Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: New Year

3L0A0333 NEWA Fairgrounds Fireworks
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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: New Year”

  1. Grace leaned back against the big oak taking a drag from the bottle before passing it to Syd. Champagne with actual alcohol would have been traditional but resolutions and all that. At least it tasted like strawberries or what she thought a strawberry tasted like. Had she eaten real strawberries before? It didn’t matter. This tasted close enough.

    Instead, she let her head fall back against the rough oak trunk watching the pyrotechnics high above. At least this was a tradition she could enjoy even if the roof high above muted the brilliant colors. It was still better than living in the city where neon lights and pollution washed out any hope she had of seeing honest to god fireworks.

    This must be the country living the brochure had talked about. So many were sold on the whole see the stars bit. For Grace, it was a modest home with green grass and flowers. She might never see so many people she had met over the years, but this was a fresh start. Her apartment complex had a higher population than this entire world. Grace couldn’t even see her neighbors from here. Watching another explosion of color from outside the duraglass dome, she hardly noticed her datapad chime.

    “Happy 2142, girl,” her sister from another mister cooed, passing the bottle back.

    “Happy New Year,” Grace said, smiling back because for the first time in a long time it really was.

  2. Stella Collins was the eldest and brightest of the four sisters,” said Euphemia as she slipped the casserole dish onto the top of the wood-burning stove to heat before the mourners arrived for the repast.
    Adeline nodded and used her apron to wipe away tears. “I still can’t believe she’s gone. You’d think the Good Lord would have spared her a tragic death, especially given she was on the way to helping her mother, Millicent, in her hour of need.”
    Sam and Millicent Collins didn’t live far from their four daughters—Stella, Penelope, Emma, and Winifred—but it was Stella, being the eldest, who assumed the position of caregiver for their parents.
    Sam had participated in the Cherokee Strip land rush of September 16, 1893, staked a claim near what now is Drummond, Oklahoma, and constructed a sod shanty for Millicent and him in which the girls were born. Sam spent most of his time hunting, so it was the girls’ mother who tended the house and plowed the fields.
    “Stella got her inner strength and perseverance from her ma,” asserted Euphemia, as she pulled some cornbread from the oven. “It’s going to be tough for Penelope, Emma, and Winifred to take care of their parents with Stella gone. They’ve never had to do it before.”
    Adeline nodded. “True that, but given they are the God-fearing people they are, I’m sure they’ll rise to the occasion and obey the Bible’s command to honor their parents.”

  3. Sisters

    There are two of them. Sisters. So different, it seems to me. The night is home to the one, Cecelia, and the day just naturally is home to the other.
    Laura is the daylight. She shines with a glow that lights up the neighbourhood. At least for those of us looking for brilliance, looking for that spirit we know is there, even in the dark days of Covid.
    Not many of us have that spirit. And, days, weeks, months along the pandemic precipice, the light we seek dims even more that we could have imagined.
    Most of us are engaged in our own moments and have little time to pay for the others, the housebound, the night bound.
    We rely on Laura. She sings each morning, tunes from the past, delightfully memorable, reminding us all that there is a past and that the future might well become the past again.
    That is all we really want. To know that everything will be the same.
    But in the night, Cecelia cries to the moon. Her pain transfixes us. We try to shatter her sorrow with fireworks, with our own sounds of joy but we are no match her.
    We beg Laura to be in the night as well. “We need you,” we plead.
    “This I cannot do,” she says. “Cecelia and I have a bargain. I cannot break that agreement. It is the only way we can coexist. Two Sisters. Night and Day.”
    And so, it still is.

  4. Bonnie and Blake

    Dispatch: “Unit X21, respond to warehouse.”

    “Roger.” Blake switched on the lights and siren. Both he and his partner, Bonnie, were androids, and this was their first shift together after graduating from the academy. In this future society all police work was handled by androids.

    Minutes later…

    Bang, Bang, Bang…

    Dispatch: “Unit X21, were shots fired?”

    “Roger,” Blake yelled above the siren. “My partner heard something suspicious in the back of the squad car. She unloaded a full clip.”

    Dispatch: “And?”

    “Car’s going to need some interior body work.”

    Dispatch: “Roger.”

    Minutes passed…

    Screech… Bang, Bang, Bang…

    Dispatch: “What happened?”

    “I fired at something suspicious,” Blake yelled.

    Dispatch: “From the moving squad car? What was it?”

    “Can’t tell. We’re travelling too fast. Can’t stop. Have to get to the warehouse.”

    Dispatch: “We admire your dedication.”

    Minutes passed…

    Screech…

    “Dispatch, we’ve arrived at the warehouse,” Blake yelled.

    Both android officers quickly exited their squad car, setup a powerful rocket launcher, and prepared to fire.

    KA-BOOM…

    Dispatch: “What are you shooting at?”

    “The warehouse,” Blake replied. “It looked suspicious. We really let them have it.”

    Dispatch: “Let ‘who’ have it?”

    The android officers looked at each other and shrugged. Then they looked at the sky as it exploded into light and colour.

    “Kind of beautiful,” Bonnie remarked. “Who knew the warehouse was full of fireworks.”

    Blake smiled. “It’s at times like this when you realize all the tough training we went through at the academy was worth it.”

  5. Sisters

    Suddenly, brilliant fireworks exploded the night sky asunder. They were lavish, luxurious lilies, so colourfully exotic! So brilliant they shocked our eyes and made us jump with the thunderous noise. My sister and I arm in arm squealed with delight and pleasure. We squeezed each other and burst into senseless giggles. Delighting in the pyrotechnics we jumped up and down like demented teenagers belying our real ages. Our silliness drew eyes away from the sky’s spectacular show, but the spectators only smiled at us. What did we care! We were young and so alive. At that moment in time, everything was a huge laughing scream; we were youthful, together and jocose. What did we care about world problems, the environment, religion!

    Necks craned, we watched more electrifying colours break into the night. The fireworks like us were alive, unique and oh so beautiful. Unlike us they emitted a violent temper and fierceness. They blazed and bedazzled whereas we were sisterly quiet. The fireworks spun, coiled and spiralled. They extrovertly sprayed colours across the skies lighting up our faces. There seemed to be one climax of colour after another. Sulphuric smells filled the air while a haze shifted around us. Tiny bits of exploded fireworks sprinkled down on our faces making us laugh even harder.

    More electrifying displays of erratic fireworks. Then a waterfall of colours. I walked home alone as the image of my sister faded. If only she was still alive!

  6. It’s all gone. Bitter cold seeps through the fractures of the house and pulls at my nose and freezes my veins. Chatting voices, content and full bodies that filled the now empty room, are not just holiday ghosts dancing in my mind.

    The warm and spicy pumpkin and apple pies, the delectable breakfast cinnamon rolls spiraled with butter and sugar and frost, the succulent turkey and honey baked ham, the fluffy stuffing and rolls, all gone.

    Spirits of joy and togetherness melt down with the candles burning intimate scents, keeping the aromas of memories floating in the air. Yet alone once more a sardonic ache and longing envelops the cracks and crevices of my house, my heart, my brain. A new year calls me to the alcohol and the countdown to the end of my lonely fears.

  7. The three women, sisters, stood arm in arm in the middle of the snow-strangled street. It was almost midnight on New Year’s Eve. They waited for the fireworks to start, but the sky remained clear, the stars the only lights shining.

    “I suppose they cancelled the fireworks” said Margo, the oldest. “Five inches of snow shut down this city.”

    “Mom really wanted to see the close of the year,” said Stephanie, the youngest by decades. “She’s going to be pissed.”

    They laughed quietly, almost to themselves, remembering their mother.

    “At least she won’t be pounding those the pots and pans at midnight,” said Josephine, the middle sister, the one who couldn’t stop the tears, the one who lived the farthest away. On purpose.

    “God, it was embarrassing,” said Margo. “When she made us get out there on the porch with her, I thought I would die.”

    A small pop sounded in the distance and then one long streaming ball of fire and then tumbled back towards earth. The girls unlocked their arms and stood apart from each other, waiting expectantly for the rest of the show.

    Finally it came, three red burst of exploding starlight. Then nothing.

    “Is that it?” asked Josephine.

    “Mom didn’t like fireworks anyway,” said Margo. “She’d rather go shopping.”

    “Why don’t we go?” asked Stephanie.

    “Shopping?” said Margo. “At this hour?”

    “We could window shop,” said Stephanie.

    “Off we go, then,” huffed Margo.

    They locked arms and marched up the street to the business district. Smiling.

  8. “What are those, Paolo?”

    The man’s eyes fell briefly down to the child at his side, and then turned heaven-wards to join in parallel his gaze: It seemed unlikely the obvious was what was questioned – celebration, all around. Percussive bombardment of the sky to herald in another year – Irish betrayed by the calliope that screeled the people’s anthem: Drunkenly sung, and always many mentioned, “Alas – our Kirsty.”

    It seemed unlikely any of all of that was being questioned, therefor the father sought, again, to follow the child’s line of sight: Upwards, and towards the aerial display. The boy scowled into the sky with rigid fear, and the father wondered, “Fireworks? There’s smoke up there. Some branches. You see something in the tree? What’s it you see up there?”

    He answered, “Fingers.”.

    Amusement faded quickly as the man returned his eyes, above, to resolve what appeared long, knobby-knuckled digits reaching from the darkened, clouded sky. Long tentacles wept down through the smoke and fire. Enshrouded; slowly, slinking towards the celebrants.

    The word of warning yelled as Paolo ran with his son bundled in his arms was unfortunately timed with the widely sung, “Choir,” and was interpreted as the same by those in proximity.

    What was seen, was later reported to authorities, but ignored.

    Those that reported declared the scene secured, until authorities, “Can determine exactly what was in those fireworks.”

  9. NO WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR

    The fireworks burst into silver trails disappearing into New York’s City’s inky East River. Along the shore, up on the East Side Drive, the New Year’s Eve revelers cheered.

    All except Amanda. She slapped gloved fingers against loose jeans, zipped her black puffer and shivered.

    Was the swaggering skinny teen, his face in shadow under a hoodie, still following her? She scanned the tightly-packed crowd.

    He was edging closer.

    If the creep got close enough, he could plunge a hidden knife in her in an instant, before anyone could intervene. Cops were everywhere. But when did that stop a City crazy?

    Heart pounding, she pushed through the crowd “Excuse me, please,” she wailed. “I must leave.”

    The revelers looked at her with sympathy and made a path. They’d likely think her paranoid if she tried to tell them about the lone kid stalking her.

    She ran down the exit at 34th Street and walked faster. Sixty yards ahead the lobby of her apartment building shone brightly.

    A sharp tap hit her back.

    Arms raised, fists in balls, she spun around. “Get out of my fuckin’ face, Creep.”

    Arms rose in self-defense. “Amanda, it’s your neighbor, Nick. ” He brushed auburn hair out of his startled eyes.

    She leaned against his shoulder and sobbed. “I’m so sorry. There’s this guy following me. I thought…”

    “Hey this is no way to start the New Year. Let’s get into the building, have a drink and watch the rest of the show out the window.”

  10. Back home, fireworks are a summer thing. After the Independence Day parades and the speeches by the local politicians, you take a big picnic dinner down to the park and then you hang out until dusk. If you’re lucky, you’ll actually be able to enjoy the professional show before all the idiots with illegal out-of-state fireworks get too drunk and stupid.

    Here they celebrated the New Year with fireworks. There was something unearthly about standing in the crisp winter air, so cold it almost takes your breath away, and waiting for the show to begin. Up and down the Neva River, all the bridges are raised to let barge traffic through, and the ironwork forms patterns against the city lights.

    One of the other women in our hostel had brought out a tablet computer. Everyone gathered around to watch the live stream from Moscow, of the big clock on the Savior Tower at the Kremlin counting down the final minutes of the old year. From what I could tell, it was the Russian equivalent of watching the ball drop in Times Square, except without the crowds and the celebrities.

    Someone pressed a glass into my hand. As the countdown reached midnight, the cry went up, “S novom godom,” Russian for to the new year. Overhead, the aerials blossomed all across the skyline, shot from barges one the Neva and the Gulf of Finland.

    With luck I’d get up in time to see the festivities in the Big Apple.

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