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. 


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 198

This week's prompt was taken by a photographer referred to as John T, in this article. But the link attached to his name's leads to a Page 404 not found. 

But in the meantime this sculpture is by Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrázabal called the Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert), it's located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, 75 km to the south of the city of Antofagasta, on the Panamerican Highway. The nearest point of reference is the Ciudad Empresarial La Negra . It lies between the 1309 and 1310 km marker points on the highway - should you wish to visit. Besides this, he has made some incredible things, worth a look. 

After trying to find the story I had in mind, I came up with another. I rather like 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.


A photo of Mano del Desierto (Hand of the Desert)scuplture, in Atacama Desert, Chile

Ball

‘What do you feel?’

‘It’s airy and warm on the other side. It’s not what I expected.’ Ilax wiggled their fingers.

‘But Zanthed said you had to leave it there for a while to get the full effect.’

‘How long?’

‘Not sure, maybe five minutes or so.’

‘This is a trick, right? You’re going to laugh at me.’

Prixit shook their head. ‘No, I wouldn’t do that to you Ilax. It’s real, honest. You wait, soon you should feel it.’

Ilax sat there with their fingers stuck in the ball. They felt stupid, but Prixit was earnest, and they didn’t think they’d be pulling a fast one. Then Ilax felt something.

‘Oh, it feels all prickly and itchy, like there’s something on it and I can’t scratch it. Oh that’s horrid.’

Prixit laughed. ‘That’s what Zanthed said.’

‘So what do I do now? I want to take it out.’

‘No, no, give it a minute. Tolerate it for a bit, you’ll see it will be worth it.’

Ilax huffed. ‘Okay. But it better be worth it.’

‘You’ll see.’

Prixit got them some drinks, and they sucked on their straws while Ilax sat there feeling stupid.

‘Oh, it’s stopped now.’

‘Quick, take it out!’

Ilax pulled their hand back out and looked at their fingers. There were marks all over them, all different colours. Prixit got a magnifying glass and they inspected them.

‘What do you think it is?’

‘Words or something. They’re trying to communicate I think.’

‘But what are they?’

‘No one is really sure.’

‘Why don’t they just cut the ball open?’

‘Oh no, they said that would be disastrous for whatever it is living in there.’

‘So? At least we would find out. It’s not like it’s the only ball with things living in it. There are hundreds of them in the archives.’

‘I know. They said God gathered them there.’

‘I bet they did. They’re always interfering in the lives of other living things, have been for years. They’re considered a real troublemaker by Hexian law.’

‘But they didn’t stop them doing it.’

‘They never do.’

Ilax looked at his hand. ‘Can I wash this off now?’

‘No, we have to make some copies first. Let me get the scanner.’

Prixit went to fetch the apparatus as Ilax mused at the scribbling on their hand. It was fascinating.