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.

Photo collage of traffic and power lines.

Art Credit: Robert Miller

44 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Krista says:

    I wait.

    Are you coming back? I pull at an errant thread escaping from the comforter that offers little comfort. Hues of earth and rust faded to murky shades imply it has seen better days too.

    A siren wails somewhere, then a tv is switched on next door. It is dark out. I think. Day bleeds into night and I lose my sense of time, of place. I could be in any hotel room, in any city. I could be a different person with a different life. But I am here, holding your necklace of Egyptian gold. And I wait.

  2. Krystyna says:

    The City Labyrinth

    Wind jostled my city. Power lines snapped. Traffic lights went out around the grid. Drivers lost their sense of direction. Anger flared. Horns blared.

    I need to bring Mary to the hospital. Had her appointment next month but…

    Can’t be. Street I normally take is blocked? I’ll try another. Hey, you’re heading towards me! I honk, swerve to the right, narrowly missing a vehicle barreling from the side.

    Need to bring Mary to the hospital. She’s in pain.

    Have to keep it together, for me. For Mary. For…

    Yes, Georgia, we’re almost there. You’re about to enter this crazy world.

  3. Jessica Hublick says:

    Seven years of practicing meditation and I still get an absolute mind mess. My thoughts no longer come and go like cars, the way the apps taught me. Instead, traffic laws disappear in clouds of exhaust and I’m again strung out, like too many games of cat’s cradle.

    I used to criticize her obsession over their anniversaries, calling her macabre — morbid — while she bedded down, ruminating on their deceased-ness. Now, I guess I pay her the highest compliment. My calendars track the days, mattress stinking, and she— she sits behind the wheel. She drives my every limited yet infinite thought.

  4. Yara Hassan says:

    Among the buildings invading the semi-clear sky and the luxurious cars roaming the streets of a city burdened by dying dreams.
    Among the bright lights and the deafening silence, the smell of nothingness mixed with the misery of the soulless bodies passing by. In a hurry, they are all walking in different directions towards one goal. While watching from the window of a place I call mine despite the lack of my scent between its corners, I thought…
    Where are they going? When will they arrive? Why don’t they pause and think about what’s happening around them? Why can’t they see the dead bodies on the sides of the street? Why can’t they hear the screams of the children under the rebels? Why can’t they smell the gunpowder and fire in the air? How come they keep going unaware of the burdened souls everywhere?

  5. Robin Wright says:

    Within this wired heart of darkness, this electronic jungle, you’re obscured, ensnared by its gray maze of despair. Myriad lines emerge, submerge, a collision course of reds and ambers, their futile warnings confined by degrading vertical walls. You’re ensnared by electronic webs, no terminus in sight, deep webs without beginning or end, overconnected, a blur, you’re desperate to escape. Hidden within your metallic armor, you uncover a tentative but fragile asylum, a moments escape from assimilation, absorption, you into we, we into they, forever connected, on every plane an oblivion. Who were you? Who are you? What will you become?

  6. City of Webs

    The villain ripped the laden grocery sack from an elderly woman’s gnarled hands before punching her in the face. The hero watched from his lofty perch, a spire adorning St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. His anger peaked as he surveyed the wretched fiend’s course of destruction. Sidewalks were littered with bloodied grannies and kicked dogs.

    He sneezed, his spidey senses tingling. It’d been a long night—him single-handedly taking out the villains—and he sighed, flexing his hands. Silken threads streamed from both wrists and he swung into action, avoiding the criss-cross of used webs littering his anguished city.

  7. Rabab says:

    All’s Fair in Love and War

    I see the sparks just in time. I shout over the public address system.The opposition leader’s cavalcade, headed for the park, grinds to a halt. Not a minute too soon.The high tension cable falls harmlessly to the ground.
    As security personnel and firefighters take over, the mayor arrives; breathless, perturbed. Some cheek, I think, considering how he has ignored pleas for replacing this dangerous conglomeration of wires with underground cables.
    This latest incident sets me thinking. How come ‘accidents’ happen when the opposition uses this road?
    Accidents or modus operandi? If you can’t win ’em, eliminate ’em!

  8. Bernardo Villela says:

    CROSSED LINES
    by Bernardo Villela

    “Hi, Kazu, it’s me. Before you say anything I just need to explain. I want you back but we can’t continue to go around in this loop where I’m this loop where I’m the only one who apologizes when we both share some blame.”
    “I don’t understand.”
    “Of course you don’t. That’s so you. Why would anything ever change?”
    “No, you don’t understand.”
    “Right, that’s typical. I was so stupid to think that things could be fixed hen you’re determined to fight with me and make me the bad guy.”
    “I’m not Kazu.”
    “What?”
    “I think the lines got crossed.”

  9. Rushing to get to you.

    Speed limit 25, we crawl down cramped streets all spidery pylons and blaring horns.

    A car pulls out too quick. He gasps, slams the brakes, snaps “we’ll never make it”. Daddy, can you blame him? Lord knows you never tried. Now, he isn’t inclined to either.

    My phone rings, it’s the hospital.

    Shit.

    He sighs, pats my leg, says “I’m sorry babe”. He’s about to turn the car around, one hand on the wheel, when I press answer and hear “your father’s stable, get here when you can.”

    Again death eludes you. Again we wait.

  10. Charles Gray says:

    A Look into the Future

    “Sir, I had the scientists analyze the data from Orb1.”

    “And…”

    “Well, we found it, Sir.” I hand him the photo.

    “And…”

    “It’s a mishmash of the past, present, and future of one such Main Street near your home.”

    “And…”

    “It’s the moment you will die, Sir.”

    “How…”

    “That’s your Subaru driving north.”

    “Yes…”

    “The yellow car on your right will enter the intersection at a high speed and smash into you. You will suffer a fatal head injury.”

    “When…”

    “This will take place in seventy-six hours, Sir.”

    “Where was I going?”

    “Pizza parlor, Sir.”

    “Remind me to order Chinese.”

  11. Title: Angel Highway

    It wasn’t until I saw you kissing someone else that I noticed how cute your nose was when scrunched up against a face. And it wasn’t until I took to drinking vodka that I could see the halos that the traffic lights kept hidden from everyone else. The tightrope walkers dancing across telephone wires, the beasts that chased the cars they could never catch. I don’t know if I wanted to crash. But I can’t say I tried not to, I’m sorry. But I’m happy I didn’t die. I didn’t recognize you at first. You have never been more beautiful.

  12. Austin Anderson says:

    hearse

    Cars hum past our procession blowing fumes into the air. The hearse signals right, and soon my blinker follows. A few more miles until we reach the chasm in the earth. Minutes until dad’s body is one with the ground forever. A woman on my left gabs on her phone. Another car passes, its driver averts his eyes.

    Our motorcade is no more than traffic, a line of wheels moving forward.

    “Sure is nice how many people stop for us, huh?” The funeral director says at the gravesite. A mirthless punchline, and I can tell, he has said it before.

  13. Geoffrey Morgan says:

    Nokia

    It was raining in Cluj. We walked north from our hotel that first evening. A little exploring. So many large stone buildings we saw crumbling at the base. Electrical wires, cobwebs strung across the streets, glistened in the headlights of traffic at dusk. They collected at the upper corners of every other building in a nest and then went off under roof tops. Shops were closing along the wet cobblestone streets. Chilly, we headed back. There, in the main square, a huge mosaic sculpture of a cell phone rose up before us. No one called as the old city wept.

  14. Noland Taylor says:

    Open Lines

    “It is gloomy and silent. My flight is taking off from a city street and must tip its wings to avert clipping telephone lines and utility poles. I am gripped with fear. Miraculously, we always make it through. Each time the dream returns, the streets are narrower, and the utility lines increase in number. Eventually the entire street will become a tangled mesh of communication lines impossible to breach.”

    “What does this communicate to you?” asked the psychiatrist.

    “Maybe, my fear of addressing touchy issues is building up and I need to open lines of communication to begin to fly.”

  15. Herbert Herrero says:

    She walked with her head down, looking at her feet each time they touched the pavement. A dog rushed past her, its owner reaching for the end of the leash behind its tail. The siren faded as the ambulance sped away. A crow on top of the post watched her through the entangled wires. She ignored the man who tried asking for directions when she crossed the street. The cold wind blew her hair and made her press her hands deep inside her pockets. She knew she did well, but all she could do now was wait for the call.

  16. Cheryl Snell says:

    Voltage

    My brain has dragged a thought into the traffic jam,
    daring it to run into the street beneath cables dangling from junction boxes either sucking up misplaced electricity, or stretched like clotheslines on the verge of fraying. Who can see that and not feel fear, the room spinning as it mocks the motion inside your head, synapses weakening, misinterpreting orders. What is your migraine against the chaos of the dying city? Nobody admits that if your neighbor’s stealing your current, he probably can’t pay his rent either, though his life may lurch forward into the zigzag oncoming, slippery with rain.

  17. Adam Nicholas Tramuta says:

    The Blank Question
    The day was gloomy with beams of streetlights bouncing off the road. I asked my dad, why do people drive cars if they’re so dangerous? My dad replied, Son, we do it to get from place to place in a timely manner. I, as a young boy, proceeded to look out the backseat window and I saw all the other cars on the road. I asked, do these people drive their car for the same reason? My dad “gulps” Yes son, but not anymore, we sit in darkness hoping one day we come back to life at our destination.

  18. Al Faraone says:

    𝐧𝐨𝐢𝐬𝐞
    Static. The ugliness spreads. People ask each other 𝑑𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟 𝑖𝑡? 𝐷𝑜 𝑦𝑜𝑢 𝑠𝑒𝑒 𝑖𝑡? 𝐴𝑛𝑑 𝑤ℎ𝑦? Golf balls the size of hail fall. High flooding. Grand mal seizures. Open agrezivenss. Poor spelling abounds.

    Claire steps into the road though the road she steps into doesn’t exist. It’s all scratchy crazy like. “This is not feasible,” she says. She is looking for a modicum of pity and she finds it sitting beside the non-existing road eating what might be a baloney sandwich. Pity says, “Want some?”

    “Er, no thanks.”

    She is relieved to be wearing her sensible shoes.

    • Lisa H. Owens says:

      I loved this surreal story. The ‘golf balls the size of hail’ and ‘poor spelling abounds’ lines slayed me!

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