This is the latest Picture it and Write prompt from Ermilia’s blog


Ermilia's Desert
Original image found here: http://www.thedesignwork.com/weird-pictures As usual the image is supplied and credited by Ermilia


by John Yeo

The travellers were weary on the trail through a parched, dry, arid, waterless wasteland. The sand stretched out for miles in every direction. Then the wind whipped up sandstorms that penetrated every orifice in their outer clothing into the very pores of the skin beneath.
Fresh water is the most valuable substance here and every drop is conserved and squeezed out to the best effect, to enable the survival of the travellers.
Sadly the pack animals are the first to suffer and drop, refusing to go on, simply giving up the struggle to continue. Our only course of action is to grant them a merciful release from the torture of death by a slow painful thirst that eventually turns everything to dust.
The jeep and the all terrain vehicles struggle to keep a grip on the sandy desert floor as the exploration search party continues on their perilous quest.

“The tree of life is our goal, we will know it when the rain time arrives!” Blind old Pete said offhandedly.
Blind old Pete was actually a twenty-four year old medical scientist who was colour blind.
“When the what? arrives!” Marg exclaimed derisively. “I don’t think this place has ever been rained on ever.”
They both laughed, almost conspiratorially, they had been very good friends for years.
Donald Prestwick, a leading medicinal botanist, laughed loudly at this exchange. “We are searching for a particular tree that survives for long periods without water. We need to harvest some of the dark grey bark, which is reputed to have unique anti-ageing properties that could be the key to longevity in humanity allowing some people to triple their lifespans.”
Blind old Pete grinned at Marg and pointed to yet another vicious-looking whirlwind on the horizon. “We’d better take cover! ” He shouted.
After the storm had abated and passed on, the travellers had to dig the vehicles out before continuing their journey.
Suddenly there were dead-looking trees all around the vehicles. Marg had never seen such a bleak prospect in all her days.
“Surely these trees are dead, not the wonder-bark that is going to make us all very wealthy!” She exclaimed
The Don, as Donald Prestwick had affectionately been re-named, behind his back, almost jumped for joy.
“Yes! Please take as many samples as possible, we need a good supply to work with when we get back to the lab.”

Then the arduous return journey was soon underway, many times there were holdups due to vehicle problems and eventually our versatile trusty mechanic Willie, almost gave up as the jeep died, but miraculously was nursed back to life again.
We almost missed our main watering oasis on the way back due to a faulty compass reading. However after some more sparkling adventures in the desert, our only thought was to get back home.
Some weeks later we were all back in our super sterile lab, measuring and testing the precious samples.
Marg thought inwardly, “It will be many more years before any of the expected wealth arrives! The memories are preserved and my long, probably tripled, average life expectancy will be enhanced by the addition of the royalties to come.

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

Ermilia's Desert

Original image found here: http://www.thedesignwork.com/weird-pictures As usual the image is supplied and credited by Ermilia



DAILY PROMPT on Word Press

Missing Sequels
If you could create a sequel to one favourite (standalone) movie, which would it be? How would it build on the original?


Image from the Net


by John Yeo

  I am not much of a movie buff, but my favourite candidate For a sequel would be an Alfred Hitchcock, movie from 1963 entitled “The Birds”, this is a horrific take of a buildup of bird power, beginning to frighten and attack humanity. We are left with a feeling that the birds are massing and gathering to launch a full scale attack on humanity and take control of the world. The build up and massing of thousands of different species of birds at the end of the film, leaving an open- ended horrifying ending, is a wonderful candidate for a sequel. Many would say however that to attempt to interfere with a work of such outstanding brilliance and try to write a sequel is pure sacrilege.

  My sequel would continue with the random and increasing attacks on the population, leading to the involvement of the military. Much slaughter of our avian attackers would then begin by all means possible, including flame throwers and gas. The response from the birds would be to mass together and enter buildings and attack the occupants from within. There would be terror and fear reigning throughout the land as the casualties mounted and the authorities were powerless to defeat these random attacks.
Mitch and Lydia would survive and there would enter a new character, a hermit from the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains.
 Gabriel would arrive with two huge Eagles circling above his head and offer to rid the leading aggressive birds of their leaders, leaving the hordes of feathered attackers in disarray.
There would be a huge price to pay for this solution however, Gabriel requests a huge area of land with a palatial property and an income to be paid for the rest of his life. Some would hesitate to pay any price at all, leave alone this unrealistic demand made by Gabriel. Members of the government would finally agree to his demands as the attacks by the birds inside the buildings became almost impossible to stop.

The action then would go something like this ……

“Gabriel then blew on a very high pitched whistle, the response from the Eagles was instant and soon there were a large number of these huge birds in the skies attacking and destroying the leaders of the fearsome flock of attackers.
 Within hours it was all over and some semblance of normality had returned to the lives of the beleaguered populations. A peace settled on the community for a settled period of months.
Gabriel approached the leaders and requested his agreed price for the miracle of the return to peace and normality. There was much discussion and the upshot was a much smaller offer than he had requested. A few thousand pounds and a medal of honour, with the freedom of the land forever.
Gabriel was very irate and demanded his reward without success. The leaders just laughed in his face.    The result was devastating as Gabriel drew a trumpet and blew hard and long, one note, silent to the powers of human understanding.
There was a guttural squawking from a flock of Crows and a screeching of large Seagulls as a huge flock of birds massed to attack. The birds were back and menacingly massing to begin to attack the citizens again.”

 The sequel would finish with a concerted attack on a large public arena during a well-attended sports final, the birds would attack suddenly from all directions. The casualties would be huge from this totally unexpected surprise attack. The army and extermination teams would race to the area but they would arrive to find not a single bird in the area. Then fighter planes would appear; to discover the flocks had separated and we’re now scattered over a very huge area.

Copyright (c) written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

(With grateful thanks and respect to author and producer of the original masterpiece)

I really let my imagination run riot with this prompt. I think this is the sequel that would be impossible to make.

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Middle Seat
“It turns out that your neighbour on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?”


Image © John and Margaret


by John Yeo

  Yes, this looks a good place. A restaurant by the lakeside, in the middle of this beautiful park in the city centre. I will sit here and buy a pot of tea and watch the world go by in the peace and tranquility of a Sunday afternoon.
“Your tea Sir!”
The waitress arrived with a bone china teapot and a single cup and saucer, with a familiar willow pattern blue and white design.
I am entranced with the swans gliding across the water and the beautiful surroundings of the lakeside banks.

“Hi! Do you mind if I join you? There are no other tables available.”
This unwarranted intrusion into my solitary reverie was made by a voice with a distinctive loud foreign accent. Without waiting for a reply from me, a rather portly gentleman sat directly opposite and signalled to the waitress.
“Pleased to meet you! My name is Nathan, I am a visitor to your wonderful land, I am here on a business trip. I am from Quebec in Canada, what a beautiful city this is. You live here all the time? “
I was so overcome with this shattering bombardment of intrusive voluble stream. I just scowled, nodded and mumbled, “Yes!”
“You Sir, are a very lucky man.” Nathan continued, “There is so much going on here , theatre, the arts, concerts and the historical palaces. Everywhere you look history is overwhelming your senses. Who do I have the pleasure of addressing?”
This last question came out of the blue, I was so battered by bonhomie, I simply answered one word again. “John!”
Well, John,” Nathan continued, “I really am glad to meet you, I have very little time to spend here and I am looking for a reliable guide to recommend some places to visit and sights to see. My wife Mary is an invalid and she has to have treatment in a clinic here. I am travelling with her and our daughter, I need someone to show us around while Mary is indisposed. I am prepared to pay for the privilege.”

I shook my head in sheer disbelief that a total stranger could shatter my peace and suddenly without a formal introduction or any knowledge of me whatsoever, suddenly offer me a job. I was suspicious of his incredibly easy approach and his whole lax demeanour.
“Wait! What?” I stammered, my curiosity aroused. “Why me? You don’t even know who I am.”
“John! I have an unerring instinct for an honest, reliable person, I have been coming here to this country for years and I bet you any money you like you are just the person I am looking for. Would you take me on trust and consider my offer. I would like you to meet my family here tomorrow at the same time. Would you consider that?”
I had no idea what the outcome of this meeting would be as I nodded my head and agreed to his proposal.
Nathan then went on to describe his business and his home state in Canada, and I began to warm to his friendly attitude as he drew me out of my shell. I described myself and my studies at the University and he listened with a friendly interest.

The next morning I was very early in the restaurant by the lakeside in the park, sipping my tea and watching the swans floating on the water.
“Hi John!” A now familiar voice came from behind, I turned to see Nathan my new friend pushing a lady in a wheelchair, “This is my wife Mary.”
“Pleased to meet you.” I gasped, as I recognised the young lady who was strolling behind them, smiling and laughing.
Nathan grinned and said. “No more introductions are necessary, I know you and my daughter Marie are great friends at the University. I wanted to meet you and get to know you personally.”
I was so stunned and overcome with happiness, I just mumbled one word.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers ~ Writing challenge.

Hosted by Priceless Joy.

The goal is to write a story between 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) based on the provided photo.


This week’s photo prompt is provided by Dawn M. Miller.


by John Yeo

   Lord Fauntleroy trekking in the backwoods with his retinue of servants, settled down for the night to rest within the canvas walls of his luxury tent. The encampment was chosen with care by his butler and personal friend Cox. His Lordship took off his trekking boots and carefully laid them side-by-side outside the door flap of his palatial tent. “Cox will deal with those,” he muttered to himself, before he retired for the night.
Soon he was awoken by bright lights and a whirring sound outside the encampment. He opened the flap to his tent to behold a wondrous sight. A huge alien saucer-shaped craft was drifting noiselessly above. Suddenly with a squelch and a sucking noise all the equipment and the people in the encampment were lifted into the spacecraft using some form of transference technology. In the morning the only signs of the good Lord and his retinue were a solitary pair of boots laid side by side in the middle of a pathway. Search parties are combing the area to no avail.

(175 WORDS)

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

This is in response to a challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. If you would like to participate in this challenge or need more information, please click the following link:





This was written on a very wet rainy afternoon in response to a prompt on Word Press. I suspect the inclement weather influenced my thinking processes.


Image © John Yeo


No, Thank You
If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?


by John Yeo

 If I could ban a word from general usage and my very own thought processes it would surely be the word can’t. In my opinion there is no situation or scenario I can think of that can warrant this cop-out.
Can’t, a shortened version of the two words, can and not, abbreviated by the insertion of an apostrophe, is known in grammar as a contraction.
 Can’t is used in most people’s vocabulary as an alternative to won’t or a way to get across a polite cop out.
When I am faced with an impossible situation or something that is out of my physical possibilities, I would make the reason quite plain without the use of this irritating word.
 For example when asked if I could cross a raging, roaring, rapidly flowing, rock-filled river. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry I can’t!” I would far prefer to say, “No! That is impossible, I am unable to swim.”
 To say that one can’t cross this river would be to infer that getting from one side of the river to the other side is impossible. This rules out the use of flight or walking along the river-bank and crossing the river, using the nearest bridge.
When the Jones’s ask us to attend one of their interminably boring tea parties. The response should be. “Not this time, I’m sorry we have another engagement.”
 To say that we can’t attend is again to give the impression that our attendance is impossible. We should make it quite clear that attending the tea party is within the bounds of our possible courses of action, but for various reasons we shall be unable to, on this occasion.
 The internal use of the word can’t can be a severe drawback in many ways.
 The sentence, “I can’t do this,” is to convince yourself that the task is impossible, constant internal references to can’t, is to rule out the attempt altogether and continually convince yourself you are not up to the task in question.
Psychological pressure is brought to bear on your possible courses of action as you are insisting to yourself that the task in hand is impossible because you have internally ruled out any prospect of even attempting it.
  “I can’t do this,” seems to suggest that there is no way you will ever be able to tackle the task in hand.
If one were able to insert the word “won’t,” in any situation where the use of “can’t,” has been applied in the past, an incredible clarity would descend on the thought processes as the real reason why many tasks are not getting attempted becomes clear.
This infernal word is responsible for weakening many persons self-resolve, and allowing a huge self-built wall to hide behind, positively reinforcing a feeling of inadequacy and a lack of self-confidence in very many day-to-day situations.
 The self-esteem can be severely weakened by contrasting your present situation with the finished product in any form of creativity.
To admire a painting by Van Goff or any number of the Great Masters of art, then to step back and say, “I wish I could paint like that but I can’t,” is to possibly rule yourself out of even attempting to apply paint to a canvas.
To read a great novel or a series of the most beautiful sonnets by one of the greatest writers of all time, then to convince yourself internally that you can’t write poetry or prose like that is to give up the attempt by an impossible contrast.
 The greatest hurdle to get over in the race that is run to gain a full, well-rounded self assurance, and a positive attitude to life, is to be aware of the damage that a hidden meaning in an everyday word can inflict on the internal structures that go to make up the thinking processes.
 Can’t to me is a four-letter word in every sense of the meaning of a four-letter word. A curse that should banned from the thought processes totally and forgotten.

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.


I am taking part in Mondays Finish the Story 24/08/2015, which is a challenge that provides a photo prompt and the opening sentence to your story. The rules indicate that the story you come up with must be between 100-150 words, not including the given opening sentence.

The link below takes you to Part Thirty-Seven


MI 38

Photo taken of an old photo in 2014 – © Barbara W. Beacham

Finish the story begins with:

“The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be…”

Public enemy No 1 in his home country. The baby in his family, he had been brought up with everyone making a glorious fuss of him. In his schooldays he was cold-bloodedly cruel, he became feared and hated by his peers as he was reviled for his violent behaviour. He was hunted relentlessly by the authorities to answer charges of many murders and unexplained deaths. Now a shadowy figure he lived in the middle of the Brazilian jungle.
Dr Ferdinand Dickus and his brother Maxwell were hand in glove with this villain in the production and distribution of designer drugs, a hugely profitable business.
It was feared any survivors of the crashed helicopter were now certainly dead.
Marg was in conference with the Brigadier following the death of Maxwell Dickus, who was assassinated in the middle of the night by an infiltrator. The drone had revealed mysterious tracks leading ………

(150 WORDS)

To be continued…….

The link below takes you to Part Thirty-Seven




Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved


Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers ~ Writing challenge.

Hosted by Priceless Joy.

The goal is to write a story between 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) based on the provided photo.


This week’s photo prompt is provided by pixabay.com


by John Yeo

Come and buy my pretty balloons, you will have fun, if you buy one of my beautiful balloons.” The lady selling the balloons, smiled right at Mary.
” How much for a balloon?” Mary’s mother asked.
“£5 pounds each.”
“Please Mummy,” begged little Mary, “I need the little girl halfway up.”

OK! Can I have the one she wants please.”
The balloon seller smiled.
“Fill your name and address in here and should your balloon escape and fly away high in the sky, there’s a phone number on here that the finder can ring and you could win lots of money if it lands very far away.”
When they got home Rags the family dog saw Mary’s new balloon and jumped upon her barking and wagging his tail. Mary bent to stroke him and let go of her new balloon that went flying high in the sky.
“Oh! Rags, you made me let go!”
Six months later a telephone call came to say that Mary’s balloon had reached Thailand, and she had won the prize of £500 pounds.

(175 Words)

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.