Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Next Generation

young cowboys on horseback 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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6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Next Generation”

  1. “You know she’s not going to make it, right?” the older one remarked to his brother as the two of them returned to the barn before sundown late in the day near the end of March. It had been a tough winter, and now, the creeks were overflowing, flooding the farm’s pastures, making it even more difficult to get corn silage to the cattle.
    The younger one, lips pursed and arms folded across the saddle horn, nodded. The cattle weren’t the only thing on his mind. A year earlier their father’s tractor had tipped over on top of him while he was clearing snow at the entrance to the farm’s driveway off County Highway 401. The old man—his Christian name was Christopher, but everyone called him Kit—had been pushing the snow towards the side of the road when the right front wheel of the tractor slid into the drainage ditch. He tried to jump clear, but the tractor rolled over on him. He died a horrible death.
    Kit’s wife, Olivia, and the boys tried to carry on without him, but it was difficult. Given her cancer treatments and the lack of insurance, the family was drowning in debt and the bank was about to foreclose on the farm.
    “I jus’ don’t make sense to me, Billy,” the younger one muttered. “Why do bad things have to happen to good people?”

  2. Here They Come And There We Go

    “Hey, Whinnie. You listening?”

    “To what, Buck.”

    “To the two heavyweights we’re carrying.”

    “Not particularly.”

    “How come?”

    “It’s just not all that interesting to me. I go where I’m told. I’m no eavesdropper.”

    “But these two goobers are planning something. Something big even. You gotta pay attention these days. Their plans could impact us. Severely impact us.”

    “Yeah, I heard that palaver. Something ‘bout plain rubbery. Made no sense to me. I do bounce a bit, my legs sometimes seem like elastic bands, and you gotta admit that neither of us are spring chickens anymore. Chickens can be rubbery, I suppose. Do you think these two were calling us chickens? I don’t think I like name-calling. Kinda rude.”

    “Nah. They know we’re horses. I do think you oughta get your hearing checked though. Can’t go through life pretending you don’t care what’s going on around you. And, if you recall, we do belong to the Hole in the Wall Gang. These two junior members seem to want to go off on their own.”

    “What’s that got to do with this plain rubbery nonsense?”

    “Not PLAIN RUBBERY, you ninny. TRAIN ROBBERY.”

    “Really. Don’t like the sound of that. Been There! Done that! Lotsa running. Getting close up to that beast of a machine. Don’t they call trains Iron Horses?”

    “Yup. In some circles.”

    “I’m too old to chase Iron Horses. Even fleshy ones.”

    “Let’s hope Butch and Sundance straighten them out.”

    “Hooves crossed.”

  3. The Obit

    Spire, Gina – June, 12 – after a brief illness.

    She is survived by her devoted son John J. (JJ)… owner of the JJ Spire Tire Recapping and Tattoo Center… who would like to remind you that although it’s too late for mom, there’s still plenty of time for you to run down and join the JJ Spire Tire Recapping and Tattoo Center’s exclusive “Million Mile Tire Club”!!! Don’t forget to sign up now to be eligible for JJ’s massive 12% off on recaps or 10% off on any Grim Reaper, tombstone, or casket themed tattoos… this week only. So JOIN TODAY!!! Feeling flat and deflated? Come on in to JJ Spire Tire Recapping Center and Tattoo Parlor and we’ll fix you right up!!!

    … and his wife Lucy.

    Services will be held in Bay 3 at the JJ Spire Tire Recapping and Tattoo Center, 1625 Klamath Place, just outside the Whistle Stop Mini Mart in downtown Menominee where at JJ’s, where tire recapping not just a business, it’s a way of life!!! So come on down… and bring the kiddies!

    In lieu of flowers, please visit: JJ Spire Tire Recapping and Tattoo Center, for all your tat and tire needs, STOP BY TODAY!!!

    Remember, There’s Nothing Like A Spire Tire!!!

  4. “Okay, Bud, do you want to tell me what that was all about? You’re going to kill yourself, that horse, or both. I know we haven’t seen each other for months, but that was out of character for you!”

    “Just had to get some burrs off my butt.”

    “Keep your butt to yourself, let’s talk…what’s going on?”

    “If you need to know…just thinking of my dad.”

    “Yeah, I heard he was quite the old cowboy.”

    “Yes, he was, but I didn’t appreciate him, or the ‘old cowboy’ he was.”

    “Let’s have it.”

    “Riding this horse brought back some memories. He taught me to ride, to shoot a pistol, a rifle and a shotgun. He said I had a natural talent.”

    “Sounds good to me. So, what’s wrong?”

    “He always had a can of chewing tobacco in his back pocket, but I couldn’t stand it.”

    “Is that what’s bothering you?”

    After a long pause, “No, not really…just too many things. He wanted me to take a couple of weeks to go with him, ‘sleep under the stars,’ ‘navigate by the North star,’ ‘eat beans and franks and whatever we killed,’ but I didn’t have the time.”

    “He should have called me; I would have gone in a heartbeat.”

    “Funny, you used that expression. His heart gave out while he was alone on that trip…I wasn’t there for him; I didn’t have the time! I should have known better…I owed him to make time. Don’t make the same mistake with your dad.”

  5. Next Generation of Post-Apocalypse Survivors

    As I stood there looking at the broken fence, my thoughts clashed one against another. The devastating apocalypse. Our group shifting between hope, despair and worry, people in disrepair like Kay in the aftermath. Perhaps at this point, I zoned out because there was too much for my brain to handle.

    Suddenly, I was aware of a strong smell of animal. There was a distant snicker which our horse, Black Beauty answered. Around the corner of the Bakery the twins emerged like two confident cowboys carrying lassos, wearing cowboy hats, and riding two brown horses. The twins never failed to surprise us! How on earth, had they gone out to quietly survey the area and returned with two thoroughbreds?
    The twins tripped over words, overlapped and interrupted each other as a group of curious gathered. The comical excitable pair were misguidedly self-satisfied that their mumbo jumbo was understood!

    Slipping to the ground in unison, they tipped their hats to the ladies and swaggering like two broncos led their horses away.

    The Twins in a way represented a New Generation of Post Apocalypse Survivors. After reconnaissance, they magically returned in disguise like double versions of James Bond. This New Generation needed chastising for taking unwarranted risks. They could not jeopardise their own safety and that of the groups. Meanwhile though, Black Beauty nickered with delight. Her soft purring sound floated over the horses in a kindly hospitable way.

  6. The day just invited a ride out on the range. Even if it hadn’t, Cory would’ve wanted to go up and check the north slope fences. But today was a perfect day to take David out for a ride, spend some time together, father and son.

    In the movies, this would be where the father would say, “Some day all this will be yours,” and they’d have a super-meaningful conversation about how the ranch had been in the family for generations, and how to carry on that tradition and raise the next generation of Caldwells or Fishers or whatever. Except he couldn’t, and not just because his temperament didn’t run to melodrama.

    For starters, Wild River Ranch wasn’t something handed down through the generations. He and his wife had bought it in the aftermath of the Expulsions, and to be honest, he’d always felt a little guilty about that fact. Ruby’s older sister had been among the people who’d been targeted, all because her life had been saved by biotechnology. But how would it have benefitted anyone to leave this place abandoned – and it did enable him, a younger son, to carry on the family tradition of ranching.

    And truth be told, that sister was who Cory wanted to talk to David about. Or more specifically, her son, who showed up a few weeks ago to visit, happy to pitch in with work around the ranch – and then left just as mysteriously three days ago.

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