Tuesday 20 June 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 300

This week's picture prompt was created by Hungarian artist Sarolta Bán. She has some incredible art, and in fact I have used one of her pictures before back on Week 24 - in the early days of me running this challenge. And I have another one due to be used in the coming weeks, and there will be more in the future. They are just so thought provoking. 

Another Tricky tale, maybe I'll use it in her books, maybe I won't. But I do love developing the stories. The last one was on Week 297

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 canva painting on an easel showing a cowboy walking away from the painting on a beach. The easel is standing on the same beach, so the painting looks like a mirror. There is a white dove in flight approaching the painting, and a colour painting palette on the ground. Created by Sarolta Ban.


Tricky heard a fluttering and watched two birds land on the beach behind her. They weren’t the corvids from Lucien’s flock, so who were they? They eyed her and she wondered if Douglas Bottle had them in his employ. Had he sent them to spy on her? She felt uncomfortable now as she adjusted the easel, turning the canvas towards her.

One of them cooed. They were doves, white ones. They seemed far too pretty and delicate to be handled by an oversized clown like Bottle. They circled each other as though putting on a display, while moving towards her at the same time.

“I don’t trust you,” she said out loud. “How have you found me?”

They kept on coming, ignoring her words. A part of her had expected some kind of reaction, maybe they were just birds that lived here. But Tricky didn’t think so.

An entire empty beach and they land by her? She didn’t buy it. There was something crafty and sneaky about them. Then one of them flew up and perched on top of the canvas. It cooed again looking straight at her. It was definitely here for her. Did it have a message of some kind? She looked at it’s feet but there was nothing attached to them, or the one on the ground.

“What are you trying to tell me, deary? What is it you want me to know?”

It scratched the top of the blank canvas.

“You want me to start painting? I can do that – but this isn’t any normal paint, you know that, right? This is painting with energy, to see something that isn’t here in this time.”

It cooed at her again as though agreeing. It bobbed its head up and down. Okay, that was definitely a nod. Tricky rolled her shoulders to quell a shudder that had run up her back. These birds were here for her, but who had sent them? The only person she knew who could do that was Safa, who had to be working with Annie – but it could also be one of Gandalf’s lackeys. She wouldn’t put it past him to have tracked her here. She kept trying to remain undetected but he kept finding her. He was definitely her match with this time jumping lark.

So how could she be sure this bird was on her side? She tried to think of things only Safa would know that could be answered simply.

Tricky picked up the painting palette and held it close to the bird. Using the paint brush, she pointed to the circle of colours.

“What is the colour of my mother’s protection stone?”

The bird looked at her. Safa knew the answer because she’d been there when Tricky had used it. It turned its head to the side and eyed the palette. It looked at her again, then it sprung onto the palette. Tricky steadied it with both hands. It circled the colours, eyeing each one, then it dipped a claw into the green and swiped it across a blank piece of palette. It eyed her again as if asking if it was the right one.

Tricky felt the hairs on her arms rise. Yep, this was Safa’s bird alright.

“Good. So what is it you want me to know?”

It jumped back onto the top of the canvas and again tapped its claw on it.

“Something you want me to see?”

It bobbed its head down and cooed.

“Okay, I’ll get started.”

Tricky dabbed the paintbrush into the yellow and smeared it across the canvas. It began to glow. Then she dipped it into the green and painted round the edges of the canvas for protection. The glow covered the dove and it fluttered its wings before settling again.

Now for the tricky bit.

Tricky swirled all the colours on the palette together, while taking long breaths, drawing up as much energy as she could from the ocean. Then she blew over it and it glistened. As she swept the brush across the canvas another picture appeared. The back of a man walking away from her. But not just any man, one she knew, (you couldn’t help spot him with that ridiculous top hat and silly old-world costume), one she’d love to see the back of – although not like this; she wanted him dead and gone.

“Tell me, deary, what do I need to know about Dimitri Stanislav?”

The second dove joined the first on the top of the canvas and they both started cooing and bobbing in unison. A white energy began to form around them and they simultaneously swooped down in front of the canvas onto the ground, spreading the energy across the painting.

This time the man was joined by a group of five others, one of them dressed in garish, clashing colours: Gandalf, aka Douglas Bottle.

“They’re in cahoots. I know that already, deary.”

But the group huddled, and then stepped back and what Tricky saw made her gasp.

“No! Oh no. Oh shit. I need to move – now!”

Tricky scrambled in her pockets for the obsidian, germwort and creasy, and immediately activated a rent in time. It opened in the middle of the canvas. She pushed it open making sure it was the destination she sought, and climbed through. As she turned to seal it, she saw the two doves sitting on the sand watching her.

“Thank you so much, dearies. Tell your mistress I’m on my way. I’m not having this!”

And with that she sealed it with a pop. She only hoped she would be in time to get Nathan out of her cabin. 

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