Wednesday 25 January 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 279

This week's picture prompt is all over the web and on all the wallpaper websites, but despite hunting for several hours, I can not find a name credited to it on any of them, or find out where it is taken, which is a great shame. I still hope for the day that all pictures can be embedded with their creators name. 

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.

Two straight lines of waterlilies running parallel out across a stretch of clear still water, which reflects the sky and clouds. In the bottom right corner are dark black pebbles indicating a beach or shore of sorts.


When Lauren broke the surface of the water she was surprised to find her path to shore lined with waterlilies. The resort in the distance had no doubt planted them as decoration.

She hadn’t been told anything about the assignment, which was the norm; she had a name and a picture and that was all Lauren needed to complete it. They’d dropped her off in the ocean and told her to swim to shore, so she had done.

As the water became shallower, she stripped off the wetsuit and tank leaving it on a rocky outcrop, out of view of the beach she would be coming in on. Underneath, her black swimsuit made her less visible among the brightly coloured bikini’s on the beach and no-one paid her any attention. She absorbed all the faces as she headed towards the resort.

Lauren walked up to the bar and ordered a drink. The barman treated her as every other guest and she paused, looking back at the open ocean she had just traversed, taking a well earned breather.

Her target was here; she’d already spotted them as she’d walked across the beach. This might be one of her easiest jobs yet, and the beauty of it was she had the rest of the day to enjoy the facilities.

No one questioned Lauren’s presence in the Wellness Spa in the resort, or on the beach, and the buffet restaurant made it easy for her to take a plate and sit away from the guests so no one tried to engage her in conversation, or question why she was here alone in a couples resort.

She sat and enjoyed the sunset on the beach as she prepared for the final step. She had tracked the movements of her quarry and planned when to strike. She planned on being out of here before the bar closed; if it was too quiet it would be more difficult to get back into the water without being noticed.

Lauren got up and dusted the sand off her legs. Wrapping a complementary towel round her waist, she went into the main building. She’d been sent the layout and done a recce so knew where to go; the master keycard she’d been sent with the photo in hand. Other guests would just think she was walking to her room.

The card gave the green light and she carefully opened the door, listening for the sound of the shower. The cascading water was running and it masked her entry as she had anticipated. This particular guest was a creature of habit, and despite being on holiday, liked to go to bed early and read, even though her partner was downstairs enjoying himself at the bar.

Lauren slipped into the bathroom, careful not to be seen in the mirror, and in one swift movement stepped in and twisted her neck. The woman hadn’t even registered Lauren’s presence making it easier. She dried the body off and took it out of the bathroom, dressed it in night attire, then rolled it under the bed.

Then she rummaged through the suitcase and found another night dress and took her place in the bed, making sure only the bedside light was on. She picked up the book from the nightstand and waited. It wasn’t quite to Lauren’s taste; she wasn’t a fan of romance, especially not historical, but she had to play the part.

She heard the partner fumble the lock to the bedroom door and moved down further under the covers, bringing the book up. But he stumbled in, reeking of alcohol, not once looking at Lauren as he undressed and used the bathroom. And when he slid under the covers towards her, reaching out, she took the opportunity to turn and jam the spine of the book into his throat, cutting off air and sound. While he flailed she raised herself up into a more powerful position and twisted his neck too. It was over in seconds. Mission complete.

Lauren didn’t waste any time, and pulled out the other body arranging them both in bed as though curled up together sleeping. She prepped the room, wiping everything she’d touched and then exited the same way she had come in, having removed the night gown and returned the towel to her waist.

Although things were quieter outside, they weren’t yet dead, and she took her time, having another drink before strolling along the beach, the moonless, starlit night having been part of the planning. She wandered off into the green foliage at the side, making her way across the rocks to her wetsuit and tank where she had left them.

Once re-suited, she slipped into the water and used the outline of the waterlilies to lead her back out to sea, and the bouy where she’d be picked up.


  1. The waters closed over the gnomes’ heads. There would have been a trail of bubbles that followed them, but after a few minutes, it would be gone; the air of their exhaust dissipated before it reached the surface.

    “What do you say we head for the waste valve? We could do damage there.”

    Arcady looked back at the others. Hymnal was piloting the submersible, his attention on the navigation display. Jovial was unsheathing a fifteen-inch Bowie, its blade almost as long as his height. Cranwell was dropping into a meditative trance, his eyes staring sightlessly ahead. If her words had engaged with anyone, it’d be Sprout, the most junior member of their team.

    “Are we going to destroy it? Smash it to smithereens? I know we can do that; we’ve got an aquatic grenade.”

    “Not yet,” Arcady replied, restraining her own grin. “We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves yet. We can create more nuisance that way. Make them think they can manage the situation, then hit them again.”

    The submersible continued downward, leaving the lighter waters nearer the surface and dropping into the gloom of the lilies’ leaves. Soon, they’d be entering the realm of the Fairy King, the Toad Queen and their thousands of minions, coexisting in an uneasy equilibrium that they would hopefully soon destroy. It wasn’t just the men from the humans’ mansion they would inconvenience today: they would be fighting a war on multiple fronts.

    “Mistress,” Hymnal said, interrupting the silence. “There are still pike in these waters. Three of them, patrolling twenty yards ahead. What do you suggest that we do? They could finish us if they worked together.”

    The pike had been aloof for generations, their dimly seen forms usually at peace in the lower reaches of the lake. They'd only recently begun to approach the surface, taking ducks and the occasional swan before disappearing into the depths. There was something more going on for them to be here; there could be another alliance the gnomes were unaware of, another set of players looking for dominance.