Wednesday 28 February 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 44

This weeks photo was taken by Mark Pillsbury, of the famous Serendipity Inn in Rodanthe, North Carolina. It was used in the film Nights at Rodanthe, with Richard Gere & Diane Lane. And you can learn more about how it ended up abandoned here.  This photo was taken back in 2008 but in 2009/2010 it was rescued and moved and can now be rented out!

I ummed and arhhed over an original idea for this story, and then a voice arrived and a point of view, and I let him tell his tale.

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.

Fake News

I was having none of it. They were talking rubbish. The sea wasn’t about to rise and take over the land, what nonsense! It was a ploy to get my house. They all wanted it; it was in a fabulous location, right along the sea front, fantastic views. And land round here was at a premium.

I wasn’t stupid; I’d snatched this up the second it came on the market. I’d had the money back then, made it big in some start up companies that had rocked the world. They’ve fallen since, as many have in that industry, but I managed to sell up and get out while the going was good.  But this place has always been desirable, even been used in a movie. It has a real charm about it: traditional wooden beach house, several floors. They don’t make them like this anymore.

Anyway, people started saying that being by the sea wasn’t a good thing. Claimed something called climate change, that it was all going to get cold soon or something. I mean, people really believed it too: houses along the strip started going up for sale. Me? I wasn’t that foolish. Colder my arse, it was getting hotter, summers better than we’d ever known them. Sweltering. Even more reason to have a beach house. You always have a breeze, no matter what. And the balcony was perfect, shade all afternoon. I’d sit out there for hours.

I listened to the radio, heard the debate. Couldn’t decide whose opinion was real and whose wasn’t. People always want to go round saying the sky is falling in, that knee jerk fear reaction, I’ve seen it all over. Mostly it was to back a profit – keep the people in fear, keeps them buying, but with climate change I wasn’t sure of the motive, the whole thing sounded hokey. No one seemed to be able to prove diddly squat either side, seemed like a lot of speculation on both sides. I’m not one to back a pessimist – oh no. I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s what I said. And that’s what I did – I saw it.

It was subtle, tide lines got higher. Then there was talk of it being caused by a change at a beach further along, where they’d built some breakers. I was confident it would settle. It was only a couple of feet. But then the hurricane hit. It was a mother of a storm. I really did wonder if the house might get washed away that night, but she didn’t; she remained solid as ever.

But then another came, and another, and I began to read about how many of them politicians saying there was no such thing as climate change were backed by those profiting from it – Big Oil in particular. It was getting hard to tell which way was up, unless you looked out at the water, and I could see it with my own eyes.

And by that time I knew I wouldn’t find a buyer. I thought I was done for. And then Burton, my old friend from the billiard club, came up with an idea: “You got to winch her up, Jared, you’ve got to tie her up tight so that if she does work loose, she can’t slip out to sea.”

I thought he was crazy. What the hell would I winch it to? But he had a plan in mind, a stone building owned by a mutual friend across the highway, and it worked out pretty good. It felt safer at least, until the night her moorings came away.

It was a doozey of a squall, whipped up all of a sudden as they sometimes do, and I heard them break, lying in my bed, felt like the house was going to start flapping in the wind like a loose board, flick-flack back and forth. Thank heavens for Burton’s winch.

The next day we wasted no time in reeling her in. It took most of the day, but we pulled her right up, almost to the highway. But she couldn’t stay there. No planning permission. So then I had to find somewhere to resettle her. Never seen anything funnier than a house being transported on a flatbed; we had to close a few roads to get her through, but now she is safe and dry up on the hill, sporting seaviews. The only way you’re getting me out of here now is in a coffin. 

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 43

This weeks photo prompt is of the Kosmaj Monument  in Serbia, photo taken by John DePalatis.

John says on his blog: "The monument itself, designed by Vojin Stojić and unveiled in 1971, consists of five free-standing concrete wings surrounding a central dias. When lit, the monument can be seen from Belgrade on a clear night."

I tried to veer away from conventional sci-fi, and hadn't been sure of the ending until it arrived. No happy ending here. 

The monument celebrates a group of partisan fighters in World War II who battled against the German occupation in the south of Belgrade. During the fighting the battalions lost over 5,000 soldiers but their “guns of freedom kept shooting. The misty day in which he took it certainly makes it look interesting.

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 they arrived everybody had panicked; it was like the movie Independence Day – well the first part, because there was no matching spacecraft found in the 50s that would overthrow them, there was only annihilation or assimilation. Riley had been one of the few to escape the first wave. She’d been prepared, although for a completely different apocalypse: climate change, not alien invasion.

She’d bought some land and built a sustainable, self-sufficient home out in the middle of a remote forest. It had all come at a bargain price too, because no one had been interested in living off grid in the middle of Europe. Everyone had wanted to stay connected and online, and be where the money was. But that connectivity had come at a high price, especially as it was disputed that it had been the internet that had been attracted the aliens to Earth in the first place – that and the car.

Some guy had thought it would be cool to send a car into outer space, apparently to prove they could send up such a weight, although there was conjecture it had been a marketing stunt. The aliens had liked the car, especially the dummy sitting in it, which represented the life form on our planet. Humans had the right shape and dexterity the aliens needed for cleaning out some kind of cells inside their purpose built planets. At least that’s what Riley understood on the cloaked radio transmissions she listened to in her little cabin. Thank goodness she’d installed a satellite dish. She could also listen in on alien transmissions, but they made no sense to her; their strange, garbled language was hard to listen to, sounding like someone eating with their mouth open.

Riley had hoped to remain hidden and ride out the invasion – that was until one of their craft arrived in the forest. Up until that point they hadn’t come near the forest. There was some kind of energy here that stopped them. They weren’t biologically set up like humans: they were tall, cumbersome giants with metal based skin. They were affected by magnetic forces, which Earth’s government tried to exploit, but the scientists hadn’t been fast enough in understanding or developing anything before the bulk of the population had been defeated. Riley knew they were on the brink of extermination, but had hoped she might be a last bastion – until she had stumbled upon the craft.

She was familiar with their strange spiky appearance, having seen the images on TV before all transmissions had been taken over. They looked like some kind of spiny sea urchin. The evening mist cloaked it, giving it an eerie edge as she skirted the trees around it. The forest had gone silent at its arrival which explained why the animal she had been tracking had gone to ground. She hid behind a tall spruce watching keenly, wondering what they had come for.

She heard a metal on concrete sound and saw a gap open in one of the legs. She waited for the giants to appear but instead there was a rustling and a dog-like creature came out. It made a strange rasping sound, which was hard on the ears. Its head turned in her direction and she froze. Was this a new tracking device? Was she about to be hunted?

Riley didn’t wait to find out. She moved swiftly backwards from the tree, crouching into the underbrush, keeping her eyes fixed on it. It didn’t move. The further back she went the less sure she was that it was looking at her, but as she turned to run it let out that rasping noise again followed by the sound of it running down the spike to the ground.

Riley fled, plunging herself full speed into forest, weaving a zigzag back and forth, her mind flying through the possibilities of escape, climbing might help, but would she reach the only climbable tree she could think of, before she was caught? It was gaining on her; she could hear its paws hitting the ground, just above her gasping breaths.

The sensation of panic was the last thing she felt as it grabbed her ankle and tossed her high overhead, slamming her into a tree. And the last thing she heard was the garble of alien voices as they came to collect their prize, dragging her numb body onto their craft. Her last thought was that the annihilation of the human race would soon be complete.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 42

This weeks photo has proved untraceable: It is all over the internet, and trying to source the creator is impossible, which is such a shame as it's a great image - and a perfect image for Valentine's Day/Week!

I wanted to steer away from the standard Valentine story, which is what happened, but it turned out shorter and briefer than I expected, but I do like it.  What does this picture show you?

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.

Take Heart

No one wants me. I am here to give everything, open and waiting, but nothing.

I’ve been broken and discarded time after time; I’ve been ignored and dismissed as not being of any value, of having nothing valuable to offer. But yet I am the one that keeps it all together, even though I’m told I can’t be trusted.

So I have built a wall around me to protect me, but although it keeps out the pain, it has stopped the light from getting in. Now I am growing heavier and heavier, and sadder and sadder, there will be a point soon where I can no longer move.

But when I reached that point a realisation born is, and it is as though I have been plucked out of a wayward river that was washing me away. I am being held again and cherished. Bit by bit my wall is being chipped away and the light is returning, bringing with it such warmth as I have never felt before. And when there were doubts I am now consulted and my feelings valued. I have become happier than I could have ever imagine and able to express and revel in it. 

Wednesday 7 February 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 41

This picture was created by Ana Prazeres or Aegils, a Portugese artist. You can find her work on Deviant Art and also on 500px. She has some incredible creations. She calls this one 'The Craft' - which offers a story in itself.

I looked at this picture and saw chaos. And for me the biggest type of chaos is that of the mind. So that is what I focused on. This one poured out easily, but I need to provide a TRIGGER WARNING for suicide/suicidal thinking.

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.

Chaos & Paranoia

You know she doesn’t like you; that’s why she moved away.
Not it wasn’t, it was to talk to the new girl at the other table.
Sure that’s what you’d like to think, isn’t it? They think you talk too much.
They’ve never really liked me.
No they haven’t.
Did you see that look she gave her friend, that roll of the eyes?
I know, they don’t like anything you say. They don’t like you.
They’re a clique.
Yes, and you are sitting on the outside of it.
I don’t want to be in it.
Yes you do, otherwise you wouldn’t feel so sick.
It doesn’t matter though because I won’t be here long.
Ha, that’s what you told yourself ten years ago.
I’m not going to be here for the rest of my life, no way.
Sure, and what are you doing about that? A big fat nothing.
There’s nothing I can do about it. I haven’t got the money.
You could find it if you wanted to.
It’s not that easy.
You don’t really want to do anything about it; it’s too much effort.
It’s all too much effort. I don’t want to see any of these people anymore.
Then who are you going to see?
No one.
You wouldn’t survive being a recluse; it would kill you to be alone every single day.
I’d be better off dead.
Yes, you would, and no one would miss you.
They all pretend they’re friends, but they aren’t really. It’s just fake. They were all relieved when I left.
What do you think they’d say if they found out you’d topped yourself?
Would it matter? I would be dead and wouldn’t be here anymore.
Do you think they would feel guilty? Or would they think you were selfish?
They already think I’m selfish.
Did you hear her make that dig about how people are bad listeners; it was directed at you.
I don’t want to be here anymore.
How are you going to get out?
Where am I going to get the money from to get out?
You don’t have any skills. You don’t bring any value to anyone.
And where would I go to?
It’ll be the same everywhere you go.
There is only one way out.

Larissa’s mind whorled as she left the drinks night, her mind buzzing with the chaotic noise of her inner voices, their conversation rushing through her head as though she’d pressed fast forward. By the time she’d reached her car, they were debating whether or not to go home.

They’ll be asleep.
They won’t know you’ve gone.
They wouldn’t notice until the morning.
It would be over by then.
They’d be too late.
It would be simple, so simple.
And painless, don’t forget that.
It might take them a couple of days to find out.
The police would eventually find the car parked up.
Maybe dust and sand on it after the days it’d been sitting there with parking tickets piling up.
The phone call to say they’d found it.
The police at the door.
It wouldn’t be fair, it just wouldn’t.
Their little faces.
They’d blame themselves.
It would affect the rest of their lives.
They need you.

Larissa held back tears as she turned the key in the lock, sparking the car into life. She had to stop this; she had to get the voices under control. She had to stop them escalating. She sighed. It took all her strength to keep her head above water, to keep holding on. She wanted to stay social, but it killed her. She didn’t trust any of them.

She wished a door would open; she wished she could step through into a bright new world where she could escape from the chaos of her mind and the emptiness of her life; where no one knew her or pre-judged her, where she was valued and needed and appreciated. Was it really so much to ask?

By the time she reached home she’d brought the noise down to a background babble. The house was dark, just the small lights left on for her to see by. She checked on the kids, smiling at their tiny snores, and climbed in next to the big snorer– her husband.

She knew she had to find a way out, but it had to be a way that worked for everyone, not just her. Larissa lulled herself to sleep with visions of what that might be.