Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Need for Speed

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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Need for Speed”

  1. Chaos in the Morning

    “Why are we making the print on the product labels so small?” asked Rusty. It was one of dozens of androids employed in the factory. All the androids wore microscope lens in order to write small print.

    Crank, a fellow robot, glanced over. “Make humans believe their eyesight is failing and increase the sale of eyeglasses. Besides, who wants them to know what’s actually in the products?”

    They both laughed.

    A short time later, Rusty blurted out, “I can’t see.”

    Crank shook its head. “Idiot. Don’t touch your glass lens right after you’ve picked your nose.”

    “Oh, yea,” Rusty chuckled. It took its thick glasses off and wiped them clean. Then it looked at Crank. “Why does everything have to be so complicated?”

    It shrugged.

    Later in the day, Rusty remarked, “Look at this: We’re even doing small print in the driving manuals.”

    Crank smiled. “If humans think they have poor eyesight, then they stay off the highways.”

    Rusty laughed, even as it struggled to write in 6-point font.

    Crank leaned back in its chair. “I’m thinking of moving over to the robot traffic division.”

    “And do what?”

    “Control traffic lights,” Crank replied. “I press green, vehicles go. I press red, they stop. Humans like to obey. And I like the power.” It thought for a moment. “Maybe I won’t press the green light… at all.” It laughed. “All those angry drivers yelling, honking horns.” Then it paused. “I tingle at the thought of chaos in the morning.”

  2. “I can hardly recognise my own voice, but this is Elsa.” The holo-bead hovered at head height, its avatar mode turned off, her mother’s words entering directly via the nexus implanted in Suzanne’s brain. “Excuse me for not appearing today – I’m feeling ugly and old. I’d prefer you to remember how I looked last time we met.”

    The bead buzzed like an irritated bee as it maintained its position, Suzanne throwing herself back onto her bed. She realised the implications of this message; why her mother had chosen to break the news this way. She’d half-suspected it as soon as she’d seen the bead waiting for her. Elsa had looked tired and frail when she’d collected her from the hospital. She’d prefer not to think how she might look now.

    “I’ve bought a car,” Elsa said. “A cute little white runabout. It’s disgraceful how low to the ground it is. My mother would have been ashamed of me seeing me clamber into it. Your grandfather would have just shook his head.”

    An image of the car appeared in place of the bead, fishtailing as it sent up twin plumes of rubber. It slewed around a bend and narrowly missed hitting a tree. If her mother wasn’t already dead, she soon would be.

    “It’s bloody exciting,” Elsa continued. “It makes me realise what I’ve been missing all this time. I’ve signed my estate over to you, so my time’s finally my own. I’m as free as a bird at last.”

  3. It’s been twenty years since the country outlawed gas-powered vehicles. However, many people kept classics hidden in storage facilities. They couldn’t be registered, or the government would confiscate them.

    Once a year, Carol took out her 796HP Mustang. Today was going to be special!

    No need today, to calculate the amount of power left in her electric vehicle, which looked like every other vehicle in the parking lot. If it wasn’t for the vehicle finder chip she had inserted in her head, it would be almost impossible to locate that piece of sh*t, which cost $750K.

    If my grandfather could see our situation, he would roll over in his grave. Boy, did he have some beautiful pieces of metal.

    She thought to herself, metal – no cars are made of it anymore, they’re all synthetics made from recycled whatever.

    *.*.*

    Two hours later, she parked her bright-yellow Mustang in the woods just off the mountain road in Rainier. The road was closed five years ago, because many of the remaining car enthusiasts used it to see if they could still drive over 100 mph. All roads were now limited to 45 mph to save electricity. To hell with all of them!

    Bright yellow, it didn’t matter, the illegal flow-through exhausts would alert anyone around for miles that a gas-powered vehicle was on the road.

    She was now on the deserted tree-lined roadway and floored it – thunder erupted…ten minutes later blue lights were behind her.

    Smiling, catch me if you can!

  4. Road Savvy

    It was a crisp autumn day. Some might have even called it a winter’s day. Splitting hairs, I figure. Whatever day it was, it was bracing. I was wearing socks. Being a sandals and barefoot guy, that told me what kind of day it was.

    Cold.

    Heartless.

    You get that way when it’s winter and love has moved on.

    When love has moved on, it’s time to put your mind to other things. Dwelling on the past gets you lost. The past is full of weeds and tall grass. All that flora will trip you up.

    Best to clear-cut away.

    It’s not all that hard to leave. You might think it is but, in truth, all it takes is a moment of extreme clarity.

    And a satchel.

    I was packed in minutes and out the door.

    No looking back for me.

    I felt empty at first, especially as I drove away and headed for the turnpike.

    And no looking back.

    It felt good to say it more than once.

    Reinforcement.

    That’s the way to drive something home.

    As I hit the open road, there was no glancing in the rear-view.

    The urge was there but I resisted.

    The emptiness started to fill up with something new.

    Or maybe it was old, and I’d forgotten.

    I couldn’t quite see my breath but once in the mountains, the high country, I was able to breathe again.

    I was filling up with my own air.

    It’d been a while.

  5. Need for Speed

    Eating doughnuts and drinking; we ate like gods dining on ambrosia and nectar. The dietitian hobbyist amongst us bemoaned the high sugar content, the empty calories, poor nutrition, lack of fibre and doughnuts being the worst food. Even so, a fine waterfall of sugar sprinkled down his clothes.

    While we ate, the twins inconspicuously entered the bakery. They always boasted during our evening meals around campfires or hidden in derelict buildings, that they were once secret operatives. Who actually would boast of any secretive career? I had grave doubts about their military training. The apocalypse wiped away everyone’s past. Birth certificates, identification, passports, work history, paper documentation and computer data were gone. We could tell each other almost anything about our past. Obviously, truth stretched only so far when boasted skills were tested daily. The apocalypse was like a rebirth. We could start a new life.

    KSB preferred being called Kay. Talking about her conservationist husband, Kay said he had insisted on solar energy. My eyes drifted to the roof where the solar panels glinted like a friendly eye.
    After a while, the twins returned and Kay fondly welcomed them back, “Boys, sit and eat!”

    A jittery Friedle, blurted, “A need for speed…” before her voice trailed off.

    Hearing this, I imagined a long endless road. Sweat poured down my face draining a salty film into my mouth, my laboured breathing sounded asthmatic, my pounding feet blocked all sound. Desperately, I ran looking for survivors. A future.

  6. Need for Speed

    Christmas like trees adorn this mountainous road. My small group has embarked on a guided bicycle tour. It should take two hours to reach the foothills. We’ve been told the rules of the road. Stay off to your right, single file. At the very least, keep a steady pace. The need for speed is evident for a few. They cycle further ahead, and have been reminded to keep at a slower pace. At least one of them adhered.

    I’ve become paralyzed with fear during a hairpin turn. Riding my break is not allowed.
    It becomes a trend with me. Several warnings have fallen onto deaf ears, our guide has radioed our support van to collect me and my bike. Secretly, I’m relieved.

    “Help yourself to coffee and donuts.” The driver recognizes my sheer embarrassment, tries to put me at ease. “This happens, due to the lack of experience .”

    Approaching the foothills, the two figures alongside the road, become visible. The need for speed has taken them out. Transported by ambulance, the ER’s findings will result in road rash. It could’ve been much worse!

    Not a long delay this has been. My stomach rumbles. I look forward to lunch with my group.

  7. Looks pretty good, I’d say. What do you think?

    How about the sky? It shouldn’t be all white. Maybe a bit of blue….hmm….and if the sky was white wouldn’t there be a cold wind blowing?

    How do you know there isn’t a wind blowing?

    The trees aren’t moving. If there was wind, skinny trees like these would be swaying, leaves would be falling and swirling around on the road. That’s another thing, where are the paper cups and plastic bottles, the bottle caps, the…

    Okay, okay, I get your point. but it is not up to me. You know that. Our leader is an old man, and this is how he remembers it, so this is the way it will be. If not he will squeeze the last drop out of us to fund his next project, probably for something that doesn’t even exist anymore.

    I know. You’re right. How did he get so powerful anyway?

    Nobody knows and nobody even cares. And maybe that’s just as well. C’mon. I’m ready for a beer. Like it or not, we’ve got another park to fix up tomorrow,

  8. “Go faster,” Joanne said.

    Faster? The trees were already screaming by in a blur, his legs ached, his breath burned in his chest. Roger couldn’t go any faster. He couldn’t even manage an objection.

    “Faster!” she cried. “Go! Go! Go!”

    Roger’s feet tangled, and he fell in a scraped, bruised heap on the pavement.

    “Up!” Joanne commanded. “The clock is running!”

    He couldn’t. He rolled onto his back and stared at the hazy sky. “I’m done,” he moaned.

    From her perch in the odd conveyance, Joanne sneered at him. “You can’t quit now. You’ve got to train up!”

    Roger pushed himself almost upright and sneered back. “This wasn’t my idea!” he growled. “You’re the one entered us in that idiot rickshaw race! I’m done!”

  9. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY

    Tag

    The wind threads through my loose hair, whipping it in varying directions as the chill slices my skin.

    My feet push off the ground with mounting force, drawing heavy breaths into my constricting lungs. The droplets from the recent rainfall are shaken from the trees, cooling my flushed skin. I glance to the side. Ha! Liam is in my dust.

    A determined growl tears through the distance. Ripples of scampering animals and fleeing birds sound from the surrounding woods. “That’s cheating!” I yell at the mass of pecan fur biting my heals.

    Letting my hazel eyes fall shut, I summon the silver until my paws are bounding off the dirt. Within a few powerful strides, I pass Liam like I do the spectating pine trees.

    Tiring of the growing distance, I dart in between the trunks. Overturning the damp soil as I weave amongst unrelenting shrubbery and hurdle over fallen logs.

    Snapping twigs crunch through the air, breaking under Liam’s unforgiving weight as he stumbles over the foliage. I duck behind a rocky dropped ledge, listening to the incoming stampede.

    I leap out, knocking the unsuspecting wolf to the ground. We tumble down the slope, a tangled blur of limbs.

    “What the hell Stella?” Liam mind links me as we’re deposited into the icey lake, “You’re dead meat now!”

    Clambering out, I shake the moisture from my grey fur, “We’ll see, catch me if you can!”

    Liam snaps at my tail, spurring me on.

    So, the chase continues.

  10. The tall pines on either side blurred in Mikhael Yehuda’s peripheral vision. Speeding past such large trees so close to the side of a narrow, two-lane road still unnerved him – and they were small compared to the giant redwoods further north.

    But he had to get to Sparta Point with the news that Elaine and the boys were safe, before Spartan found out they’d been swept up in the Expulsions. Although Spartan might have a reputation for stony coldness in certain circles, he was in fact fiercely devoted to his wife and children.

    And if he hears they’ve been tossed on a plane and sent off to the Russian Empire, he’ll be off to Moscow as fast as he can get a flight. Never mind his actions in the Red Resurgence make him a traitor in the eyes of Imperial law, and he keeps his freedom only because he stays hidden at Sparta Point, he’ll brook no mistreatment of his family.

    Already Mikhael was wondering if he’d made a mistake in driving all the way from San Francisco, rather than arranging a flight to Eureka. At the consulate, getting the news from Jerusalem, it had seemed to make sense to hit the road rather than hassle with airport security. Now, he was getting a sharp reminder that all of Israel could fit into some of California’s larger counties – and at this point there was nothing to do but keep driving.

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