Photograph Flash Fiction

Told to choose two pictures and write a short scene of fiction based on them, I came up with the following. Again, this assignment was very brief, a mere few minutes (as you can see, I didn’t get very far with the second one). The first one sparked an idea that could potentially be a short story or even a book – I didn’t realize how helpful looking at a picture could be when it comes to finding inspiration for writing. I wish I could include the photos, but sadly I do not have them.

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Picture 1: Young woman standing in front a pinball machine. [First Person]

The old arcade off Woodward Avenue used to be my favorite place to be. I’d go there every day after school, spending hours at the pinball machines and sipping soda, trying to escape. This was my place, and she ruined everything. She had no right showing up here. If she had just gone home with her boyfriend or to the mall with her other cheerleader friends like usual, none of this would have happened. She would still be alive.

It was a particularly rainy and gloomy afternoon as I was leaving school, when Evan slammed into my shoulder and made me drop my unzipped bag in a puddle. This I was used to – he always hated me for being weird and probably for being smarter than him – but it didn’t stop here. He continued on his way, stomping all over the letters that spilled out of the front compartment – the letters from my dead mother.

By the time I got to the arcade, I was a mess. I told myself if I could just beat my high score on the Star Wars pinball machine, I would feel better. But when I walked through the door, setting off the familiar greeting bell, Sarah was already there. She was at my machine.

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Picture 2: Smiling mother holding her baby. [Third Person]

The familiar sense of panic and anger settled over Bridget as she watched her mother coddle her younger brother. I’m invisible, she thought. It was whenever Anne held Tyler, becoming so absorbed by the thought of him – the miracle baby that he was – that Bridget snuck off to the attic with her notebook and crayons to create a world of illustrated mayhem.

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