Wednesday 29 April 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 155

This week's photo  is from Silena Lambertini an Italian photographer, and this is not the first time I've used one of her images for MWF. She has some great pics. She calls this one, Mirror, Mirror on the wall. 

This story flipped and flopped as to how it was going to turn out, but finally it gave me the ending. 

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.


It was still there; she could see it in the wing mirror. But when she adjusted the rear view mirror, it wasn’t. Rae knew what this meant and it wasn’t good. They’d tracked her and managed to come through. Damn!

She thought she’d found sanctuary here, that they couldn’t get through. She was wrong.

Rae glanced in the other wing mirror and could see the other one; they always travelled in pairs. For the moment she had the upper hand; they didn’t know she’d seen them and if she played it cool they wouldn’t know until it was too late.

She rounded the corner into her street, but kept on driving. She glanced wistfully at her front door, but if she went in there, she’d be trapped; remaining in the car meant she still had a chance, if only to lead them out again and keep the people on this plane safe. They might want her, but if they got her then they’d have entry to this dimension, and it would be the end for the people of this world.
She drove into the countryside, a plan forming in her mind. She checked every few minutes to see if they were still with her – they were. 

The houses thinned out as did the villages. She drove out into the middle of the woods – woods she was familiar with. It was where she’d come through and there was a portal there. She hoped she could still open it. She wouldn’t have time for any rituals – once she stopped they’d be on her, so she began incantations while driving. It would loosen her spirit from her body, making it tougher for them to catch her.

She drove up a dirt track. She wouldn’t be able to drive to the clearing, but she wouldn’t have to run as far. She stuck a hand into her handbag on the passenger seat and began rummaging inside while still steering the car. Eventually she felt metal under her hand and pulled out the compact mirror, flipping it open. She moved it to the driver’s side window: they were visible in it.

She hit the dead end and jumped out of the car, running into the woods, keeping the mirror at an angle so she could keep an eye on them. They gave chase. She pushed into a harder run. The human body would only let you go so fast, and in moments like these she missed her native Lenthian body, which would have carried her three times as fast, but that was long gone along with her plane of existence. These demons had seen to that.

Rae arrived in the clearing she knew all too well, having spent her first months here learning how to operate her new body and live in this new world. She’d been free for the first time in eons. Now she had to leave and take these two with her. She knew where she needed to take them, but risked her own life doing so. She only hoped that when they passed through they wouldn’t have a chance to attach to her; that she might survive and return.

She looked at the rings in the tree stump and let her eyes spin with them as she continued incantations. The tree base began to transform and open into a tunnel.

She heard a scream; they’d realised what she was doing. But it was too late, the words she’d spun had tied them to the clearing, they couldn’t retreat, and the portal was open, drawing them all in. She felt her soul being sucked through and the presence of their half souls following her.

The light changed, colours flashed and the temperature rose. They were through to a world ablaze. Their world. Their dominion.

She saw them take their true forms: half-headed, twisted limbed vessels of bile and acid. She saw them extend their limbs towards her, but she was not solid, they could not take her.

She twirled away from them, searching for the portal they’d come through. This plane was normally sealed but the invocation she’d used should have kept it open – if only for a few seconds. She could hear them calling others; enough of them and they’d have her soul.

A glint in the ground. She dove for it.

There was a roar all around her. She felt heat, and heard a popping sound.

She lay on the ground in the woods in her body. She’d made it out.  

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 154

This week's picture prompt was taken by Katelyn on Twitter in January 2019. She said it was 'somewhere in Norfolk, taken through my car window on my way home.' (That's Norfolk, England). I think it's rather perfect.

This one inspired another Tricky tale! It just works perfectly for her. I hope to get to her full stories soon. I am certainly creating a catalogue of shorts at this stage. The last one was in March - Week148 - and it links through to all the others.

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.


Oh yes, she could see why the oak wasn’t right, something had startled it; something that wasn’t of this world. And by the look, it had startled its life right out of it. It wasn’t normal for a tree’s energy to stay exposed like that – sticking out like iron filings along every branch. It was an end of life event. She hated seeing this, but it happened from time to time.

For Tricky it was an indicator that they had been nearby. This was on her route after all, and she knew they were link enough to find her dwelling. It didn’t matter how much she worked to shield it and keep it out of space and time, there were stronger forces in this world, and they weren’t going to let her rest. Not with what she knew and had in her possession, oh no.

She paused in front of the great oak and summoned the energy of those nearby to find out if there was any hope for it. It had been here a good couple of centuries and been a powerful supporter of hers time and time again. Maybe she could help heal it now.

The trees in the gully over the rise responded to her call on this dusky evening. She felt the air ripe with the glow of their effervescence, and she was joyful to see a dark green glow start spinning round the massive trunk of the oak. It meant there was still life within.

She sent her call out further, spinning a gold lattice that would call the great ash from the forest over to the right. They responded in turn, and the sky filled with an orange glow that was the highest energy that could be mustered. Silver threads wrapped round every bough and twig, soothing and purifying as they went.

Tricky thought her heart might burst with the joy it brought her to see nature come to the rescue of one of its own. The air pulsed with energy, and she could feel age falling off her: her bones becoming less achy, her skin tightening and a surge of energy running through all her muscles. It was a gift from the trees, and one they bestowed on her as their caretaker. She was humbled.

But once the healing had finished and the oak restored to its former glory, her mind turned to the cause; the dark energy that wrought such a shock on a tree such as this, one in its prime. She continued on her journey with trepidation now, knowing that every bird could be a spy and be informing on her every move. But she also needed to make haste, because if they had found her cabin and entered it, it might be all over for her – at least for this lifetime.

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 153

This week's photo prompt is of a sunken lane in La Meauffe, France, and was once a site of a 1944 World War II battle - although it dates back much further than that. It was taken by Romain Bréget, alias Kormin on the Wikimedia projects. 

This week I channeled a friend of mine, Mason Bushell and used him and his dog Lucy for this story. It's a bit of a mystery this week. Although I don't write mysteries half as good as he does.

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.

Tripping Across Time

Mason had walked his dog, Lucy, here many times, but he knew something was wrong when she stopped and raised her hackles, growling at something ahead of them.

They were in a deep gully between fields; he understood it to be a sunken lane that had seen battle in World War II, although it dated back much further. It was circular, and lined with trees that had grown over in in a canopy to form a green tunnel. Today, with the sunlight cutting through the gaps in the leaves, it seemed to spin somehow, the beams of light flickering with the movement of the leaves, creating motion.

Lucy continued to growl, then let out a whimper, and with tail between legs, ran back the way they’d come. Mason tried calling her back, but she was gone. He wondered what had spooked her. He couldn’t see or hear anything, but knew animal could sense other things. He continued to walk forward to investigate, but found nothing. The only change was the light as the clouds in the sky moved across the sun.

Mason walked until he reached the end of the hollow way, where it inclined back up to the fields above. Then he turned round and came back the same way, still pondering what had spooked Lucy. He just hoped she’d be at the back door waiting for him.

When he arrived back at the cottage, she wasn’t. He called and called, but to no avail. He hoped she was hiding and would be back soon. He let himself into the cottage and stood in the kitchen. There was a strange musty smell and all the surfaces were clear, except for a fine layer of dust. Someone had been in and tided up.

He walked through to the lounge and found the same. On the small table by the front window he found a pile of unopened post and newspapers. He frowned. He picked up the top two white envelopes, and looked at the newspaper undeneath. He blinked. The date said the 14th of April 2021 – exactly a year in the future.

A sick feeling in the pit of his stomach began to stir.. He walked through the rest of the house and found the same; everything had been tidied up, all the surfaces were clear except for a layer of dust. He went into the garage and there was his car; it had been parked in the driveway when he’d left for the walk.

It explained why Lucy wasn’t here. A terrifying thought struck Mason: what if they’d thought he was dead and she’d been rehomed? What if she belonged to someone else now?

Mason rushed out the door and up his neighbour, Stan’s driveway. He was older than Mason, even though he didn’t look it, and they’d been firm friends since Mason had moved in fifteen years ago. They’d always looked after each others homes when the other was away and had each other’s front door key. But when he stopped at the front door, he paused. What if he believed Mason was dead? Either way he had to find out what had happened to Lucy.

Mason heard his knock resound through Stan’s large hallway and then he heard the sound of animal paws clicking on the wood floors, followed by whining and barking. It was Lucy, he was sure of it! Then he heard Stan’s voice, ‘Yes, girl, I know. It’s him. I know.’

When the door opened, she came flying out and jumped into Mason’s arms, covering his face in wet sloppy, tongue kisses. He tried to hold onto her, but even though she was a small border collie, the wriggling excitement made it impossible; he had to put her on the ground.

Stan watched on with a big smile, waiting for their reunion to dissapate. When it did, Mason asked, ‘How did you know it was me?’

‘Because it’s a year today since you disappeared.’ Stan turned and led the way back into the house.

‘I don’t follow?’

‘When I heard Lucy howling that evening, a year ago, and found your cottage empty, I asked her to tell me where you’ d gone. She took me out through the woods to the hollow way – although refused to go in it – so I knew you were gone for at least a year.’


‘It’s a time tunnel. It appears off and on. You step through it and time here passes at roughly a year every 5 minutes. You must have gone through and come straight back. I’ve been using it for years.’


‘To stay young.’ Stan smiled and winked at Mason. ‘Can’t you tell?’

Mason sat down. He needed to know more.

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 152

This week's picture prompt is from Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski. He was known for his dystopian and surreal artwork. This one just struck me more than any of his other art but you should check it out. 

I tried a different take on this one, and quite like what came out. Channeling the kids in Mad Max Thunderdome.

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.

From the Deep

Obsey moved a little closer and stopped to see if it would move away. It didn’t.

They’d watched it from the dunes. It had come in on the water, but hadn’t moved like the other sea life. This was hard and inflexible. When it had washed up, everyone had waited. After two sun cycles a team had been put together to investigate further.

There were whispers that it belonged to the dangerous ages. One of the old timers had made a sound like the giant black birds that were always circling and trying to take their food. He’d said it was the sound you made when you called this thing.

It’s square eyes were hollow, yet watchful. Obsey couldn’t see a mouth. Maybe it was underneath. He wondered at the openings around the sides. Rilet said it might be a shell; the creature that had lived inside long dead. Obsey hoped she was right. The idea frightened him. He led the fishing teams out into the water. He’d never come across anything this big, and hoped never to.

They’d sighted sea animals from the lookout at the top of the old pole, but they’d moved in wiggly ways and flipped their tails and never come into shore. Obsey had even dreamed of catching something that big; it would feed their cluster for a month or more. But this thing was different. It didn’t move right. It didn’t sound right. It was all kinds of wrong, as Mamon used to say.

Obsey looked back at the team, huddled in among the low dunes, all eyes were on him. He decided to brave it and rush the thing, letting out a yell as he did, spear overhead, ready for the kill. But it remained motionless.

He came to an abrupt halt next to it, only the sound of him panting and the waves crashing filled the air. He lowered his spear and poked it in the side. No movement, but it had a hard exterior, like the lookout pole. He poked it again, harder this time. Still nothing. Then he dared to put his hands on it. Rilet was right; it was just a shell.

He turned and waved to the rest of the team and they joined him in investigating it. Then after a time they gave a signal to the lookout pole and the cluster came to see it too.

The mood turned from trepidation to excitement, and they decided to carry it up back to their dwelling, where the younguns could play on it and the old timers could teach about it. 

Wednesday 1 April 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 151

This week's picture took a bit of tracking down because the info on many of the postings seem incorrect - well they have the sculptors name right but claim it won an award in 2011. So I contacted the museum that seemed to be quoted with it, and got this info:

The HORNET sculpture is on the facade of the Museum of Humour and Satire in Gabrovo.

It is the work of Gabrovo-based artist GEORGI BALABANOV (b. 1970). The sculpture is made of chrome and nickel, and was installed on 5 August 2013 under the project Gabrovo - New Urban Culture Industry , implemented by Gabrovo Municipality.

As to the year 2011, that year Georgi Balabanov' s work Tale about the Ladder was awarded the Golden Aesop Grand Prix of the 20th International Biennial of Humour and Satire in the Arts held by the Museum of Humour and Satire since 1973.

I haven't been able to get a website address for the artist though, or track them online, which is a shame, but at least we know what it is - and where, if you wish to go and see it.

It's important to me to credit pictures correctly, so I always try my best. It can take many hours at times too, and a lot of clicking and google translating. Sometimes images have been sold to companies to be used as online wallpaper, and then I rarely managed to find the original creator.

This week I've gone back to my horror roots, so a bit gory. Get ready!

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.

Hornets Nest

Travis sat upright in bed. “What was that?”

His wife mumbled something next to him, but he couldn’t hear over an extremely loud whirring sound coming from outside. It sounded like a chainsaw. Surely, Shonty wasn’t up and about in her workshop at this time of night? He knew she got inspired at odd times, but usually she was considerate of her neighbours during the night.

He swung his legs out of the bed and pushed his feet into slippers, grabbing a large stick he kept under the bed in case of intruders. The noise was such that creeping down the stairs wasn’t necessary. He looked out of the glass panel by the front door and could see sparks shooting out of the wall of his garage.

When he went out to see what was going on, two of his neighbours, Jeb and Frankie, were coming up the street. Jeb had pulled trousers on, but Frankie was only in boxers and boots, a rifle in hand.

“What the bloody hell is it, Travis?”  

“I’m not sure, Jeb.”

They approached the garage.

“You got no light up there?”

“I have, but whatever that thing is, it’s shorted it out. Hang on.”

Travis went back in the house and returned with a torch. He shone it up at where the metallic buzzing was coming from. They could see what looked like the back end of a bug. Its wings were flapping, creating most of the noise, and sparks sprayed out from the head end which was jammed into the brickwork. There was what looked like a stinger on the butt end, and it spun round and round, whirring.

“Is that thing metal?” asked Frankie.

“Looks like,” said Jeb.

“Where in heck has it come from? It looks like a Hornet,” said Travis. “That stinger’s nasty. Is this someone’s project?”

“Shonty, maybe?” Jeb suggested.

They turned to look at her house, but there were no lights on; she was either asleep or not home.   

“I don’t think so. She’d be out here apologising if it was.” Travis poked it with his stick. The buzzing increased but it was stuck fast.

“Should we try to get it out?” Frankie said, pushing it with the butt of his rifle.

“Looks dangerous; I wouldn’t want to see it flying around,” Jeb observed.

“Yeah, definitely dangerous, but we need to shut it up.” Travis hit it harder with his stick, but it did nothing to reduce the sound.

“It’s mechanical, it’s gotta be someone’s toy,” said Frankie. “Jackson knows about these things, he’s all technical. Shall I go knock him up?”

“Maybe. If it wasn’t so darn noisy, I’d leave it ‘til morning,” Travis said.

Frankie walked off in the direction of Jackson’s place, and Travis continued to prod it. Then they heard a scream, so high it made Travis’ toes tingle. He spun the torch round, and they scanned the lawn behind them. Frankie lay sprawled on the grass, a bloody hole right through his chest.

“Shit!” Jeb said. “What the fuck did that?”

“There must be another one.” Travis waved the torch round, cursing that the residence had decided to reduce street lighting in this usually safe neighbourhood. He couldn’t see anything, but was sure the sound of whirring was louder.

Then he heard Jeb yell, and saw another one sliced through his neck with its stinger. Blood gushed out, and Jeb reached for Travis, but he stepped back, letting Jeb fall and held up his stick ready as the bug returned.

He took a swing and hit it on the side. It went off course, but it was heavy and Travis knew that if he didn’t incapacitate it, he’d be its next victim. Two more strikes and he managed to disable it by bending one of its wings. It crash landed by the front door, the buzzing reverberating off the glass. He took a breath, admiring the result of his handiwork, but that was a mistake.

Another one struck him in the back, sending him flying across the driveway and skidding to a halt under the one wedged in the wall. He tried to get up, but it hit him again, slicing him across the back with its stinger as it turned. He yelled out, but it was short lived, as the bug returned again and again, repeating the attack until Travis was flayed open and dying. As consciousness faded he heard his wife call from the house. Too weak to warn her, he knew he’d be seeing her shortly on the other side of death.