Wednesday 1 May 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 105

Today's picture prompt was created by Norwegian artist Erlend Monk. He has a few of these, and many images I find intriguing. I might just have to return to use more.

I wanted to capture what I felt when I saw this image. I think I managed it with this tale. Yes, it's dark, be warned.

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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.


I’d caught it!

As the picture developed in the liquid I could see the outline of an image. One of my hidden motion cameras had picked up something.

As it came into focus it looked like a person, but it was blurred, caught in the midst of what looked like running. It had to be moving pretty quick to be out of focus though; this particular camera was one of my fastest at 1/1600sec.

I took the image out of the fluid and used my photo magnifier to get a closer look. Yes, it was definitely human. What was it doing?

Since Susie had gone missing in the woods I’d been keeping watch, convinced she must have been taken. There were long standing rumours about something in the woods, and it was supported by the evidence of people disappearing. But until this point no one had actually done anything, which is why I’d set up the cameras.

There was no definition of features, so I started developing the next few photos in the reel. There were several more as it moved out of shot, and then it moving across the front of the camera again, this time closer. If I put them together I might have a sort of time-lapse film of their movements. That gave me an idea.

I took the reel of negatives over to a slide machine and fed them in. I’d been working with film so long it only took a matter of minutes. I prepped the room so the light from the machine wouldn’t disturb the rest developing and turned it to the wall, switching it on.

I used the remote clicker to move through the images, watching the blurred figure move one way and then the other across the screen. The image moved closer to the camera each time it crossed. The features were still out of focus but they became more apparent as the distance was shortened.

There was an outline of a face. It looked pale, which could have been the light in the wood, but the ears were strange: sharp tips poking out either side of a wide brimmed hat. Its nose seemed stunted somehow, just black nostrils like too holes above the mouth. But I couldn’t quite see the eyes, each time they seemed to blur across the side of the head.

I stepped closer to the screen, as though that would help, but just as it came so close I thought it might hit the camera, it vanished. 

 I clicked through; nothing, just the woods, no figure.

Then the images seemed to grow dark, which was odd seeing as they were created through mid to late morning. They faded at the edges, the darkness spreading across the lens.

I kept clicking forward. Black.

I clicked a few more times, running through possible scenarios in my head that would cause the camera to blackout. Then two dots appeared in one image and grew as I clicked on.

A sensation started at the back of my neck and ran down my spine, like someone had trickled water down my back. I could see the hairs on my arms raise in the light from the screen as each click exposed what I was seeing. It settled in my stomach as a mix of dread and excitement when I paused, knowing the next image would be the reveal.

I pressed the button down slowly and deliberately and there it was: a creature.

Its eyes were small orbs of white with tiny pin prinks of black in the centre. The face was grey, except the nostrils which were black oval holes. The ears, as I had suspected were long points on either side of the round head, but it was the lipless mouth that drew my eyes, with its row of sharp teeth.

My breath caught but my finger seemed to run on automatic continuing to depress the button.

The face pulled back slightly, the teeth spreading as it grinned. I could see bumps at the edge that indicated fingers. It had hold of the camera.

Then each image was a rushed blur, much like the movement of the creature earlier, until it refocused in some kind of underground room.

My stomach churned as debris on the floor came into view, my hand dropping from the clicker to my mouth as the final image gave a clear shot of the limbs and pieces of body.

I knew more than I wanted about what had happened to Susie.


  1. Thank you for another wonderful prompt Miranda. Here is my story Spirit in the Wood for you to enjoy.

  2. Love your story, Miranda, really good story for the image. I got a similar idea when I first saw it but adapted to be different to yours.

  3. Posted on behalf of David Milburn.
    Twitter: @DavisLunnThe3rd


    The day dawned when I decided I had no arguable reasons left to live any longer. I had never had the urge to step in front of a moving train or put a gun to my head, but on this particular day, I looked ahead and saw only grey skies and empty fields. I was past retirement age now and on my own so it wasn’t like anybody would miss me and I couldn’t think of anyone I would be twisting my fingers over leaving behind.

    Alright, so what to do. There was no rush so I set the question to the back waters of my mind to float around for a while. That’s worked before, in fact, some of my best ideas have wondered out of that wilderness. The days went by until one Monday morning, I was sitting on a park bench feeding the ducks and a name popped into my head. Miranda!

    Miranda was the best legend we had in our town. She had supposedly lived during the Napoleonic age and had been kidnapped from the town and murdered by French soldiers somewhere up in the mountains. Ghost stories flourished of course. There were plenty of forests for her to wander about in so the tales of frightened hikers were many and varied over the years.

    Part 1 of 2

  4. Posted on behalf of David Milburn.
    Twitter: @DavisLunnThe3rd
    Part 2 of 2

    The more I considered it, the more foolproof a way of dying it seemed. I had hiked those forests myself since I was a boy, had more than one favourite spot to put up a tent for a week or two during Summer holidays. There were crowded times yes, but also many days where you wouldn’t see another soul. An idea soon turned into a plan. I would head up there with enough supplies to last a month or so and if Miranda hadn’t shown her ethereal face by then, I would just sit back and wait for the end myself. Colder air was coming, to turn leaves yellow and me blue. As I said, foolproof.

    The first part of the plan was easy. I started quietly getting rid of the few possessions I had left in life. Clothes I wouldn’t need to the Salvation Army. Actually, everything to the Salvation Army, furniture included, one piece at a time. No one questioned me, it was commonplace for people to do this. Next, I took care of the paperwork. I had a simple will from years ago. I made sure it was in order. There was only my house really and I was happy to give it to the brother I hadn’t talked to since I was a teenager.

    Leaving day arrived. Pulling a small cart behind me I set off and left the town without looking back. There were three people, friends, I regretted not telling about my plan but I steeled myself and continued on towards the nearest mountain. There was a slight drizzle falling which matched my mood perfectly. I was properly dressed against the cold and wet though. I certainly wasn’t interested in dying too soon.

    My destination of choice was a forested area near a small tarn, far back from the nearest main trail. I found a nice spot to set up my tent, sat down on the folding chair I had thoughtfully included and began the wait for death. I soon saw the flaw in my plan. Dying of boredom wasn’t the goal at all. So I began exploring that day, the mountains and valleys, they all became my new home. My ‘month’ turned into five years. I sold my house. If the Winters were bad, I stayed with my friends. Those were the best five years of my life.

    I did get to meet Miranda. She had been watching me all that time and came for me on the day I died. I greeted her as an old buddy.

    “I’ve been waiting for you Jean, are you ready?”

    “Yes Miranda, thank you.”

    She held out her hand to me. I took it and we walked into the trees.

  5. I do another sci-fi/horror story called Dark Dreams. It may have even borrowed the germ of an idea from Miranda's book, Slipping Through. It's on both Blogger and Patreon (free access).

    Blogger: Dark Dreams

    Patreon: Dark Dreams

    1. A very vague germ. Love this. Dark sci fi. Can't beat it. Thanks for joining.

    2. Thanks for letting me join in! Glad you liked it!