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. 


  1. The table stood apart, away from everything else we’d discovered. From a distance it appeared mundane, another collection of junk, bottles and jars arranged in a haphazard manner, most of them standing upright but none of them capped. Some of them glowed in the half-light, illuminated by fern-like lightning bolts. Some of them were dark. None of them were empty.

    “It’s quite a find.” Faversham was excited, rubbing his hands together. “We haven’t been able to carbon-date any of the contents, but they all appear old. There are oak trees and elms in them whose growth patterns suggest they’re over a thousand years in age. It’s as though they’ve been cultivated. Like Bonsais but even smaller.”

    I stood back from the table. There must have been a dozen of the jars, each one of them large enough to take a human head. I don’t know why I thought of that analogy: there had been so much happening in the world lately, talk of disaster and plague. Death seemed an ever-present companion and people were getting tense. I was still anxious to find a way to make a mark which would prove I had lived, a testament to my worth as a man.

    Maybe I wasn’t alone. Maybe others had thought the same. Or maybe I was just being morbid; defeatist and with my meagre stores of hope almost gone, dwindling as I continued to search for evidence I would never find. Surely, there was more to life than just existence; patterns that would suggest a meaning, a design, a purpose to this creation. If only we could see ourselves from further away the change of viewpoint might give us a better view of where and what we were.

    Maybe these were some of the clues we needed.

    I hurried back to the table. The first jar that I picked up was filled with a sea, its miniature waves rolling forward onto a beach. There were trees bearing coconuts which had fallen onto the sand, a small wooden hut nearby with a line of footsteps leading out into the water. There was a tight knot of sharks circling further out, away from the shore. There was a dark blot of blood among them and the mournful sound of birds crying, their voices tiny as they lifted themselves up and out, escaping the captivity of their containment. My knees buckled as I felt the weight of this responsibility and I set the jar down with a bump, knocking it sharply against its neighbour.

    Was that who I was? Was I a fit person to be doing this? Who was I to be asking these questions and who would listen to what I said?

    The second jar was filled with light. Its upper half was incandescent, luminous clouds massing above the soil below, minuscule blocks standing in sharp relief as their windows glowed. Beside them, there were roads and highways, populated by cars, smaller than the nails I had on my fingers.

    I had to see more. I had to get a better view.

    As I picked up the jar, the horizon flipped. Stars shifted above, appearing, disappearing. Thunder rolled and the night grew dim. Gravity inverted.

    The glass slipped through my fingers and the jar dropped.

    1. Eeek, what a cliff hangar! I need to know what happened then!

    2. Oh and thank you for joining! ;-)