Wednesday 28 October 2020

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 172

This week's picture prompt is another piece from Jeannie Ann Numos, aka i-am-JENius on Deviant Art.  She called this one Sanctuary. I also used her work on Week 159She has some incredible art so definitely worth checking out. 

It was a struggle to find an end to this one, it felt like it could turn into an epic fantasy story - and maybe it will one day. It turned out more hopefully than it started. Not my usual style, but some days you just don't argue with how it comes out.

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There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.


The view was breathtaking - at least it would have been if Brianna had been able to take a breath. It was a bit hard with a gag in her mouth.

They pulled her down the incline to the small decrepit jetty. She found it hard keeping her balance on something so fragile with her hands tied behind her back, but they steadied her when she wobbled and helped her into the little boat.

She glanced at the light-fairy caught in the glass. She could see its sparkling tears in the gleam it gave off. Brianna resolved in that moment to set it free. She knew they were the lackies of Prince Hereford. The man was not capable of wooing a woman, he was too conceited. He wouldn’t do anything for anyone, he was a taker – and that’s exactly what was happening now. She was being taken.

As they sailed off across the lake, she wondered how they were going to handle the waterfall. The sound of it rushed towards them, and the spray glistened in the moonlight. It was beautiful to behold but would be more enjoyable under other circumstances.

Brianna was surprised how deftly they guided the boat; she hadn’t seen that kind of gentleness when they had grabbed her out of her cottage and stuffed her into the cart earlier that day. They took it over to the left side of the lake and an opening appeared in the hillside, just before the fall. It was a tunnel of sorts, leading them down in a spiral. The light from the fairy reflected the damp walls that had been carved out by the water. When they reached the bottom they came out behind the waterfall and glided past it.

The water lulled them in the boat and she could see the eyes on the two either side of her begin to close. Brianna glanced behind and saw the same. The one in the front was still paddling though. The encased fairy on the seat in front of her looked at her with pleading eyes. She winked at it, and it gave her a small smile. She slowly moved one of her feet forward, making sure there was no reaction from either side, and then flipped her foot up, pushing the glass jar, tilting it.

The fairy got its fingers under the edge and helped, squeezing itself out. The shift in light seemed to have no effect on the man paddling. Brianna watched as the fairy flew over the men’s heads and sprinkled something on them. Then she flew behind Brianna and worked on the ropes binding her hands. Once she was free, she removed the gag.

Brianna didn’t know how she was going to get out of the boat. She couldn’t swim, and she also couldn’t imagine tackling four men. The fairy floated in front of her and beckoned. She frowned at the fairy, and it flapped its arms and pointed at Brianna. Brianna couldn’t fly, didn’t the fairy know this? She shook her head. The fairy nodded in response and again acted a flying motion, then held out its hand.

Brianna put her finger out to touch the fairy’s hand, and felt herself lift up off the seat. She stifled a cry as she floated up over the boat. The men didn’t move, whatever the fairy had sprinkled on them had left them immobile.

The fairy took her back up the river and they floated up the waterfall, the view from the top literally made Brianna gasp as the full moon covered everything with its glow. The fairy took them higher, up over the trees, until her home was in sight, and then once there, let her down gently.

Brianna gushed her gratitude and the fairy nodded, giving her another of its small smile before vanishing into the night.

Once gone Brianna felt like she had woken from a dream as the pain in her wrists returned. Rubbing them she realised she needed to pack a bag. Prince Hereford wasn’t one to be shirked. He’d come looking for her and the next time she might not be so lucky. 



  2. The Lakeside, by Joseph P. Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor) 676 words. (I decided to turn this into a vignette from a character in my WIP.)

    Clara was equal parts fearful and determined as she carried her satchel over her left arm and her large sketch pad beneath her right. She was familiar with the spot from vacations with her parents when she was a girl but had never followed the path that led to the dock in the nighttime. Nor had she planned to.

    Her parents were asleep, but she was restless and was awakened by a moonbeam that struck the side of her face. She went to the window. She forgot how clear the skies were when she was not in town and look to the south at the eeriness of the muted colors across the lawn and at the tops of the trees that stood between the house and the lake.

    Her parents allotted one of the rooms downstairs for her studio as an inducement for her to visit them in Lenox. Joe was still in town with the baby—his parents insisted on the time with her—but they the Porters would be arriving at midday.

    Clara climbed into trousers and a country blouse and opened her door slowly. She crept down the stairs, cringing at each creak for fear of waking her parents, but the house remained silent as she entered her studio. The moon was plenty bright enough for her to forego reliance on a candle.

    She would head to the dock; the moon was surely bright enough to light her path. After pulling her country boots on, she left the house and was bombarded with the heat hanging heavy from a storm that passed an hour or so earlier. She knew the opening in the wood and the path to the water well, so had no trouble, dark as it was.

    She’d never seen the lake like this in the subtle light.

    There was a large rock on which she often sat. It sat squarely up from the dock, and she always found it a clean point for her perspective across. She sat on it, ignoring its dampness, and placed her satchel to her left and the pad across her knees. She pulled a small packet from the bag in which she kept her pencils of varying colors and sizes though it was too dark to allow distinguishing among the various shades of, say, the blue to matter.

    She etched out the trapezoidal outline of the familiar dock and then the slopes of the hills to the left and right—the east and west. She did quick work with the overhanging branches only lightly covered in leaves before shading in the top of her sketch.

    These basics accomplished, she set to work and, using those blue pencils almost exclusively, she soon had the image of the lake as she saw it. With a white pencil she caught the fog rising from the hill and she decided to cheat a little, engage in a bit of artistic license to make the moon larger and lower than it actually was. It gave the otherworldly view she wanted.

    Clara finished the rowboat that was tied to the dock. She recalled the days her father and her older sister took her out and gently allowed her to conquer a fear she had of the water, though it was only in recent summers that she was brave enough to swim far from shore. Oh how Mrs. Porter laughed at her until she thrust her head below the surface just a month earlier.

    It was a simple sketch, and she decided that one more act of artistic license was in order. What began as the most horrible of winters when her dear friend—who was not Mrs. Porter as yet—took her in back in December 1874. Not more than ten miles from the damp rock on which she sat. She hoped her friend would recognize the little light shining on the bottom of the little rowboat in the lake at the bottom of the path from her parents’ house in the country was her, Emily Connor as she then was.

    1. There's so much in this tale that I love & is intriguing. Makes me want to know more about your WIP.

  3. Replies
    1. Really enjoyed that story. Really chillu. But can't comment on it without opening an account & I left Medium a couple of years back when I realised it was becoming overloaded with writers & medium started making money from them.