Wednesday 13 March 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 98

This week's photo is a photo used by many news papers, but was originally taken by photo journalist Elise Amendola of the Associate Press. The story in an article about time zone changes in Seattle, and says this about the photo: "Electric Time Co. employee Walter Rodriguez cleans the face of an 84-inch Wegman clock at the plant in Medfield, Mass. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008."

I've tried to think outside the box with this photo. It's ended up in some extreme science fiction. I do like to write this stuff, although it can be tricky working 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.

Holding Pattern

Malik smiled as he passed Henry polishing the clocks on the landing. It was his favourite time (ha, ha, time!) of year when they were brought in for their yearly service. It was also a tense time, with having to keep the world in stasis for the duration. 

Thinking of which, Rafe had requested a meeting with him. He went into his office, the curved wood panelling and bookcases greeting him. He sat down in the leather high back chair at his desk facing the door, picking up a report to read.

When Rafe arrived he came in quietly and sat down opposite Malik in a smaller leather chair. A skinny, mouse of a man, who fitted his Time Analyst job title perfectly, Rafe sat poised waiting for Malik to finish reading. Malik lifted his head and greeted Rafe with a grin. 

“Perfectly punctual as always.”

“Of course.”

“Any hiccups?”

“Nothing major, just some strange occurrences that need resolving.”

Malik arched an eyebrow and took the proffered graph. Their love of detail made it the perfect partnership; Rafe knew exactly what Malik would consider important.

The flat line on the graph depicted the timeline of the stasis holding period, the duration against movement fluctuation, and every hour there was a second jump, like a blip on a screen.

“And we’ve not seen this before?”


“And nothing has changed in the analysis?”


“Mmm, odd.” Malik frowned, peering closer at the chart. “Any theories?” 

Malik knew Rafe would have some idea about what was behind it.

“I think it has something to do with the current climatic and political state going on, in that particular world, it’s influencing how time there is running. It’s like an overload.”

“What they are doing is having an impact on how time runs? But yet time is something fabricated and installed, no?”

“Yes, but the energy vibration they are creating – in particular negative energy, is causing it to fluctuate and expand.”

“But they are in stasis, nothing can fluctuate. Are you saying that this negative energy is able to penetrate a stasis field?”

“Potentially. I can’t imagine what else it can be. It’s like they are consuming more than they should, like it is starting to leech into other metaphysical bodies. It’s like they are bulging at the seams with this negative energy.”

“And what do you foresee will happen?”

“Well if you look closely it is escalating at a fraction of a millisecond, so it appears every hour, but each time it’s getting shorter.”

“Like a ticking bomb counting down?” 

“That’s a good analogy.”

“So could they breakthrough the stasis field and start running on their own without our guidance?”
“It’s a possibility, or ...”

“Or?” Malik leaned forward, looking intently at Rafe.

“Or they could implode.”


“And suck surrounding dimensions in, too.”

“Like a black hole?”

“A very good likeness.”

“Is there anything we can do to stop this?”

“Well I’m fairly certain it won’t come to that during this stasis, but next year will be a risk. Another year running at their current rate could drive it faster. I was wondering if we could install a slower runtime?”

“What, increase the length of a second?”

“That’s right, but they won’t notice. It will give more space to absorb this excess energy.”

“And you are certain it will work?”

“Yes, I’ve calculated to a 99.958 success rate.”

“Should we worry about the negative percent?”

“No, that’s the probability of their behaviour improving over the next year, but the forecasts on that are in the minus.”

Malik knew Rafe’s calculation could be trust it. 

“Okay, so we need to recalibrate before we restart.”

“Yes. Is there enough time?”

Malik flashed a smile at Rafe. “We create it, so of course.”

Rafe gave a high pitched squeak that passed for a laugh. “Of course.”

“I’ll get it in motion.”

Rafe stood, turning to go.

“But Rafe, keep an eye on this world would you, even during runtime? I want to understand this anomaly better. It could be useful.”

“Certainly. I was going to do that anyway.”

“Of course you were; it’s why you’re my right hand man.”

He gave Rafe a broad smile and a wink. Rafe returned it with a slight upturn of the lips - his version of a smile, and left Malik to organise the recalibration. 

Malik started preparing the paperwork. It had been a while since they’d done one of these. This little world was going to prove to be more interesting than he’d thought when they’d taken it on.


  1. As always, I thoroughly enjoy your weekly challenge! Time

  2. Replies
    1. Nice inclusion in that succinct little tale. Thanks for joining.

  3. I've combined this prompt with week 100 and created more of a mid week short than a mid week flash (Sorry!)