Thursday, 29 July 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 210

This week's picture prompt is another one from Svetlana Sewell. She calls this one, Dead End. 

I had planned another Tricky snippet, but then someone decided to send me an offensive email about my writing, said in such a way to elicit the most upset. So I have eviserated them in fiction, as a writer does. 

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.



Blasphemous

She bucked and fought them as they manhandled her down the stone stairs.

‘I’ve done nothing wrong! You can’t do this to me!’

‘Shush now, you’re only making it worse for yourself,’ the guard on the left said.

‘I’m allowed to say what I want!’

‘Not against the Queen, you aren’t,’ said the guard on the right.

‘I have a right to my opinion!’

‘Not to share it in an offensive manner, with inappropriate passive aggressive remarks that were attributed in such a way to cause the most upset. You heard the ruling; you suffer the consequences.’

‘But I have rights!’

‘Not when you choose to use them to hurt others, you don’t.’

They arrived at an underground tunnel, lit with dim recessed candles. The walls were damp and covered in some kind of red residue. She didn’t know if it was blood or fungus, either way she didn’t like it. And then the end of the tunnel came into view and she began her struggle afresh, arching her back and trying to throw her body out of their firm grasp. But they lifted her off her feet and kept moving her swiftly forward to the terrifying destination.

A heavy, white-painted metal doorway framed what had once been a white padded room. Now it was grimy and ripped in places, after many years of use. It was little more than the size of a cupboard and they thrust her in, causing her to hit the back wall hard and struggle to remain standing. She was unable to get to her feet before they had swung the door shut behind her, sealing her off for the determined period passed down by the judge. She wouldn’t see the light of day for more than a year – not that she would have any idea of time in here.

It was a successful deterrent against proffering unwanted, destructive criticism to someone of creative standing. They shut you down, and you rotted in oblivion. You’re only hope that you survived long enough to keep your mind and be given a second chance.  


Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 209

This week's picture prompt was taken by Mrs DK Booksniffer over on Twitter. Taken for #SundayPixSeat - a Sunday event over on Twitter hosted by @Wombat37 with a different theme every Sunday.  It was taken in Preston, Lancashire, UK, not far from the River Ribble.

A perfect picture for a snippet from Tricky's new adventure. 

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.




Rest Stop

They’d taken it as their own which is how it should be, Tricky thought, as she plonked herself down on the moss covered sofa. The trees had grown round encircling it, and a few branches growing through the sides, but it still worked as a place of rest – not that many would find it this deep into the forest.

She was taking the opportunity to recharge her batteries in relative safety. She’d thought she’d had the upper hand, oh yes she did, but arrogance was a fool and she needed to kill it. This was not going as expected. She needed to play it differently.

This far into the unknown forests of Ferristan was even new to Tricky, but they’d driven her out of the known parts. She wondered if it’d been deliberate; they thought maybe she’d get lost and wouldn’t be able to track them. Oh they didn’t know her very well now, did they? Tricky chuckled to herself.

She took a deep breath and slowed her breathing down, calming her racing thoughts of fear and paranoia. No one had followed her into this area, she knew that. She would be able to find her way out – she was confident about that too. She would find Dufray and unearth this nest of cockroaches. She shuddered; Stanislov particularly made her skin crawl. He was one of those men who was too smooth and too confident. He thought he was a catch. You’d catch something for sure if you got involved with that, probably your untimely death. She looked forward to seeing an end to him.

She took another deep breath and exhaled it slowly, flushing out all thought and tuning into the trees around her. She felt her spirits lift as she listened to their branches move and crackle as they pondered this woman in their midst. She opened her mind and imagined her energy pouring out of her to greet theirs. They entwined it with all the shades of green and more. There was a rushing sound above her and she watched their boughs move in a sweeping motion as they all basked in the rush of energy their connection provided. Oh what bliss!

And then the image came of the path she needed to take through the trees. But it didn’t lead back through the forest, it led to water, rushing water that travelled to the unsailable sea. They were guiding her and she had to take note. And there was something in that water she needed to find. She could feel it.

Then a sudden rush of dark green flooded her and turned all the energy black. She gasped. It was a portent and one she had to pay heed to. It denoted that she had to play this clandestine and elicit if she wanted to survive. This was no fool’s errand, this was life or death.

‘I hear you,’ she said aloud. There was a huge rush of sound as all the trees in the vicinity of the sofa swung left and right in a show of unity and warning. ‘Thank you for your care and concern. I will not dismiss it.’

Then the trees fell silent and the dark energy dissipated, replaced by a lighter green that moved outside of Tricky’s body and travelled in the direction she must go. She didn’t waste any more time and jumped up to follow it.


Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 208

This week's photo prompt was taken by Michael Wombat in Derby.  These are the Reform Bill Heads - a sculpture on Friar Gate. The "Reform Bill Heads" by Timothy Clapcott are a reminder of the Reform Bill riots of 1821. Installed in 2000 as part of the Sustrans cycle route improvements.

I've gone a bit literal this week. It didn't really fit with any of Tricky's antics this week. 

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.




Talking Heads

‘Oh shit.’

‘Sorry mate, I tried to warn you.’

‘You didn’t try hard enough.’

 ‘At least we’re at the back.’

‘What difference does that make?’

‘Dogs, mate, dogs. You wait.’

‘And how long are we going to be stuck here?’

‘There’s no telling.’

‘I can tell you.’ A voice from the front. ‘I’ve been here since the beginning.’

‘Shit.’

‘There’ll be some of that too, thanks to the dogs.’

‘I didn’t think I’d said anything wrong.’

‘None of us did.’

‘It becomes wrong.’ A voice on the corner.

‘How can it become wrong?’

‘Views change; opinions change. A new agenda.’

‘But this is a bit extreme, isn’t it?’

‘Some would say your views were.’

‘So this is it then?’

‘Yep, a new perspective on society; one from the underdog.’

‘You’ll be seeing under a lot of dogs.’ A voice at the back somewhere.

There was sniggering.

‘At least you all seem to find something to laugh about.’

‘Got to keep a sense of humour, mate, otherwise you’re doomed.’

‘Some would say being stuck in an ornamental head of a sculpture on a pavement already meant you were doomed.’

‘There are worse things.’

‘Really?’

There was silence, then a burst of laughter.

‘No, but you’ve got to have hope, haven’t you?’


Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 207

This week's picture prompt was taken by Svetlana Sewell. She gives no details about where this is taken or when, but I thought it had a story to tell. She has a great selection of interesting photos. Worth a look. 

Another peek at some of the story line I am trying to put together for Tricky's second book. 

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.




Leak

Tricky cracked an eye open through her pounding head. She was in a bloody bath – literally. Tricky shuffled round, her booted feet clanging on the old metal tub, until she was pulled up short by the chains on her wrists.

She tilted her head back to look at them and her brain felt like it hit the edges of her skull with force. Ow! She could just make out the metal ring in the wall they had put the handcuff chain through.

It was dark and dingy in here … here being an underground cavern of some sort. But the walls were smooth so this wasn’t some dug out hole; it had once been a proper bathroom. She put her hand on it and felt the smooth but damp plaster underneath; a creation that was long forgotten to the time before the shift. Such luxury. Some had tried to recreate it, but never got it this silky. It had no grain in it, and was entirely flat.

As Tricky’s mind came back online, she looked down at all the blood in the bath. Was it hers? She tentatively touched the side of her head. Her fingers came away sticky. Probably. She moved her body but couldn’t find any other large holes, just gashes and cuts, and a couple of finger nails missing.

She tried to recall how she had ended up here. She’d been found – how they’d managed to see through her veil she didn’t know. And then there’d been the interrogation. Oh that’s right, it all came flooding back now. She’d thought Carter had been violent and cruel, but Stanislov’s men had taken it to a whole new level. They’d beaten her about quite a bit but she was made of stronger stuff. And then there’d been Lucien!

She sat up quickly, regretting it immediately as her head screamed, causing her to retch – there was nothing to throw up; she’d emptied her stomach during their torture session.

Dufray was here. She’d heard his cries when he’d realised they had her. She hadn’t fully understood them either. What had he meant by don’t let them take it? What was the ‘it’? Had he meant the Obsidian or something else? But why had they been holding him? He was in with them after all.

None of it made sense, and her head hurt too much for her to try and work it out right now. She had to go within and regrow her energy and heal herself. But when she tried she couldn’t find an energy source. She was underground of course – and they’d placed her in a metal tub.

Shit! They knew more than she thought. Someone had been feeding them insider information, and she was beginning to doubt it was Dufray. 



Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 206

This week's picture prompt is from Polish photographer Leszek Paradowski. It's not the first time I've used one of his images, and probably won't be the last. He has some fantastic stuff. 

This one was definitely a Tricky tale, and it didn't fail to move my story along. 

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.



Magnifience 

She stood at the foot of the tree and looked up. He was a big bugger, there was no doubt about that, and she could feel the energy thronging off him. But there was something more she had been drawn here for and she knew this tree held the answer. She hadn’t come this far into the wildwoods of Ferristan to be scared by an ancient overlord, no matter how strong he stood – and this one was so strong she feared her own energy if she pissed him off.

Tricky referred to him as a him, but in truth trees were not to be gendered, although they weren’t really ‘its’ either; they were far too sentient for that. Plus they did give off differing energies, much like the feminine and masculine levels within humans. Tricky hadn’t yet been able to uncover their sex lives. She knew they existed and suspected it was root based, thus next to impossible to witness. She could tell when one was putting out energy to attract another and had even lent her energy to bring them together. She liked to think of herself as a voyeur among them.

But all that was by the by when you were faced with a specimen like this: a dominant, strong, and clearly elder of this particular copse. She wanted to put her hands on his bark, but it might be too much for her to handle. Sometimes their energy could run through you and frazzle the ends of your hair – similar to that electricity stuff they had back before the shift. But there was a conversation she needed to have with this one, and it would be the only way.

She tentatively stepped forward placing her feet carefully between his at his base. She could feel the hairs on her body rise in response to the static he was giving off. She couldn’t be sure he was aware of her as yet; being so tall he might view her as nothing but some rummaging animal. She held her hands out, palms forward and slowly put them onto his trunk. Immediately the bright vivid green rushed through them and up her arms, into her body. It was so rich and had such depth she had to take several breaths just to manage it. Oh my!

She felt his consciousness turn to hers. This tree was beyond ancient for this land. It was one of the few that had survived the shift. It had been just a sapling at the time and this particular patch of land had remained intact. Every tree around it was a descendent of it, save for a couple more, but he was the eldest. He made that clear through the circles that he spun in her mind, and the pictures he created.

She had a couple of pictures for him: the places and people she sought. He knew of them too; they had been in the area. She checked her excitement and waited for the next image to project into her mind. And then there it was: the door she kept seeing in her dreams. But it wasn’t just any door, it was a portal and she needed to find it. But it was moving in a rhythmic fashion and she didn’t know why, until suddenly an image of a wave splashed in her face and she fell back, her hands leaving the trunk, and in that moment she knew: the ocean.

Oh bloody hell! She’d have to face the unsailable sea, dammit! She’d hoped that wouldn’t have to happen, even though she’d been drawn this far towards the coast.

She lay on the ground looking up at this giant, still in awe of his power. She gathered up her energy, drawing it into her heart, turning it into her yellow gold. Then she poured it out to the tree, wrapping it round his trunk as a thank you. She heard a shushing sound and the branches at the top waved. He appreciated her gift. They would part on good terms.

But she remained sat there for a moment, feeling a sense of love so pure for this species. She wished to would reincarnate as one, one day. 


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 205

This week's photo prompt was taken by Beano Burnett over on twitter. They posted it for the SundayPix theme of Clocks back in March. (every Sunday @wombat37 picks a theme for us all to post photos about). 

I am using the current Mid-WeekFlash prompts as inspiration for some scenes in the second Tricky Tales book - if they work for it. I have only supplied a snippet this week as the rest of the scene gets a bit indepth.  

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.


Broken ornate wall clock lying on the ground with shattered glass face

Shattered

When she saw the clock she knew; time was her thing after all, that was no secret. Did he mean it as a warning, or did he have an idea beyond the human realm?

He thought he was playing clever, but Tricky knew better. She always did. These high class villains always believed they were ahead of the game and that was their downfall. Pride comes before a push off a cliff edge, and she had just the right cliff edge in mind.

But before that could happen she had to work this out. Rush into this and it would be her downfall not his.

She looked round the whole room. It was made to look like it had been vandalised, but Tricky knew what she was looking at, and it was a set up. Things might look thrown but they’d been carefully placed.

She took a deep breath and pulled energy up out of the floor to replay the last moments that had taken place here. She saw the wisps of human energy flying round, moving this, putting that there, dropping that over there. But the clock, he’d handled that carefully and deliberately. He knew exactly what it was – and that scared her far more.

He placed his palm over the glass covering the dial and his energy colour changed, firing up from its residual pink to an intense red. Then he had popped out of existence and the clock had fallen to the ground. But it hadn’t shattered; another energy had come and put their foot on it, purposefully breaking it and sealing him in, removing the opportunity for anyone to follow.

Tricky sniggered. Any ordinary person to follow. Oh he really didn’t have a clue about her, did he? She’d been so cautious, yet she hadn’t needed to be. Pride also made you stupid.

She spun her arms in an arc, collecting up the energy like spinning cotton candy round a stick. Then she thrust it into the broken clock face. It reassembled itself in an instant, and she sighed, letting her breath out as a whoosh. She slipped into its workings and through its cogs out into the time dimension Stanislov thought he could hide from her in.



Thursday, 17 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 204

This week's picture prompt was taken by photographer, Leo Fry, for Forest sculptor Spencer Byles who spent a year creating these large-scale works of art deep in the woods of La Colle sur Loup, Villeneuve-Loubet, and Mougins.

A snippet from my Tricky tales again. 

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.





Circle of Light

Tricky pushed her way through the dense forest. There was no clear path in sight; she used her senses to guide her. A strong dark energy pulled her in. It was a deeper shade of green than any she’d come across when working with the trees.

She came to a clearing, and within it found a circular construction of entwined branches. Man made? She stepped up to one and put her hand on it. She immediately swooned backwards, taken over by an abrupt spinning sensation as a vivid luminous green energy shot through her. She removed her hand. It was a vortex of energy, something humans weren’t capable of forming.

She debated stepping through it. If she did, she might move into another world. Tricky grinned. Intriguing. She couldn’t possibly resist. You didn’t discover things by taking the cautious route.

She lifted her foot and put it on the other side of the twisted braid of branches, bracing herself. The green light hit her again and she let it sweep through her, taking over her own; it was the only way to withstand it.

The further in she walked, the more circles she found, reducing in size, one behind the other, like a telescope of giant twisting portals.

The energy beat through her body and filled her with a buzz she had never felt before. It made her want to spring and bounce. She let out a raucous belly laugh, helpless to stop it and found it was the only way to get through it.

Oh she hadn’t felt this much joy in a long time. The closest she had come to this was when she had bedded John Thatcher. He’d known how to keep things lively. She missed him. As her mood turned wistful the energy followed and she found her mind travelling to all sorts of places she hadn’t visited in a long time, the energy opening her up to the full range of emotions.

By the time she had reached the last one, she was bawling wantonly. She didn’t care. Sometimes it just had to come out; no one was ever served by bottling up their emotions.

She had to get on her knees and crawl through the last one, and as she did so she saw the shimmer ahead of her. It was her time bubble where she had stashed the jewels. Why had it manifested?

Tricky was immediately on alert. Had someone been here? Had someone seen her when she had stashed the stones? Surely not. She took a breath and swept her arms from her feet to her head several times, sealing in her energy and protecting herself from whatever she might find in the shimmer.

She moved sideways into it, unsure what to expect, but there was only the shelf she had created to place the bag of stones on. It glowed green like the light inside the circles. Something inside was leaking out.

Tricky opened it carefully and took out the glowing green stone. It was her mother’s piece of Jade. It was a large stone, taking up Tricky’s palm as she held it. The glow faded and the colour changed from lime back to dark leaf green.

Tricky took a breath, feeling the light energy leave her as it returned to the stone. She wondered why it had come alight. Had it been calling to her? Had it been trying to reach out and beckon her here to collect it? Was this part of the larger game at play? Jade was a highly protective stone. It would aid Tricky to remain on her true path and shield her from unwanted energies. It was a necessary aid in her journey.

She returned it to the bag, which she then placed in one of her pockets. She stepped out of the shimmer and took another breath, this time exhaling after into the shimmer, which made a popping sound as it vanished.

She turned to find the circles of twined wood gone. There wasn’t even a trace that they had been there, only the clearing. Tricky didn’t want to spend too much time pondering – not out here with the trees. They would delight in influencing her thoughts. She wasn’t the only tricky one out here, especially this woods which had many new and untouched species. She needed to get the stash back to her cabin quick smart.





Thursday, 10 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 203

This week's picture prompt is from American artist Mark Hadley. He has some incredible art and is definitely worth checking out. 

As I am putting together Tricky's new book, there are snippets to be had. 

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.



Clarity

Tricky crept into the glade. They’d know she was here, but she didn’t want to startle them all the same. She sat on the thick moss carpet and crossed her legs, letting out a long breath. Time in the glade seemed to still and shimmer.

It had been a long time since she’d sought their help, but she was stumped with a way forward and knew that time spent with them would bring her clarity.

One by one the butterflies began to appear until they spiralled up and down in a spinning kaleidoscope, the light catching their delicate wings turning them all colours of the rainbow. Tricky waited.

From the tops of the trees came a swishing sound and she knew they had arrived. The air glittered and one by one the spinning butterflies grew, taking on limbs and bodies, and with a flutter of a wing faces appeared.

They landed one by one on her head and shoulders, and knees and arms until they were all standing facing her. Tricky tried to remain passive and not be unnerved. She reminded herself they were friendly and not about to rip her face off. But she didn’t trust easy and the thought made her twitch as she endeavoured to remain calm, causing them to jostle about, their wings fluttering, a ripple like a wave running through them all as they maintained their balance.

Tricky took another breath and dare to close her eyes. They didn’t speak with mouth or tongue but with mind and light. She could see the question mark behind her eyelids and endeavoured to picture her predicament to them.

The single magpie and the man that controlled it, picturing Lucien Dufray in his room in the house, and then gone, and all the locations she had sought him, to no avail. She thought about the trees and their unsettled motions, and then Adric and his concern etched on that beautiful face.

She heard a fluttering occur at the sight of his face. Yes, he was a hottie and the fairies thought so too. But the picture they put in her head puzzled her.

The upside down chair from her dreams appeared, but this time with a cat sitting on it, looking at her, and not one she knew. Then another joined it and another, and they sat staring at her. Then they jumped off and the chair was turned upright, planted firmly into the ground and a mirror appeared on it, facing Tricky, and reflecting her younger self back at her. And behind her in that mirror came Adric’s face. What did it mean?

Then behind that there was water, lots of it, rushing and churning, getting closer and closer. The unsailable sea. And there was something in the water, but she couldn’t see what. Then the picture shimmered and melted away, and a road appeared, a long winding one. Yes, she had some travelling to do if she was to go to the coast.

The picture vanished and Tricky waited, but there was no more and when she opened her eyes she was alone in the glade.

She’d wanted clarity but felt more churned up than before, although now she had a direction – she had to go to the coast. But as their landmass was surrounded by it, how would she know which one?

She slapped her leg in frustration. She felt played. She’d rather they’d ripped her face off. It would have been preferable to the puzzle they posed. But the image of the path returned to her mind and she wondered if she didn’t recognise it. Wasn’t that Ferristan way?

As she made her way back out of the glade and through the forest, she became more certain that it was.


Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 202

This week's picture prompt is by Andrey Bobir, an artist from Kazakhstan. He does some amazing surreal art, and definitely worth checking out. He calls this one Life. 

This month I am writing the second Tricky novel, so I am going to be using these prompts to help me work my way through it. I think this makes a good start. 

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.



a chair upside down on the ceiling with a cat sitting under it.

Signs

‘Well, would you look at that!’

‘Meow.’

‘Yes, I know, Casper, unnerving, isn’t it.’

Tricky marvelled at the chair hanging upside down in midair. She’d seen many unusual things in her time, but this one was unique. Some would say, it’s a dream so what do you expect?

But Tricky knew better. Oh yes, she did. She knew that such things didn’t occur in her dreams, not in lucid dreams like she was having now, with Annie’s cat sitting here at her feet. There was more than just a weightless chair to this little bit of subconscious titbit.

‘What do you think, Casper?’ He looked at her and then batted a paw at the plant that seemed to be holding up the chair, despite it being suspended in the air as well. ‘Yes, that is curious, but trees are my thing, and would explain the acorns on the seat too. But chairs ... mmm ... and it’s upside down. Not getting comfortable, which would portent something is about to turn my world upside down. That’s not good. And then you, Casper, why are you here?’

He looked at her and let out another meow.

‘Yes, it means there’s something I’m not seeing right. Something I believe that is false. Mmm, I don’t like that at all, not one bit.’

There was a fluttering sound. Tricky looked over her shoulder at the front door. It was open and outside there were birds gathering. A murder of crows were settling around a single magpie, like the one she’d seen the night before. It eyed her, looking straight at her. She shook her head. ‘Nope, this is not good.’

Then they all took flight, letting out screeches and Tricky winced as she watched them go, flying over the trees and away. The trees were moving, swaying their boughs deeply from left to right. Something was wrong and something was coming.

She took a breath and shushed the trees, waiting for them to slow their movement and return from their restless state.

Another meow and she looked down at Casper who was sitting on her foot. He looked up at her, bright yellow eyes staring into hers. Then she blinked and was awake, back in her cabin.

She sat up and leapt out of bed, grabbing a shawl before going outside.

She stood at the backdoor and looked across the jetty, but there were no birds to be seen anywhere. Everything was quiet in the pre-dawn light.

Tricky’s body gave an involuntary shudder. She didn’t like this, no, not one bit.


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Happy Publication Day!

Today Pool of Players is released! Whoo hoo! 

This book has been a couple of years in the writing, and made my head hurt at times trying to wrap my head round the time travel element, but it is finally here. 

Sequel to my book, The Game, which is currently FREE, Pool of Players provides the answers many reader sought about who The Jester is, what happens to David and the people in his time, and how the girls are connected to The Jester. 

Read an interview HERE about it and my other writing. 

A book cover with a house on it, and grass covered steps into the garden

A world created in a pocket of time to provide a Pool of Players

David can’t settle back into his old life after playing The Jester’s games. Besides all the unanswered questions about why his time was created and how people are being selected for the games, he wants to find his father, but how can he slip through again?

The answer comes when he reveals the recruiters to the public, triggering a response from The Jester who grants his wish and snatches him away.

Back in the parallels, The Jester reveals his past and puts David through brutal and punishing times. An unexpected meeting with his father leaves David with a question he’s scared to answer, but attempts to speak to him again are interrupted by The Jester who wants to train David as his replacement.

Hanging out at The Jester’s house, David learns what he is capable of, and, in a bizarre twist of time, why he’s the perfect candidate.

Pool of Players is a dark, sci-fi fantasy that gives a new meaning to time travel. It's the second book in The Jester series, attempting to answer the questions left by the first book, The Game.



Saturday, 29 May 2021

The Game - FREE - for 5 days!


In preparation for the release of the sequel, Pool of Players, on the 1st of June, the first book in The Jester series is FREE for the next 5 days!


29th of May to the 2nd of June 2021


Grab The Game now!


(click on the cover)



Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 201

This week's picture prompt was created by British photographer and artist Svetlana Sewell. She calls this The Door. She has a wealth of pictures, so I might be visiting her site again. She is defnitely worth checking out. 

Okay, as I am ramping up to writing Tricky's second book in June, I am getting snippets of the tale and how I am going to weave it. Here's a taster.

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.



Portal

She could see it but she couldn’t get to it. Gah! She hated not being able to reach it. What a shame she didn’t have control over water instead of time. She’d be a hero if she could find a way to navigate the unsailable sea!

Tricky stood at the shore eyeing the door. Although was it a door? She squinted against the rising moon which reflected the last of the sun’s rays into her eyes, bouncing them off whatever that thing was in the water. It looked like an open door, but what the bloody hell was a door doing out there in the middle of the water? She had no idea – even though she suspected who had put it there.

She sat on the wet sand and pulled her boots and socks off, hoisted her skirts up and tucked them into the waist band and waded into the water. It was high and rough. Wave after wave came at her, with no rhythm or cycle. They crashed across each other, going in all directions with no ebb or flow. It’s why no one had managed to find a way to sail it again – that and the lack of materials to build something that could withstand the turbulence. She began to feel sick at the constant push and pull against her, but she pushed on, getting arms length away from the door.

And it was a door, oh yes that was certain now, and it was open.

She grasped the frame of it, using it to help her fight the last of the current and get close enough to step in. She felt the energy in it vibrate through her. Only two people could have made this: one was dead, and the other had vanished.

She breathed and pulled energy up from the seabed to help her lift up out of the water until she was standing on the foot of the doorframe. The light inside was intense, and in constant motion.

She took a deep breath and reached out with her mind. She couldn’t sense anything threatening, so she took a step inside. She felt the light pulsate through her, and kept walking until she heard a voice.

‘Finally, I was wondering how long it would take you.’

‘Dufray? Is that you? Why can’t I see you?’

‘Because my physical self is not here.’

‘Is this a trap?’ Tricky took a step back.

‘No, it’s a light portal. Your mother taught me how to make them as a means to have protected conversations.’

‘And we need to have one?’

‘Yes. I’m being held against my will.’

‘Where? By who?’

‘In an underground bunker, by Stanislov.’

‘Stanislov? But you’re working with him; I’ve uncovered that much.’

‘No, I work for Tumelo as a spy, undercover, trying to root out the rest of Vincent Linley’s cronies. But someone’s revealed my true allegiance, so now they’re keeping me captive.’

‘Who is that someone?’

‘I have my suspicions but I’m not 100% sure.’

Tricky’d heard Dufray spin all sorts of tales, especially to her. If she had a mirror she’d be pulling a face right now. ‘Why should I trust anything you say after what you did to me in Ballford?’

‘I had to do that to you, it was the only way I could get you out of there, because they had plans for you.’

‘They?’

‘Yes, Stanislov’s men – well they were Carter’s men at the time, but we dispatched him so they’re now with Stanislov. I was already in with them, as you know, and I had to make it believable otherwise you would have become suspicious. And if you’d stayed and stuck your nose in, you would have ended up like your mother.’

Whenever anyone referred to her mother’s death, Tricky always received an image of her burning on that pyre. She shuddered. ‘This all sounds a little far-fetched. How do I know it’s not some trap you’re setting for them?’

‘Can you still access my tower room in the castle in Clancy?’

‘Yes, if I have to.’

‘Then do it. And you will find not only something etched into the energy of your Obsidian, but correspondence with Tumelo.’

‘Is there enough time for me to do that?’

‘You can make time, Tricky, so of course there is.’

Tricky chuckled. ‘Oh yes. Silly me.’

‘I knew you’d struggle to trust me again, but you won’t doubt me after you find them.’

Tricky was sceptical, but she wasn’t stupid. Plus she’d get her Obsidian back.


Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 200

This week's prompt photo was taken by Richard of Hollins - @meer_salt on twitter. It’s in the Plantation in Hollins Vale Local Nature Reserve in Bury, Lancs. 

I saw this man in my mind's eye dragging himself up the steps, so I had to write his story to find out what was going on. It's been a while since I've had a dark one.

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.



Hope

Randy could feel the rough edge of the wood under his nails, identifying the first of the steps he had to pull his body up. His eyes kept filling with blood and sweat as he dragged himself up the first one. He now had an idea of where he was, and didn’t want to think about how long it had taken him to reach these steps. He needed to hold onto hope that he could get help in time for Sasha. The image of her bloodied face in the mud hadn’t left him.

He also kept pushing away the thoughts of the man who had done this. He couldn’t go there; he couldn’t contemplate that he might be right behind him, maybe even watching him and letting him believe he had a chance to escape.

Images flashed in his mind of the man’s face: one second it had smiled at them as they passed on the nature trail, and the next it had turned to one of rage as he slashed at them with his knife. Randy couldn’t fathom why he would do such a thing. The best he could do was keep pulling himself up the steps.

The pain in his legs was dulled only by the pain in his back. He had no idea how many times he had been stabbed, but he could at least breathe. The rattling sound from Sasha was what had got him moving. He only hoped he still had time.

He pulled himself up another step and heard a crunching sound ahead. Was that footsteps? Was someone coming? Would they help him? Then his mind filled with fear. What if it was him?

Again Randy pushed those thoughts out of his head. He could barely move; he was utterly exposed and vulnerable; there would be no fight. But hope, he could have hope.

He tried to speak but all he could do was gargle round the blood that he had been regularly swallowing. Then he heard a voice. It wasn’t a man’s voice, but a woman’s, and he felt relief so hard it brought tears to his eyes.

‘Oh my god, what happened? Oh my god.’ She crouched down next to him, not daring to touch him, and fumbled a phone out of her pocket. He heard her on the call telling someone he needed help and where they were. He tried to get her attention, and flailed an arm at her.

‘Hold on, he’s trying to tell me something. What is it, sir?’

He flailed an arm behind him and managed to form the letters of her name in his mouth, but it came out in a rush of blood. ‘Saasssaaahhh.’

‘Is there someone else?’

He gave a nod.

‘Oh god. There’s someone else,’ she said into the phone. ‘Please hurry.’

The lady stood up and seemed unsure. Randy again tried to indicate for her to go to Sasha. But then he heard footsteps behind him, and the lady’s eyes went wide. She turned and ran back up the steps and out of sight.

Someone leapt over his body up the steps, and Ryan caught a glimpse of black trousers, and a navy bomber jacket. It was the man with the knife.

Ryan stopped trying to climb the steps, knowing safety was no longer that way. Knowing there was nothing he could do. He could only hope the police would be here soon, and the man didn’t catch the lady.


Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 199

This week's picture prompt is by photographer Francesca Woodman. This is called this House #3, Providence, Rhode Island, 1976. She was an American/Italian artist who committed suicide in 1981 at age 22. She jumped off a building. She was in the midst of a depression, said to be caused by the lack of recognition for her art combined with the breakup of a relationship. From all her images I get the impression she didn't feel 'seen'. She created some really interesting pictures. It's such a shame.

Both the picture and the artist's personal story inspired my entry. 

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.


Black & White photograph of a woman whose top half is blured. Take by Francesca Woodman

Invisible

She sat there in the room, but they didn’t see her. It was like she was invisible. She’d considered that maybe she was a ghost and didn’t know she was dead yet, but she could feel her heartbeat, and the pain when she dug her nails into her wrists.

She imagined just floating right out of the room, imagining the freedom, rather than the obligation of having to remain seated here, surrounded by a group of people she barely knew, who had little interest in knowing her. But she didn’t do it for them, she did it for him.

And did he see her? She was beginning to doubt it, not when he was with them. Alone he saw her, endeavoured to interact, although it felt less and less.

It was like she was fading and she couldn’t stop it from happening. There was nothing here to tether her, to keep her connected. She’d drift off inside her own head and disassociate herself from the present moment; observe rather than engage. It felt cold and empty. She circled back to the ghost reference; she felt like she was dead here.

And as she sat there trying to fight her feelings, her gaze drifted to the window and the world outside. There was life out there: green, vivid, vibrant and tangible but for the glass. Now the analogy became that of a prison. She could see life, but she couldn’t touch it or embrace it, or walk within it, she was solely forced to watch and remain powerless.

She returned her view to the people sitting round the room. All pleasant in their own right, all civil when they needed to be, but not interested, not in her. She was not one of them. She sat on the outside, on the fringes. They were here for him.

He flashed a smile from across the room, behaving as though she was actually there as an active member of his group, engaged and not sitting alone in a corner watching, left alone by those sitting nearby who chose not to talk to her. She responded with a faint smile. He seemed unconcerned and went back to his conversation.

He’d seen her for a second, now she was gone.

She got up from her seat – no one looked. She moved over to the window and stood looking out. It was a large sash window and she lifted up the bottom half to let in the breeze and the sound of the birds. Outside the flat roof to the kitchen extension beckoned. She looked over her shoulder, no one saw her.

She put one foot through and then the other and stood there, waiting to see if someone came to ask her what she was doing. Nothing. She glanced back through. They were laughing about something that had happened ten years ago, long before she’d even met him. She pulled the window down.

She walked over to the edge of the roof and sat down on the edge, dangling her legs. She peeked over the edge. It wasn’t far down. If she jumped though, she might break something. She didn’t want to do that. There was a drainpipe and ledge from a window. She pushed the pipe with her foot, it didn’t move, so she clung onto the top and lowered herself down, wrapping round it. It held. She reached her foot out to the ledge, and edged onto it. Now she was low enough to jump.

It was nice to be on the ground and out in the garden, in the green. She walked into it. It opened into a field at the end. She went through and started walking, imagining herself disappearing like a wisp. Never to be seen again.

And he never did see her again.