Wednesday 24 June 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 163

This week's photo is from a Russian photographer called Mikhael. They've got some really great photos. I wasn't sure which one to pic, but I thought this offered the most. They called this one Global Warming.

I have used this prompt to try and thrash out some ideas I am working for a novel I am writing. I think it works quite well with the picture.

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.

The Tree

‘What is this place?’

‘This is how the world would look, Michael, if I hadn’t continued with what I had started.’

‘What ravaged by drought?’

‘Yes, and famine and pestilence.’

‘But that tree is surviving.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Have you looked closely?’

Michael lifted himself up from his prone position, and pulled himself further up the incline. He had no strength for anything more. He was totally spent. Days of shifting from time to time, parallel to parallel, place to place. He was confused, disorientated, and exhausted mentally and physically. He had no idea when he last ate or when he last had something to drink. It took all that he had left to crawl on the dried cracked ground.

‘It’s a mirage, isn’t it?’

‘It could be, or it could be a figment.’

‘What’s the difference?’

‘The difference is whether you believe this place is real or not.’

Michael’s mind swam. ‘Why are you playing with me? Why all these riddles?’

‘I need you to understand why I do the things I do. If you don’t understand, how can you continue it?’

‘I don’t want to continue it, I want to end it.’

‘Then this is the end.’

‘But the tree?’

‘Arh, then there is hope. The tree typifies all your hopes and dreams. Everything you wish this place would be, that you wish life would be, but it can’t survive in a barren, desert. It needs water, it needs sustenance. We all do. And most of all it needs roots.’

‘Please just get to the point.’ Michael was parched. He was struggling to swallow. He just wanted to go home and have a long, cool drink. It’s all he could think about.

‘You ask me why I do what I do. I do what I do to sustain worlds; to keep people safe. Give them somewhere to belong, to exist, to stay put. If I don’t do that, then what you have experienced is what happens.’

‘But you caused it. You caused the imbalance by uprooting them all in the first place. Everything was fine and balanced before you came along and ruined it.’

‘Ruined, Michael, really? Are you sure? I simply found a way outside of it, a way to work around it. A way to influence it, and bring a different kind of balance; a way to stop the self-destruction.’

‘Self-destruction? But you push people out of it, you knock them through like dominos falling: one steps into another, and into another, until it doesn’t stop, it goes on forever.’

‘But it doesn’t, Michael, your own world proves that. And here, Michael, look around you, do you see those dominos here? Are they falling here?’

‘No, there’s nothing here. This is the world after you ravaged it.’

‘Me? You think I did all this? You think I’m capable of it? I have my fun and games, but to bring a world to the brink like this takes a collective, Michael.  It takes mankind.’

‘But the tree?’ Michael couldn’t take his eyes off it. ‘How can the tree exist here?’

‘It’s a good question, Michael, it exists because you want it to.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘What you believe is what will be in this time and space, Michael, it’s that simple.’

‘Nothing is that simple.’

‘Really? Try it.’

And then Michael was there, standing in front of the tree and touching it. It was real, it was here, and he was standing under it. It began to rain. Water poured through the leaves, and he opened his mouth to drink.

‘See? It sustains you. You believed it could, so it did. Just like I believed I could be outside of the worlds and I was – just as you have been in your pursuit of me. You can have whatever you want.’

‘But I just want to go home and be left alone.’

‘Really, Michael? Twice now you have come to find me; twice now you have wanted answers.’
‘But all you do is taunt me, and torture me.’

‘You do that yourself, because you won’t accept your future, your legacy. Let me give it to you.’

Michael wanted to keep resisting but he knew The Jester spoke the truth. In the end it was inevitable.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 162

This week's photo is from Polish photographer Leszek Paradowski. They have some incredible art. Definitely worth checking them out. 

I've gone super short this week. This was really all I had - and saw when I got this pic. 

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.


He cast it again over the water in the hope that it would remain aloft this time and not sink as it had done previously, poisoning itself with contaminated water and not succeeding in its journey to be all that it could.

He tried his hardest to guide it and aid it to its full, limitless potential, but if its vibration became too low, he couldn’t stop it dipping into the water and taking on weight that would only pull it down further.

It was hard juggling these worlds. Some rose higher than others and he marvelled at their beauty but others refused to allow themselves to climb and insisted on becoming bogged down in external, mindless distractions, refusing to see the light within and sustain it.

If enough ascended they would gather and create an interconnected labyrinth of consciousness, as he had always meant them to be. He hoped this one would join it, eventually.

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 161

This week's photo prompt was taken by Ole Begemaan over on Flickr. It is inside a derelict Sanatorium in Brandenburg, in the district of Berlin (south of Pottsdam), Germany, which was abandoned in 1994.

About the sanatorium: Built between 1898 and 1930 as a sanatorium for lung diseases, Beelitz-Heilst├Ątten was one of the largest hospitals in and around Berlin. It served as a field hospital in the two world wars and was later the Soviets' major military hospital in East Germany. Abandoned in 1994 with the Russian withdrawal, it had fallen into disrepair. 

Inspired by thoughts of my 79 year old mother who is suffering for COPD and living alone -  in another country. 

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.


He tried to take a deep breath, but it felt like he was breathing in forever without it going anywhere. He started coughing, and ended up caught between the cough and the inability to breathe, while resisting the urge to throw up – a daily struggle in his condition. He leaned heavily on the basin as he fought to regain control, his body already frail and weakened by the sickness.

Once he could breathe in shallow half gasps again and the desire to vomit had passed, he brought his head up and gazed out of the large circular leaded window above the sink. The view of the sanatorium’s extensive grounds brought him light relief in these moments of darkness – moments that seemed without end. He hoped to go out there again and sit on the bench under the great oak trees and take in the air. He imagined being able to inhale its sweetness and feel relief from such a simple gesture, rather than it crippling him. But time was short now and he was no longer sure if that would ever happen.

He shuffled round and looked at the bed. It was only a few steps away but felt like a marathon in his current condition. He dared to let go of the basin rim and step forward, inch by inch, not allowing his mind to lead him into panic as he stood freely without support and the risk of falling rose.

By the time he reached the bed the light in the room had changed and he knew the best part of the afternoon was gone. Another day passing in snippets: one minute at the basin, hours later at the bed, what happened between just a long moment of attempting to breathe and stay upright. Then he’d spend hours lying on the bed moving in and out of consciousness, until he had to move again. It was a cycle of purgatory he had to suffer while he waited for his body to give up.

As he lay he wondered if it ever would, and if others had grown tired of waiting, as he couldn’t recall how long it had been since he’d seen anyone, either carers or visitors. And then as he looked round he noticed there was dust over everything and grime round the sink and toilet, he couldn’t remember when he’d last seen the cleaner. And then as cracks began to appear and paint started to peel he began to realise he had lost his grasp on time. How long had he been here?

He lay on the bed looking at the door, its wood cracked and warped. When had it last been opened? He moved off the bed and started his journey towards it. When he reached it and pulled, it fell to the ground, allowing him seconds to move out of the way, the dust it threw up putting him into a coughing fit that felt like it went on for eternity – and maybe it did.

He shuffled along corridors that had flaked and crumbled in places, and navigated stairs whose carpets were squelchy underfoot, until he found himself looking at the once majestic front doors. They were bowed and hanging off their hinges. It gave him free access to the outside which he shuffled towards at what he considered an accelerated rate.

Before he knew it he was outside and into the overgrown gardens, hunting for the bench, the one he would stare at from his room above. He discovered it lost in the meadow of grass and shuffled onto it, hoping that sitting there would bring the calm he always imagined.

It took a while for his breathing to simmer down from gulps to gasps, during this time the light overhead changed as though a cloud had uncovered the sun. He felt rays of warmth surround him and his gasps lengthen to normal breathing. What was this?

He felt himself float off the bench into the air, and turning his head, looked back and saw a crumpled skeleton on the wooden seat, one that looked like it had been there for decades.

And then it came to him, it had; his body had died years before, his soul trapped by the mental purgatory he’d been living in. Stepping out of self-torture, he’d finally been able to see the truth, and release himself from it.  

Wednesday 3 June 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 160

This week's photo prompt is an aerial picture of the Mir Mine, in Mirny, Russia. This picture is everywhere so untraceable, but for more pics of the mine and background on it, check out this link. 

Took me a while but I quite like this one. Who knows, it might turn into a serial. I've not done one of those in a while. 

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.

At The Bottom

They drove south, in two cars, to find where it had landed, and came across the crater by a large, sprawling town. They worked their way round the deserted town, expecting to find devastation and destruction, but they found neat and tidy, and empty, homes. They looked for people, but there was no one living or dead. Where had everyone gone? It was clear it had been inhabited only days before: food was fresh in the fridges, homes were clean, cars weren’t covered in dust of any sort; electricity still worked and water still ran.

So they turned their attention to the landing site. They travelled the perimeter of the immense circular hole in the ground, bigger than a small town, and began to see something they didn’t expect: roads.

They spiralled round and down, each with a small plateau large enough for a vehicle – and not just any vehicle, mining vehicles. This was a mine, and yet their GPS also confirmed it was the site of the meteor crash. Could the meteor have landed inside the mine? It was possible. Had the people been evacuated? After several calls to different agencies there was no evidence of any such instruction, plus with cars in driveways and houses still fully stocked it didn’t appear that such an undertaking had taken place, so what had happened here?

Jerrod was the first to suggest it, and Christine wasn’t in agreement, but after much debate and with Floyd giving the casting vote, a decision was made that six out of the eight of them would travel in their two cars down into the mine to see what they could find.

Christine and Albert would stay behind at the top, using one of the civilian cars to wait in, and be on the receiving end of the walkie talkie should anything happen.

Christine had a bad feeling about it. Albert tried to jolly her along, but she struggled to be upbeat as they listened intently to the others. The drive to the bottom seemed uneventful but then static started to interrupt their broadcast.

“I’m not sure ... was that? ... ... hear it too? ...  do that, no!” It was Jerrod.

“Shit! ... they’re ...  the car! Look ..., no ... out now! Come ...” Floyd’s voice.

They heard the screeching of tyres and scraping of metal. Then they heard some kind of chanting, lots of voices, like some kind of collective. Christine could feel the hairs rise on her arms.

“Get ... from ... No! Leave ... alone!” It was Jerrod. He started screaming as did the others in his car.

Albert started the engine.

“What are you doing?”

“Going in there, we can’t just leave them!”

“Yes we bloody well can!”

“Then get out of the car; I’m going in!” Albert leaned across Christine and opened her door, shoving at her as she undid her seat belt. She snatched up the walkie talkie and got out, just having enough time to slam the door as he drove off. To his death, Christine was sure.

Then Floyd’s voice came through.

“Christine, Albert ... you ... me?” He was panting heavily.

Christine could hear the sound of tyres on gravel, he was driving. She quickly depressed the button on the walkie talkie.

“I’m here Floyd, I’m listening. Albert is on his way to you.”

“We’re ... our ... back. Don’t ... anywhere.”

“I can’t hear you very well, Floyd.”

There was no more sound just blasting static. She hated it and wanted to switch it off, but didn’t dare. Then she spotted cars moving along one of the roads, winding their way round and round. It was Albert’s car and Floyd’s. Jerrod’s wasn’t with them.

She waited, hoping the static would clear. It didn’t. Then she saw the cars coming towards her, and Albert’s face. He was screaming something, and beckoning at her. She looked at the other car, at Floyd and two of the others, they were smiling but there was something wrong with their faces. As the car got closer she saw it was their eyes, they had changed shaped and the colour wasn’t right, they were all black and shiny.

Then the passenger door of Albert’s car flew open and his words reached her, “Get in! Quick!” She leapt into the passenger seat while the car was moving and he sped off.

“What is it? What’s wrong with them?”

“I don’t know, but I’m not stopping to find out!”