Wednesday 25 October 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 310

This week's picture prompt was created by Jeffrey Smith, it's called Summoned. I used one of his recently on Week 307 & couldn't miss this one with the build up to Halloween! He has some incredible art worth checking out.  

A short dark one this week, with an edge of hope. 

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 painting of a muddy field scattered with orange pumpkins and a tree in the middle ablaze in orange flames, shaped like a pumpkin, and yellow flames depicting the eyes & sinister grin of a jack o lantern pumpkin. Above the dark swirl clouds in the sky allow a full moon to peep through over the top of the tree. A man stands under the tree, one hand on it, looking out behind him to a dense forest of fir trees on either side.  Created by Jeffrey Smith

The Hunt

From our hidden burrow we saw it; the sequel had gone up to call them to him. It blazed with its evil grin and we shivered in the darkness.

We could hear the rumblings of the others coming to the call. All the depraved and twisted faces flashing past, lit up by the burning orange light making them more grotesque than normal.

We scuttled deeper under ground, running this way and that, hoping to be far enough away by the time they were gathered ready for their hunt – their ‘trick or treat’ as they liked to call it.

Both were for their benefit: the trick was to catch us, the treat was to eat us. Our bodies would join the blaze in the field. We only hoped they weren’t fast enough, clever enough, or thin enough to find us.

Some of us climbed trees, becoming like four legged creatures as we scurried to the tallest limbs. They rarely looked up making it would be the safest way. They would be expecting us to be underground, where we had burrowed for generations, since they cast our goodness out. And there would be weak among us who would not manage to remain hidden and from the tree tops we would watch their sacrifice as they were torn and roasted.

The only hope was that each year there were less of them and more of us. They were dying out, along with their rituals, which took place is fewer places. Each year they looked more ragged and feeble, some only there to watch, no longer able to walk. As they fed on our weakest, we grew in strength.

Our time would come soon and the only thing ablaze would be the remains of their lives.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 309

This week's picture prompt is from photographer Christy Lee Rogers, an artist from Hawaii. This is actually a photograph taken under water at night. Quite incredible, and there's lots more to see on her site. 

Short and sweet, and maybe a little bit ambiguous. 

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 photograph that looks like a painting containing aproximately ten people captured in underwater movement, all full dressed, their clothes swirling around them, and bubbles rising up. Their clothing is a variety of bright colours and varying style. Created by artist Christy Lee Rogers.


I’m not quite sure how it happened, how we all ended up in the pool – or even why. Though really, who needs a why? It’s a party, we’re all drunk, it’s warm and there’s a huge pool.

I remember Johnny thought it would be a good idea to be in there, even though it wasn’t his house. And when he jumped in and discovered the underwater music, the whole party had to move into the water.

Dancing underwater was fun, but I think it was Felicity’s dress I got my leg’s tangled in and she started to struggle, and even though Dan had his life guard certificate he couldn’t work it free, and then she began to panic pushing him under. By the time Harriet swam up, there were three more caught up in it, and the others just thought we were dancing and having fun.

The more people tried to get uncoiled, the more they seemed to get knotted up. It was like a churning washing machine of clothes and people, but in slow motion. And it felt slow; time crawls when you can’t breathe.

I don’t know who went first, it was hard to tell with all the material getting in the way of faces, but eventually they were gone, and I was there, floundering in clothing that had been discarded.

I felt like I flailed for a lifetime. And as I turned onto my back, my arms and legs still bound up, I looked up at all the faces round the pool looking down at me. Their stricken looks as my last reserves let go, and bubbles of my last breath left me, are scored onto my mind for an eternity.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 308

This week's picture prompt was created by Polish artist: Zdzislaw Beksinski. Unfortunately he was murdered during a robbery at his flat in 2005. (though he would be 94 if he was still alive). He has a lot of interesting art. 

This week's is short and dystopian. 

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.

painting looking across the top of a landscape of flat-topped stone pinnacles, each with a fire burning in the middle of it. There are large gaps between each pinnacle, which are very high up. The air looks smoggy and dark with a green-brown filter. Art by Beksinski

Pinnacle of Life

This is what it had come to; the only way to communicate. I shivered in the cold night air. Despite the fire in front of me, I was too high up to feel its warmth, but this was my life now. This was how information was sent from place to place, and without me up here on the top of this pinnacle, there would be a break in the chain.

I’m not sure which I hated more, the climb up or the climb down. Either way it took far too long and I was so terrified I would lose my grip and then my life, just like Tomo did.

He’d been on the pinnacle to my left, and was clearly tired after the nightshift. Just four steps down and he’d slipped, fallen a few rungs, and then caught one. But I couldn’t work out whether he’d broken his arm during the short fall, or just couldn’t catch a proper grip on the rung, sometimes the cold weather up here covered them in frost. Either way he’d eventually given up and let go.

I’d called encouragement, but I’d been powerless to do anything else. And I’d cried off and on through the rest of my shift. I’d never climbed down as carefully as I had that morning. It had shaken me up badly.

But they said our work was vital work, despite the risks. We kept the world running. Smoke and fire signals were my life. I wasn’t trained to do anything else.

Everyone was shunted into specific professions to help humanity now. There were no choices anymore. I’d read the history and what had got us here, how people had been able to do whatever they wanted, with all this magical technology, but never actually realised it. And it had resulted in this; the wasteland we now lived in.

One thing being up here was good for, was reading – interspersed between my five minute fire check. I read about those days and daydreamed about what it must have been like to have things like trees and grass and animals. Where there had been vistas and not just rock and desert, and where there were all kinds of food. I couldn’t imagine what it must have tasted like; food was functional now, just the basics we needed to survive.

Oh for a time machine to go back to it, and be a part of it, and not stuck up here on the roof of the world, watching fires burn. But then I was lucky. I didn’t have to scavenge on the ground. I got to see the sky; I had my own vista, even if it was a deadly one.

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 307

This week's picture prompt was created by Jeffrey Smith, it's called Trust Your Gut. He has some incredible art, and there might well be another one soon. 

A short piece this week. Maybe a survivor of the shift, as depicted in my series, Tricky's Tales. 

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 painting of a person in a small rowing boat, without oars, on a rough sea, with the waves all churned up and rising up on the left and right, as though the boat is in a tunnel. But a path is seen through the water towards the sun on the horizon, giving it a sense of hope. Created by Jeffrey Smith


He gripped the sides of the little boat, praying that it wouldn’t capsize and send him into the churning masses that were once sea. There had to be land out here, it couldn’t all be covered; he couldn’t be the only survivor.

The swirling waters took on their own pattern, a mesmerising one that took him further towards the setting sun. As the ocean rocked and rose either side of him, he felt like he was in a tunnel, driven ever onwards. He only hoped there was a destination, one that didn’t involve his death.

He’d lost the oars days ago, and had been drifting with the current for some time. He hoped it wasn’t sending him in circles but instead to a shore, where there was dry land and people.

Was he lucky to be in his boat? Maybe. But he didn’t currently feel like it. He just kept his eyes on the setting sun, and prepared himself for another night watching the starlit sky – a sky he had barely paid attention to until there were no more light sources to disturb it. The tumultuous events that led to him being in this boat were a blur in his memory, much like the landmass as it had shifted and been deluged by water.

He didn’t know how many days he’d been without food or drink. The spray from the ocean kept his face wet and covered with water, which he would occasionally lick as it ran down his face over his mouth. He wanted to dry out and drink a glass of sweet cold water. Hunger was there eating at his stomach, but it was just a background noise compared to the thirst. And he just wanted to stop feeling this churning, inside and out, and feel alive and safe again.

Was that a piece of land, there on the horizon, its hills silhouetted against the sun and cutting into the shape of it? He couldn’t be sure. It could be a mirage, a trick of the light, a play in his mind’s eye as the dehydration disrupted his cognition. It had happened before. But he didn’t keep his eyes off it as he was pulled closer by the sucking and drawing of the waves; he had to have hope, without hope there was no survival. And as the shape grew larger in front of the brilliant disc of light, his hope grew with it.