Thursday 25 May 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 296

This week's picture prompt was created by Gatto Mezzioviaggio. I don't know much about them as they only have an Instagram account with no links. But it says in their bio: 'AI Post-photographies / synthography of Mezzoviaggio cat. "Mezzoviaggio" is the (spurious) Italian translation of Midjourney.' 

A darkish tale of demons. 

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 digitally altered black and white photo of 9 identical black cats in a row on a street, looking like they are coming towards you. Created by Mezzoviaggo


She jerked awake, her body covered in sweat. It was them; they were coming. The recurrence of the dreams had escalated and it wouldn’t be long now.

Tabitha jumped out of bed and ran to the window of her little cottage. The grey muted light of pre-dawn pressed up against the windows. There was a low fog on the ground which wasn’t unusual as the village was low-lying where three river’s met.

Despite its abundance in fertile land, this place had an energy that repelled a lot of folk. But it didn’t repel Tabitha; it was why she was here.

She hoped her plan would be enough against these demons. They were dark and intent, and they wanted her gone.

She moved round the house, casting her wards with utterances and arm waves. She hoped they would help to keep them out.

There were two pots on the stove that were on a constant simmer. She lifted the lid on one and sniffed. They were almost ready.

She returned to her bedroom and dressed swiftly, choosing grey rather than black – easier to disappear in the gloom. She peered out of the window again. Nothing looked different, but she could feel them coming.

Back in the kitchen, she quickly tipped a bit of the liquid into a cup from the left pot, the one that was now ‘cooked’, and sipped on it. She took it with her as she moved round the house repeating the wards while she lit a fire in the hearth in the lounge.

Then she went back into the kitchen and poured a little out of the right pot into a saucer and placed it on the floor. Everything was set.

She went to the front door and wrapped her grey shawl round her shoulders and left the house.

Tabitha walked through the sleeping village out into the woods beyond and then up a hill, where at the top a huge upright stone stood. It hadn’t been crafted, she’d brought it here when she first arrived. It was taller than her but she had ways of moving things which didn’t exert her.

She placed a hand on it and felt the lines crossing, pushing back at her. She also felt their presence; they were moving in, slowly, and heading straight for her cottage. She slid down the stone and slumped onto her knees as the tincture began to take effect. It made her twitch and tremble for a few minutes. She closed her eyes and let it take hold.

Once it had, she got up and ran with all the speed she could muster back to the cottage, but rather than go in she waited on the front porch.

Dawn was approaching but all it did was make the fog glow and swirl. The birds were not yet awake, so the only sounds that reached her came from the demons as they travelled ever faster over the land towards her. The hissing growing louder the closer they came. They were moments from her door now.

She stood up and walked tentatively to her garden wall, listening, then jumped up and perched on it.

She could see them, in the distance bobbing along, their heads just above the mist. Their yellow eyes glistened in the half light. She resisted the urge to jump down and greet them.

There were nine of them and she was only one.

Their arrival was like a swarm and they covered the grounds of the house sniffing and licking and looking. Then they climbed, jumping up onto the roof and doing the same there. The fire in the hearth blocking their exit in via the chimney.

There was no way in, Tabitha knew that. She waited on the wall. They hadn’t notice or sensed her. She was pleased her plan had worked. She’d thought they were more astute, but a demon with a focused purpose missed the obvious. They were expecting to find her as herself, not as one of them – a black cat.

They sat around the cottage for some time. She basked on the wall watching the sun rise keeping her eye on them. She wondered how long they would stay.

Then one ear pricked up and then another turned its head and as one they were on the move again, back the way they came.

She watched from her place up on the wall as they disappeared down the road. She saw them turn, going up the hill. She jumped down and followed, keeping her distance.

She tracked them up to her stone where she found them circling it like some kind of collective madness had possessed them – and maybe it had.

They moved faster and faster until they looked like a black rotating circle. Tabitha had to look away, it made her eyes hurt to try to watch.

Then a lightning bolt shot up out of the top of the stone and they vanished.

Tabitha waited a few minutes, but all was quiet. She walked to the stone and sniffed round it. Nothing. They had gone. The stone had taken them. Her work was done.

She padded home and jumped up at the handle of the front door – something they hadn’t thought to do thanks to her wards – and let herself in. And once she had consumed some of the fluid in the saucer her human form returned.

She stoked the fire and sat down by it. Diverting demons wasn’t an easy job but someone had to protect this place.

No comments :

Post a Comment