Thursday 23 January 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 141

This week's photo prompt was taken by Kevin McElheran, in Sorrento, British Columbia, Canada. Unfortuately, his website doesn't seem to exist and he hasn't tweeted since 2014, so there isn't really anything to link it to, but by all reports he called it The Happening, and said this about it: "This abandoned 100 year old church is what's left from what was the rail town of Sorrento, British Columbia. I was driving through this area late one night when I noticed a train in the distance approaching which outlined this structure in it's glow."

The subject for the story was an obvious one for me. I had to cut it this piece back to make the word count though. 

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There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


Some say it was an act of God dispelling evil; others said it was a fluke lightening strike. Either way the church had come to a pretty dramatic end.

I liked to think of it as a cleansing, even though I didn’t feel cleansed. It might have brought it all into the light – both literally and metaphorically – but who was going to take the next step and make them accountable for what they’d done?

Some even denied it; they couldn’t believe their precious church could be so depraved. They’d blamed the victims, even though some of them had been victims themselves. It was warped, but the sick underbelly in town had been exposed. If we didn’t clean it up, it would fester and continue to infect.

I had one ally: George, who was the state deputy in the region. He’d seen for himself what they had done, but he’d told me there were no plans to pursue the abusers because any evidence had been lost in the fire. He’d said the only place it could be found now was in the priest’s house, but they had no grounds to look. He’d said it to me with a glint in his eye.

So here I was standing on the flat roof of the priest’s garage extension, hoping I didn’t spark the automatic security lights that covered the front of this white weatherboard five-bedroom house. It was amazing how much money brainwashing people and abusing their children accrued.

I’d done my research; even swallowed down my feelings and gone round to give my commiserations, just to get invited in to get the layout of the place. There was a study and a private chapel out the back that I needed to look in.

The chapel had been empty, besides an Alter and a few pews, so here I was climbing up the house, hoping to gain access through an open bathroom window.

It was then I heard the car coming. I immediately dropped to my stomach and tried to make myself as flat as the roof. It was after midnight and a quiet road, hopefully it would pass. But it didn’t, it turned into the driveway. Shit! They weren’t all home and asleep!

But it wasn’t one of the residents. It was Justin Lanerky from the hardware store. He was drunk and angry. I could hear him stumble as he got out and started shouting.

“You good for-nuthin’ piece of shit! You fucked up my life!’

Lights came on. The front door opened.

‘Now now, Mr Lanerky, I don’t think coming round here shouting the odds is a good idea. You need to go home, cool off and sober up.’ The priest tried to placate him.

‘He’s in no fit state to drive, Davy, he’ll have to come into the house and get some coffee.’ His wife’s voice was as sweet as candy.

‘You’re right, Norma. Why don’t you come in Mr Lanerky.’

‘I ain’t going in there. I don’t know what you might do to me!’

‘Don’t be silly, Mr Lanerky, my wife’s just going to make some coffee and help you calm down.’

I heard scuffling and Mr Lanerky’s protests reduce as they brought him inside. I slid back down the roof, no longer worrying about the light now it was on, just wanting to get the hell out of there. Then I heard a scream and then another that ended in a gurgle. I crept up to the front window and peeked through the corner where the net curtain didn’t quite reach. I saw a body on the floor covered in blood, and the priest standing over it smiling while his wife wiped the blade of a knife. They’d killed him!

It was then I ran, as hard and fast as I could all the way back to my car, parked a couple of blocks away. Once inside I called George. At first I was so out of breath I could barely get my words out, but he was patient and waited. He told me to stay put while he rallied the troops.

The wait in the car seemed excruciating, but hearing those sirens was sweet relief. There was no way they could cover up the murder that quick. It made me wonder; others from the congregation had gone missing. Maybe I’d narrowly escaped going missing myself! 


  1. What a creepy grisly tale. Nice work Miranda.

    1. Thanks Mason, had to hack it back to fit the wordcount though!

  2. Heres my tale for this magical church. Presence in the Pasture Hope you like it.

    1. Great take on the prompt - and good build up of suspense.

    2. Thanks, Miranda. That was the challenge, tense and a little creepy but no danger for this one. Glad you liked it.

  3. Finally got around to finishing the #MidWeekFlash! Check out,Odette's Return Thanks for the prompt, Miranda!