One of my favorite ways of finding story inspiration is to go with my camera to an interesting place and snap shots of whatever grabs my attention. Once I'm back home I go through the pics and choose a couple as source prompts for characters, scenes, etc. Here's a slideshow of my most recent visit to a popular flea market:
If you want to try this, once you've taken the pics scroll through them and make some notes on whatever they bring to mind. Here's some of what I thought while look through my shots:
Parrots: I've read plenty of stories with a single parrot in them, but never a pair -- and if they were talking parrots, they could hold their own conversation, or repeat one they've heard.
Red Tin & Ladles: Other than a chef or a pathologist, who would need so many ladles? Since the word ladle comes from an Old English word that means to draw out, could be a fun form of reverse magic wand.
White and Purple Flowers: Pretty, although the shape reminds me of a scorpion preparing to sting someone. What if someone deliberately bioengineered deadly insects to look exactly like beautiful flowers? And then sends you a bouquet of them?
Black Sweater & Brooches: This one is for Dustin: How does a knight wearing only a sweater tunic make himself some armor when he becomes trapped in the dragon's hidden lair of treasure? If you find a lot more brooches, this could be the answer.
Basket of Old Golf Balls, Billiard Ball: Evidence that a golf course also serves as a pool table (of the gods?)
Baby Chicks: A shaman goes to make breakfast, opens a carton of eggs he gathered up in the mountains and discover they've all hatched into newborn (crows, snakes, Yeti . . . )
Golden Apple: Definitely strange to see an apple tree in my neck of the woods. What if it was an orange tree yesterday? What if all the orange trees suddenly began producing a single, perfect golden apple? And what happens when you bite into this strange fruit?