Wednesday 6 September 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 20

Welcome back! I hope you all had a good summer. Now as we face the autumn I am rearing to go, with a litany of interesting photos at my disposal, and here's the first. 

This week's photo is of a horse sculpture by Japanese artist, Sayaka Ganz. She creates sculptures out of household rubbish, as she says she has a “strange sympathy for discarded objects.” Apparently the Shinto (Japanese religion) believe in the sacred power (kami) in both animate and inanimate objects. All Syaka's animal sculptures appear to be moving in some way. You can find more of her incredible work on her website: Syaka Ganz, Reclaimed Creations.

I recalled parts of this story from a dream I had had many years ago. It took me a while to squeeze it into the word count, and it begged to be continued. Maybe I will one day. Hope you enjoy it.

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Try or Die

I could feel the ground starting to shake, the thundering roar not quite drowning out my racing heart as I ran for my life. Then another sound reached me and I looked over my shoulder to see an entire band of wild horses coming, creating a sand storm in their wake; the thunder of their hooves reducing the magnitude of the quake as they approached.

I looked for a high point, somewhere to scramble to, lest I be knocked and trampled underfoot. There was no shortage of boulders in this patch of the desert, so I climbed one, getting as high as I could until an idea came to me, making me ponder my sanity – not for the first time.

As their steaming sweat-soaked bodies rushed by me I leapt knowing that I risked suicide. But catching a glimpse of the mammoth crack chasing the horses, it was my only chance of survival.

Landing on the hard ridge of the animal’s back hurt, but I grappled in its mane for firm purchase and clenched my legs to stay on, keeping low. It made no attempt to buck me off, intent only on escaping the quake along with every other living thing.

I could see bison to the left moving like a black cloud in high winds. I hoped we wouldn’t run across each others’ path. I attempted to look behind me but there was only a wall of sand.

The sky grew dark, my initial thought being that the dust cloud had blotted out the sun, but when I looked up I realised the sky was full of flying creatures fleeing the disaster. Huge birds of prey mingled with flocks of parrots, sparrows, finches, ravens, every type of desert dwelling bird. I’d never seen so many and I’d spent a lot of time on my porch with binoculars trying. It scared me. How bad was this thing? How big? Would we be able to outrun it?

I knew that the rocky terrain would turn into brush soon enough and then into farmland, until we eventually hit town. Although would it still be there? If the quake had hit my isolated homestead, where else was it hitting?

I could feel the band of horses turning, moving to the right, the border of this scrap of land appearing on the horizon; the dark line of foliage would eventually grow into woods. I could see other groups of animals turning with us, foxes, coyotes, and even bighorn sheep running side by side. It was going to get messy once we hit the resistance of the trees.

But as I watched, the foliage began to shift upwards; the ground becoming sky. Another fork of the quake was cutting the earth. The horses slowed down, moving back to the left. I waited for a clash of animals, but they moved as one, the pace increasing towards the open farmlands.

I prayed to a God I didn’t believe in to keep our path open and let us escape this giant cataclysm, but the horizon started to darken with what appeared to be more groups of escaping animals - this time livestock - heading straight for us.

I didn’t know why our band wasn’t slowing or changing direction, but before I could panic I was falling with the horse beneath me. My eyes had been so transfixed on what was ahead I had missed the chasm that had opened in front of us. My world went black. 

When I opened my eyes again I could see a crack of light. The weight on top of me made it difficult to breathe, but it was shifting and moving as other animals became conscious and struggled to rise. There was pain in my body, but would it stop me from being able to get up and out?

Tremors were still running through the ground shifting the mass around me, and I used them to my advantage as I pulled and pushed my way up. It was hard work, but my body allowed it, despite one arm being broken. I hugged it to my side and tried to keep it immobile as I moved up. 

I had no idea how long it took me, but once I reached the top of the crushed, damaged and writhing creatures, I saw that it might have been the easiest part of my journey: The sheer wall of the chasm that faced me was galling – but I could try or die.



  1. Tough for me to write for this. Especially given the events of the past week. But... We do carry on, don't we.

    One Black, One White

    1. That is what life is about - keep on, keeping on. Love the entry. Thanks for joining.

  2. Loved writing for this one! Glad it's back, Miranda!

    1. And a great piece from you. Thanks for joining in.

  3. A bit late, sorry, but this did inspire me to write another Lakota tale. Wamaka Nagi

    1. Always better late than never - especially with such a perfect tale. Brilliantly written and worked out. Love it. Thanks for joining in.

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    1. I am still really enjoying running this challenge. And I love your entries. Thanks for joining.