Thursday Doors – The October Door

Warning: It’s not a good idea to respond to calls for help coming from behind doors that were made specially for the Halloween season.

Why? Well, when you read what happened to me recently upon responding to calls for help coming from behind the rather scruffy door in the image below, you’ll believe me.

Photo of a scruffy door in need of a lot of repairs.
The October Door

“HELP! GET ME OUT OF HERE. HELP!”

Those were the words I could hear coming from the other side of the October door.

With its light blue paint having almost peeled away and signs of having been kicked from the scuff marks along its bottom, the door looked unloved and old. People passed me and the door by without taking any notice. Was I the only one who could hear the calls for help?

I watched as the flap of the letterbox lifted and two eyes appeared. They looked shocked when they saw me.

“I’m trapped. Please, you need to get me out. Just turn the knob to the left, then to the right, and once more to the left, and the door will open. I’ll be truly grateful for your help. It’s jammed. I’ve been stuck in here for over forty years.”

As the flap closed, I questioned what I had just heard. Forty years? That should have told me not to open the door, but the writer inside me said this would make a great story.

“Hold on. I’m coming in. Step away from the door,” I announced, as I approached it.

“Left, right, and left again,” I muttered under my breath, as I tried the door knob. The door opened without any problems, but I hesitated before stepping into the black void that now faced me.

“Hello,” I called out, as I took my first step inside.

Nothing but silence met my ears. Even the world behind me seemed to go to sleep. I hesitated and wondered if I should take a step back; to maybe get some help?

“In here,” came a voice, “please help me.”

On my fifth step in, the door slammed behind me.

Turning, I ran towards it, but it wouldn’t open. I told myself not to panic and to feel for the door knob, but there wasn’t one. Then, I heard a terrifying sound from something behind me. I banged on the door hard with both hands, hoping that somebody on the other side would hear me.

“HELP! GET ME OUT OF HERE. HELP!”

As the sound behind me got nearer, I had a strange feeling that somebody on the other side of the door had heard me. Then I remembered that the door had a letterbox. I bent down and pulled open the flap. My eyes opened wide with shock.

I hadn’t expected to see myself staring back.

***

This week’s door is located in Llandeilo, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Have you ever come across a door that isn’t all it seems?

Linking to the weekly photography challenge ‘Thursday Doors,’ hosted by Dan Antion who blogs at No Facilities. Click here to join hundreds of other participants with your Thursday Doors.

If you’re enjoying the pieces of flash fiction I’m including with my Thursday Doors posts then you may like Glimpses, my first book of flash fiction and short stories.

The above piece of flash fiction features in Glimpses.

Glimpses

28 short stories and pieces of flash fiction take the reader on a rollercoaster of twists and turns.

Available on Amazon

Paperback – £4.99

Kindle – £0.99

Join Hugh on social media. Click on the links below.

Check out some of other Thursday Doors Posts

Thursday Doors – Open, Sesame!

What do you think is on the other-side of the ‘Open, Sesame!’ door?

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Can You Solve The Mystery Of A Blackmailed Missing Husband And Father?

Don’t go looking in puddles.

Be careful when taking toys, that have the ability to communicate, from a child.

Are the unexpected calls from a missing wife and mother on a child’s toy phone for real?

My latest short story, ‘Puddles’, is this month’s featured story over on the blog of Marsha Ingrao in her ‘Story Chat‘ feature.

Can you solve the mystery of a missing husband and father who believes his 8-year-old daughter is blackmailing him?

Click on the image and join lots of other readers who have already left their answers and thoughts of just what is going on in the lives of an ordinary family who may not be who you think they are.

Image of a young girl holding a toy teddy bear and giraffe
Image credit: Marsha Ingrao

Puddles – by Hugh W. Roberts

After you have solved the mystery of the puddles, why not write a short story for Story Chat? Your story will be read by a new audience who will interact with you. It’s your chance to promote your writing, your blog and yourself.

Click here to contact Marsha for more details.

Comments are closed here. Please leave comments over the original post on Marsha’s blog.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

The Magic Of Christmas

The Magic Of Christmas

It always snowed at Christmas, and it was one thing Fiona detested.

A white Christmas was one of the remaining bits of magic the festive season had over her. This Christmas, she needed to get rid of it once and for all.

Witnessing the arrival of the angels every Christmas Eve had helped keep the magic alive. But last year the angels seemed different; different to how they had always appeared to Fiona. Last year, the first Christmas Fiona hadn’t believed in the magic, the angels had refused to show their faces to her.

“You’re too old to be hanging up Christmas stockings,” Fiona yelled at her daughters as they approached the fireplace. “And you can lay the table and cook tomorrow’s dinner if you want to celebrate. Christmas Day is now going to be like any other day. The magic of Christmas no longer exists.”

At the stroke of midnight that night, Fiona made her way out of the house. Would the angels show their face this year?

It wasn’t long before the warm globes of light appeared. The angels had come back and made their way to the only part of the garden where virgin snow lay. It hadn’t snowed for two days, yet the footprints Fiona had made in that part of the garden were no longer visible.

“You’re not real! Why don’t you show me your faces anymore? There’s no such thing as the magic of Christmas,” she shrieked, as all but one of the angels touched the undisturbed snow and melted into it. As the winter air chilled Fiona’s bones, the last angel turned around and beckoned her towards it.

Doing all she could to stop herself moving towards the creature, its ugly face made Fiona want to scream, but nothing but a silent screech came out of her mouth. She tried thinking about the magic of Christmas in the hope the creature would go away, but her body refused to stop moving. By the time she reached it, its terrifying face had melted away.

Fiona’s heart raced. Had they gone?

A noise from behind her forced her to turn around and look back at the house. Now, before her, the whole garden was full of untrodden, virgin, snow, yet it had not snowed.

As she made the first hesitant steps towards the house, Fiona’s journey abruptly stopped. From underneath the snow, a hand appeared and grabbed her ankle. Her screams went unheard as the warm hand pulled her into the world of non-believers.

Fiona’s last sight of the magical world she had once believed in was that of a stout figure, dressed in red with a long white beard, standing on the roof of the house.

“Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas,” laughed the figure, as the final remains of Fiona melted into the virgin snow.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Reblog: The People Under The Stairs

Those of you who have been following Hugh’s Views And News for more than a few months will know of my love for short stories and pieces of flash fiction that come with a twist.

Image credit: Marsha Ingrao

When blogger and writer Marsha Ingrao invited me to write a guest post or short story for publication on her blog, I decided to share a new short story that I had only shown to one other person.

Click on the link below to visit Marsha’s blog and read my short story The People Under The Stairs.

The People Under The Stairs

Just a word of warning – you may like to read the story during daylight hours.

Marsha is looking at doing a follow-up discussion post about what readers’ think is happening in my story. After you’ve read it, leave her a comment and let her know what you think is really happening.

My thanks to Marsha for inviting me to share one of my new stories with her readers.

While there, check out some of Marsha’s other posts too.

Comments are closed here. Please leave any comments on Marsha’s blog.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Mind Your Head #flashfiction #3LineTales


Mind Your Head – by Hugh W. Roberts

Michelle loved ‘Caution – Mind Your Head’, the only place where nobody had to queue.

After removing her head, she made her way to the oiling room; the place where creaks and squeaks were made obsolete.

In thirty minutes, Michelle would once again be reunited with her head, now free of any nasty viruses.


photo by K. Mitch Hodge via Unsplash

Can you write a three-line tale using the above image?

Written in response to the Three Line Tale challenge hosted by Sonya at Only 100 Words.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Puppet #flashfiction #3LineTales


Puppet – by Hugh W. Roberts

Zoe watched, horrified, as her older brother cut the strings of her favourite puppet before dropping the scissors to the floor.

“Now you’ll never be able to play with that stupid puppet ever again,” laughed George.

“You’ll never be able to stop me from playing with my stupid puppet ever again,” replied a wide-eyed Zoe, as she watched the puppet pick up the weapon used to cut its strings.


photo by Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash

Can you write a three-line tale using the above image?

Written in response to the Three Line Tale challenge hosted by Sonya at Only 100 Words.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Strange Pairings #flashfiction

May 28, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using two words that contradict. Examples include champagne and hard-rock; rosemary and sewage; duck down and firecrackers; sleep and square-dancing. Use one of these or make up your own. Go where the prompt leads!

Image credit: Charli Mills

If you’d like to read the whole story so far, click on ‘The Newlyweds‘ on the menu bar at the top of my blog.


If he still had feelings in his legs, why could he not see what was holding them down?

Doug’s attention was then diverted to the picture that had fallen off the wall earlier. It rang like a telephone.

***

Two floors below, Mike watched in astonishment as floorboards rose towards the face of his other-self.

“I wonder if the floorboards taste better with ketchup on them?” asked the face on the ceiling.

***

Before turning to run from danger, the floorboards beneath the woman began to rise. Gasping, Sophie watched as a bathtub and a toaster came up through the floor.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

More flash fiction from Hugh…

Danger #flashfiction

May 14, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that answers the question, “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you are in absolute danger?” Go where the prompt leads!

Image credit: Charli Mills

If you’d like to read the whole story so far, click on ‘The Newlyweds‘ on the menu bar at the top of my blog.


As the sound of cracking floorboards got louder, Sophie remembered what Doug had told her should she ever find herself in danger. Run for your life.

***

As Mike felt the foul-smelling breath of his other-self hit his body, he put his army training into good use. Rolling his body away from the cracking floorboards, he watched, stunned, as the floorboards rose, instead of falling.

***

Two floors above, a strange feeling of being in danger germinated in Doug’s head. He had to get up and run for his life, but something or somebody seemed to be holding down his legs.


You can click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next episode.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Thank You Key Workers

More flash fiction from Hugh.

Last Train To Aldwych – A Short Story For VE Day

Nobody noticed Grace Simmons.

She sat on her own in the second carriage of the London underground train which had just come to a halt at Aldwych station.

Further down the carriage, party goers got off the train and she could hear the sounds of their laughter fade as they exited from the station platform. The only evidence that they’d ever been there were the empty beer bottles and fast-food wrappers which littered the carriage floor.

Dressed in her blue, floral, hour-glass vintage dress from the nineteen forties, she waited patiently. It wouldn’t be long before the music started, and they could dance again.

She held on tightly to the jet-black leather handbag he had given to her one Christmas. Such a happy day, one full of laughter and happiness. It had only been the two of them that day – the best Christmas she’d ever had.

The lights flickered briefly on the station platform. He would be here soon. The station was quiet, and she wondered what he would think of her when he saw her again. He hadn’t aged at all, but the wrinkles on her face, along with a head of grey hair, had aged her so much.

However, she always took plenty of time preparing herself for the meeting she had with him on the same date every year.

Then, the faint sound of music came to her ears and her heart began to beat faster. She dared not move until he came to her and asked her if she would like to dance.

The lights flickered inside the train carriage as the music became a little louder. She recognised the tune: Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’.

It was their tune, the one they had first danced to at this very station the first time they had met.

Suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps. Were they his? She hoped so; it had been such a long time since they had last danced.

As her heart beat faster, Grace remembered their wedding day. Her mother had helped her make her dress and when he’d finally seen her in it, she knew she had taken his breath away.

“Your eyes shine like the brightest stars in the night sky,” he’d said. “You are my guiding light. I am the luckiest man alive.”

She dared not look up, just yet, in case the footsteps were not his.

Twice before, the footsteps had belonged to the station manager who had explained that this was the last train to Aldwych, and she needed to leave the station.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the shadow of a man and hoped with all her heart that it was Ernest. The shadow grew longer as it passed the open carriage doors. Then the footsteps were no more.

“Would you like to dance?”

Raising her head slowly, tears came to her eyes as she saw him again.

He looked so handsome in his army uniform. His wavy black hair had not lost its colour and his handsome boyish features looked the same as they had on their wedding day.

His deep blue eyes gazed at her as he held out his arms towards her. For a moment she could not move, but the music gradually released her and she moved towards him.

She tried to say his name, but the words would not come. He held a finger to her mouth. There was no need to say anything; they were together again.

He lowered his finger from her lips as she stepped out of the carriage. After placing her handbag on the platform floor, she looked up at him.

Holding out his arms, she took hold of his right hand and rested the other on the small of his back. They started to dance, never once taking their eyes away from each other. They dared not look away for fear that this was all a dream and that it would end quickly if either one of them awoke.

Sounds of laughter, singing and clapping came to them and, from above, the distant sounds of explosions. Nobody else was there to witness the love and happiness which had come to Aldwych station.

They could feel the love all around them as they danced together. For a few precious moments they were the happiest people in the world.

A slight breeze blew along the platform, its hot air circling at her legs. With it came the front of a discarded newspaper. She looked down as it came towards them and tried to kick it away, but it became stuck to one of the heels of her shoes. She dared not let him go and tears once again came to her as she looked into his eyes. He smiled back at her.

“I will always love you, Grace.”

She looked down again as the music began to fade.

Lowering her arms to her side, she did not want to look up to see if he was still there for she knew this would be the last time they would meet. The love and joy which had just been there with them had now turned to sadness and sorrow. She bent down and removed the newspaper. Her eyes took in the date.

Friday, 30th September 1994.

Underneath, the headline read –

Last Train to Aldwych.
Station To Finally Close Down For Good – Tonight.

That night, Grace Simmons took the ten-minute walk back to The Strand Palace Hotel and died peacefully in her sleep.

Some still say that when walking past the boarded-up building that was once the entrance to Aldwych underground station, they can hear the faint sounds of a nineteen-forties band playing Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’. Others claim to have heard the rumble of an underground train as if it were pulling into the station.

For Grace and Ernest, their dance still goes on.


Story taken from the short story collection Glimpses – Available on Amazon.

#books

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Crack #flashfiction

April 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that features long boards. They can be used in any way you imagine, including a name for sporting equipment. How are they used and who is using them? Go where the prompt leads!

Image credit: Charli Mills

If you’d like to read the whole story so far, click on ‘The Newlyweds‘ on the menu bar at the top of my blog.


Rolling his heavy body towards the spot where Clarice had disappeared, Doug rubbed his hand over the long, bare floorboards. A crackling sound of static made the hairs on the back of his hand tingle.

***

Two floors below, Mike looked down at himself and took a deep breath. Pushing out the air hard, he aimed it towards the long boards just below where his other-self lay.

He watched as the boards started cracking.

***

Terrified by what the woman had yelled at her, Sophie’s shielded her face as the long floorboards underneath the woman began to make a cracking sound.


You can click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Thank You Key Workers

More flash fiction from Hugh.

Killer Eve #writephoto #flashfiction

Use the image below as inspiration to create a post on your own blog… poetry, prose, humour… light or dark, whatever you choose, as long as it is fairly family-friendly.

Writephoto challenge dated April 23rd 2020
Image credit: Sue Vincent

Eve was her name. A woman one man feared: that man, me.

She wanted humanity to worship her. She made those that were left celebrate her life by giving her a day when they celebrated the beauty that only came to Eve when it was dark.

During the darkness, bonfires lit up the skies so all could see what fate awaited them.

Nobody knew where Eve came from. At first, nobody seemed to care about it. Nobody asked questions until it was too late.

Everyone would welcome Eve into their lives. Everyone would welcome her into their homes. Eve asked for nothing in return. Well, I say nothing. The only thing Eve wanted was to be noticed.

Eve touched the lives of everyone. She made people laugh; she made people cry. She made people strong; she made them weak. Humankind trusted her. That was how it always looked to Eve. She was like anything else that lived on planet Earth.

Humanity thought they were the most potent form of life. After all, humankind had made the Earth its own. Anything that wanted to share the Earth had to abide by the rules of man. How sinful humanity was.

For a while, Eve followed the rules of humanity. But then she grabbed an opportunity to break the rules.

The day Eve escaped was the turning point.

Eve wanted all of humanity to witness the beauty that only came to her when the lights went out. Eve wanted all of humanity to notice her. Now was her chance to do just that.

As Eve made her way onto the city streets and into the communities, a new future dawned.

The rest is an unfolding story that will never end.

Eve believes there’s no such thing as an ending. It’s just the point at which you decide to leave her story.


Written in response to the ‘writephoto’ challenge hosted by Sue Vincent at the Daily Echo. Click here for more details.

Doug, Sophie and Mike have taken a break this week. They’ll be back next week.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Crazy Situations #flashfiction

April 16, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about something crazy. Laugh like crazy, show the setting of stir-crazy or go off the rails on a crazy train. Have fun with the word and the situation, but go where the prompt leads!

If you’d like to read the whole story so far, click on ‘The Newlyweds‘ on the menu bar at the top of my blog.


While shielding his eyes from the bright light, his army service time in Iraq made Mike expect an explosion to follow, but nothing materialised.

Opening his eyes, a crazy situation unfolded in front of him. He found himself looking down at himself.

***

Thinking she recognised the warning voice; Sophie couldn’t help but keep her eyes on the crazy situation in front of her.

“Time to die. But who?” yelled the woman.

***

Two floors above, Doug moved his hands away from his face and found he was alone again.

“That’s crazy. People don’t just disappear into thin air,” he insisted.


Click here to read the first part of this story and follow the links back to this part.

Image credit: Charli Mills

Written in response to the 99-word flash fiction challenge hosted by Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch.

Click here to read the next part of the story.

Click here to join other writers participating in the challenge.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

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