Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Prey

View of Chewelah looking down from Quartzite Mountain. photo by 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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10 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Prey”

  1. Preying On My Mind
    I’ve heard of others doing it. Something like it anyway. Just one day, an ordinary day, not too hot, not too cold, a rather flat day on the surface, emotionally, I mean, when someone, a spouse, a child, adult child usually, late teens, maybe, are reported to have said, “He (or she) seemed fine. It was an ordinary day. He (or she) got up, had coffee, kissed me goodbye and went about their business. Saw them drive away. It all seemed good.”
    It’s usually a local news station covering it. At that point, a few hours in, no more than a day after whoever it is doesn’t come back, the story breaks. It’s a big deal in smaller towns like mine. In big cities, people disappear all the time and its just not news. Too many city people just fall off the earth. Hard to keep up but here, we may not know everyone, but we feel a connection with most folks.
    It’s not quite that way with me. Maybe you’ve guessed. Most of my connections have been broken. My fault, I suppose. I’ve just let them corrode, rust away from lack of care. Occasionally I would rev up, go on the human connection prowl, hit the bars, try to get something going.
    Those times, few though they were, maybe people could spot the fake I am. Fake meaning just not able to click anymore.
    That’s it.
    I can almost feel myself evaporating.


    Just Another Day with Friends

    John received an invitation to join a group on a hunting trip in the remote wilderness.

    As the group set out on their first day, his excitement quickly turned to fear when he realized that he was not the hunter, but the prey.

    The other hunters had singled him out as their target, and chased him through the woods, firing their guns and using all of their hunting skills to track him down.

    John ran as fast as he could, but no matter how hard he tried to evade his pursuers, they were always just a few steps behind him.

    Just as he was about to give up hope, he stumbled upon a small cabin. Inside, he met an old man who offered him sanctuary. He led John through a trapdoor in the floor, down a winding staircase, and into a dimly lit room.

    There, he discovered the twisted truth: The entire hunting trip had been a setup designed to test his skills and endurance. The hunters were actually his friends, and they had staged the entire scenario to see if he had what it took to survive in the wilderness.

    He couldn’t believe that his friends would put him through such a traumatizing experience. Still, he knew he had passed the test with flying colours.

    He also realized: It’s not just about being the strongest or the fastest, it’s also about having the mental fortitude to withstand any challenge.

  3. Extending his wings he stood at the brink of the precipice. His anger and joy building as he thought of the impending chaos his revenge would raise among his prey.
    They had ridiculed him and laughed but they would soon be screaming in fear and pain.
    He jumped, his wings fluttered and shed their feathers leaving trail of black.
    As he spun downward toward the rocks he imagined how his talons would soon be red and smiled.

  4. Cain studied the town. He’d not walked its streets for twenty years and had thought he’d never return. The sentence he’d served had been cruel and arduous, and at times he’d thought he’d never survive. But his need for revenge had kept him alive, driven him to prevail.

    A dog was loose on the high street, watering a hydrant, showing his contempt for the community. Cain could have taken him out with a single shot, his skills more than sufficient for the task.

    But that would have given away his advantage.

    The council chamber had hardly changed, the only addition being a charging point for its officers’ vehicles. Governor Wallace looked much the same as well, his Chevrolet Bolt in County Green. He’d driven it into his designated space, parking it behind the placard with his name. He was a little stooped, as though weighed down by guilt, but that was something he’d never admit.

    Cain had got a bullet waiting for him. A crosscut jacketed round.

    His sniper scope collapsed the distance. Wallace had a lurid red boil on his chin – another addition – and Cain hoped it troubled him. Cain’s crosshairs drifted down from the broad space of his target’s forehead, switching first from one eye to another, then down to his chin. It would require a better shot from him to pierce it with his round, but the Councilman would die either way.

    Another ounce of pressure is all it would take.

    Goodnight, Governor Wallace. RIP.

  5. I see you – you see me.

    It’s a Mexican standoff. I hunt you, and now, you hunt me. We have been at this for weeks, and the time has come. If nothing else, luck is on my side.

    I could pull the trigger right now, and end this game. However, that would be too easy. I want to see your eyes when you know the game is over. You have taken your last victim and I’m ending the score.

    I learned from folks in town, that you discovered I was on your trail, and you were going to double back and take me out. I have justice on my side and from the looks of you, you have lost your ability to outrun me.

    When I picked up this assignment from the bail bondsman, it wasn’t anything personal, it was just another job. However, what I’ve seen you do to your prey, has got to be stopped. It’s not about the money any longer. You have taken your last victim and the trail is coming to a deadly-end.

    You might have been at the top of your game, years ago, but now you are getting lazy and sloppy. I can see you closing in for your assumed kill. I’m just that simple prey you want to take out. Just a few more steps on that path and you will be caught in one of my rusty old traps.

    Nothing but the worst for you!

    It reads – “Dead or alive!”


  6. Prey

    I’ve been on the run since sunrise. Reaching the edge of Sugarloaf Mountain, a much needed rest on the cool rock ledge is a relief as sweat runs off my face and arms. A swig of water immediately hydrates my parched mouth.

    Noticing my disappearance at early chores, won’t be long till the family and members search for me. Leaving their sinister way of life is all I’ve known since birth. Living under a controlled rule, has become more and more difficult.

    Freedom is what I seek, whatever that is or could be? Looking down at the unknown, a town full of homes and hope is my salvation for a better existence. Lightness fills my heart and mind. Here I go. Careful footing slows me down this rocky hill. Not far behind is my mother’s voice, she has caught up. Her methodical plan to flee, has worked. We’ve reached the bottom of our quest forward.

  7. Prey: Are We Prey?

    After returning to the Bakery after the distant bombing, we ate mechanically. For a time desultory from one another, yet we were not eager to depart from company.

    One of the renowned storytellers, obviously wanting to calm both herself and other survivors, began, “Have you ever imagined? Imagined being on a mountain snuggled between trees and delighting in the view below? Looking out at magnificent nature swaddling a sweet residential area?”

    One of the jittery women whispered, “You are describing a predator!”

    The storyteller obviously did not hear, “You gasp at the beauty! In the distance, ancient mountains protect and shield. Then you fly high over the trees. Flying in the purest of air. Seeing forever. The air is pure and crisp. You feel elated, magnificent, unconquerable. Down below you is majesty in proud pines. The view opens to pretty houses in a quiet residential neighbourhood.”

    One of the women with fragile nerves went into hysterics, “You are talking about a predator ! We are prey! Prey! We are no more than prey waiting to be hunted. You all saw the filthy bombing, smelt the disgusting burning! We are doomed! The enemy predator will come for us to hunt and kill its prey. We are no more than prey!”

    Then she burst into uncontrollable sobs.

    Kay entered with a fresh pot of coffee, “I slept so peacefully yesterday night. Dreadful noise. I reckon it was the old fertiliser plant exploding. What with no one to look after it, it just exploded.”

  8. The frosty air slammed against my scaly face and outstretched wings. Unperturbed, I held my gaze steady, skillfully adapting the angle of my body to match the shifting winds. The scent was getting stronger; I was getting close.

    Amid the vast stretches of greenery ahead, a patchwork of browns and greys finally appeared. My heartbeat quickened, pouncing off my ribcage like a creature yearning to be freed. I scanned the rocky earth below until I found a clearing large enough to accommodate my landing. My body reared in a symphony of motion, taloned feet reaching towards the ground, and wings fanned in a gentle arc like two parachutes. After a couple of sweeping pumps of my wings, my feet met the ground kicking up a low haze of dirt and stone. I tucked my wings in at my sides and crept towards a sturdy cliff overlooking the town.

    The smell of humanity lay thick in the air, mixing deliciously with that of livestock. I felt the heat in my abdomen build. It slinked under my ribcage, flowed past my lungs and around my heart, and climbed into my throat, where it simmered, demanding to be unleashed. Smoke seeped out of my nostrils and onto my tongue.

    Feeling rejuvenated and eager, I sprang into the air, letting my wings unfurl. Suddenly, little human voices screeched, and a siren began to wail from the town center. How sweet; they have heard of me.

  9. t took some searching, but I found a mountain lion with a good view of the town I was scouting.

    There’s a trick to entering the mind of an animal. Sure, their minds are simpler than a human’s, but they’re different enough in other ways that make it harder, especially when I don’t have actual Institute training.

    The critical thing is a light touch, so the animal’s behavior remains natural. It also keeps a distance between you and the animal’s instinctual drives, which is critical when dealing with a large predator like a mountain lion. You sure don’t want to lose touch with your own humanity in the process of gaining vital intel.

    Even with that boundary, you’re still observing through a very different set of senses than you’re used to. Most carnivores’ eyes track movements rather than shapes, and their ears pick up higher frequencies. Then there’s the whole scent thing — if you’re not careful, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

    But once you know your business, those sharper senses can be a real benefit. Things that mean nothing to a wildcat, that have nothing to do with finding prey and avoiding rival predators, can give you vital information about human activity on the edge of the animal’s territory.

    Like the odors that tell me just what’s going on in those two big sheds on the edge of the valley. Someone’s trying to keep it quiet, but I’m sure they’re planning to move against the Sharp Resistance soon.

  10. The people in the town below had become complacent and for that the young mother wolf was glad. She needed food for her growing pups and she knew exactly where to find it. The guns she had feared had been silent for a long time, and after many “false alarms,” the guards had become lazy.

    The mother smiled to herself at how easily it had been to stir up the youngest guard and ruin his reputation. Several nights in a row she had showed up just as he was taking his place on duty. She had growled again and again and watched him tremble in fear. But each night, just before any other guards could arrive, she had slipped into the shadows.

    Because she was good at covering her tracks, no one had ever been able to find evidence of her being there, and slowly but surely, the young guard’s credibility had been destroyed. Tonight she would really strike and no one would be the wiser until it was too late. The town had never replaced the young guard, and she knew he would be reticent to cry out even if he did she her sneaking in.

    She knew exactly where to find her prey, conveniently at this end of town. And she had the speed and the desire to get in, grab the closest of the sheep, and get back out again before any alarm was sounded. Tonight, if all went well, her pups would feast like never before.

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