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.

An image of two mushrooms growing in the grass.

Art Credit: Bernard Spragg

56 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Jasmine Beth says:

    The mushroom less eaten (after Robert Frost)

    Two mushrooms grew in a wood. Sorry I could not eat both and be one diner, long I stood, and looked at one. Then ate the other, just as brown, and having perhaps the better claim, being plump and moist, though diners had left them the same. Both that morning equally stood, on stems no chef had cut. Yet knowing how meal leads onto meal, I doubted if I should return. I shall be telling this from a hospital hours hence: two mushrooms grew in a wood, and I – I ate the one less eaten, and that made the difference.

  2. Sara Galasso says:

    After hours of tromping through the woods, she was close to surrender. Maybe it wasn’t a mushroom day after all. Maybe all the good stuff had already been taken by more punctual foragers. Then she spotted them. Like two spongy bowling pins in silly garden hats, side by side. The familiar way they sort of tilted, leaned into one another, like a vaudevillian pair, ready to fire off the perfect, century-old joke. Like two old lovers, standing before the edge of the forest, watching the boundaries of time flow off the world like mist. Maybe there was comfort in decay.

  3. Kara Kahnke says:

    Mushroom Trip

    The musk of fallen leaves surrounded them. Mike and Julie paused their afternoon woodland hike. Admiring its perfect points, Mike picked up a deep red oak leaf. It sheltered two tiny mushrooms.

    “Someday I’ll do something to sustain the world. Put my hands in the dirt. I won’t be trapped in a high-rise glass box working for health insurance.”

    Julie squeezed her husband’s hand. This was the first time he’d voiced this plan. She joined in. “We’ll live where L.A. smog doesn’t choke us. Grow pumpkins as big as our heads.”

    A nearby cardinal chirped along to their happy dreams.

  4. Emily R. says:

    Mist-shrouded, we paced the woods in silence. Foraging once bonded us: the meditative search, the rush of finding mushrooms: honeycombed morels, a lurid shelf of laetiporus sulphureus jutting from cedar bark. We cooked on the campstove, that earthy fungi smell lingering into the night. Talked softly while condensation beaded the van windows. Now we move in terse quiet.

    He said, “Look. Chanterelles.”

    Our eyes met for a hopeful second. Like something new could grow here.

    The mushrooms were false chanterelles, toxic. We both knew instantly. I exhaled a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding; we walked on in silence.

  5. JoDa Redfearn says:

    The fae gazed at their new home: the Twin Shrooms. It was perfect! All they had to do was hollow them out and it would be a wonderful house. Even better, the purchasing price was free, though it did come with some noisy neighbors: local human wildlife. Those humans and their massive “tents”, “campfires”, and that weird form of music they sing near the fire… Quite pesky. At least it was currently the rainy season, so humans didn’t frequent this area much yet. Perhaps they could set up some traps before the next season rolls around? Only time will tell.

  6. Nina Miller says:

    Mycelium High

    When Masha stopped speaking to Rumi, the senior class barely noticed since no one cared about the couple’s current kerfuffle. High Schools, however, were dense fungal mycobiota that thrived on rotting carcasses of dead relationships. Rumors traveled by weaving through lunch tables, gym bleachers, and teachers’ desks. Gossip’s poisonous spores traveled within whispered words and escaped from shocked gasps. Attractive fruiting bodies displayed themselves to each half of the couple, tempting and titillating, separating them further. New connections were made with entwined fingers and limbs. When Masha saw Rumi alone the next week, she’d forgotten what had split them apart.

  7. Christy Brothers says:

    New Year’s Day

    Two fungi stop me in my tracks. Proud. Erect. Dripping in confidence. A team. This morning my new life begins. Meeting myself where I am. Twigs sprouting between my toes. A dewy leaf creeping around my arm. I am a student ready to learn. Shuffling in the rain under an umbrella covered with cats. I count to twelve and back down again. Today I swear on my mother’s grave. I click my heels and salute. An honorary member of The Fungi Club. I proudly take my place in line. Just as I am. Alone. Unsure. Ashamed and full of doubts.

  8. It was my first case as a sitting judge. At the time, I thought it was beneath me. Too farcical. I wanted something with dark edges and intrigue. Bloodstains, DNA…gruesome close-ups for the jury to wince at and pass along.

    I aimed for something between blazing overconfidence and woefully bored by five – or was it seven – hours of expert testimony on fungi. The story didn’t add up. I misplaced several pages of notes which, of course, I shamelessly pretended never happened. We all make mistakes. Her dinner party, the mushrooms. We all make mistakes. A preoccupied jury, a new judge.

  9. Antonia says:

    It was seemingly another day in the land of fungi, except that the rhythms of daily work – you know, the breaking down of organic matter – was interrupted by a downpour that even my tree neighbor couldn’t protect me from. At first, it was scary, but then, a calming silence and flickering of sunlight from above. I am saturated in bright colors, not unlike what an innocent forager might see on a psychedelic journey if I was actually plucked and eaten. Petrichor is my signature scent as the ecosystem around me exhales and I greet the shroom who mirrors me.

  10. Eileen McIntyre says:

    Longing for the Light

    “Do you ever long for the sun, Marsh?”

    “Never really thought about it.“

    “I’d love to lay prone. I get tired. Don’t you?”

    “But it’s beautiful here, don’t you think?”

    “I can’t even look at you head on, Marsh.”

    “I do wish I could reach out. I’d wrap arms around you, Aerie.”

    “If I had one wish, it would be to have legs. I feel stuck. I can’t even move closer to you.”

    “Do you think we’ll get chosen soon?”

    “Not sure but do know I’d choose you.”

    “What do you think will happen?”

    “That, Aerie, remains in the dark.”

  11. Linda Schueler says:

    The fly agarics were tourist pleasers but rare in her corner of the woods. The need to collect customers’ money outweighed the need for integrity. She would find some similar looking mushrooms and disguise them.
    The story she gave her customers is that they couldn’t come too close to the mushrooms, as even proximity could make them ill. The customers would ooh and ahh and move on.
    Fly agarics are lucky mushrooms. Money rolled in.
    Today there was a crack behind her, and she turned to see a straggler holding a white spotted red cloth, eyebrow raised.
    “Fairies!” she scoffed.

  12. Sherri Bale says:

    The fairy used the silken web to descend to the earth. There she sipped from a droplet of dew. She lived a comfortable but lonely life between the soft gills under her red-capped home. One day she spied a handsome sprite on the mushroom next to her and was thrilled when he waved a greeting.

    Soon the fairy and sprite were sharing sips of dew. They spoke of a wedding.

    Lonely no more, until the day they heard a shout, “Boletus!” and their homes were plucked from the earth and tossed into a basket. They never saw each other again.

  13. Daniel Moreno says:

    The Forbidden Shackles

    Ahead of her, the murky clouds loomed low over the canopy, suffocatingly; the chilling, humid air contributed to that feeling. The trees had no leaves, but instead what looked like clumps of long, dirty hair. Each trunk contorted around, or through, the others, making her unsure that it wasn’t just all one connected being. Their branches curled and cut in every direction, ending in hungry points sharp enough to pierce flesh. The roots made her think of desperate people climbing over each other, drowning in mud. The sight made her stomach turn. Of course this place could only be called…

  14. The earthy sweet smell of mushrooms stirred David’s memory, drawing him outside. He stood in the drizzle and sniffed the air – delicious. He could be wrong, but what did it matter? He was old, death would come soon anyway.

    In the kitchen, he fried the mushrooms in butter and spooned them onto wholemeal toast. Poured a glass of red wine.

    He savoured the flavour. Exactly the same as he had first tasted that day. The day he crawled away from the gunman, when hope had that exact same earthy sweet smell and had tasted so good fried in butter.

  15. Luke Whisnant says:


    We hate Timmy ‘cause he cusses and eats mud and stabs our bike wheels with a icepick and his daddy was a asshole our daddy said after his daddy tried to fight our daddy in the driveway so we picked this mushrooms and mashed them up in Mommie’s old blue bowl and sprayed in some hairsprays and Mr Clean and mixed in dirt and water and we carried it next door, “Hey Timmy want some nice fresh mud?” but then our sister told on us and our mommie took away our TV time so now we hate Timmy even more.

  16. scott soodek says:

    The air here smelled of fir leaves and toadstools. The older trees reached for the sun, while the younger ones lazily blossomed in a mosaic of sunlight and shade the verdant canopy supplied. Convent sisters marched in silence, immersing themselves in service and worship in the dense, damp woodlands that sustained them. As they foraged, glimpses of the plain that lay below came into view. The fiery reds and electric golden yellows of the leaves radiated in vibrancy as they prepared for the imminent slumber that awaits. From here, the sisters witnessed a grandeur and beauty that transcended human understanding.

  17. Lisa Lerma Weber says:

    Isa sat on a mossy log in the woods behind her grandparents home. She was out of breath from running and crying. Wiping her face with her sleeve, she looked back towards the house, expecting to see a family member who saw her leave the post-funeral gathering. She saw no one, but noticed a pair of mushrooms on the ground nearby. They resembled the porcinis her mother would often add to their dinner pasta. She plucked one and placed it in her mouth. Chewing she thought of her mother, how she danced while she cooked. The mushroom tasted of grief.

  18. vmar says:

    Inside the mushroom all was ordered, precise, tiny bits and bobs functioning flawlessly. From outside it was a plain mushroom, tucked out of the way. Just in case, a forcefield enclosed it and could make it disappear from sight if needed.

    “?” grunted Watcher One. “Nah”, said Two, peering at the image from the mushroom an immense distance away. Passing military trucks were stopping at the test field. “Betcha they don’t achieve anything. Their nature’s not deviant enough yet to become a future galactic threat.”

    “Remember those big lizards? Dinosaurs? That was fun, at the end.” the first alien said.

  19. Dan Slaten says:

    The backyard at the dumpy old apartment seemed indescribably vast when I lived there as a kid. The “woods” between our building and the side street that ran by the convenience store were like something out of a fantasy novel, and I imagined there had to be a portal to another world hidden somewhere within. I thought anywhere would be better than where I was, and I think I’ve carried that feeling with me most of my life. Something about the mushrooms unnerved me, though. So many mushrooms. To this day, I feel an unfathomable emptiness when I see mushrooms.

  20. Lenore Marchant says:


    Where is it
    Where is it
    The voices scream
    Like a pounding rhythm
    screeching in my head
    I find the box
    hidden under the bed
    just like a monster
    the monster it is
    dried and shriveled
    but they help
    the voices are gone
    content for now
    stumbling my world wobbles
    reality is gone
    and so is the stress.

  21. Joyce Peim says:

    “We have to be careful,” she said as she pulled away from him slightly.

    “I thought we were having such a good time,” he said, and she could tell his feelings were genuinely hurt.

    “I am, but we have to keep some distance between us. No cap-to-cap contact.”

    She told him the latest reports about the vinegar outbreak, and how experts thought it was another man-made catastrophe, like what DDT did to the eagle population.

    He sighed, shook his cap, and said, “You can always count on humans to fuck up our world.”

    She nodded her cap in woeful agreement.

  22. Michele Villanueva Rosefelt says:

    “I wonder how long we’ll last before being taken by foragers.” he mutters while admiring her cap. “I couldn’t stand to be without you.”

    She leans to the right, feeling the ache in her curved stem. Though fate planted them side by side, she’s not sure he is the one for her.

    “We’re a flawless couple, like Barbieshroom and Kenshroom. Do you not see that?” he says. “Our spore would be impeccable.”

    “Please — some space.” she whispers.

    But she knows he’s right — they are model morels. That alone may determine their immortality. They are just too beautiful to be plucked.

  23. MARY GROOS says:

    “Hello! I admire your hat.”

    “Thank you. I see we must shop at the same store.”

    “Ah yes, I suppose this is true.”

    “I think our meeting is not simply by chance. I feel it is fate.”

    “I don’t really believe in fate.”

    “That is a pity. I believe we could have been great friends.”

    “Oh! Wait! I do believe in ‘good luck.’ I believe it is ‘good luck’ that has brought us together.”

    “Then we shall live together here in ‘good fate.'”

    “Cheers to a good life side by side with our fantastic chapeaus, nice conversation, and a fabulous friendship.”

  24. Fazal says:


    The sound of laughter wafted into my office and l smiled. Ever since Julia had come to our Old People’s Facility, she made Recreation Hour throughly enjoyable, entertaining everyone with anecdotes.
    Previously, the place had lacked warmth. Even the window boxes were devoid of growth.
    I walked over. Julia was saying, ” Even in the hardest demeanor is a heart waiting to express love, even in the hardest soil is a flower waiting to bloom…all they need is the human touch.”
    As the others nodded, l gasped in astonishment, for in the window box, outside nodded two freshly sprung mushrooms.

  25. Bernardo Villela says:

    by Bernardo Villela

    Easton sought the freshest mushrooms. At the farm was a sign in a foreign tongue; the farmer’s translation appalled him.
    “Is it really grotesque? There are mushrooms grown within 100 yards of a graveyard. All kinds buried there. But my family plot six feet under our fungi makes me—what? A cannibal?”
    Easton’s lousy poker face sparked the diatribe, so he tried to maintain a neutral expression. The rant segued to religious themes; ashes to ashes, etc.
    It was then Easton wished he’d asked what else the old man farmed because he didn’t need the hoe he held for mushrooms.

  26. Krystyna says:

    Matter of Good and Bad

    “Good one?” he asked.

    His wife studied the specimen, fingering through fallen aspen leaves to reach the stem.

    “Slippery Jack,” she replied. “Delish sautéed with onions.”

    He tossed the slimy fungus into his pail.

    “Good one?” she asked her parents as a young girl after every fungus find.

    Often it wasn’t. How they knew instantly was surprising to her.

    “Good one?” the amateur mushroom-picker pointed to one of two.

    His wife burst into joyful tears.

    “It’s a Steinpilz, famous in Bavaria. Oma made delicious soup with that mushroom.”

    They resumed prodding the boreal forest, in pursuit of unearthing its gems.

  27. Meg Fox says:

    Emmie hopped off her bike, ran a steel chain through its spokes, and padlocked the wheels to the Park Rules sign. This was her magical realm where the land was sweet, water green, and river birch stood like lovely guardians of a grand secret world.

    Today, she was a mystic queen turning mushrooms golden for princely frogs and clever leprechauns. Her people loved her and had come to speak.

    “Good evening, my dear queen,” said the caregiver, her fingers tidying up Emmie’s crown of wispy silver hair. She released the wheelchair’s foot lock and rolled her waking dreamer to dinner.

  28. Kornel Farkas says:

    Forest talk

    I think we’ll have enough for supper today And fry some more on Saturday

    Yeah Oh wow look at those two Really flawless right Completely untouched I mean worms or slugs you know Wow Beautiful Maybe even the roots down there are in sort of a Symbiosis is it And look at those aligned stems I think it’s great how

    Yeah Rich it is and I love you but Can you just cut ‘em off so we have the basket filled And get to the aligned stems later okay After we finish alright

    Yeah sure Meg Sweet as boletus again

  29. Rabab says:


    ” Do you believe in rebirth?” I asked Marie.
    We had just reiterated our undying love.
    ” Something like transmigration of souls? I remember reading about it.”
    ” l promise to be with you in our every foray into this world.”
    ” l promise too.”
    Unknown time later, we are looking at our reflections in a lake. I can hear children say,” Look at that beautiful pair of swans – always together !”
    We nod in agreement. Always together.
    Unknown time later, l say happily, “You make a beautiful mushroom. ”
    ” So do you, love.”
    Does the outer covering matter when our souls are one ? Always together.

  30. Heather Hill says:

    The boy examined the hunting knife, seemingly long abandoned from the red rust coating the blade. He slashed through the air as if dueling an invisible opponent.
    A dead tree caught his attention. Mushrooms grew down its trunk towards the ground then spread out before it as though they were its shadow. On the ground nearby lay something pink.
    The boy picked it up. A dirty sock. This close, the mushroom patch appeared to have arms and legs. Following this peculiar growth pattern, his eyes fell on where the feet would be…the other pink sock poked up from the soil.

  31. A Conversation Regarding the Effects of Shrooms

    “Your eyes are funny. You trippin’, man?”

    “Uh Huh.”

    “What are you on?”

    “Shrooms, man.”

    “I remember shrooms. My college days, they had me trippin’ balls. Seein’ things. Talkin’ to ghosts and such.”

    “I know whatcha mean, man. Magic mushrooms wrote my senior thesis. My professor said it was the most detailed paper he’d ever read on The Drake Equation as related to communication with extraterrestrial civilizations. Gave me an F.”

    “You failed? What the Hell, man?”

    “My theme was, The Cold War and Cuban Missle Crisis.”

    The old man in the mirror laughed and gave him a knowing wink.

  32. Josiathe Price says:

    “And I said to the other guy, you seem like a pretty fungi,” snickered Porus, met by Morel’s unamusement.
    “Wow, haven’t heard that punchline before…” Morel groaned, “Can’t anyone think of a new joke? Like seriously, there’s so many possibilities with mushroom puns and yet everyone uses the same one, every time!”
    “Hmph, I’d like to see you come up with something better,” Porus pouted.
    “Why did the bear eat the mushroom? Because he had no morels! What did the mushroom say when he had to use the bathroom? I really gotta shiitake! See, it’s easy!”
    “Sigh. Fine, you win.”

  33. Cheryl Snell says:


    They see the two porcini at the same time. The hot sun has wet his shirt and he strips it off without thinking. She’s not looking; she only has eyes for the delicious mushrooms awaiting her frying pan. She leans down to pull them out of the mossy ground, but he holds her arm. “Wait─ his cap is her umbrella, so close to the sky full of bees.” And then she sees the knobs in his right underarm, the distinctive golden King Bolete gills in the pit where fungi fused with his skin. He shrugs. “We’re all part of nature.”

  34. Peter Friddle says:

    Here we are again. From where do we come?

    It’s just another damp, fall day. The brisk wind is sending the leaves to join us. The racoon ambles by. The hiker kneels closely to snap our picture. The dog gives us a cursory sniff, bounding to the next smell. The moss on the trees grows greener each passing day. The dewy mornings are tinged with cold. Our color is brilliant against the drab forest floor.
    The world around us buzzes with activity yet is achingly silent at the same time.

    What’s next for us? Where do we go from here?

  35. Dominique Zino says:

    The afternoon before, we’d hiked. The path was mostly paved. Still, the trip was an escape from their children.
    “If you could be any plant…”
    “Lavender,” said Sara.
    “I could see that. You’re calming,” said Laxmi. “I’d choose dandelion.”
    “A mushroom,” I said, with simmering scorn for the game I’d created.
    “They’re well connected, like you–those root systems!” Laxmi said sweetly.
    The next morning on the deck, a dispute over breastfeeding. Precipitously, they’re over the waterfall’s edge, Sara’s disapproval gushing, Laxmi’s hands raised in panic. I observe the minor war over breakfast, as red-eyed vireos sing anxiously about us.

  36. Dominic Copperwaite says:

    I noticed it before she did, the mushroom she lifted to her mouth; a mushroom that would be her last, a mushroom that would be her final pain and worry. I tried to stop her, I tried to tell her that it was poisonous but she thought I was just having another one of my “fits”. Life with cerebral palsy is hard, I am unable to move, walk, or talk; but my mind is perfectly stable. I am smarter than any normal person you would see going to school but they don’t know it, because I cannot tell them so.

  37. “I wish I were a flower,” the first mushroom said, feeling more ashamed of its lack of color than any mushroom had before (Which was quite a feat considering no mushroom had particularly thought of its color before except to celebrate it.)

    “You don’t need to be a flower to be beautiful,” answered the second mushroom. “I for one, think you are lovely.”

    “But I am brown, and plain and puffy!” Protested the first.

    “Puffy and brown perhaps, but not plain.”

    “How can you call me lovely?! You look the same as me!”

    The second mushroom smiled quietly.

    “I know.”

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