The Facility #8

Stretching out your hand towards the familiar face, the one you remember from the mirror, your fingertips brush lightly over the surface of the tank; the occupant’s eyes blink open and the mouth gapes back at you in surprise – or is it horror? Recoiling from the unexpected engagement, you step back, a silent oath escaping your lips, as your companion – or rather, your colleague – takes you gently by the elbow and steers you to a desk in the corner of the room.

Gazing nervously over your shoulder, you look down at the journal that lies open before you. Recognizing your own handwriting, your eyes explore the text, the calculations, the diagrams – it’s all here – your head whips around once again and the face which floats behind the glass implores you: end this!

Mind whirring, you page desperately through the journal’s dated entries – puzzle pieces click and unclick, form and re-form – you sweep the journal from the desk and rush from the room, through the door and into the corridor; footsteps follow as you hurtle down the stairs to the exit, where you throw open the fire escape doors and run into the street; your only instinct is to flee… straight into the waiting arms of the blank-faced orderly.

He eases you into the waiting wheelchair and pushes you back into the building where the homely-looking nurse in her crisp white uniform stands waiting, clipboard in hand; she smiles: ‘Welcome back, Dr Conel, we’ve been expecting you.’

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – OATH, ENGAGE, PUSH
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – EXPLORE

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

More Splendid Sixes HERE – watch out for the zombies!

The Facility #7

White-knuckled, you grip the handrail as your companion urges you to hurry down several flights of stairs while the words you’ve just seen written on the wall, seemingly in your own hand, still circle around in your head, nudging at the nodes of your memory; puzzle pieces trying to assemble.

At the next landing, your companion motions you to stop while he peers through the viewing panel in one of the double doors; satisfied, he motions you over and you slip through the door after him, across the hallway and along another anonymous corridor until you come to another unmarked door, where he withdraws a key-card from his pocket and thrusts it into the lock, before hauling you inside.

You stare about the space, where a multitude of machines are whirring; a large central desk dominates the room, on it is a photograph showing twelve people, dressed in white lab coats like the one you’re wearing now: all of them look familiar.

Your companion guides you through a second door and when you enter what you see triggers the puzzle pieces to click into place; you fall to your knees, the burden of your understanding crushing you, but in this newly-established reality, the bioethics of what you now realise you and your companions have done are not the priority.

Within the blue-lit gloom are a series of twelve tanks, each contains a body connected to a central station via a series of wires and tubes.

One of them is yours.

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – YES, ETHICS, KNEE
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – GRIP

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Click here for more Sixes!

The Facility #6

You stare at the unlocked door as the disturbance outside retreats; alert to danger, you slowly get to your feet and shuffle towards the door, where you hesitantly turn the handle; now, peering around the edge, you hear frenetic footsteps pounding back along the corridor towards you.

It’s one of them – one of you, your mind corrects itself – you’re about to shut the door, when the figure, with its blurred blank face, just like yours, bursts into your room and thrusts a lab coat at you, gesturing to you to put it on.

Dragged along the sterile bright-white corridor, counting off the doors, you recognise the route to the elevator; your companion urges you to hurry and you break into a shambling run-walk; then you turn the final corner, the sliding doors open and, stumbling inside, the elevator swallows you both up.

Your companion punches a button and slumps against the control panel breathing heavily; the elevator ascends: you count the floors – counting has become a habit – and when the elevator slows to a stop, you realise you must be on the top-most floor.

The elevator opens and your companion beckons you across the hallway to a set of double doors, leading to an endless stairway; the doors snap shut behind you and bile rises in your throat as you, in a moment of clarity, read the words daubed on the wall opposite:



Your companion thrusts you towards the stairs.

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – COAT, WROTE, THROAT
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – NET

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Read more Six Sentence Stories here – come and join the party!

The Facility #5

Days become weeks, the visits to the basement continue, the treatment-experiment-conditioning, whatever it is, each time washing over you in a stream of detached disinterest; each time, returning to your room and recovering in bed after another steady shuffle around the green garden with your fellow patients-subjects-inmates where, trapped on this endless treadmill, no-one speaks or makes eye-contact.

Food arrives on a tray – greyish porridge, brownish soup – delivered by the blank-faced orderly; later, a shot-glass of something sweet and very orange; later still, the lights dim and you sleep: is the orange liquid drugged you wonder, as you drift away again.

You request a newspaper for some distraction, but the request’s denied; instead, the orderly brings you a mindless magazine filled with photos of people you don’t recognise; you consider the art of paper-folding, but your fingers won’t cooperate. You study those fingers; your fingernails never seem to grow, still short and neat, just as when you arrived; your hair, as far as you can tell without a mirror, is the same; are you groomed in your sleep?

Another day, and when you return to your room, a TV screen has been installed, high up in the corner, just below the dull red camera eye; the orderly switches it on and just as the picture flickers into life, there’s a commotion in the corridor outside; a siren wails, there are shouts, running feet; the orderly spins around and rushes from your room.

In his haste, he leaves the door unlocked.

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – HIGH, DAFT, SHIN
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – DISTRACTION

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Click here for more Six Sentence Stories. Better still, bring your own and join us!

The Facility #4

You’re wheeled into a bland anti-room and the homely-looking nurse murmurs something to the blank-faced orderly who places a restraining hand, gloved in dark rubber, firmly in the centre of your chest; there’s a momentary flash of crackling bright blue light, and the world of sharp senses swims away to be replaced by the sterile hums and beeps of medical machinery.

Later, consciousness returns and you find yourself lying in dimly-lit room, redolent with the unfriendly spectres of duplicity and distrust, hooked up to a machine; probes have been inserted under your skin, like tiny burrowing animals, connected to wires and tubes which snake away into the gloom.

You sense you’re not alone: others are in the room, you can hear them breathing – you try to shift position, but your limbs are leaden and you can’t move your head – a gloved arm reaches over and another shock is administered; you float on the edge of unconsciousness once again.

Someone’s speaking, you open your eyes to the yellow glow of sunlight and the homely-looking nurse smiles faintly and extends her hand to you; others are in the room, filing out through a great glass door into a patch of green garden, where there is even a hint of a breeze; you find your feet and follow.

You shuffle around in a silent circle, noticing that everyone looks alike; then you catch your own reflection in one of the windows – a face you don’t recognise.

A face that’s just like theirs.

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – ANIMAL, FRIEND, TRUST
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – SHIFT

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Click here to read more Six Sentence Stories here – consider bringing your own too!

The Facility #3

Through barely-open eyelids you stare up at the red eye of the camera, deliberating – why are they watching? what do they want? – yet, despite the threat, you find yourself beginning to doze off; the lights dim, and the soft mattress ushers you into the peaceful comfort of slumber.

The click of the key in the lock startles you awake, the room brightens, and the door opens to reveal the homely-looking nurse accompanied by a blank-faced orderly, also dressed in white – another unsmiling type – just like the administrator at the reception desk; in fact, they look strangely alike.

Under the nurse’s neutral stare, and consciously not looking at the eye of the camera in the corner, you swing your legs from the bed and sit up, while the blank-faced orderly manoeuvres a wheel-chair into the room and escorts you to it with a firm and forceful grip. He whisks you from the room and along the sterile bright-white corridor, following in the nurse’s efficient footsteps; now, turning a corner, you arrive at a pair of doors which slide open at your approach: an elevator.

The nurse’s broad figure blocks your view of the control panel, so as the elevator descends and remembering your room is seven floors up from ground level, you carefully count as floor after identical floor flits past the vision panels in the dull metallic doors.

Ten floors down, the doors open into a dark void; a scent, reeking of menace, fills the air.

Confused? You might be! Read previous episodes of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – TYPE, BEGINNING, ESCORT
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – CENTER / CENTRE

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Read more Six Sentence Stories via the Link Up Party here

The Facility #2

You finger the neatly folded garments which you’ve been instructed to put on; slippery to the touch and with a rainbowlike sheen, they are both inviting and intimidating; they are not the kind of clothing you are accustomed to wear but, without even asking yourself why, you dress in the unfamiliar items: underwear, bodysuit, socks and slippers, subconsciously yielding to yet another level of disassociation.

A vague feeling of contentment enfolds you and you cross to the window to observe your surroundings, surprised to find yourself on an upper floor, when you’re quite certain, so far as you can be, that you haven’t climbed a staircase or entered an elevator since you tumbled through the front entrance to… where?

The view overlooks an atrium enclosed on all four sides by lofty blank-windowed blocks, stretching up to graze a surprisingly bright blue and cloudless sky; the ground below is covered with the greenest grass you’ve ever seen: surely it must be synthetic? You study the featureless buildings, but no faces return your gaze.

You move across the room and slide open the bathroom door; there’s nothing remarkable here, although you notice there is no means of locking the door which you find vaguely disquieting but not, you assure yourself, any cause for alarm.

You return to the bed and lie down, your eyes roving over the ceiling and into the corners of the walls; spotting a pinprick of dull red light, you suppress a cry – a camera – you are being observed.

Confused? You might be! Read the first episode of The Facility here.

Written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – WHY, CRY, SLY
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – BOWL

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

Join us at the link party for more Six Sentence Stories here!

The Facility #1

Welcome to the…’ the double doors swish open before you can read the rest of the sign emblazoned across them and you stumble forward onto a deep coir doormat where a homely-looking nurse in a crisp white uniform stands waiting, clipboard in hand.

‘You must sign in,’ she says, taking you firmly by the elbow and propelling you towards a large wooden desk where an unsmiling administrator slides a sheet of paper across the polished surface towards you; the nurse thrusts a pen into your hand and for a moment you’re not sure what to do; you stare at the form but the words slide off the page and tumble into oblivion.

‘Just sign it, we have your details,’ instructs the unsmiling administrator; the homely-looking nurse stabs the form with a forefinger, so you submit a faint fragile scribble that seems to satisfy them.

The nurse whisks the pen from your fingers and indicates that you should follow her down a blank corridor lined with unlabelled doors, offering no clue as to what might lie behind them; you have no alternative than to comply, although you have no idea where you are or why you are here, so you shuffle along after her until finally she comes to a halt and opens a door.

She ushers you into a clean, compact dorm room: ‘Your new clothes are on the bed,’ she gives you a little shove then withdraws.

The key turns in the lock and her footsteps fade into silence.

Photo credit: Scott Webb on Unsplash

The Facility is a new short story series, written in response to two challenges:

– Di of Pensitivity101‘s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge – HOMELY, WELCOME, SMILING
– Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge‘s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt – ALTERNATIVE

Read more Six Sentence Stories here!

The butler did it!

The Butler did it by Chris Hall lunasonline
Blenheim Palace (Wikipedia)

The Queen gazed out of the window as a team of paramedics, flanked by dark-suited security men, slid the stretcher into the ambulance. Its occupant, whose face was covered, had been pronounced dead at the scene, slumped over his dinner at the top table in the Long Library. It had only been by great good fortune that the contents of the glass he’d been holding had missed her spangled evening gown. White silk was a devil to clean, apparently.

Standing by the back of her chair, her butler coughed discretely. The Queen turned to him and gave a conspiratorial wink. ‘Don’t worry, Watkins. You were only acting under orders.’ The Queen smiled serenely. ‘And I am monarch and above the law.’

‘Very good, ma-am.’

‘Worked a treat, didn’t it?’ she giggled. ‘Something Philip was given on a State visit. I knew it would come in handy one day.’

‘Indeed, ma-am. If I might be permitted to say, the poisoning was entirely justified. Not that one’s Royal Highness would need to.’

‘He might have been the Leader of the Free World, but in all my years as Queen, I have never, ever come across such an odious man.’

‘He actually asked for a Coca-Cola when Blenheim has such a wonderful wine cellar!’

They both glanced at the portrait hanging over the fireplace.  ‘I’m not sure what Mr Churchill would have made of him, or his own current successor.’

The Queen raised her glass to the portrait. ‘He’s a problem for another day.’

Written in response to a prompt from Susan T. Braithwaite
Genre Scribes Friday Fiction Writing Challenge #32

The challenge this week was dinner.


what do you see 15 by chris hall lunasonline

Kitty Katz stared intently into Marvin’s special StudioSpyScope. Two men were gazing at a wide screen monitor. On the desk in front of them was her publicity file which her agent had recently distributed to his industry contacts.

‘Pretty little thing,’ said the first man, licking his lips lasciviously.

‘She sure is,’ the second man agreed, stroking the photograph which pictured Kitty posing coyly on a pink chaise-longue.

‘She’s very young; good for a few years before the sparkle wears off.’ The first man leered at the monitor where Kitty’s first screen test was playing. ‘I wouldn’t mind giving her the once over.’

‘Or the twice over,’ said the second man rubbing his thigh.

Kitty cringed and snapped the petals of the StudioSpyScope closed. She looked up at Marvin, with horrified eyes.

‘Well, Kitty,’ said Marvin, scratching his ragged ear with his back leg, ‘that’s the movie industry for you. D’you still want to be a part of that?’

Kitty screwed up her eyes. ‘I do not.’

‘Good call, Kitty!’ Marvin smiled kindly at her.  ‘In any case, it’s not as if you don’t have other talents.’

Kitty’s cellphone beeped. Her whiskers twitched with excitement as she listened.

‘The news you were waiting for?’

Before Kitty had the chance to answer her cellphone beeped again. Marvin waited patiently for her to finish.

‘No, thank you, Jed, I don’t want to be a movie star. My publisher’s got me a large advance and a three book deal on my ‘Kitty Tails.’

Written in response to SadjeWhat Do You See #15 photo prompt.
Photo credit: Pinterest

That’s the second client that movie agent, Jed Talent’s lost already this year!
Read what happened in Casting Woes.