Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Clouds

IMG_7172 Mammatus clouds flash fiction prompt 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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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Clouds”

  1. For Editors’ Choice Only

    It was late on a hot July morning in the mid-section of the country, and the sweet smell of new-mown hay permeated the stifling air in the old country church.
    “What’s it been, a year now?” I asked gently.
    We’d been sitting in a pew near the pulpit, listening to the priest saying an individual mass for her fiancé Brad. There were no other parishioners in the church.
    Her gaze remained fixed on the Bible in her lap. She nodded ever so gently but said nothing. Tears streamed down her cheeks.
    This entire matter was as difficult for Elizabeth as it was for Father John, given we didn’t know the state of Brad’s soul. The fact was, we didn’t even know whether Brad was dead or alive, and if the latter, where he was.
    It was almost a year to the day that Brad had set out in his small single-engine plane with the intent of flying to San Antonio. It was his intent to pick up ten dogs from a shelter to save them from euthanization and to return them here, near Salina, for adoption. Local flying enthusiasts had warned him the cloud formation they were seeing portended severe thunderstorms in the area, given the strong shear environment.
    Brad thought once he was airborne, he could skirt the storm and then, follow the flight plan he filed using a compass heading of 175.18˚.
    He was never seen again.

  2. Title: Sky’s Fault

    “Why are you moving all of this stuff out of the pantry?”

    “I’m obviously looking for something!”

    “You could have fooled me.”

    “You’re NOT helping me at the moment!”

    “Look at these dates. Many are expired months and years ago. I came in the house for something, but I can’t remember what it was.” My wife continued moving things into the hall from our large pantry. “Hon, you need more shelves in here, and I could build some along that wall and even over here.”

    “Good, why don’t you go buy some lumber. You get the hint?”

    “Will you tell me what you are looking for? Maybe I can help.”

    “I know there was a package in here, but I can’t seem to find it.”

    “Oh, I remember what I came in to tell you. Have you seen the sky this morning?”

    “Yes, as a matter of fact I did, which is why I’m on this mission.”

    “I don’t understand.”

    “I saw the marshmallows in the sky, and I thought it would be nice to make S’mores by the fire tonight.”

    “I had the same idea, and took the package of marshmallows out, it’s on the counter in the kitchen.”

    “Well then, you can just put all of this stuff back in the pantry, and next time if you want something in my pantry, please let me know.”

    “Should I throw the expired products out?”

    “Suit yourself!”

    He thought to himself – it’s all the sky’s fault!

  3. Something Wonderful

    Stan was walking along a cobblestone path, when he noticed a fish swimming in a large bowl. He never gave it much thought, until it began talking to him.

    “Hey you,” shouted the fish. “Where do you think you’re going?”

    Surprised, Stan hesitated at first, then replied, “I… I’m not sure.”

    “Being on a journey isn’t much fun, if you don’t know where you’re going. Take me for example. I know where I’m going every morning I wake up.”

    “You’re in a fish bowl.”

    “Exactly. There’s no guessing where I am or where I’m going. From beginning to end a complete strategy.”

    Still shocked by the talking fish, Stan asked, “Who are you?”

    “Rufus’s the name and swimming’s my game.”

    “Can you help me?”

    “Maybe I can. Maybe I can’t.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    “What do you think it means?”

    “Well, I…” Stan caught himself. He realized he was about to argue with a fish. “Best, I be on my way.”

    “Wait,” Rufus whispered. “See that key on the rock?”

    “What about it?”

    “I’ll give you a hint. It’s a magic key.”


    “Right you are. If you were to take that key, I’ll bet it would open up a whole new world for you.”

    “How so?”

    “See that tower over there?”


    “I’ll bet that key will open the door to the tower.”


    “That tower extends upward into the clouds. And do you know what lies beyond the clouds?”


    “Something wonderful.”

  4. Deluge

    The storm clouds had been forming all day. Even as dawn broke, the sky was scalloped with them.

    Layer upon layer, shingling the heavens, a system blowing in from the Pacific, swirling in anticipation of the havoc it would create.

    We always looked skyward. If the end were to come, it would come from the above. The land might shake from time, have us scurry to shelter, but all we knew was that if the air above us, the air we breathed, erupted, there was no shelter for us. There would be no escape.

    The waters would cascade and chomp away at the land, then flood the land, lay waste the land with mud, and seek a sacrifice of blood, human blood as much as it could extract, blood from lost travelers, sleeping victims falling prey to massive landslides of earth, rock, trees, and animals, all of it flowing with angry abandon.

    We would be helpless.

    Just as we were in the heat of summer. The fires raged. The people so many people were shipped out in volumes, the flames licking at their departing heels.

    As we huddled in the winter cold, our livelihoods gone, our possessions, the big ones, homes, cars, dreams, the smaller ones, memorabilia, rings, pictures, all of it gone and no chance of recovery.

    The world is ending.

    The third world has known that for decades.

    We have just got the message.

    It could not be clearer.

  5. Bucket list

    The rain came slowly then all at once, pelting them with heavy drops of water that easily soaked the thin fabric of their clothes.

    “I told you it’s going to rain. We should’ve brought an umbrella or at least that silly raincoat of yours with the raccoon eyes.”

    Laughing at what her lover said, the girl replied, “I know you love that raincoat.”

    “I do,” came the reply with a chuckle.

    “Besides, we’re already wet out here. What better thing to do than to cross out another item in our bucket list?” With this, she reached out a hand to her lover which was promptly taken with a big smile.

    As the rain came down, the two danced in the beat of their hearts, not caring of anything else but their love for each other.

  6. Overhead, dark clouds hung low and threatening. Terry had never seen anything like them: big bulbous forms that looked like living things, gelatinous blob creatures hanging from the underside, just waiting to drop on unsuspecting people below.

    How easy it was to imagine them as aliens, as extrusions of some eldritch parallel universe, something nasty for a hero to fight. Except he knew those thoughts had to stop there. As his parents had taken pains to remind him again and again, he was too old to run around playing make-believe. Such things needed to be confined to Friday Night Gaming, or the occasional LARPing session in an appropriately controlled environment.

    Besides, he knew that if he showed any interest in those clouds, someone would go pull up a scientific explanation for the phenomenon. Never mind it took all the fun out of life, he was supposed to be happy to know the real reason for what he was seeing.

    Anyways, he had chores he needed to get done before dark. He couldn’t stay out here indefinitely, staring up at the sky and imagining he was observing the vanguard of the intrusion of the extraordinary upon mundane life.

    As Terry turned and walked back to the house, one of those bulbous extrusions detached itself from the cloud mass and descended.


    I gripped the yoke tighter as my Cessna 172 bounced violently in the blue-black mass exploding around me – Mammati. These pouch-like ice protrusions hanging from the undersides of thunderstorm clouds could take down my light aircraft with no de-icing system.

    “Fly two steps ahead of the airplane, Chantilly,” my flight instructor had said.
    I should have anticipated and gone around this.

    I chewed Revlon Stormy Pink off my lips. The engine sputtered. My heart did flip flops.
    My mind ran through potential fixes. I adjusted the mixture setting, checked the primer knob, and made sure the fuel cutoff valve was in the ON position.

    The altimeter continued down.

    Breasts heaving, I radioed Seattle Approach. “Cessna 172 …”I choked on my N number. Finally I got it out. “Experiencing engine trouble.”

    At 3000 feet above ground level, I began circling fields below. If the engine quit, I had six minutes to forced landing impact and possible injury, even death.

    A random voice broke radio silence.

    “Try the carb heat.” A Southwest Airlines pilot overhead had heard my call.

    A resulting reduction in RPM could totally kill the engine. Out of options, I took a deep breath, reached over and pulled the carburetor heat knob.

    Instantly, the engine groaned, sending melted ice through the cylinders, and returned to normal.

    In my best Southern-lady style, I thanked the Southwest pilot and Air Traffic Control, quickly climbed to a safe altitude and a cloudless sky, and vowed to stick to Florida flying.

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