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.
10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Almost”
ELIGIBLE FOR EDITOR’S CHOICE ONLY
The New Attraction
The city had just gained a new attraction – a plant called “Audrey II”. It was a large, exotic plant with deliciously fragrant flowers.
A city official named Frank gave a speech at its unveiling: “Ladies and gentlemen, Audrey II is truly a one of a kind plant. It has everything – beauty, fragrance, and…”
Suddenly, one of the vines of Audrey II snapped out and grabbed Frank, pulling him towards its gaping maw.
The crowd screamed, but Frank grabbed a nearby microphone stand and pummeled the attacking vine, causing it to retract. He was shaken, but unhurt, and the crowd cheered as he stood up and smiled.
What no one realized was Audrey II was a giant man-eating plant.
In order to keep the plant, visitors were required to sign waivers before entering the exhibit, and the city hired a team of expert botanists to keep a close eye on it.
But Audrey II was smart, and it knew exactly what to do. It began to lure unsuspecting visitors into its clutches, putting on its most innocent face until it was too late.
As losses in visitors mounted, the city reluctantly decided the plant had to be removed.
But a botanist named Seymour had an idea – he would change the plant’s diet and feed it vegetables.
The suspicious plant was hesitant at first, but it soon came to enjoy the new diet. It especially liked chewing on potato skins.
Everyone was thrilled, and Audrey II became the “vegetarian” man-eating plant.
Almost Missed You…
I have looked for weeks for the perfect specimen.
Almost giving up more times than I know.
It was just one of those sunny days, and I decided to take off.
I had never gone down this tree path before, and decided I didn’t have anything to lose.
Thirty minutes, or was it an hour? If I could find my way back, it didn’t matter.
The vibration made me dive for cover.
I was nose to the ground when I spotted it.
I had wasted all those weeks and it was almost in my back yard.
Reaching for the sun, without a care in the world.
The longest stamen I had ever witnessed.
Truly something beyond my wildest expectation.
A true virgin waiting for my landing.
I wanted to leap upon that perfect specimen…
But the sight was too special to depart.
I wish I wasn’t all alone now.
I wanted to share this feast with the others.
A breeze came up and it shook back and forth.
As if it was calling to me, the sunshine brightened that area.
Heading back to safety, I wish I had more than weeks to live.
This is a special day and a special place.
I just love my job. I’ll be back to my precious, tomorrow.
I hope the Queen will be impressed with my work today.
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Sure you hear that all the time don’t you?
The real question is how many demons can plot on a stamen?
It was a simple walk in the park, bright sunny day, not a care in the world.
Taking the old advice to heart I stopped to smell the roses, well not really roses but some kind of red flower. Something fluttered up and it wasn’t a pleasant odor as I was expecting.
No, not pleasant at all.
I know you won’t believe me and you have me on CCTV and all that physical evidence but it wasn’t me. I wouldn’t do anything like that.
My pleas fell on deaf ears as the old cliché goes.
I swear I can hear laughter inside my aching sinus.
“It’s not much of a flower. It’s hardly worth the effort.”
I shook my head and swore under my breath. The man was an idiot, but he was entitled to his opinion.
“I said, ‘It’s not worthy of the effort’. Didn’t you hear? Or are you just simple?”
The man stamped his booted foot, raising the dust. We’d fought long hours wetting it down, and it had barely settled, so that annoyed me even more than his words. His thoughts were like wind-blown sand: an irritation now and nothing constructive.
Mars was forever, and we were lucky to be its stewards.
I glared at the man. He was of average build but rangy, like most of us born here. He had an age to him; his eyes sunk into his head, making him hard to read. He could have been a pioneer: one of the few still left, although most had returned to the dust.
He was due some respect. For that, at least.
I offered him a smile. “We’re planting seeds for the future. Building upon the successes of the first. It’s humble, but it’s essential. We can’t exist on algae forever. If we got a blight in the vats, we’d all starve. We need to diversify, or we’ll not survive.”
The man drew in a long breath. He could have mentioned the value of the water we used. Or the time it took me to keep these plants alive.
“Continue with your duties,” he rasped. “We thank you.”
Winter. Some swear by it. Embrace it. Frolic, actually frolic in it. Now I get kids building replicas of their uncles…and aunts…, you know, snow creatures, ones with carrot noses and the like, and then sliding down hills and side streets on sleds or cardboard, whizzing away.
I get that.
Mine was like that.
I had a little red sleigh.
And a very small hill.
But adults, intentionally flinging themselves down steep sloped mountains, some going out of bounds in motorized contraptions, placing themselves in harms way, thumbing their noses at the Mountain Gods, tempting the avalanche fates, that, I just don’t get it.
“Are you at it again?” she asks, interrupting my reverie.
“What?” I say, fully aware of her meaning.
“Don’t play dumb. You know. Your annual Spring Soliloquy.”
“Ha!” I respond. “Fudge to winter,” I curse, lightly, in my fattening dessert like manner.
She hands me a cup of hot chocolate and leaves me to my seasonal torment.
I really have no other rebuttal than “HA.”. She’s right. Here I stand, my nose pressed against the double pane, squirrelled away in the warmth of my living room, hesitant to step outside until Spring, or the promise of.
I am perpetually desperately waiting for that first sign of growth. Not in me. I’ve pretty much halted.
Each season, I am the same as I have always been. At least the same as the adult me.
I do love her hot chocolate.
Almost- Almost Beaten
It sounds ridiculous, that in the middle of the bombing, my body and mind shut down and I fell into an intense sleep. Maybe there was some residual chemical bomblet which forced us all into sleep paralysis. Sifting up from my soporific state, colours helter-skeltered before me. I took a few minutes or maybe seconds to truly focus, before I saw a brilliant red bud. Tender crimson bud on a delicate stem. The promise of better life to come? A symbol that there would always be life, regardless of what man, the universe or any Eldritch or otherwise could smash at us.
As I looked around, I thankfully saw no debris and the stench of the bombing was fast fading. The wind had swiftly changed direction some time in the early morning so presumably the foul, greasy, sulphuric odour was floating downriver.
The Twins woke up and with all the hopefulness of youth, high fived each other before I signalled for caution and quiet. They mouthed, “We were almost toasted!”
Looking around at my fellow survivors, the whisper circulated, “Are you all right?”
No injuries, just tattered nerves and a reluctance to move. One clutched her rabbit foot as a talisman against evil, another counted in French to calm her nerves, the eldest swore repeatedly under his breath while the brunette prayed reverently.
Like soldiers returning from enemy grounds we returned to the Bakery. We were alive, yet our spirits were almost beaten.
Making my way back to south Florida had been a plan for years. I moved out west for my job. The transfer was a promotion, as much needed, a new beginning.
Jeff, my ex, had remarried, started a family with Dee, a co-worker. I was relieved that he found someone else to control and bully. My horrified and hurtful reaction was fake as fools gold.
Quiet with my thoughts, visions of the red budding hibiscus trees that I planted brought a smile. I will retrieve all 3 of them while they are at work. They must be full grown by now. Dwarf variety will be easy to dig up. I will have left my calling card! “Ha, I’ll show them!” That’s all I wanted from the divorce, these living flora I specifically bought and planted by the sunroom. I was awarded nothing. False narrative with underhanded tactics summed up his defense.
Only an hour left to go. Driving under the influence of deep thoughts, I didn’t notice the vehicle passing me until he was struck from oncoming traffic. I too, was pushed off into the ravine.
Almost, but never made it there.
From the Diary of Last Survivor #173: Harlan Kailani
I remember it was about ninety years ago when it happened. Such an innocuous thing… trivial, if you think about it. On that summer day, Carl Jennings was helping his mother in their garden… pruning her roses, when Carl got stung… by a bee. On his lip it was. His lower or upper lip? Who knows… lost to history you might say.
Does it really make difference?
Anyway, his lip swelled. Swelled a lot, apparently. Certainly enough to earn Carl heaps of teasing and abuse from his classmates at school.
Too much teasing and abuse for a gentle boy… a boy who helped his mother prune roses. But enough to carve that wound in his soul. A wound that would fester… gnaw… and grow.
It was no surprise that two things flourished in his world… things of pure malice. Hatred for people, hatred for bees.
Carl fed off his dual aversions and steered himself into a career as a plant guy… a research botanist. Towards the end, he worked by himself. Nobody would work with the darkly spirited twisted old man So nobody saw when he developed the flower. A weed, really… a weed he named “The Scourge”.
So naturally nobody was there when he released the seed to the winds. The seed that became the flowers that killed the bees and starved most of the people.
There are few of us left.
Noun. A person who loves flowers.
I was raised on skipping rope, fresh water swimming, hiking at state parks, and Mom’s coveted Guide to American Wildflowers. My mother’s desire to share her love of flower identification took a back seat to her offspring’s interests. My sister mastered Double Dutch, my brother’s butterfly stroke garnered accolades, and I braided clover chains that served as necklaces and bracelets, attracting bees from the honeysuckle bush that marked our property line. “They’re weeds,” chided my mom, as she plastered a paste of baking soda and water to my neck and wrist. “Come, let’s look at my garden. See those chrysanthemums? Beautiful, aren’t they?”
I stared blankly.
My siblings and I grew up to be responsible adults, raised our families but still couldn’t tell a Purple Coneflower from a Harebell. I was acutely aware that our disinterest in our mother’s pastime was a disappointment to the anthophile, whose flower guide took center stage on her coffee table until the day she died. And since our matriarch’s demise, the sighting of a single flower growing between my sidewalk pavement tightened my throat. I could hardly breathe.
Yesterday, I took a stroll through Prospect Park with my granddaughter. The observant 18-month-old held tightly to a stuffed bunny. Suddenly, she pointed and squealed with delight. “Red flower,” she said, clear as day. “Red flower,” she repeated, over and over and over. Her radiance comforted me.
Mom’s tradition was preserved. I could almost breathe freely again.
Elaine nearly missed the little bush with its curious half-opened flower. But its bright red petals caught her attention just enough for a second look.
Back in Silicon Valley, she would’ve snapped a picture and done an image-match search. But here at Sparta Point, she was strictly off the Internet. Too many Federal agencies looking for her.
If Lisa were here, Elaine would’ve asked her to search, but Lisa was on a mission today. Which meant a library search. And while Sparta Point had a well-stocked library, it tended toward military and historical topics, not botany.
Elaine was halfway through the shelves when Spartan walked in. “You are looking for something?”
Elaine’s guts clenched and she groped for a way to deflect, to make her interest sound unutterably boring. Then realized no, Spartan hadn’t intended to put her on the spot. He wouldn’t quiz her until he found something objectionable, some excuse to lecture her, to reduce her to tears.
She’d left behind that small town and its narrow minds two years ago. Why couldn’t she leave behind the fear and just answer?
The words came out shaky and tentative, but Spartan nodded and sat down at the computer. Elaine watched as he started with several vaguely related queries before homing in on her description, pulling up an image.
Elaine skimmed the description. “Yes, that’s it.”
However, Spartan wasn’t finished. He made several other searches, spiraling away until he’d buried the true query under a confusion of false leads.