Wednesday, 16 June 2021



It's time for our bi-monthly challenge.  This year all prompts are from the Year of Art.

To read other contributions or contribute yourself please go to:

Here is my story:

What was that smell?  Saffy sniffed quietly, she was in the library after all.  It smelt like a bonfire; smoky ash tickled her nostrils.  She looked around, all the other students seemed oblivious to any smells, let alone a smell of soot. 

A great wave of fear suddenly paralysed her.  She knew what it was.  The alarms started screeching their warnings, others rushed out of the building.  Saffy was rooted to her chair, her feet felt as though they were stuck in cement.  She couldn’t move.  She was paralysed.  Her heart thumped so hard in her chest she thought her ribs were breaking. 


She heard her mum yelling at her.


Tears started streaming down Saffy’s face, this was not how her university days were supposed to be.  A fire.  The building was on fire.  She could hear sirens.  Oh, thank God, somebody was coming to save her.

Wisps of smoke seeped under the doorframe.  The rustle of books as they fell from the shelves and thudded to the ground, igniting into flames, ash particles wafted up into her hair.  She felt hot, so hot, she could feel flames licking at the edge of the desk, they would be picking at her feet next.


She felt her mum push her.  On trembling legs, she managed to stand, fumbling towards the door, she reached for the handle.  Burning her fingers and palms she opened the door, a red glow greeted her as she stepped out in to the hallway, a fog obscured her vision, she started to cough, stumbling towards the stairs or where she thought the stairs were, blinking furiously to clear her sight, there, there in front of her, stairs, she would make it.


Her mum’s voice became more and more urgent as she encouraged Saffy to keep going.  On the first floor landing she collapsed on to the floor.  Hard concrete grazed her knees, the pain bringing her back to her senses.  As she tried to stand, strong hands gripped her, hauling her up and half-carrying her down the rest of the flights of stairs, they broke out in to daylight and fresh air.  Saffy was rushed to a waiting ambulance where the paramedics treated her burns and gave her oxygen for the smoke she had inhaled. 


Two hundred miles away Maggie stood at the kitchen sink, washing the dishes on automatic pilot, staring out of the window she smiled at the antics of her cat who was stalking along the top of the wooden fence.

Suddenly she was engulfed with a great wave of panic.  Something was terribly wrong.  Fear grabbed her, she grabbed a towel and dried her hands.  Standing in the middle of the kitchen she kicked off her shoes, bare toes touched the cold flagstone tiles as she grounded herself.  Maggie wrapped herself in a shower of golden light as she reached out to the ether.


Saffy was in danger. 

Maggie saw her daughter sitting in the library studiously reading and making notes in her large A4 jotter.  She saw the lead in her daughter’s propelling pencil snap and Saffy’s huff of frustration as she clicked a new lead down in to the pencil. 

Where was the danger?  Maggie reached out, travelling through the ether, touching on sights, sounds, smells and there it was. 


She concentrated on Saffy.  Calling out to her, Saffy, move, move my darling, move.

It wasn’t working.  Maggie took a deep breath, inhaling cosmic energy she tried again. This time she knew Saffy felt her.  She called her again and again, urging her to move, one foot in front of the other. 

Move, come on, move. 

She felt the pain in her hands as Saffy opened the door, she felt the pain in her knees when Saffy fell on to her knees.  The granite jolting Saffy back in to awareness.  Maggie saw a fireman at the bottom of the stairwell.  She pushed him, nudged him forward, she felt his heavy boots on each step, she heard him breathing through his apparatus.  His visor was blurry, she saw the scene through a mist.  He was trained to use his senses, through his heavy gloves protecting his hands she guided his fingers to the floor on the landing.  He hauled Saffy up, half carried out down the remaining flights of stairs and out in to the campus grounds.

Maggie collapsed on to the kitchen floor.  Her breathing was ragged as she gulped in fresh, clean air.  Tears streamed down her face, smudging her cheeks with grey ash.  She wiped the fire dust away and looked at her hands, clean as a whistle.  Her head spun with the effort of reaching out, her heart jumped for joy at the safe rescue of her daughter. 

Would Saffy ever realise she helped her?  Would she talk to her about it? 

These questions were for another day.  Now she had to fill her car with petrol and travel a couple of hundred miles to make sure Saffy was safe and didn’t suffer any lasting physical damage.

She left a voice mail message for her husband because, of course, he was in a meeting and unavailable, well that is what he would tell her when he arrived home in a couple of days from his business trip.  Maggie knew better, she could ‘see’ as well as finding the tell-tale clues on his clothes but that is a story for another time.  Her priority now and in the foreseeable future was to get Saffy safely home where she could look after her and keep her safe.

Word count: 960


  1. Intriguing! Maggie is a powerful lady & needs to kick the hubby to the curb. Great story!

  2. Hi Sally - what an interesting take ... the person who could 'see' to help others ... psychic ability - a responsibility to possess and make sure those helped were fine now, while other stories could wait. Well done - a fascinating take on the prompt - cheers Hilary

  3. A fantastic story with an unexpected twist.

    Your post is included in this week's Roost Recommendations. I share the Roost Recommendations posts on Twitter with readers looking for their next read.

  4. Go Maggie... but please dump that husband asap!

  5. Mother's love proved its incredible power one more time. Great story.

  6. Beautifully scaring, intense and so realistic. Great build up of tension and premonition insights. Seers come to mind, flashes too. We have them on my mother's side but I wonder if all mothers don't have this sixth sense for imminent danger... the umbilical cord not quite severed. Enjoyed the halting pace and choice of urgence in your vocabulary. Great job.

  7. From the onset, your story grabbed my attention. I was worried about Saffy and not sure she would get out in time although I knew the firemen were on the way. Her mother's sudden realization that her daughter was in trouble lifted my hopes. I like psychic stories and yours is a good one. The descriptions are very good and brought me into the story. Thanks for a good read.

  8. Hi Sally,

    Love the psychic bond between mother and daughter. Like the others say...boot that husband out on his arse! lol

  9. Fantastic, Sally. What an intriguing read. Love how we find in the mother' POV that she was speaking to her daughter's consciousness. The mighty power of a mother's love. The father, though, that's another story and provides a nice twisty ending. Well done!

  10. I like the continuing story aspect. Precognition or perception such an interesting subject! Very well done! An excellent story for the prompt!

  11. Clever take on the prompt. Extra sensory perception is a fascinating subject and an intriguing theme. A mother's intuition and protectiveness towards her child captured beautifully. I liked the reference of the husband brought in at the end too - casual and smooth, and an unexpected twist. Brilliant.

  12. Hi,
    The insight and discernment of the mother is remarkable. I am happy that Saffy made it out.
    Shalom aleichem

  13. An intense read. My mom could do that. She had many stories to tell. I think it skipped a generation to my oldest.

  14. Maggie is definitely a tough lady, and I enjoyed this tale of motherly love. I'm glad Saffy made it to safety, and I hope Maggie properly deals with her husband at a later time.

  15. Wonderful characters. Especially the mother- daughter equation, the premonition, the warnings. Great take. Moved really well for me.
    -Sonia from

  16. You totally took my by surprise with the mother's powers. Now I'm curious about what is wrong with Seffy, why she couldn't get up and move on her own. Hope she's okay, and Mom doesn't need to take her home, but keep pushing her gently out!

    The husband issue feels like an opening to another story.

  17. Great story. The twist took me by surprise. Is this ability limited to her family members? And why is Saffy so slow? Are more chapters upcoming?

  18. Definitely a mother's dream to be able to help her children even when she cannot reach them. I am curious why her daughter did not move on her own. It made me wonder if she had a disability or a past trauma. A captivating story!

  19. Breathtaking narration. Also, the mother's visions and instincts for saving her child was poignant.

  20. Oooh, all too real, very atmospheric writing. Well done. Must read more about these characters!