Wednesday 24 February 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 188

This week's photo prompt was hard to trace. It seems these were once for sale as 'Antique Finish Decorative Key, on a website called Elizabeth's Embellishments, but that was back in 2011, and they aren't on that site anymore. 

Took me a while to find this tale, but like the main character, I knew it when I found it.

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.

Keys to Nivana

Belinda took out her magnifying glass to look closer at the bow of the key, where it met the shaft, known as the blade. She’d become a professional on the topic these last couple of weeks. She could just make out a hallmark. As she thought, it was sterling silver. And there was another. She had to have them.

          Belinda looked at the shopkeeper of the little dusty shop. ‘How much are you asking for them?’

‘Antique keys are quite popular at the moment. I’m looking for a fiver each.’

Belinda smiled inwardly; a bargain.

‘Have you just got these two? Or are there more?’

‘None as pretty as those, but I do have some others in the back. Do you want me to get them?’

‘I’ll take a look.’ Belinda’s nonchalant tone was deliberate. She was excited to have found these, and now, maybe the others. But she wanted to pretend she was just a collector and not looking for anything specific.

The little man went out to his back room and returned with a box. He made a space on a table and turned the contents out on a cloth. There had to be a hundred of them, most worn and rusty, although many with unique bows that would fascinate collectors. Then she spotted them, three lying together, brighter than the rest. She shuffled through the others, making her way to them, not wanting to alert the shopkeeper to any undue interest. She picked one of them up and admired the bow, which was similar to the two she’d found. Then she took out her magnifying glass again and gave it a cursory glance. Yep, they were silver too, although tarnished. She gathered up the three, and put them with the two she already had.

‘I’ll give you twenty quid for the five,’ she stated.

The shopkeeper pretended to ponder a moment. ‘Alright you’ve got a deal.’

She pulled out a twenty and put it on the counter, stuffing them in her pocket. ‘Thanks.’

‘Nice, doing business with you,’ the shopkeeper called after her.

Belinda couldn’t get home fast enough. She knew if she nosed around the neighbourhood for long enough, she’d find them. There was no doubting the two he’d polished up, but those other three, were they the right ones? Something told her they were, and she trusted her instincts.

Back home, she put them on a cloth in the middle of the dining table and brought out the silver cleaner and set to work bringing up the shine on the three dull ones, paying particular attention to the hallmarked area.

Then she used some plasticine to press against the hallmark, and with an ink pad, managed to get a clear imprint of each on paper, the tiny differences apparent. This only raised her excitement.

She scanned them into her computer, so she could zoom in and see as much detail as possible, and compare them to the research she’d already done. She was right; they were the set of five, all made by the same person, Robert Finny, and, she believed, for the same object.

Other hunters believed the keys had been made for special doors in one of the properties he’d been commissioned to work on, and that’s where they looked, but Belinda knew better; the keys were made for something far more important than doors. They were made for a particular object, one she already had in her possession. And to locate it she had only had to find out where he had lived. And now she’d found the keys in the local town, she was hopeful.

Belinda spent another day verifying the keys were indeed made by Finny. Some might think that extreme, but she had to be sure. She only had one chance to get it open. And if she messed it up, according to accounts she’d be the one left messed up.

They said it had been Finny’s final piece – well it must have been, because he’d vanished after that. His house left empty for years, until the contents were auctioned off. That’s when Belinda had bought the object, which now stood in her hallway. It was an extravagant, dark wood, cabinet people admired when they visited – if only for the ornate keyhole covers round every lock.

She took the keys to it now and smiled. She’d suspected the decoration on the keyholes might match the key bows. It was subtle but it was there. She brought the pictures of the hallmark imprints too; while the keys were for the locks, the hallmarks were the codes for denoting the order and the turns.

Belinda had prepared all her affairs in preparation for this moment. She didn’t anticipate coming back. This was it; her nirvana – just as it had been Finny’s.

She followed the coding, taking it one key at a time. Each fitted perfectly and turned as it should.

When all were in place she paused, resting her hands on the two door knobs that people mistook for drawer handles. She pulled, and the cabinet opened down the middle, exposing a crack of light that became brighter and brighter until it engulfed her. She smiled and a face appeared.

‘Welcome,’ it said, and a hand came out. She took it and stepped through.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 187

This week's picture prompt is by Polish artist Marta Orlowska. She likes to do surreal art and has a wealth of interesting art, worth checking out. 

A short and quick one this week. A literal snippet. 

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’d sit by the window and just stare out, day after day. Occasionally she would read, but mostly she would pretend to read while staring. She’d imagine being out there in amongst it all – life.

Oh to be living and feeling, and being. It was there, just beyond the glass, tangible and waiting.

Was it fear that held her here, stuck? Or was it something she lacked inside that caused her believe it wasn’t possible? Or was it that she wouldn’t know what to do once she was out there? Did she know how to live?

She did once. She remembered all those years ago, when she was free – all be it for a short time. She’d laughed, and loved, and been herself without a care. No one that made her feel wrong, or small, or valueless, and as though she didn’t fit like they did here.

It’s why she stayed here in this room, sitting behind the glass looking out. If she stayed here in this place nothing could harm her; no snide comments, backhand remarks, or offhand criticism to cut her to the quick. No feelings of shame or rejection. Safe.

But not free. She saw a moth flutter up against the window. She watched it batting its wings against the glass. She reached up and opened the top window, helping to guide it out. Once free, she watched it disappear, a speck in the sky.

Oh to be a speck in the sky, drifting on the wind. She wished she could turn herself into a moth, and fly away. She imagined being able to dissolve herself into a whisper of moths, fly up and leave out of the window, to enjoy life to the fullest, surrounded by others who reflected every aspect of you.

She sighed and picked up her book. She couldn’t disappear through the glass, but maybe she could disappear into a book. 

Monday 15 February 2021

My interview with All Authors

Miranda Boers latest interview by AllAuthor
A freelance editor, Miranda Boers writes under two pen names. Her first ‘official’ piece of writing was a short piece of just 800 words written for a competition. An extremely prolific writer, Miranda writes dark stuff, sci-fi stuff, surreal stuff, psychological stuff, and a mixture of all four. She also hosts her own flash fiction challenge called Mid-Week Flash Challenge. Read full interview...

Thursday 11 February 2021

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 186

This image is from a website, advertising a holiday home called Bø Huset  in Bø, Sortland in the Vesterålen Region of Norway - Fjords country. The holiday house is hosted by Michelle Edelman, who I am assuming (until she responds to my email) is the person who took this stunning shot. 

I had to go sci-fi with this one, although I complicated myself a bit and had to rewrite bits of it.

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.

Special Project

And in that moment, staring up at the infinite stars and the outer arm of the galaxy, he realised what he had missed. Burgen walked back to his truck, and pulled out his telescope, setting up in the snow covered road. He turned it to the right side of the Milky Way, and increased magnification as far as he could. Yep, just as he thought. He took a couple of snaps on his camera through the telescope lens. They’d be enough to pin point it back at the observatory, where he could look closer.

He put the telescope back into the truck and drove through the heavy snow until the little dome appeared at the top of the mountain. He could see a light on. Stellan was working late; on a night like this, who could blame him?  

‘Hey Burg, how’s it going?’

‘I’ve realised something.’ Burgen rushed over to one of the computer terminals and uploaded the photos, reimagining them over to the constellations and quadrants they already had in the system. ‘Come and look at these.’

Stellan’s eyebrows went up and he glided across to Burgen on the wheels of his office chair.

‘Notice these points, here, here and here.’ Burgen pointed to three distinct areas of stars they were familiar with and looked at many times.

‘Okay ...’ Stellan watched as Burgen increased the magnification, on each one, freezing it and bringing up the next on a screen next door. ‘Oh my god!’

‘Yep, that’s what I thought.’

‘But how ...?’

‘I was taking a walk out tonight, you know with the clarity out there on crystalised nights like this, you can see so much more, and the pattern was just there, staring me in the face.’

‘But that must mean ...’ Stellan zoomed back over to his desk and brought up other areas of the cosmos, some within the milky way but most not. ‘These have it too! What does this mean?’

‘It means we can’t be what we think we are; we can’t be a planet sitting here in our solar system, an outlier on the edge of a spiral galaxy, that there’s some other kind of set up.’

‘I’m calling Siding, they’re awake, right?’ Stellan looked at the various clocks on the wall. ‘We need to see if they can see this too.’

‘I’ll contact Murchison to verify. It can’t be just us.’ Burgen began typing in a detailed email to explain what he was seeing.

Then Stellan stopped typing and turned to Burgen. ‘What if those quantum physics guys are right, after all? What if we are in some kind of simulation? This could prove it!’

‘It could. And what does that mean for space research and space travel?’

They stared at each other.

‘Maybe we should hold off from contacting others just now,’ Burgen said.

‘Maybe we should do some more research based on this anomaly and see where it leads us before we start ringing alarm bells,’ Stellan replied.

They nodded, their fervour temporarily halted.

‘But I’m going to keep checking through what we had, and maybe start looking at previous decades,’ said Burgen.

‘That’s a good idea. I’ll bring some of the other quandrants up too.’

‘This can be our special project.’ Burgen winked at Stellan. He laughed.

‘Yeah, our special project.’

‘I’ll set up some parameters.’

‘Good idea.’

The two of them continued in silence. They knew they’d hit something big. But they weren’t ready to share it just yet.  

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 185

This week's photo prompt is a sculpture by Hasan Novorozi. Ther are a variety of angles on different sites of this, but I like the one that Hasan has on his own FB page. It brings it alive. He makes some incredible things. 

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.


He trotted along the ground, feeling the wind beneath his wings. He could see the others flying overhead, and hear them jeering at him.

‘You’ll never make it up here, Glint, you’re way too heavy. You’ll never be able to glide like we do!’

He watched them all swirl and loop, galloping in the air with such ease. His owner, and maker, had never imagined he’d be able to fly, even though he’d given Glint perfect working wings.

Glint was determined he would. It wasn’t fair to see all the real flying horses enjoy themselves up there, leaving him here alone on the ground, an outcast. He might be made of cogs and metal, but the electrical unit kept him very much alive.

The wind had started to pick up, gale force winds had been forecast and they might just give him the opportunity to get wind borne.

He cantered to the edge of the field he was in and easily jumped the low fence. He knew there was a cliff edge close by; his master had ridden him there many times.

He picked up speed and galloped head long at it – it was his only chance. As he approached he opened his wings out as far as he could and moved them up and down in anticipation. 

He leapt, flapping as fast as he could. For a moment he hung there and he thought all was lost; he was going to take a nose dive and end up as a pile of scrap metal at the bottom of the gully. But a gust caught him and picked up his wings and he felt himself lift up, higher and higher.

The other horses had seen him go and came to join him. They glided alongside him, no longer jeering but encouraging.

‘Wow, Glint, you look great! Come and loop the loop with us!’

But when Glint banked round, his wing tip caught the underbelly of one of the other horses and ripped it wide open; blood and guts fell from the sky, and the horse along with it. There were screams and screeches as the others rushed after their friend, and Glint was left alone in the sky, mortified and guilt ridden.

When he landed back down on the pasture, he trotted over to the cliff edge and watched the other horses mourn their friend. He hadn’t meant to hurt anyone; he’d only wanted to join in.

He tossed his head up in the air and let out a deafening neigh that echoed off the cavern walls, causing everyone at the bottom to look up at him. Then he backed up, and, in full gallop, went over the edge of the cliff. This time he didn’t open his wings or catch any of the wind currents, he let the weight of his metal body hurl him down into the ground at the bottom.

What would be the point of life of being left alone and shunned as a murderer?