Thursday, 30 March 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 288

This week's picture prompt is another of my own photos, this time from a Holiday Inn Express in Sloterdijk on the outskirts of Amsterdam, when attending the F1 race weekend at Zandvoort last year. I though it was very thought provoking. 

As my mind is turning to the next Tricky novel, I am using some of the prompts as ideas. The last Tricky tale was Week 286

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.

Looking down a hotel corridor, with all doors cream and the frames royal blue, with a grey carpet with a blue outlined 3D box pattern on them. Taken in the Holiday Inn in Amsterdam by Miranda Boers


Tricky ran down the corridor, trying to ignore all the strange geometric shapes; that was the trouble with messing about with time, optical illusions could crop up and distract you. She didn’t like the look of that 3D pattern one little bit; it made her eyes go all twitchy and squiffy.

Which one was the right bloody door? All these others were just there for aesthetic value she was sure. She needed to find the right one so she could divert the bloated hippy from following her. She was running out of dimensions to move through.

She tried not to scoff at herself; running out of dimensions? As if! You couldn’t run out of something that was infinite, oh no. And they were, she knew that. But if she kept going, getting back would be tricky – and she didn’t like that. The only thing that could be tricky was her.

She heard a rendering crack behind her, and knew it was only a matter of seconds before he’d see her. Damn!

She rushed to a door on her left and opened it. Some kind of bedroom was on the other side, but she only gave it a cursory glance before shutting the door behind her and resting against it as she caught her breath. She kept her breathing as still as possible as she listened. An oaf like him couldn’t be that quiet, though she was sure he was trying.

Someone went by – in fact more than one someone. He was with a group. There were whispers but she couldn’t work out what they were saying; they moved past too quickly. She waited. She heard a couple of bangs and then another crack. He’d found the door she was looking for; good.

“Excuse me, can I help?”

A voice behind her made Tricky jump.

“Oh I’m so sorry deary, did I interrupt you?” She looked the gent up and down, standing as he was with a towel wrapped round his hips, and another over his shoulders. He wasn’t especially tall, or toned as she normally liked them, but fresh out of the shower was not to be sniffed at.

“Are you housekeeping?”

“Am I what? Oh no, I don’t think so deary, just catching my breath and then I’ll be out of your hair.”

“Is someone chasing you?”

Tricky wasn’t one for sharing with strangers, but it’s not like it would make any difference here.

“You could say that, but don’t worry I think he’s gone.”

“Do you want me to check for you?”

“That would be most kind.” Tricky didn’t pass up chivalry when it offered itself, even half-naked. He moved towards the door and she moved out of the way, but stayed close so she could inhale whatever scented ablutions he was using. They were rather nice.

He stepped out of the door, unphased in his undress, and looked both ways, then stepped back in and closed the door again.

“No one out there now. I couldn’t hear anyone either.”

“Thank you. I don’t know how I could repay you, I’m sure.” She gave him her best come-on smile. The buffoon had gone and taken his minions with him, so she had time to play.

But the gentleman tightened his waist towel and averted his eyes. A shy one.

“It’s no problem, but I need you to go now so I can get dressed,” he said, as he shuffled past her and back into the room.

“Oh sorry, of course deary, but thanks again.”

Tricky flashed a smile at him and returned to the corridor, closing the door gently behind her.

So there were people behind these doors. What was this place? How many other men were there in a state of undress? But she could ponder that another day, now she needed to get moving. It wouldn’t be long before her assailant would suss out she was still here. She went back down the way she had come and found the place he had created his fissure into this dimension. Tracing energy was her thing and it hung in the air as though it was something solid right at that particular spot.

She took her obsidian, with the germwort wrapped round it and found a grain of creasy in her other pocket. She thrust them at the energy, squashing them together, and another crack filled the air, while a split appeared. She peered through it. Yes, it was the same field she had crossed on the way here.

She climbed through, and snapped her fingers on the other side to close it. But rather than leave it at that as she normally would, Tricky took in several rapid breaths and then breathed at the place it had been. She felt the energy change, the air shifting as it fell back in place. He’d have trouble finding his way back now. Good.

And with that she scurried away, back across the field, this time heading for a tree she knew would lead her into a forest just one dimension away from the landmass.


  1. The lights were on but nobody was at home. Not like it was anybody's home really but the expression fit the situation.
    The carpet was industrial grade, meant for long life and easy cleaning, it was also very quiet, not a footstep to be heard. It was strange being here alone, no noise no motion. The hallway had no outside windows so no indication of time.
    But time was on my mind, I only had a short period of time to finish the job. The normal call, an address given and the rest was my problem.
    Being a professional my problems couldn't be anybody else's or I would be out of a job or worse.
    I found the right office, bagged everything that looked out of place or had evidence, a blacklight helped with that. Good gloves, Tyvek coveralls, hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and some lint free cloths, and knowledge was my tool kit. Plastic wheelie bins don't attract attention, a late night cleaning crew goes unnoticed by people driving by.
    Clean as new, or at least as clean as normal, got to love those industrial carpets.
    Those empty halls without sound come back in my dreams but the money stuffed in my pillow helps. Some, a little, some nights, okay, not much, not much at all.

  2. “Take a sip of this. It’s just water.”

    The woman’s voice was unfamiliar, but his mouth was dry. His tongue felt fat and furry. He parted his lips and let the liquid dribble through, pulling his tongue back so it wouldn’t impede it. His head felt like it was being crushed in a vice. And he had no idea where he was.

    “Try to swallow a little more. You’re going to need this.”

    His tongue switched from side to side, trying to harvest a little more moisture. He licked at his lips, feeling them to be cracked and dry. He’d never met this woman before, but she sounded concerned about him; that had to be beneficial. He didn’t know where he was yet: a friend could always be an asset.

    “That’s good. Do you think you can sit up? It’ll be easier if you do.”

    He tried to pull himself upright. He couldn’t feel his hands yet, but he had sufficient strength in his core to do that much. His vision was blurred, and he had a sharp pain across his temples. He began to feel nauseous and coughed a little of the water he’d drunk up against the edge of the cup.

    “Christ Almighty,” she said, backing away. “Do you think you can do this?”

    “I’m not sure,” he said, moaning to himself. “But I know I’ve got to do it.” He felt a soft pressure against his back, and he folded forward. The cup had gone away, for now, and he’d begun to feel like he might live.
    But he wasn’t entirely sure that he’d want to yet. There were too many unknowns; he’d have to regain his mental and physical facilities and ask a few questions first.

    “You’re looking a little better now. You’ve got a bit more colour, and you’ve stopped shivering. I couldn’t find you a blanket, so I loaned you the use of my coat. I hope you don’t mind the colour; it’s not to everyone’s taste.”

    Things began to come into focus. The woman had a small face, almost like a child. She’d picked up the enamel cup again. It was chipped as though it’d been heavily used for years; it was blue, with its cream-white interior worn and scarred with age.

    The coat she’d wrapped around him was uniform-green: a colour commonly worn by Soviet army officers. He didn’t know if that meant anything to him yet; it could have just been a fact he’d known.

    There were very few things he felt sure of yet. He was in no position to question the few he felt comfortable knowing.

    The man nodded, suddenly realising he’d got it clutched tightly against himself, his arms wound about him. “It’s fine,” he said, offering her a smile. “It’s thick, and it’s warm enough for winter. A perfect choice for someone who’s suffering from shock.” He said nothing more, wanting her to continue instead - although a relaxed conversation was one of the last things he felt competent to participate in. Given the option, he’d prefer to let her take the lead. He’d be less likely to damage the tentative relationship they were beginning to establish that way.

    “In case you’re wondering where we are – we’re in Mandala House,” the woman said, surveying the anteroom, her kneeling, him lying half-upright. “It’s got everything you’ll need but virtually nothing you’ll want unless you’re one of those odd people who prefer institutional austere.” She got up from where she’d been squatting beside him and offered him her hand, her kindness making her look a little less severe than the room in his estimation.

    So, this was Mandala House, he thought, stumbling to his feet. At least one major part of his plan had worked, it seemed.

  3. I thought that I could give them doors, at least. They could decide which to enter, but I could give them choices.

    Preferably open doors. I’d slammed into enough in my time. So many that I would flinch away from any door frame. Not that you would notice - I’d made it so the flinching only happened in my head. Not as much room in there to flinch, which may explain the frequent headaches.

    For now I had them here, settled in the hard, unyielding carpet, all in gray. That worked, they certainly had a thing for gray abs on the gray they played with cars, while I fretted about the doors.

    Why did I not think about keys?!

    But keys are only codes and I am good with codes. These doors could swing with codes in cards that sing, if there were such a thing. Perhaps the songs would open this long hall of doors?

    The doors, as I feared, stayed resolutely shut.

    My pulse was pounding counterpoint to the soft and gentle humming as they played with cars. I just have gotten turned around for in this hall both directions seemed the same. The only thing of beauty here was just their simple game.

    And so I left the doors and settled down upon the floor to join them with the cars. For now, we were together, we were happy, and that should always be enough.

  4. Hi All, gone for a Tempus Rock story for this prompt. It made me think Shining and Matrix so went somewhere between! Hope you enjoy :) Moving Hallways