Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Rainbow’s End

end of a rainbow at a red barn 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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9 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Rainbow’s End”

  1. Pathway to the Moon

    He was in his nineties now. The war, his combat injuries, and life, had taken their toll.

    He was bedridden and sick. And there was no telling how much longer he had to live. So he spent time reflecting…

    Looking back, he thought everything would last; that he had all the time in the world; and that somehow he could hold the whole world in his hands. But over time his hold wasn’t as strong as he had thought: his grasp had weakened and things tended to slip away… carried along by a timeless wind…

    “Grandpa, look…”

    The old man opened his eyes.

    His granddaughter was standing on the bed, her left arm extended in the air. She had cupped her hand and placed it under the shining orb in the night sky.

    She turned her head and smiled. “Grandpa, I’m holding the moon.”

    He couldn’t speak. So he smiled and held up his hand.

    She looked at him with sparkling eyes.

    Then, hearing the other children, she jumped down from the bed and joined them in the living-room, where they played their games.

    He closed his eyes and heard them laughing…

    And their laughter became wings, resembling the wisps of a rainbow, bearing a secret innocence; an innocence that contained all his boyhood dreams; dreams that now drifted skyward along a coloured pathway to the moon.

  2. “I see the Jemisins have nailed their colours to the mast. Just goes to show there’s no smoke without fire.”

    “What’s that you mean, Husband? They’re just a couple of sisters making the best of life. They’re just doing their thing, bothering no one. It can’t be easy managing a farm when no one takes you seriously…”

    “Two women, though? Who’d have thought it? Rainbows all over their place. They’re hardly being subtle. When I was their age: you didn’t think such things, not even in private. It just wasn’t done. It ain’t American, that kind of thing.”

    “I like it, myself. That farm’s always been in their family. Right back to when Adam was a boy. Jemisins have worked that land forever, and I think it’s cool that they’re…”

    “Cool? You think it’s cool? Women in business? Who’d have thought it possible? Just because John Henry – God bless his soul – couldn’t manage to produce a son to pass his farm to when he died, you think it’s right his daughters carry on? I offered them a good price for all his acres – at family rates, of course. They wouldn’t consider it for a second, either of them. Ideas above their station, both those girls.”

    Moira sighs, heavily, giving it extra emphasis.

    “I think you need to calm yourself. Lower your blood pressure. Play some of your old vinyl records. I would have suggested one of your favourite Pink Floyd albums if you hadn’t smashed them all.”

  3. For Editors’ Choice Only

    That his barn had been spared was nothing short of a miracle. Standing there with the sun at his back, its white-hot light rent apart like heaven itself only a few minutes earlier, it was difficult for him to comprehend why the storm, at the last moment, had zigzagged unexpectedly to the north, spinning Persson’s milk barn into the sky, and sending the old man’s cows soaring like hawks in flight.
    Folks down in the hollow later said it was like nothin’ they’d ever witnessed, and some of them are pretty much gettin’ on in years. Viggo Swenson said he found a piece of straw driven straight through a small tree trunk as if it had been threaded through a needle by Astrid Svenson, the pretty young seamstress who was found buried beneath the rubble of her small shop in the town center, her dead hand still on the wheel of an ancient sewing machine.
    Sheriff Karlsson was able to get his squad car out of the police station’s garage before the tornado lifted the roof off the structure; not so lucky was the town’s fire chief, who barely was able to dive under his desk before the entire station collapsed to the ground.
    Regrettably, ask as people did, Father Johansson has yet to explain why bad things happen to good people.

  4. Rainbowed

    Though I didn’t know him well, I considered him my friend. That might sound pretentious as we had barely exchanged one hundred words over the years. We would pass each other on the street, nod a mutual acknowledgment, and occasionally comment on the weather. We had lots of weather, of course, and as you might know, weather commentary allows neutrality, a sanctuary of conversational safety most other subjects do not permit.

    Rain was frequent in our county, cold wet rain that limited interaction, that chilled the voice, and encouraged a rush to safe cover, the porch of the General Store, a refuge, huddled.

    But there was also the heat of summer. Perhaps that last summer was the time I remember most. It was mid august. There had been a fierce summer rain and then brightness, the sun, and the rainbow.
    I was on a long walk and passed his small home. He hailed me and invited me to sit down on a patio outside his giant barn.

    He poured iced tea and offered some sweet biscuits he had baked that morning.

    “It’s good to see you,” he said. “What brought you down my street?”

    I confessed that it was not my usual walking circuit.

    “Life can be like that,” he said, “A mystery…why we do some things and not others.”

    I couldn’t argue his point.

    We spent an hour exchanging small lies, a few truths, and then I carried on.

    News of his passing yesterday still haunts me.

  5. Rainbow’s Message

    Brad had been looking for some direction. He finished his service to the country and wondered if he should have just signed up for another four years.

    He decided the best thing to do was to return to the farm his family owned for many generations and hopefully that would give him the answer he sought. His father had wished him well when Brad had explained that he had to serve his country and he would decide later whether his life would follow in the direction of his father and ancestors.

    However, life’s plan is never easy. During his last four years of service, his father and mother both passed away. Without any siblings, the farm hasn’t been cared for and he has received letters from the town and neighbors about its neglect. Brad felt some guilt of his earlier decision and not being there during their last days.

    His own life improved, married two years ago and a son. Signing up for another tour would be a continued hardship on Mary, but he could serve locally.

    *.*.*

    The sudden thunderstorm made driving up the two-lane road from the center of town dangerous. The rain and hail pounded down on his car like someone was throwing buckets at his return.

    As quickly as it had started it stopped. When he got to the farm, he witnessed the rainbow’s end reaching down to the barn.

    His father’s final message! It was the sign he needed.

  6. Rainbow’s End

    “Hey, Grandpa, look at that rainbow. Think I’ll take the truck and see what’s on the other side of the barn. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a pot of gold”

    “Don’t waste your time or our gas, Johnny. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 80 years, it’s that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

    “Well if you don’t seek, you won’t find. Isn’t that what mom use to say?”

    “Yeah, your mom was a dreamer, that’s for sure. If you’ve gotta go, hurry up and get back here so we can finish this job.”

    Johnny trotted to the Ford, fired it up, and drove around the back of the barn. About ten minutes later he returned. A young blonde woman, about Johnny’s age, got out of the passager’s side.

    “Grandpa, this is Goldie Potts. Her Jeep broke down.”

    “Goldie Potts? For real? Did you break down on South County Road?”

    “Yes, I’m a photographer and I have always dreamed of taking a photo of a rainbow looking up from the end. This one was perfect. I think my Jeep’s water pump is gone. When it heated up, I pulled over and ran to the end of the rainbow.”

    “A dreamer, huh?”

    “Yes, if you don’t follow your dream, it won’t come true. Do you think I could get Johnny to take me to town? After we fix the Jeep we’ll help you with that Combine.”

    “He’s all yours.”

  7. It’s said you can never go home again. And then I got the invitation to my high school reunion.

    We’d left the old home place right after I graduated. It was amidst the big agricultural shakeout of the 1980’s, when you either got big or got out. When Dad’s efforts to get more acreage came to naught, there wasn’t much choice but to find a town job.

    That meant packing up and moving halfway across the state. I would’ve been going to college anyway, but now “going home” took me to a strange place. I had more friends at school than my supposed home. Getting my degree meant another move to a job in a distant city.

    So I had no idea what to expect on the way back. I knew the high school had undergone extensive remodeling when our district consolidated with our biggest football rival. But what had happened to the house where I’d grown up? Would it even be there?

    As luck would have it, the weather would turn rainy on the appointed day. As I drove through the downpour, I considered whether I even wanted to leave the highway, to go on that little country road back to the old home place, all the way to the corner where the bus always turned on the way home.

    And then the clouds parted, and across the cloudy sky stretched a rainbow. Ahead, right at its foot, I could see the old familiar barn.

  8. Kay finished reminiscing about her village. Then with a hustle and bustle, she realised that the time was galloping towards mid-morning and she had failed to produce a hearty breakfast. So charging like a steam locomotive, she went back to the bakery in a full steam of angered words as fat plump drops of rain began to fall.

    I looked back at the sprawling bakery that had become a home for far too long. The building was sprawling, full of mysteries, hidden corners, crannies and surprises. Yet in my mind’s eye, the Bakery was “Rainbow’s End”; it was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some believe that “Man plans and God laughs.” We survivors had planned to search for other survivors, but here we still were hunkered down in a homely Bakery. Why? Because there was something about the Bakery, location and Kay which felt just right. Just like home in fact! Were we seduced by home made meals, comfortable beds, and a feeling of security? Obviously. The lazy river offered transportation, fish and a lovely quietness. Was it wrong to stay and enjoy a quiet life rather than trudge on into the unknown searching for others? Others who could be an almighty friend or a terrible foe?

    Just as the dreamiest rainbow appeared behind the Bakery, the sense of tranquility was badly broken by a shrill voice, “Get out of the rain. You are a darn fool!”

  9. ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY

    Mary was a clever little girl… everyone said so, and when she saw the rainbow shining into the forest, she thought:
    
“I shall find where the rainbow ends and the leprechauns and their pot of gold as well. I will get the gold from them and give it to my mother… for I am a clever girl.”

    Ever were her eyes on brilliant rainbow which led her far into the darkening forest. Soon she came to a clearing that glowed with the many colored beams of the rainbow, and in it was a large black cauldron, atop which sat a small creature in a funny green suit. He looked up at her and gave her a thin sad smile.

    ”Oh, you have found us. You are a very clever girl indeed! I guess you are here for our gold.”

    “Yes”, replied Mary, “I will give it my mother to care for my sick grandmother.”

    The forest imp looked about, “What say you fellows, should we give our gold to this clever girl?”

    Out of the surrounding trees, a number of leprechauns stepped out and gathered around Mary.

    “Yes”. They said, “but she must join us for dinner first, for the journey home is long and there is little food in the forest.”

    Mary agreed for she was very hungry.

    “It will be wonderful to have you for dinner”, said head leprechaun.

    He and the other imps smiled, revealing their needlelike teeth.

    “We think you’ll be quite tasty.”

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