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 BrĂ©get, 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.

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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.


  1. Aww thank you for the compliment and the honour of Lucy dog and I being part of this very intriguing and clever story. Well sone, Miranda.

  2. Hi Miranda, trying to get back in the swing of things and this prompt really helped! Hope you like my story called Tramlines

    1. Can't believe you ended it there! I need more! Great tale.

  3. Enjoyed this one, and finally got some words down!

    The Holloway

    1. Gosh I didn't see that ending coming. Very well done. Thanks for joining.