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 photograph of white umbrellas floating in a blue sky.

Photo Credit: borosjuli

28 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Jessica Oliver says:

    A Last-Ditch Effort

    I can feel each new blister blossoming, my skin almost hissing. I lay flat against asphalt, all muscles stiffened, every bone dried still by the sweeping scorcher. I can’t move, except for my eyes, which flitter in the dance of white domes, ribbed and hooked. My impulse is to laugh—the absurdity! But there’s no pressure behind my breath, no vibration in my vocal cords. Umbrellas strung to block flesh-clenching rays!

    Could their feeble hover deflect, even for one second, the acid-rush of clouds churning overhead?

    Maybe the cascade will hit another angle, release this choking throat, dislodge the laughter.

  2. Kerry P. says:

    *Caldecott Medal*

    Knee deep in umbrellas, a mastodon strode up Main Street heading for the barber shop. “Unusual weather we’re having,” said a crow. “I need a haircut,” said the mastodon. “Unusual weather we’re having,” said a dog. “I need a haircut,” said the mastodon. “Unusual weather we’re having,” said a cat. “I need a haircut,” said the mastodon. “Unusual weather we’re having,” said a children’s book writer. “I need a haircut,” said the mastodon. “Unusual story,” said the children’s book editor. “I need a haircut,” said the mastodon. “Start over from where the umbrellas fall from the sky,” said the editor.

  3. Al Faraone says:

    Ummm *

    The sky is devoid of umbrellas. People step from their homes. The streets are littered. More than are necessary someone says. All available trucks and vans take them to the dump. People declare the umbrella storm an omen of good fortune. Arms open and people kiss and cling to each other and some won’t let go. It’s a miracle. There is joyous laughter and an old man in a wrinkled suit does an amusing dance and there is more laughter and a green-eyed beauty barely fourteen strokes her translucent cat as the pale blue sky opens and the anvils fall.

  4. Jan Andreas says:

    Umbrella Dreams

    “It’s raining umbrellas!” She ran along in the stiff breeze, trying to follow them. Some flew up into the sky like strange spaceships bound for Mars. Others dropped down, rolling along the ground like Texas tumbleweeds headed for the open prairie.

    She stopped to catch her breath. She looked around. Not an umbrella in sight. All gone. Just like her crazy useless dreams.

    Then she saw it. A tiny umbrella, no bigger than a lady’s parasol, snagged low in a tree. Standing on her tiptoes, she reached up and grabbed it. Perhaps her dreams were not so distant after all.

  5. Natalie Wu says:

    Migraine

    And the leaden sky finally bursts, like the slick belly of a gutted fish. Furious, fat wet plops pound the sea of white umbrellas, which bob as gulls atop restless waves. Beneath, I weave; sick with pain- talons gripping my skull- drunken and groggy until at last…

    The sky. Oh, the sky! Turned bubble-gum blue. Precious as a new born and at once forgiven.

    I twirl, arms spread wide … faster now, whipped into spun sugar; becoming weightless, rising. I float on the breeze amongst a murmuration of white umbrellas.

    Freed from desperate grasps, delirious with joy, light as dandelion clocks.

  6. K Hoffman says:

    “Tele what?” asked Harry.

    “Telekinesis. You know, it’s the ability to move things with your mind,” replied Jean. She turned to look at her infant son.

    “I know you think I’m crazy, but there’s no other explanation. Every time I bring George into a room, objects move!”

    “We’re here,” announced Harry, as he parked the car. “I’m not sure I buy all this,” he said, shaking his head. “But right now, we need to go inside.”

    Jean grabbed the diaper bag and Harry pulled George from the car. He looked at his son… then followed his eyes to the sky.

  7. Dan Slaten says:

    We were meant to fly, but we didn’t know how. We tried so many things, devised so many contraptions, an umbrella, an airplane, a jet pack that exploded on start. We didn’t know what we were doing. Look at that bird, someone would say, it just flaps its wings and off it goes. Finally, after one of those agonizing silences everyone hates, the person you’d least expect to pipe up piped up. It’s the words, that person said, they’re weighing us down. Someone else nodded. Silence again. When the words were gone we slowly but surely learned how to fly.

  8. Nicholas Archer says:

    Unanswerable Questions

    “Why does it rain umbrellas?” Asked Fantine.
    “I don’t know.” Said Fallon as she pulled the little orphan girl through the town left barren.
    “Why does liquid candy flood out of the lake of water up to the roofs?”
    “I don’t know.” She muttered peering around a corner to check for a Thantomaly.
    “Why do the houses move while standing still?”
    “I don’t know.” She responded ushering Fantine across the desolate street.
    “Why do the sizzling utility lines reach for us like hands?”
    “I don’t know.” Fallon said loudly, getting frustrated.
    “Why can’t we leave this town?”
    “I don’t know.”

  9. Madti Morello says:

    Light and soft, the town is left barren. The breezes left a trace of disaster. The trees cracked, the building crumbled. The pale blue sheet of sky taunting the town. Though, the sheet compliments the white. The white cover, protecting locks from water. Umbrellas once used by the lost people. The breeze having them float along the streets. They sit around the sizzling cords. They sit and wait for when the people come back. They sit and wait to be used. Though deep down at their curved handle, they know that they will be sitting, and waiting longer than anticipated.

  10. Olufunke says:

    Hallelujah! The word echoed as they all stomped down the aisle, celebrating the end of the celebration they just witnessed. Like lambs to the slaughter they had all attended the ceremony just to “honor Family”, these words “honor” and “family” are supposed to have lost their hold, having been used more frequently as both bait and blackmail…but they were here still.

    Everything about this reeked lies, the building that had lost its luster outside but was beautifully decorated inside and the open umbrellas we were pretentiously asked to throw into the sun like lanterns. It was over! Hallelujah!

  11. Ken Gosse says:

    “Stripped of its yellow” is a reference to the title of the image (hover over it to see its filename, photo-prompt-december-2019-no-yellow-1024×832.jpg) in comparison to what I assume is the full-color original, found on the artist’s Flickr site, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjuli/6104001622/. It took a bit of searching and browsing to find that.

  12. Lisa Miller says:

    I enjoyed this poetic story very much. Very creative.

  13. Krystyna says:

    What fun it is to read this. Excellent rhymes you feed us.

    • Ken Gosse says:

      Since mine is the only one posted, I’ll assume you’re referring to it, Krystyna. Thank you. I’m very glad you enjoyed it. I like sharing smiles.

      My preference for writing is light, rhyming verse, and after a couple of phrases came to mind, I went all-out. Overboard, perhaps, but that’s part of what makes this one work. It’s an airy, whimsical poem about an airy, whimsical artwork.

  14. Ken Gosse says:

    A Delightly Sight ~

    When stripped of its yellow, the image, less mellow,
    glows ever so slightly a little more brightly
    and makes them look spritely, perhaps even flightly—
    formations unitely although restrained tightly
    (this keeps them politely from tangles unsightly).
    Well tuned as a cello, their dance, saltarello.

    Unlike Punchinello, that difficult fellow
    they’re cheery, not frightly, more daily than nightly,
    they’re ever so sightly while dangling uprightly
    you don’t feel uptightly when pond’ring them rightly
    (they’re also invitely and make me feel writely).
    Unlike a bordello with boisterous loud bellow
    which snags a young fellow,
    these muses’ sweet “Hello” rings out a-capello.

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