Wednesday 28 June 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 17

This week's photo is an abandoned subway station - City Hall Station, in New York. It was built as a stop in the New York City Subway System in 1904, but closed in 1949 because the station wasn't very busy and could no longer accommodate larger subway cars.

This photo was taken by John Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek, and it was featured, along with many others of the abandoned subway, in an article in the UK's Daily Mail in 2012.

Being that I tend to write dark, this gave me the perfect setting. Interested to see what you make of 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.


When I reached the platform it was empty; the only sound that of my rushed footsteps echoing off the underground walls.

My heart skipped a beat as I looked round, frantic for company. The platform veered off to the left and I hurried along in the hope of finding another soul – but there was no one.

I tried to take steady breaths and calm myself while my ears scanned for any sound that might signify the imminent arrival of a train. The display boards were switched off giving me no indication of when that might be.

My over stretched ears were telling my brain something it didn’t want to hear: that the footsteps I’d imagined behind me since leaving the office and making my way to the station, were not actually imaginary; that they were steadily coming closer, one by one down the long flight of steps to the platform.

My eyes searched for a place to disappear into: an inset in the wall, a corner behind the power box at the end of the platform – even a bench to crouch behind, but there was nothing. I stepped back, hugging the wall and stepping quietly along to the corner. I could only hope they didn’t come round the curve in the platform.

I felt open, exposed, and vulnerable; the epitome of a woman alone at night.

My mind kept running scenarios of being attacked. I imagined running to the edge of the platform and flinging myself off - rather electrocuted on the lines than taken by force.

The footsteps had arrived on the platform. They were light, tentative, clearly looking for me. I wanted to shut my eyes, but my brain wouldn’t let me. I had to know, had to be sure. I looked out at the tiny section of platform I could see and waited.

But nothing; the footsteps had faded.

My ears kept searching for any sound or scrape, but only the echo of the station came back: the air moving through the tunnels, the background rustle of anything from paper, to mice, to the traffic above – no indication of another person on the platform.

I stayed where I was, frozen to the spot for as long as it took me to realise I was holding my breath. I let it out carefully not wanting to attract any attention, certain my potential assailant was still there biding their time.

My eyes traced the hands on my watch as the seconds stretched out to minutes, as I silently pleaded for two headlights to appear in the tunnel.

I jumped at the sound of sonic shots running through the rails as a train approached. The air stirred but I dared not move. I wanted to remain hidden until the last possible moment.

The train pulled in, bright and light, but mostly unoccupied at this late hour. When the doors slid open I made a dash for it, leaping in, my eyes darting left expecting to see someone coming at me. But no one did, because there was no one there. The platform was empty.

A frown crossed my face as the doors slid shut and I searched the station from end to end as the train moved off, but the truth was I’d been alone the entire time.

I leaned back against the wall of the train and sighed my relief, until a gentle cough reached me. I glanced up to find eyes staring at me from the other end of the carriage belonging to a lone man.

He smiled.

My stomach clenched.

Thursday 22 June 2017

Hat-Trick! - 'Spiders' - Flash Flood Journal Entry

This year I have managed a Hat-Trick! My fifth entry into the yearly Flash Flood Journal.

It's an international flash-fiction journal created by writers and edited by a team of volunteer editors on behalf, and in aid of National Flash Fiction Day, which took place on the 24th of June.

Every 10 minutes a new piece of Flash is put on the Flash Flood Journal for the full 24 hours of Flash Fiction day.

This ended up being a last minute entry, being that the first two I submitted, and had worked on for a few days were rejected. You are allowed three attempts, so I thought, what the hell, in for a penny in for a pound. I sent it in just half an hour before the deadline! Goes to show that sometimes it isn't about how long you have worked on a piece but whether it grasps the reader.

My entry 'Spiders' went up at 1pm. You can read it here.

This piece was inspired by a photo prompt for a Horror Bites competition. This was the photo:

Wednesday 21 June 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 16

Last week's photo prompt brought four entries with such unique concepts, its why I love doing these challenges. I have my take on a picture, but there are so many others. Plus I'm happy people are still showing up to write.

This week's photo prompt is on what I have always believed to be Midsummer's Day - the 21st of June. Although apparently it can differ depending on your beliefs, for some it is on the 24th of June (in Germany and other places). But the Internet - and my beloved site which I use for timezones and daylight savings - tells me June Solstice in the Netherlands this year is indeed on Wednesday, 21 June 2017, 06:24 CET (Central European Time). So I picked this photo, which to me reflected long summer evenings.

Tracking down this picture, as is usually the case, was quite hard, but fortunately the original place I had pinned it from held the answer as it was credited correctly. It was taken by Studio Impressions, Marcus Bell & team in Brisbane Australia - for a wedding in Bali (Angie & Ben's)

My entry this week went darker than planned, but hey, that's how I roll. Maybe others will be able to show the lighter side.

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.


Ramkin sat back and rubbed his swollen tummy. It had been a fine feast and no mistake. They’d sent them off well, and on the most perfect night of the year, Midsummer Night. Mind you, half the attendees would only come out on that night, it being a special night for those of a shadier nature.

It had taken time and work to bring it all together, but fae gatherings were never taken lightly, there had to be exact planning and execution. When Hommel proposed to Mayfoot it had caused ructions: the fae weren’t meant to marry out of their own blood for risk of tampering by other elements, elements whose ultimate aim was to bring down the race. But the pair weren’t gonna budge, they believed they were destined and no one could argue with that. Ramkin dared not think about their offspring, that was not his business, or others either, although there’d be plenty of talk.

A cheer went up and more glasses were raised, the clinking resounding off the wall of forest surrounding their twilight party. The glitter of the day had passed into a twinkling evening, scented by the sun baked foliage and delicate table displays of flowers and candles. And despite his full belly, Ramkin knew the feasting had only just begun. In particular, the darker meat was yet to be brought forward and roasted. He could see his brothers at work now, getting the pyre and spit ready.

But his people were not the ones to bring that meat, oh no that belonged to their cousins who lived on the other side of life: in the shadows and dark corners, blending in with the night. They were responsible for catching this prey, it was their speciality, although everyone enjoyed the ritual of preparation, and it would take a good few hours yet before it was cooked.

He heard the moans already as they brought it into the clearing, and then the screams as it realised what would be taking place; its feverish eyes on the fire that was now burning under the spit, ready to take on its flesh. The louder the screams the higher the laughter rose, especially while watching their tiny cousins run up its body and begin the cutting, forcing it to its knees.

It was one of the few moments that the fae felt superior. Living among the giants was hard at times, but when they managed to catch one for a feast such as this, it made it all worthwhile. 


Wednesday 14 June 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 15

Three entries last week. I'm wondering if we are entering a dip. Summer is coming and people are getting busy. It won't be long before my children will be on school holiday and writing time will get tight.

This week's photo prompt is actually an advert on Etsy. Antique keys seem to be popular. I have always been fascinated by keys and doors - and the metaphorical meaning of both.

Looking forward to seeing what this might inspire.

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.


Hannah rolled the key between her thumb and forefinger, watching it glint in the evening light coming in through the window. She loved its ornate design; they didn’t make keys like that anymore, but then they didn’t make houses like this anymore with secret backrooms and passageways leading to dark dank corners underground. 

Her parents finding this place had been a blessing, and her finding the secret door had been a revelation – although the key had been the key.

She chuckled to herself at the pun, but it was true: had she not spotted it under the stairs, hanging in a dusty corner when she'd been exploring, she would never have known there was a secret door to find - and then she wouldn’t have found anything to hide behind it.

She smiled to herself. How long could keep it hidden was the big question – or should she say ‘him’, keep ‘him’ hidden. She let out another chuckle and popped the key into her pocket as sat back grinning.

They were looking for him; they had been for two days now. She couldn’t help the thrill it gave her seeing everyone so distraught, especially her mother. All the angst and guilt that came out and all the additional hugs and comfort they gave her. She struggled with liking it and resenting it, but that was their fault too. If he hadn’t been the one given all the attention all the time none of this would have happened.

Her face changed to an angry scowl, although it froze at the thought of what would happen when they did finally find him. She could see her mother rejecting her then, maybe even ejecting her too – putting her in some kind of home.

It’s why she had to draw this out as long as possible, milk as much from it now as she could, because once they found his body it would all be over.

She pulled the key out again and turned it over in her hand. Its beauty turned sinister as she looked at it. Maybe its discovery hadn’t been as good as she had first thought then.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 14

Despite a lot of reactions in the forms of comments and retweets, last week's photo prompt only elicited two submissions - although I did enjoy both of them very much.  I am grateful for those. I dread the day no one comes to write!

This week's photo prompt I have held onto for a while, as I try and change things up every week, and not repeat similar themes. This was taken in a former, now abandoned, TB sanatorium in Grabowsee, Oranienburg, Germany, which is a little north of Berlin. It was taken by someone over on Flicker called Michael.

I felt it offered a wide range of interpretation. Mine, as often is the case, is dark. I'm interested in what it might inspire in others. 

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.


She sees the window but can’t look through it. She yearns to touch it, but can’t reach it; an illusion she can’t shatter.

She imagines how it would feel: what breeze would come through it, how it would light up the room, give her hope. It held a promise the current room she was in had lost.

She knew it was unattainable now; she would never experience it again: to look through a window, feel the air on her face, smell the sweet smells of the outside. All she could smell in this room was herself: the body odour, the wounds, the abuse.

He would be back soon. He had a rigid schedule. She wasn’t the only one he held. But it wouldn’t be for much longer; she knew that. He didn’t. He still expected to get more out of her: more screams, more begging, more moans, more pain, more blood.

The mirror had been a punishment, reflecting her state. But it had been jolted during one of her days of resistance: a kick here, a push there, a shove causing it to crack and split. It brought hope.

Footsteps outside. His hand on the door. She braced herself, clutching the fragment that would end this. There would be blood, and pain, maybe screams. She hoped for begging – but none of it from her this time.