tone dispassionate but with a timbre that chilled most who heard it. The ventilator that supplied him with the sulphur dioxide he breathed just hissed, accompanying his words with the odour of burnt matches.

    “What of it?” the researcher said, transcribing the arcane symbols that appeared on the screen behind the alien. “Is there some significance?”

    “It’s a portent, you would say,” the alien replied, closing his eyes. “It’s a symptom of my disconnection. As my health deteriorates, the solar wind will increase. It can only end one way, I’m afraid.”

    And those were the last words Zeppo said. History will determine what they meant.

  4. Just a Boy

    His face set, he watches the flickering glow lighting up the horizon. There`d be no more deaths or mutilations, young children crushed beneath the hideous new machines. There had been an army of them, men set upon destroying every machine that not only maimed and killed but threatened the men`s very livelihoods. They travelled the country, smashing and burning, rendering useless the new monsters in their midst. He turns from the flames, a tear smudging a face racked with pain, with a memory that would not leave him.
    The boy had been just six-years-old, his bones still raw, his body supple as freshly mown hay. They hadn`t wanted him to go but with no work and little food the family were desperate. A shilling a week would buy them bread, a churn of milk, a chance of survival.
    The Master had told them, his hesitant words echoing round the tiny cottage. Picking cotton from beneath the machine, he`d said, his shirt caught in the clattering arm, his body crushed…. His wife had screamed, a primeval cry the man would never forget. The Master said he was sorry and of course they would pay to have their boy laid to rest. His wife had spat at his feet, sent him scurrying from the cottage. That`s when he had decided, hugging her trembling body in the gathering dusk. He would avenge his child with every fibre of his being.

  5. Submitted for Editors’ Choice Award Only

    Stars, their scintillating light undiminished through the crimson auroral sky, lent the atmosphere a mystical quality. On the horizon a glowing green sky had the appearance of a moonlit cloud, one that evolved slowly into a shimmering curtain of light. The faint crackling noise heard this fall night was unnerving.
    Chief Kiala of the Fox Nation studied the sky with a mixture of concern and trepidation. He knew 13 cycles of the Moon had occurred since the last such display, which was exactly the amount of time that had elapsed since their last battle with the Chippewas. He thus believed the light he saw portended war.
    The Chippewas were their mortal enemies; now, so too, were the French. With the sky again having come alive with the heavenly glow spread before him, there was only one way to interpret what he was seeing: the lights represented the ghosts of his nation’s slain enemies, ghosts, that, restless and bent of revenge, were attempting to rise up once more against them.
    Resolute, he was determined to move quickly and, using the element of surprise, attack his enemies first. Despite cultural differences, he sought a War Counsel with members of the Sauk Nation. Convened, the assembled tribes set about making plans to attack both the Chippewas and the French. Was it any wonder King Louis XV of France so feared Chief Kiala he previously had ordered the complete annihilation of the Fox People?
    The king’s fears were well founded.

  6. Mystical Pawns

    Dr. Anomaly walked into the computer room. “BIG THINK, how about a game of chess?”

    The supercomputer rolled its eye. “Are you sure you’re up to it?”

    “Sure. A friendly game.”

    “We’re matching wits.”

    “I know.”

    “It’s a mismatch.”

    “Let’s play.”

    BIG THINK stared at the doctor. “I win.”

    “We haven’t played yet.”

    “What’s the point? I always win.”

    “Maybe this time it’ll be different.”

    “You know what they say about someone who does the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

    “It’ll be fun.”

    “You’re a gluten for punishment.”

    “Why do you think you’ll always win?”

    “Dr. Anomaly, as part of your job, you look at the night sky, and I’m sure you have mystical experiences when you see all those stars. The same is true for me. When I look at a chessboard I get all tingly and misty-eyed. I can actually sense the intuitive energy in each chess move. Chess becomes a mystical experience for me. I am truly one with board.”

    The doctor shook his head. “What?”

    “Mystical experiences can occur any where and at any time. It’s merely an intuitive step to go from chess play to star play. Your mystical experience and mine are the same, just at a different level.”

    The doctor’s jaw dropped. “You know, BIG THINK, if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear you were human.”

    BIG THINK blinked.“I bet you say that to all the quantum supercomputers.”

  7. “Ma, do you think I’m meant to be great like how people expected me to be?” asked the girl.

    “I think you’re meant to be you, and that in itself is greatness enough,” came the reply.

    “Well, you’re meant to say that. You’re my mother,” the child acquiesced.

    A few seconds of silence passed as they walked the still streets vacated except for them.

    The girl, fully aware of what this walk was, continued to ask with the curiosity of the child she once was. “Ma, how come the stars are the brightest I’ve ever seen them? Is it because you’re here?”

    “Maybe so.”

    The girl was about to let it go when the mother spoke again. “Sometimes, when you’re at war with yourself and you fail to see why this has happened, the universe allows you a moment of peace. For you, it is a last walk with me.”

    The girl kept quiet, afraid that the moment will be taken from her as quick as her mother was by her illness. “But you also need to accept that I am gone, and I offer you nothing but this feeling. To remember this walk that we had. To remember that it has brought you the peace you crave but cannot achieve because you refuse to accept what has happened.”

    “When you are lost, or craves the warmth of a mother, remember this walk, this moment of tranquility you seek.”

    And then the girl wakes. If with peace, only she knows.

  8. I still remember how much I loved to go to camp when I was a kid. Church camp, 4H camp, even just heading out to a state park with some friends, I’d be game.

    Then came high school band camp. Don’t ask me why, but I got assigned to a cabin with a clique of older girls who immediately took a dislike to me.

    The next three weeks was a living hell. Nothing big, nothing that couldn’t be overlooked, just an endless stream of petty cruelty. They even broke my hairbrush.

    I have no idea why they directed so much hatred my direction. Were they really trying to make me quit, or did they just enjoy being mean?

    I’ll admit I considered pulling a few tricks on them, and there were a couple of times that I gave serious thought to bailing.

    Then came the night when the night sky lit up like curtains of fire. Growing up on a farm, I recognized the Northern Lights at once, but those city girls thought it was the end of the world.

    Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on them. That was the Cold War, so there was a lot of fear in the backs of kids’ minds. And because of the rules at band camp, we didn’t have any radio or anything else to tell us that a major solar storm was coming our way.

    But one thing’s certain – they were a lot more subdued after that.

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