Thursday 25 April 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 104

This week's picture prompt was originally created by Zummerfish on Deviant Art, but they no longer appear to be active. They called this: "See No Evil"

Normally I find steampunk quite a struggle, but this story got away from me and, despite editing it down, it is still way over. And I could continue it too. Another one that one day I might carry on with.

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Brain Waves

Finally.  It had come.

He mused over it as he ate his breakfast. The delicately fashioned card with its fine bevelled edging, it was all the rage. But it was the small piece of artwork that captivated him: A woman’s face blindfolded by a new-age metal gadget, with a galaxy trapped in a sphere in the palm of her hand.

He’d been keeping his eye on this particular group, keeping up with their advancements in the technology of the future. Extracting information from the brain had become more technical than mere hypnosis; they were using some kind of headgear, encompassing the newly discovered steam energy. He was fascinated and repulsed at the same time.

The idea that you could extract information about the future from someone’s mind was outrageous, and yet here was their card: their invitation for him to come and meet with them. How did they know about his interest? The mind boggled – or steamed if they were to have their way.

He sniggered at his own joke, sipping his tea. What would they make of him? A man of hard science not fanciful ideas. But it niggled him: How had they known? He’d told no one.

When he arrived at the address on the card, it was nothing but a metal door in a side alley. Red brick and smog surrounded it, but the insignia of cogs engraved on it made it the right place.

He rapped on the door with his walking stick. A tiny click was heard and the door swung inward. There was no one to greet him. He stepped into a bright cavernous room, like a warehouse but with a wrought iron staircase leading up to a balcony that ran round the inside of it.

“Do come up!”

He looked up to see a woman leaning over the balcony above him. He climbed the stairs and walked towards her.

As he approached she put out her hand, “Doctor Peter Radcliffe, how nice of you to join us.”

He took the proffered hand. “And you are?” 

“Doctor Angela Makin, pleased to meet you.”

She swept out her arm, indicating for him to step into a room behind her. He did so cautiously.

It was a laboratory of some kind, with high ceilings and long wooden benches which ran in rows. They were covered in a variety of small gadgets, and jars were scattered among them, glowing with some kind of bright liquid. At the end were several reclining chairs.

“Feel free to browse while we wait for my colleague.”

“And who might that be?”

“Doctor Barnett.”

Of the group, he hadn’t expected the women to greet him.

“Not  Doctor Johanson or Doctor Privet?”

“Oh no, they don’t deal with clients, they only work on the products.”

He raised an eyebrow. This group really was different.

Doctor Makin walked with him along the tables, pointing out various objects until they reached the chairs.

“You’re welcome to take a seat; Doctor Barnett shouldn’t be much longer. I can show you how we link people up if you like.”

“That would be interesting.”

He lay back in the chair and Angela wheeled over a tray with helmets on it, similar to the ones in the artwork.

“Tell me, how is it you knew I was interested in your little group?”

She smiled. “Oh we know about all sorts of things, it’s not that difficult once you tap into it.”

“Tap into what?”

“The energy waves.” She placed the helmet over his head. It was musty inside and dark.

“What are energy waves?”

“Just a moment and you will see for yourself.”

He heard a door open.

“Ah, I see he’s already here and ready to go,” said a lady’s voice he presumed was Doctor Barnett.

“Yes, he’s been very pliant.”

That word made Peter suddenly feel very vulnerable. What were they planning?

“Are you ready to switch on?”


“This should be interesting; very keen to capture this one.”

“Here I–” But his words were cut off as a bright light appeared inside the helmet on the eyeshield. It pulsed and swirled and he felt drawn into it. Then he was gone, he was flying free. 

 He could see everything and everyone but nothing was real; it was like watching a puppet show. The truth was the light surrounding them, which emitted information about who they were, what they liked, their past and their probable future. It was all there to be absorbed. He thought of someone and saw them, knowing instantly all about them. He went from one to another, taking in more and more.

Then, as though on a leash, he was pulled back and sucked back into the helmet, everything he’d learnt gone.

He blinked as the helmet raised, two women were standing there, one with a jar of glowing liquid in one hand.

“Thank you,” she said. “You’re free to go now.”

He couldn’t quite think why he was there, although there was a familiarity about the place. He got up and took up his hat and cane.

“Do pardon me ladies, I must be going.”

“That’s quite alright, Doctor Radcliffe. It was nice meeting you,” said the empty handed lady.

He gave her a half smile as he passed, keen to leave. She knew his name so he must know hers but he couldn’t bring it forward. He felt completely out of sorts, he needed to get home.

By the time he reached it, he was no longer sure where he’d been. He decided he must be overtired and chose to retire to his bed early. 


  1. Thats very good Miranda, its begging to be a larger story isn't it?

  2. Here is my story Steam-Witch for this prompt. Hope you like it.

  3. Hi, great picture prompt. Here is my story called The Seer

    1. Great tale, leaving us to ask questions. Thanks for joining.

  4. I wrote this like fifteen times. Probably could have benefited from being rewritten fifteen more. But at some point I think one just needs to stop and move on. XD

    System Failure

    1. A high tech sci-fi tale. Great stuff. Thanks for joining.