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.’


  1. It has been a while but it can never be too long ago and it sometimes hits me when I hear a plane overhead and look up and it seems lower than it is supposed to be and I feel a panic that it will happen again and I remember the smoke and the smell and the hordes walking dazed in midtown and the funerals and the sadness when I see a movie like “When Harry Met Sally” and they are there where they no longer are and I know I did not suffer like so many people suffered although I often ate by the fountain where the globe was crushed but it still hits me and I remember taking a picture on Hudson Street looking downtown where they used to be and a stranger coming up to me and saying how sad it all was and feeling as I often do part of a community that suffered and has survived but which feels those minutes again every once in a while when a plane seems to fly lower over the city that it is supposed to and then it is gone and the queasiness passes and I get on with my life.

    These are 203 words

    1. Well done, Miranda. This an intriguing and quite frightening take on the amazing prompt this week.

    2. Hey Terry I was waiting to take a breath there as you didn't put in any punctuation. Thanks for sharing your account of the day. I also remember it.

  2. Here's my offering for this week :) Doorways

  3. Looks like the dreams are continuing, doesn't it.

    Inside My Eyelids (9)

  4. Here’s my attempt at this weeks prompt; Message in a Puddle hope you like it.

    1. Love how you encompassed all the details of the prompt in there.