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.
6 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Found”
“Don’t you ever think this is all pointless?” Keeper Joe said, his eyes on the horizon. “We look out for shipping, then we drive it away. It seems so very futile, the whole of what we do.”
“Better that than let them crash into the rocks and get wrecked. And at least it proves we’re not alone, stuck out here on this rock. Of course, we ARE alone, just the two of us, stationed in this lighthouse, but at least we’ve the knowledge there are others still out in the world.”
Keeper Joe turned back to look at the other lookout. He lifted his binoculars, then dropped them again, letting them swing from their lanyard.
“But suppose,” he said. “Suppose they’re unmanned? Suppose they’re all being guided by remote control? Or maybe there’s a computer onboard – an artificial intelligence at the helm. They could set sail from the harbour and travel to the next port, all of it without the need for human intervention. Even the loading and unloading of their cargoes; that could be done by robots, operating the cranes, doing all the menial tasks dockers used to do.”
The second lookout hummed for a moment. He used it to add a breathing space before his responses in their conversations: an affectation specifically designed to give Keeper Joe more time to think.
“Have I ever told you how unique you are,” he said. “It’s better you never think such things. Just resign yourself to your service and wait.”
For Editors’ Choice Only
According to the town’s records, it was Elias Potter who erected the first crude lighthouse on Promontory Point, a geographical feature that juts into the North Atlantic from the southern Maine coast.
Surrounded by “The Shallows” as the local population knows them—The Shallows being a broad expanse of coastline that, at low tide, comprises miles upon miles of exposed, jagged rocks—the area has long been a graveyard for ships attempting to make safe harbor under adverse conditions in Smythstown to the north, a major trading center for the region in colonial days. At that time, during storms or when fog enveloped the area, ships hoping to make port often ended up on the rocks, where they were dashed to pieces, their cargoes scattered by the waves, with whatever survived left as prizes for scavengers.
Not that Elias didn’t enjoy the largesse offered by the ferocity of the sea. He often was among the first to join the throngs as they swooped down from Promontory Point after a disaster, there to gather as quickly as possible the “treasures” strewn among the rocks before the returning waters engulfed The Shallows and washed everything out to sea.
For Elias, however, this all stopped and construction of the first lighthouse began when, to his horror, upon the sinking of Cutlass, he found the body of his younger brother, Nathanial, in a cove among the wreckage, the family bible firmly clutched in his brother’s bloodied hand.
The lighthouse was a popular spot for tourists. It was a beautiful day. Excitement filled the teen triplets as they walked there.
They made their way up the creaky steps. Once they reached the top, the three was in for a surprise.
“What’s that smell?” Mark asked.
Jenny and Chloe said in unison, “It smells like the soap in grandmother’s bathroom. Lilacs!”
A gas lantern glowed on a small table, giving them a strange feeling. They peered around. Pointing their phone’s flashlight, they saw a small mouse, the only occupant found.
“I’m getting out of here,” said Chloe.
“Me too,” said Jenny.
“Wait, guys,” said Mark. “We should investigate. There might be a clue to who’s been here.”
“Whoever it was is gone by now,” said Chloe. “Let’s go.”
The trio left the lighthouse, unsure of who had been there or why.
Rumors in town revealed flicker of lights in the windows at night. Others said they saw someone coming to and from the lighthouse.
The mystery person turned out to be, Adeline Masters. She visited there for years, ever since her husband died at sea. She kept the lights on at night, with hopes of his return.
The next morning after breakfast, the triplets sat on a bench waiting for their parents to pay the check. Facing the wall was a plaque that read:
“In memory of Adeline Masters” Born 1910 – Died 1930.
Found- Lost and to be Found Again
Kay always surprised us with a magnificent lunch. Today, however KSB’s Bakery remained devoid of heavenly cooking aromas, heated ovens and Kay’s hustle and bustle. Curiously, I exited the kitchen to search for the proprietor who I located self-absorbed at the water’s edge.
Sensing my presence, Kay began, “When I was a slip of a girl, I used to bring Pa his meals when he fished all day. Sometimes, he found it necessary to escape because our family was large and loud, ruled by Ma, a shrew of a woman. Walking up the cliff with the salty air stinging my face, I had a picture perfect view of the lighthouse. Magnificent- so solid and regal.
“One day I ‘found’ my husband. Kean was just sitting on the lighthouse steps looking alone and desolate. Much later, he thanked me for ‘finding’ him and saving him from loneliness. You see once his Mother died, all joy and life was sucked out of the lighthouse for his Father. His Father lost his will to live, be happy. He barely spoke to Kean.
“Kean said I saved him by providing companionship. After that first meeting, I always volunteered to bring Pa his meal and place a little something special for the handsome young man. I ‘found’ Kean, married him, had a family and Bakery with, but I lost him. A few months ago, he took the rowboat and never returned. He must be ‘found’ again.”
‘Next Chapter Found!’
‘Yaquina Bay Lighthouse = January 2023’
‘This makes it official – ‘
‘The bones of two bodies were found recently during the reconstruction of a portion of the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse in Newport Oregon.’
‘Based on forensics, one of the bodies is believed to be that of Muriel Trevenard, who reportedly went missing in 1899. To add some additional dimension to the legend, she reportedly went back into the lighthouse to retrieve the handkerchief she dropped in the kitchen. Friends with her at the time, heard her screams, but never found a trace of her.’
‘When her bones were discovered, there was a deteriorated handkerchief found near her resting place. The initials were faint but ‘MT’ the best analysis.’
‘The other bones found only a few feet away, were that of a tall man.’
A local reporter noted that years after Muriel’s disappearance, the man she was with that night, Harold, strangely disappeared years later. Friends of his indicated that he was possessed and couldn’t understand why he could not locate her that original night, and returned to the light house almost annually.
Could he have gone back years later to be with Muriel in her final resting place, or is there even more to this no longer ‘fictional’ story?
My legs are begging for mercy, but I have another mile of hard peddling before I can rest. It would’ve been easier in a car, but these days you just can’t get a nondescript car that doesn’t have a dozen electronic trackers in it. Sure, there are still old cars that don’t have them, but anything that old sticks out too much. Not exactly what you want on a dead-drop pickup, so a bicycle it has to be.
Up ahead is the old lighthouse. A century ago, there would’ve been a lighthouse keeper, who would’ve been a complication if he’d been on the other side. Nowadays everything is automated, and someone comes by on a regular basis to check. We don’t send couriers at those times.
The pickup point is a bit away from the lighthouse, to avoid the security cameras and motion detectors. My biggest problem is finding the spot quickly, without a lot of waste motion that might attract attention. Let it look like a cyclist just needed a breather.
I round the last curve and see the cars. Not regular cops, so not an ordinary accident.
Which leaves the Feds. Either they suspect or they’ve found the cache.
In any case, I can’t let them suspect me. Keep peddling and wave as I go by, like it’s the most ordinary thing in the world.
I’ll go home by another route. There are ways to pass the word when a drop is compromised, but they require caution.
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