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 light through a curtain and onto bedsheets.

Art Credit: jamelah e.

49 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Doug Sylver says:

    What he remembers best is that bed. And her, of course. He and his bandmates gave her a ride. Boston to Provincetown. Summer, 1984. She had a furnished room in the attic of an old sea captain’s mansion a block from the harbor. She’d been a waitress in the cafe where he’d been the cook, barista. They’d slept together a few times. More than a few times. He had visions of that bed. With her, of course. The salty breeze blowing through that window, through those curtains. Cooling their sunburned bodies. But it didn’t happen. It ended there, and then.

  2. Krystyna Fedosejevs says:

    The Bed One Lies In

    Brother declared himself ‘nonconformist’, deciding back in grade school that rules and rituals mattered not.

    Many blamed him in situations for his lack of respect. He claimed he simply had no interest.

    The breaking point was the forging of Dad’s signature on a cheque. Mother decided on a punishment.

    “You have to lie in the bed you made,” she grunted.

    “I never make my bed,” he grinned.

    He broke the curfew, not returning on time. In the morning it was learned he crashed his motorcycle into a cement wall.

    Mother stopped making his bed. No one slept in it again.

  3. Meg Ferrill / Rachel Cain says:

    Until We Meet

    She died 894 days ago. An imaginary monster is nothing without a child’s imagination.

    894 days I’ve been shackled by this form. Putty, a shadow, a nothing. With her I was many things. My finest act, the mouthless clown with bloody tears.

    894 days in this cell. She died young, before she could imagine me anywhere else. I’m stuck within these walls with no innocence to haunt.

    From the window I see new occupants. A man carrying in boxes. A woman rummaging in the car. No damn kiddie in sight.

    She shuts the trunk. Less than 9 months to go.

  4. The Usual Brand of Entertainment
    ~
    The show was over, curtains drawn. Nothing to see here, folks. Just a typical evening in Hell. Malicious words flying like shrapnel, doggos’ toenails scrambling to find purchase on the linoleum floor as they scattered out of harm’s way.

    The children fed-and-read to sleep well before the arrival of the hungry beast. Well before the opening music swelled a foreshadowing of the night’s entertainment.

    The beast sits mute, shoveling meat and potatoes into his gaping maw, cruel eyes watchful. The beast’s wind-up toy hovers dutifully. Anticipating his needs, praying this evening’s show will be, “Sated Man Sleeps on the Sofa.”

  5. Austin D. Anderson says:

    White Curtains

    How is your voice still clear? As if yesterday, I remember it in the Lowe’s aisle, “these are the ones.”

    “White curtains? What good are those?”

    “What do you mean?” You replied.

    “The sun will pass right through them.”

    You smiled. Your soft smile. The one from your visitation flier. I knew you would never fold. “You’ll need the light in the morning, or you’ll never get up.”

    I stare at my alarm clock— 12:01 p.m. Your hand is hidden in the sun over my sheets. It extends towards me as I drown in the dark, and I take hold.

  6. Janet Stevenson says:

    Not Caught On Camera

    We’ve done what lovers do in the bedroom for seven years.
    Shortly after my husband sped off this morning, the police arrive questioning his whereabouts. Almost tearfully, I reply,
    “Alex went out for a run at the reservoir.”

    The officer confirms Alex’s car is at the reservoir, out of camera range with the driver’s door ajar. The center console contained his keys, wallet, and phone.

    The officer asks a nerve-jangling question. I quickly reply,
    “In no way did Alex plan his own disappearance.”

    There’s an unnatural silence in the air. I think, if these walls could talk. “I’m listening walls…”

  7. Reaper sat on his perch wearing his flowing robe of fallen stars. He peered in through dusty curtains to watch Grace throw her thesis pages into the air. They floated back down, snowflakes in MLA style. Her shoulders moved to the EDM beat of Red Bull and speed. Her cat Alcott sensed Reaper first. It hissed. Reaper glided through the open window and hovered near the edge of the gray bedspread. He tipped his scythe in greeting.

    “Gather the pages and leave them in a pile,” Reaper said. “I meet a lot of writers, and they rarely recognize their talent.”

  8. Thompson Emate says:

    Dimness

    He wants to hide in the gloom that pervades his room. He wants to stay in the evening of his room away from the day’s light. How would they understand his struggles? How would they relate with the night that resides in his chamber? He doesn’t want to wear his heart on his sleeves. He doesn’t want to be a sour puss but keeping up appearances is a herculean task. There’s a raging tempest in his chamber. He asks the Father to hide him in the deepest night but He said redemption is a chariot that sojourns in the light.

  9. Grace Black says:

    Oughtness

    Another daybreak between amalgam midnights, caught inside the choking darkness within. Each rising sun and falling moon, tick tock, gradually inching toward the here and now. Inside living, being just is— Knowledge is not learned or memorized from inside a classroom. Nothings are something, never nothing. Order makes sense until it no longer pleases anyone, then the quiet beckons. I breathe. I sit. I lie back and realize the sun has set again, and time no longer understands me. I have this xiphoid fear piercing the isness of surrender, and the yearning for sleep strangles my mind, “Forget, forget, forget…”

  10. Pedro Antonio says:

    In the Morning Moment

    As I look at the sheets, which I will pull into an orderly fold shortly, I review my mental checklist of to-do items to start the day. After prioritizing my tasks, I look out the window. My attention shifts to the consistent yellow, orange, and blue hues representing the morning horizon. It’s both a captivating and comforting splendor. It makes me question how I tolerated the mornings when an achromatic hue, sometimes embellished with varying amounts of droplets, chose to be front and center. Suddenly, my eyes open to the melodic chimes of the alarm. It’s time to get up.

  11. Herbert Herrero says:

    If the bed was pushed against the wall, the pillow would not have ended up on the floor. I took a moment to think about reaching down and feeling it under the bed. It felt like I just got home. Bedroom dust would not have made it any dirtier than it was, as stains from sweat and my oily hair have already started to turn yellow. The sheer curtain let the sun rub down on my face, made me stand up and hit the shower. The cold bath and mouthwash proved unsuccessful though in making me forget about last night.

  12. Liz Mayers says:

    What Exists When You Don’t

    Remember the weekend we planted the gardenias? We said we hoped they lived twenty years or longer. They have, my dear, and they’re magnificent. Their exotic scent blew in on this morning’s breeze filling our bedroom; I closed the window and wept. How I miss springtime with you. Especially springtime. I still fall asleep cradled by your impression, layering my impression onto yours, but it doesn’t soften anything. Mourning doves wake me singing pale blue songs and pecking at seeds I scatter in our garden. Your ashes are in the garden too and in a locket close to my heart.

  13. Sherri Bale says:

    LIFE WITH PETEY

    What’s that buzzing? The alarm! Six-thirty am, on the dot. Alexa never misses. I poke at Petey, who is deep under the covers, snoring softly.

    “Get up, buddy.”

    I race down the stairs and grab the kibble and special dietary additives, measured out last night. Carefully I pull 5cc of insulin into a syringe.

    “Here, boy!” I call. He eats, then waits patiently for his injection. First shot of the day. He heads back to the warm bed while I watch, jealous.

    I get ready to go to the lab. Maybe today I will find the cure for canine diabetes.

  14. Tim says:

    It was the first time I saw fear in my grandpa’s eyes. Why are you here, seeing me like this? they screamed. Why was I there? Shock. Disgust. Then they softened. He tried his best to smile. But I was still frightened of the yellowed oxygen tube crammed into his nose; of his white stubble and gaunt cheeks; of seeing him reduced to this dark bed in a dark room. Mom turned him back and pointed me out the room. I still carry those fearful eyes with me, and the shame of how my face must have looked that night.

  15. Susan Israel says:

    Just One More Sleep

    Damn, those sheets look invitingly cool. Is it hyperthermia making him feel so hot? Or is it fever? Which is worse? Either way he’ll probably die. Power has been cut off, there’s no phone service and the water coming out of the tap looks like liquid rust. He’s been on the run for days and gave the police the slip only to wind up in here, in this abandoned shack with nothing life sustaining to offer him except this bed, this ironically perfect bed. No prison rations. No infirmary nurse. Some life sentence! He was better off in the slammer.

  16. Melody York says:

    What a Life to Live

    I lay in your bed, waiting for you. You head straight for the cupcake in the kitchen, a crumbly mess of deliciousness. You place the cupcake on a plate, hoping to stop those crumbs from finding the apertures in the sheets. Unbothered by my presence, you crawl under your cotton sheets and turn the television on to your comfort show. I watch it with you, savoring the small cupcake crumbs you leave behind.

    “I wish my life was like that,” you whisper.

    I can’t think of a life better than this one.

    But I’m just a fly.

  17. Ruby says:

    UNINHABITED
    We’ll move into our dream home at the end of the week. It took all our savings. New Town, new house, few neighbours. Perfect.
    Surprisingly, it had remained unihabited for a while.
    As we were cleaning up, a massive task, Molly, our nearest neighbour, came over.
    ” How come you bought this haunted house ?”
    “Haunted?”
    ” Haven’t you heard?”
    ” What?”
    ” Old Jeff still lives upstairs.”
    We both laughed.
    ” This house is uninhabited.”
    That night, as we began closing up, l heard Myra scream. I rushed up. The window was open, and the sheets of the freshly made-up bed were crumpled.

  18. Rabab says:

    ALONE

    I am afraid to be alone, l am afraid to close my eyes, most of all, l am afraid to fall asleep. It’s the recurring nightmare – l kiss Sammy good night and tuck him into bed, but when l go back to my room, Andy is not there – the bed is empty , the window is open, the night is dark and cold, the icy wind chills my very soul…
    ***
    The medical team stands around her.
    ” Since when has she been like this?”
    ” Ever since the accident that killed her husband and minor son.She escaped with minor injuries, but…”

  19. UNMADE AGAIN
    by Bernardo Villela

    He’s dead. He’s been dead for years, all my friends tell me. I know it’s true. I kissed his forehead as he slipped away from this world. You’re just feeling his presence, my family tells me not wanting to hurt me. Are you sleepwalking again, my therapist asks. Even if I had once or twice, that doesn’t change what I saw last night when I waited for him to show up. I turned my armchair to face his bedroom and watched. I’d only drifted off for a few minutes and my son’s bed had been unmade again. I missed him.

  20. Joyce Peim says:

    The gentle breeze moves the sheers ever so slightly, passing over the rumpled bedspread bringing with it the scent of lilacs or lilies or roses to torture me with the memory of cognac-colored tendrils on the pillow beside me, a killer curve for a waist rising to a bony-peaked hip, the soft snoring she denied but I found soothing, the tantalizing smile upon waking always followed by her hand blocking her lips signifying, “Don’t kiss me I have morning breath.” Now everything is empty and grey and meaningless, and I am lost in the cemetery for a love that died.

  21. C. Show says:

    The Runaway Game

    Housing on the base is cramped, old buildings from the 50s arranged in a strange cul-de-sac. The neighbor boys are over, and you’re hopeful they’ll keep your three children entertained long enough for you to nap. Far away you hear the back door open. Your cracked window catches the sound of a child crying, so you shoot to the backyard to find your middle child on the trampoline alone with the dogs circling. Pete is four, and she’s sobbing, “They left me, Mommy. They left me.” Little eyes and noses dot the sliding glass door, cruel children spectating the aftermath.

  22. Teddy Kimathi says:

    Sometimes a new morning feels morning cereals she took as a child, not knowing where her mum bought the milk. Sometimes hours are difficult to distinguish from each other, as she sleeps mornings, afternoons and evenings. Sometimes her bedroom is neat and fresh, while other times it resembles those fights between dawn and daybreak. Sometimes she gets lucky and gets a job at restaurant or as a nanny, while other times she has to invite strangers in her bed. Sometimes she laughs heartily in a karaoke, while other times she cries herself to sleep. Sometimes tells herself “I Love You”.

  23. Julie Crookes says:

    When Light Creeps In
    Humans never learn from history, they tell me. I leap out of bed nonetheless, when she calls to tell me it is time, hurry straight out to carry the placard she has made.
    “How about we stop bombing children?”
    Her hand touches mine as she passes it to me. Electricity shoots up my spine, connects me to the power.
    “They say?” The megaphone asks.
    “It is our duty to protect OUR people!” We chant in reply.
    “We say?”
    “It is our duty to protect ALL people!”
    Somewhere a violin weaves ‘Hallelujah’ into our painfully optimistic noise, our indestructible secret chord.

  24. Wolfman June says:

    Working a hundred hours a week, housework slips away from you. You stop making the bed…no time you tell yourself…but really you are just empty inside and the unkempt bed is more in line with that reality. No cooking…all take out.The unmade bed says, “There is no energy for your personal needs..it all goes to work.” Then you get sick from overwork. The unmade bed just stands as a reflection of how exhausted you are.

    Then you get some time to recover. When you feel like there is room for you in life…you make your bed.

    Or you finally have action in that bed, and it is unmade because you two are in the shower and will be back at the bed soon.

  25. Cheryl Snell says:

    Missing

    Every night I look at your bed, wrinkled sheets still caught in mid-ripple. The breeze from the cracked-open window billows the curtains, the ones we argued over. “White has no life,” you said. “It’s an absence, a blank slate.” No, it is the sum of all the colors, I insisted, and now I’m looking at the fabric to make sure that’s so. I’m searching for a prism of seven colors, but what I see is smoke rising above a dark forest, turning blue. Against the whitening sky it catches fire. Where is the color of abandonment, I want to know.

  26. Yash Seyedbagheri says:

    Morning light invades the dark room. I try to pull the curtains tighter, but they come undone.
    I want to sleep. Not a washing machine type of sleep that mixes dreams and problems. Fights with fathers threatening disownment (get a real job, senseless dreamer), juggling manuscripts with ease, while deadlines hum impatience.
    The sun bursts even more across sheets, stained with history and sweat.
    I can’t sleep on that.
    I pull on sweats, grab my computer. Head out the door. A breath of morning air greets me. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m going. It’s a small relief.

    • Keith Hoerner says:

      Lay Down Your Head

      Lay down your head, oh beautiful child, lay down your head. Rest that restless head brimming with teenage angst. Your apocalyptic, world view will extinguish itself in a whistle of steam—waking you to a cornucopia of adult possibilities. Lay down your head. Lay down your head, successful businessman, loving father of four. Turn off life’s concerns. You’ve earned the good nap. Lay down your head. Lay down your head old man at the edge of life. Lay down your head. Play the slideshow behind your eyes. Child. Teen. Father. Old man. It is time; gently, lay down your head.

  27. Andrea Daniels says:

    My neighbour, Moe, died last Thursday. It’s hard to say how old he was. His face and body read old but his energy was spry and his laugh kinetic. He liked to draw small, quick doodles on the junk mail piled on the table in the hall downstairs. Some had faces; some born of geometry. Sometimes a little saying like “Give peas a chance.” I was never sure if he did it for himself or for us. Letting in a little light to our dark hallway. Our too fast lives and Door Dash addictions. He left me all his books.

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