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.

Image of a backlit crowd at a concert.

 

Art Credit: David Shankbone

50 Responses to “Photo Prompt”

  1. Alicia Milton says:

    “Sweat Dream”

    The last image I remembered was euphoria, an eruption of worship swept across the arena and everyone was captured within His omnipotent presence that individually wrapped every single person in His arms. This image quickly slips from my grasp and now its distorted and damaged beyond repair.
    The lights as they appeared in synchrony were miraculously deceiving and I vividly remember Trent and I on our way to his mothers. Shard glass suspended within time as gravity surrenders its agreement with earth and the world becomes inverted. Faithful, just like everyone describes it, my life brief but bright and exposed.

  2. Anticipation

    We squint at shadows. Someone there…?

    The sight births a murmur; the murmur confirms reality. Sweating, aching muscles are soothed by sweet reward. You tug my shoulder, half-shout into my ear. “They’re here.”

    Drums, bass, guitar, keyboard. Instruments make each silhouette more than human. Stage lights shimmer like dew-strung chrysalises, iridescent and alive. The band is suddenly real, solid, fully there; their faces remain invisible.

    A bass drum thumps once. We crane our necks. A guitar string skitters gently, the sound like yarn in front of a cat.

    Someone screams in pure elation. We haven’t heard any music, not yet.

  3. Mara Blazic says:

    My music is ricocheting off the bottles and glasses, across to the coloured walls, up at all the gleaming lights and down to the dark sticky floor. I’m flying high above them with my invisible giant golden wings. I can’t make out all their faces, there are so many in this club, my cocoon from reality. They’re gazing up at me, fists pumping to the beat. It’s enthralling, their applause mesmerising, and I want to sing for all time, ‘Look at me I’m soaring!’

  4. Dan Slaten says:

    How is it a disembodied voice manages to capture everything he is feeling so perfectly? Maybe words aren’t the answer; maybe words just get in the way. Words have a way of ruining things, of complicating them beyond repair. Sound on the other hand, sound so simple and yet so complex, sums up everything in that moment. It doesn’t hurt that the wordless voice of an angel is being carried by a bassline so deep and so hard that it might as well be driving the planet around the sun. He closes his eyes and he hopes he isn’t dreaming.

  5. Lila Won says:

    I can’t swim

    “Be careful,” Amie laughed, balancing her cup within acrylic nails and soft palms. Strobe lights turned her eyes blue-violet, and from the way they widened, mine did too. I grinned, slipping between a couple with bloodshot eyes. Suddenly surrounded by naked girls and starving men, the crowd tightened like a tourniquet and everyone surged forward, teeth clacking and bared wide, screaming lyrics that didn’t match the beat. The guitarist caught my eye and I screamed, if only just to scream, but kept my eyes anchored to his until the restless pulsing of the crowd pulled me back under the waves.

  6. Eowyn Bailey says:

    “Remembering That May”

    She opened her eyes from the floor, squinting at the bright lights, the music replaced with deafening tintinnabulation, remembering, remembering how her father whistled and sang before May of that year, that year when he struck the great pine which used to stand in the front yard, swaying in the wind peacefully as though it had not torn them apart, apart from themselves and each other, surrounded by sunflowers, ivy, and the neverending sun, the neverending sun which blazed blue at her now, indoors at the concert where there was ringing, ringing as her father sang “Cassia! Cassia, come home.”

  7. Madeline Anderson says:

    Not Her Day…

    I’m screaming the lyrics to the song the band is playing. Today is my birthday. It’s finally a day where people see me and ask about me, and not my sister. My best friend takes my hand and pulls me in for a dance. We are sweating and laughing and our hearts are racing. By the end of the song I get a phone call. I hear a quiet sniffle and sob on the other line. And now my heart is racing for a different reason. My mothers voice shook as she said “Honey, it’s your sister.”

  8. Courtney Rowe says:

    I couldn’t see, The lights were too bright. I couldn’t hear myself think, the music was too loud.

    My brain was going numb as I tried to focus, tapping my fingers on the back of my wrist, where I knew there would be pain but anything to bring me back to the present moment.

    I couldn’t breathe, my chest tight from the lack of space around me. Now I couldn’t feel, my ears being flooded by so much sound it took away any calming ability I could create. I feel like I’m dying

    But that’s the thing about panic attacks.

  9. Christy Brothers says:

    Sludge Metal

    Bryan did walk me back to the entrance when my ears
    couldn’t take it anymore; at least we had that. He said I was his first girlfriend to brave sludge. I acted like it didn’t bother me hurrying back to my car in the worst part of town, alone. I blasted the heater, turned on Sinatra and tried to ignore my stabbing cramps and heavy blood flow. The phone rang just as I turned the key to our apartment. “You got the band’s autograph? That’s great.” Clueless. Totally clueless. I headed straight to the toilet to clean up the mess.

  10. Ana says:

    We were all a little scared to be there. Scared of those around us—slamming bodies, spattering mouths. Scared of the space cramped with blinding lights and stamping feet, of what might hide under a zipped-up jacket or behind a quiet, lopsided smirk. Exhilarated to be there, and scared.

    Those onstage, too—scared of too many empty spaces, too-long silences. Of poorly-built scaffolding that might collapse and bury them under screeching metal, of flammable insulation flaunting fire codes.

    All of us scared.

    So we stamped faster. Shouted louder. Deafened our fears and pounded them, defiantly, into the sticky mulch floors.

  11. Jason Brown says:

    The lights from the stage had made her eyes water, her eardrums felt as if they might burst between the noises from the crowd and the volume of the music, though that was more likely due to what she had just experienced. The girl didn’t know what she was walking into, only caring that it was a place to run to. It had to be pure luck that she’d end up in a place with a crowd of people, a perfect place to hide. While the lights and sound weren’t one of her ideals, the girl could finally feel safe.

  12. Geoffrey Morgan says:

    Right to Me!

    Drawn to the music, the warmth, the lights, the energy, the preacher’s voice. After hitchhiking 2,500 miles I was weary, searching, aching for a sense of direction. Something to hold onto.

    Yes, brother! I was deeply discouraged.

    We were polluting the earth with greed, petty fighting. Tell it, preacher!

    Yes, there must be higher purpose, deeper connection, more humble way to live together. Hallelujah!

    He was talking right to me, to my lost soul, my yearning, something true, a path.

    The cold January air gushed through the opened doors and I, we, pushed out into the sunny D.C. morning.

    Amen!

  13. Sabreen Sabir says:

    Those of us that are left gather to replicate what once was. Above ground, light leaked into every space. The once clean air thrived in an abundance of green. I stare at my crush in the crowd as I wonder what could have been if circumstances were different. We’ve been abandoned together. They get to escape Earth for another sanctuary, while the remnants of humanity get to live out our shortened lives. We occupy our time with mindless fun to distract us from the truth. So we party till we drop and roleplay our old selves like there’s no tomorrow.

  14. Dawn says:

    November 2021. Rick

    Crystal poodles riding menthol waves.
    Liz Taylor’s violet eyes in quadraphonic sound. Cosmetically enhanced girls, teeth whiter than Xmas, French kissing in the stroboscopic light.
    Rick levitating above himself, singing along to “Smoke on the Water.”

    Acid trip done. Rick at his workstation.
    Prog rock gig now a screensaver.

    Trilby hat and kimono, exchanged for hairnet and lab coat.

    Rick wanting to fight the robotic arm thump thumping bottles of purple liquid inside his head.

    “What Do You Do?”

    Rick often held back, said “roadie,” instead of Scientist working on antimicrobials that target the harmful acid producing Streptococcus mutans bacteria.

  15. Natalie Wu says:

    In the end, we were glad there were no pit tickets left when we booked.

    I can’t see anything from back here. Stuck behind a sea of confused sweaty heads. I clamber up on to Rook’s shoulders and stand unsteadily. ‘Mad’ Frankie Mallet’s legs stick out from underneath the UFO that just crashed his rock concert… they remind me of something… The Wicked Witch of the East. Suddenly, the UFO emits a shrill shriek and blinding lights. I cover my ears, nearly losing my balance. Through squinted eyes and blotchy vision, I watch in horror as the door lowers smoothly. I yell down to Rook, ‘Do you think they’ll think we’ve come to see them?’

  16. Kate E Lore says:

    I recognize his face in the crowd. Ahead. He’s closer to the stage. I don’t worry about him seeing me. I’ve been to a lot of concerts. Nobody ever looks behind when the band is up front.
    But I moved anyway. Because when the show ends he might accidentally cross my path. And I couldn’t bare it. If he weren’t to recognize me. If he walked past me like we hadn’t been lovers a year ago. Like I was a stranger.
    Here in the place we met.
    The music pounds a violent rhythm. My heart pounds for a different reason.

  17. Arthur says:

    Catharsis

    The strobes burned my retinas. Stars erupted all around me, pulsing with the music. A beast with many grabbing hands pulled me forwards, ingesting me into its belly.

    “Leave me alone,” I screamed. It didn’t hear me.

    I didn’t hear me.

    I screamed again. I screamed at the lights. I screamed at the stage. Everything lost in the beast’s belly.

    The pulsing deepened and the floor shuddered. The beast responded, jumping up and down. Did I jump too?

    Then, in the distance, a square of light appeared. The beast pushed me towards it.

    I gulped cold air.

    I was free.

  18. Karl T. Maloney Yorganci says:

    THE IMPOSTER

    Everybody wanted to be like the lead singer apart from himself. Soon the concert would be over and he would be left in a hotel room wondering why he was so unhappy. He can’t remember which city he is in but he remembers his drunken step-dad. No matter how loudly he sings he can’t seem to drown-out his deep, miserable voice. Occasionally, he can even swear that he sees his face somewhere out in the crowd. This face isn’t impressed and can see through his façade. “This venue is so small, the crowd is disinterested, what an imposter you are”.

  19. Kathryn Atwood says:

    I lost you to the swirl of bodies, to arms, hands, hips, feet. You sailed away, the figurehead on the bow of the ship, the crowd parting around you, you went on ahead, you were always going ahead, chasing some destiny, dream, promise of one kind or another, and you never looked around, never looked back. I got us drinks at the bar. A girl smiled at me but she wasn’t you, so I ignored her. I drank my drink and then yours, then mine and yours again. I thought I saw you leave, but I stayed, just in case.

  20. Rocking It

    From the stage, FosterB singles me out. Sings “Feeling You Baby” right to me. There was no mistake I was feeling him. We vibrate together and I’m mesmerized. To be sure, I smile at him. He grins and winks. It’s exhilarating.

    Between sets, the band’s sound guy tells me FosterB wants to hang out later. My confidence soars: I must look alright in the dim, smoky light. Never been a groupie, but I’d follow that guy. The concert ends. The lights come up. I search the crowd, ready to dash out. I pray my daughter and her friends are too.

  21. Andie Green says:

    Does it really matter? ..this band, that group or the other?
    A huge deafening roar to burst our long deprived eardrums. Long months of silence. Home speakers won’t ever have the ear hurting din of live electric, echoing amplification. The lead singer appeared ghost-like in a cloud of dry ice, his once bright eyes now tired and cloudy. I read his father had succumbed to the virus. Sad.
    Was it worth it I wondered on the train home. £150 for pain. I will have to walk to work for a month. Home to bed. Hot water bottle wedged against my throbbing head

  22. Patrick Grewe says:

    Dan Needs Sober Friends

    She screams toward him: “There are faces…” points adamantly “…in the lights!”

    “Yeah, you mentioned that.”

    Her eyes close; dancing increases, impossibly not to the beat. Dan doesn’t even dance, yet his every move here is syncopated.

    Drinking his water: drink drink drink drink.
    Washing his hands: sink sink sink sink.

    “Faces!” She’s maniacal. “In the fucking lights!”

    It’s dirty. Loud. The DJ isn’t great; were any of them? Total strangers are bumper cars. She loves it.

    Groping herself now: “the FUH-uh-uh-uh KING-ing-ing-ing LIGH-igh-igh-ights!”

    The corner exit sign winks in welcoming red.
    A plan is forming: think think think think.

  23. Deb Walgenbach says:

    Still Nice

    “I’m glad we came.”

    “Beats the alternative,” my husband whispers.

    I pat his knee and point to a woman with white hair dancing down the aisle. As she nears the stage, a man in uniform gently herds her back to her seat.

    We laugh.

    When Brian Wilson gingerly reaches for his tambourine, the tired crowd comes to life once again as the familiar music erupts and courses through me. The lyrics, like a Hostess Twinkie that never gets old or stale, bubbles up from deep inside and I sing with the band.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older…

  24. The sticky floor beneath her flat bottomed converse shoes was an almost forgotten sensation. Moving through the crowd of rhythmically gyrating bodies her fingers flexed through the air seeking a hand that would never be there. While the world made its way back into a state of normalcy she sought the unobtainable familiarity of an untouchable past. The band transitioned to his favorite song, the one that he had played in the car on that long drive before their first kiss. Letting her head fall back she let the song wrap around her like the arms she ached to feel.

  25. Dolby says:

    AI – 7

    Can you see the clones? I think I’ve done a good job. I have replicated the young people down to the minutest detail – frayed jeans , unkempt hair , wild behavior . Even the rock- band and their defeaning noise they call music.

    I have cloned commandos , riot – police , you name it. All controlled by my remote. Intellectuals are difficult to clone – they think for themselves. But l am working on it. If humans can make robots, can we robots not clone humans ? After all, l am AI – 7 : Artificial Intelligence- Generation 7, all set to take over the world.

  26. Asma says:

    TO MAKE HIM PROUD

    I wanted Dad to be proud of me. He played chamber music and swore by Bach, Beethoven , Mozart. When l said l wanted to be the lead guitarist in a rock band ,he didn’t stop me but l could see his disappointment.
    We practised hard. It was soon time for our first public performance. We set the stage on fire. The crowd went wild with rapture. I spotted Dad in the crowd of teenagers . He was keeping time with the beat and pulsating lights. He was mouthing the words , “l am proud of you ! “

  27. Rabab Zaidi says:

    THE SOLUTION

    It is a dystopian world. We no longer communicate – no mobiles, no internet , no television. History is being rewritten. Media, the Watch- dog of Democracy has become the lapdog of the Regime.
    Even social gatherings are monitored- especially rock concerts where young people gather. The band may be belting out a popular number when all of a sudden sound is muted and the screen features not us , the musicians , but the Supreme Leader making a statement. When this happens again, l fling my guitar at the screen, shattering it into a million pieces. Everyone breaks into a wild dance .

  28. “The Revival Con”

    It was Come-to-Jesus time. Pastor Bob shouted salvation while “The Lamb of God” dutifully pounded out a head-banging version of “Rock of Ages”—strobe lights pulsing.

    The congregation cried, “Hallelujah! Praise be! Glory! Get behind me Satan!”

    James Satan complied. He crept up behind distracted worshipers, helping himself to fat Gucci wallets and skinny Chanel handbags. Souls would be saved, and the evangelical team would share the wealth.

    Satan tearfully made his way to the altar where he fell to his knees, giving his dad, Pastor Bob, a covert victory sign. The choir joyfully pealed, “There’s Jesus Victory in Jesus.”

  29. Elizabeth Stone says:

    Consonance

    I feel it in my entire body.
    It is ephemeral, and also ethereal, this feeling.
    A moment of true bliss, a lift in self.
    I close my eyes and the world hums around me, my senses abuzz with the melodies and the laughter and the echoes of life and the lights, so many lights, swaying in synchronicity with my ponytail as I spin, arms outstretched, childlike, untethered.
    A moment, if only for a moment, where I can forget.
    I am here, and I am now, and we are experiencing this same moment – a collection of strangers, glimpses, passing faces in a sea of existence – together.
    The rhythm drones on, my heart reverberating ever-faster, as my voice gets lost in the echoes.
    Tomorrow there will be another, standing here, having this same experience, but today it is me and I am munificent, my aura soaking up the vibrancy and glimmering across the arena.

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