Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 295

This week's picture is by photographer Swen Stroop. He calls this one Full Circle. It is of the Callanish Stones in Scotland. He has some amazing shots from various places in the world, definitely worth having a look. 

Another Tricky tale as I ramp up to writing book 3 in June. Testing out some ideas and seeing how they feel. The last Tricky tale was on Week 293

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 stone circle with the setting behind it and it shining through the central stone. The ground around is green grass. It is of the Callanish Stone in Scotland, taken by Swen Stroop.

Nexus Point

Tricky reached the peak of the hill and looked across the craggy land, all dishevelled and broken. The trees were moving in at the edges, but hadn’t yet covered it. There weren’t any dwellers here; the ground was mostly volcanic rock and granite. A couple of hundred years hadn’t broken it down enough to be workable. But the trees would find a way and one day it would flourish.

And then she saw it. Her mother had said it was here: the stone circle.

It was astounding what had survived the shift, but Tricky knew that this had been laid in such a way it wasn’t going to be easily moved. Strong power lines lay across the Earth and despite the disruption of the shift, they didn’t move. Plus they knew how to erect things back then – not in the time just before the shift, but a few thousand years before that when this had been built.

Humans before the shift thought this was some kind of religious effigy – which seemed to be what they thought about anything they didn’t understand. But it was just the bones of a house; a large house for its time, probably a meeting house, maybe where they traded, but just a house. Religion didn’t take hold until the dark years a couple of thousand years later, when humans became so populated that greed took over and wars were raged. Religion became a useful tool to manipulate folk, take over their land and putting them into servitude, while milking them at the same time: ‘give us your treasures and it’ll buy you a ticket to absolution after you die’. What a great con! And Tricky thought she was tricky!

The shift had occurred at the peak period of such behaviour and brought it all crashing down around their ears. It’s what happens; nature finds a way to cleanse much better than any imaginary god.

Still this circle was a sight to behold, and the energy shone all around it, making it glow. As she moved closer, the golden energy it emitted encompassed her, and she breathed it in. But it didn’t fill her up like other energies, instead it washed her own, polishing it until it glowed in the same way. Tricky felt renewed.

She moved into the circle and stood in its centre. The point where it came together was the strongest and it was here she was going to try an experiment.

If she had it right, this would be where she could open a line to multiple pockets of times, sort of a nexus point. But she wasn’t sure.

She brought out her obsidian with a piece of germwort wrapped round it, and opened her tin of creasy. She took in a deep breath, feeling the golden air going into her lungs and blew across the stone. It sparkled. Then she sprinkled a pinch of creasy over it.

She was thrown back by the loud crack that displaced the air, and a gap appeared in front of her running way up above the stone circle. It had layers. She was looking at multiple places on top of each other, like a bookshelf. She could pick and choose where she wanted to go. Or in this case, where she planned to leave him.

Most of these pockets weren’t accessible anywhere else on the landmass, because there was no where else this powerful. And being able to return was unlikely unless you could find a point over there as powerful; it could take years. Tricky was grateful to the ancient civilisation who’d built this, but she doubted they had known. They were probably just drawn to it and been oblivious like most people.

It didn’t mean he wouldn’t know about this place though, he might, but did he know what it could do? She doubted it. Even her own mother hadn’t known. And until this moment it had been just an inkling in Tricky’s suspicious mind, which only developed after extensive research now she had her books back.

Tricky preened herself a little. Oh yes, she was the true master of time. She knew that. He liked to distract himself with too many things to honestly understand the purity of it. He fiddled about in the now, using it for his personal gain. He pretended to be a great mentor, but none of his underlings came close to their full potential and he liked it that way.

If Tricky achieved this she was doing them a service – and the rest of the landmass. Without Gandalf, aka Douglas Bottle, lending the network his gifts, they would no longer be able to manipulate and con others into doing their bidding. You needed power for that, and he was their link to it.

Oh yes, if she could pull this off they might be able to settle down to living and build their society in a healthy way. Ridding herself of her would-be assassin was just an added benefit. Oh yes it was.

So now she knew, what next? She’d spotted a particular dark little place about half way up. Yes, that would do nicely, but now to work out how to lead him there. Tricky set her tricky mind to work on it as she closed up the opening, safe in the knowledge she might have a solution.  


  1. Standing Stones

    I watch Jacqueline eating another sandwich, her dull, bovine jaws bearing down on another wad of bread. She chews on each mouthful thirty-two times, her eyes closed as she counts every single bite, progressively transferring her food from the front of her mouth to the back, meditating as she tears and gnaws at every morsel she ingests. I can’t believe I haven’t grown accustomed to it. But it still annoys me every time, her exaggerated chewings repeating themselves as regularly as a mechanism.

    I watch the weather too. I watch everything. I watch other people going about their business. Their casual unwatched, ordinarily active lives. I watch random women and men closing and then locking their doors, not needing to return, lacking the compulsions that compel them to turn around, retrace their steps, and then try the handle again. I watch and listen to each one of them, never hearing them count as they repeat themselves, again and again.

    I look at the stones that surround us. I turn on my heel and spin, beginning to count, then rejecting the compulsion, knowing how easily it could take hold. I’m not the one who needs to do that; I can be myself, just witnessing life as it happens, not needing to measure or quantify every step, every stone, and every breath I take. I scan what I see, and follow it, letting the narrative flow, pulling me along in its wake.

    Jacqueline’s still eating; she’s opened a packet of crisps - her hands and jaws working together in partnership, methodically emptying and filling, at the same time, shifting her snacks from a foil bag and then delivering them unseen to her stomach. She’s counting again – of course, she is; she never stops – shifting from English to German and then Italian and French, comparing her tallies in each of the languages she knows, looking for a mistake in her totals.

    “So, what do you think, Jack?” I ask, hoping to knock her out of her track. “Do you feel any connection, a link to others who’ve been here before? Do you sense the calmness of isolation, the divergence of our destinies pulling us apart? Or is there nothing but the void, a perpetual carrier tone, without pauses or modulations?”

    Jacqueline shook her head, her lower jaw slowing. She blinked and put her bottom lip between her teeth, her current crisp forgotten.

    “It’s thirteen,” she said. “Thirteen in this ring. And then there are another two rows. And then another five more. There are approximately fifty stones remaining here now, although it was originally more. I’m sure there must have been about two hundred and eighty-three of them at one time, way back when it was completed. But nobody who knows now will ever share all their secrets, not even if we eviscerated them. And they’re gneiss. Lewisian, of course. But I’m sure you already knew all that.”

    I took a quick breath, and I gaped. I felt the stones beneath me quiver. I looked down at my feet, needing the security of knowing they were soundly planted. And I swallowed back a mouthful of nothing but my own spittle, licking my lips without knowing why I was doing it.

    “What else do you know?” I asked. “I didn’t buy a guidebook.”

    “I know that I’m hungry,” she said. “I hope you’ve brought some more of those biscuits I like.”

  2. Not really sure what genre this would fall into, but I think this is basically an ode to authors everywhere. Imagination