Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Winter is Coming

foliage on a mountainside 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. Since we’re late this week, 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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5 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Writing Prompt: Winter is Coming”

  1. Winter Wonders

    Though Gronsky had never travelled much, he especially had never travelled in winter. All around him, the world was on the move. People flew to the far reaches of the earth. Many acquaintances spent winter in Mexico. Several headed for the mountains, ski chalets and such, and frolicked in the deep snow, downhill or cross-country skiing, or lounging in the bar imagining dreams unrealized.
    During chance encounters on the street or in the food court, they would regale him with their adventures.
    Invariably, and usually in what seemed to Gronsky an afterthought, some, but not all by any means, would catch their breath after describing the amazingly interesting times they had had, and would ask, ”And you Gronsky, what have you been up to?”
    This presented somewhat of a conundrum for Gronsky. He had spent a lifetime going simply about his business, living in his community, working at the mill for many a year, playing Pickleball quite frequently before Covid, and of late, now that the pandemic was somewhat less than it was, but still there like a wound that wouldn’t heal, writing his novel and occasionally squeezing in a paddle game.
    He had been nowhere worth mentioning, had no real adventures except for discovering a granddaughter he had never known existed, and a late in life marriage to a wonderful companion.
    As often as not, he would reply, “enjoying the moment, glimpsing the far hills, savouring the winter of my life.”
    That seemed quite sufficient to Gronsky.

    1. “Winter is coming,” Bruno mutters as he gazes across the hillsides lit by the morning sun. The evergreen forest catches the warming rays. Soon this scene will be only a memory, but he grimly determines it would not serve as fodder for the mind vampires that swoop over those hills on their annual migration. Running, whooping, and hollering as they travel, confident in pursuit.

      Bruno recalls that first year. He and his kin heard the rumors. Mutants who feast not on blood like vampires of lore, but are touch telepaths who subdue their prey, and grasping heads, firmly and forcibly enter minds, ripping memories from them. Memories wrapped in warm sentiment, or are deposits of remembered natural beauty such as the vista before him. When satiated, the victims fall limply to the ground, minds emptied. No longer possessing identity or recollection, even their autonomic systems fail and they perish.

      It happened to Bruno’s family: his wife, Magda, and their three children. All perished four years ago because no one heeded the rumors. Bruno himself was away far beyond the migratory route on a remote hunt. When he returned, his family had long succumbed to the carrion eaters, and the village was lost.

      Bruno grips the double-bladed axe in his hands. “Winter is coming,” he repeats. A mantra that prods him onward, inspiring vengeance.

      His traps are laid. Plans are set. They will arrive soon. His soon-to-be blood-soaked axe and mindless rage will repel them.

      He hopes.

  2. Winter is Coming

    Every group has that one bizarre person.! In ours, she was a cross between a pessimist and a sham soothsayer. Her constant lament or omen was, “Winter is coming!” This could actually mean that the cold season was fast approaching. Her words more likely meant that a time of deep and troublesome gloom was overhead and bearing down at an accelerated speed.

    Others in the group regarded her as walking on the knife edge of the inevitable and lunacy. Many despite our comfortable, safe, wanting nothing life at Kay’s, however believed we lived in dark times. Was pessimism contagious?

    Luckily, the person in charge of the overall operation of the island was very well organised. Our garden produce had not only flourished, but it was already harvested and in storage. This indeed was fortunate, because I retired to bed on an extremely mild night, but woke up to a frostiness in the very air.

    Foolishly, stepping outside with bare arms and legs, the cold shocked my system. Cries of, “Winter is coming!” churned my stomach. A foul taste of bile in my mouth caused me to slowly turn around. Not only had the sun’s warmth vanished overnight, but the scenery had dramatically deteriorated. An ominous darkling cast over the trees, the sky was a brutal grey steel colour, and the ground was ice cube hard. Everything was unwelcoming in the smell of winter. Had the Apocalypse slyly shifted the seasons? Had the Apocalypse brought winter on months too soon?

  3. Winter is Coming

    It has been months, and I have been waiting patiently for it.
    The heat of summer has long passed, and now we can feel the cool nights and brisk days.
    I’m one of the lucky ones. Not sitting alone on the side of a mountain, I have many friends keeping me company here in the deep forest.
    It is remarkable that there are so many and not an enemy amongst us. Oh, for the rest of the world to understand how to live together in peace.
    We also survived several seasons without destructive wildfires.
    None of us are looking to be the most beautiful, collectively, we try to take your breath away.
    I witness that dark beautiful green accented by gold trim and my needles tingle.
    We are proud that nobody needs to care for us. Mother Nature has done her blessed magic for all these many years.
    The many breezes bring the scent of pine needles with the hint of recent rain. Those breezes lift our branches, so we can wave to one another with a rhythm only we notice.
    My roots were again nourished, and I feasted on salt and other mighty earth minerals.
    I’m now tall and feel the warmth of the sun, which makes my brittle branches flexible once again.
    It’s finally coming, and with it that white blanket to lend some warmth on those freezing winter nights.
    To us, this is not just another season, it shows we’re still very much alive.

  4. The two guards stood at the high and wide windows of the guard tower. Outside, it was so cold that the air not only felt cold, it looked cold. The hills that bordered the road below were tinged with frost at treeline and above.

    “Look,” said Gus pointing to the long line of vehicles or creatures, he wasn’t sure which they were, moving up the steep road. “I still don’t get why they’re going. I mean, here we are at the holidays and they won’t see us at our best.”

    Jared stretched his arms reaching for the ceiling to get the kinks out of his back. “I’m just as glad they’re going,” he said. “It’s obvious they’re a heck of a lot smarter than we are. At least they haven’t caused any damage. Let them get to their ship and disappear. Good riddance. We couldn’t stop them if they started a fight.”

    Gus glanced at the computer screens along the back wall. “No disturbing news, not a hint of some sinister plot. Why are they leaving so soon? It’s not polite, that’s what I say.”

    “You’re something else,” said Jared. “Maybe they just want to get back home. They’ve been travelling for eons and we’re just a bunch space detritus to them.”

    “Don’t be silly,” said Gus, alarmed. “Earth is the center of intelligent life. They must want to learn from us. We want to teach them.”

    “They’ve learned all they need to know. And they’re just not interested.”

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