© James Pyles

Lee watched his two grandchildren explore the garden. Once it was one of numerous community projects in this mid-sized northwestern city. Now it was a matter of survival.

“What do you think? Think your grandkids will like it here? We’ve got plenty of children their own age, and my wife’s putting together a school curriculum.” Andy Lambert was a carpenter by trade, but he knew how to recruit with the skill of a salesman.

Leland Henderson didn’t take his eyes off of the eight and three year old kids. “Yeah. I think it’ll work out okay. We’d be glad to join, what do you call yourselves?”

“The Remnant. You know, like in the Bible.”

“Right. The Remnant. Guess it’s as good a name as any.”

“Damn right it is. There used to be over 7 billion people in the world, but thanks to the Doomsday Plague, we’ve got less than 6 million left, scattered in little communities like ours all over the globe. Farming, fishing, hunting, we have to preserve the old skills. Geezers like you and me have got to survive and care for the youngsters. Your grandkids and mine are going to inherit and rebuild the Earth.”

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 197.

Yes, those are my grandchildren, and because I promised my son I wouldn’t put photos of his children online, I made sure I selected on where their faces can’t be seen.

I won’t tell you where or when this picture was taken because I don’t want it to influence how others might create their stories.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit

22 thoughts on “Inheritors

  1. I guessed they were yours. I do worry what sort of planet we are hand in over to our children and grandchildren. Maybe a reset like this would at least get people to think about priorities in life, but it would be a shame if it took a million people dying to make us loom at the world in a better way.


    • Actually, I reduced Earth’s population by over 90%, less than six million people left on the whole planet. Assuming most people would try to gather together in small groups or communities (there’d always be a few outlier who would be loners), that leaves vast amounts of real estate unoccupied. By the time the world population increased enough to be about to visit them, they’d be exploring brand new territory all over again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Certainly, nature would recover quite a bit of territory, and people would be forced to live an agrarian lifestyle. I didn’t mention it in the story, but there’s the question of how Andy knows there’s only six million people left. Between solar power and ham radio, you could still communicate over great distances, but then you’d need a bunch of ham radio enthusiasts, and I imagine they’re hard to come by these days.


  2. Hard to come by a lot of things. My own children (all grown adults from 21 to 31), millennials (although we don’t happen to use that word), say kids these days (😏) don’t know how to do things — from programming to any clue what to do with a car. And farming or even gardening? Not sure. I say there are quite a few grown-up who don’t know how to do things but have gotten rich — like Zuckerberg (tech head loser).

    (Of course, there’s another take on that.)


    • I should clarify: These people who don’t know things… they mean people younger than themselves. (That’s why my inclusion of a smirking face — because of young people observing kids.)


    • Enjoyed a tech and business educator commenting, today, “We have an individual who oversees a flock greater than Christianity … who’s thirty-three and can never be fired. What could go wrong?”

      That was after he said Facebook/Zuckerberg embraces margins, influence, and celebrity as if being a media company but without responsibility. Evading scrutiny, regulation, and legal liability.

      {I personally think the younger generation, now, may be returning to more focus on social responsibility. And they’re… young. Takes time to learn about gardening, transportation, and so on.}


  3. I, too, figured these were either your kids or grandkids, depending upon when the picture was taken. Please take no offense that I gave your granddaughter a touch of the macabre.


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