Sunday, June 18, 2017

Writing Prompt: The Flash Fiction Story Starter: Big Animals

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

This week’s prompt is a flash fiction story starter, so take the element provided and turn it into a story between 500 and 1,000 words.

Write a story that involves an unusually large animal.

It may be short, but the goal is to write a complete story—so it needs to have a beginning, middle, and ending that resolves some sort of conflict. Feel free to share in the comments!


  1. how does one post the story? I have 857 words and 4465 characters and it won't let me post it here. I get the error message: your html cannot be accepted: must be at most 4096 characters; the rules say it needs to be between 500 and 1000 words.

    1. Oops, I didn't realize there was a limit to how long a comment could be. Sorry about that. You could post it in two comments (just reply to yourself). That would work.

    2. What is the word limit for the comments section?

    3. part 1
      It seemed like the auction would go on forever. Katie fidgeted in the seat next to her Dad as they finished bringing a matted up old dirty workhorse into the ring. Her Dad couldn’t possibly be interested in staying much longer. He’d already bought a nice Welsh pony for Drew, and he knew Katie was looking for a specific type of horse. This one was certainly not it. When no bids came in and the auctioneer announced that this one would be good for dog food, Katie sat up a little straighter and paid attention. She really looked at the horse, beyond the dust and grime.
      The dusty colt walked sedately around the ring until a loud bang came from the parking lot. A car must have backfired. Whatever it was, it lit the spark inside the colt. His head came up, his tail plumed, he literally began to prance. He spotted the young girl in the stands as she came up out of her seat and their eyes met for the briefest of moments, but it was enough. She was his human. He sent a shrill whinny in her direction.

    4. Part 2
      Katie watched as the horse came to life, and as if animated, started to prance and whinny beside his handler. She thought for just a moment their eyes had met and she felt a connection to this horse. He was her horse. She turned to her Dad and said, “I want that one, Dad.”
      Lewis Johnson looked up at his daughter and said incredulously, “That one. Are you out of your mind?”
      “Maybe I am, but he’s the one. Please bid on him.”
      Lewis Johnson bid fifty dollars and shortly thereafter was loading the horse and Drew’s pony onto his trailer.

      The black colt stood quietly as Katie and Drew groomed him until his coat gleamed. He’d been bathed and clipped, so he already looked like a new animal. Katie had pulled his mane and tail until they were within respectable lengths. The vet had given him a clean bill of health. It turned out that he was four years old and he’d been handled some. The farrier was scheduled to arrive soon.
      Drew had gone through all this with her pony and had actually ridden him in the ring already. She was raring to go out on the trails. After the farrier left, Katie tacked up her colt — he really needed a name — and she and Drew rode in the ring until lunch time. Later, Drew led Aladdin out of the barn, mounted up and instead of heading for the ring she clapped his sides with her heels and he galloped off down the road. Katie was just mounting and was left with no choice but to chase after her. By the time she caught up to her sister they were more than a couple miles from the house. After chastising Drew, the girls decided to go across country to return home.
      It was slow going through the woods but they decided to canter across the meadows, when suddenly Katie’s colt went down throwing her ahead of him. Drew pulled Aladdin up and went to Katie to make sure she was okay, then they noticed the colt wasn’t getting up. They ran to him and Katie sunk to her knees at his head, his right front leg was laying in an awkward position. Drew spotted the woodchuck hole he had stepped in. Katie sat with him, his head on her lap, tears running down her face. Drew went for help. Katie stayed with her horse.
      Katie knew there would be lectures and punishment coming, but that all paled in comparison to the pain she was feeling for what her horse — she needed to give him a name — was going through.
      “I think I’ll call you Prancer because that’s what you were doing to get my attention. Oh, Prancer, I’m so sorry about this, it’s all my fault. I should have known better. We should have stuck to the road.” Then she started to pray to God that Prancer would be okay and that they’d be able to fix his leg. She knew that if the break was too bad they’d have to put him down. She cried harder and her heart wanted to burst from hurting so much. It seemed like hours before help arrived and her Dad took her in his arms and she cried harder.
      It was challenging getting the horse ambulance to where Prancer had gone down, but it finally happened and he went off to the veterinary hospital. X-rays showed it to be a clean break so it should be able to be cast and heal just fine. He’d be okay for light work.

      When the cast finally came off, Katie took him by the lead and they walked out into the paddock where he stood with his head over her shoulder looking off into the sunset. The girl and her horse. God had answered her prayer twice.

  2. How about a small animal with an unusually large presence?


    They say love is blind. Or it's supposed to be. For me it turned out to be stone deaf.

    I fell in love with Gary the moment I saw him. I was all of eleven years old. He was going on sixteen and extremely shy, especially around girls. But he liked cats and quickly made friends with Mr. Tank, the neutered Russian Blue that came with us when we fled Prague three years ago. Then Mr. Tank helped Gary make friends with me.

    Gary knew I had a crush on him. I never tried to hide it. I didn't know how to hide it, or even that nice girls were supposed to. I think he felt something for me too, at least as a friend, because I found things on my front porch that only could have been from him. Books. Magazines. Cassette tapes. Then he brought me something that he couldn't just leave.

    "What is this?" I demanded.

    "A cat," Gary said.

    "I see that!" I said. "So small."

    "The vet wanted to put him to sleep," Gary said.


    "He's deaf."


    "Yeah. White cats with blue eyes usually are. You hear what a big meow he has?"

    I nodded. How could I not hear? The whole block could hear!

    "He howls like that 'cause he can't hear himself," Gary explained. "He's not in pain, just really loud."

    "He will make good housecat!" I said as I took the cat. "I will raise him well."

    "Promise?" Gary smiled.

    "Yes! Him and many more to come!"

    As Gary turned to leave I heard him mumbling. Someday we'll raise them together.


  3. Each day it would try to climb the lush trees, just like his friends would as well. There the best chestnuts, with their friendly round shapes were to be found. Each day, it stumbled upon the same obstacle, he was twice the size of the other squirrels. It`s weight made it very hard for him to climb even a single meter on the easiest tree. "squirrel" was not of the jealous kind, yet he would love to be able to get the better nuts for once. Each day was a struggle for just that.

    Each day other squirrels would look at their friend and see a fellow creature of the forest in a passive looking struggle. It seemed to them like a useless battle against its size. Never would they tell him, they thought they could not really communicate with him that well. They would just shrug it off and check other trees. One thing was certain, they did not like the struggle and wanted to be as far away from it as was squirilly possible.

    Squirrel the squirrel did not want to share his problems either. For one, he thought others would not like his problem and therefore would not like him either. For the other, he did not even want to think about it himself. His problem was that because of not embracing his struggle, the struggle started to encompass his life. For now he had no contact with other squirrels, they seemed to shy away from him. This was because they did not understand why he was sometimes so happy and sometimes so down. Within squirrel this was a pendulum between forgetting about his struggle and fighting against going back to that one tree again.

    Every day at least one other squirrel would tell him that he should stop with this tree. For him this felt like his friends were asking him to give up on his dreams, yet what they meant was that squirrel the squirrel might better choose different trees to climb. One day another squirrel, whose name was also squirrel, but for the sake of simplicity we will call squee, hit the mark. Squee did what the others could not, which was to tell squirrel that he had other talents. Squirrel wanted to shoo Squee away, but stopped mid sentence "please don't tell me" Then his face cleared as much as that of a squirrel could. Squirrel`s interest was piqued "What do you mean squee?"
    "is it not obvious? You are more than twice the size all of your squirrel friends are. You must be the best nutcracker in the whole forest." Squee squealed in delight. "We should start our own team! I will get the nuts and you will crack them, then we never have to be alone any longer. Squirrel looked at Squee a bit longer now and saw that he was twice as small as he was.