Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Ranch

ranch main entrance with teenagers by ksbrooks
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. Since we’re late this week, entries will be accepted until Wednesday 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.

Author: Administrators

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4 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: The Ranch”

  1. Who? Me?

    I could swear I was crawling home from the Galumphing Goat Tavern. I mean, that was my last memory, eh! Scratching the earth with my fingernails, pulling my soused body along the sidewalk, trying to get home in time for the Morning News, which I watch religiously.
    I was doing that. No lie. That was what I was doing.
    You know what you were doing just a moment ago, right?
    Well, that is what I was doing.
    Swear on stack of Playboys.
    Stack of Bibles.
    Then, like a crazy sci-fi flick, I am sitting on the porch of some western movie set, surrounded by a gaggle of mid-twenty yahoos, none of whom I know, and we are all yammering away, asking, what’s up? How’d this happen? Where is here?
    Especially where is here.
    It’s like some Martian John Wayne rounded us up and plopped us here and is having a great big Stagecoach belly laugh at out expense.
    So, we start comparing note. Try to anyways.
    Wouldn’t you know it? It’s like we are speaking in tongues. A half dozen languages.
    None of us speak what the others speak.
    I’m speaking English. You’d think half the world spoke it but none of these yahoos speak English. And if they do, they’re not letting on.
    No wonder the world is at war. If we all spoke English, maybe there might be some peace.
    But no, there’s something else afoot here.
    I’m telling you, its peeving me off.

  2. The Ranch

    “Ah, Sir, they aren’t open yet. And, I don’t think they are going to like you driving that thing up on the porch,” exclaimed Sally.

    Sally was the boldest of our group. She was always speaking out for equality and fairness. We’ve been coming to The Ranch for five years, always on the third Saturday of the month. ‘The Breakfast Writers’ we called ourselves. Every month we shared a meal and flash fiction stories. We would vote on the story we liked best. I rarely won. I didn’t consider myself a writer. I joined the group mainly because I was lonely.

    The guy in the white hat turned around and gave Sally an evil stare and said: “What? You the police or something? I’ll park where I damn well feel like it. Bitch!”

    I was on my cell phone with my boss. “Ah, Sergeant, you may want to send a car to The Ranch. Looks like there may be some trouble here.”

    Jimmy, who was secretly in love with Sally, piped up: “Dude! She is just trying to help you. You don’t need to get nasty.”

    The next ten minutes felt like a lifetime. There were more words, many of them four-letters. Then a shove, a push, a swing, and all hell broke loose. When the Sarge got there, four of The Breakfast Writers were sitting on the dude who had lost his white hat in the scuffle.

    The next month we all wrote about that morning.

  3. The Ranch

    Walking onwards until there was no line between waking and oblivion, I saw Christmas lights up ahead. A sweet yet terrible reminder of good days forever vanished. Heading towards the lights, voices raised in joy, excitement and life became more audible. Standing behind a line of trees and staring at the scene, my mouth dropped wide open in disbelief. There were many people of all ages gathered around the porch of a ranch. What amazed me was they were having a great enjoyable time as though the Apocalypse had never happened. In groups they sat below a covered front porch enjoying each other’s company. There was a camaraderie, wholesome happiness and energy. The happy energy over the people was so raw and powerful, as though they had never tasted loss. How odd! Had I unknowingly stepped back in time? Taken a vortex to a different dimension? These people could never have experienced an Apocalypse! They were too at ease. Too comfortable. They had eaten at the buffet of serendipity.

    Unfortunately, I woke up with a jolt when a boot tapped urgently against my ribs. The Twins had found me most comfortably sleeping on a leaf blanket on the forest floor.

    But then there was an even ruder awakening. The ranch with all its happy people was nothing more than a hopeful but sad little dream. It underlined that in reality there was no one who had not experienced the Apocalypse either through death or everlasting pain!

  4. At Sparta Point, Basil had never noticed the isolation. Surrounded by family and the various teams of Spartan’s Own, he’d never felt alone.

    Visiting Uncle Cory and Aunt Ruby’s ranch, he’d been discovering a completely different world, full of neighbors who all seemed to know his cousins, their dogs and their horses. Neighbors who held parties on weekends and invited everyone in a twenty-mile radius to hang out and eat a whole side of beef and more side dishes and desserts than he’d ever seen in one place. Someone would bring a guitar or a keyboard synthesizer and there’d be music, even sing-alongs.

    Tonight Basil was sitting under a big wooden porch, wondering if the beams might actually be redwood brought down here from the redwood forests around his home. This was one of the oldest ranches in the area, quite possibly predating the establishment of the Redwood Forest State and National Parks.

    Contemplating that question helped take his mind off the neighbor girls who were showing altogether too much interest in him. This was supposed to be a brief visit – he couldn’t afford any romantic entanglements, not when he would soon need to be returning to Sparta Point. How to keep them at arms’ length without being standoffish, to be friendly without appearing interested in anything more?

    That was when he saw Uncle Cory carrying out chairs. What a perfect opportunity to remove himself from the situation, and to look helpful and industrious at the same time.

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