Wednesday 17 November 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 226

This week's picture prompt is from Italian photographer Sergio Pessolano. This is a salt flat in Bolvia - Salar de Uyuni. Sergio calls this 'Just Salt'. He also suggests that the viewer scroll up and down fast. You should see light/shadow changing, depending on the gamma value of your monitor. 

Just a glimpse of what I saw when I looked at this picture. 

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.

An image of a salt flat in Bolivia, with the salt dried out in a pentagonal pattern, and the shadow gives it a purple tinge. There are mountains at the horizon under a cloud broken sky. Photograph taken by Sergio Pessolano

Hallowed Ground

It was in sight at last. He didn’t know how many weeks he had been staggering toward this, but Logan struggled to believe it. He knew what a mirage was; he’d had plenty of them on this journey, yet it was still there.

He tripped over the edge of one of the strange raised pentagons that the salt had shaped into, and fell to his knees. He was grateful for his long trousers, although the knees were thin after the times he’d only had the strength to crawl.

He’d come close to death from dehydration so many times, but fortunately the skies had opened and rain had fallen, and he was able to catch enough to carry on.

He didn’t want to think about where he had come from, he only wanted to think about the future. The pain and captivity were over and that was all that mattered.

He swiped his hand through the air in front of him. The image of the mountains in the distance didn’t waver or change in any way, unlike a mirage. A spark of hope lifted inside him.

He got back up to standing and allowed himself to take a single drop of the rain water he had collected two days ago, and continued with his stagger.

Thoughts of seeing people again entered his head. What would he look like to them? Had the wounds on his face from the continual beatings during his imprisonment healed, or would they still be visible? What would they think of him? Would he be considered weak for having been caught in the first place, or praised for escaping? Few escaped and even less made it across the salt desert.

For a second Logan was filled with terror. What if they took him back? What if they felt he didn’t deserve freedom? What if they returned him?

But his mind at least gave him a reprieve from those thoughts; he knew that escapees were never sent back and that they were hailed as survivors, his own uncle had been one. Maybe it was in the genes.

His mind continued to ponder all the notions and he let it run like credits at the end of a film, watching his feet as he continued to move forward. When he lifted his head again the mountains had grown and he could see details. This was no mirage. He was almost home.

The way the clouds covered the sky above and the sun sat behind the mountains, it gave them a halo as though he was headed for hallowed ground – which to Logan he was.

For over four years he had been trapped and confined in that hell hole, and despite the initial excitement of freedom and space, the salt desert had become its own prison. Empty of life and hope with no sense of place or direction, if it hadn’t been for the sun Logan would have been lost or dead. And now with it there, lighting up his destination, actual liberation was within his grasp.

For the first time since he’d broken out, the surface beneath his feet began to change. The pentagon pattern was beginning to disappear as yellow sand and grit replaced it. Soon he could feel hard stone under his shoeless toes. He would reach the town soon. He increased into a staggering lope.

Lights in the distance came into view and increased the closer he came. The land opened out and cultivated swathes of earth appeared between the rocks. He could smell the sweet smell of desert dried foliage in the air.

Tears came to his eyes as he walked, he couldn’t help it, he was beyond thankful he could behold life again, instead of a cell wall. He had dreamed of this moment.

He started to see people farming the land. A few looked up and then he saw people running towards him, calling to others for help. As they reached him the last of his strength gave out and he collapsed into the arms. Safe at last.


  1. A frugal fantasy flash fiction tale for this week's challenge called The Darkening.

    1. Ooo! But they could wade! Good story. Nice take. Thanks for joining.