Wednesday 2 October 2019

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 127

This week's photo is from American photographer Jerry N Uelsmann. He has some interesting pieces, definitely work checking out. This particular image is not on is site, but is on other art sites attributed to him. 

I had this story in my head from the second I saw the picture. It helped me return to my darker writing roots. 

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.


As she stuffed the last bag into the ground, Gwenda thought about how it had all started: the chairs.

It had been a simple enough thing on a weekend away with her husband’s friends, all sitting outside enjoying the sunshine in the dreaded ring of chairs they all insisted on sitting in. It always had to be a circle; they’d been raised to sit that way since nursery school and did it at every gathering.

Then she’d got up to go to the toilet and by the time she’d come back the sun had moved, and so had they. They’d moved all the chairs back into the sun resetting them in the same ring, except for hers. Hers was still sitting there on its own in the shadow on the other side of the lawn.

She’d paused for a second, deciding it was nothing, until they did the same again the following day. And then they’d done it with the games too; all getting up to go and play cards leaving her there sitting alone, uninvited as though she was invisible.

From that time on she had noticed every time they had deliberately excluded her during an event or gathering – and even from one entirely. Her husband was good at ‘forgetting’ to tell her until the last minute, making it impossible for her to join. They also ‘forgot’ to include her in emails or messages. Each time it had twisted inside her, like a poisonous snake that kept on biting. It had filled her with venom and bitterness, until she could stand it no more. She decided something had to be done.

And she’d done it.

She’d waited until it was her and her husband’s turn to organise a weekend away, and then picked a place that was remote and off the grid, citing a desire to reconnect by playing some paintball.  She knew she couldn’t exclude her husband from her plans, but as he had always dismissed her feelings and not supported her anyway, it hadn’t been hard. She’d spent ten years devoting her life to him; given up everything for what he wanted, believing that being by his side would make her valuable to him, but it had been a lie. And now it was time to correct that lie; now it was time to put herself first for a change.

They’d loved the idea of paintball, and obtaining the equipment hadn’t been difficult. However, obtaining a gun had been. She’d worried at one point that she wouldn’t be successful, but at the last moment it had all come together, indicating to her that it was meant to be.

And then the games had begun.

She’d deliberately chosen to start the game late in the day, so she could use the darkness to her advantage and it had worked. The forest surrounding the property was deep enough to cover the sounds of shots and screams, and didn’t edge on to any main roads. In fact, the road to the house had been nothing but track for a good twenty miles, it had been perfect. And should questions be asked, evidence of paintball was everywhere. She’d been the only one with a real gun.

The only problem was making sure she killed each one quickly. It was only a small handgun and she’d done target practice for weeks beforehand to make sure she wouldn’t run out of bullets on the day. She knew the last one would be the hardest, as by then they would have cottoned on, but they had frozen in fear rather than run for their life.

And now, the depth of the forest had served her in the options for disposing of bodies. She’d picked a variety of locations, and scattered them about to lower the risk of anything being discovered. The biodegradable bags she’d found had been a God send; a few months down the line there wouldn’t be much to discover. And the big bonfire she’d gained permission to have would see the end of all their belongings.

Then she’d drop the rental bus they used to come here off at a local handler and disappear herself. She was looking forward to the freedom of finally being able to live the life she wanted, and no longer living a lie. Although being invisible this time would be an advantage.  


  1. What a chilling and wonderful tale. A twist yet a perfect fit for the picture. well done Miranda.

  2. Okay, this one wrote itself. Presenting The Seated Circle Hope you like it.

    1. It's brilliant, I love this, so spooky and such a complete story.

  3. Well, this one just exploded to life. Thank you for the prompt!


  4. Wow... LOVE your story, Miranda. I thought for a moment she might turn out to be dead and just not realize it, but love the way it played out.

    1. Well, Cara, it turned out she was dead. And so was she and she. And let's not forget, as we too often do, she as well as she, the one next to her. Of course she, she, and she were toast. "Adios." Let's face it, no one will miss she. And last, but surely not least, he was gone too.

      Wonderful. And I'm guessing your husband's going to be bringing you flowers more often. It's a Dutch thing.

    2. This time I was just going for all out murder! LOL And my husband doesn't read them Terry, so he doesn't know do be frightened - and nor do his friends! LOL - in truth I stopped going on the weekend aways with them about 7 years ago! (they still go as does my husband and kids, I get the weekend off!)

  5. Ten Chairs, by Terry Brewer, @Stories2121, 254 words

    There are ten of us. Scientists of various disciplines doing research at the Pole. Various countries too, but that is secondary. All scientists.

    For months we don’t see the light. We live in the structures in our little village. Our supplies for the duration came in before the final sunset. Then we were on our own. The atmosphere sometimes is dicey and communication via satellite, the only way of communicating, can be sporadic. But we are used to it.

    Then something happened. The sun will be coming up in a few weeks but the atmosphere prevents us from communicating with our bases and has for over a month. We are nearly out of food; the shed in which a large portion was stored was ripped open in a storm and the contents ruined.

    Today, Gustav, a Swedish meteorologist stood.

    “We will not survive unless we take matters into our own hands.”

    It is something we all think, but none are willing to say.

    “I have placed ten chairs in the yard. One is on its back. I have here,” and he holds up a hat, “ten numbers. One for each chair.”

    It is, we all know, the only way. Whether we have the strength to emerge to get to the chairs is anyone’s guess. But it is the only way. After we all agree, we form a line and reach into the hat. I was number 3.

    I write this to confirm that I picked that number voluntarily and of my own free will.

    1. Bleak, but very unique. (ooo that rhymes). Thanks for joining.

  6. I wrote a teen angst story based on this:

  7. My entry for this week's Flash Fiction Challenge:

    Blogger: The Disappearance of Lori McCarter

    Patreon: The Disappearance of Lori McCarter (Has a PDF download, too!)

    I didn't use the chairs from the picture in my story, only the basic scene. There's a little dark magic in this one...

  8. Interesting... You seem to be killing off a lot of husbands lately!