Wednesday 29 March 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 4

Three great entries for last week's challenge.  You can still write for it if you like.

The General Guidelines can be found here

This week's prompt photo is Lapse by Camden Heibel-Schmidt, a photo manipulation artist over on Deviant Art called DarkStar797.


Doctor Caseon shrugged. “I’m not sure how it works. It could take years to find out.”

“But imagine the possibilities.” Doctor Janis looked at the iris again through the microscope. “It’s incredible.”

“I know. But meantime the patient: Are they the only person with this installed? Where did they come from?”

Doctor Janis pushed back his wheelie chair and stood up, perusing the unconscious patient. “They’re not from Sector 8 that much is clear from the skin tone and ear shape.” He pointed to the low lobes, how they reached far under the chin. “Those indicate further out round Sector 15.”

“By the uncharted border?” Docter Caseon looked doubtful.

“Yes, why not?”

“I’ve seen that ear construction on Sector 10’s and Sector 11’s.”

“Yes, but, although their lobes are long, they don’t have tops. Look at these, they do.”

Doctor Caseon stepped forward to see where Doctor Janis was pointing. The ear was fully developed at the top too. “But we have no idea what might have been manipulated on the body though. If they can do this to irises, they can do anything to any body part. Who brought them in?”

“They were found in one of the immigration sweeps, so it would have been PTD, the police terror division.”

“Arh, so retina scan didn’t compute?”


“Not a surprise. But a full body scan has been done, hasn’t it? We do know this isn’t a cyborg of some sort, don’t we?”

Doctor Janis’ eyes widened. “It was brought here to us when the scan didn’t work. There was no mention of a body scan.”

Both men took two steps back from the body that was lying peacefully in the chair. The last time cyborgs had been reported in Sector 8 there had been a planet wide lock down for several months, the hundred year war still fresh in everyone’s minds. A repeat of such an event did not appeal to the doctors.

“Inject it. See how deep the flesh is.” Doctor Caseon flapped his hand at a syringe on the counter.’

Doctor Janis grabbed one and took a tentative step forward. Then he hesitated. “But if it is a cyborg, how is it unconscious? They can’t be knocked out without damage to the skull.”

The two doctors paused, staring at each other. Doctor Caseon relaxed a little. “It can’t be then. The thing in its eye has to be a human implant.”

They moved forward together with caution. Doctor Janis still had the syringe in his hand. “It can’t hurt to check though, right?”

He slid the needle under the skin on the forearm of the patient. A faint whirring noise was audible. Doctor Caseon looked through the microscope. “The hands of the clock have started spinning! I can see cogs moving!”

The arm with the syringe came up and hit Doctor Janis under the chin, flinging him up and back into the air. He landed against the wall of the lab with a crash. Blood from where his head made contact leaving a halo on the wall.

The patient’s other arm came up and grabbed Doctor Caseon round the throat. It pulled him in until their noses almost touched.

“Don’t do that again; I hate needles.”


Wednesday 22 March 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 3

Last week's photo pulled in four marvellous entries. It inspired them in such unique ways.

Feel free to join in with previous challenges if this one doesn't inspire you. There is no closing date, and I love reading your entries.

Initially I had another picture in mind for this week's Mid-Week Flash Challenge, but this one spoke to me first. I couldn't resist his beckoning hands and intense gaze. What is he saying to you?

He was taken by Ekaterina Zakharova, a Russian photographer who named him '1Fairy'. She normally photographs nude males, but this guy is only 16! (or was when this was taken). You can find more on her Deviant Art page.

The General Guidelines are here.  Now go write!

Family Ties 

Catherine’s startled reaction was tempered by the sprites playful nature and beckoning arms, particularly his electric blue eyes that delved into the deepest parts of her soul.

She knew the woodlands around her aunt and uncle’s estate were alive with wonders and miracles, and she had hoped to meet some of the characters from the stories she had been told, but up until today they had only been glimpses and peripheral movements.

She wondered if her coming of age party on the lawn yesterday had done the trick; maybe once you turned sixteen it became permissible.

The sprite in front of her should certainly come with an age restriction; his semi-clad body causing a flush in her cheeks as he danced in front of her, moving slowly backwards, drawing her into the thickest parts of the wood. She was happy to follow; her curiosity ignited by his silent alluring manner and mischievous grin.

Eventually they came to a clearing, reached by pushing through a dense thicket which her guide pushed back for her, to bring her through safely. Initially they were alone in the clearing and his continued intense gaze sparked thoughts of romance in her mind. Butterflies took flight inside and out, and Catherine waited in anticipation for his next move.

But the silence was broken by laughter nearby, which caused the sprite to erupt in the same, the light sing-song of his voice like wind in chimes. Bodies burst through the undergrowth surrounding them, and danced around her, creating a myriad of colour. Swaths of material rushed through the air, which seemed full of petals and seed pods swirling around them in the late midsummer afternoon. All manner of mythical creatures danced past, each slightly different from the next, all enchanting and full of an energy that seemed to glow around them.

Their enjoyment was infectious. Catherine joined in, taking their hands and moving with them in time to the slowly manifesting music as more fairies joined playing pipes and small hand drums.

Catherine grew dizzy with the movement and the giggling. She wasn’t sure if she was spinning or the woods around her were, until eventually she found herself lying on her back giggling up at the blue sky, lost in the magic of the sounds.

Those sounds became faint as they were overtaken by voices calling her name. She sat up to find herself alone, and her parents pushing through the foliage with worried expressions on their faces.

“Catherine, are you alright? We couldn’t find you?” Her mother came to her side and put her arms around her.

“I’m fine mum, I was just ...” Catherine looked around her. How was she going to explain this? “I was just enjoying the sounds of the woods.”

Her dad smiled. “They found you, didn’t they?”

“Who?” Catherine put on her best innocent look. Her mother laughed.

“We knew they would when you turned sixteen, it’s the right of passage.”

“Right of passage to what?”

Her dad squatted down next to her. “To becoming a guardian of one of the best kept secrets in this family.”

He looked at her solemnly, his blues eyes glinting in a way that reminded her of the sprite.

“I won’t breathe a word of it, I promise.”

He laughed, the pitch identical to that of the sprite’s, and ruffled the top of her head. “I know you won’t. Blood is thicker than water; you wouldn’t betray members of your own family.”

Catherine smiled as her mum pulled her up to her feet and took her arm, leading her back through the underbrush. But her father’s words stayed with her as she pondered them: my own family?

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 2

There were three marvellous entries to Week 1, which is a good start as we gain some traction.

And two other flash fiction competitions that are currently running were shared:

Microcosm on twitter here. Every Friday.

The Angry Hour Glass, Flash frenzy, host by Rebecca J Allred. Every Saturday.

Here is the next Flash Fiction prompt for Week 2 of the Mid-Week Flash Challenge.

You can find the General Guidelines here

Art is by Kasia Derwinska, a polish art photographer.


She had sucked it dry of all there was; there was nothing left for her here. As Maddy turned from the drying husk of the man that had once been her lover, she embraced the view of the future. Would it withstand her needs and wants? Would it bring her replenishment and sanctuary? Would it be worth her efforts should she risk love and devotion again?

The land ahead was open, devoid of any richness, but the sky was bright and hopeful and there were tracks. Those tracks meant she wouldn’t be alone forever, that there might be others in her life if she let them in.

She tempered her doubts and scepticism and took a deep breath. She had to muster her strength and push forward; there was nothing behind her but dust in the wind. Only by putting one foot in front of the other would there be hope and a chance at joy.

Again she fought the thoughts that chuckled at such an absurdity. She did still have time, she argued, and plenty to offer, but not if she continued to stand here.

She stepped into the view, and once the light from the bright sky touched her skin she felt refreshed and renewed. In the distance soft outlines began to emerge of future places and events. Her heart lifted. She had done the right thing, and her thoughts were quiet, muted by the truth of her conviction. There was life out there to be found, and she was going to be a part of it.

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 1

For some time now I have wanted to get back to writing some Flash Fiction, but there aren't the amount of weekly flash fiction competitions there used to be online. I only know of Thursday Threads, hosted by Siobhan Muir running at the moment. (if you know of more, let me know in the comments).

I contemplated starting my own competition, but really I wanted to write for them, not judge them, so I decided to begin a challenge where I write a piece inspired by a photo each week and post it up, and if others want to join in too that would be great. So here goes for the first one.

General Guidelines:
Story length: Anything up to 750 Words (no minimum).
How to enter: Either provide a link in the comments, or post the entire story in the comments.
Deadline: I will post a new one every Wednesday, but if you're inspired by a previous weeks, go ahead & write for it.
Genre/Theme: All/Any - completely open. It doesn't even have to refer to the picture.

And spread the word. If you are on Twitter, I am @PurpleQueenNL the hashtag is #MidWeekFlash.

Now to the first week's challenge:

This picture was brought to my attention by@noveliciouss on twitter, and interestingly (because I live in Holland) it was taking by a Dutch photographer Hans Wilschut.

Little Boxes

Lying on his back, Jack viewed the rectangle of sky he could see. It was dusky and moody tonight. The glow of the apartment blocks surrounding it lent it a blue hue.

As he ran his eyes over all the lit windows climbing up to the sky, he wondered about the people living in their little boxes, one on top of the other. Did they know each other? Or did they live in their secluded worlds, divided by concrete floors and ceilings, oblivious to those around them?

Jack thought about his own little box and its defining square rooms, identical in layout to all those around it. It might even share the same d├ęcor. But it wouldn’t share its current state. He didn’t think there were many that would have fresh blood spattered walls, and limbs in chest freezers in the utility corner. Although he couldn’t be sure: who knew what went on in other homes? The stories you head about abuses of wives, husbands, and children were rife in the media. Maybe it was more likely than he thought.

He took another deep inhale of the night air and thought about what was ahead of him. He knew he had to go and clean up, but he hated this part. It took so much time. And he had to make sure he got every little bit, every last drop, every micro of blood that splashed; otherwise the next victim he brought back might get suspicious. He didn’t want that, oh no.

Sometimes he liked to spend a bit of time teasing them out of their shell first, getting them worked up, thinking they might get to see the inside of his bedroom. But that rarely happened; it had to be someone special for him to mess up his bedroom for – there had only been one this last year. He remembered it keenly. He’d had to touch that skin all over before separating it. The smell it had given off had been divine.

Jack shifted on the grass, the thoughts inspiring him. Maybe he could find another one like that; maybe one even lived here in one of these little boxes. He smiled. Yes, that would be good. But he knew better than to find one so close to home.

He turned over and pushed himself up to his feet, stretching, the tips of his fingers wiggling as though trying to touch the sky. He was ready to take on the cleaning job now; he was motivated. It was always easier to do when the mind had planning to get lost in.