Wednesday 24 January 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 39

This week's photo prompt was taken by Piroshki-Photography, a Serbian photographer. You can find more of their photos on their page at Deviant Art. They call this one 'Curved Reality'. It was taken in Santa Margherita Ligure, in Genoa, Italy.

I could see the opening of this tale immediately, but the story took longer to appear, although not in depth. It was tricky only hinting at it without really knowing what it was about but pretending I did! 

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The Establishment

Dorian staggered into the square, holding onto the wall of the alleyway he was coming through. He sensed people looking at him, but all he could see were the buildings in the plaza swaying and wobbling. Was this actually happening? He couldn’t be sure but he was mesmerized by them.

The architecture took on new meaning as it reshaped before his eyes. He had a growing desire to go up and touch them. He moved forward, the ground rolled under his feet.  He staggered again, this time falling to his knees. He looked around him. The people he thought were there weren’t; the cafe terraces were empty, not a sole in the streets.

The buildings were still moving. Dorian crawled to the edge of one to put his hand against it. He could feel it vibrate through his palm. He rubbed the brickwork. It felt real.

Then he heard a voice.

“Mr. Bradshaw, tell us how you got here?”

Dorian looked around him again; there was still no one in the plaza. Who was speaking?

“Who are you? Where are you? Show yourself!” He didn’t like the swaying anymore; it was making him feel sick.

“You know who we are, Mr. Bradshaw, and you know why we are not showing ourselves.”

Dorian felt something nag at the back of his mind, something before he stumbled into the plaza. Where was he before he was here? He fought to gain a hold on his memory. How did he get here? He remembered the alleyway between two buildings. What two buildings? He remembered a plane journey; he remembered a city, sweet scent of trees baked in the sun. He was in Italy! Yes, Genoa. But why? He was tracking something, or was it someone? Why couldn’t he remember?

“If you know me, you know why I am here. Stop messing with my head and talk to me!” Dorian could barely raise his head now. He understood that what was happening was not real; it was a magnetic field that worked on his mind; an illusion to disorientate him, to put him off the scent. “I’m not leaving until you do, and remember I am being tracked.”

Those last words brought everything back into sharp focus: He knew why he was here and what his plan had been. Their tricks couldn’t work anymore.

The plaza faded. The blank wall it had been projected onto took its place. The wall was grey concrete. It had been real. He had managed to get inside.

Dorian heard footsteps and slumped back into a sitting position on the floor, resting his back against the wall. The men that appeared didn’t look happy.

“How did you get in here? How did you find us?”

Dorian smiled. “You should be concerning yourself with what my arrival means, and how long you have got.”

The two men glanced at each other clearly unnerved by Dorian’s words. Then another set of footsteps could be heard, these ones slower and heavier, as though trying to be threatening.

Dorian wasn’t surprised to see the man that made them. He had suspected all along that Johnson Hayward had been the head of this particular establishment. In fact he was pleased to have it finally confirmed. The smile he gave wasn’t welcomed.

“You think you have achieved something by gaining access to this location, but you seem to forget how we operate.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me, Mr Hayward?”

He gave Dorian a smirk. “You would like that, wouldn’t you? But not this time, this time we are one step ahead.”

Johnson Hayward clapped his hands and the lights went out, literally and metaphorically as a hard hit to the head rendered Dorian unconscious.

When he came to he was lying in the middle of a plaza – the same plaza that had been wobbling in front of him earlier. This time it was real and full of life, the sounds of people and cars and movement all around him. Someone came over and spoke to him in Italian, offering a hand. He took it and stood up, taking a few seconds to steady himself before thanking them and walking away.

He searched for the alleyway but he couldn’t find it. Eventually he gave up and returned to his hotel. Damn, he’d lost them, though this was the closest he had come in five years. It wasn’t over yet.


  1. Replies
    1. None of us want to have a night like this - although I wasn't sure what sort of night until the end. Great piece. Thanks for taking part.

  2. Here's my entry: Accounting Problem

    It's a short sci-fi piece.

    Interesting stories from both you and Lisa.

    1. I liked your piece very much - crazy concept but very good, and the last lines about humanity especially. LOL Thanks for joining in.

  3. Replies
    1. It's brilliant! I love it, I can relate to it even. So good. Thanks for joining.