This Will Never… #flashfiction #scifi #reenasxplorationchallenge

Reena’s Absolutely challenging Challenge –> Welcome back! RXC PROMPT #233 ravaged inner space unable to account for entries and exits who came, who destroyed, who left? a soul transformed forever 

It had happened. The event that all of us had trained for.

“This will never happen…” Our O.T. said loudly to our group.

“Why are we doing this then?” An intern very young, very inexperienced had asked.

“They always ask us to do things that they cannot explain the rationale for…” A very seasoned staff person chimed in.

We went through the drill. Most of it was what you would expect; it was the immediate shut-down no matter who was in the facility that bothered us.

“What happens to civilians?” One of my co-workers whispered.

“Hopefully they are in the unit when close-down initiates or they will be radiated.”

“Even kids?”

I gulped not wanting to answer the affirmative.

“But this will never happen..”

Those words were in a free fall as the yellow then red lights began their cycle of warning. Layers of lead, silicone and carbon were forming a domelike shield around our installation. We were essential personnel and our lives were more valuable than gold. Each of us had a skill set that would keep things going indefinitely.

“Health inspector 1 you must report to the infirmary – double time.”

I grabbed my insulated helmet and ran to my post. I ran past people who were clearly in shock. Those empty eyes wanted to scream ‘Help.’

All my medical training was of no assistance. They were civilians caught in inner space with no role to play and no exit except a few moments of 500 millirems/ min radiation (a deadly amount) if they were to exit.

“My daughter. I can’t find my daughter.” A woman screamed.

Against protocol, I called in a request to divert to find the child.

“Inspector 1 – what is your ETA?”

“Can you cue in a 10 minute diversion code. I need to help a civilian.”

“Negative Health 1 !!”

I never pulled my rank. Number 1 reflected that I was the highest grade health practitioner on the facility.

“No problem main operator. I am calling off as sick. Maybe some radiation leakage. I will check back in tomar…”

“Health 1 you are cleared with a 10 minute diversion.”

“Excellent.” I turned my walkie off.

I looked at the frantic mama and grabbed her hand. “We will find that girl of yours. We will not allow her soul to be transformed forever…”

Photo “Sealed Off” © moondustdesigns 2015

This flash fiction is sparked by the prompt and the picture that is a bomb shelter beneath a museum.

The Lake of Gold #photochallenge

There was a legend an age and a half ago – it was about a lake of gold.

“A curse,” they said “was placed upon the lake.”

Anyone who drank from the lake of gold would turn to stone.

In the lake there lived a bird who had a long beak that could catch fish but could never drink.

A girl would watch every morning as the sun was awakening and the gold was rippling. In her hands was a single drink of water saved for the bird with the special beak.

Each morning the bird would strut to the girl. He gave her a shy little smile.

Once he brought her a fish as a gift. She washed the fish and it turned to gold.

When the villagers heard about the golden fish, they became greedy. A man watched the girl as she greeted the bird.

One day the girl did not come. A man came in her place with a hand full of water. The bird would not come near. The man slapped the water in anger. One drop got into his mouth and he turned to stone.

The next day the girl came to her bird with a small handful of water and he looked at her with a shy smile…

Written for Slack Photo Prompt photo above.

Wake Up #alarmclock #fiction #reenaschallenge

Here are the prompts to Reena’s xploration challenge #232. Underscore Challenge!!!

  1. I’m going to defeat you with the power of friendship! … And this knife I found.
  2. I’m sick and tired of being called ‘mortal’ like, you don’t know that. Neither do I. I have never died even ONCE. Nothing has been proven yet. Stop making assumptions. It’s rude.
  3. Some of you may die, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
  4. Not trying to brag or anything, but I can wake up without an alarm clock now simply due to my crippling and overwhelming anxiety, so…

It was not that long ago that I was like you. I woke when the rooster crowed or when the clock rang a long buzz. I can’t call it an alarm clock because that is so overstated in a mere buzz. But let me explain…

I was in an old historic town looking at cemeterys. Why did I think that was a nice way to spend my holiday? I guess because I like to take photographs of nothing important except symbols of life.

I was intrigued by this rather old clock in the window of a house where the window latches were hanging the wrong way and the door knob was at a very low level. It was as if the door and the windows were upside down.

I took a picture of the clock. I took another.

“That’s odd” I looked around to no one standing there. “The hands are moving backward.”

The pendulum was a very large spoon and it caught my reflection. When I moved away my reflection was still in the spoon. I was upside down. I looked around.

“This is rather odd. Isn’t it?” I called to a man across the street. “The hands are going backward.” I said much louder.

He shook his head and moved quickly the other way.

I went home not really sure what that had been about. Then I noticed the clock over my stove.

“Not working.” I flicked at the plastic.

Several minutes later I came back and the time had moved backward.

“That’s nonsense. Too much heat on my brain today.”

I set my alarm clock and fell asleep. A cat or something was screeching in the silent night fog. I turned on the light to see the time.

“What time is it Really?” I asked the alarm clock.

I called a service on my phone that would give the proper time. “The time is four twenty two…”

I called back ten minutes later. “The time is four twelve pm”

“How can time go backwards? Where does it end up? Is it going back for everyone?”

I lined up all the clocks in my house. I watched as each one worked backwards in time. I waited for the buzz that never came.

‘I wondered will I wake up from this? What will I happen when I wake up? What time is it really?????’

Image: “Antique Spoon Clock”© Moondust Designs 2014

Two Sides #poetry #heat #2faces

I was Janus once

a shiny side

a muted side

put all happiness aside

It wasn’t me

it certainly wasn’t you

for one day I was famous

then a hot wind blew it away

I spun the coin

heads or tales

to be or not to be

there’s no answer to the question

but there are always two sides

The prompt for Reena’s Xploration 231 is to reflect on the Poem “How to Be Alone by Padraig O Tuama

Reflect on How to Be Alone

Where is Everyone? #Ukraine #Odessa #The Passage #timeportal

The clothes we had put in the closet were dated and we both chuckled. Ukraine had become quite modernized but in 1991 there was little fashion. My skirt was grey and my blouse was yellowed from many washings. I was glad I had packed an old blond wig. The blond with my blue eyes gave me a first glance pass as Ukrainian. I looked at Don. All I could think of was to use some hair dye I had earlier mixed in a bottle.

” It will at least take away the grey.” I said as I pulled a workers cap on his head.

“Now what?” I had a blank look.

“We need to find food and answers. Food should be easy.” He pointed toward the door.

I had forgotten that we weren’t in a war zone and there would be food. We sat down at a café in the Passage and had a luxurious coffee and pastry. We ordered several more for “later.” We also stopped at a fruit stand and filled a bag with apples. My mouth watered.

“Let’s get this food to our friends.” I said casually.

We were careful as we went up the stairs to watch for anything out of the ordinary. As I turned the hallway, I thought I saw a shadow. We stopped.

“F – S- B?” I signed the letters to my husband.

He shrugged his shoulders. We listened intently – nothing.

As silently as we could we went to our room.

“Do not eat these too quickly.” I instructed the children as I gave them the pastries, fruit and some juice.

“We will eat slowly. Won’t we children?” Marina said.

“We are sorry to keep you locked away, but we need to keep you safe.” I waved toward the closet.

Each of our friends stretched their arms, legs and backs and willingly climbed back into the hideaway.

“I think we need to look for the professor.” I said to Don. “I’m worried about him.”

“He may not be in this time period.” My husband looked like he was trying to solve a puzzle.

“Hmmm. Wouldn’t they leave us a clue?”

“Only if they could.”

We carefully went down the hallway of the Passage that was set aside for guests from the past or the future. There was no evidence of anyone being there.

“Who can we ask?”

I had an idea. I grabbed my husband’s hand and ran down the old hallway. There was one more room with a hideaway.

We listened carefully at the door. No sound.

The door was unlocked. I gave him the thumbs up.

He walked around the room looking for any clues.

Just then we heard a load noise in the hallway. We froze and looked at each other…

This is a continuation of a story that I began writing in Odessa, Ukraine in 2007 at The Passage Hotel. The time period was moved to 2022 as a tribute to the heroism of the men and women who are living in Ukraine (especially Odessa) right now.

This link will take you to beginning of the story The Passage – authors

This links you to the beginning of part 2 – Passage to the Portal (During War)

It’s Greek #prompt #microfiction

What did you say?

είναι ελληνικό για μένα *

can you be clearer?

είναι ελληνικό για μένα

this is making No sense

είναι ελληνικό για μένα

‘My Greek’s rusty. I think he said “great idea”‘

‘I think it’s Greek to him as well ‘

What are we agreeing to???

*it’s greek to me…

Reena’s prompt is the image above – Treat the two images as two stages, and write about what happened in between. You can change the order as you wish, or even add more stages in between.

Wow Reena knows how to make a challenge xploration challenge #230

The Boxes… #layers #alittlehorror

Here’s the prompt from the talented Reena Saxena @ xploration challenge

“I have untapped abilities waiting to be discovered.”

If you find it complex, you can use Layers as a theme for your piece.

*

It was a journey that I look back upon and wish I had never begun. There are many layers to this journey. Too many…

It began with a wonderful life with an intelligent, witty, charming partner. I couldn’t have asked for more enjoyment. We shared many of the same interests: poetry, writing, going on adventures and playing games.

I wish now (for his sake) that I had never ever had a curiosity for boxes but I always had. There is something about lifting the top of a box if only to peek inside the corner. Boxes seemed potentially to hold treasure.

My interest in boxes is now a curse but I’m slightly ahead of this story.

The home I moved into with my husband had a basement filled with boxes. There were thousands of them. Some were very big while others were quite small.

“What’s in the boxes?” My curiosity to open each box caused me to ask.

“I don’t know. Most of them were left by the man I bought the house from. He was my auntie’s husband. Some of the boxes were dropped by my brothers and others left by my former wife. Those over there are my own.” He pointed to a neat stack of games. Many of those games we had already played with friends or family.

With too much time on my hands, I started looking at the boxes from a distance. They did not belong to us but they were in our home.

Then on a cold windy day, I opened the first one. It was a pretty box with shiny ribbon. There was a beautiful poem written with a lady’s elegance.

I put the box away, walked up the stairs and reflected on the beautiful poem. I got out my own poetry journal and began to write. My husband later remarked that these were the best poems I had ever written.

It snowed a few days later and I again went down the stairs to open one box. This box had blue geometric shapes on it. There was a note inside that said:

You should look under the third tree to the right of the boundary. there is something interesting there.”

“It’s too cold.” I said to the note carefully putting the top back on the box. “Let’s see what’s in one more.”

“Listen to what you read or someone could end up dead.” A note was written in large bold print with a hefty exclamation point.

“Is this some kind of joke?”

A box fell on the flor. I opened it.

“No!!!” Even bolder letters stated.

I can’t tell you how fast my heart was beating but it was fast I assure you. I tried to calmly put each note back into their respective boxes and then back on the shelf they had come from. I turned to find the them back on the floor. Another had fallen and the lid off. The note opened “GO!”

“Okay I’m going.”

This time I left the boxes and grabbed gloves and a shovel. I forgot a winter jacket.

“What am I doing?” I spoke to the shovel as I walked toward the boundary of our property.

The tree looked slightly different from the others and I knew it was the right one. I dug. I didn’t need to dig too deep. There I found the bones that had belonged to a woman’s hand.

Not knowing what to do I put the hand back in the hole and covered it. I then went to the basement to put the boxes away and lock the door to the basement.

Another box had fallen and the note said “put it in here.”

I screamed.

“The hand?”

Another box fell. I didnt even bother to read it.

I rushed upstairs grabbed a bag to put the hand in. I wrapped the hand, covered the hole, ran back to the basement, put the hand in the box, taped that box together with all the tape I could find, put the rest of the boxes that had opened away, ran out of the room, locked the door, went upstairs, made some tea, look a long sigh.

I forgot about the shovel until my husband came to me with the shovel and a note…

Did I mention my undiscovered ability (underdiscovered) is as a closet horror writer?

The Passage to the Portal #Ukraine #fiction #part2

We stood in front of the clock in the Passage Hotel. The hands seemed as if they didn’t want to move forward. I looked at my husband with open hands and pointed to the rifle.

“You are good, but you can’t shoot two guns at once.” I pointed at the Kalashnikov.

“Trigger finger, eh?” He held the strap against his shoulder tightly. “Mae, you can barely stand.”

“We are potentially entering a portal with a KGB operative. I need to man up.” I knew not to grab for the gun so I just pleaded with my eyes.

The hour hand finally clicked to the 3.

“Let’s go then.” Don handed me the rifle.

He showed me how to place my feet on the design on the carpet. We both clutched our guns in a fighting stance. His other hand was on my back so he could push me forward if necessary.

We walked into 1991 uncertain of what we would face and who would greet us.

“It’s so quiet.” I whispered.

We went down the hallway to the blue room. My husband put his ear against the door to check for any sounds. He shook his head.

“Let’s check our room.” He mouthed as he pointed across the hall.

Again, there were no sounds.

Now What? I looked at my husband with confusion. One misstep could be our last.

He turned the door knob and opened the door.

While he swept the room for signs of intruders, I noticed something out of place.

The lamp was on the wrong table. Then the question was: Would Valeria have done that to warn us?

Don picked up the lamp; there was a lipstick marking underneath. The V in the heart pointed to our secret room.

I rushed over.

“Careful.”

As I clicked the release, I heard the voice of a child.

Don locked the door, wedged a chair under the door and stood with his gun raised at the door. He motioned me inside the secret room.

“What genius,” I thought.

Valeria had put Dmitre’s family in the secret room that was part of our room. Our room was always unlocked so it seemed unlikely that you would hide someone in an unlocked room.

The children rushed into my arms.

Malika’s eyes were moist even Luda looked grateful.

“How long?” I whispered.

“Many days or is it weeks? We have not seen Valeria for 2 days.”

“And no food,” Sasha chimed in.

“We need to take care of that.” My husband peered in and handed me the gun. “What have you heard and what noises?”

“There was a bad man here. We do not know where he is now, but he hurt the professor.”

“You have been hiding – here.” The women nodded.

“Not at first.” Luda added. She pointed across the hall.

“Vlad and Valeria were here?”

“Yes, they moved us.”

“For now, let us put you back in the room. We will be back.” Hopefully, my husband said under his breath.

The first thing we did was check the blue room. It had been disturbed then tidied up by Valeria.

“What about the supply closet?” I knew there were medical supplies and food there.

“I don’t want to lead someone to so valuable a location. Let’s change clothes then go downstairs. The man knows what we look like in these clothes.”

While we changed, I wondered where Vlad and Valeria were. And another question – where was everyone else?

If you have just read this story there is a beginning broken into parts. You can find the links here.

This will link you to the next part of this story. “Where is everyone?”

The Passage is a hotel in Odessa, Ukraine. It was built in the 1890s. The Passage still stands and has housed many soldiers over many wars and incursions. There was also an underground passage used by resistance. This story was originally written in 2007 in Ukraine. The intention of this story is to applaud the bravery of the Ukrainian men and women who are holding on to each piece of their country.

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