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.


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.


  1. It's been a while, but I came up with a snippet for this one!

    1. Love the passionate ending. Thanks for joining

      Here's a clickable linke for readers: Reunion

  2. The woods were where the ancestors lived. To walk there was to walk through time, through the ages, everyone knew that. It was where they were taken, to speak to the skies, when they stopped.
    He was too young to have borne a litter yet. His father’s father had stopped, and his father and his uncles, his older cousin cousins and his older sister had made the litter, stripping the thin whips of the willow, soaking them in the brook, then weaving them across the birch branches, drying it in the sun as the shroud was sewn from the sacks and tat hoarded on the edge of the settlement.
    On the day they had carried his father’s father to the woods, lifting the litter on the hoists into the canopy, letting the stopped man talk to the sky.
    The older sister had told him that the sky sent her children, the crows and magpie, to carry the words of the stopped back up up to her that she may hear them better.
    Today was his tenth year. And today he was to learn the way through the woods. To speak to the ancestors, to sit and listen and hear their voices, as they guided him from boy to man.
    Nobody but the ancestors came here, apart from those who carried them on the litters, put them up into the trees. Thus is it, thus was it and thus it ever was, his mother said.
    The night they had taken his father’s father, all in the settlement had gathered in the centre, the place of bricks. In the long ago, his mother’s mother’s’ mother told him, the bricks had been joined up in things like their shelter. The dark waters had come, and the hard wind, the wind from the cloud that made everything fall, that had cast the sickness; it made many stop and most of who remained twisted and failed things. Unable to walk, unable to make others. The bricks were just a reminder, she has said, not to live in joined up things any more.
    So now he walked. Out of the place of bricks, into the vale, up the scarp, down the hill and across the brook. To here, the settlement had followed, from here, he and his sister in were alone: they turned, waved, turned again, and she pushed him forward. Your steps now. You walk now to meet meet those who had gone before. You walk now, to listen. Listen, and hear.
    But, as he walked ahead, into the woods, into the ages, into the world of those who had stopped, he wondered: who had made the steps?

    1. Lovely, really like that. Love a bit of dystopia and I love how you have changed the words - joined up things - such a good way to describe it.

  3. A week late writing this. Hope to be more timely with the current photo. We shall see. Here is my story: ‘Always Red Wellingtons’ - A.J. Walker com

    1. Thanks for joining. The repetition worked well.