Thursday 19 January 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 278

This week's pricture prompt is by Cyril Rolando, a French digital artist over on Artstation, and they make some incredible art, the surreal but yet understandable art I love, worth a look. They call this one 'You Belong To Me'. 

I didn't want a standard fairytale, so I twisted this one slightly. 

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 knight in a field on a clear night with all the stars shining, on his knee, shield on back about to lift (or place) a glass bell jar over a pink flowering rose. All around him in the field are other flowering pink roses with bell jars over them. Digital Art created by Cyril Rolando.


‘Legend has it he lifted the lid on all those bell jars that night, killing the lot of them. He believed that if none of them belonged to him, he wouldn’t let anyone have them.’

‘But they were just roses, Gran, surely they needed the air to help them grow?’

‘Oh no, my dear Michael, you misunderstand, they were far more than just roses, and they needed the glass to protect them. They were fragile and precious and full of magic. Exposing them killed them.’

‘But they’d grow back, wouldn’t they? Like all roses on a bush, they die off and then they grow again the next year.’

‘But these roses weren’t ordinary flowers. They represented a different woman, one with knowledge beyond that of any mortal person, a woman with gifted powers.’

‘Witches, Gran?’

‘Hush boy! Don’t be using that word around me! I’ll not have it! Just because a woman is gifted with more power than a man could carry in his little finger, doesn’t make them bad – the opposite in fact. Men liked to use such names to belittle and demean women, making them out to be monsters, to incite the killing of them – which they did plenty of on their pyres later.’

Michael was surprised by his Gran’s reaction, but still smirked. She was getting quite carried away with her tale, one a simple picture he’d found in an art history book had inspired.

‘Like the Salem Witch Hunts?’

‘Oh that was the tail end of it, my dear, far worse had gone on centuries before all over the world, but especially in Europe. That last showdown in the Americas was the start of the awakening.’

Michael frowned not quite knowing what she meant and was about to ask when she tapped her long fingernail on the page.

 ‘Oh no, women holding their power and themselves in flower buds went all the way back to long before the crusades – maybe centuries before that, no one knows anymore; books were not a thing back then, only word of mouth. And him,’ she tapped the page again, ‘he was the one that began the downfall. Before him, women were in charge and things were balanced and harmonious.”

‘You talk like you met him, Gran.’ Michael wondered if she had drifted into the land of make believe which she did sometimes.

‘Oh I never got to meet him, no; he was way before my time. But I met many like him. They made the world a dark place for many a century they did.’

‘And it’s not dark anymore?’

‘Oh no, dear, it’s been on the rise for a good couple of centuries now.’ Michael gave her a disbelieving side look. ‘I know your generation might not think so, with all this uproar going on and all this corruption coming out into the light. I know it seems like they don’t care and have all the power, but that’s not true. We have to see it all, you see, to be able to do something about it.’

“But no one is doing anything about it, Gran.’

She tapped the side of her nose. “That’s what you think, but we are.’

‘Who’s “we”’?

‘The roses that have been in hiding and gathering; they’re on the up rise again now.’

‘How do you know that?’

‘Who do you think is keeping them safe?’

She winked at him and he stared at her, his mouth dropping open.



  1. The Garden of Remembrance.

    “It’s my responsibility to do this,” he tells me. “It was an honour bestowed upon me by the Ancients, those people only a few of our elders remember. It wasn’t up to me to debate the whys and wherefores; it was a duty passed down to me through birth.”

    He pauses, stopping beside one of the bell jars. Beneath it there’s a rose, its flower fully open, its petals turned toward the distant star. It seems to be defiant and ill at ease, its stem barely attached to the ground.

    “This one was for Albrecht Durer. He was a painter. He died many years ago; all of his artwork was destroyed during the rout. He didn’t live to see the dissolution. He was a memory before I was born.”

    He lifts the glass dome and the plant’s stalk shudders, the mist rolling in from all sides. The air under the glass was clear, a microcosm of an earlier world.

    “It doesn’t like it here. It feels misplaced.”

    He lowers the dome and turns it a quarter turn, re-establishing its seating against the soil. The rose immediately begins to stiffen, standing more erect, its flower straining to reach the air at the upper part of its biosphere. He pulls a notepad from his pocket; he writes a couple of lines in a cursive script.

    He hides the pad away again, resuming his patrol. I follow him, knowing he barely knows I’m here now. I’m an irrelevance; an irritation to shrug from his mind.

    We visit Frans Hals and Michelangelo. Michelangelo is a shrub without flowers, its multiple stems thrusting up into a bush-like ball of leaves. It doesn’t have any thorns, but its stalks are vigorous and angular, its vitality more self-assured and calm.

    “My grandmother was the one before me,” he tells me, breaking his silence. “My father was unsuitable.” He says nothing further, but I wonder how it would have been. The shame and the dishonour of being passed over, his mother knowing he was of little worth. She would have tried to have other children, seeking to find the truth of her lineage, knowing that their privilege could be lost if she didn’t.

    We follow the trail further, tracing a path that meandered between the plants, its route passing directly by some and angling away from others. In some places, the track was heavily worn; in others, the ash appeared unbroken; it seemed as though the path changed each day, its route undecided until his feet stirred it into being.

    The track behind us glowed in the starlight and then dwindled away. I would never be able to retrace our steps.

    Antoni Gaudi was followed by Frank Lloyd Wright and Hemingway by Plath, each plant notably different from the last. There seemed to be no end to the number of shrubs and leafy growths growing here, some of their enclosures impossibly large for him to remove.

    I couldn’t understand the reason or logic behind their being here. I hoped he’d explain a little more about them and his responsibilities, his quiet indifference to me making it difficult to break his reserve.

    My patience was close to being exhausted. I couldn’t follow him forever; I had duties of my own, albeit less noble than his.

    The next plant was an amorphous blob of green, suppurating flesh, invisible until its bell jar had been raised. A puff of black mist flowed away from its dome, the growth below emerging as it dispersed.

    This was no rose or sunflower, no hydrangea or rhododendron. It stank of corruption and bile. There were veins of toxic venom threaded beneath its folds, dripping acidic pools onto the ash.

    “And now, finally, we have Presidents’ Row. It’s where our journey ends. Both figuratively and literally. We should never stop remembering them. Our future may depend on it.”

    1. That's a really good piece. The ending rather fitting.

  2. Well. It's words. I have no idea what kind of words. But it's words.

    Sir Hortus The 347th