Wednesday 21 October 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 171

 This week's prompt photo is from Alice Zummerfish. I'm a little confused as this is credited as by her on multiple art sites but on her Deviant Art site there is no sign of these creations. I'm wondering if she just creates them for specific sites. 

I tried to keep a Steam Punk feel, but it's not my genre really, and I dipped into sci-fi of sorts. 

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.


‘What do you see?’

‘A sphere spinning in my hand.’

‘Is there anything inside it?’

‘Yes, I think it’s our galaxy.’

Peter’s face lit up in delight. ‘Marvellous.’

‘But ...’  Annabelle felt the skin of her forehead crease against the helmet covering the upper part of her face as she frowned. ‘There’s something else ... a cloud, or shadow, it’s moving closer.’

Peter spun dials on the display board, the steam driven generator letting out a high pitched squeal. Annabelle gasped.

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you, I just thought maybe with some magnification ...’

‘You didn’t. It’s the view, it altered. I can see what it is now.’

Peter waited. Annabelle didn’t speak, just moved her hand closer to her face, her perfect red lips opening slightly in awe. He’d developed the helmet to help her see her visions more clearly. She’d been plagued with them for months now and he knew there had to be some kind of meaning in them, although people in this era were close minded to such things – in fact all things. The industrial age had heralded too much change for them, they didn’t like it. But the new age beckoned to people like Peter and Annabelle.

‘A cloud of stars, or ... hold on, they’re something else. They’re moving. I can see some kind of fire ejecting out of the back of them.’

‘Like the power pack I made the other week?’

‘Yes, a bit. But these are huge. Like ships, but driven by these fires at the back of them.’

‘Where are they going?’

‘They are coming here, to us.’

‘To us?’

‘Yes. I think so. There’s a lot of them, at least fifty.’

‘Are you sure? To our planet? Our galaxy is full of other planets; maybe they live on one of them.’

‘No, no, it’s quite clear to me, they are coming to us.’

‘And how soon will they get here?’

‘A long time yet, Peter, a long time yet. I’m not sure we’ll see their arrival in our lifetime. But when they do ... oh Peter when they do ... it will be the end of life as we know it.’

Peter looked startled. ‘What do you mean, Annabelle, would they do us harm?’

‘They want our planet and they want our resources.’ Annabelle’s voice went strange, deeper than usual. ‘We are one of a chain of planets spanning many galaxies. This is their next stop. They will retrieve minerals and deposits it holds, items we have yet to discover and understand, but which give great power. To do so will mean splitting the core. We will not survive this undertaking.’ Annabelle jolted sharply in her seat. ‘Oh Peter! That’s awful!’

‘It is, Annabelle. We need to find out exactly when they will arrive.’

‘But how?’

Mathematically of course. But first I need you to tell me, have they breached the edge of our galaxy yet?

‘They have it in their sights; it will be another week before they do.’

‘Okay, sweetheart, off with the helmet.’

It took much undoing and a bit of pulling but eventually Annabelle was free of the iron contraption. Then the two of them sat in Peter’s study and began the calculation.

They burned through two nights of lamp oil before they had a result.

‘Shouldn’t you run those by Francis to be sure? He can be discreet.

‘No, not this time. I want to take them up to Greenwich and ask them up there. Pose it as a theoretical. No one will believe this, Annabelle, but we can record it for those in the future. Now, it’s time for sleep, my dear, to rest our weary heads.’

They climbed the stairs to bed, snuffing out lights as they went, but forgetting to turn off the steam generator in the basement, which if left unattended would overheat. That night the sound of the blast as it exploded could be heard for more than a mile. Little was left of the Edwardian house, only a pile of rubble.

People came to help recover the bodies and any remains worth keeping. There were books and some journals left untouched, even papers dated from the night before, but they were scorched and illegible, only some numbers. One of them was circled many times at the bottom. It read 2022. A few pondered it, but no one knew its meaning.   


  1. Well, you smasher, that's a splendid tale. I love your words.

  2. Sad end. They deserved better after so much hard work that too for our planet.
    Sending emails to important people would have helped document and save their research.

    Here's my 100 Words story-
    Rosy Future - Anita

    1. It's set in the 1800 so no email! I like the way you wrote yours.

  3. Replies
    1. For some odd reason this link is not working.

      So maybe this one will: AMARANTHINE

  4. Let's try again. I also posted comments on your story that seem to have disappeared :-(: here's mine, AMARANTHINE

  5. Replies
    1. This link didn't work for me but this one should: The Oracle

      Great little tale. Love the twist.

  6. It's more of an idea for a story than it is a story. But I did finally write some words for this. Trying to gear up for #NaNoWriMo.

    The Observer