Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 11

Despite the stir last week's picture created, only 3 entries were produced - although they were rather magnificent entries, with some really diverse perspectives. It's what I love the most about running this challenge, how differently the prompt photo speaks to writers.

This weeks' photo is from the inside of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philadephia, PA, which was was operational from 1829 until 1971. The photo was taken by Simon Woolbert, who can be found over on Flicker.

My story reflects the darkness of this photo, but yours doesn't have to. What perspective do you see?

The General Guidelines can be found here.

How to create a clickable link in Blogger comments can be found on lasts week's post here. 



Life Sentence 

She brought her arm up and dragged the nail down as hard as she could to mark the wall. It took all the energy she had. There wasn’t much left now, the raging thirst having given way to a burning throat and a light, almost out of body feeling. These marks were the only thing that registered her time here, or even her existence.

She’d been here a long time; so long she couldn’t remember not being here anymore. She knew there was some semblance of a memory in the back of her mind, something bright, free, like a breath of fresh air – although that too was a memory, that didn’t exist here. It was a prison, she knew that, could see it from the bars on the tiny window up at the top of the wall. Window would normally indicate light, but the only light she caught a glimpse of was the flashing of a strip light out in the hallway that came in under the door. It stuttered and changed. She knew it would go out eventually, but she was no longer sure if she would survive to see it happen.

She wondered why there were boards on the window, but not as much as she wondered why the water had stopped. The water in the tap had been her lifeline since she had woken up here. Despite the dust and grime in the cell and coating the sink, water still came through. She caught bugs and things crawling along the floor to feed herself, to try and keep the pain in her stomach at bay, but she needed the water more. She didn’t know why they had stopped it.

There was a they – there had to be. Someone had put her here. She didn’t know who or why; no one came, no one checked in on her. There was no sound; there was no noise, other than the scuttling of insects and creatures in the walls or across the floor. She’d sat and listened ever endingly for something, anything, but there was nothing.

Her hand dropped back to the floor and she watched the nail fall out of her hand. She looked at the marks, the hundreds of them. They signified a day as best as she could ascertain by the crack of light that came through the boards on the tiny window. But there could be more than there should be. She didn’t know. It didn’t matter. Who would ever see them?


***

“If you follow the corridor down this way, you will find the cell where she was found.” A tour guide took the group down another one of the penitentiary’s abandoned corridors.

“And who was she?” someone asked.

“Nobody knows. No identification was found. We only know that she was about 7 years old when she died, and from the markings on the wall she had been in there for over 2 years.”

“Surely she had a family who missed her?” A southern accent from the back.

“Maybe, but there are so many missing children, it can be hard to identify them.”

“Not even by dental records?” A woman in the front found the idea incredulous.

“Her teeth had rotted from malnutrition, there was nothing to work with.”

The silence of minds working overtime on all the possible scenarios lingered in the air as the group paused outside the closed cell door.

“But I don’t get it, why was she brought here and left here?” A young guy off to the side spoke for the group.

“Many theories have been suggested: something happened to the person who brought her here – maybe got killed in an accident or something and no one knew she was here; she was kidnapped and the kidnapper couldn’t get the ransom paid; someone wanted rid of their child. Unfortunately none of them are pleasant.”

The tour guide observed that enough time had been spent on this particular story, and led the group on.

“Now, if we turn right at the end of this corridor we will arrive at the cell that the infamous mobster, Al Capone, was held in for a brief eight month stint back at the end of the 1920s ...”



23 comments :

  1. Okay, it still won't let me post. I think it's maybe too long?

    "Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters"?

    Anyhow... posting gremlins got me to dust off my blog. Maybe that's a good thing. :)

    The asylum in the hills

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    1. Great piece. Now I want to know how they ended up at last week's entry! Thanks for joining. And I snigger at the fact it 'forced' you to dust off your blog! ;-)

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  2. Ooh, I love your story, MK. Excellently creepy and sad.

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    1. As usual, Cara, you can turn creepy into sexy with a wave of your... umm... typewriter ;) Love it, cant wait to see what you and Ms. Ruthie are cooking up! <3

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    2. Thank you, Stacy! :) :) :)

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  3. http://wokingclasshero.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/sleeper-cell.html

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    1. Very emotive tale. Thanks for joining in.

      Here's a clickable link for other readers: Sleeper Cell

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  4. Be gentle with me it's my first time!

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    1. Nicely done, Michael! You had me guessing which one it would be...I wont say if I guessed right the first time or not. I had a 50/50 shot. Thanks for writing. Would love to read more of your work. <3

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    1. Gosh and that really is one hell of a sales pitch. One the one hand, good grief no, but on the other, why not? Great tale. Thanks for joining.

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    2. Sometimes I love the way your mind works, and other days I wonder about ya ;) Great story! Very practical, kind of like the construction company in Poltergeist! See ya next week~!

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  6. Yeah, I'm probably not going to be the bearer of happy interpretations this week (but then again, I think I've yet to be): Corridor

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    1. But this picture inspires the darkness - well that's the plan anyway.

      This is majorly dark and I really like it. Something a little prophetic about it.

      Thanks for joining.

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    2. Dark. Piercing. Disturbing. Love it. Great work.

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  7. Okay, I finally had time to write for this. My offering this week: Lighting the Way

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    1. I was wondering where yours was after all your comments. Fantastic piece. I love it!

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    2. Thank you. Had some real life issues to deal with and a book to get to the editor. But I still wanted to support everyone with reading and comments. We have a great group here. <3 so glad to be part of it.

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    3. Wonderfully done. As usual, you uncanny ability to interpret the picture uniquely and then tell the resulting story beautifully shines through. A pleasure to read.

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  8. Finally sat down and started reading the entries. I loved your piece, Miranda. A devastating interpretation of it. I like that it was left open, too.

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    1. Thanks. Trying to write for the new picture, but I have Stacy's story stuck in my head, and nothing I write seems to come close to being that good! LOL

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