The Imagination Tree

patio table and tree

© Fatima Fakier Deria

The snow had finally melted around the big imagination tree. He took his laptop out and sat alone. The kids were all grown and the grandkids had their sports. The missus was visiting their daughter across town. All the chairs around the table were empty except for his.

But not for long.

He started writing and they popped in one by one, the sentient robot, the astronaut on Mars, the World War Two British spy. His world was full as the tree looked down at her guests.

Time enough to write before the family all came home for Sunday dinner.

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo at the top of the page as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

Last Sunday morning, it snowed one to two inches when it wasn’t supposed to. By yesterday afternoon, all of the snow had melted off and highs were near 60 degrees F. The scene in the photo reminded me of early spring somewhat, a time when it’s still cool out, but warm enough to start doing more things outside again…like writing.

I saw all of those empty chairs but I didn’t want to do another “old man alone” or “old man contemplating life” story. So I filled those chairs with fictional characters. Don’t worry. As I implied, the real people will come along for dinner.

To read other tales based on the prompt, go to

74 thoughts on “The Imagination Tree

    • LOL. The actual “Imagination Tree” is in my imagination. As for the one in the photo, I have no idea. It really isn’t the tree that’s magic. It’s what the author imbues his or her environment with.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Love this one, James. Imagination trees are something all writers would like to have when faced with a blank page or writer’s block, don’t you think?


  2. I love the idea of the characters appearing. And I am sure he got so deep into his writing that it seemed a matter of moments before the “real” people were back around the table with him.


  3. Your story felt simultaneously fiction and autobiography, which is very clever of you as that is also the subject of the story. The feelings you evoked matched and reinforced the storyline perfectly. Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sitting under a tree with a picnic plus pencil and paper is heavenly, so long as the sun shines. Loved your use of the author’s characters to populate the event.


    • I actually was going to use that character in a story submission for a military horror anthology, but it would have been too hard to create by the deadline, so I’m going with a modern former Marine. He’s a completely different personality, but then the story is completely different, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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