A return to copious Flash Fiction
Saturday 28th July 2018
You are invited to write a piece in any genre using the picture featured in the post as your inspiration.
Double Image Dilemma
By John Yeo
Anastasia was not succumbing to the nasty remarks her alter-ego insisted on bombarding her with. The obnoxious, evil-tongue ghostly apparition somehow always seemed to take her unawares, wherever she happened to be.
She had always been an intelligent girl. During her first years in school, she had finished at the top of the class in all the subjects she had studied. A brilliant passage through University led her to gain first-class degrees in Psychology and Social Science. Following these honors,
she went on to take further honours in her chosen field of Psychiatry.
One earth-shattering day her world had been turned upside down by the sudden death of both her parents in a car crash. Anastasia was devastated, she had been extremely close to her Father, who was an eminent Professor. Her sadness at the deaths of both her parents was almost unendurable. She had always had an uneasy relationship with her Mother who had sought to dominate her in many ways.
Shortly after the funeral while she was enduring the terrible effects of the grieving process the onslaught began. The vicious out of character remarks and innuendos slowly built up to an unmerciful crescendo. She was always alone when the tirade began. At times Anastasia would glimpse, a shadowy figure of herself standing alongside wildly mouthing unbelievable nonsense. Never a solid figure, just a hazy representation that flashed quickly away revealing a figure she knew intimately.
Anastasia didn’t feel threatened by this outpouring of filth and before long she began to analyse some of the statements. When she cut away the obvious rubbishy descriptive remarks, she realised this was a monologue of her thoughts and feelings over the years she had directed towards her bullying, domineering Mother.
As part of her training, Anastasia was in therapy with a Dr. Jean Waters. A close friend she had known for years who had come through University with her.
Dr. Jean was a short, overweight, bubbly; auburn-haired person. A senior lecturer, somewhat unconventional who relished in solving mysterious unexplained occurrences.
As soon as Anastasia had outlined the situation, Dr. Jean came up with her opinion; this alter-ego needed to be disposed of as quickly as possible. Anastasia agreed and both women put their heads together to find a way of disintegrating the foul-mouthed apparition.
‘I think we need to consider the relationship between you and your Mum, I have a feeling if we can work through her influences on you in your early life we will get close to an answer.’ Dr. Jean remarked.
‘Oh! Do you think she is haunting me?’ Anastasia laughed.
“No, I think you are haunting yourself with your unspoken thoughts and feelings towards her while you were growing up.’ replied Dr. Jean.
“What! That can’t be right! I would never use the foul language and disgusting words she uses. Sometimes I could scream at her to shut up.’
‘Ah!’ replied Dr. Jean reflectively. ‘Your unconscious picks up many things from around you during your lifetime and although you would never express them; they are still there filed away.’
‘What can I do about it?’ asked Anastasia.
‘We’ll work through it together and somehow we will have to clear your mind and bury your Mother once and for all. It will be hard and may take a long time, but I’m sure we will be successful as you are quite level-headed and logical. Make an appointment with my secretary and we can begin to explore it further’
‘Thanks, See you next week, Dr. Jean;’
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
The Relentless Sea
by John Yeo
Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim.
Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather.
Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.
“I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.
Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.
Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.
The first of the dead floated in.
Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look Billy.”
Then another group of bodies were washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.
The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors.
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty nine lives.
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
A prompt response to this photo from ~ The Dark Room on Our Write Side
THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS
by John Yeo
Rambling along a pretty lane bordered by tangled shrubs, Megan and I were enjoying an unplanned afternoon walk through the glorious countryside.
The hot Springtime sun shone between fluffy clouds that skittered across a clear blue sky. Hedge sparrows and small finches darted to and fro across the path.
“The birds are building their nests in these thick bushes, to raise their families,” I remarked to Megan.
Nodding she said, “Just look at those pretty yellow primroses growing along the wayside banks.” She picked one and sniffed the soft yellow petals.
“They are not perfumed at all, but they are so soft and velvety.”
Wood pigeons and rooks were feeding, as we skirted a newly ploughed field.
We approached the edge of some thick woods, green and luxurious with dense shrubs and leafy, branchy trees as far as the eye could see. The shady woods looked inviting.
“I wonder if they are private property.”
I mused when suddenly Megan exclaimed…
“Look, just there at the edge of the woods, a tiny deer. It looks like a fawn in distress. Oh! it’s limping; where are the parents? Can we go and have a look, Joe?”
“Of course! Come on let’s go.”
We quickly made our way towards the edge of the woods. The handsome speckled brown and white baby deer seemed totally unaware of our approach. In our haste to get to the casualty, I tripped and fell. I suffered no serious damage, just a few minor grazes.
The startled fawn looked up at this unusual noise and headed into the woods.
Megan and I without thinking followed the limping fawn along a tiny track through the dense woods. Startled woodpeckers and woodland jays flew high into the treetops as we approached.
The track led us to the banks of a wide river and we continued following the path along the banks of the river. The riverbanks were marshy at the edges covered in large yellow flowers. Moorhens and ducks were swimming among the reed beds, ducking their heads beneath the clear water to feed.
Suddenly I realised we were in a fix as we didn’t know these woods at all.
Megan suddenly said. “Joe are we lost? I have never been here before: Do you know where we are?”
“Not exactly Megan, I think if we continue to follow this track along the riverbank we may come across a cottage. We might even meet one of the locals.”
We came across a separate pool alongside the riverbank full of the most beautiful, pink and white water lilies.
“Those coots are having a feast on the small creatures in that impressive little pool,” I remarked.
We continued along the riverside path and before long a wooden bridge on stilts loomed up in front of us.
“Joe, perhaps if we cross the river over that bridge we may find an easier path.”
We breathed a sigh of relief when a canvas structure came into view.
“That looks like a fisherman’s shelter Megan; I hope there is someone inside who can guide us on our way.”
“Hallo! Is anyone in there?” I called loudly.
I opened the flap to the front of the tent to discover a wizened elderly man holding a fishing rod over the water. A rather strange looking elderly man wearing a floppy elfin hat dressed in multicoloured clothes looked up as I opened the flap.
“What do you want? What are you strangers doing in these woods? This is private property.”
“Sorry!” I said, “We were following an injured fawn, and we got lost. We just want to go home now. If you can show us the way back we would be happy to leave your private woods at once.”
The old man just nodded and said, “Which way did you come?”
I gestured to the path along the river.
“We wondered if we crossed that bridge we would come across a direct path back the way we came,” I said.
The strange old man jumped at this. “No! Whatever you do, don’t go over the magical bridge. That is the dividing line, Mad Molly lives in a shack on the other side. You will never be the same again if you come into contact with her. I will personally escort you to the edge of the woods. We will return the way you came on this side of the river. I’m Archie by the way, If we take the shortcut you will be home in no time.”
Archie escorted us to the edge of the woods and waved goodbye. We made our way along the familiar country lanes towards home.
We soon arrived at a pretty little pub set in a well-kept garden full of fruit trees and flowers, with inviting looking tables and chairs.
“Let’s stop here for a drink;” I said.
“Yes please;” answered Megan.
I entered the comfortable bar to order the drinks and as the landlord was pouring them I related our adventures in the woods. Our contact with Archie and the magical bridge and his timely warning about mad Molly.
This resulted in roars of gleeful laughter from the landlord and the patrons in the bar.
“Sorry!” Said the landlord. But you wandered onto the estate of Lord Archibald and Lady Arabella Fortescue-Jones. Lord Archie always referred to his mother-in-law as mad Molly.
Lady Arabella frowned on this and the bridge is the result. To cross the bridge is to enter a world where hunting shooting and fishing is banned. Lord Archie is not allowed to cross the magical bridge and Lady Arabella never visits his side either.”
We finished our drinks and made our way home. We have a wonderful after dinner story to dine out on for the next few years.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
Prompt response to this image supplied by ~ creativewritingink.co.uk
by John Yeo
Dust swirled everywhere, intense scorching heat blasted the sparse vegetation, frizzling the foliage, rapidly turning any suggestion of moisture into nothing. There wasn’t a vehicle to be seen for miles. The only sign of life was death, in the form of dead creatures along the roadside; roadkill by vehicles or a harsh death by thirst or starvation. Buzzards attracted by the chance of a free meal, always circling, quickly landing, squabbling over the carcass.
Death attracting life, as the natural cycle dictated.
Wild Wolf, accelerated, pushing the Harley to the limit the speedo registered 180 mph and his speed was climbing. Mary his girlfriend clung tighter and tighter to him as they powered along the highway.
Wolf was a long-term member of the Hell’s Angels. Mary, his lady went everywhere with him, she was besotted with this tall biker, Wolf had shoulder length matted black hair with a beard and mustache that covered his face. Not much was known about Wolf, he was a drifter who moved from place to place as the whim took him.
Another motorcycle was roaring along in Wolf’s slipstream, his good friend Fearless Fox together with Molly his long-suffering lady, were having little difficulty in keeping up.
Wolf felt a nudge and shouted, “Yeah, whaddya want?” The noise of the Harley roaring along the road made any form of conversation difficult, niceties were impossible.
“I’m bloody hungry and I need the loo! ” Mary yelled in reply.
“What? I can’t hear you! What’s the matter?”
“STOP at the next building or I’ll be wetting myself and you!”
No reply came from Wolf that Mary could hear, she suspected it would have been a stream of curses and unintelligible diatribe.
A building loomed up in the distance and Wolf signaled right to alert Fox who was close behind of his intention to pull in. The bike began to slow as he reduced speed and pulled into the forecourt of a rundown looking business, followed by Fox.
“Hey, man!” Fox called to Wolf,
Mary and Molly rushed straight into the building obviously looking for the relief of the bathroom.
“Hey you Foxy! We’re making a good time, shall we step inside and ask if there is food here for sale. I imagine the lady of the house will soon rustle something up, Mary is starving and I could do with a bite to eat myself,”
“Sure man, but the place looks deserted. There’s no sign of any vehicles around and that seems strange to me, in an out of the way place like this,” said Foxy,
Then with a sudden realization, the two men rushed into the establishment following after Molly and Mary.
Three men were seated at a table playing poker as the two bikers rushed in. They looked up startled as the door burst open and Fox and Wolf barged in.
An overweight man with his shirt hanging out got up from the table in surprise. “What the hell? Who do you think you two are? storming in here without knocking.”
The other two younger men got up looking menacing and stood by the older man. It was at that moment that Wolf realized they were both holding guns that were pointed straight at them.
“Now hold on, there is no need for guns. We are looking for the two ladies that ran in here just a few minutes ago. Where are they?” Asked Wolf angrily. “We are part of a large chapter of the Hells Angels and twenty more bikers will be here within the next few minutes. If they get here before we leave; your establishment will be ransacked and destroyed.”
The older man scratched his head and motioned the two young men, who were obviously his sons to put their guns down.
“They’re in the kitchen out back, rustling up some grub. They asked if we would like to eat, as Ma and the girls have taken the trucks and gone shopping. We offered to give them the food free if they cooked some for us as well. It will be hours before the women get back.”
Fox and Wolf both breathed a joint sigh of relief, they burst out laughing, soon all five men were seated around the table.
“Can we deal you in?” asked one of the younger men, grinning broadly.
After a few hands of cards, Mary and Molly appeared with steaming hot plates of food. The whole group were soon laughing and eating together and swapping yarns.
There followed a screeching of brakes as a dozen farm vehicles appeared and disgorged twenty men and boys looking for trouble.
“Sorry!” said Clem, the older man, “I radioed for some help from the back room after you told me about your Chapter of bikers arriving.
Moments later there was a roaring of motorcycles and a screeching of brakes as the Hells Angels rode in and sat menacingly waiting.
There was a facedown that just needed a spark to ignite a war.
To everyone’s surprise, three pickup trucks loaded with food signaled the arrival of the women.
A portly woman carrying a rolled-up umbrella dashed out of the leading vehicle, yelling; “Clem! What’s going on? Stop this at once or I will beat every man jack of you myself.”
There was a shocked silence at first, then a muffled giggle, smiles became laughs quickly becoming guffaws and soon the whole gathering was in fits of laughter.
Well, they say laughter is a cure for everything and soon there was a hoedown, with the Bikers and the Country boys having one hell of a party.
Peace reigned when later that day the bikers roared off and normality returned to the Service station.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
A prompt response to the image below supplied by THE DARK ROOM
Image supplied by the Dark Room
TIME AND THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE
By John Yeo
The sea was calm and the crew were in a state of mild intoxication, after celebrating a successful mission, looking for leave to land and spend their ill-gotten gains. They had been tied up alongside a large island when the order to sail away came from the bridge.
Suddenly a black cloud seemed to descend from the skies and bodily lift the whole ship and crew upwards into pure pitch black darkness. There was a great deal of shaking and shuddering of the timbers and mast. The crew seemed to be entranced almost as if they had traveled through time, which indeed they had.
When consciousness returned they were confronted with a massive concrete structure that seemed to stretch across the ocean to infinity.
Shock and dismay were mirrored on the faces of the seamen who had never encountered anything quite like this before. A tremulous fear swept through everyone as a strange fast small vessel raced up towards them.
The Captain ordered the gunners to man the ship’s cannon as a loudhailer sounded loud, abrasively insulting the eardrums. An action that led the first mate to shout, “This is the work of the devil!”
“Stand to for her Majesty’s excise officers! Stand fast we are coming aboard.” Came the message.
“What language is this Sir?” Asked the First mate.
“Open fire,” ordered the Captain and they watched helplessly as their Cannon balls dropped harmlessly into the sea.
A large flying machine with spinning blades suddenly approached from the concrete structure and blew the ship out of the water.
There were many deaths among the crew and some were swimming in the ocean, or desperately clinging to timbers from the wreckage. Captain West and his officers were killed instantly as a missile exploded on the bridge.
The five men who survived the attack were hospitalised, but they were unable to communicate as they spoke the language of another dimension. The seamen were incarcerated in an institution for the criminally insane and rapidly forgotten.
It had been five years since they had left Plymouth Harbour in England on a gray wet windy day.
207 swarthy cutthroats and desperadoes were the crew aboard the five-masted sailing vessel, the Lady Jane.
Captain Rudolph West kept a harsh regime of discipline aboard; at the first sign of mutiny, the ringleaders would have their throats cut. Then their heads would be hung up on a yardarm for all to see as a warning. The Captain was broad shouldered, well over six feet tall; towering over everybody else aboard. He sported a full set of graying whiskers and a permanent black scowl that inspired fear in the toughest of the rogues who sailed aboard the good ship Lady Jane.
The first mate Joey Jones was average height, stocky and hard as nails, a ruthless man who was rumored to have killed a man in a bar fight in Tiger Bay and was permanently on the run from the law.
The Lady Jane had sailed for many months around the West Indies, boarding and sacking every ship that sailed on their horizon. They would murder most of the crews and loose the survivors in rowing boats without supplies onto the stormy, unruly, shark-infested seas.
One day the Captain addressed all the senior officers in the wardroom.
“We have had a successful voyage so far and our ships holds are stuffed full of valuables. I have decided to head for a small island in the North Atlantic where we will secrete our treasure. We will pay off the crew and every man jack of them will receive a huge bonus.”
“Aye aye, Captain! How will we manage to hide the loot without the thieving crew knowing the location and returning to steal it?” asked First Mate Jones.
“Ah! I have thought of that me hearties, I intend to land on a different island and I will take three trusted crew members with me. After loading ten chests of gold and jewels onto a boat, we will row around the island to another smaller island that is located five miles further on. It is one of three islands and the chosen location will be known only to myself and my three trusted companions, Angelo, Luigi, and Carmelo.” the Captain continued, “Any questions?”
“Yes, Sir!” Interrupted the Bosun, Harry Glass, “How far away is this island? How near is it to the Devil’s Triangle, where many vessels have gone missing? My mate was one of the crew on a tea clipper that went missing there.”
“Don’t worry man! Our ship is well armed and soundly built, we can withstand any threat that comes our way.” said the Captain derisively. “The island is just days away and given fair weather we will have buried the treasure and we’ll be on our way again.”
Everything went according to plan and the crew were allowed ashore onto the larger island to drink much grog, and sample the delights of the native women. Fights had broken out and the drunken corsairs were cursing and squabbling among themselves.
Meanwhile, the Captain and his three trusted helpers were secreting the Captain’s treasure in a small cave on a tiny palm tree covered island.
The Captain returned to the ship alone the next day, There was a great deal of speculation among the crew as to the whereabouts of Angelo, Carmelo, and Luigi. No one dared ask the Captain, but a story went around that he had remarked to the Bosun, the three crew members had decided to stay and guard the treasure. Alive or dead was the fearsome question on everybody’s lips.
Several days after they had left the island the freak weather conditions surrounded the ship and lifted the vessel into the unknown.
Little did any of the crew realise that the treasure would never be found and their existence would soon be a thing of the past.
The Devil’s Triangle had claimed another victim to join the many unexplained mysteries of the perilous seas of time and timeless tales of folklore.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
This piece of Flash Fiction is a story I conjured up based on this photograph of an interesting sculpture from among my illustrated souvenirs.
by John Yeo
Ted Smith, was a renowned seer and futurologist, a man, they say, who could predict the future with incredible accuracy. Ted’s history was one of the checkered variety that made historians and members of the medical profession choke on their morning coffee.
Ted had left school at fourteen, shunned by the teaching staff and his fellow pupils alike for his insistence that he could hear voices coming from below the ground. Voices that actually spoke to him and tried to warn him about events that were about to happen. Everyone laughed when he warned about wildfires, floods, and acts of chance that promised to kill many people in countries far away from where he lived, on the other side of the globe.
Ted had been in and out of mental hospitals and psychiatric institutions for most of his life, subjected to some of the most incredible cures for the insane that were ever invented, including electric shock, and aversion therapy, before anyone really took any notice of what the voices he professed to hear actually said to him.
A renowned psychologist, Madeline Gentle began to listen and subjected him to some tests, simple at first.
Jokingly, one day before the famous horse race, the Grand National, Madeline said to him.
“Write down in the correct order the first three horses that will pass the winning post tomorrow”
“Easy!” Ted replied and put his head to the ground then handed her back the piece of paper with the horses names listed. “There will also be a shocking flood in Bengal that will kill thousands.” He added.
“OK! Now write down the name of the top three companies that will be most successful on the stock market tomorrow please.” Requested the doctor amiably.
“Certainly!” Ted put his head to the ground and wrote three names on a piece of paper. “There will also be a wildfire in Australia that will cause much damage.”
Sensationally every prophetic word came true. Ted was then feted and swiftly became renowned for his abilities. Much money was made from his forecasting abilities and the world began to take notice of his every utterance as many devastating phenomena were stopped before they began.
Ted began to relay much scientific information from the voices, including the incredibly simple free energy that was to become a boon to the world. Along with many new cures for a variety of cursed illnesses that had scythed down many of the finest minds that mankind had ever produced.
One very sad but remarkable day after having placed his head to the ground, Ted announced, “I have to say goodbye to this world as I am about to die!” There was a ripple of shock among his followers and the huge audience, he had attracted to his daily forecasting sessions.
A man in the front row of the audience pulled out a gun and shot him dead.
“Death to the difference!” The man shouted as he pulled the trigger, before turning the gun on himself and pulling the trigger.
A Saint was born at that split second and St. Ted is worshipped and venerated in many corners of the globe to this day.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.