Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Thirsty

3L0A2957 metalline flsh fiction writing prompt dog drinking from cup
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!

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12 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Thirsty”

  1. Editor’s Choice Only

    “According to Jeff,” said Martin, referring to their neighbor, “the fire flashed up the hill so fast that by the time he ran out his front door, flames were shootin’ through the back of the house. He said he got so flustered he almost flooded his truck’s engine tryin’ to get it started.”
    “Did he see Kathi?” asked his son.
    “Said he saw her put Taffy in the front seat of her truck and then, ran around to the driver’s side. But a small animal raced in front of them, and Taffy jumped out the passenger-side window to chase it. Kathi ran after him, and that’s the last Jeff saw of both.”
    The men looked around for the one thing they dreaded finding: the burned-out shell of Kathi’s pickup truck.
    “I don’t see it, Dad.”
    “Neither do I, Billy,” responded Martin. “Maybe she and that mutt made it out alive.”
    They were about to leave when the Billy whispered: “Did you hear that?”
    They stood, silent. Then, from behind the burned-out shell of their home came the whimpering sound of a soot-covered Jack Russell Terrier, now emerging and limping toward them. It was Taffy. But from where did he come? And had Kathi been with him? If they had been together, where is she now?
    They gave the thirsty dog water and took stock: Kathi’s pickup truck was nowhere in sight. And Taffy was alive.
    “At least there’s hope,” said Martin, using his large red bandana to wipe his brow.

  2. Thirst

    I tell myself that this will be the last time. That’s it. I’m done with being self-destructive.
    Even if it’s pleasurable.
    Vices are pleasurable, aren’t they?
    Even if they are killing you.
    Death isn’t pleasurable. At least, I don’t expect it is. Or will be.
    A casual friend said last week, “You’re killing yourself. You know that don’t you?”
    I took her shot. She’s made it before.
    There’s no point in firing back.
    Even though I wanted to.
    So what if I am killing myself.
    Every day we die a bit.
    We’re always one day closer to the end.
    Even as I think this, not that we are always one day closer, but that ‘this will be the last time’, I start singing the Stones song. Under my breath.
    I’m not the type to burst out in song in public.
    My life isn’t a musical.
    Except for that song. And it’s got a built-in qualifier: “Maybe the last time….I don’t know”.
    So, when I think, ’this will be the last time’, I’ve got an out.
    I need that out. Sort of a get out of sobriety card that I keep in my back pocket
    Huh, in a flask.
    Yeah, in a flask.
    I never saw my old man toasted. He drank, don’t get me wrong. He drank. But somehow, he controlled it.
    Leastways, I say that he did.
    I don’t really know.
    He had a terrible thirst.
    I guess I do as well.
    Go figure!

  3. The Sadness of the Zoo

    Shadows and time draped the cages, all in a row.

    The lion, the bear, an assortment of other animals, all fixed in cages, locked inside, a lockdown, pacing back and forth, impatient, longing to get out, but locked inside, looking out.

    Their faces stared through windows, cages, all anonymous, seething in their silence, desperate in their hope, faint whispers lost in a collective crowd.

    They all wanted something: a few wanted answers; others wanted companionship; and a small number wanted freedom. But they could not act on their desires because they were frozen in doubt.

    Then, as they paced anxiously, trapped inside their prisons, and fearful in their own minds, a solitary dog stepped out of its cage, thirsty for answers, and drank of the water of hope.

  4. “Go on,” said my Sire, “tell it all. I’m intrigued by your experiences.”

    He waited in the silence and the gloom; expectant, urbane; all-knowing.

    “I’m thirsty,” I said, suddenly feeling ashamed. “It consumes me, every moment. And then when I rise, it gets worse. I have no control – I sense the stirrings of their blood and I react, claws, teeth, our horrible grace, ripping and tearing at them till they’re dead. And it’s then that I come to my senses, soddened and wetted with their spilt life, crouched over the meat they’d vacated.”

    He nodded, amused. Thoroughly in command. He watched as I paced and I stressed, one hand raised, idly covering his mouth.

    “Well, what can I do?” I demanded. “What would you do in my place?”

    Louis rose to his feet. He was tall and slender. He occupied his space without conscience, his eyes lightless and dark. He was an act without any hesitation, a sharpened knife of a man.

    “Let them bleed,” he said. “They are lower than vermin. They are the cattle we choose to persist, a resource we plunder. They are the light; we are the dark. They are weak and feeble; we are not. Would you consider the thoughts of a radish, or a carrot, or a potato? Or would you take what is theirs to be given, the gift of their life, so that you can continue?”

    I nodded, suitably chastened.

    I was indebted to the dark and the night ever after.

  5. “You know, I just watched that dog lick its backside five minutes ago.”

    Blake rolled his eyes. “He’s thirsty.”

    “There’s a pond out back,” Delilah answered, matter-of-factly. “He can drink out of that.”

    “But the cows crap in that pond,” Blake protested.

    She sniffed, “Never bothered him before.”

    Blake sighed and patted the old dog’s head. He was a good dog. And apparently had a refined taste for fruit-flavored water. Blake laid the cup on the ground and the dog continued to drink. Though they were sitting under the shade of a large oak, it didn’t do much to cool Blake. But the company was enjoyable, so he stayed.

    Blake stretched and put his arms behind his head, easing back against the tree. “You got any plans for this weekend?”

    Delilah scratched her ankles, the tall grass itching her shins. “I need to mow.”

    “That sounds like fun.”

    “What about you?”

    “Maybe go to the lake. It’s too dang hot outside. I don’t see how you can stand it.” He leaned forward to peel his shirt off his back. “So disgusting.”

    Delilah snorted. “I’ve lived here my whole life. You get used to it. Everybody sweats.”

    “No one should sweat this much.”

    She smiled. “And yet, you’re still here.”

    Blake half-smiled as he looked out over the lush green pasture. “It’s a beautiful view. Who’d want to leave?” He grabbed his glass, taking a deep swig.

    “Forget the dog drank out of that?”

    Blake expelled the water from his mouth.

  6. I was bad

    I’ve been worse, but none the less, I was bad this time.

    That’s what they get for keeping me indoors all day.

    Bring me outside and let me smell the fresh air, I want to run and play.

    I’m just a mutt, but that doesn’t mean I can’t turn some noses.

    They’re not going to be happy when I return home, but I needed to make some new friends.

    I met a white poodle, who I’m sure is going to look for my return.

    I spent some quality time with the labradoodle, who will have some stories to tell.

    The greyhound looked like he wanted to fight, but couldn’t catch me.

    The Doberman three streets over, tried to run through his chain link fence and got a bloody nose.

    The children at the park kept throwing the ball for me, and loved that I was smart enough to bring it back. Boy that was fun! When I laid down on their blanket, the parents noticed my leash and told them to stay away from me. I bet those kids would love to have a dog to play with.

    I would love some children at home.

    I better head there to get my punishment.

    *.*.*

    Oh great, they both look happy to see me.

    Boy am I thirsty.

    Perfect, it’s even cold water!

    She’s crying and they’re hugging. Maybe there’s a chance for kids after all.

    Should I run off and see my new friends more often?

  7. “That’s so gross.”

    “What’s gross?”

    “Didn’t you see? That woman was letting her dog drink out of a glass.”

    “So? A friend of mine used to have a cat who’d never drink out of a bowl. We all know that if we saw a rocks glass sitting on the floor, it was the cat’s.”

    “But at least there they had one glass that belonged to the cat. It’s not like they’d let it drink out of just any glass.”

    “Why not? As long as they washed the glass afterward, what difference does it make?”

    “But it’s an animal. Would you want to drink after an animal?”

    “I don’t drink out of the same glass as random people off the street either. That’s what dishwashers and detergent are for.”

    “But an animal’s mouth is dirty.”

    “Actually a dog’s mouth doesn’t have as many germs in it as a human’s. You’re literally in more danger of an infection from getting bitten by a fellow Homo sapiens than a dog.”

    “But it’s still disgusting.”

    “Hey, give it a rest, you two. You can’t reason someone out of something they didn’t reason themselves into.”

  8. THIRSTY FOR A HOME

    “Today, if no owner shows up, we gotta’ take her home, Mommy.”

    The golden-haired stray lapped drinking fountain water from our old glass. For days the gentle dog had waited for eight-year old Andy and me after school at a bench in Manhattan’s Central Park.

    “Our coop bans dogs, Sweetheart,” I said.

    “She’ll be caught and killed,” he screamed, attaching a leash and sprinting ahead.

    It was the start of winter, 1981. Thousands of stray New York City dogs, caught and not claimed, would meet their demise at the ASPCA’s formidable brick fortress.

    “Stop,” I screamed, as Andy collided with a racing wheelchair driven by a tiny woman over-bundled in old clothes.

    “Where you walkin’ Angel Pie?” She hollered like a cop and yanked the leash from his hand.

    “To find the owner,” I said, my voice sharp. I helped Andy up.

    Tears covered his red cheeks. “I wanted the dog to get home.” He stroked Angel Pie’s silky coat, then nuzzled her neck.

    The woman’s big black eyes assessed us for a few minutes. “She lives with me, Bertha. But you and this beautiful lady dressed like a movie star can have her.”

    “Our building’s a no-dog place,” I said, a catch in my throat.

    Bertha’s brow furrowed. “Here’s my deal,” she said smartly. “Angel Pie and my four other strays need daily walks until I find them families. I can’t let them wander and ASPCA nab them.”

    Andy’s face glowed. He hopped up and down. “We’ll do it.”

  9. Grit coats my tongue and it feels as though I’ve swallowed a handful of dust. There isn’t enough moisture left in my mouth to dampen my lips as I press my face against the bars. That doesn’t stop my tongue from mimicking each lap the pampered dog takes from its owner’s cup. What I would give for a drop of that liquid, or to touch the cool green grass. Both are far beyond my reach, with two yards of gravel and air that separate me from those pleasures.

    I no longer beg for aid and have no moisture to spare for tears. Nobody ever notices me or my plight anyway. I’m not sure if they are immune to my presence, or if there is some barrier that masks my existence.

    There is no salvation here, but I still pray that someday, this cage will tumble down, and that I’ll reap the benefits of the most precious resource, water.

    For now, I watch in dismay as the cup, and its remaining liquid, is casually dumped on the ground after the dog has had its fill. Then they are gone, leaving me trapped in this desiccated body, too weak and parched to cry. Alone. Always alone.

    This, they call a just punishment. I call it torture.

    Then again, it is the same fate I would have left to them, had my plan to divert the lake come to fruition.

  10. Thirsty

    It was a stupid dare. The problem was he lived on a knife edge, walking between the lightning strikes, and being thirsty for danger.

    Since kindergarten, we had undertaken dares. Then I super dared him to place his tongue on the frozen pole. He lost a week of recess, whereas I earned a lot of giggles and a thirst for dares.

    As we became older, the dares darkened. We left the realm of the child’s dare of swallowing live crickets.

    Sometimes the dares backfired. Years later, he was dared to date “Ugly Betty” on returning home from college. However the ugly duckling had turned into a soignee swan. He married her and was happy.

    And then he was not. His gambling caused his life to crumble around him and his gorgeous wife flew away. He was a mess which was why he suggested a dangerous dare. Filling two glasses with water, he placed a little poison in one, but not before my dog thirstily drank.

    My friend, dreading dog germs, drank down the other glass- the one he poisoned. He seemed thirsty for death.

    Walking away, I dared him to turn his life around. He looked at me in horror, thinking that I was deserting him. Actually, I was healing him, because without his knowledge, I had cleverly swapped the poisoned glass for harmless water. His look of horror was priceless. Priceless too because he accomplished good and dared himself to become a conservation wizard.

  11. In my defense I suppose all I can say is that I was thirsty. The day was already rather long. I had just stood up from my post and was walking toward the water cooler when I saw the slip of paper land on my desk.
    The peace talks between Hungary and Romania had been going on for 3 days. I was one of the United Nations official document translators. Each day hundreds of important pieces of paper came across our desks. Most just required a quick cursory look.
    This particular paper, however, really caught my eye. It was a letter from the Hungarian commander offering gratitude to his Romanian counterpart. Only…the word gratitude (hála) had been misspelled as (halál) which means “death”.
    I was thirsty and bored and curious, so I let it go through with no correction.
    The Romanians have attacked and killed thousands. They have even eaten the dead to cause fear.

  12. Roxy was out on a picnic with her owner, Scott. Roxy had eaten her fill of scraps, and she thought, “My tummy is so full of meat, I just might burst. I am happy, happy, happy!”
    Roxy ran circles around Scott, who was lounging on a blanket with his best friend Linda. Scott and Linda were running out of water. They only had some punch, and a cup of water with blueberries at the bottom.
    Scott held out the cup to Roxy. She started lapping up the water. “What is that stuff at the bottom?” She thought, “It looks like meat! But this water doesn’t taste like meat. It tastes like something sweet and funny.”
    Roxy lapped harder and faster. Scott set the cup down on the blanket, holding it so the water didn’t spill out. Now the cup was almost vertical. Linda found a plate and spilled out what was left.
    Finally, Roxy could see the blueberries. “Oh, these are wonderful! Yummy, yummy, yummy!”
    Crunch, crunch, crunch. Roxy finished her blueberry “cocktail” and ate the remaining blueberries.
    “What will we do for the trip home?” asked Linda.
    “There’s that beautiful stream on the trail,” answered Scott. It should be okay for Roxy to drink from. Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that I’ve got myself a dog who loves blueberries.”
    “Don’t you mean, ‘we’?” asked Linda.
    Scott kissed her, “Yes, my sweet blueberry, we!”
    And Roxy started kissing both of them, jumping back and forth between them.

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