Wednesday 26 February 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 146

This weeks prompt photo was created by Hermin Abramovitch, an artist from Israel - known as ahermin over on their page on Deviant Art. He calls this Picture of a City. He creates all sorts of surreal things.

Okay, inadvertently I ended up with another tale from Tricky, but every day I am getting more clarity about what her story will be telling me.

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.




Jumping Through Time

Bollox! That would teach her to muck about with things she shouldn’t. She could see him coming in the distance and needed to work fast.

The mirrors worked, she knew that, but she couldn’t be sure she’d set them to the right frequency; if it was wrong whoever was coming would be in for a nasty shock.

She could see his red shorts and those luminescent funny-shaped shoes they wear with the laces off centre; she’d seen them last time she’d travelled through that particular mirror. It had been a strange place, full of buildings all crowded together and machines that spewed nasty toxins into the air – and all these people running.

She’d tried to work out what they were running from or to, but couldn’t. And they wore different clothes from people who weren’t running. She even saw huge posters up on walls displaying those shoes and people running in the background. Maybe it was some kind of fashion, thankfully lost in the annals of time, never to return – at least not to her time.

She shuffled the other mirror round on the wet sand, trying to put them where they’d meet in the right place. It should only feel like he tripped on something and almost fell when he came through. The water surrounding them reflected the sky so he should only experience a bit of disorientation for a few seconds before (hopefully) rejoining the road on the other side.

She could hear him breathing now as he ran. Was she right? He was just one of those running people, wasn’t he? She really hoped nothing was chasing him; she wasn’t prepared for two of them to jump through, that would create a problem. She hadn’t calculated for two; the rift wouldn’t hold.

She could hear the footfalls now, thumping on the wet sand. She held the mirror steady as it shook with his arrival. She put a hand on the other mirror making sure they remained lined up. His breathing was in her ear and she heard a grunt as he broke through, with a sort of yell that turned into a yip as he almost somersaulted through into the other mirror. She heard his feet land heavily in the other mirror, and a few stumbles, then he was running again.

But he glanced over his shoulder for a second and caught her eye. She was sure he had looked straight at her and seen her.

She shuddered. No, it was just a trick of the light. He couldn’t have known she was there. Surely not, unless … unless he wasn’t just one of those running people, someone for her to experiment on; what if he was an agent sent by Carter? What if he was clued up on what she was doing?

Arse! Damn her tricky mind and its whisperings.

She put the mirrors together and shoved them back into her carpetbag. She stumbled in her rush to stand, her knees stiff from being in the residue water the tide had left behind. She needed to get back and think about this, and needed to do it in a safe place – her home being the only one. He couldn’t reach her there.



Wednesday 19 February 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 145

This week's prompt is a photo of an object made by Daan Botlek, a Dutch artist. He calls these Obscure objects. He creates some interesting things, worth checking out.

I had to cut this heavily to fit the word count ... I maybe be over slightly too! Eep!  Enjoy.

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.






Ninja Monks

When they brought him into the room, Kenta knew. It was the last piece of evidence he needed – well, ‘needed, he hadn’t questioned coming here, or speculated what they did here, that had been his father. He’d always wanted to be a part of what the kids called the ‘Ninja Monks’.

He’d dreamt about climbing the mountain and being accepted into the rambling castle-like monastery at the top. He’d imagined training with the monks and being revered by his friends on the Sacred Day when they would come into town to join the festivities and show off their skills.

And until the last month it had been a dream come true: Kenta had converted to the required beliefs and been ordained into the order; he’d passed the first three levels of skills required to train as a master, and proven his devotion to their way of life without putting a foot wrong.

Then after his acceptance ceremony into the skilled group it had started, subtly so as not to startle him. Kenta tolerated the washing of your peers as a cleansing ritual, and he appreciated that any touch could cause a reaction, but each week it had become more intimate to a point where Kenta realised he was being groomed. And then during the sparring sessions ‘resistance techniques’ had been introduced, each day increasing in intensity, sometimes in the form of an object and other times as an illegal hit employed to force him into submission. No-one questioned it, so he didn’t either. He realised they considered it a rite of passage.

And now in this room, a dojo stripped bare, Kenta was faced with what looked like a practising wheel, but the items on it would damage his body. They didn’t just want him to submit today, they wanted to break him. And the fact the two monks hadn’t left the room was also telling: this wouldn’t be optional. This place was a cult.

In that moment Kenta knew he had to leave – now.

The upside to being here was that he had accumulated skills, and not just physical skills, his mind was as nimble as his body. He knew that challenging these two wouldn’t get him far – they were master ninjas after all. He had to outsmart them. This meant lulling them into a false sense of security. He let them run the wheel and took on the challenge wholeheartedly; he didn’t hesitate or show any signs of trepidation; he knew it was the only way to get out of this room.

By the first break he only had two tears in his torso; his forearms had taken the worst of it. They took him to the bathing room to rinse them. This was his chance.

The toilets faced east, the steepest side of the mountain so they wouldn’t suspect anything and be off guard, allowing him to close the door. Climbing out of the tiny window was a circus act, but Kenta made it through and was over the outer wall before the alarm bells rang – and ring they did. He hadn’t expected that – just as he hadn’t expected the lines of cable on the mountain side.

He’d never looked over the edge before, he’d never needed to, but now he would see that he hadn’t been the first to try to escape: a net had been set up across the entire escarpment, and there was no way down without being caught in it.

His hesitation cost him as a shroud was thrown over him causing him to tumble forward and fall over the side. However, the covering also benefitted him by literally saving his skin; when the net was activated it stopped most of the electrification getting through. And it meant he rolled over the net without stopping. He wondered if a friend had thrown it … until he was ejected out over a sheer drop into free fall.

Even though death was mildly better than being broken and submitting to their twisted ways, it hadn’t been Kenta’s plan; he wasn’t ready to give up. As he fell he pulled the cloth off and was just in time to grab a tree growing out of a crevice. The sudden stop almost jolted his arm out of its socket, but he used the momentum to swing himself up and hold on with both arms and a leg. The tree took his weight.

He took a moment to catch his breath and look around. Had he stranded himself? He could see other vegetation coming out of the cliff face giving him a chance to climb down, and if he could get low enough he’d enter a forest. It would take time, but he’d plot the downfall of this barbaric citadel on the way; people needed to know the truth. 

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 144

This week's photo was taken by Alfonso Leon, a photographer from Bogata, Colombia. He calls this Surreal. He takes loads of interesting urban shots. 

This one was one of my favourite sorts of stories. I always have to go there when I see this kind of prompt. 

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.



Reflected Reality

He didn’t feel right when he came off the plane, and it only got worse when he reached the check-in desk at the hotel. They couldn’t find the name he gave, Randy Mertland, but they could find someone called Ross Mortel who had the same credit card details.

He pulled out his drivers’ license but they still called the police. It got even weirder when the cops looked up Ross Mortel’s drivers’ licence and it was the same photo. But they decided there had to be an error somewhere so they let him check in and use his credit card. He wondered if someone had attempted to steal his ID.

He tried to relax and follow the itinerary he had planned but he was confused when the second museum gave dates for things that just couldn’t be possible. He’d thought it was just him the first time – ancient Egypt wasn’t his forte after all, but he knew his recent wars, and there was no way the First World War had started in November of 1914, it had definitely been July. Most of the other details were right, but not those dates. He didn’t get it.

Then the final rabbit hole grew bigger when he arrived at Trafalgar square.

Randy was sure he would have heard about a replica of the Paris Louvre museum being built here, after all he lived in Paris, plus he’d only been to London six months ago. The glass domes reflected the cloudy sky around. He was so fascinated he bought a ticket and went in.

The literature about the museum said it had been there for over twenty years. It was insane. Many of the exhibits were the same as the Paris ones, but there was always something slightly off: a name spelled differently, dates not right, or wrong location. What was going on?

When he came out it was raining hard and had been for some time. He wondered if it was just him. Maybe there was something wrong with him; maybe someone had slipped something into his drink when he’d slept on the plane. He really didn’t know.

As he stood at the traffic lights waiting for the lights to turn, he stared at his reflection in a gutter puddle wondering, until he realised the sky was clear in the reflection. Huh? He looked up, it was still raining. How could that be? The buildings in the puddle were different too. What was going on?

He squatted down to take a closer look, ignoring the light change. No one took any notice of him as they moved past, and then someone bumped him.

He put out a hand to stop himself falling but it went straight through the puddle, and he fell, tumbling through, until he hit something hard and blacked out.

When Randy came round he was lying on the pavement, and someone was crouched over him asking him if he was okay. He felt a bump on his head but otherwise he was fine. But it was sunny here, the sky was blue and the buildings around him weren’t the same as the ones before he’d fallen.

He got up and thanked the person for their help. He knew where he was; he was just on a different street. He walked back and turned the corner into Trafalgar square.

His sudden stop caused the people behind him to tut and sigh as they passed.

The Lourve replica was gone. The lions were there, Nelson’s column, the fountains, but no glass pyramid, no long queue of people waiting to go into the underground museum.

This was crazy – or was it? Was he back in his reality? Had he had some kind of delusion or dream? He didn’t want to entertain the wacko idea that he had slipped through time some how.

To be sure, he went back to the museums and found all the dates were as they should be. And when he returned to the hotel, the receptionist at the desk gave him a strange look when he asked if all was fine with the mix up with his name.

‘I’m sorry, Sir, you must have spoken to someone else, I don’t know anything about that.’


Monday 10 February 2020

Love Bites - Flash Fiction Competition - with Prizes!!

In the build up to Valentine's Day, the #FabFive are back with with another holiday themed Flash Challenge, this time hosted by Katheryn Avila , called Love Bites!

It runs from the 10th of February to the 21st of February - midnight to midnight EST (Eastern Standard Time)

And yes, there are prizes! 😃

1st Prize - $10 Amazon Gift Voucher
2nd Prize - $5 Amazon Gift Voucher

(NB. Amazon gift vouchers can be assigned to the country of the entrant - such as amazon UK gift vouchers)

The prompts for the theme are:
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Trapped in an Elevator
  • Forbidden Love
  • Secret Billionaire
  • The Fake Relationship
So give us the tales of love won, lost, and kicked to the curb, and add them to the link on Katheryn Avila's website. (click on the picture below).

Be aware that it may take a couple of weeks after this date to finalise the winners (there are five of us in different time zones, so it can take a while to discuss and decide!) so don't worry if you don't hear anything straight after the deadline.

Here is my entry below - which is, of course, not ineligible for the prizes, as are none of the hosts entries. I went with the Trapped in Lift trope, and although I tried to think of a way for this to not turn out well, I couldn't. Meh, I'm a romantic at heart!




Caught

Gareth couldn’t believe his luck when Vanessa pushed into the already crowded lift and his plans immediately changed. He was no longer going to the roof to do prep work for his latest assignment; he was going to see where she was going.

She’d been Gareth’s personal project for some time now. He’d followed her all over the city. It had reaffirmed one thing: Vanessa was way out of his league. Tall, good looking, confident women like her didn’t notice small unassuming men like him, although in truth that was what he wanted – he’d built an entire career around it.

By the time the lift reached the top floor of the thirty storey building, it was down to the two of them. She wanted the ground floor but being the only lift in a complex of over a hundred apartments, it was wait or brave the stairs. Like him, she lived above the tenth floor so you learnt to be patient.
When he didn’t get out, she glanced at him.

‘Yeah, I don’t know who pressed it,’ he said with a shrug.

She pressed the G button again to get the lift moving. He tried to think of something to say but couldn’t.

The lift rattled a bit and Vanessa glanced nervously at the ceiling. Then it let out a squeal and shuddered to a halt. They both waited, nothing happened.

‘Should we jump or something?’ she said with a half laugh.

‘I don’t know. Do you want to try?’

They looked at each other.

‘What if it plummets?’ she said.

‘My thought’s exactly.’ They both laughed, releasing some of the tension.

‘Is there a call button?’ Gareth stepped forward and pressed the red emergency button. There was a ringing and then a tinny voice asked what the problem was. He reported where they were and was told someone would resolve it shortly.

It occurred to Gareth that this was his chance – if he was honestly interested in this woman, rather than just stalking her.

‘You live on 11th , don’t you?’ he said.

‘Yeah, and your on 12th, aren’t you?’

Her reply surprised him.

‘Yeah, I’m in 12b.’

‘Thought so, I’ve got a friend in 12a and she’s mentioned you a few times.’

‘Really?’ He felt his face redden. Were there women in the building talking about him?

She giggled; a sound that raised his heart rate. ‘Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad. She’s single and notices all the guys around her, especially the single ones.’

‘Is that right?’ She knew he was single. He felt exposed. He didn’t like being observed by others – he was the one who watched people for a living.

‘Have you seen her? Would you be interested?’

Was she serious? The woman he’d had a crush on for over a year was trying to fix him up with his neighbour.

‘She’s not my type.’

Vanessa’s smile faltered. ‘Oh sorry, I shouldn’t have assumed you were into women.’

Shit! That wasn’t what he meant. ‘No, no, it’s not that. I’m into women; I just have someone else in mind at the moment.’

She let out a breath. ‘Oh good, I haven’t offended you.’

He smiled. 

‘Can I be nosey and ask who?’

This was his chance, his moment, but her frankness caught him off guard.

‘Erm … you can, but I might not answer.’

Did he really just say that?

‘Oh.’ She blushed, embarrassed. He glanced away embarrassed too and annoyed with himself.

Then just as he planned to come clean, there was a crackle on the speaker and the tinny voice announced they’d be moving any minute.

There was a clunk and the lift jerked causing Vanessa to stumble. Gareth caught her, and she let him pull her in close. She was almost a full head taller and he could smell her hair.

‘It’s you,’ he said. He felt her body tense.

She looked down at him, her grey-green eyes registering surprise, but she didn’t pull away.

Then the lift jostled one last time and started moving.

She still didn’t pull away and he didn’t release his hold.

‘Oh’ is all she said before leaning down and kissing him.

The ting of their arrival on the ground floor broke the kiss and they pulled apart. She looked flushed.

‘I’ve got to go, but you’ve got my number, right?’

He smiled. ‘I do.’

‘Call me.’

And with that she was gone. He just stood there grinning while people piled into the lift to go back up. 


Wednesday 5 February 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 143



This week's photo prompt is of an art installation by German artist Cornelia Konrads which she did for the Centre d'Arts ete de Nature, in Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, (France). I am not sure who actually took this photo though as I can't find it on her site and have been unable to trace it further. 

I had no idea where this story was going, but then the ending arrived and I liked it. It worked. 

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.



Doorway

He could see it, but had the others? As they came to a halt along the pathway in the woods and observed the ‘green door’, as Marjory referred to it, they thought it was just a pretty piece of artwork, but Travis noticed something more. There were loose branches suspended in the air around it. They could be set up with wires, but he didn’t believe this – mostly because he could feel the power radiating from it.

He also found it curious that Steve had brought them to a stop. Up until now, whenever he asked to stop they wouldn’t, as it hadn’t been long enough since the last stop. They’d only been walking for 20 minutes; usually they walked for at least an hour before taking a break. Had they sensed the power too, but weren’t conscious of it?

He considered mentioning it, but he was considered the goofball of their group, a science geek who had a particular interest in unknown phenomena that couldn’t be explained by human theories of physics or chemistry. He believed humans had basic calculations wrong, but despite years spent trying to prove it, no-one took him seriously.

This brought him back to the doorway. This could be a piece of evidence. He walked up to the door.
Jackie called to him, “Where’re you going, Travis? Aren’t you thirsty?”

He half-smiled as he glanced over his shoulder at her; she was trying to stop him without realising why. The sixth-sense of human intuition, maybe? Another thing science couldn’t provide evidence for.

“I’m just checking it out, Jackie, I’ll come and get a drink in a minute.”

“Okay.”

He walked up to the door and scrutinised the twigs and branches around it. They were rigid and unmoving, and when he leaned in he could hear an electrical crackle. There was energy flowing through them, attracting them like a magnet to the shape of the doorway. It was not a built structure; it was formed by the collection of material drawn to it.

He stood in the opening and looked through. The path continued, looking no different to what they had just walked through. In fact, he turned round, it looked identical to the path they’d just taken, except ... he turned round to look, yes it was a perfect mirror reflection, yet their group wasn’t in it.
It might have been a trick of the eye if it weren’t for the collection of birch trees off at the back right. They’d passed an identical number on their left a few moments ago. And the placement of marks on the bark were identical, and then the rest of the matching plants and trees became apparent.

“What are you looking at?” Steve looked at the path behind them and back at Travis, having noticed him looking back and forth.

“I’m not sure about this doorway. I think it’s more than just a piece of artwork. I think it’s some kind of mirror.”

It was the simplest way to explain it to them, although it might not be accurate, but saying it was some kind of reflective orb of power would only result in laughter. Plus, maybe it WAS a mirror. Was it solid? He reached out his hand, taking his time, feeling the throb of power in his fingers as they moved closer. They went past the edge of the doorway, and kept on going until his entire hand was through, there was no resistance at all.

But then a strange thing occurred: He saw his fingers wobble, almost shimmer, and when he tried to pull his hand back it wouldn’t move. He was pulling from the shoulder, but there was no give. His hand was trapped.

The others had been watching him, and Steve jumped up. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know.” Travis tried to keep his voice calm, but panic was rising. “I can’t get my hand back, it won’t budge.”

Steve joined him and took hold of his arm, pulling on it, but it still wouldn’t move.

Then Travis felt a yank on the other side and his entire arm went through. “Help me!” he cried.

Steve grabbed Travis by the waist, pulling him back as hard as he could. For a moment there was a sort of tug of war, but then they both fell back as Travis was released. They lay there for a moment, relieved, but it was short lived as the girls started screaming and he realised his hand was missing.