Photo Prompt

Each month, we post a photograph as a writing prompt. Post your 100-word story in the comments section, and we’ll choose one to feature in our next issue. To see examples, read photo stories we’ve published in the past.

In the spirit of fun and fairness, please follow these guidelines:
• Post only one story per photo prompt.
• Be mindful of others’ feelings when commenting (keep it positive rather than giving feedback).
• Remember this is a shared safe space for all lovers of 100-word stories.

A photo of a tiny green plant, growing in a hole in the concrete.

Photo Credit: spaceamoeba

50 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Roseanne Boyle says:

    The Days of Our Lives

    Not knowing what to do, what to say; will I ever see the light of day? How long do I continue praying that I might find the light, continue in this fight, to escape the dark of night. Undaunted I proceed, not willing to disregard what I believe, that He goes before me to make the crooked places straight, so love’s beauty can radiate, through the blackness that pervades and this gloom eventually shall fade, with the coming of the sun. An oasis will appear and life, once again, will glow bright, until…that is, the coming of another night.

  2. Ken Gosse says:

    When Jill Spilled the Beans ~

    The princess would kiss many frogs
    before the bar would close;
    she knew she’d need the hair of dogs
    to come out smelling like a rose.

    Her chariot could not be found—
    her lights had been left on.
    Her car alarm would make no sound;
    she feared that it was gone,

    and as she toured the parking lot,
    sans shoes, in shredded hose,
    she left a kiss, a lipstick blot
    where’er the pavement met her nose.

    In a hole left by a pole
    three pills fell from her hand—
    the vines within that rabbit’s hole
    would reach Jack’s giant land.

    • Ken Gosse says:

      For various reasons, I haven’t written much lately. I decided to see whether a bit of fun and fantasy would help restore my quill, so I went with the first two thoughts that crossed my mind when I saw this photo: a kiss on the pavement and Jack’s beanstalk. It may not be world-class, but I really enjoyed the challenge of fitting both rhyme and scan into exactly one-hundred words.

  3. Cleanse. Pause. Inhale and hold. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 …

    Close eyes, feel cardiovascular pulse. 12, 13, 14 …

    Focus. Be still. Swallow. 27, 28, 29 …

    Thoughts drifting. Mother. Sister. Continuum. Finding God. Is that me down there? Air. Water. The stuff of life. There is solace in pain. 45, 46, 47 …

    Walking a tightrope. Hopscotch. Tap, tap, tap. The sun is just another cloud. 63, 64, 65, 66 …

    “’Til we find our place

    On the path unwinding
    
In the circle …”

    Hmmm. Hmmm. 79, 80, 81 …

    Back inside now. Clenching. Swallowing. Convulsing. Seeing stars.

    102, 103, 104, 105 seconds.

    Exhale.

  4. Tamara Stanley says:

    Hydroponic Veggie

    It is mostly summer now. Above me there are skyscrapers, McMansions, slums; scorched swaths of land, parking lots and airport runways where wheat and corn should be. Mouths to feed. I’m underground, surrounded by earth but growing without soil.

    There was no urgency to keep me on the surface. I appear in markets as I have for centuries. You can pay digital funds and place me in your reusable bag. Even in a world of virtual reality, nutrition pellets, and lab-grown meat, people still crave the crunch of a salad, just like I can’t shake this nostalgia for the sun.

  5. I pierce through the grey matter of death.

    Whatever the barrier, whatever the challenge, whatever the assault, I will rise up.

    I may lay dormant for over a hundred years. I may be wiped out from the landscape, but you cannot destroy me.

    Cut down, poisoned or replaced I will always be there. Whether I spring from one part of the Universe or another, I will find a way to thrive.

    I am organic, natural. I am life!

  6. Eileen Brennan McIntyre says:

    My Purpose

    I am a transient in this world, but they need me. I arrived alone on the winds that delivered the destruction, a seedling who survives stuck in a hole in the road. I live in fear daily from the trucks who travel my road, the trucks that have covered tops to hide what doesn’t need to be seen. I have a mission, a need, a purpose. For on the day I bloom, I will turn my full face to the sun and deliver hope to those who have little. A sign that joy survives even in the midst of mourning.

  7. Dawn says:

    Up on Pebble Cliff

    The day before the disaster, a factory had stood there up on Pebble Cliff.

    Its last testament, a video uploaded to youtube.

    The beady eye of a drone observing the workers clocking on, adjusting their paper-white coats.

    Hovering now, above the factory floor chatting about last nights soap opera, gloved hands –

    encouraging tiny insects into giant filters.

    Then on… a metal god, a machine pulverizing

    their last remains.

    “Numero 4,” in industry terms natural red.

    The End Result.

    Following, the youth outlining the contour of her

    lips, flirting with the security guard,

    Ignoring the sound of the wind.

  8. Astrid Egger says:

    A Gust of Wind
    Ferron pours all his skill into making exposed aggregate; each piece of shiny pea gravel blends with the off- white walls. He adds a pipe, slightly larger in diameter than the aluminum split post of her patio umbrella. With the force of a pre- hurricane wind, she changes her mind about the rustic look and about Ferron.

    He picks up his tamper from her yard. His eyes are fixed on a heart-leaved twayblade, its green stem pushing unapologetically through the umbrella base. What is that sound? It’s blood dripping on the walkway, after the uprooted umbrella hit her from behind.

  9. Marina Stevenson says:

    The old man promised her the bean was magic. “Plant this, anywhere,” he whispered, pressing it into her palm, “and it will grow to give you everything you deserve.” Did he mean desire?

    Out of spite, Jacqueline stomped the bean into the concrete. She had never liked old men, with their creased faces and musty aroma.

    Waiting for the school bus the next morning, Jacqueline glanced down. The pavement had cracked beneath where her heel crushed yesterday’s bean. A tendril of green observed her calculatingly from the aperture.

    Jacqueline felt the first tremor of fear. She knew what she deserved.

  10. Rima El-Boustani says:

    The Plant.

    The ground is freckled with many colored pebbles, nature’s very own gem stones. A shrewd plant is pushing upwards, breaking the Earth into single pieces. The plant is more able than any human hand, the Earth broken in a perfect circle by its upward force. It thrusts, reaching for the Sun with such a longing. This perfect plant, a specimen of nature’s answer to urbanization, spends its nights dreaming of daylight. It grows faster than a new born child, surer than a pup and stronger than its namesake tree. As the plant grows, the pebbles will fall away, fragile, dead.

  11. Iris Ho says:

    Bad luck is rarely seen; the number 13 never used, the black cat extinct long ago.

    Rain splish-splashed on the ground, mugging the air. Mother warned caution on rainy days. Nevertheless, I opened my umbrella before leaving the house, keeping eyes on the pavement.

    Road stained red, a perfect hole near it–fear pierced my heart. A thin figure of unnamed color peaked out; bad luck without question. Plucking it out of the hole, I obliterated it without mercy.

    Too focused on murder, the car’s vroom reached my ears milliseconds before it hit. Black, now this was a color I knew.

  12. Nadiye says:

    Lost a friend
    A small seed sat in the palm of the child’s hand, brown and smooth. It’s dropped into a hole, a new forever home. The young girl would visit the seed, eager to see its growth. Summer after summer she grew older with the seedling, she’d talk, care for it, and felt responsible for its protection. However, as time went on she grew older, became negligent. It grew frail and white. On a dark rainy evening, when despondency had fallen upon her, a time when she no longer felt happy, she crawled back to the plant, but it was too late.

  13. Andy Pan says:

    Blood trickled down the side of my face. I can still hear the cries of the ones who have already passed on. Limping towards my own death, I spotted a tiny, green plant in a field of concrete. I knelt down to pick it up, but I was too weak. I’d lost too much blood. I collapsed. If I cannot save myself, then I can at least save this one life in front of me. I’d already given up on life, but this young one hasn’t. I reached for my canteen and gave it the little water I had left.

  14. Elisa Xu says:

    My World-

    My world was a black hole.

    I knew this darkness like the back of my hand. It was my home. My only solace were the words of my ancestors that described magical colors above and tiny lights that chased the darkness away. They spoke of something I didn’t understand but longed to know. For my world was darkness but their words glistened. Their world was something I couldn’t even begin to fathom until one day the sky began to fall and the ground began to open. My world suddenly became something different, something new.

    A perfect circle with infinite possibilities.

  15. Kieran Moran says:

    Unknown Invasion

    We slowly gathered around this giant hole, only to find this antenna growing from beneath us. What was it? Where did it come from? We have never seen anything like it before. It didn’t look like us, that’s for sure. As time went on, it became taller, growing more strands of itself from the original stem. Eventually, more of these green antennas started to grow from the ground. Soon enough, more dirt began to pile up on top of us, and after a while, it became dark. So the other rocks and I then became one with the Earth.

  16. Maggie Guidone says:

    A Dream Fulfilled
    A sea of trees was what she wanted. Speckled bits of green spanning over the area of once barren land. The waste land created by her family before her, the destruction. Her father did nothing. A new addition to the world, peeking from the rock, not knowing that it will be a part of the rebellion. A pink splatter signaling where the next will be. Signaling what your grandchildren will see. We stand looking at this small hole, the first step of the rebellion. Bringing color to a bland grey world. She would have loved it. She started the fight.

  17. Bella says:

    My Brightside

    I gazed down where the light post once was, smiling at the irony. It was nauseating. I was envisioning Dad swerving away from the drunk driver, I heard the sound of the crash. The hole was neglected, never to be filled, mocking me. There was a green plant emerging out of the hole and I wanted to laugh. Ten years ago, people urged me to find my own plant, the bright side of my loss. It took a long time, but as I looked up I saw my own bright side, my two year old boy, laying flowers for grandpa.

  18. Anant Gupta says:

    As a seed, I have traveled so far. Along the wind, along the water. It was a long time before I landed. But the land was inhabitable. It was filled with loud cries of humans and giant shapes that loomed over me. But death was approaching me, in the form of a speeding figure with humongous plant crushing tires. But then a figure came out of this death machine. It was my father, a human. He saved me. He cut a hole, in the road, and planted me there. But now, I grow out again and I fear my life.

  19. Andrew Lee says:

    The sapling furtively peeks upward, struggling against the rocky pavement that threatens to suppress and overwhelm it. But it has been given a chance at life, an opportunity to show nature just how strong a mere plant can be. It’s disheartening how people would overlook this wonder, in favor of new technological advancements. The vibrant green contrasts sharply from the blandness around it, a rare beacon of life and hope. One day, it will stand tall and sturdy, towering over it’s oppressor. As I looked upon it, I realized that life can truly flourish in the most cruel, unforgiving environments.

  20. Vanessa Osse says:

    It was delicate. It was special. It could have been our little secret. Something so different from the others. I told you to plant it where no one could ever find it. You took it and ran with it. I’ve spent years looking for this delicate little secret of ours. Where we first met, where you proposed, where we got married, I told you to hide it somewhere special. Then we had our first fight, our first heartbreaks, and our last goodbyes. I had to punish you. You took my beautiful expensive orchids, so in return I took your life.

  21. Lauren Michel says:

    I have only a little bit of dirt to survive, harmful chemicals surrounding me. I had wished that I was with the other plants but I’m one of many that survived industrialization. I couldn’t wait to grow up to become a big strong plant and save the world from becoming fully industrialized. I’ve heard tales of an island just south east from where I am where there is a bunch of my kind and no harmful chemicals. But at least, I can’t go anywhere because I’m stuck here for eternity till the end of time.

  22. Mir-Yashar Seyedbagheri says:

    A plant lies on swath of concrete. I pick it up. Leaves are withdrawn, weeping, hiding from swath of sky. As if growth is too much to ask.
    I don’t blame it.
    Nancy, my big sister, hated leaving things behind. She always saved the smallest things, except herself. Plants, coins, so much.
    I pick up the plant, feel the weight of this pretty thing, leaves so forlorn. My sister’s late-night tears, unheard, rise to my mind. I will not let the plant leave. It may fester. But I won’t face that.
    This is one death I will avert. Live, live.

  23. Jim Byrnes says:

    The Resilient Seedling

    The term resilient definitely applies to me. Just look at where I have taken root. You must agree that my location just screams resilience. Sure it’s an odd place, but an opportunity is an opportunity and plants just can’t be choosey since we have no means of locomotion. Mother Nature puts you in some random place and you just have to make the best of it. Presently, I don’t amount to much, but at least I sprouted. Life is good right now but I’m afraid that when I peek above the concrete some human will probably spray me with herbacide.

  24. O Moliver says:

    Is this the place they talk of? The one that lies within the Earth; where the plants and the people prosper.

    I’d heard the story a long time ago. About the world within ours. Since then, I’ve always been secretly searching. That’s why, when I walk, my eyes always scan the floor.

    Perfectly circular, one of the treetops sprouting up, this must be it. With heart thumping, I kneel and place my eye deliberately to the hole. And it’s there, I see it.
    “Are you OK madam?” a passing stranger asks.
    “Yes,” I say, eyes sparkling, madly grinning. “I’m grand.”

  25. Elise says:

    Waking up Jrszylg extended her two appendages to the hole where the energy streamed in. It was growing warmer, and the danger was increasing proportionately. Folded up in the darkness, Jrszlyg had decided she would hold the position just long enough to receive the nourishment she needed. But she had not counted on how wonderful these rays would feel. All she wanted was more. She didn’t care if it was slowly poisoning her from the inside, causing her to age prematurely, to dry up and permanently crumple. At this moment, holding this pose, she had never felt more alive.

  26. Brooke Hall says:

    This Will Happen Faster Than You Imagine

    The fields drown in the floods far away, and the oil-slick ocean ignites in the distance. The birds fall from the skies onto the drought-stricken ground. You collapse, gasping in the carbon thick air– plastic settling into your marrow, Juvéderm bursting from your split lip. You meet the paved earth underneath you– eye catching the green of a struggling weed emerging from a hole in the mortar-punched roadway. It will be the last thing you contemplate before darkness. Your blood will water it, green it for a time– even after the stain of you has left the hot pavement.

  27. K Hoffman says:

    Angry. Annoyed. If that nosy bastard of a neighbor had kept to his own business and not mine, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I wouldn’t be waiting for the police to uncover my secret.

    I felt the pressure rising in my veins, the pulsing in my ears as my head throbbed from being exposed.

    I thought this had been the perfect solution, a way to cover my tracks. And it was…or had been. No one came looking. And he got was he deserved.

    But now my concrete garden had been disturbed, and everyone knows gardens grow best when fertilized.

  28. I’ve stopped caring about the fact that no one wishes to speak to me. I’ve stopped letting their passer-by glances hurt me. They built this little well deep down in the earth to throw me in, but now I am protected from the tragedies of the world. I have walls that hold me tight and support me when I cannot stand. All I need is the sound of my own breath. Maybe someday when it rains and I am grown, the world will be ready for me. Until then, I am alone. I am safe. I watch the time go.

  29. Sam Jacobson says:

    The Earth, caked with dirt, provided for very little now. After intense industrialization, pollution levels rose to a new high, and many people died, including Mom.

    The sky was always a creamy brown, with rain that burned in the back of our throats. It was still worth it.

    While walking with Dad, I accidentally stepped on a cockroach, a very resilient creature. Another source of food gone.

    Dad checks the new plant, tears rolling down his face. I cry when seeing this unfamiliar green. It had somehow survived like that cockroach had survived. God had given us one more chance.

  30. Andrea Daniels says:

    Lucien Freud (not the painter) had a cousin who told him they were looking for treeplanters on Mars. It was forever Spring (no more seasons) and school no longer had semesters. His parents would honey badger him for their allowance (cigarettes, lottery tickets). Mars started to sound like not a bad idea.

    He wrote songs with his hammer for a girl he met on the Shuttle. She was distracted but pure and smelled (faintly) like a goat. She bleated into his neck when they first made out in the airlock. People still made out on Mars, so that was good.

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