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.  


  1. Glad he could be released from the mental trap he was in and his soul could be at peace. Nice story.
    Here is my 100 words story-
    A Whole New World - Anita

  2. I have absolutely no clue where this came from. I know I wrote it, but I don't know what part of me wrote it.

    The Perfect House For Me

    1. I enjoyed it. Reminded me of hubby when we looked at our new house.