Flash Fiction Contest

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is. – John Allen Paulos

One must be able to adjust to uncertainty, and since the weekly Microcosms contest is down, I’ve scrounged up my very favorite story-prompt of all time, the above image. I invite students and fellow bloggers to participate in a little flash contest of our own. Here are the rules:

Write a 300-word short story (maximum) based on the above image. Post it in the comment section by Monday, September 30th at noon (EST). Winners will be chosen by myself and a guest judge, TBA. I’ll announce the winners in a post on October 2nd. Happy writing!

25 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Contest

  1. Bob and his pet rhino George were at Grandpa’s house looking for family heirlooms so that Bob wouldn’t go crazy because family heirlooms are a delicacy. The only three heirlooms he found was a jar, the chair of wisdom, and his Grandpa’s fortune beetle. Bob was nervous about the fortune beetle as it could make his future awful, as for the jar he was more confused why it was a heirloom. While they were about to go, George decided he wanted to play with the fortune beetle. George charged at the beetle, knocking it on its backside. Bob was shocked at what had happened. He was about to panic then he realized he could sit on the chair of wisdom. While sitting on the chair of wisdom, Bob was told by the chair to just go back to the house with the heirlooms. While going home, Bob dropped the jar down a chasm and broke. Bob didn’t think it was worth trying to get the jar’s pieces so he moved on. Then suddenly a robber appeared and managed to steal the chair of wisdom. Bob riding George chased the robber, but he was too fast. Bob and George managed to make it home by chasing the robber, but all he had was the fortune beetle. He realized that he didn’t like the fortune beetle because the bad luck it gave him so he released it. He was glad he released the fortune beetle, but then he realized his house was for some reason burnt to a crisp. In losing house, He became crazy and decided to become a hobo. The End.

  2. Al-Hujurat
    “If orange is the new black then what’s the new orange?!” Being awakened in the night and commanded to perform had become routine but even for Mary Merrick this was odd.

    “Blue,” I shouted, vaulting from my high, narrow plank with its pancake thin mattress, landing and simultaneously saluting, “ma’am!”

    “Why?” Mary aspirated, head tilted and eyes the narrowest  of slits.

    “Ma’am, black’s not on the color wheel, blue is. Navy’s a color, oranges can be navel so blue’s the new orange. QED, ma’am!”

    “Good, Barbara Jean,” she whispered. Adding conversationally, “Very good. Perhaps now I can sleep. Carry on!” she concluded imperiously.

    Appearing to comply, I climbed to my bunk, though heightened pulse and blood pressure belied my calm exterior. I’d survived. Again. Allah be praised.

    Mind cartwheeling I impotently reviewed my position vis-à-vis Major Mary Merrick. “‘Major’ my gluteus maximus,” I whispered, mindful of my cell’s bugs. “History repeats itself,” I added thinking of the mad Twentieth Century corporal who’d risen to power. “We must right the wheel,” I said, touching the Mandala I’d painstakingly etched into my wall. “Mandela is my mentor.”

    I raced back to May 2013 and the peace rally where Mandela had spoken. My ten-year-old self had found his imprint indelible and it was to keep the peace that I’d earned a commission with the UN Peace Keeping Forces. “Peace keeping,” I sneered, “indeed.”

    Peace Keeping was why we’d introduced Al-Hujurat into Syria’s food supply. Al-Hujurat, laboratory tested and deemed safe, was still in clinicals when Syria’s al-Asaad forced our hand. The  psychosis of one-in-ten-thousand that Al-Hujurat induced had not been anticipated nor had jihad junta from corporal Merrick.

    Al-Hujurat turned Merrick from Malak into Ifrit and the UN’s peace to plague and destruction. “Mandela would be ashamed. I must turn the Mandala,” I whispered. 

  3. “Revenge It is mine!”, A cackle erupted from Pete’s throat as he propped a little turtle on a book in one of his lawn chairs which was set directly under a nefarious looking ray gun.
    The fiendish man grunted as he thrust the lever upward. Blue sparks showered his backyard lawn as they shot through the peculiar contraption.
    Another cackle burst through his lips as he took the insect-turtle, off the slide and set it on his work bench.
    “What a masterpiece!”, Pete watched the unfortunate thing crawl around, its legs clacking on the wooden surface. A miniature rhino head-butted Pete in the leg while he stood mesmerized by his own hideous creation. He picked the creature up and set it next to the turtle, “Hey! You can be friends with insectaturtle!”
    Pete lost interest in the animals after a while and picked up a mason jar with a clear fluid in it.
    “I only have enough serum for one more!” He swirled the liquid around, “Who will the lucky winner be?”
    Directly behind his backyard fence he heard the hissing of a garden hose and of a female voice humming an off-key version of Yankee Doodle. Right then, in Pete’s villainous mind, he plotted his final move.
    “Hey! Uh, Miss Bartle, my trees aren’t doing so well. Will you help?”
    “I’m coming! You’re probably not watering the poor things!”
    When she made it over to his backyard, wearing her red jogging suit as normal. He seized her by the wrist and sat her in the chair. She screamed as he pushed the lever up.
    She staggered as she made her way to the work bench. Miss Bartle had been transformed into a human with a blue bird’s head.
    “Ha, now nobody will laugh at my tooth gap!” Pete laughed.

  4. One Last Drop

    “One last drop of Derfoamaticalt acid,” the professor told himself. “Yes, now my chemical drink is complete. Stay down, Horns. There’s nothing to get excited about. I’m going to drink it, not you. Sit boy.” Patting his dog, he swirled the blue liquid and held it up to his face. “After I drink this, Nobody will call me Mr. Ugly, Airhead, or anything else ever again.”
    He opened the backdoor of his house and sat in his porch chair. “Now, before I drink this, I must make sure I combined all the ingredients correctly. Where do I put that book? Oh wait, I’m sitting on it. Mmhmm. I do believe its ready.” He opened his mouth, lifted the cup to about eye level, and gulped every last drop. “I feel…. different.”
    He watched his surroundings grow like weeds. The trees turned all sorts of wild colors, and Horns turned into a rhino! “I don’t understand. What’s happening!” The eager professor raced to the mirror that he set on the table. Placing down the empty glass, he leaned over to look at his reflection. “Noooooo!” Staring back at him was a blue head, pointy nosed, monster. “This wasn’t supposed to happen. Where’s the luscious locks of hair? Where’s the suit and fancy shoes? Where’s the restart button!?”
    He fell on his knees, placed his hands over his eyes, and bawled. What he didn’t notice was other blue headed monsters began forming a circle around him. The professor looked up surprised.
    “Who are you?” he asked them
    “Your one of us now.”
    “I don’t quite understand.”
    “We’re your family now. Come.” The professor walked with them through the portal gate and was never seen or heard of again.

  5. The House of Defects

    “Hurry, Privia!” Krill called. “He’s not doing well!” The small Rhinoceros was quick to obey his orders. He scurried to the divot within Colossal, the growing orange creature, and demanded he be given the blue book. When Privia returned, he found Krill ripping a part of his bright red jumpsuit off at the arm.
    “Krill! You are ruining your best clothing! Colossal will be exasperated!” Privia cried.
    “I have to make a sanitized place for the next Defect. It can’t live much longer in the concealed jar.” Krill replied.
    Krill placed the small piece of cloth on the woven table next to the glass jar. Vagglus, the Pea-Turtle, flattened out the cloth. Privia handed the book to Vagglus while Krill carefully took the next defect out of the large jar.
    “Okay,” said Vagglus. “Place the Defect on the cloth. It’s unknown how long the growing process will take.”
    Without question, Privia and Krill left the next Defect in Vagglus’ hands.They patiently waited, watching the growing process of the tiny defect. It seemed as though it would never end. Just as Privia and Krill were ready to head off to the resting box, Vagglus slammed the book shut. He had finished his work.
    It was pale and human-like, but one thing was different. It had no eyes, ears, mouth, nose, nothing. It was a blank canvas.
    Through much research they realized it would gradually grow those things throughout its lifetime, but it would need much help. They showed it around, and as they did, it grew a pair of eyes. They took him to the resting box and left him to sleep, for he had gone through much trauma. After a while, they decided to head off to rest, but when they opened the door, there was no one to be found.

  6. Anonymous

    Creature of the Wood.

    Bending down he examined the small creature in the glass jar on the table. A small case-like cocoon, almost like a little house held the creature inside. The little sack shifted slowly and then opened like a blooming flower. The creatures tiny feet pattered around on the glass of the jar. He watched, completely mesmerized. Wandering over to his chair he reached for a book of enchantments and mythical history. Flipping through the pages he looked for a specific section. From what he had remembered the section had been small, for not much was known about the tiny creatures of the Sahoren Forest. His excitement turned to a frantic confusion. The pages were torn out. He tried to remember the last time he had looked through the pages, but he couldn’t remember. After all, the study of the creatures was rare. They were thought of as a myth. He heard a shatter from behind him and spun around. He froze. The creature hazily looked around and its tiny eyes grew wide in fear. It scanned the garden room for an escape. Springing to its feet, it jumped behind one of the huge, colorful Canana trees. He ducked behind the chair and peeked out looking for any movement from the creature behind the trees. He sat quietly, watching and waiting. The creature soon came out from its hiding place. He hadn’t noticed that the creature had wings which were now spread out like the feathers of a peacock. The wings shown with a light that was hypnotizing. His eyes glazed over and he couldn’t take them off of the colorful radiating light. The creature swiftly took flight. It flew to the top of the wooden gate and took one last glance at the garden before vanishing into the night.

  7. The Nightmare

    “Ryan,” I whisper to myself. I run over to him and hug him. He pushes me off and says,

    “Who are you!?” gradually walking away from me.

    “What do you mean who am I? I- I’m your sister, Madison,” I stammer.

    “But you died, I-I saw them carry out your body, along with mom and dad’s,” Ryan said, in complete shock.

    “I know, I know, I’m just as shocked as you are,” I replied.

    “You’re messing with me now, right? This can’t be true,” Ryan says shaking his head in disbelief.

    “Or you both survived,” a man says to Ryan and me. “I made you both think each other died, but I guess it wore off, and you found each other.”

    “What about our parents?” I ask.

    “Oh, they are actually dead,” he replied. “I just wanted you two to suffer through the pain just like I had to.”

    “What do you mean?” asks Ryan.

    “They didn’t tell you did they?” he says, with hurt in his eyes, but quickly covers it up.

    “Surprise! I’m your brother,” he says. “Mom and dad disowned me for you two. They said I was a disappointment because I was failing my classes. So a few years later I decided to kill them for what they did to me.”

    “Why did you keep us alive then?” Ryan asked.

    “Because I wanted to see who I was replaced with,” he replied as if it were obvious. “But now that I’ve seen you, I’m done with you.”

    “What are you going to do to us?” I asked.

    “Just what I did to mom and dad,” he replied pulling out a gun. He shot the gun at Ryan, but I jumped in front of him. As soon as the bullet hit my chest I woke up.

  8. The Friends You find

    I was at the rainbow tree, where Mr. Badger lived. It was made of vibrant colors, and syrup seeped from it.
    The entrance looked small, but a seven year old like me fit. Mr. Badger didn’t take long to come, but he wasn’t his usual self.
    “Mr. Badger?” He looked at me with confusion, for a minute. “Don’t you remember me? We ran around Twisted Forest, and chased spotted butterflies together.”
    He brought me in the room and rummaged around his closet.
    “I’m sorry, it seems a strange magic has come over everyone in PrincessChloeville.”
    “What sort of magic?”
    “I’m not sure, but everyone’s memory faded since the last time you’ve come.”
    “I’m sorry it took me so long to come back but I have human friends now, and forgot.”
    “Child, we need to call the others.” I was confused, but didn’t question him. Within minutes everyone was here. President Trunk, had trouble coming in, but we eventually got him through the entrance.
    They whispered by the entrance, and I sat watching while licking a lollipop. All their faces looked sullen, but I didn’t think much of it.
    “Chloe, it’s time to say goodbye.” Mr. Badger said.
    “I don’t want to.”
    “We know, but you must.”
    “Do I have to?”
    “You do, but we want to give you a caterpillar, as our thank you for visiting us.”
    I gave my friends hugs, and took the jar that contained my gift.
    The exit was a baby blue fence that reached the ceiling. I squeezed my eyes shut, and took a step out of the gate.When I opened them again I was back in bed, with my dad waking me. I never really remembered them, until I found a frozen old cocoon. They were the reason I ever found friends.

  9. “My backpack’s gone! I left it by the back door where I always do and now it’s gone!” I cried to my mom.
    “I just saw it last night when I let Piper out.” my mom answered.
    “What do I do? Someone must have taken it!”
    “Beth, that’s dramatic, no one wants your homework. It’s got to be around here somewhere.” my mom replied.
    I looked for it all night but couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s getting late so I’ll go to bed and look again tomorrow.
    I woke up to my mom bursting through my bedroom door exclaiming, “Beth! Pipers missing!”
    “What, no!”
    “I let her outside and she never came back in!” she said through her tears.
    “Maybe she’s in the woods. I’ll go look.”
    I threw on some clothes and ran out the door.
    I stumbled through the forest frantically searching through the colorful trees for Piper. I couldn’t find her. Until out of the corner of my eye, I saw a fence that I’d never seen before.
    “Strange.” I thought to myself as I headed toward it.
    There in the fence was a door. I peaked in, jumping at the site of the blue-headed creature behind it! His head was attached to a human-like body clothed with a red jumpsuit.
    “What is that thing?” I wondered.
    I opened the gate more and there was our neighbors missing furniture, my backpack that had been rummaged through, and our beloved snaggled tooth dog, Piper. I ran through the gate and embraced her.
    The creature, startled, ran deep into the forest.
    I returned the furniture to our neighbors, hurried home, and told everyone what had happened. I’ve searched for the strange creature but never was able to find it again.

  10. The Unknowns

    I hear the moans and eerie screeches outside my gate again. I’m too frightened to sleep. I move toward Willie, who whimpers underneath the table. His trunk wraps around his tiny body and his large ears cover his face. His whole body shakes. There’s not much to do here. My chair sits there, lonely, no one occupies its presence besides a book I’ve read countless times. There’s also a table with my pottery, where a sculpted turtle sits, carefully painted and crafted. Sometimes the thought of leaving crosses my mind. Then the Unknowns come to thought. I’ve lived in separation of the Unknowns ever since I stumbled upon their world. Since then, I’ve locked myself from them. I never had the courage to open my gate again, and to free myself from fear.
    There’s a moment of silence, the Unknowns pause their dreadful noises. I stare at my gate’s door. Is this where I’m to spend the rest of my life? Living in fear of the Unknowns? I look at Willie, who still shivers under the table. Suddenly, more screeches starts and I cover my ears. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this. I’m always worried that the Unknowns will reach me. I look at Willie, and take a few steps toward the door.
    “Should I?” I ask. I take a few steps closer. My heart pounds out of my chest. My head swirls with thoughts. I look back at the place that’s been my home for three years. Am I ready to face the Unknowns that lie outside this gate? I move closer to the door, take a deep breath, and push the door open.

  11. I composedly woke up on the brown wicker chair that I had falling into a deep slumber while reading a book my aunt gave me when she died. these past couple of months I’ve felt very alone, not much to do in my small mature home and I don’t have many friends.
    I talk to the trees that wave to me throughout the day. It is still quite lonely because they don’t talk back but, I know they can hear me.
    “H-hello?” a small peep said on the other side of the gate that separated me from the world. “Hello, is anyone there I need help, please.” the voice said on the verge of crying.
    “yes, hello I am here,” I said back.
    “could you help me? I lost my family, I need help.”
    I walked over to the gate and opened it a little so I could see who this was. A small creature that looked almost like a turtle was sitting there clearing his tears from his cheek.
    “come in, come in,” I told him as he looked up at me.
    “thank you sir!” he said smiling, “you are the only one who has talked to me, let alone come into your house.”
    “here,” I said handing him a cup of coffee, “do you live nearby?”
    “no, my family and I were finning a new place to live and one night I was eating berries I found when I looked they were gone.”
    “oh, I’m so sorry, I could help you find them tomorrow if you’d like?”
    “really! thank you, sir”
    we sat under the trees and read from my book that night, I lastly felt like I had a family again.

  12. “What do you think it is?” asked James, it was obviously rhetorical because the only person he could be talking to was Reggie. He observed the jar trying to decide if he wanted to open it or continue on. This was a problem for James because he was a terrible decision maker. 

    “Well if I open it something dangerous might come out, but if I keep it closed and its something good I will regret it.” He would do this dance of trying to decide on which was the right option for so long that he would grow so angry and exhausted he would just sit down. It was happening now he was becoming pale from thinking of the options and needed to take a seat. Walking over to the rocking chair that wasn’t but a couple feet away, he noticed a book laying on top of it. The book was withered even though it looked like someone was trying to keep it repaired. This made James think it was an important or interesting book to read.

    “What do you think Reggie, should we take a break and read into this book. or maybe the book isn’t as exciting as I think and I would just get bored.” James was back in his regular loop of decision making. 

    “That’s weird Reggie this book says that the jar could help us, lets go take a look at it.” Now Reggie was getting sick of sitting down there all day. It was his turn to make a decision so he turned around and walked out the gate, leaving James to just play pretend all by himself.

  13. “Look what I found, Piggy,” Bob said to me. “What do you think this is?” “I can’t see it,” I said. “That table is higher than me.” He picked me up and set me on the table next to an insect jar. “I’m not sure what that is, Bob,” I said. “It’s a ladybug,” he replied. “ I have never seen a green and blue striped ladybug in my life before,” I said. “Then it’s not a ladybug?” he asked. I moved my snout closer to the jar and sniffed it. “I’m sure it’s not.” Bob frowned.“Then what do you think it is?” “I have no idea, but it looks cute.” “Guess I’ll have to do some research,” he said. “It’s dark; I’ll have to leave,” I said. “I’ll come back tomorrow.” “All right, see ya,” he said. He set me back on the floor. I pushed the door open with my tusk and left. For the next month, I visited Bob everyday. We named the “ladybug” John. John grew an inch, which was more proof he was not a ladybug. Then one day, I walked in the door of Bob’s den and found he was not around. I sat on the floor and waited. Bob still did not appear. While I was waiting, I noticed something peculiar. The jar on the table was in pieces and the lid was missing. Then I heard a loud thump behind me. It was more than a thump. The entire floor shook. It sounded as if a Tyrannosaurus Rex landed in Bob’s den. I turned around, in time to see an enormous blue and green striped creature open its mouth, revealing eighteen, four-feet long fangs. At that moment, I knew where Bob was. I squealed.

  14. Masked Reflection

    The outside world was a desolate wasteland. Ever since the genetically modified insects escaped the lab they wreaked havoc on the planet, destroying all vegetation as the swarm swept across the land. Much of mankind succumbed to starvation but those who survived became food for the ravenous insects, once the plants were gone. The irony in this was that the genetic modification of the insects was supposed to create a sustainable food source for mankind but some of the scientists preferred to weaponize the bugs with insatiable appetites and virtually indestructible exoskeletons so the experiment got out of control. Dr. Bedel had foreseen the potential ramifications of playing God in a laboratory and abandoned the project, preparing for the worst. He tried to warn others but they accused him of being a doomsday prepper, mocked him and ignored him. So he secluded himself in his underground metal bunker and tried to work out a way to destroy the inextinguishable while planning for long term survival. Using his stockpile of genetically modified seeds and solar powered grow lights he was able to maintain a garden, although the plants were not the usual color due to the prolonged exposure to artificial light. He raised his own insects as a protein source. His only companion was a miniaturized rhinoceros rescued from another genetic experiment. It was a good thing he chose the herbivore as a pet who wasn’t picky about meals. He had yet to emerge from the bunker, however, and see firsthand the plague of reckless science unleashed on the world. That day would come when he could face his own guilt, but today was not that day. Today he still could not bear to even view his own reflection and remained hidden behind the mask.

  15. Pingback: 5000 Words Fall Flash Contest Winners! – Kelly Griffiths

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