Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 68

This week's pictures is a creation by artist RoadioArts a digital artist from the Philippines. He calls this one: Cadena de Amor. He has some interesting art, many depicting people in anguish. You can check out more of his stuff on his Deviant Art page.

This image encompasses different elements, which together represent the journey of my life over the last 16 years, so I couldn't write it as a fiction tale, only as prose.

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.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.   


I felt stuck.
There was no life here.
Not for me.
Everything was obligation, expectation, and desperation.
I felt tied.
I couldn’t set myself free.
People talked about finding the key, but I couldn’t even find the door.
The more I struggled to find a way out, the heavier the chains felt.
I was weighted down.
I could no longer lift my head, let alone my body.

I withdrew.
From the people surrounding me and from the people I’d drawn to me.
They held no solutions.
They told me not to focus on it.
They told me not to think about it.
They told me it was all in my head and I was looking at it the wrong way.
I moved my head round so much to see it from different perspectives, my neck hurt.
In fact it almost broke.

I went away to try and ‘get some perspective’.
All I found was emptiness and the obligation to return.
There was nothing else.
The grass wasn’t greener.
I had to water my own.
But there were no seeds.

Then one day someone mentioned a place.
Not a real place, an illusion of a place, somewhere in the ether.
In fact in the Ethernet.
It was a void that sometimes spoke back.
You followed people and people followed you.
You could find people, the right people, people that understood.
You could talk and be heard.
And talk when you didn’t want to be heard.
Yet not a word was spoken only written.
It opened a whole new world of possibilities.

A place to dream.
A place to create.
A place to forget about the obligations and the desperation.
A place that made the chains feel temporary and freedom possible.
A place of hope.  
A place carried on the wings of a bird.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 67

This week's picture is a photo is an unknown. I don't know who took it or where. It appears in a lot of places and goes back a lot of years. But I like it. I thought it could offer some interesting tales.

I had expected my tale to go dark, but I couldn't sustain it, I couldn't do it to my main character. I worry that I am going soft. Either way it's what came from this photo. Hope you like it.

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.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.  

Sustaining The Light

She always saw the best in everything; she always made the dreary bright. She taught me how to look at things through a different lens. Not a rose-tinted one, she insisted, but one where you can make the best of what you have, if not physically, mentally.

I cherished that about her. I would often ask myself, how would Nadia see this? What would she say were the positives here? It helped me appreciate rather than complain; to find contentment over dissatisfaction.

Some would say it was settling, even giving up, but I saw it as embracing and valuing what you have in that moment.

And I valued her. Every day. Every waking hour. Even in my dreams.

And the day she covered the seat on the station platform in flowers when our train was delayed, was the day I knew: she had to be mine, mine forever.

But could someone so beautiful, so gracious, so accepting, relent to be mine? I didn’t know. And in my unknowing I worried about it. And that worry turned to paranoia.

I saw others reacting to her inner light and enjoy it too. I wasn’t the only one that saw it, and loved it. People were drawn to her. I worried that they would woe her and take her away from me. I worried that I would become invisible to her. That she would tire of me. That I would never be enough to sustain her.

How could I keep her? How could I make sure that no one ever took her away from me? There was only one way. I had to take her away, far, far away, and the opportunity arose when I found a job on a distant island.

It wasn’t a fun job, wasn’t even one I had dreamed of – managing a lighthouse in all weathers wasn’t a job that most people coveted, but it would keep us together and people apart. 

And I sold it to her, using her own thought process: highlighting all the positives, all the wonderful things we would experience and enjoy, even in this remote location. And the added bonus was that it meant we had to be married, tying her to me, making her my family. It was a joyous day, one where I didn’t mind people basking in her light. It would be the last time after all.

And though I smile now looking back on that wonderful day and the idea I had of making her mine, I look out of the window at her gentle face and wonder what I was thinking. Her smile, along with her laughter, is rarely seen now. And though she is still trying hard to keep looking on the bright side of life, the isolation is affecting her: her light is fading.

I have to steel myself for the truth: I will have to share her if I want to see her light shine again. I am not enough to sustain her - as no one person is enough to sustain another. True love means to set another free and risk losing them. What is life without risk after all?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 66

This weeks photo was taken by Terry Yarrow, nicknamed The Dorset Rambler. This is the doorway into the crypt at Hereford Cathedral, taken from inside the crypt. His website doesn't seem to exist anymore, but you can see more of his photos over on flicker (link with his name).

When I started writing this tale, I spooked myself a little bit! πŸ˜‚ I wasn't sure if I could end it the way I wanted to, but it worked out pretty well.

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.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there. 

Cycle of the Crypt

Randalf had always been curious about the crypt but he wasn’t allowed to go in; they said it was no place for children. But here he is; the door is open – only by a slither, but enough for him to slip through into the darkness.

His hand runs along the wall, looking for a light switch he’s sure must be there, but there’s only dust and brickwork under his fingers. His eyes adjust; he makes out shadows as he moves further inside. In his mind he imagines rows of coffins, but these shadows seem to be pillars or openings to darker areas.

He glances behind him and is reassured by the slither of light from the open door. Then he hears a shuffling sound. He freezes. Is it behind or in front of him? It’s distant … or is it faint?

It’s a dragging sound. It’s definitely in front of him and it’s definitely getting louder.

There’s a rasping sound with it. Breathing, someone breathing.

Randalf can’t move, in fact the only thing moving besides whatever is in here with him is his heart. It feels like it’s going to gallop right out of his chest at any moment. It must be audible. They’ll be able to find him by the sound of it. They’ll be able to zero in on him in the pitch dark and he will be helpless.

But it’s not pitch dark because he’s just seen a shadow move. His breath hitches in his throat. The shadow becomes more defined as it draws near. Definitely a body. It stops before it’s close enough for him to see its face.

The breathing gets heavier and there are words in it. Randalf strains to understand them.

“Leave. You must … leave. Now. Before … it’s … too … late.”

Confusion wrinkles Randalf’s brow. He steps closer to hear. The shadow seems to quiver.

“No! Keep away! Go! Now! Quickly!”

Randalf doesn’t understand the panic he hears in the shadow’s voice. “Who are you? Why must I leave?”

“The door … will close.”

Randalf glances back, it’s still open. “Who are you?”

“Please go. You must … never know … who I am.”

“Why?” Randalf steps closer. The shadow doesn’t move.

“Because the … cycle will never … stop.”

“Cycle? What cycle?”

“We will be … forever trapped.”

“We? You mean you and me?”

“Yes. Please … leave. Now.”

“Tell me who you are, and I will?”

“If I tell you … who I am … you won’t be able to.”

Randalf feels like the conversation is going in circles. He moves closer, the shadow of the imagined face becoming more defined in the vague light from the door. The shadow groans.

“No, Randalf … you mustn’t.”

He stops. “You know my name?”

The shadow falls silent. Only its rasping breath can be heard.

Randalf ponders. He could just walk right up to the figure and find out who they are, but what if they’re right? What if the door closes? Maybe he should go back. But he doesn’t want to. Who is this person? Why will they get trapped?

He moves forward again, this time the light from the door falling across the face of the speaker. Randalf finds it strange. Is it some sort of mirror? It looks like him. His face.

The door slams. Randalf can hear sobbing from the figure, his own eyes watering at the sound. He reaches out a hand to the figure, but there is no figure. There is only him.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Don’t Quit the Day Job - How the day job affects your writing.

Vic Watson put a call out on twitter asking for writers to share how their day job(s) have influenced their writing for a blog series she's writing called Don't Quit the Day Job, and I responded, so here I am am telling people how my work and writing fed one another.

Thanks to Vic for hosting such an interesting blog series. 

"I didn’t really think that writing would be something I would take seriously. I started out life wanting to be a film director, I even studied drama at college, but I did write snippets of stories (which would now be called flash fiction) – and one day a friend said they wanted more – a whole novel more, so I thought, how do I make this more?

By this time, after leaving my first job of working back stage in a West End theatre, I had moved into clerical work and it was at my first permanent job working in the office of a shoe factory, processing sales orders that I started to debate how I could turn one particular piece into a bigger story. And then one day the Office Manager, who sat opposite me, laughed at something someone had said. It came out as an effeminate cackle, and with his aged, balding, liver spotted head thrown back the antagonist for my novel was born!

I started that novel in 1991 and it has gone through many incarnations and rewrites, but it is now finally about to be released as a novella in my new science-fiction collection: Slipping Through."

For the rest of the article here.

If you are interested in taking part, just get in touch with Vic Watson either on twitter or via email through her website.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 65

This week's picture is by ZedLord-Art - aka Zenad Nabil, a digital Artist from Algeria. He has some interesting art. Go take a look over at his Deviant Art page.

A picture that in some ways already tells a tale, so I thought hard to try and find another angle. It ended up very short, but if you have no words, it tends to be. πŸ˜‰

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.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.  

No Words 

The words just wouldn’t come no matter how hard he tried to put them on paper. He’d spent weeks trying but they weren’t there for him, not anymore.

All his life he had managed to master them, make them dance to the tunes he wrote, but now they were gone, swallowed by events he couldn’t comprehend and never believed would happen.

It had made it all so pointless: the songs, the music, the words – yes, even the words. They had no meaning now. And he knew he should be lucky to still have his piano and a place to play it, many weren’t so lucky.

Now more than ever they needed the sound of it; they needed the comfort of the tune, the reassurance of the words, but he couldn’t provide them. His muse was dead, like the world.

And his words, like the falling ash, were drifting on the breeze, turning to nothing when caught, just disintegrating and remaining but a stain – a reminder of what once was.

Maybe they’d return again like the phoenix, and rise up out of the ashes, when people had recovered, and when the world had become more upside and less down.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 64

This week's photo is of Laura's Bridge, in Goodrich Park, Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts and managed by the Laura Hill Association. But I was unable to find out who took this photo.

In this sweltering heat I thought a bit of snow was in order. Try and feel that cold air!

I had planned something more serious, but this is what came out. I rather like it.

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.

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there. 

The King's Daughters

The person he was tracking was either a fool or setting a trap, either way Rhodri was cautious. But the second set of prints on the bridge confused him. They weren’t significantly smaller – hence a child being carried and then set down – they were the same size. Rhodri didn’t like it. There was something he was missing here.

He continued to follow the footprints into the castle grounds, using them to cover his own tracks. No alarms had been raised at their arrival; could he be wrong in considering them intruders? The Princess had not informed him of any planned visitors, in fact she’d made it clear that no one was to be welcomed without explicit invitation, so who were these people?

The tracks ended abruptly several feet before the entrance into the great hall. Rhodri entered the castle through the servants quarters, swiftly scaling the back stairs to his mistress’s rooms. He needed to be sure she was safe.

He heard raised voices as he approached, and rushed into the room, hand on the hilt of sword ready to defend. But he stopped short, snapping to attention when he saw the back of the King, who was busy admonishing his daughter.

“How could you do this to me Gweneth?”

“This has nothing to do with you, father!” The princess was irate.

“It has everything to do with me. What of the family name?”

“What of it? We must move with the times.”

“Move with the times? Like your security? Your man Rhodri here didn’t even stop my entry.” Rhodri flinched at the insult.

“You were using your magic tricks again though, father, no one could have stopped you. You and that sycophant you carry around like some sort of pet, doing abnormal things.”

“Don’t speak of Hoodwink that way; he has gifts which he has chosen to bestow on his King.”

“His very name describes who he is father, everyone knows that. It’s trickery and deceit, and I won’t be spied on!” The princess stormed to the windows.

“But clearly someone needs to; this marriage will not go ahead!”

Gweneth sighed. “It’s too late father, we are already married.”

The King inhaled bringing himself up to his full height, his face colouring in such a way Rhodri was scared it might actually burst.

“How dare you! Your marriage is not legal without my permission!”

The princess seemed amused at her father’s rage. “What rubbish. Your consent is no longer required.”

“Until your 25th birthday it is!” Her father was indignant.

The princess dropped her smirk. “So concerned, yet you don’t even know your own daughter’s birthday.”

“Yes I do, it was last week!”

“And my age, daddy?” The King paused; she didn’t wait for a response. “Jasmine is a year younger than I. You always get us mixed up.”

This took the wind out of her father who visibly slumped, moving to the sofa to sit down. The princess joined him, her manner changing to one of appeasement.

“Daddy, you know I was going to choose my own suitor, it was always going to be that way. Ruth might have been happy for you to choose, but not me. And he’s a good man, Daddy, he really is.”

Rhodri felt his chest swell with pride. Gweneth looked at him and beckoned him over.

“Rhodri has been by my side all of my adult life, father, I couldn’t love anyone else.” She put out her hand and Rhodri took it, looking into her eyes and returning the love he saw there.

The King’s mouth dropped open. “I was told it was Malick that you planned to marry.”

“Oh father, no! Malick’s hideous.”

He smiled at Rhodri. “I could always trust Rhodri to keep you safe.”

“Oh he does, Daddy, he does. But who on earth told you it was Malick?”

“Your sister, Jacinta.”

Jacinta? But she’s the one who always fancies Malick. Daddy, are you sure she’s not the one planning to marry him?”

The King looked startled. “Oh my goodness! Of course, she’s sent me on this wild goose chase to divert my attention. I must away. Hoodwink? We must go.”

A tiny man appeared in the corner of the room. Rhodri wondered if he’d been there all along. He ran over to the King and climbed up on his back. The King bent down and kissed his daughter’s cheek. “You have my blessing Gweneth dear, I’m sorry I misjudged you.”

Then he walked to the doorway and disappeared in a blue flash.