Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Summer Memories

boys playing on a beach copyright K.S. 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!

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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Summer Memories”

  1. Joe’s Trip Back

    “I’d do that. Just as the sun was rising, sneak down the stairs, slip out the door, get on my bike, and head to the beach. It was a long ride…flat roadway mostly, and the whizzing down the hill to the bay…”

    “Lights out Joe.”

    “Yeah yeah…I’m talking.”

    “To yourself, Joe…and loudly.”

    Loudly. A fellow can’t hear himself think unless he speaks. And now they want to muzzle me. That’s their answer to everything. ‘SHUT UP, Joe. We’ve heard it all before.’ A guy’s got a right to his memories. It’s a free country. Should be, anyways. Used to be. When I was…when I was young. I’d usually get to the bay on a summer’s day about eight in the morning. Usually the first. Sometimes not. Sometimes Lucy would be there earlier. If the tide was out, and if it was early enough in the summer, she‘d be clamming away, digging them razor clams. I’d often offer to help, to carry the bucket up to her place which was right across the road. How lucky she was…lived her whole life across from the beach, raised her kids, saw them leave, two husbands, she said once. Some days I‘d stay for lunch, chowder usually, but other times, sometimes my favorite, baked clams with bacon and garlic…

    “Quiet Joe. Warning ya.”

    Right. Right. I was there the day Lucy’s heart gave out. Sixteen then. We’d been beach buddies for almost seven years. She was free until the very end.

  2. Summer Memories
    (A Tasty Tale)

    Edwina and Chalmers embraced.

    As they kissed, she whispered softly in his ear, “Dearest, you’re standing on my foot.”

    “Sorry Sweetie.” He looked at her. “Why are you chewing on my nose?”

    “I’m hungry,” she cooed. “I wish I had some fries.”

    Chalmers smiled. “I have a surprise for you.” He knelt on one knee and presented her with a container of french fries.

    “Is that the large size?”

    “Small.”

    “With ketchup? You know I love ketchup.”

    “No my love…”

    She turned from him and, in a melancholy tone, declared, “How could you bring me an order of small fries? How could the man I love forget the ketchup?” She began to weep.

    “My dearest, forgive me. The drive-thru was closing. This is all I could…”

    “Your excuses are making things worse.” Edwina slowly turned to him. “I never minded when you were out all hours playing miniature golf with your chad bros. But to forget the ketchup…” She wept.

    Chalmers stood, dropped the fries, and held her in his arms. “My love, I would buy you a dozen cookies, if that would undo my thoughtless deed.”

    She sniffed. “With chocolate chips?”

    “Yes.”

    “All for me?”

    “Every one.”

    “With chocolate milk?”

    “A whole carton.”

    Just then an alert sounded on Edwina’s phone. “OMG,” she cried.

    “What is it?”

    “My summer is ruined.”

    “Why?”

    She looked at Chalmers and, with tears in her eyes, whimpered, “Bethany now has more social media followers than I do.”

  3. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY

    Distanced Sunshine

    Tangerine spheres clang against a rusted hoop, calculating the mounting score. Gaze trained on the ring with intermittent focus on the hands in my peripherals. A circulating goji berry light accompanies a blistering siren.

    The slap of our hands lacerates the steel structure. Electricity erupts and I scoop my bouncing coconspirator into my arms, bobbing with him until the excitement dissipates.

    We stride onto the rotting slats. A penguin occupies one hand whilst the other is entwined with George’s. Exposed above the crystal depths, the wind tugs at his pomegranate tendrils until I subconsciously push a hand through my short hair. Fried batter and salt dance on the breeze, beckoning a rumble.

    A lilting chuckle echoes beside me. Rerouting us, George orders a portion of indulgently greasy cheese-lathered chips. Planting a minuscule oak fork into my hand before spearing a chip for himself. I mimic his expression as a sated grin dimples his cheeks.

    I shove the bare polystyrene container into an overflowing bin. Returning to a spacious blanket splayed across the sun-kissed granules, I slump onto the thick material, searching for life beyond the baltic horizon. A calloused hand guides my chin downwards as the owner settles his head on my lap. His captivating butler blue eyes take on shards of meadowbrook under the currents of light.

    An overbearing ring distorts my reality. Grappling with my phone, I answer, revealing my favourite pair of stormy portals surrounded by camouflage.

    “How’s Kenya?” I embrace my neighbouring vacant pillow.

  4. They say you can never go home again. I just never expected it to apply to my childhood vacation spots too.

    Connor had many fond memories of visiting this beach in his childhood and youth. His parents weren’t that well off, but they pooled their money with another family from the local Friends Meetinghouse to rent a beach house for the weekend. It might be a bit crowded, but all their moms loved it because they had a full kitchen with a real fridge, so they could fix actual meals.

    And those meals were always twice as tasty as the same thing back home, probably because all of us were famished from playing outdoors from dawn to dusk.

    Today this place had none of the old excitement. Was it just that he was grown up, that he was now the dad watching his daughter run and play?

    Or was there something deeper than mere adulthood, the assumption of new roles? He heard the talk, about how the country was no longer what it used to be. Angry conversations, resentful comments, things people might not have said so readily had they realized who and what he was.

    To be honest, the question had nagged at him ever since he came home from the Energy Wars, a decade and a half ago. How much had he changed, and how much had his country changed?

    And now a new question – what could he do about it?

  5. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY

    Summer Memories

    “Shirley!” I know that shrill anywhere, I turn so fast, I almost trip. “Why are you hosing down this patio?” Mama questions me with such a bite.

    “It’s so dang hot out here, and I need to cool off in the pool I’m filling.” With such determination, I continue.

    “‘Cept, you ain’t filling nothing, stupid girl!” Mama’s voice is trailing off, as she retreats back in the house.

    My brother August steps out, hands me a bucket. “Here now, don’t pay any mind to that ol’ sourpuss. Fill this right up, plop your butt down in the cold water, you’ll like this more. Heck, the water is running off the patio, no walls to keep it in.”

    “August, please take me to the ocean. I want to have summertime memories with you digging at the beach, ducking under the waves and playing all day in the sun!”

    We both know it ain’t happening, until he’s old enough to drive us there. I can only dream about it. Ma doesn’t leave the house.

  6. Summer Memories

    KSB Bakery’s experienced baker, abundant food supplies and solar power swayed us to recuperate.

    Evening, we luxuriated with cocoa around an indoor fire.

    The other British Expatriate opened nightly storytelling, “My Dad annually drove us to Cromer to visit his wealthy Aunt who lived in neighbouring Overstrand. The unpredictable British weather meant a two-week summer holiday of being scorched by the sun, sand blasted, frozen in the sea and hiding from deluge in the rented beach hut. Mariana and I sat in the Vauxhall Viva ‘s backseat while Dad demanded quiet.

    “At the chalet, Dad and Mum unpacked miscellaneous leftover picnic food, rugs and battered suitcases. As a family carrying thermos flasks, sandwiches and whatnot, we climbed the cliffs. Salty air teased us with promises of sand sculptures and rock pools. To the sound of Dad knocking the wind breaker into the sand, my younger sister and I ran off giggling. The wind tugged my sister’s long straight hair while it played in my short darker curls. We waded in shallow pools armed with our colourful seaside buckets. My sister examined a curved intricately designed shell before dropping it into her pail of sea water, pebbles and seaweed.

    “As the older bossy sister, I made Mariana handle starfish. She delicately placed creatures on my plastic spade before I slid them into my bucket. Crabs walked sideways over rippled sand like so many drunken men. The distant Victorian pier crawled with hopeful fishermen and holiday makers. Happy Summer Memories.”

  7. Same as it ever was. Except today, though they didn’t know it yet, things would never be the same again . . . not tomorrow, not next week, not ever.
    The twins, of course, had no reason to expect anything would change. Hadn’t they been here many times before. Only that morning they and their mother had taken the train from Grand Central Station to her grandparent’s house on Long Island, there to stay for the entire month of August. This is something they had done every summer since they were born nine years earlier. The entire series of events leading up to their vacation was well-scripted, beginning with their mom starting the packing process in mid-July. Mom, after all, was the one who shouldered all the responsibility.
    Dad, a partner in a major Wall Street financial firm, barely spent any time at all in their penthouse condominium overlooking Central Park, even on weekends. Just as well. What with the Fed raising interest rates and the ensuing market gyrations crashing the indices, his mood was perpetually foul. He wasn’t even home when the boy’s mother phoned for the Black Car that took them to the train station, hailed a porter, purchased their tickets, and got them to the correct gate with time to spare before their train departed.
    Now, as they played in the waters off Montauk, they were completely unaware their father was moving out of their building and in with his secretary.

  8. “Those two kids are clamming. Let me tell you a story of when your uncle and I went clamming when we were young.

    “It had been a long drive to that scenic bay. There were four of us on this trip, your grandparents, uncle Billy and myself. Tippy, our Irish Setter mix wasn’t going to be left at home on this trip. We had grandpa’s motor home, so there wasn’t going to be any problem with ‘no dogs allowed.’

    “Your grandfather told us that we could go clamming since it was low tide.

    “Boots on, we grabbed the shovel and pail and ran down the path to the bay.

    “It was tough walking in the mud, and the sound of our boots sinking in, sounded like grandpa sipping his milkshake.

    “Grandpa had told us to find any standing water and look for a little hole appearing, which was an indication of a clam below.

    “Pretty soon we had the bucket filled with clams.

    *.*.*

    “Uncle Billy told me to listen…Tippy was barking up a storm.

    “When I turned, I noticed she was running back and forth between Gramma and Grandpa and the path leading to the bay. They saw me looking back and started waving. I thought they must be happy we were having so much fun, but we learned Tippy had alerted them that the tide was coming in.

    “We were lucky to get to shore, because the tide quickly filled the bay and we could have drowned.”

  9. “Do you have to bring him to the table”, I asked?

    “Crabby get’s hungry too, y’know… he’s gotta eat”, said Molly, my four year old, offering a morsel of her dinner to the tiny creature perched on her shoulder.

    The “creature” was a small sand crab she had found at the beach a few months ago. Since then, ’Crabby’ had been her constant companion. It was endearing to listen to her talk to it… with the inexhaustible word supply of a four year old… or to see the minuscule paper hats she made for the crustacean. (Crabby actually seemed to parade (after a fashion) forth and back… as if he were modeling the tiny chapeaus.) Crabby even slept with Molly, cuddled in the hollow between her neck and shoulder. She really loved that little crab.

    “Crabby loves me too, y’know”, she said one day, “he told me.”

    “Oh, so he talks to you?”

    “Yup… he says he’s my protector… my knight in beige armor.”

    I guess she was right. That night, as I leaned in to kiss her goodnight, Crabby scuttled from his place on her neck, glaring at me with his tiny eye stalks, and waving is little claws at me, ready to defend his Molly.

    Looking at him, I quietly whispered,” It’s okay… I love her too.” Believe this or not, I swear the little crab bowed slightly in acceptance, lowered his claws, retreated to his place on her neck, and went back to sleep.

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