Wednesday 4 May 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 248

This week's picture prompt was taken by British photographer, Paul Hart, for his series, Drained. The title being in relation to the area in Lincolnshire in the UK that has been drained of the sea - reclaimed land (much like where I live in Holland). I don't often go for Black and White photos as I am not a big fan of them on the whole, but this one really struck me.  

This picture called for a touch of sci-fi this week.

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A black and white image of a four way crossroads in the middle of nowhere, with a Give Way sign on the left and one on the right facing another direction, and overhead power and telephone wires, in foggy weather. Taken by Paul Hart


Cranthian stood at the corner, waiting. He knew he was in the right place even though it was foggy, although he couldn’t be a hundred percent sure which direction he was facing, but he did remember the Give Way sign. In fact, a smirk crept across his face when he saw it. He couldn’t help it.

It hadn’t been funny for Sandra, or for the poor guy she’d pulled through with her. Hitting metal at that speed could be fatal, but fortunately their combined speed and weight had down it before it could do too much damage.

He sauntered over to it and shook the pole. They probably thought it had been from wind damage. Flat, reclaimed lands were always windy; nothing to break it across the fields. It was why this was the perfect location. It was remote. You couldn’t have people stickybeaking as you came in and out, it would be dangerous, for you and for them. No, when Panthos had chosen this place, he’d done his research. Between the symmetry of the crossroads and the emptiness of the surroundings, it was perfect. No one would be seen or heard.

Cranthian walked back to the reflector post and sat on it. Not many cars came through this junction. It didn’t lead to any big towns and it wasn’t well lit, but he believed it was also because they sensed the anomaly.

Humans in this dimension had been taught that to feel things was bad. You had to try and pretend all was well and all times and block any emotion or intuition that came forward. It was their downfall and made them generally uncaring of one another, and that, along with the creation of a monetary system, made them difficult to interact with. It was another reason Cranthian was thankful this place was remote. He only passed through here because it was a key portal to other dimensions.

His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar fizzing sound. He stood up. There was a shout of ‘Oh crap!’ as Sandra flung herself to the side, narrowly missing the Give Way sign again. He stifled a giggle.

‘Yeah, I know you think it’s funny, but there has to be something off with the Gallos portal to keep sending me in like this.’

‘You spend a lot of time there, don’t you?’

‘I like them there, they’re friendly.’

‘Too friendly, you mean. They’re all over you as soon as you arrive.’

Sandra grinned. ‘Some of us enjoy the touchy feely. You should give it a go sometime, Cran.’

‘Nope, not my scene.’

‘No, that’s right, you like the dark abyss of Hellion instead.’

‘At least it’s honest.’

Sandra let out a guffaw. ‘I’m not sure I’d call the baiting they do over there honest.’

‘It’s not baiting, it’s expressing.’

‘Yeah, right. Triggering each other until you are screaming at the top of your lungs? Seems like madness to me.’

‘Nothing wrong with a bit of heated debate.’

‘But it’s all pointless, nothing comes of it,’

‘Expressing and knowing where you stand is what comes of it.’

Sandra shrugged. ‘If you say so. Okay, so why am I here? What do you need?’

‘I want to make a run to Raggus. I need to collect some vials for an experiment in Hellion.’

Sandra’s eyes opened wide. ‘Experiment? Why would you do that?’

‘There’s a debate that’s been running for a while that we need to resolve.’

‘But Raggus is more dangerous than here. You infect another dimension it could have an impact on all of them.’

‘It won’t go that far.’

‘You can’t be sure.’

‘Yes, I can. We’ve put a whole list of protocols in place, which is why the debate’s been going on for so long.’

‘You’ll owe me big if I do this with you.’

‘Oh that’s right, you always want something in return.’

Sandra smiled and gave him a wink. ‘When it’s you, Cran, always. How else can I get you to do the things I want?’

Cran laughed and grinned back at her. ‘What’ll it cost me?’

‘You have to come to Gallos with me.’ Her eyes flashed.

He groaned and laughed at the same time. ‘You’re always trying to convert me.’

‘It’s not conversion; it’s coercion.’ She put her finger to her mouth and bit it, giving him puppy eyes.

Cran laughed again. Okay, it’s a deal.’

Sandra put out her hand. Cran took it and pulled her towards him as he took a step to the left. The air fizzed for a second, then the crossroads returned to its deserted state.