Wednesday 25 August 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 214

This week's writing prompt picture is by photographer Brett Nickeson and he calls it Mammatus Road. Mammatus is the type of clouds. Looks incredible. I think it's somewhere in North America. 

We are back again with a Tricky snippet. Not sure if this will be in Book 2 or 3, or even if it will make it into the book. But I do like exploring the characters in these flash pieces.  (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 213)

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.

Clouds at sunset above a dirt road


She wasn’t quite sure where she was: present, past or future. She didn’t recognise this place at all – no, sir, not a bit. And she thought she’d been everywhere; she’d spent years travelling through other time dimensions – how else do you become a master of time? But Tricky hadn’t seen clouds like these anywhere.

And were they clouds? They didn’t move right. They weren’t shaped right. They looked like soft tentacles. They looked threatening. Then she heard a rumbling sound.

She looked back along the red-dust dirt road and saw a truck. Was it him? Had he managed to track her here? She had no idea he was so adept at time travel. She thought she’d been the only one. Her mother had led her to believe that ... or had she? Had that been Tricky’s own conceited belief? She couldn’t be sure; it was all so long ago. But if he’d followed her here she really was doomed, no matter the weather.

A splitting sound cracked the sky and shattered across the strange bobbly clouds causing them to scatter and break. Tricky could see a circle of light appearing and knew it was a portal.

She glanced at the truck heading towards her. Which contained Stanislov, the truck or the portal?

She was paralysed with fear. If she waited she was doomed, but if she jumped into the portal she could be trapped.

She let out a scream of frustration. Bloody men, always causing problems! Why couldn’t they just live in peace! Why couldn’t they just be happy with their lot and not keep trying to sit on top of the cake and dictate who got a slice? Why did they have to always kill off anyone better than them? Why couldn’t they harness everyone’s strength for the greater good.

Oh sodding hell, now she sounded like a flipping politician! She hated him. She hated him so much she wanted to murder him. And she would. She had to if there was ever to be peace again.

Would it be now? Would this be the moment? She looked around the green yet barren landscape. No, it wouldn’t be now. She had no weapon and she had no place to draw energy from. Damn and buggeration! She would make him pay!


She heard a shout from above and there in the circle of light a face appeared. The face of a man she had rejected and shunned, and always considered beneath her. But here he was, saving her arse. She could snog him. In fact, she would as soon as she got out of this shit show.

This meant the truck contained Stanislov and that meant she needed to move – fast!

She drew all the energy she could up out of the ground and flew towards the portal. She felt something tug at her, pulling her back down, causing her to dangle mid-air.

She looked back and saw Dimitry’s twisted features as he leaned out of the cab window arms outstretched trying to take the energy from her.

Tricky took in a deep breath and blew out hard towards the portal. She felt a release and an upward movement, although painfully slow.

‘Keep coming, Tricky! Just a few more inches.’ Nathan was leaning precariously through the portal, arms and hands reaching for her. She put her arms out too and watched the gap between their fingertips close in slow motion.

She took in another breath and pushed it hard out of her lungs as though someone had winded her.

It worked. Her body jerked upwards as Nathan grasped her hands and yanked her through the portal in one swift movement, turning back quickly to seal it with a sweep of his hands.

She lay gasping on the floor for a few seconds then jumped up and flung herself into his arms, their lips meeting. He responded with a passion she never imagined he contained, or at least expected would light her fuse. She’d never been so pleased to be wrong about anyone ever!

When she pulled away he looked as shocked as she felt.

‘You saved my life,’ she breathed.

‘Of course I did, you’re the love of mine.’

He said it so bluntly she could only stand and blink at him. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her waist. She responded by cupping his face and they went in for another session, but they were interrupted by a polite cough.

Tricky spun round. Annie and Safa looked on with embarrassed smiles. Tricky took in the room and realised they were standing in Annie’s living room. 

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 213

This week's picture prompt was taken by Helmut Meyer zur Capellen It is an old wooden storage shed door painted with birds and with a cat flap, in Simonshofen, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany.

Another Tricky snippet. One that is way ahead of where I am currently, but helps me know where I am headed. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 212)

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.

White birds painted on a small blue door in Bavaria, Germany


Tricky heard them land in the trees above her and was grateful for the sound, as she had no idea which way to turn. She hoped they’d lead her somewhere – and fast!

Two magpies swooped down and flew round her in opposite directions, then headed off in one direction, a sure sign she was to follow. She ran after them. They kept enough distance that she could see them and still watch her feet as she dodged round the trees.

With each breath she felt the trees around her lend her their energy. She needed it. Her entire face ached, the exertion putting the swollen bruises under pressure. Her hands could barely grasp her coat which she had managed to requisition before her escape, and keep it held round her naked body and away from trailing branches. She didn’t have time to use the tree’s energy for healing purposes, only to speed her escape.

She knew they had means to track her, which meant they had means to catch her again too. Tricky wasn’t one to bend easily to fear but the thought of returning to that hell hole and their torturous plans filled her with a dread she struggled to shake. If it wasn’t for the focus on the birds she would probably succumb to blind panic.

Then she heard it, something she wished she hadn’t, a loud crack, and one of the magpies fell dead to the floor. Shit! They’d sighted not only her, but her guides. She was completely disoriented and had no idea which direction led her inland and which led her out to sea. She didn’t want the Unsailable Sea to trap her and return her to their bidding.

The single magpie continued on even faster and she called to the trees to fill her with yet more energy and felt her feet almost lift off the ground. But another explosion put paid to the second magpie and Tricky wasn’t sure which way to go. She didn’t dare stop though; the second she did the second she would be lost. If she could get control of her mind she might have a chance to open a rent. And then she had an idea.

Still travelling at high speed through the forest she sought for the tiny piece of Obsidian in her pocket, the last of her collection.

Her fingers struggled to move they were so swollen, and the remains of her nail beds screamed at being pushed against the material as she fumbled the stone into her hand. The same applied when she sought the herbs in the hidden compartment under her armpit. Being much smaller, picking them up was impossible. In the end she dumped the Obsidian in with them and squeezed the entire pocket, inhaling yet more energy from the ground as she cleared her mind and pushed hard.

There was a loud pop and she tumbled forward into an empty space, quickly jumping to her feet and running a finger back along the opening to seal it shut.

She stood panting in the bubble of frozen time, trying to calm her breathing and her thoughts. She had no idea how long she was safe – with Stanislov’s new found skills it might only be a few minutes, but it gave her a chance to regroup and try and locate a means to get out of here.

Then she heard a high pitch screech, followed by successive squawks in a distinct pattern, and a smile spread across her face. She might not be able to see him, but he could see her. Safa hadn’t called him Merlin for nothing. She was saved.  

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 212

This week's picture prompt was taken by Blacklist Media on Flicker. The picture is called The Ghost Forest. It is called the Neskowin Ghost Forest, and is located in Neskowin in Tillamook County, Oregon, United States. It is the remains of an ancient forest believed to be about 2000 years old. Researchers believe they died due to an earthquake in North West and a subsequent Tsunarmi dated 26 January 1700. You can read more about it here 

It's a Tricky Book 2 snippet again this week. (Last Tricky Tale was on Week 209)

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.

Tree stumps on a beach, in Neskowin, Oregon USA - The Neskowin Ghost Forest


As Tricky came over the hill she saw the lake glistening in the afternoon sun. The water was low today. No one understood how it could ebb and flow like it did, being that it was miles from the sea, but there were times it was high and times it was low. Today it was low and it uncovered the remains of the forest that had been there before the shift.

There was something sacred about the stumps when they were exposed; trees at their most raw and vulnerable. People thought they were dead, but they knew little about how forests lived and maintained their community. These trees might not produce foliage anymore but their lineage had not been forgotten. The underground system of roots meant that there was always food for them, and they still added historic value by informing the new growth of their ancestry. Much like humans felt a sense of belonging by knowing where they came from, trees used the stumps of those past to learn about how to live in the present.

Tricky approached the shore and the closest stump. She put her hand on it, and felt the energy flow into her. It was strong and bold, and as bright as if it was a hundred foot tall. But she also knew it was linked to all the other stumps and the living trees as they resonated with the same energy flowing through them. Some were brighter than others and had their own vibration, and the depth of green altered, but they lived as one. Her heart filled with love for them, and she skipped off into the woods on this side of the lake to find the glade where she would make contact with The Rabble. 

Monday 9 August 2021

Review: Madame Monvoisin's Emporium of Extraordinary Adventures - Volume 2, by Michael Wombat

Madame Monvoisin's Emporium of Extraordinary Adventures: Volume 2: Villeneuve-sur-GravoisMadame Monvoisin's Emporium of Extraordinary Adventures: Volume 2: Villeneuve-sur-Gravois by Michael Wombat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The sequel to Madam Monvoisin Volume 1, does not disappoint. The ending is superb and I was right on the edge of my seat. I have to say I was a bit relieved too, as there was no telling how that was going to end!

Michael Wombat is a master storyteller. Not only does he weave this historically accurate tale around a large selection of his short stories and pieces of flash fiction in a way that is beguiling, but he delivers a story around them that is full of intrigue, and engaging characters.

The continuing story of Etienne and his friendship with Madame Monvoisin follows on from the cliffhangar of the first volume, and we find out about Madame Monvoisin's underground group of aristocrats and what they all get up to. She is involved in far more than just artifacts that can send a person to another place and time for a moment, and discover how she pays the price for it.

I would recommend reading both of these books and anything else written by Michael Wombat if you enjoy great writing, and unique stories.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 211

This image is taken from a short film called Coven by writer/director Mark Borchardt. It was taken from a gif, which is found here where there is a review of the film. 

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.

The Voices

They crowd in, getting closer and closer. I am powerless to stop them. I want to scream at them to leave me alone, to go away, that I am done with them, but I am paralysed with fear. Their darkness flows round them, like capes billowing in the wind, demanding that I join them; that I convert to their way of thinking, but I refuse. I will not be turn to their beliefs.

I am a good person. I have value. I am not wretched. I do not have to prove myself or justify my existence. I am not a burden. I do not have to be subservient to others to give my life meaning. I am enough as I am.

They kept coming, pushing in, closer and closer, their whispers starting to fill my head. I push their words back, not allowing their voices in to twist my thoughts and mind, filling it with ideas that will lead me to become as dark as them.  

I will not succumb to that darkness, to that fate. I am strong. I can be more than the demons that surround me. I can resist and hold firm in my inner faith and believe in my fundamental goodness.

They are jostling me and taunting me, daring me to be a part of the darkness they encompass. But I resist. They will not have me.

I breathe deeply, and they take a step back. I take another breath and they fall back further. They recede and I feel relief. I don’t fear them anymore. They can not turn me against myself. Their nasty words hold no power over me. I am worthy.