Wednesday 8 November 2017

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 29

This week's photo prompt came from someone taking part in a Sunday hashtag twitter photo theme called #SundayPix hosted by Michael Wombat. This one was #SundayPixBlue. I asked the owner Lou Armer‏ if he minded me using it, and he was happy to lend it as a prompt.

This story came easily, and I liked how it developed. I hope you enjoy it too.  What do you see in the picture?

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


He was the only one that saw them, he knew that. I mean, how else could people just keep walking by them without taking a wide berth? Sometimes he even had to cross the street.

In the winter it was even worse, with all the leaves gone the truth of these strange beings was exposed. And they were beings, he was sure of that. He heard them moving at night, talking to each other in their strange language that was similar to the sound of the wind on a blustery night.

He would stand in the dark at his bedroom window and watch. It would always begin around midnight. He would watch their movements; they would spin round, reaching out to each other as well as other neighbourhood plants and trees, connecting – communicating.  And in those movements their shapes would change and their bodies would appear. They were almost human in shape, as though dancing acrobats.

Peter would shiver and close his curtains in a hurry. Rushing to bed and snuggling down deep. In the morning they would be back to their stationary positions, conning people into believing they were harmless and inanimate.

But he knew differently. He knew the truth. And it had all begun one moonlit night when he was returning home from drinks after work.

Peter hadn’t been alone that night; a co-worker he’d been successfully flirting with was with him. They had both been tipsy and giggling, paying no attention to the trees, even taking a short cut through the little park near his house, something he wouldn’t ever consider doing now.

He’d been engrossed in his companion, not looking at the trees or their movements, and was oblivious when a branch had swept down and grabbed his new love interest.

Richard’s hand had been wrenched out of Peter’s as the branches had taken him up and enveloped him. The only sound he’d made was a short yelp. Peter had stood in shock, unable to speak or do anything. But he had registered the movement in the next tree and managed to leap out of the way before it took him too, running all the way home, and not stopping until his back was against the inside of the front door.

His mind had raced: Should he call the police? What would he say? Would they believe him or just take him for a drunk? Would he be arrested for wasting police time? Maybe it was safer for someone to miss Richard first, then he could step forward.

After a restless night Peter had gone to work the next day wondering how Richard’s absence would go down, but he was shocked to find they all believed Richard was on holiday; apparently his leave had been approved the week before and he would be gone for ten days.

Peter had been unsettled by this. It meant it would be even longer before anyone noticed he was actually missing. But he was powerless to change it - saying ‘he’s been eaten by a tree’ would be laughed at, or even cause them to think he had a mental illness. He’d have to wait it out, and see how things changed when Richard didn’t return.

But stranger still, Richard had returned, breezing into the office on the Monday he was due back. He’d looked fine and behaved normally, and Peter hadn’t known what to make of it. He’d tried tentatively to find out, but Richard had no recollection of ever going home with Peter. In fact the laugh and incredulous look he’d given him at the suggestion implied it wasn’t something he would have ever considered. Peter had masked his upset and kept his distance for the rest of the day.

And that night he’d gone home feeling dejected, and even walked through the park, stopping in front of the tree that had taken Richard, daring, even willing it to take him too. But it hadn’t. It hadn’t even moved. Although he was sure he’d seen a shiver pass through the leaves, like a laugh as though it was mocking him. He couldn’t be sure.

But he was sure that the thing in the office calling itself Richard was an imposter. He’d seen it, a strange movement in the eyes and occasional stilted walk. It wasn’t right. And it was only a matter of time until they were all taken. 


  1. A little horror, sort of Gothic, for my post called Last Laugh.

    1. Great twist at the end. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for joining in.