Microfiction #writephoto: Safe haven

This is for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt. She said it didn’t have to be apocalyptic.


“I don’t like it,” she said. “What is it anyway?”

He shrugged. “No idea. Some old building. A relic.”

“Doesn’t look old. Looks brand new to me.”

“Aw, who cares? Let’s move it!”

She hung back, still undecided. “It’s too open, just grass,” she said. “They’ll see us.”

“Look.” He took her hands and put on his patient expression, the one he’d used for… “Look, Jan, we have no choice. You see the shadow on the horizon? That’s the sea. There’s a sub waiting for us. We’re almost there!”

She hated that face. And the tone of voice. She wasn’t a child. He shouldn’t speak to her like he spoke to… She stared at the dark mass on the horizon. It was just darkness. How could he imagine there was anything called ‘safety’ in that wilderness?

He tugged her hands, gently at first, then with more insistence. “Come on. The sun’s almost gone. It’ll be more difficult in the dark.”

Reluctantly, she got to her feet. They were the only ones left. No one else had made it, not even Evie. She made herself say the name in her head, the name that always started a chain reaction of childish laughter and high-pitched shrieks of excitement. It was a gale of laughter that had given them away. Evie had attracted the sensors. She was the one they went for first.

She stood, gaunt against the dying light, gaunt from months of living on her nerves with her grief. Nothing mattered much anyway. She shrugged off the hands that had no more power to protect or console. She strode towards the dark line that might or might not be the sea. He was at her side, then moving ahead, eager to see the chimera that she had no faith in. He was yards ahead when the strange mechanical clanking started.

“The thing, the relic,” she wailed. “It’s moving.”

Broad paddles lurched into movement, turning on a pivot, slowly but powerfully. The setting sun flickered on off on off as the paddles cut across its fading beams, and the paddles pivoted. The relic turned on its axis, like a satellite dish—its chopped up, moving clock face stared straight at them.

“Run!” His hoarse croak of a cry bounced off her as he bolted for the distant line of shadow. She stood, waiting. There was no point. She turned her eyes away when the beam of light shot out from the relic and in its brilliance, reduced him to glittering ash.

There was no sea, no sub, no safety. Not for them, anyway.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

36 thoughts on “Microfiction #writephoto: Safe haven”

  1. Hmm.. It’s weird.. Your post knocked it right out of the ball park.. Although I also thought the same thing, but from the perspective of the hunters.. I think the windmill silence propelled the need for a Violent or dark thought..

    1. Windmills for me are so solid and immutable that it was hard to imagine one being anything but what we expect of it—mill grain or pump water or both. Nice safe activities. If it’s not that, it has to be something unheard of. I’m glad you thought it worked.

      1. Yeah, the sense of peace create war or war create peace.. Can be seen.. But this time with thoughts.. Wonder if it was moving would it have evoked the same response from you or me..?
        Hmm.. Food for thought..

      2. In the photo you can’t tell whether it’s moving or not. A working mill moves, so why not? For me, a windmill is such a very definite, unchanging thing, to make it into something else is a violation.

      3. But could it have been a source of positive inspiration. Human always Perceive motion as Life and Stillness as death.. I think the still sail.. Hammered the negative thoughts to act..

      4. Hmm.. It’s strange the idea of images… Haiku is totally dependent on them, writing partially.. But we humans have a primitive urge to navigate.. Images helped.. But now.. Images are also expressing.. And changing the human expression.. Wonder if it’s the next evolution for writing and writers..?

  2. I love where you took this prompt. I can see how it was difficult, but wow, you imagined such a different, creative interpretation, and yet it tied in so well to the image. Wonderfully apocalyptic.

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