Wednesday 3 October 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 75

This week's picture prompt is by Patricia Brennan, an artist from the UK. She some wonderful fairytale like, literary-esk creations. Quite dreamy. She calls this one 'At the Stroke of Midnight'. You can view it over on her page at Deviant Art.

This little piece is influenced by the book I am currently reading - Wizard & Glass by Stephen King. So many dystopian stories talk of women being used to produce babies. I wondered what it would be like if it was the other way round.

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

There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

Lissa's selection

She smoothed down the front of her dress. She’d never felt anything quite like it, the rough smooth sensation of the material they called ‘Silk’. She looked at herself in the reflective glass and didn’t recognise herself. Not that she’d seen herself often in such a thing, there weren’t many left in the small village she came from, but she had never been in a dress before - no one besides her mother had been.

Larissa had been a little stunned when her DNA had been selected. By rote everyone’s was taken when they turned sixteen, it was no big deal; just something they did like when they came and counted up the live stock and produce for distribution. She’d never heard of anyone locally qualifying since her mother. It had sent the place into quite a flutter. All the women had come and paid her tribute, all a gaggle over who’d she select for the new lines.

Her mother had taken her aside and given her some advice.

“Now, Lissa, the choices have been selected from the top one hundred. Those boys have the best seed this side of the ocean. They’ve also been trained in how best to serve you when the time comes. But remember, you want to pick at least three to start with.”

“Only three, Mama? They said I could pick up to ten?”

“Sweetie, remember you can only handle one at a time – well maybe two if you fancy it, but they can get pretty carried away – if you’re lucky!” Her mother nudged her with her elbow and giggled, and Lissa grinned. “Take your time, there’s no rush. You can only produce one child at a time, and three different seed will be enough in the short term.”

“Will it be hard having the babies, Mama? Rachel said it can do all sorts of terrible things to your body.”

“No, sweetie, that was back before the world changed, when it was the men who controlled everything. Times are different now woman are in charge. Everything will be taken care of properly. You’ll see. There’ll be daily massages, a special chef assigned to you who will cook the most wonderful nutritious stuff taking into account all the things you like. There’ll be nurses and midwives on call. A whole itinerary of things to keep you and the baby in your tummy occupied. It’s going to be so exciting.”

“Did you enjoy it Mama?”

“I had the best time, Lissa, the best.”Her mother put her hand to her face. “I’m so happy my first born is going to get the same opportunity, and it gives your sister’s hope too. I’m glad I picked so well.”

“I hope I pick well.”

“You will, hunny, you will.”

Larrissa took a deep breath and walked to the door of the ante-chamber, ready to enter the great hall where the boys were waiting and where she would greet them one by one. She hoped to find more than three to her liking, despite what her mother said. She planned to select at least ten today, and then try them all out, using protection initially of course. The next few weeks were going to be so exciting. 


  1. Part 1/2

    I considered drugs. Hallucinogenic mushrooms. A possible concussion. I even contemplated the afterlife. My relationship with God was sketchy on a good day, but Heaven still seemed more probable than me in a dress.

    A really beautiful dress.

    Like something I maybe once dreamed about when I was five and believed in things like princes and happily ever afters.

    Long before Marley murdered our parents. Longer still before I lost Isaac to the depths of space. Would he come home one day and wonder what happened to me? How long before Rand called to check on me, only to realize he’d lost yet another family member to unexplainable circumstances?

    My useless cell phone sat on the ornate dressing table, mocking me. I’d typed in one last text message before the battery died.

    I’m sorry, Rand. I didn’t disappear on purpose, but I’m okay. Or close enough for government work. Love you, bro.

    I’d even hit send.

    “Just in case,” I muttered. Maybe I’d get lucky and wander near a stray cellular signal leaking between dimensions or something.

    If I wasn’t actually high, hallucinating, comatose, or dead.

    “Are you ready, my lady?”

    I squeezed my eyes shut at the ridiculous title. I turned—carefully, because this damn dress contained miles of fabric determined to trip me up—and scowled at the dryad sent to fetch me for the party.

    Through gritted teeth, I said, “Sergeant.”

    She nodded, a mischievous grin on her otherworldly face.

    “Of course, my lady sergeant.”

    “No, no—Not—” Oh. My. God. “Cheeky brat.”

    The girl erupted in giggles.

    “I’m not going to survive this.”

    Adrius emerged from a shadowy corner of the room, his mellow chuckle heating my cheeks. I was pretty damn sure there’d been a lovely potted tree in that corner. Apparently I had to regard all shrubbery as a potential druid in disguise.

    “Fuck all.” I stomped my foot, hoping against hope I didn’t look like a princess having a tantrum. “Have you been here the entire time?”

  2. Part 2/2

    Adrius dismissed the young dryad and closed the distance between us. “I worried you might decide to leave us.”

    “Wonderful. So you’re a prison guard and a botanical peeping tom.”

    “You don’t seem to look favorably on either of those.” He touched the puffy, shoulder-baring sleeve of my gown. “In my defense, I won’t stop you from leaving. Though I will follow you and hope to convince you to stay. And I promise I didn’t peek. That would not be gentlemanly.”

    I huffed.

    “And where are you from that men are gentlemen?”

    “Not all are,” he said. “But I am. Does that count for anything, my lady sergeant?”

    “Yes, damn it.” But— “Lady sergeant. That’s going to be a thing, isn’t it?”

    “Possibly. I rather like strength of it. Our queen is a warrior.” Adrius slipped his fingers around mine, lifted my hand to his lips. He brushed a smiling kiss across my knuckles. “Have I mentioned how fiercely beautiful you are, Circe?”

    “I’m not a queen, Adrius. I’m a soldier.”

    “Why must it be one or the other?” he asked. “You were born a queen.”

    “That’s a terrible basis for governance.” Sweat prickled between my shoulder blades. “What does a baby know about ruling over anything?”

    “Nothing guarantees you’ll be a good ruler.” He grinned. “But the Summer Queen brings summer, Circe, and that power is yours alone.”

    “Don’t you know what power does to people? How it can change them?” Dread settled heavy like a lead ball in my stomach. “What kind of cosmic joke is it to dump this on a baby and then toss her into another dimension?”

    “It promises the power has been given to someone who never sought it. And you know the life you were forced into—it kept you alive. Safe.”

    “I don’t want to be queen.”

    “I know,” he said softly. “Strangely, your discomfort endears you to us more.”


    “Those comfortable with it seem to find it too easy to abuse. The power and the people.”

    He touched the jagged scar on my left shoulder. The dress left too much skin visible that I’d as soon cover.

    “We know what life is without you. And we’re learning quickly how different life might be with you. You’re bringing more than summer back to us, Circe.” His hand trailed from my shoulder, along my throat. “You’re meant for us, and us for you. Stay and see for yourself.”

    741 WIP words

    1. Wow, what a lot of story packed into so few words. This your WIP? I need to read ALL of this! Thanks for joining!

    2. It's an older WIP, but one the image inspired me to dust off. Thank you for reading and so happy you enjoyed it!

  3. As I told Lisa Shambrook. No one's going to see this one coming. It just kinda popped into my head when I saw the picture. Hope I don't cause any trouble with this one...

    What Mom Wanted

  4. Exciting times indeed, Miranda.
    Loved the prompt.
    Here's my story-
    The Anniversary Present - Anita

  5. You can always rely on me to go the obvious route - Aschenputtel

    1. But it's not obvious. Great twist. Loved it.

  6. Replies
    1. I love these connecting tales. Thanks for joining.

    2. Thank you, it was an idea I had floating about for a while. That pic, just helped to connect them together.