Wednesday 7 November 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 80

This week's picture prompt was taken by a friend of mine, Michael Sands, when he was in Oxford. This building is called The Radcliffe's Camera and it's part of Oxford University. It houses the Science Library.

This one was a bit tricky with how to get the wording right and not repeat words. And yes, that is the ending. It's up to the reader to figure it out. 😉

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.

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


He hurried through the destroyed city unsure where he was going to find sanctuary before sundown, but eager to get across before nightfall. By the time he reached the university it was raining hard and getting difficult to see. Broad Street was still intact and he managed to reach the start of Catte Street without much trouble, but he could see the road ahead was blocked; they’d taken out Radcliffe Camera.

It was devastating to see the dome in pieces, laying half in and half out of the shattered library, the buildings around adding to the chaos of debris. He wondered how he was going to get through. It took some negotiation. He squeezed through some parts and climbed over others, until he came out at a clear patch in front of the building where nothing appeared to have fallen.

The coloured cobble stones of the square contrasting the grey stone detritus covering everything else. He found it strange; it had a defined perimeter, creating a circle a couple of metres across. And although the dust from the broken buildings hadn’t penetrated it, the rain had; a large puddle had formed across the space.

As Randolf paused, he noticed something else too, in the reflection, something he struggled to comprehend. To begin with he thought it was the angle and the trick of the light, but as he circled the water it didn’t change; the reflection showed Radcliffe Camera, but not as it was now, the broken carcass of a majestic building, it showed it as it had been: the dome intact, the pillars holding the roof, the ball on top of the spire. He rubbed his eyes a few times but it remained the same. Then he dipped a toe.

It wasn’t the lack of a ripple that disturbed him as his shoe touched the water; it was that when he pulled it out it wasn’t wet. There was no discolouration of the suede, no damp sensation, no drops back into the puddle.

Randolf squatted down and put his finger to the liquid. He watched his finger break the surface with no sensation and no reaction. Not cold, not wet, no motion. Nothing. He put his entire hand in. The same: nothing. When he pulled it out, he found it as dry as his shoe. He watched raindrops hit the liquid and just be absorbed without a sound or winkle.

He stood up and dipped his toe in again, shifting it deeper and deeper until his entire ankle was submerged. He brought his other foot round and shuffled it in too. He felt nothing. He moved towards the centre of the puddle and found himself waste deep, but no sloshing sound, no movement. Nothing.

He could still see the reflection. It hadn’t changed or moved. He was inside it now. And then he fell – or at least that was how it felt, his stomach being the only thing to register it. One minute the reflection was around his waist, the next it was up in the sky and he was standing on the cobble stones looking up at it. But it wasn’t a reflection, it was the building.

He turned slowly. All the buildings were intact. There was no rubble. The sky was blue. There was no rain. Then he heard a sound, voices. He watched two people with armfuls of books walk past him to the science library. They were chatting as though all was well. And it was.

Randolf ran back down the street. Everything was unscathed. He continued to run through the centre of town, observing all the people going about their day, walking, talking, eating. Shops were open and doing business. People were living their lives as though there was no threat of war. He saw a newspaper on top of a bin and snatched it up as he passed. The date was correct but nothing about the war. But how could it be?

He ran through town to the other side, into suburbia, into his street, up to his house, to his front door, which an hour ago was buried under rubble. He stood panting at the door, trying to catch his breath before he rang the doorbell. Could they still be here, still be alive?

He pressed the button. He heard the familiar chime. He saw a figure through the frosted glass coming to the door. It opened. He held his breath, and looked into his own face, and his own eyes. 


  1. I wrote this in a hurry tonight, so if you see any missing words or other errors please let me know. It's a bit of fantasy this week, 631 words worth (no pun intended). But you have to read Miranda's tale first!

    On the Flip Side

    1. I love what you have done here - continued my story, but yet reflected it too. It's brilliant! I love that ending. It's perfect!

  2. Well, since I've been making slow, painful progress on finishing up a story (#NaNoWriMo pushed me to finish), I figured I'd do something from that story's world.

    The Old People