Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 108

This week's picture prompt was created by Russian Illustrator Anton Semenov - He calls this Auschwitz, in his 'City of Decay'  collection. He has some incredible work - very dark though, but I might have to revisit! Anton's personal website contains more creations.  

This week, not a story I wish to expand on! LOL But it's a while since I've had a nice dark tale. 

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.


I was sitting at my desk when I first noticed the sound. I wasn’t sure if it was a new sound, or whether it was something I had only just registered. But to register it now meant it had to have changed, right?

I tried to identify the location it was coming from. It was a pretty large loft, but with my desk under the skylight I tended to ignore the dark corners. They were full of dust and storage boxes only the cats ever bothered investigating, although coming to think of it, I hadn’t seen Minxy go that way for a while.

Was it getting louder? I couldn’t be sure. It could just be me tuning into it. It was more than a buzzing, it was a strange humming – not electrical; like a collective of people chanting in the distance, but a long way off.

I opened the skylight. Nope, definitely not coming from outside. When I shut it, it definitely seemed louder. Then a scratching sound joined it.

It had to be the cat. I got up to walk towards the corner it was coming from, but as I turned to face it, I heard the cat flap. I paused looking towards the stairs. Was it Minxy? A pitiful miaow could be heard. Yep, it was Minxy. My head flicked back to the strange clawing sound. I felt the hair lift on my arms, and my stomach clenched. I had to do this; I had to find out what it was.

My rational mind tried to de-escalate the rising panic: it’s just an old kids toy, maybe a battery left in there, giving off one last dying cry, or vibration.

But the irrational wasn’t working with it: you always take batteries out of everything before putting it away, you know that.

I took a few steps closer.

Maybe a bird’s caught.

Maybe it’s a giant rat that’s going to eat you.

I picked up an old hockey stick poking out of one of the boxes as I inched closer.

I’ll hit it with this.

What if there’s a horde of them?

I was almost there.

What’s the collective noun for rats?

I don’t know! You and your damn writer brain!

I raised the hockey stick above my head as I reached the box. The scratching was distinct now; something was definitely trying to burrow out.

‘ Mischief! It’s a Mischief of Rats!’ I shouted out loud as I kicked the box.

The lid flapped open and the sound stopped, the sight that greeted me making everything stop.

Faces: all their tiny little faces staring up at mine with their red-ringed, hollow eyes. I dropped the stick and opened my mouth to scream but it remained in an O, no breath moving in and out until the sound resumed: the humming. But I could see it wasn’t really humming, they were saying something, over and over, a mantra of some sort. Then their little hands came up and I saw them grip the open edge of the box. They were going to come out.

My paralysis broke and I turned to run, but I slipped on the hockey stick and fell hard on my back. I tried to scrabble backwards but it was too late, they were out, and flew at me, smothering me before I could move any further. Their voices rang in my head as I felt them trample and tear at my body, and then I was flying, out of my mind out of my body, watching myself be devoured as I floated up to the roof and through. Their words making sense now: ‘sustenance, sustenance, sustenance ...’   


  1. Love your take on that creep old picture, Miranda. Reminds me of the Indian in Cupboard but in a much more frightening way.

    1. I don't know the reference, but I think yours was creepier than mine!

  2. Here is my story for the prompt: Ancient Aliens hope you like it.

    1. Yours beats mine for creepiness hands down!! Terrifying, yet brilliant. Thanks for joining.

    2. Thanks for letting me play, and for challenging me to be a better writer!

  3. Replies
    1. Quirky and funny, and - even though you don't like his stuff - a touch Pratchett-esk. There's an underline message in there somewhere. Thanks for joining.

  4. Teenagers by David Lunn Milburn

    Jacqueline Brissonette was a very good cello player. She also made love like she had a quota to fill, energetically and with a purpose. Which explains why I took Music Theory as an elective for several semesters. Being in her presence was intoxicating to say the least and somewhere along the way, I learned to read the notes. She went on to study at Julliard, I wound up playing guitar in a garage band.

    We weren’t much when we started but as the years passed, we developed into a tight-knit group, good enough to charge money. Had to find a new drummer when Harry walked in front of a bus one night but his replacement turned out pretty good, plus she was a lot better looking so, ultimately, no complaints.

    Our versatility kept us in front of the competition. We played everything, from Reggae Rock to Armenian Rock to Cock Rock. Part of the fun was seeing how many ways the same teenagers could dress up for each genre and look just as daft every time. It was easy for me. As long as you put the music in front of me, I could adapt to the different rhythms. Then it was just a matter of getting up on stage and flailing around as though we had just made it up.

    I eventually grew weary of it all, of course, and left the scene. Smart phones had arrived and the teens had adapted too. Nothing like facing 300 girls all texting each other while you pour your heart into a song.

    All seemed pointless somehow.

    I got a call from the bass player Tracy one night, months later. He had a gig set up in an abandoned hanger, a new type of music, sort of a cross between Goth and Elton John. He had a couple of sheets of notes to show me so I went for it. We got our gear set up on the stage behind a huge curtain.

    The curtain drew back and I got my first look at the audience. I assumed they would all be texting but what I saw was mind blowing.

    These were the best damn costumes I’d ever seen and I said so to Tracy.

    “No mate, those are teenagers, they never stopped adapting after you left. They all look like that now.”

    He added, “So play good my friend, they take their music real serious!”

  5. Thanks for the creepy inspiration. Here’s my tale!
    Facing the Dark

    1. Phew! That was scary! Thanks for joining.

  6. Replies
    1. Brilliant entry, I need the whole story now! Thanks for joining.

    2. Thank you! I'm definitely enjoying the writing... just not entirely sure where it's going yet. :)

  7. Just so this one doesn't get lost:

    Carrie Anne Golden wrote this rather spooky tale.
    Twitter: @cagolden71