Wednesday 7 December 2022

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 273

Hello, I'm back after a nice long break, after a busy two months, which included a holiday, procrastinating about writing a book, and trips here and there. I start afresh with a Tricky tale, as I brainstorm the third and final (for this storyline) book. I haven't written one since Week 269.

This week's picture prompt is a photo taken by Shanghai Hannah. She posted it on twitter for a #SundayPix theme called Liminal (the spaces between). She said: 'One of the no longer used entrances to the ancient Chinese water Town Xitang'. That is in Jiashan CountyZhejiang, China.  

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 metal-studded  black double door in the middle of a white wall with greenish water in front of it, with a board above in Chinese letters, covered by the swooping roofs of oriental design. It's an old entrance to the ancient Chinese water Town in Xitang, Jiashan County, Zhejiang, China.

Blood River

Tricky hadn’t used this entrance into the city before; it was old and disused thus perfect for her clandestine plans. She had no doubt that there were spies all around having a good nose at what she was doing. The alarm had been raised; they knew she was missing, even if they hadn’t managed to find her yet. The trees and the birds were very effective at creating diversions and distractions. She might have thought she was better off without the company of furry or feathered companions, but she was wondering if she should reconsider.

The water sloshed as the boat approached the metal-studded doors. They creaked in their old age when they opened and pushed back the water. They were remnants from a city that had been in the far east of the world before the shift, along with the rest of Chestwick. But there’d been no survivors from that city due to the landmass being so close to the epicentre of the event. The entire piece of land had been submerged by the sea and then risen again, as was evident from all the rivers and waterways in and around it. This had made it a prime location for trade as the washed out buildings were accessible by water.

She turned the oar in its lock to steer it through the doorway, and glanced into the water on either side of her, resisting the images the name conjured: Blood River.

It had been how they’d known there were no survivors; it had been chock full of dead bodies. But the red colour hadn’t been blood as many believed, but instead a bacteria that had thrived on the high salt content in the water, after the receding seas had left it there. And although the bacteria had died off over the last century as the salt content had reduced, the name had stuck. People still liked to spread rumours of it being blood; those that hadn’t been given the opportunities Tricky had. They hadn’t learnt about water and chemistry. She’d come from a privileged background, although most wouldn’t know it – which was just how she liked it.

As Tricky guided the boat into the tunnel behind the doors she tried to recall the image of the map Nathan had sent her during one of their medie sessions. She knew some of the layout of Chestwick, having visited a couple of times in the past, but this time she was taking a more discreet route to get to The Baron. Annie had told her he was expecting her. She only hoped he would come alone. She really didn’t look forward to the conversation ahead of her, but she especially didn’t want an audience when she did.

Tricky tried again to come up with an opening sentence but couldn’t, short of hello. Giving a father bad news about his son wasn’t something you could prepare for; you just had to hope that they didn’t punish the messenger. Would he believe her? Would he support her? She was now on the run and nowhere was safe. She had no idea what she was going to do after this. There would be no returning to her cabin, not with Nathan there; she needed to keep him as her secret ally. She couldn’t stay anywhere that was familiar. She had to disappear, and maybe that was exactly what she’d do, vanish into another time until Tumelo had resolved this – if he could resolve it.

But something niggled at her, and Tricky knew what it was: while Douglas Bottle was alive even another time wasn’t safe, no matter where it took her – or when. Could he track her? She knew there were ways of doing it but did he possess them? She didn’t know, but with what he had shown her so far, it was quite possible. And she had to think in those terms now; underestimating him had almost cost her, her life. She wasn’t going to do that again, oh no, not Tricky. She was going to live up to her name this time.


  1. So glad the prompts are back! Hope you had a lovely break :)
    Here's my offering for the first prompt back. Always Be Prepared

    1. Great bit of comedy! LOL Thanks for joining.

  2. May have sent the wrong link. If I did, here's the right link.

    I Had Time