Prompt 030: Atrium

A really intriguing story.


Duration. This image, taken in an abandoned VEB in Eastern Germany, was taken by Johannes Burkhart. You can see more of Johannes’ work on his Flickr photostream.

The blood trail led him to an opening in the trees and a building emerged from the forested landscape that took him somewhat by surprise. His eyes searching not for static mass but a limping creature with frenzied eyes and fur slick with sweat, instead found this concrete structure.  For some time he watched it then scanned the ground for blood before lowering his rifle to study the structure once more. An old factory or manufacturing plant he guessed. But no sign of blood or disturbances in the undergrowth and no sight of a dead or dying deer. Don’t crawl off and hide somewhere to die friend, he whispered, that way neither of us win. Advancing across fallen leaves he approached the entrance, observing…

View original post 711 more words

Matthew Hopkins

You’ve heard of me, I’ve travelled far
From Bedfordshire to East Anglia
John Stearne and I cure the fear
Of those caught in the witches’ snare
These Devil’s whores confess their sins:
The Witchfinder’s trial begins.

As civil war wages across the nation
We hunt the hags in league with Satan
Our methods and knowledge used abroad
As far as Salem, to please God
By locating the Devil’s mark:
The Witchfinder has done his work.

Parliament has sent us round
To bring this evil to the ground
To crush the sinners under our boots –
That’s what we claim as we pursue
Their execution, our good pay:
The Witchfinder will have his way.

One hundred people to my name
A dark, despicable, ghastly fame
My legacy will endure forever:
Torture and trials are my pleasure
Though my time has now come and passed,
The Witchfinder’s reputation will last.

There Will Be Hope by Iain Kelly

Running. Hard. Breathing heavy. Feet pounding. Sweat dripping. Muscles straining. The hard surface jarring his joints as he hurtles onwards. Round another corner. No time to look back. Need to stop. Hide. Somewhere.

Blood. Blood on the streets. Blood on his clothes. Death. He survives. He runs. Escape. In the future he will have to live with this. Not now. Now is enduring.

How many of them were there? No idea. Flashing images. Bodies lying. Screams. Pain. A face exploding in front of him. Blood. Matter. Bone. Showering him. Run. Maggie? Separated. Should he go back to look for her?

Quieter. Distant sirens. Whimpering. Screaming. Slow. Adrenaline slows, body aches. Now stop. Peer around this corner. Masked man. Armed. Hide. Deep, slow breaths. Quiet. Footsteps approach. Press against the cold wall. Please God. There is no God. Please God. Footsteps retreat. There is no God. Thank you God.

Look again. Empty. Go back? Maggie? He has to. Slowly. Walking, creeping. Bystanders emerge. People on the ground. Bystanders become participants. Become heroes. Humanity will prevail in the end. Now agony prevails. Hatred. Despair. Death.

Along the streets. Here is where he left her. Bodies. Pain. Blood. Nowhere. Maggie. Energy gone. Collapse. Knees hit the hard ground. Adrenaline gone. Shock. Tears. Pain. Does it all end here, like this?

Shouts. Hands on him. Lifting him. Gun. Friend or foe? Cold metal against his skin. Aggression. Shoved. Face hits hard ground. Maggie. Last thought. Do you hear the gunshot that kills you? Do you feel the bullet that kills you?

Not like this. Coward. Get up. Do something. Fight back. Die fighting. Fight for your humanity. Fight for your future. Fight for Maggie. Struggle. The struggle. The struggle for his future. Get up goddamn you.

The voice. He hears her. She is there. He feels her. He sees her. She lifts him. She exists, she survives. The cold metal retreats. Maggie. Embrace. Relief. Tears. Aftermath. Distant gunshots. More pain. More blood. More death. Will it ever end? Can it ever end? Make it stop.

Tell yourself. There is hope. There is love. There is hope. Hold on to her. Hold on to that. Where there is pain and death, there will be life. There will be peace.

There will be hope.

About Iain

Iain lives Glasgow in Scotland, where he spends almost all his time raising his twin son and daughter. In my spare time I work as an editor of television programmes. Any time left over after that goes to reading and writing. I hope you enjoy my efforts.

That was exciting! Check out Iain’s blog for more short stories, including lots of flash fiction pieces:

When We Lost Papa

When we lost papa, things got very hard very fast.

He was the strongest member of the family, both physically and mentally. He knew what he wanted and he knew how he could get it without ever having to do anything questionable or immoral. Unlike mama, who has always been nervous and slow, he had made decisions quickly and with undeniable confidence. Papa had been fit, healthy, able, and smart.

That had not made him a match for the speeding car that had come off the road on a tight bend and ploughed straight into him.

Once the shock and the horror of that terrible day had started to fade enough for mama to think straight, we had the funeral. After the funeral had taken place, we got the chance to look at our lives and see where we could go with what we had left. That was when we had come to the realisation that, despite how hard papa had worked throughout his life, we were going to run out of money in a short amount of time.

When that happened, we would have nothing.

Mama had raised three children and had not worked in over fifteen years, since my birth. I was the oldest, though still at school. My youngest sibling, my sister, was only three. Mama tried to find a job that would allow her to juggle family life too, but to no avail. So, I left school and lied about my age to do work for some shady guy who got me occasional jobs as long as I never asked him anything or appeared too interested. Sometimes, it would seem legitimate enough, like building and repair projects, but other times it was driving people to secret locations and delivering packages discreetly.

It was hard to make ends meet for the four of us, so after a while I started to accept more of the dodgy – and better paid – jobs. I had betrayed papa’s good reputation and honesty, but I had done it to protect the family that he would have wanted me to look after when he was gone, and that was what justified it for me.

Then came the day when my brother, two years younger than me, came to the realisation that we needed more money if we were going to remain in the home that papa had bought. My brother asked me to get him work of his own. I wish I had sent him away. I wish I had told him no. I wish I had decided I would be happy to starve if it would stop my brother from becoming life me. The problem was that I had started something that was going to start affecting the rest of my family – and I had not seen that until it was too late.

We all missed papa, but it was irrelevant that he would have wanted better for us. We knew nothing more than the scum and the villainy and the fear that we had become used to. Every single job could have been the last one, the one when the police had caught us or a rival gang had attacked us, and yet we kept making it home without a scratch. We were beyond lucky.

I would cuddle my sister at night and tell her stories about papa. I would tell her how good papa had been. I was convinced that if I could demonstrate how far her two brothers had drifted from his perfect behaviour, then she would grow up and see how wrong we were. I would whisper to her, when mama was not around, that she should run away.

When my sister grew up to hate me and what I had become, I loved her all the more. It broke mama’s heart to see her leave, but I was happy – she was the only one of us who managed to get out. The knowledge that my sister had a real chance to make positive changes in her life was the greatest feeling in the world.

Even though I had turned my back on the man who papa had been, something had still shone through the darkness that had grown within me. I had done what I could to lessen my betrayal of his memory.

Your Road

You’re walking down a long, dark road on a cold night. There are no street lights, no cars, and no other signs of life. You don’t know how you got here, wherever here is. You remember sitting in the passenger seat of your best friend’s car, laughing with them as they had attempted to answer their phone whilst driving one-handed.

Then nothing.

You woke up by the side of the empty road, got to your feet, and started walking. You were fairly sure you knew which way the nearest town should be in, so you started walking in that direction.

Now it’s an hour later, and you still can’t see any signs of civilisation.

You’re cold, and you’ve got your arms wrapped around yourself to keep your body warm. You’re starting to get worried because your survival skills are laughable, and you don’t want to have to spend the night by the side of the road. You don’t even know what animals live out here – there aren’t a lot of plants, just a flat expanse of dry land.

You also don’t have anything to eat or drink on you. You’re not feeling thirsty yet, but you know that if you keep walking eventually you’ll need some nourishment. You can only hope that you’ll come across a car or a house at the side of the road with a kindly owner who takes pity on you.

It becomes darker around you. When you look up at the sky, you notice that there are very few stars in the sky. This confuses you, because you’re used to looking out of your bedroom window at a sky full of glittering stars, and you can’t be that far from home. You used to stare at the stars as a child and try to recognise the different constellations.

Eventually, you come to the end of the road. There’s nothing here. The road just stops. You think about leaving the road for a moment and continuing on into the wilderness, but that’s only because you don’t want to have to walk back the way that you’ve just come. You come to your senses, sigh, and rub your eyes. This isn’t right at all.

You turn around and begin walking in the other direction, but what you see makes you stop. There’s the wreck of a car in front of you, upside down in the middle of the road, and it looks just like your best friend’s car. Glass is all over the road, and twisted bits of metal are sticking out of the car at odd angles. A pool of blood is seeping out from underneath the passenger side of the car.

You understand now. You know without walking all the way to the other end of the road that it will end suddenly, just as it does at this end. You expect that you won’t be able to walk off the stretch of road even if you wanted to. You’re stuck here until someone or something far greater than yourself either decides that you’ve paid for your wrongs or helps you to finish your business.

Until then, you are stuck wandering along the road where you died, a ghost whispered about by the few people you manage to make contact with.

When the Bullets have Ceased

The world will wait in silence and debate as our boys die
They praise their human rights as we all struggle to survive
Every one of us manipulated by an evil man
But the world will not assist us with some freedom-bringing plan

It took us a generation
But the truth, at last
Is waiting to be told to our entire nation

Not a God, but just a man
We must take back our homeland
For our brothers and our sisters
We will lay down our demands
Every family has suffered
All our hearts are filled with pain
If we are to beat the system
We must kill the ones to blame

We must kill the ones to blame

A good man and a father overnight has disappeared
We dare not speak his name, for there are spies who must be feared
Empty hearts of politicians turn our children into sneaks
Every words means only horror when the dreaded leader speaks

It took us a generation
But finally, the truth
Is ready to be told, to our entire nation

Not a God, but just a man
We must take back our homeland
For our brothers and our sisters
We will lay down our demands
Every family has suffered
From the bitter sting of pain
If we are to beat the system
We must kill the ones to blame

We must kill the ones to blame
Who –
Promised a lie
Lied to us from birth
Controlled the nation
What our lives are worth
Made our God into nothing
And our freedom a sham
For the children to believe
That their parents are damned
And look up to a monster
Only blind eyes to see
When the bullets have ceased –
We are democracy

Author’s note: I am on holiday this week. For this reason, I will be unable to reblog/share any of the great poems or stories that appear on my dash. Instead, please enjoy these lyrics – they are several years old, but some of them have never been published before.

A Good Man

He was a good man, they said.

None of them had ever really known him, yet they stood around his coffin as though they had been intimate friends with him. As though they had shared the good times, and the bad times, the laughs, and the jokes.

As though every single one of them had truly understood him.

He was a good man, they said. The best. And though this itself was not untrue, none of them could say why he had been a good man.

The best they could do was mourn.

To each, he had been little more than a figure in the corner of the room, often there but never invited to become directly involved in their conversations. He had worked hard, and joined in when the occasion had called for it, but he had always been on the outside, floating somewhere just out of reach.

Not one of them had ever gone out of their way to know him. And, perhaps, that was the way he had liked it.

Or perhaps they had, each of them, missed out on the adventure of his friendship because they had failed to incorporate him into their lives.

He had been a good man, upon death. But in life, he had only ever been someone.

The Terrible Truth by Aya Benotmane

Read at your own risk.

The following excerpt you are about to read represents a concise presentation of a very intriguing and fascinating individual. The following events represent real life situations that have not been altered nor distorted in any way. An extremely trustworthy and mighty legend once said that a human with insuppressible powers would be born on the fourth of August during the late nineties. This magnificent being would belong to the Leo star sign; thus promising a lovable and genuine personality. Up to this day, this human being has remained in hiding, fearing what society would do once they find out about the destructive powers contained within them. Some people claim to have met this hero, while others wish to catch a glimpse of their wafting soul. This person might be your best friend, classmate or maybe just a person you passed by while shopping for Christmas gifts. However, it just so happens that this so called ‘powerful’ human being is sitting with a pen and paper trying to come up with some interesting aspects and ideas about themselves in order to introduce themselves to the world.

This person is Aya Benotmane.

The Terrible Truth

And so the souls slowly wafted into the air, leaving their haggard bodies and brooding faces engraved by tear tracks on the murderous earth. #war

There is something really exciting about well-written one sentence stories.

To learn more and read more of Aya’s writing, visit:

Frail ~ Failed Rescue

A fantastic short story – great writing.

Word Adventures

Holding a cloth to her face, Elena crossed from the room to her father’s office, her silk nightgown too heavy for the temperature. The smoke caught at her throat and caused her eyes to tear up. It was hard to breathe… She tried not to panic; it wouldn’t help. She just needed to find her way down. But everything was so hot, she wasn’t sure where to go.
She called for help, her voice muffled by the cloth and smoke. She approached one of the windows: maybe someone would see her. She tried to grab the latch. And screamed. The iron was burning hot leaving a scar on her hand. Still she didn’t let go. Despite the unbearable pain, she pulled and opened the window. And fell. The air breathed in more fire. She screamed. She called.
“Please! Help me!”
Was she going to die? She didn’t want to die…

View original post 761 more words

A Meeting in the Bog

A really interesting read, great short story.

The Faith Gap

Until the Blue Planet, I had never seen a place where somethingotherexisted. There were cosmicworlds suspended in darknessand nomadic chunks of iron, like myself, barreling alongwaitingto be pulled into one of their orbits. That was it. Gas and metal and rock and speed.

I’d seena few of usgetclose enoughto collide and disintegrate into some of these distant worlds. Even so, after the enormous amount of energy was released, not much changed. Gas and metal and rock smashing into more gas and metal and rock for billions of light years in every direction.

But when I saw the Blue Planet, itwas filled with…life.

Massive life. Strange life. Life much different than after our collision. Life with fangs and tusks and scales. They were equal parts majesty and terror, and I would soon disintegrate with them. It’s the reason The Mover redirected me towards it in the first place. He…

View original post 620 more words