Wednesday 17 April 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 103

This week's picture prompt is from German Photo artist Veronika Pinke.  She calls this one Magic.

This picture speaks of so much more than just a piece of flash. It has the feel of an epic fantasy story. Mine began like that, but then it turned into something else.

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It was the fourth night and he could no longer tell if he was getting any closer. He’d thought it’d been a myth that you had to keep your back to the trees or you’d never reach them; some kind of tale twisted up from ancient times that was really about something else. But by the end of the second day it was as though he had covered no ground, even though he’d trudged through the arctic landscape from day break to nightfall following the compass point.

So he’d pulled the mirror out of his bag – Hettie having insisted that he take it with him – and turned his back on the distant collection of trees, moving in an awkward reverse motion until finally, by the end of the third day, they’d appeared closer in the hand-held glass. And tonight when he’d stopped to make camp, they loomed large in the reflection. He was almost there.
It was crazy, and if that was true then what other things did he have to look forward to? Would they really whisper to him when he reached them, like living beings? Would he have to pack his ears with cotton to stop their voices sending him insane? Would they move with him if he didn’t keep a watchful eye on the path? And would they change direction to try and confuse him? He was beginning to wonder if this journey had been such a good idea now.

He considered skirting the copse, but rumour had it if you did that you’d never find the Cabin of Entry, the trees would deliberately obscure it. It was another myth he’d thought was made up, now he wasn’t so sure.

Others said that if you couldn’t get through the copse you weren’t ready for the Cabin of Entry. But he was ready, more than ready. It was his time and his turn.

When Callum had gone through they’d all praised him, but when he hadn’t made it back his name had died.

Now it was Tallis’ turn. His name would be the talk of the people for decades to come. He’d make it back.

Tallis paused in his thoughts. Had Callum even made it to the Cabin? No one knew. Maybe he had never made it to the copse. The wind out here was fierce and there was little to protect you. Anything could have happened.

Tallis’ excitement quelled as he thought of all the possibilities. He had never contemplated why Callum hadn’t returned before – many people didn’t, in fact he couldn't remember one that had, but it was part of the ritual, one hadn't pondered until now.

After he made his bed for the night, Tallis fell into a fitful sleep. When the sun rose behind the copse, he looked with bleary eyes into the mirror; the trees were almost close enough to touch. He’d reach them today.

Once packed he staggered on, keeping his face turned into the wind, the trees behind him. The wind seemed to push him backwards in the direction he was going, eager for him to reach them.

He watched the last few metres of his journey in the mirror, and as his heel reached the outer perimeter the light changed. There were no trees, there was no copse; there was only a reflection of his back, which he passed through into nothing.


  1. My attempt at this weeks challenge is called Harka's Quest see it here at Holly'swebsite thanks for letting me play.

    1. Thank you for joining, and with such a heart-warming story, I had a tear in my eye! Loved it.

    2. Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for creating the challenge and letting me play.

  2. Replies
    1. Nice little link up. And thought provoking tale. Thanks for joining.

  3. This time I do a sci-fi story called Empty Nester. It's on both Blogger and Patreon (free access).

    Blogger: Empty Nester

    Patreon: Empty Nester

    1. This is brilliant, I love this. You do suspense and tension well.