Amber Alert - a Flash Fiction Challenge

Updated on October 28, 2019
bravewarrior profile image

Shauna's preferred genre is fiction. She particularly enjoys rising to a challenge posed by fellow artists. Picture prompts spark her muse.

This story is my first attempt at flash fiction, based on a challenge DzyMsLizzy posted in a forum. The challenge is to write a flash fiction story in which the following sentence must appear somewhere: "Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering thunderclouds."

I love writing fiction, but have never tried my hand at flash fiction. Here it is. Let me know what you think!

Crane's Roost
Crane's Roost | Source

Amber Alert - Flash Fiction

The stench was overwhelming.

Analisa sat alone on the park bench, the scowl on her face as dark as the gathering thunderclouds.

No one was to be seen as she peered across what is normally a busy street, when she felt the need to take a breather and get some air. She hadn’t been on the bench for more than a minute. Or had she?

Earlier this morning, during the team meeting, it was business as usual: going over each ongoing project, what documents were needed from subcontractors, when new jobs were scheduled to begin, etc.

Same shit, different day and she was over it.

Oppressive office
Oppressive office | Source

Change of Venue

Analisa wasn’t sure what propelled her from the conference room to the park a mile away that had always been a relief from the oppressive world of business. Here she often sought solitude within the natural setting. Live Oaks decorated with Spanish moss, Sandhill Cranes, White Ibis’ walking freely amongst the humans, turtles dancing about in the pond. Crane’s Roost provided comfort for the humans who appreciate nature.

It was upon one of the many benches along the flora- bejeweled walkway, that Analisa found herself, not remembering how she got there.

Sitting area at Crane's Roost
Sitting area at Crane's Roost | Source

It was noon and the sky was dark. No signs of rain. Life had halted. The thunderclouds enveloped the atmosphere and descended, smothering all life below it.

I can’t breathe!

Analisa fought to catch her breath as she watched all wildlife become still and decay before her eyes. The stench enveloped her and she felt her skin crawl.

Within minutes, life – including hers – ceased to exist.

Her cell phone beeped with an Amber Alert, but she never heard it.

Trees being turned to embers by the sun
Trees being turned to embers by the sun | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Shauna L Bowling

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 days ago from Central Florida

        Nell, that's an apt description and the reaction any author could hope for. Thanks for checking this one out!

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        4 days ago from England

        Wow, just got into it and, wham! I love flash fiction. It takes you by the throat and makes you jump! lol!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        5 days ago from Central Florida

        Audrey, if I can do it, so can you! Thank you so much for the compliment. I wasn't sure I could pull it off, but thought I'd give it a shot. Something about the mandatory sentence awakened my muse!

      • vocalcoach profile image

        Audrey Hunt 

        6 days ago from Idyllwild Ca.

        Oh, Sha, I'm not usually attracted to flash fiction but after reading your story I'm becoming a fan! You're good! I want more. I haven't tried my hand at flash fiction, but heck, maybe I'll give it a go.

      • Luis G Asuncion profile image

        Luis G Asuncion 

        2 weeks ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

        Really, Shauna? I do commend you of what you have at the back of your mind. Thanks for sharing.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Luis, I had Armageddon in the back of my mind as I wrote this.

        Thanks for stopping by!

      • Luis G Asuncion profile image

        Luis G Asuncion 

        2 weeks ago from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines

        Although this is a work of fiction, however, I am reading a true story. Thanks for sharing.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        4 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Chris, coming from the master of flash fiction, your comment just made my day! It's not easy to throwing a whammy to an accomplished short short storyteller such as yourself.

        Thanks for the boost. I'll be beaming all day long!

      • cam8510 profile image

        Chris Mills 

        5 weeks ago from Kettering, Ohio through January, 2020

        Well, that was a jolt at the end. I had settled in for nice peaceful day in the park, and wham, she's dead, and all the animals too. The prompt was neutral and you took it to the dark side...just like I would have haha. Good job. Welcome to the world of short short fiction.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thanks, Manatita. I found the required sentence to be quite motivating.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        6 weeks ago from london

        Great first attempt, dear. You really were given a great start. Sharp ending. Great!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Shannon, I agree with you regarding flash fiction. To me it's a let down to be left hanging in a story. Flash fiction doesn't have subsequent chapters, so answers to questions simply aren't available.

        Thanks for the comment. I'm heading to your profile page to see if I can find your flash fiction piece.

      • shanmarie profile image

        Shannon Henry 

        6 weeks ago from Texas

        Oh, that was chilling! I've gotta tell you, I'm generally not a fan of flash fiction because it's so abrupt and often leaves more questions than answers. But you've done an incredible job with your story here. Just perfect for the season, too.

        I've only ever written one flash fiction piece and it turned out to be really dark, too, and was in response to a challenge here on HP. So we have that in common. LOL.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Paula, you're one of my greatest cheerleaders. I thank you for the positive encouragement. Yep, you never know unless you try, right?

        Love ya, girlfriend!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Liz, you sparked my muse out of her slumber. Thanks for the challenge! Stephen King? That's huge compliment!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thank you, Tiyasha. I really appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        MizB, thank you for your awesome comment. I'm not sure I'll continue with flash fiction (it seems a bit more difficult than longer stories), but I appreciate your encouragement.

      • fpherj48 profile image

        Paula 

        6 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

        Sha......Your first try is amazing, girlfriend! BRAVO! Looks like you can go full-speed ahead with confidence for future Flash Fiction tales.

        Once again, we learn what we're capable of, by taking that first leap.....You GO, girl. Great job! Love ya........P

      • DzyMsLizzy profile image

        Liz Elias 

        6 weeks ago from Oakley, CA

        WOW! Powerful stuff, and shades of Stephen King! ;)

        This could go on to be a book! ;-)

        Thanks for playing the challenge.

      • Cattaleya profile image

        Tiyasha Maitra 

        6 weeks ago from New Delhi

        This is a wonderful piece. Nice anticlimactic move with such few words. I loved it.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        6 weeks ago from Beautiful South

        That was great flash fiction, Shauna, very imaginative. I could just feel, and smell, the distress. I love writing flash fiction nearly as much as I do reading it. Keep it up so we can all enjoy yours.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thank you so much, Genna. It's been a while since I've taken on a writing challenge. Normally, picture prompts are what bring my muse out of hiding. But something about Liz's must-include sentence had my muse come out screaming!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thank you so much, Genna. It's been a while since I've taken on a writing challenge. Normally, picture prompts are what bring my muse out of hiding. But something about Liz's must-include sentence had my muse come out screaming!

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Wow -- you did a wonderful job with this challenge, Shauna. And to think this was your first try with Flash Fiction that you wrote in ten minutes.... Kudos! So very well done!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Linda, I love writing fiction, just not the abbreviated version. I've posted many fiction stories here on HP. Bill used to challenge us with picture prompts a few years back. Those always got my imagination off and running.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Bill, first of all, thank you for your praise. It means the world to me.

        There was something about Liz's required sentence that had my muse burping out a first line as I was making dinner. And you know how that goes... once that first line is formed, the rest starts to roll.

        I'd love to see you give flash fiction a shot, Bill. I probably won't stick to the flash end of fiction, but it was fun meeting the challenge.

      • Carb Diva profile image

        Linda Lum 

        6 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

        Wow, that was dark! First attempt? You done good sis. What's next?

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        For a first attempt I would say that was a complete success. Well done, you! I've never tried a flash fiction, and now that you raised the bar so high, perhaps I'll just pass on every trying one. :)

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thanks for reading, Flourish. I'm also glad Analisa didn't suffer.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        John, I appreciate your comment. I always enjoy your flash fiction stories. I found it difficult to extend the word count. I guess you can call this one flash-flash fiction!

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Thanks, Mar. I wrote it in about ten minutes while I was cooking dinner!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 weeks ago from USA

        Poor thing. At least it was sudden and she didn’t suffer.

      • marcoujor profile image

        Maria Jordan 

        6 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

        In a flash, Analisa went from stress to distress!

        You rose to the challenge, Sha. Love, mar

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        My comment was meant for you I just wrote the wrong name.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Sorry Shauna, I had just read and commented on Shyron's hub before this one. I had a feeling I made that mistake and came back to check.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Ruby, I'll go back to the forum to see your post. I do subscribe to you, so I hope you posted your article. I'll get notification in my email.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        6 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        Wow, this is a flash fiction gem. I was spellbound while all the chilling events took place. I took up the challenge, but I posted it in the forums. The Amber alert was perfect for this piece.

      • bravewarrior profile imageAUTHOR

        Shauna L Bowling 

        6 weeks ago from Central Florida

        John, did you mean to post this comment on Shyron's article? :_(

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

        Well Shyron, great to see you trying your hand at flash fiction. Nicely written, and what a sudden and surprising ending. I certainly was not prepared for that.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)