Wednesday 30 September 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 168

This week's photo prompt was taken by Kris Williams, a British photographer based on the Island of Anglesey, in North Wales. He has some amazing shots - definitely worth a browse. He calls this: ' Spring Snowfall' - Castell-Y-Gwynt, Snowdonia, and says about it: 

"Early dawn hues breaking across the skies above the wild and wintry slopes of an icy Glyderau, with the first sunlight of the day hitting the very peaks of Snowdon to the left and Glyder Fawr to the right. It had already been a cold start to the day after camping out for th enight just below this point amongst the rocks and snow - but this dawn colour soon warmed the heart."  

I went somewhere different with this story. It could even be a beginning to a story or novel. 

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.


Annabelle woke up in time to watch the sunrise. The sky reflected a glorious warm pink that lit up the mountain tops and made them glow. She snuggled down into her sub-50 sleeping bag to watch it. It had been a hard climb up the day before, especially with her backpack full with a month’s worth of supplies, but at least now she was safe.

Hopefully they wouldn’t find her up here. This was as remote as you could get. There’d been talk of them finding others in the wilderness; having some kind of special drone scanners that could see through trees and foliage, but she hadn’t heard about them looking along mountain tops. Saying that, they could easily access them with their flying capabilities; if you could fly to Earth from space, a mountain range was a piece of cake. Yet, they’d halted all flying machines – in fact everything on Earth had stopped since their arrival.

They were obsessed with how people were treating the planet, which yes, wasn’t good. But now they were rounding them up, claiming they were contaminated too. Annabelle wasn’t sure if they were killing people or taking them to use elsewhere. She hadn’t been able to find that out. They’d arrived so fast all media had ground to a halt, even the internet had gone down. There’d been a few last broadcasts, but then silence.

It wasn’t too hard for Annabelle though, she was already living a remote life out on the edge of a tiny village with Snowdonia at her backdoor. She hiked daily, so coming up here wasn’t new for her, although she’d never stayed overnight. But at least she was equipped for it. She’d planned to go to the Himalayas the following year, climb the Annapurnas, maybe reach a base camp. She didn’t think she’d ever try Everest, but she’d wanted to experience being in its shadow.

But such plans were gone now, along with normal life. She didn’t know if being up here for a month would be enough, but they’d been working their way through the region and were days away from her village. She hoped that maybe they’d be finished by the time she needed to come back down.

She spotted movement on the skyline. Had other climbers had the same idea as her? Maybe it was someone she knew. She sat up, edging closer to one the jutting rocks to shield herself from view. She couldn’t make out details from this distance, but they didn’t seem to be loaded up like her. She couldn’t see any backpacks and they were moving towards her.

A bad feeling spread across her stomach. She could see the colours of their coats now, but it was their faces she needed to see to find out if it was them or not.

The difficulty with these aliens was that they weren’t really alien; they were human. The only thing that separated them from the people on earth was their eye colour; they had translucent, reflective eyes, but from this distance she couldn’t see them.

They’d come to ‘reclaim’ the Earth. Humans had been left here millennia ago to take care of it, but  hadn’t done a good job. They weren’t happy.

Annabelle shuffled out of the sleeping bag and rolled it up while watching their progress. There was still nothing to define whether they were friend or foe. She attached it to the bottom of her pack and slipped her arms through the straps. Should she stay or go? Was she about to be caught or were they also people trying to escape?

The sun peeped over the top of the range and as they glanced over their shoulders there was a flash of light. It was them!

She slid backwards along the snow on her bottom, not wanting to stand up. She could maybe slide down over the edge a bit, and get to her feet out of view. She reached the edge and swung her legs round. She might make it. Then the rocks gave way under her feet, and she descended faster than expected, the stones taking her straight down. Then she was thrown forward into a hollowed out cavern on the side of the mountain.

She lifted herself up, checking her body as she went. No serious injuries, only a few scrapes. She looked out of the hole in the side of the mountain amazed and relieved at her escape. Then she heard a shuffling behind her and turned. Ten figures appeared out of the gloom.

‘Did they see you?’ one of them asked.

‘I don’t think so.’

‘Good,’ said another.

It seems there had been other that had had the same idea as her.  

Wednesday 23 September 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 167

This week's photo prompt is from Mikhail Ray, a Ukrainian photographer. I have used his work before because he does some incredible art. Worth checking out his website. 

Another Tricky tale. They are building, and with each one I move a little bit closer to finding the stories she wants telling. It's going to be an interesting ride. Want to read more of her tales? There is last week's - Week 166 - and within that a link to the others. 

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.


She breathed on the glass and rubbed it with her scarf. Such pretty bottles. Such beautiful contents. She wished she could go to the places they beheld. But no, Tricky had other things to concentrate on; there was no time for disappearing off – not when she was at risk of being followed.

Her stomach turned at the thought of the storm that was brewing – not a physical one, oh no, one of wit and guile. She could play that game, oh yes she could, but Carter was a slippery one, one she had to be careful of; he’d almost caught her before. He knew about all her pretty things and he wanted them. He’d given that much away at their last meeting.

It’d been a gathering at the old mansion on the hill, an attempt at a party, a way for him to show off his gains. He’d gathered much at the expense of the people of Clancy. No one liked him, but no one turned down a free feed either, not even Tricky. It wasn’t as though the people could do much about him, they were simple folk. They spent their time gathering enough to feed themselves, scraping a living in the tumbled down wreck that was the world since Mother Nature had taken back control.

Tricky had been lucky. She’d inherited the special sight and had it nurtured by her surrogate mother. A powerful woman before Carter had shown up. She’d been respected if not loved. Her reputation had attracted him to the area, but her wrath had been her undoing. He’d managed to bring an end to her, but he’d missed Tricky. He hadn’t reckoned her being a match for his scheming mind, but she knew his game. She could read him like a book, it was one of her gifts – but it wasn’t a pleasant read; it was a horror. Fortunately, Tricky could do dark. She sniggered to herself, oh yes, she could do dark very well indeed.

At the gathering he’d sidled up and pretended polite conversation. She’d gone along with it, curious as to what information he was trying to pry. And he’d mentioned some ornaments, some glass jars he was seeking that he claimed to be an heirloom. He’d eyed her keenly, but Tricky had given him one of her open smiles and said, ‘Glass is a rarity to behold, you don’t see it much these days.’ He’d tried to dig further but to no avail. Tricky knew how to talk round things. But his description was true, and coming to talk to her about it meant he knew more than she liked.

Once home she’d checked and double checked they were still there and still contained their magic. Being able to travel into other times and other dimensions where the worlds were still intact and there was much to plunder was what attracted Carter, but he didn’t have the intelligence to understand the legacy of his actions.

It was fine going but the coming back was the trouble. You disturb one thing, you disturb another, there were ripples, and they took their toll. She knew how to navigate those ripples and mitigate their effect. It had taken her years of careful study and travel. She didn’t think Carter would be so gentle. Some would say let him take the risk, let him find out the price of such liberty, but Tricky knew that it wouldn’t just be him that would pay; it would be all of them.

No, these weren’t for the likes of him. They weren’t even for the likes of her. But she was the custodian of them and she had to keep them safe, and if he knew she had them, they weren’t. She needed to move them and Tricky knew a place, the challenge was how to do it without raising suspicion, it would be tricky. She chuckled to herself, yes tricky, but that was her name, wasn’t it? She’d turned tricky into an art form. She rubbed the glass again. The answer lay within. 

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 166

This week's prompt photo was taken by Alan Chaput, a Cozy Mystery author, in Savannah, Georgia where he lives, and where his books are set. He is an author worth checking out, not just for his books but he has great posts on both twitter and facebook

Another Tricky tale. They write so easily and each time she reveals a little bit more of her larger story. Soon I will be writing her whole store. I can hear her clap her hands in glee. We last saw her on Week 159, where I list all of her stories. 

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.

A Paltry Ploy

As soon as she saw it on the road, Tricky knew. She went over and looked at it and laughed to herself. They thought Tricky was stupid, they thought she would fall for that. She went to the side of the road and found a stick, and brought it over to the cobbled patch, supposedly revealed after decades of wear.

She poked it and it wobbled. Ha! You didn’t fool Tricky that easily. They liked to employ these traps to try and catch her out, but she knew their game. She’d seen these ones before. Sadly last time it had meant the end of one her lovers who’d not been as clever. She’d tried to warn him, but he hadn’t believed her. He’d thought people couldn’t be that devious, but she knew otherwise. Life had taught her.

There were powerful people out there with access to things only the likes of her knew about. She had an idea how they had gleaned the information, but needed evidence. Could this be evidence?

She poked it again, harder this time and the image on the top broke turning into grey fuzzy lines. She put the stick further in and felt something grip it. People might take this for a monster, but it wasn’t, it was just adapted electronics; remnants from the last century that only few knew how to work.

It was those few she was interested in. She’d acquainted herself with two of them, but there was a third being kept in the shadows by Carter. She would find them, and turn them as she had the other two. Carter always thought he had the upper hand and would catch her out. Tricky chuckled. Not with these cheap tricks; Tricky hadn’t earned her name for nothing.

She stuck her hand in the hole after the stick and grabbed at the metal trap, pulling it up. It came away from its cables easily and the grey image blinked out. She tucked it into her bag for later inspection. It had a projector that might prove useful, and she could always use cabling.

People thought this was trickery and magic, but they had no idea. These were toys compared to the true magic in the universe, something humans had been oblivious to – and even fought against – their entire existence. It’s why she was shunned. But that was just fine with Tricky, it suited her aims and enabled her to live beyond prying eyes – and made it more difficult for the eyes that wanted to pry. They had to resort to these kinds of gimmicks. She laughed at Carter’s attempts, although cautiously. He was getting more blatant; there might come a point where he wouldn’t bother with the illusion anymore.

Tricky was never foolish enough to underestimate her enemy. These were high stakes; if he got his hands on her knowledge ...

Tricky straightened herself up and pulled her coat round her, suddenly cold. That was not a thought worth entertaining. But if he continued on his with such arrogance an opportunity would appear and she would be ready.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 165

This week's picture prompt is sadly untraceable. It's all over pinterest, but I can't find anyone crediting it. Lots of people calling it street art, but where and by who? I tried loads of foreign sites. Even the Turkey Tribune used this for a poet to write to, but didn't credit the source of the art. Such a shame cuz I love it but I don't know where it is or who did it. 

It took a while to get my writing mind working again, especially with so many distractions going on in my real world, but when I did I went dark - my normal mode - and I rather like how it turned out. 

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.


She wanted to speak but couldn’t. Her mouth was open, but she couldn’t get her throat to make a sound – not that it would make a difference if she did, they wouldn’t hear her.

Yet she could hear them, and even feel them touching her nose and lips, marvelling at them, at their perfection encased as they were in concrete. They discussed the artist and how brilliant the lines were; how he had achieved such a believable representation of the real thing, not knowing that it was the real thing, only covered in a layer of quick drying cement.

As for the artist, he believed her dead. He thought he had given her a lethal dose of anaesthesia; he believed the muscle relaxant had not only paralysed her but left her unable to breathe. He’d been wrong. She’d been conscious the whole time, but because he’d glued her eyes shut she’d been unable to let him know – or maybe he had known and that was why he’d glued her eyes shut.

After he’d done what he had wanted to her body he had put her into a mould, one that enabled the outline of her lower facial features to penetrate.

She’d felt the weight of the liquid as it was poured over her, but with her mouth open she’d enabled a small gap to remain, and despite blacking out a few times, when he’d removed the mould and placed her upright, she’d remained alive breathing through a tiny slit.

The only muscles she was able to move were those allowing her to draw in a breath. Not a deep breath, a slither of air that kept her conscious – part of her wished it didn’t.

She didn’t know how much longer she would remain alive – the pain of starvation and the weight of the stone covering her were all consuming – but while people were close by she would keep trying to make a sound – any sound, in the hope the truth of the artist would be revealed.

She tried not to think about the other statues he’d shown her that night as they’d wandered around the exhibition he’d held at his mansion. She’d been so star struck by this famous artist taking an interest in her, ignoring his other guests and lavishing his attention on her. He’d talked about her wonderful features, comparing them to his other sculptures, pointing them out. All of them displayed various women’s body parts: a bent knee and a top of the thigh on one piece of wall, a shoulder and ear on another. She’d admired the detail, right down to texture and curve. She’d had no idea.

Now she knew she wasn’t the only one, but how many more were there? His pieces were sent all over the world. If she could shudder at the thought she would, but it faded as she blacked out once more – maybe for the final time. She could only hope.