2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

Confession time: I hate flash fiction.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I actually really enjoy reading it.  There's something amazing about these tiny little stories, crafted in a thousand words or less, sometimes inspired by just a brief sentence or a single picture.  Not only that, but flash fiction can be written in a single sitting.  It can be read in a matter of minutes.  And it still is compelling.

What is there to dislike?  Yet, for some reason, I cannot stand writing flash fiction.

Me attempting to write it usually goes something like this...

Step One:  Oh, fun!  A prompt!!!  *reads prompt*  Wow, I can't wait to create a cute little story out of this!!

Step Two:  No ideas.  None whatsoever.  *thunks head repeatedly on desk*
Step Three:  Finally!!  I think I know where to take this prompt...  *types on laptop for a while*  *checks word count*  Whoops, I just wrote a novel...
Despite this problem, I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash, hosted by Rosalie Valentine.  Because what better way to get good at something than to just go ahead and do it, eh?  So enjoy my flash fiction, found below.

The horse was tall, with hooves the size of dinner plates. His eyes, small and brown, hid beneath a thick, curly mane. He was every bit of magnificent the trader claimed him to be.
“The deal is off."
My voice rasped through my dry throat.

“This isn’t what I expected.”
“Nonsense!” Jayke nearly dropped the lead rope. “This is what you wanted me to find for you, Tessa! You said you wanted a beautiful horse, black as the night, and easy to ride. I’ve found this one for you. Now where’s my money?”
I suppose it served me right for bargaining for horse traders. You never knew what exactly you would end up with. “Jayke, you must be playing a trick on me. I can’t ride that horse! I can’t even climb up on him! I never thought I would have to tell you “make sure he’s a good size for me” when I gave you my criteria for a new horse.”
The beast stretched his mouth open in a yawn, clearly bored. The horse beside him, a lovely little chestnut mare, pricked her ears forward in my direction.
“What about that mare, Jayke? I wanted a horse like her - something small and pretty.”
“But that’s not what you said!” Jayke scratched his gray beard, almost confused by my sudden distraction. “You wanted black and easy to ride. I brought you this one. Give me the money and if you don’t like him you can trade him off yourself!”
The money bag clung to my hand, but the horse trader snatched it from my grip, leading the mare and a few other horses away. I wiped my hand on my shirt, then again, trying to dry the sweat away. The black horse stood still as a stone at the hitching post, ears pricked in my direction. I turned away, a pit in my stomach. I knew the risks, and still I had dared hire a trader to find me a horse. Could I really have expected a better result?
“Scared, Tessa? Perhaps I’d better walk you home.” Tink’s sneer could be felt all the way across the road. He lounged against the door frame of a shop, a half-eaten apple in his hand. “That horse would likely eat you alive if you got close. You practically shrink in his shadow!”
“I’m not scared!” The words escaped my lips before I could catch them. “Why don’t you ride him yourself, if you think he’s such a dangerous horse!”
Tink merely took a bite of his apple. “He’s just a plow house. No spirit or speed in him. It’s embarrassing to even be seen near him. No one rides plow horses, Tessa. You should have gotten one of those little horses from the East, or even a smoother horse from the mountains. Much better suited for you.”
He was right. But I wouldn’t let him have the satisfaction. “I just wanted something beautiful and black. That’s what I told Jayke. This is what I got.”
“I’d say he got the better end of that deal.”
Maybe. I studied the horse for a moment. No saddle. No bridle. Just the halter and a lead rope. And my wounded pride.

I untied the rope and tossed the end over the muscular neck. The horse barely blinked as I ducked under his chin to tie the other end of the rope to his halter, making crude reins.

“You’re actually going to ride him?” Tink arched an eyebrow. “Have fun with that.”

Despite weighting hundreds of pounds more than my skinny frame, the horse moved sideways at the poke of my finger. He patiently watched as climbed onto the hitching post, and from there onto his broad back. I picked up the reins and hesitated. The ground was quite a long way down.

Tink snorted. “What are you going to do if there isn’t a hitching post around to use to get up there?”

“Guess I’ll just walk.” I didn’t even bother to wave goodbye as the horse plodded up the road. If I squinted, I could almost see the ground shake as he set down each great hoof. If I fell and ended up underneath him… I peeked over my shoulder. Tink was watching.

I clicked my tongue, and the horse easily moved into a trot. If the ground wasn’t shaking before, it certainly was now. Window panes rattled as I rode along the street, and children jumped out of the way, staring in surprise from the safety of their front porches. When I reached the edge of town, I grabbed a handful of mane and tightened my leg grip. The black horse jumped into a canter, his neck arched and hooves pounding the dusty road back to the farm.

Laughter rose to my lips, surprising the last shadow of fear away. I had been afraid for nothing.

This was the best deal of my life.

My prompt...

So, do I have a future in writing flash fiction?  Is it possible for me to actually write something that doesn't have horses in it?  Hmmm...no on both counts, I think.
Also, be sure to check out Rosalie's blog later this month for the epic wrap-up post, where you'll get to read tons of flash fiction!!!


  1. I love it!!! You had a VERY creative take on this prompt...not the way I would've done it at ALL, but I love this. <3

    1. Whenever I can't think of what to do, my brain tends to automatically insert something regarding horses... *facepalm* But at least it turned out alright. :)

  2. I love how you made such a developed story from such a small prompt! :D

    1. Thanks! I really wish flash fiction and I would connect, yet, I still struggle...

  3. That was amazing!! I loved reading this, and it was so cool how you managed to incorporate to much of it with that one prompt. Great job!

    1. Thanks! I tend to struggle with flash fiction, so I was pretty happy with how this turned out. :)

  4. That's a great, cute story with a nice ending... flash fiction often has abrupt endings, I've noticed, but you did well!

    I write a 250 word flash fiction almost every week for a flash fiction group I'm in. I love writing it... so fun to make a story with only 100 - 250 words ;)


    1. Yeah, I dislike the abrupt endings. I probably should try writing more flash fiction on a regular basis. I really enjoy writing oneshots for characters (my own, or fanfic).

  5. Great job on this flash fiction! Loved reading this! You should give the big black horse a name! :D

    1. Maybe I should have given him a name. But with a limited amount of words, and the name not being crucial...I decided not to. :) Though in my mind, his name was Wings. :)

  6. FF isn't for me, but you did a great job!

  7. I LOVE IT *Heart eyes*

    I liked the part where the rider was saying the ground was shaking and the window panes rattled...It was perfect! I liked how you can't tell whether the rider is being overly dramatic or if it's actually a magical beast she found or something...(Or really poorly installed windows?)

    1. I love stories that kind of let readers imagine a little on their own. Is he just a really big, heavy horse? Or maybe magical? You decide. :)

  8. *Shouts out still alive* *realizes I quoted from the Croods* *hides behind chair*
    Let me tell you that is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am so happy to see this, I have never tried Flash Fiction but it sounds super cool!!!
    Glad you are alive and well:)
    I am so stoked that I get to actually comment because I have time! XD
    -NotDeadYet Ry

  9. Wow, what a twist! And so vivid! It's now my favorite flash fiction piece ever *huggles story*


  10. "Just the halter and a lead rope. And my wounded pride." - I <3 it.
    Don't say you don't have a future in flash fiction, Julian, /especially/ if horses are going to be involved. :)

    1. Maybe that's the way to do it, then! Just write about horses! :)

  11. awww That was sweet. I unfortunately am allergic to horses, but I love them. That big black sweetie is going to be her best friend forever now.

    And I have the same exact result with flash fiction. FF is hard!