Flash Fiction Challenge: Three Haikus Tell One Story

Last week’s challenge: “Choose Your Motif

The haiku.

Three lines in syllables of 5 / 7 / 5.

You’re going to use the haiku form to tell a story.

I’ll be nice: you can have three haikus to tell that story.

Hew to the 5 / 7 / 5 structure — yes, there are other permutations of the haiku form, but we’re going to go with the base level structure we all know and love from English class.

This week has a prize:

If you win, I’ll toss you a copy of each of my writing-related e-books. That’s both Penmonkey books and all four of my “lists of 25” books (starting with 250 Things).

You’ll get those e-books in PDF format.

You have till next Friday to post your three-haiku story in the comments below. That is to say, by February 8th at noon EST. You get only one entry, so choose well. (Multiple entries will disqualify all entries.)

I’ll choose my favorite the week following.

Now go forth and haiku the hell out of this place.

Or, rather:

The terribleminds

haiku challenge is now live

for you to conquer

EDIT: Winners!

THREE WINNERS, DECLARED. I know, I said one but c’mon. This was a very, very hard challenge to judge. Because so many good options. Sooooo many. Anyway. The three winners:


Valerie Valdes!




Hit me up at terribleminds at gmail dot com, if you please.

— c.

165 responses to “Flash Fiction Challenge: Three Haikus Tell One Story”

  1. cold splashes of white
    the flower of innocence
    carnation; daisy.

    former mother breaks
    seeing the neighbor’s daughter
    braid grass in her hair.

    tiny box, pale face
    color kissed away by death
    beautiful dead child.

  2. Never tried to tell a story in haiku before. Neat challenge! Hopefully the fact that I break lines across verses won’t count against me…


    the Visitors fell,
    yes, you say that i saw but
    i can’t remember–

    how could i lie to
    a jumper cable with my
    legs bound apart dear

    god i would tell but
    the black-jacket man had such
    forgetful needles

  3. Three’s a crowd

    Daisy and Ben take
    Bill the new man to dinner.
    Daisy covets Bill.

    Ben tells Bill. He turns
    flashing a porcelain smile.
    Daisy is raptured.

    Bill guides them to sit.
    Hands on their butts – Bill squeezes.
    Ben smiles. Daisy floats.

    Thanks for reading

  4. Three haikus smushed together. “Sweet Virginia Rose.”

    Sweet Virginia Rose,
    with lips like your name, and hips
    (Oh, I miss those hips!)
    like hills beneath sheets,
    a landscape of boyhood dreams,
    what sorrow, what pain,
    what terrible thing
    could have driven you to this?
    “Love: I’m sorry. -Rose”

  5. My cat ate a gem.
    It belonged to a smuggler.
    Now we’re in big trouble.

    The chase was merry,
    From Rome to Moscow to Prague –
    Bond would be jealous.

    “Don’t touch my damn cat.”
    Gunsmoke behind the tavern –
    Sorry ’bout the mess.

  6. A small room, one door.
    A chair wedged under the knob.
    They are right outside.

    Hard knocks, clawing hands.
    Pounding, shuffling, moaning.

    The door, is breaking.
    There are two of us left now.
    We have one bullet.

  7. Here’s Mine, I’ll also post it on my blog.

    I call it, Lucifer…

    His way was weakness.
    “Sheep, shepherd thyselves.”
    I accused him meek.

    Assemble my allies.
    Said; “We shall take what is ours!”
    Dethrone the almighty.

    Beat by his forces.
    Exile; Banished from heaven.
    Son of the Morning.

  8. Shadow of the pen
    Haunts the page before my eyes
    Hand trembles with fear

    Trickles of sweat fall
    Staining the paper like blood
    Inspiration sparks

    Words fly forth like wind
    Stories told that never were
    My eternity

  9. Across the airshaft
    His soul entered her window
    Every day for weeks

    Doing her own thing
    She took no notice of him
    In his mind they meshed

    He cried, “Destiny!”
    At a coffee shop one day
    She laughed and he died

  10. Rising from the sea
    A tentacular horror
    Aeons old madness

    Wants souls to devour
    Mad cultists to worship it
    But flees back beneath

    People smiled and
    took photos, called it awesome.
    No-one was scared.

  11. It began slowly
    Words, pentagrams, then daggers
    Finally, a kiss.

    Who knew a demon and girl
    Could fit so perfect?

    To the netherworld returned
    I live, but her bones grow cold

  12. Formidable quest
    Bestowed upon small course hands.
    The others want it.

    Mountains, forests, hills
    He will guide you on your way
    But he wants it too.

    Up, up, up the crag
    Destroy the gold band they want.
    It is gone. And peace.

  13. What’s in those mountains?
    Night winds whip down in whispers –
    Words of anguish, pain,

    Solitude. Up now
    I struggle, falter; suffer
    My own sorrows no

    Longer echoes heard
    Below. Now the hills lean close,
    Listening. Silent.

  14. Coming home quite late
    Streets are empty, dark, and cold
    Stranger waits inside

    She’s unsafely in
    when the light left burning shows
    Red words on her wall

    Urban legend, that.
    Unless the house in question
    Is yours, and a trap

  15. Evil moves eastward
    And the farmers who love peace
    Become warriors

    She hides among them
    A girl with the heart of ten
    To fight alongside

    And though she dies, pierced,
    On a field green and crimson
    Her nation lives on

  16. Lonely, regretful
    A chance from an ancient man
    To relive my life

    Ahead of my time
    Nose bleeds, headaches, amnesia
    A doppelgänger

    Murder suicide
    When the two timelines converge
    Wasted second chance

  17. The Crab’s New Home

    A fight to the death.
    It was the choice that it made.
    I hate snails anyway.

    Retracting, hiding,
    The shell could not protect it.
    It would soon be mine.

    It died by my claw,
    I pulled it from my new shell.
    Dinner and a home.

  18. Squirrel makes a home
    Rafters echo with thumping
    Man detests the noise

    Man wants squirrel gone:
    Squirrel out, hole blocked; Quiet!
    Squirrel shivers, cold.

    Garage roof, by chance?
    Squirrel finds hole, makes a home.
    Man accepts small truce.

  19. The first time I screw up the courage to post on the challenge and it’s haiku?! Awesome! Here goes:

    ‘A Chance Encounter’

    A thumping bass line
    Shock waves through a crowded floor
    Eyes meet, a force pulls

    Small talk and big drinks
    She sips, laughs so prettily
    Hair and eyes glint, dim

    Cold tiles, fast pleasure
    Bright her eyes now; my throat torn
    Death tastes like cheap booze

  20. I finally finished one on time! But then, I fucking love haiku.

    Winged man, angelic
    Lies on the ground, broken wing
    Her heart skips a beat

    He’s still unconscious
    While she cleans and tends his wounds
    Her heart fills with love

    Angel man awakes
    Shoos her aside like a mouse, leaves
    Her heart is broken

  21. I just ran five miles
    Following your bubble butt
    Shimmy jiggle bounce

    No whippet you, no
    You are curves, you are woman
    Sweaty lycra booty, pounds

    Pavement, dirt and grass
    Go you glorious round ass
    J Lo’s got nothing.

  22. Richard, I miss you
    And your little dog Henry
    Who had hemorrhoids.

    Remember that day
    You almost severed your toe
    And left a blood trail?

    If you’re in heaven,
    I hope you meet the babies
    You lost with your wife.

  23. After the last storm
    The government moved us all
    But he would not go.

    And then the seas rose
    As he sat on his front porch
    Thinking about arks.

    When the spaceship came
    He thought of gods in machines
    It was an ark, too.

  24. Twenty years of love,
    A marriage can end quickly.
    Blame tossed like hotcakes.

    He made a baby,
    Another was the mother
    Dishes were broken

    She wore red, sunk eyes
    Then a new hairdo, lace bra,
    Cowboy eased her pain

  25. Haiku, eh? I’m game. Here we go.

    Every small bubble
    A world unto itself whole
    drifting on a breeze

    A sudden vortex
    Glimmering swirling terror
    See the quiet turn

    The shiny globe sighs
    Bursting out into the ‘verse
    The dishes are done

  26. My favorite way to haiku!

    I hear a scritch-scratch
    From the far darkened corner
    Here kitty kitty

    Where has kitty gone
    And why do I smell copper
    Scritch-scratching again

    Trembling I creep close
    Pull back the heavy curtains
    Oh sweet Jesus no

  27. an orange jumpsuit
    handcuffed to his seat, shackled
    on the prison bus

    eyeing wildflowers
    on the highway side, untamed
    by pots and pruning

    watching the sunset
    for the first time, a marble
    fiery and pink

  28. Anniversary

    At sunrise you leave
    and leave me silence, a key,
    a torn, empty page.

    Half a page that cleaves;
    Half a life later for me
    and rather than rage

    I walk in dry leaves.
    My book falls, opens. I see
    your name on each page.

  29. I still use the clapping method to check syllables 🙁

    The book is opened
    Words spill, flutter, languish, flow
    They have all escaped

    Who will chase them down?
    Sorry unlucky hero
    No spellcheck for you

    Know their every curve
    Secret nooks and hidden tales
    Stuff them back inside

  30. Rich and poor alike
    Tourists aplenty on board
    A 3 hour tour

    Fearless and lucky
    The crew fights nature’s fury
    Tiny ship was tossed

    Primitive island
    Seven stranded castaways
    New adventure weekly

    • Sometimes, one just will not do.

      Bush above hides me
      Furry tail too obvious
      I am weak, but fast

      Pavement narrow here
      Tasty nuts on other side
      I can make it, sure!

      Shadow crosses over
      Claws screeching out of the air
      Holy fuck, Batman!

  31. In Triplicate

    She sinks into the
    tub, submerging a life’s worth
    of grief and regret.

    Soap and water rinse
    off only the surface grime;
    deeper stains remain.

    The divorce papers,
    in triplicate, wait for ink
    from unstained fingers.

  32. He busts in the door,
    the gun already drawn, but
    it’s too late; she’s gone.

    Only a matchbook –
    The Sapphire – and a fading
    scent – jasmine, maybe.

    He sighs, holstering
    the revolver. At least he
    knows where to look next.

  33. A Suicide Note

    I showed her the note
    It was written by her hand
    A suicide note

    She was still alive
    I wanted answers from her
    “Where did you find that?”

    In her old suitcase
    At the charity center
    A six month old note

  34. Cannot leave this room
    But don’t worry about me
    I don’t feel a thing

    Thirty years ago
    He killed mama in this room
    Didn’t feel a thing

    Someday he’ll return
    I’ll be here waiting for him
    He won’t feel a thing

  35. Suffocating night
    Two eyes peer from deep shadow
    Waitress locking up

    Screech of train nags her
    Echo of footsteps gaining
    Winded awareness

    Stalker claws forward
    She gasps as train door swooshes
    Her tail has a tail

  36. I must hold the line.
    Behind me there is only void,
    Nothing can survive.

    Yet it’s still alive.
    “Position compromised.”
    I tell the H.Q.

    The adults are dead,
    But inside me one awakes.
    And I must hold the

  37. Sun shining brighter
    Spring, long time overdue, arrives
    Warmth massaging face

    Winter depression
    Away with Vitamin D
    Ideas formulate

    Inspiration bound
    Muse returning for guidance
    Onward to summer

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