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.




Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

629 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Reg says:

    Normally, we get a bit of time to reflect on our life. Time to look at the things we’ve done and perhaps make plans for the next go around. After all shouldn’t life be a learning experience?

    But sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes we get pulled back into the light without time to catch our breath. There’s no time to cry for what was lost. No time to remember the joyous moments.

    We all go when the light beckons. In or out, it doesn’t matter, we all go.

    Sometimes it’s not fair.

    Gone too young, back too soon.

  2. James C says:

    He’d once looked up to him, idolized him even, trying on his too-big clothes before the mirror in his room. But one day, he’d grown up too much, too big to see him – so small, so low to the earth – as anything other than an insect-like annoyance.

    That night he’d been drinking their dad’s bottles with his friend, he draped him over his motorcycle and drove him to the desert, forcing him to strip to his soaking underwear and dance barefoot in the darkness. Blinded by the headlight, he’d heard their laughter as the ground gave way beneath his feet.

  3. Eve Meyer says:

    She jumped in. Her sundress sticking to her as she swam closer to the light she’d seen once before. Breaking through the IVY.

    League expectations from all the people beyond their golden years standing around the pool, drinks in their decorated hands, projecting the regrets of their youth on the girl who still ordered Sprite when she went to.

    The bar was raised when her brother got the letter from Harvard starting with “Congratulations,” which was a pain in the.

    Ass, they were all asses for expecting her to copy him.

    She’d jumped in before, once when she was little and went to the pool with her brother, swimming towards the dim light at the bottom. He jumped in first.

  4. Julie Galliart says:

    “Come on, Benny, stop goofing around!” I yell as he surfaces. He’s been swimming laps, making a game of tagging the pool light on the turnaround while I’ve been checking the bungee cords.

    “Yeah, yeah,” he intones as he climbs the ladder. “You think it’s gonna work?”

    “It’ll work.” It has to work. The Sink or Sail is next week, and Big Mouth Benny bet Reigning Champ Karl our entire stash of Pokémon cards that we’d beat him. “Grab that side.”

    “I’m glad we went with the pool noodles this time,” Benny says.

    We lower the raft to the water.

  5. Jeremy Stanley says:

    I don’t float I sink. I have since I was little. Dense bones maybe? Too much muscle? They say fat floats but I would not know. Perhaps it is just an attraction to the bottom of things.

    I was the star of Leslie Ann’s 5th grade swim party. I was a queer novelty on the 9th grade swim team. I was the strangest body the coroner had ever examined once I was fished gray as a stone from the bottom of Phi Delta Delta’s above ground swimming pool.

    I don’t float. I sink. I find my way to the bottom.

  6. Matthew Hefferin says:

    The flickering lights beckoned Desmond to follow them to the pit’s edge, deep inside the tenebrous cave. His dad, Seth, secured a rope around Desmond’s waist, lowered him slowly, the lights guiding his descent. Desmond gaped at the dazzling glow. A whiff of mom’s freshly baked apple pie, a whisper of mom’s mellifluous voice filled the cavernous pit. Her spiritual presence sang the same lullaby as when he was a baby lying in his cradle, rocking. She leaned over, kissed him on the cheek, wished him pleasant dreams, flicked off the lights and said good night for the last time.

  7. Alex Nash says:

    Grow Up

    At a pool party for people who wished they weren’t too old for pool parties, everyone wants to know who you are, or what you will be. Astronaut? Football Player? Will didn’t know and shamefully he looked down towards murky depths. Unknown. It seemed peaceful there, so he peered farther in, until he found himself slipping out of his clothes. He felt more comfortable naked, within himself. As the cool water rushed over him he realized he’d been looking in the wrong place. Something inside him was calling, and he swam there like fish to a dock light.

  8. M Murniati says:

    Noah And The Nymph

    Noah was afraid of dark. He was afraid of water more.

    He fell into a lake once; water filling his lungs, his small body sinking. His fish-gaping mouth surged onto the surface before he succumbed.

    A nymph appeared and looked at him aghast.

    ‘What breathing apparatus have you got?’ The doctor mused, his tone mock-joking. Noah’d had a check-up. Everything was fine.

    Noah stared at the pond. On that day the nymph took him back to the shore. His mother had worried the worst.

    He jumped in; the dark embracing him. He’d promised her to return the magical lungs soon.

  9. Russell Lloyd says:


    ‘His privilege’, they had said so he remembered as his fear fled and the last darkness arrived. It was his moment, his honour. His predecessors, their names enshrined in stone, were heroes every one. His limbs, boyishly angular, glowered into view as the eye-storm, its yellowness unleashed, hungered towards him. The Chosen would feel only warmth, so the elders had assured. Behind him and safe, they stood, watchingly witnesses to their world’s renewal. ‘It would be a good death’. Their reassurance to him, their adherence to tradition, their decision for the greater good. It was then he began to scream.

  10. David Drury says:


    We lost our way between the bonfire and the campground. Fallen branches snagged our flip-flops and punctured our armpits. Our sides itched. The black moonless woods swallowed all paths. We shivered and choked back tears. Stumbling into a clearing, we followed a light until we were standing in an empty swimming pool piled with dirt, leaves, condoms and beer cans. In the deep end, a yellow incandescent light burned—a beacon of hope for off-course mosquitos. We smashed their eager moon with a rock and continued shuffling into our blank and paralyzing future, no longer alone.

  11. Kellye Burroughs says:

    There was only a single light left and the water’s pressure pulled me deeper down towards it .
    There use to be two. The pair had been enough to guide the way along the winding road. Or, at least, it always had been before. Fog had crept in somewhere along the dive, blanketing the mountain side in a thick haze.
    We strayed from the road and the water swallowed us whole.
    We lost a headlight.
    I lost you.
    Now there’s only the darkness and a single yellow glow. I wonder if you lie somewhere beyond it, just out of reach.

  12. John A. Parker says:

    The Endless Car Trip

    You are the oldest, smartest, and best behaved of your siblings. Over the past 12 hours of car travel, you have not puked, peed your pants, or cried for lengthy spells for no apparent reason.

    So it is unfair that your parents have each threatened dire consequences should you ask again whether your destination has a pool, what time you all will arrive at it, or whether you may swim once there.

    You close your eyes, hold your breath, and imagine the water’s pressure enveloping your body, your family’s sounds muffled and indistinct beneath the surface.

  13. Teddy Kimathi says:

    His science teacher always told him that moths naturally get excited, and dance around any source of light. He then imagined angels dancing around God in Heaven; free, blissful and beautiful. “Does music emanate from the source of light, or source of all light?” he asked himself. One summer night, he assembled moths in a big jar, and played them music in his dark attic. Slowly he felt the jar like a crystal ball, to feel life’s pulse. It was dead quiet. Soon he released them, and then a miracle followed. He could hear timeless symphony oozing from a light.

  14. The boys rubber arm wiggles like the yellow pencil I once shook in front of Veronica’s buggy eyes in 5th grade. Look, it’s rubber! It wasn’t bendy. She wasn’t impressed. Not like the boy. Standing bright in the midnight glare of blackness. His tropical beach shorts. Staring at the glare of my left light. I can tell how impressed he is. That must be why he hovers, waiting with his fading stick bug arms, waiting to be another insect on my hood. The problem with the trick is I can’t ever wiggle the pencil fast enough to make it melt.

  15. Katie Magoun says:

    He wasn’t susceptible to remorse. But the image haunted him. An echo etched on the inside of his eyelids.

    He’d met this one while coaching the boys’ soccer team. They’d shared crisp weekend mornings, trading snide jabs, and a playful father-son relationship. They smiled at each other with mutual affection. A new emotion for him.

    Which made it hard to do what he had to do. Had to be done in darkness. Couldn’t bear to see the betrayal and hurt in those tender brown eyes.

    After, he’d stared for a long time, vision blurring in and out. Sorry, little man.

  16. Nicholas MacDonnell says:

    “Why we look through windows”

    Darkness doesn’t leave you wanting. The black night bestows no dreams. Tarnished decencies become so expected that you long for them like worn-out shoes.

    It is the light that brings the envy, the window into beyond. To see the other through a porthole you could never escape. Light gives contrast to the darkness that abounds. Light illuminates the reality you endure.

    That’s what teachers never understood about me. Momma, the trailer park, my brother in prison. These shadows never gave false hope. Staring at the sun makes you blind. Becoming what you are preserves the balance.

    Portholes reveal both worlds.

  17. When I was eight years old I tripped crossing the railway track behind our house. Daniel had already reached and was half way up the embankment when he heard me call out. I wasn’t hurt but the 8:46 from Mapleview bore down on me and I’d screamed Daniel’s name. Train wheels squealed. Deafening panic. My hips rose from the ground like being lifted by my belt then was set down beside the track as the train whined past. I caught my breath and looked up to thank Daniel for rescuing me. He was still frozen on the embankment, mouth open.

  18. Rachel McNichol says:

    Just Like Honey
    “Beekeeper” is an anachronism; the things that swarm around those hives aren’t really bees. Still, I like being called a beekeeper. “Mad prophet” makes it sound like I go running into the desert and screaming at the sky. If only. My job isn’t nearly as exciting as you’d think. Really, I spend most of my time talking with the “bees”. I sneak out at night, when they’re the chattiest. Sometimes they’re so loud you can hear them from a mile away. Whispering in that low, buzzing language they speak. I sleep beneath their hive-light and dream of things to come.

  19. Evan says:


    Chlorine water punched behind our eyes, but we only knew the closed-eye burn of it and the same burning in our lungs after 45 second of our bodies without oxygen and of the pizza stone concrete before reaching a merciful patch of something blocking the sun. We were tan and beautiful without knowing it. We were perfect and pure without knowing or caring just how high and precariously that perfection and purity were positioning us above the pavement. We fell knowing that Bactine and a Band-Aid would catch and then slingshot us back out into that bright and beautiful burn.

  20. Anna S. says:

    Glowing eye, looking back at me. What do you see?

    We are drowning in distance, floating in the void. But can you hear me, my friend? That is my voice. You know it well.

    I am here. Keep looking. Cast your eyes upon the phone screen’s glow, and behold. I cannot touch you, I cannot be there with you, but I can see you; Your glowing eyes.

    Do you see the light differently, my friend? Is it the same for you and me? It doesn’t matter. It is what we have. We won’t have it for much longer.

    Goodbye. Goodbye.

  21. Dan Alexander says:

    Broken Summer Days

    On the night after the funeral, Marcus dove into the backyard pool and tried drowning himself. I dove in after him, broke my leg, but got him out alive and he ran to call the ambulance, cancelling his own death and saving my life before I could drown in the shallow end.

    Now, he’s chalked-up on antidepressant pills. He, a boy of five, sitting beside my wheelchair, holding my hand in trembling fingers. He, a boy of the summer, a boy of smiles and long car-rides and ice-cream happy-dances. Now staring at me with glazed eyes and asking me why.

  22. Mike Weathers says:

    Vespula Ignis

    The light was a cross between fire and lightbulb, and the insects, Lucas figured, a cross between firefly and wasp. They glowed, buzzed, made nests in the dunes that looked like headlights.

    They poured out of the hive and swarmed Lucas. Christmas lights mounting the attack. He raised his hands slowly, unsure, worried about being stung. Would their venom glow? Would it glow under his skin and roadmap his veins?

    But he didn’t get stung. The swarm died down. The insects filed home. Only, a streak of them, like shooting stars, remained, pulling Lucas, inviting him forward, saying, Discover us.

    • Mike Weathers says:

      The light was a cross between fire and light bulb, and the insects, Lucas figured, a cross between firefly and wasp. They glowed, buzzed, made nests in the dunes that shone like headlights.

      They poured out of the nest and swarmed around Lucas. Christmas lights mounting the attack. He raised his hands slowly, worried about being stung. Would the venom glow? Would it glow under his skin and road-map his veins?

      But he didn’t get stung. The swarm died down. The insects filed home. Only a streak of them lingered like stardust, pulling Lucas, inviting him forward, saying, Discover us.

  23. Jim Byrnes says:


    I looked toward the light and was surprised to see my son dancing. His movements were mesmerizing. He had chosen a place in front of a large, and very bright landscaping light to illuminate his movements. He danced with abandon, lost within the innocence of youth and unconcerned with anything outside his being. His movements revealed his complete surrender to a primal grace, reserved for only the young. His slender form appeared to be vibrating and glowing with a magical light. It was evident that he had transcended any earthly inhibitions. Eventually the dance ended but it was never forgotten.

  24. William Ste. Marie says:

    No one believed him, and he didn’t mind. His parents would kill him if they knew he was a night diver. Tonight, he was after a daytime shimmer he saw at the bottom of the pond behind the woods on Marvelle. Walking between the yards, he ducked under the bedroom windows bright with the flashing light of TVs. At the foot of the pond, he striped down to his suit and felt the cool of the water. He imagined he was one of sea creatures he would see pinned up against a black background in the museum, floating, secure behind glass. Just beyond him the light sparkled against the pitch black. He reached his hand into the light and felt himself disappear.

  25. Hot summers that follow even hotter days
    Ice cream running down our wrists,
    The taste of it lingers on our tongues.
    Bats, balls, bicycles and freedom
    Running, jumping, on metal swings we soar.
    Our days are filled with imagination, exploration and song.
    We experience life until we are empty.

    Lights flip on as the day starts to fade.
    Bare chested and sun burned we run home to refill our tanks before we begin again.
    Like moths to a flame the lights draw us in.
    We race to them even though they signal that the end of our day is near.

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