Wednesday 27 April 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 247

This week's picture prompt I believe was created by Lucas Zoltowski, and used to be up on his DeviantArt page, but it has since been deactivated. You can see his work on Behance, but this image is not there. It is however all over the web and used as wallpaper, but TinEye photo search tells me that it was posted back in 2009 and the name of the file was Broken Hearts by Lucas Zoltowski. By the style I'm confident it is his image.

Difficult to come up with something different, but I think I managed it. A bit of science fiction this week. 

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 digitally created image of a shattered glass heart with the red fluid inside leaking out, on a red background. Created by Lucas Zoltowski


Evelyn saw the heart was shattered and oozing red liquid. She didn’t know what to do.

‘What happens if I take it out? Can you survive without it?’

The hybrid’s eyes rolled towards her. It whispered, ‘I don’t know. I don’t think so.’

‘But I can’t see anything attached to it,’ she said as she removed it carefully, the liquid from inside dripping through her fingers.

‘I think it’s what emanates from it rather than what is attached. It has special thermic pathways as well as radiographic.’

Its eyes started to flutter. She didn’t think she could save it; she didn’t know enough about the systems it had been build on.

Evelyn took the broken heart over to the counter in the pharmacy where the hybrid had been attacked. She wondered if there was a way to glue the external surface and re-implant it. As far as she understood the fluid would regenerate.

‘What glues do you have? Do you have any skin glue?’ she asked the cowering shop keeper.

He’d been squatting behind the counter since the incident, even though the thugs had since run out of the premises. His wide, startled eyes blinked up at her.

‘I don’t know. It should be along the aisle where the plasters are.’

‘Well do you think you can go and get it for me? I think my hands are pretty full at the moment.’

Her eyes looked down at the oozing mess barely retaining its shape as the pieces kept moving out of place. She glanced back at the hybrid whose eyes were now closed. She didn’t know if her efforts would be pointless, but she had to try.

The shopkeeper leapt up and rushed round, running down one of the aisles. Evelyn hoped he was coming back.

Eventually, after a silent pause, she heard his footsteps again as he came back with a couple of tubes in his hands. He went to put them on the counter. 

‘You’re going to have to help me. I can’t do this on my own. You’ll need to run the glue along the cracks while I try and keep the material in place.’ She hesitated to call it glass; it looked like it, but it didn’t feel like it. It was some kind of polymer, too soft to be glass, yet strangely static in its flexibility.

The man opened up a tube and, with a surprisingly steady hand, ran the contents along the cracks. Evelyn could feel it bonding. ‘I think it’s working.’

It took two tubes to seal it, or at least to stop the fluid leaking.

‘Okay, now for the proof in the pudding.’

‘What?’ The shopkeeper frowned at the expression.

‘Let’s see if it will hold.’

Evelyn carefully carried it back to the hybrid, which hadn’t moved at all since she’d taken it out. She wasn’t confident, but she gently replaced it back into the holder inside the chest cavity and mopped up the rest of the fluid as best she could, before pushing the edges of the torso back round it, and making sure they met. She beckoned to the shopkeeper to bring more glue and he quickly squeezed another line along the crack.

They both stood next to it and waited. There was nothing for a few seconds, which felt like an eternity, then the eyes gave a long slow blink and the mouth opened. There was the sound of rushing air as it took a breath. The eyes rolled round to Evelyn and focused on her.

‘Thank you. You saved my heart.’

‘I did my best, I’m not sure it will hold. I suggest you go back to the lab to get it examined.’

It slowly sat up, and then brought itself to standing. ‘I think I will go home and rest first. Give it time to regenerate.’

It took a step closer to Evelyn, moving into her personal space. It leaned forward slightly, and she wondered if it was attempting to kiss her. She’d never heard one show emotion before. But it brought its hand up and a finger brushed her cheek.

‘I’ve heard of the human concept of kindness, but I’ve never seen, heard or experienced it until now. It has a gentle touch. It gives me hope that your species might yet survive.’

It smiled at her and walked out of the shop without looking back.

Evelyn watched it go and then turned to the shopkeeper.

‘If we don’t, they won’t either.’


Saturday 16 April 2022

Nocturnal Nibbles, FREE over Easter weekend

Not everyone likes chocolate. I know, that's a shocking statement and I don't get it either, but it's true. So with that in mind, this Easter I've decided to give away the Kindle version of one of my books, my horror collection, Nocturnal Nibbles

Nocturnal Nibbles is a collection of thirty bite-sized pieces of flash fiction for you to devour. Containing short sharp tales of murder, revenge, penance, sacrifice, supernatural scares, monsters and spooks, it offers an array of horror to delight.

It a collection of stories that have been published previously in various online magazines and anthologies, alongside a couple of new stories that have never appeared anywhere - not even on my blog

It's free for four days: 
Friday 15th of April - Monday 18th of April
so download it now by clicking on the picture below.

But remember, it's not for the fainthearted!

Thursday 14 April 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 246

This week's picture prompt was taken by German photographer, Gordon Adler. it was taken in Chestnut avenue, Briest, Germany, and he calls it Misty Path.

A picture that is perfect for a little bit of Tricky's tale. The last time I wrote about here was Week 241.

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 photograph of a double-track path through a woods. Ahead are shafts of sunlight coming through the trees and creating a haze in the air. Taken by Gordon Adler in Briest, Germany

Path of Discovery

She stepped carefully out onto the path. She was deep into their territory now and caution was warranted. Even though there were defined parallel tracks Tricky wouldn’t call it a road, but it spoke of the passing of some form of vehicles; something had been pushed or pulled through here regularly enough to create them.

The clouds shifted, causing shafts of sunlight to cut through the canopy and light the way. But the way wasn’t clear, there was a mist and Tricky wasn’t sure if it was manmade or natural. If natural she would expect something like The Rabble to appear at any moment. It had a fae feel to it and it unsettled her. But manmade threw up more questions, although it could be smoke or steam coming up from their underground bunkers.

She took a deep breath and touched a piece of birch leaf to the peridot, feeling relief as the veil enclosed her, cutting her off from prying eyes. Then she tapped into the root energy of the trees and reached for the quartz in her other pocket, her feet lifting up as soon as she touched it. It was the only safe way to travel in these parts. She might be invisible but footsteps still made sound. And with the network clearly having harnessed the abilities of the gifted folk, she couldn’t take any chances.

She moved in and around the trees and watched from her airborne view. Nothing moved, which was in itself unnatural in a forest. She wasn’t the only one holding her breath. She moved into the mist and it thickened. It was a shield of some sort, she was sure of it, although in her invisible state she couldn’t use her senses to test it.

She moved higher up and settled on a branch of a large pine. She released the peridot and birch leaf and felt her visibility return. She sniffed the air but there was only the normal forest scent. She reached out her energy to track its source. It was definitely ground based, but it was further along the path. She cloaked herself again and continued on.

The mist grew into a fog and Tricky moved back among the trees to use them as a compass to find the origin point. They helped show the way through her mind’s eye until eventually the square in the ground it was emitting from was revealed. She wondered if they were doing this deliberately to obscure it from view. But why would they do that unless they knew someone was seeking it?

Tricky chuckled. Oh yes, her; they knew she was coming. She’d overheard Stanislav getting stressed about it. But really, this was a trick? She was way beyond this, and everyone knew it.

Something prickled at her conscience, and her gut responded with a hard dropping sensation. That’s because it was deliberate; it was a trap!

She pushed her finger down hard onto the quartz and shot up into the tree canopy. Her sudden movement broke the cloud of fog and it swirled. Men appeared out of the ground a few feet away and rushed to where she’d just been. They stood bewildered looking round, and then they separated, going into the woods on either side, clearly searching for her. She’d narrowly avoided capture.

Tricky chided herself for her naivety. She wasn’t the only player in this game. She wasn’t the only one with lots of tricks up her sleeve. They had lots too, and they were much sneakier than her – in fact they were trained in sneaky; they lived and breathed it every day in their secret underground bunkers. She had to lose her cocky attitude of thinking she was better than them. In fact she had to assume they were better than her; that they had the same knowledge as her. It was hard. She liked being queen of her particular castle. She would relent to other gifted folk, but not these double-dealing, murderous shysters who were extracting other people’s gifts to gain power. They weren’t worthy of living on the underside of her shoe!

But whether she liked it or not they’d just bested her. She had to be more than cautious, she had to be vigilant from here on out. Her life depended on it.

Wednesday 6 April 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 245

This week's picture prompt is by US artist Jeffrey Smith. He calls this one 'Surrender'. He has some incredible artwork, so I really do encourage you to take a look. 

This week is just an expression of emotion rather than a full story - or a glimpse into someone's life. 

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 artist drawn image of an empty wooden rowing boat in the middle of the ocean as storm clouds part and an orange sunset shines through the middle behind the boat, reflecting in the water. Created by Jeffrey Smith


She pulled back hard on the oars, channelling all her rage into them. It lifted the nose of the boat high up over the next wave as the storm thrashed around her, manifesting the anger she felt into something tangible.

She’d had enough. She was so tired of repeating herself and not being heard by anyone in her life. She was a side line in someone’s peripheral view; they glimpsed her when it suited them.

She’d been pushing her rage down for years and now it had exploded; she’d walked out of her life. She’d imagined this moment for many years and hoped it to be so much more, but as she pushed down on the oars and dragged this tiny boat through treacherous waters, it wasn’t as magical as she had hoped.

The tears on her face mixed with the rain and the salt water spray as the wind driven waves slapped the sides of the boat. She’d cried all the way out here into the middle of the ocean, but finally the heaves of her chest started to reduce along with the storm.

She felt the anger begin to ebb and the energy in her arms slow. She pulled the oars into the boat and let it drift on the waves. She could see a break in the clouds, and the sun poke its way through. The churning waves began to still, and the sunlight threw cascades of glitter across their surface.

She sat motionless watching the beauty unfold around her, her mind empty, the rage spent.

The now gentle motion lulled her as she released the last sighs of frustration from her body. She drank in the scene of the sun setting, the orange glow lighting the water as though it was full of fire, reflecting how she’d felt just moments ago.

But as the edge of the sun touched the water it occurred to her that she had to return, she had no other choice; she couldn’t stay floating out here indefinitely – not in the dark.

She took the oars once again, this time with calm purpose, and turned the boat around. When she got back, she would no longer tolerate the disrespect and disregard; she would create the life she wanted, and surround herself with people that cared. She would be the person she knew she was inside. The rhythm of the rowing helped reiterate this mantra so that by the time she saw the darkened shore, she was ready to take on the world.