ESA – Week In Images

A probe’s crash site on Mars, anAriane 5 rocket and a Siberian plateau make up this week’s selection of images. For the full set click on the link.

Zooming in on Schiaparelli components on Mars

Galileo's Ariane 5

Putorana Plateau, Siberia

via Week In Images / Highlights / ESA

Simon 🙂

No ownership claimed on images or materials – Credit – ESA

The Beast – Halloween Story Challenge 

The moor. Always a cold and unforgiving place, but at this time of year there was an air of power and death about it, as if it wanted to try its best to consume anybody on it. Melissa had got the call about 4pm about deathly moans coming from somewhere near the old village, as the nearest ranger she had to see what was going on. David was supposed to have joined her by now she thought as torch shone out in the blackness.

“Damn him!” She muttered to herself, pulling out her radio she tried to raise him again but heard nothing but noise. She stood there for a moment, about to turn back because whatever it was had either gone or was dead by now, either way she couldn’t help it.


The cry that shot through the night at that second made a her blood run cold, she had heard nothing like it before. For a moment she thought it’s not dying but wants to cause death. Banishing the thought from her mind as she comforted herself that in the natural world it didn’t work like that. At least not with anything natural in Devon. Walking towards where she thought the cry came from she carefully watched her way, the recent rain had made the ground very soft underfoot and the moor was full of sink holes, keeping to the path was essential. Again she tried to raise David on the radio. Nothing. Fuck.

Something really strange was going on, then in a second she stopped. “What was that?” Melissa thought. Blood, loads of it. The cry rang out again, getting closer, Melissa reckoned that it was now less than a hundred metres away. The thoughts that ran through her head were spiralling out of control, could this be David’s blood, was he dead, or just hurt?

Every fibre of her being told her to turn and run but she knew this was now useless. If the beast making this cry was tracking her, running would only ensure her demise. She had to think her way through this. Drawing her commando knife she walked forward, the torch now off, relying only on her own night vision. She wasn’t sure if this was going to help, but she knew it would make her location a bit less obvious. The fog was thickening fast and her visibility was getting shorter and shorter.

Her thoughts were to find a place where she could hide and give the beast  more of a challenge and her a fighting chance. An old moor house wasn’t far from where she was, the path turned to meet it not far ahead, every step she took she was convinced more that a monstrous animal would leap out at her. At the corner of the bend a dead and gutted Pony lay. The sight made her nauseous and sick when she was met with it, but she also felt relief, it wasn’t David.

Turning the path she walked slowly, her hearing trying to reach out to detect the approaching beast, the knife held out ready to strike in an instant. Melissa knew she was prey now, nothing she had seen on the moor before had prepared her for this and being alone her only hope was the old house. The fog was thick, but a bright full moon was pushing it’s light through, she could see the roof of the old house as was feeling some relief. Then the cry again. it was even louder this time and it was right behind her. Maybe only twenty metres back, the house was further than that ahead.

Melissa in a blind panic broke her walk and ran, her breathing hard but pushed with adrenaline her legs sped her as fast as was possible towards the relative safety of the old house, picking up the torch from her belt she shone it ahead to show the door. Old and mostly rotten she headed for it as she was suddenly thrown to the ground with a thud. Sliding along she gathered her senses and quickly turned lashing out the knife and the snarling creature.

In a flash of the dropped torch she made out the hideous shape of the beast. Like a dog but huge and the face was almost human she thought. Again the beast leapt towards her and her knife was slashed wildly in it’s direction. A howl of pain echoed from within it. Melissa’s feet slid as she struggled to get up and ran to the door of the old house. The howling had stopped, she knew it was closing in for a strike. Her hand met something metal and jagged. Pulling it free she turned and swung it at the attacking creature.

“Get… the… fuck… away!” She screamed as she smashed the body of the beast, now whimpering the beast retreated. Melissa pulled open the door to the old house, without her torch the was no light to see much at all. She pulled the door shut and found some old joists to brace it. Then turned to she where she could hide. In a corner was an old cupboard, the door creaked as it opened, screaming as a bird flew out if it. Her heart racing still she climbed in and pulled the door shut.

For what seemed like hours she waited, listened. Nothing came. Eventually the adrenaline wore off, exhaustion overcame her and she fell asleep.


Through what seemed like wild dreams Melissa saw brightness, the shape of a person and her body being shaken. She thought at first the beast had found her, then she realised she was waking.

Melissa… Melissa… Wake up!

Her vision cleared, the face she recognised. The light blinding her, blinking wildly she looked up.

“David?” He smiled as she recognised him. Then she realised she was shaking with cold, this wasn’t just any cold she was cold to the core. David helped her out of the cupboard, her legs stiff and numb. Melissa tumbled over as David tried to help her. Helping her sit up he put a thick blanked around her, he gave her a flask cup of sweet tea. Clasping it with her shaking hands she sipped on it, it felt good. The hot liquid warming her from the inside.

“What happened?” David asked.

“Something… Some beast attacked me!” Melissa shivered “Where were you? I was almost killed!”

David said nothing, let’s just get you home and warm. You can tell me more about the beast later. Nodding Melissa was helped up, slowly making her way out of the house, covered in webs a Land Rover was waiting outside. David helped her in, the engine was running and the heat felt good. David got in next to her and drive off.

“How did you find me?” Melissa asked.

“Your trial led me here, there was some hell of a struggle outside!”

“It was… I almost died and you were nowhere!” Again David said nothing, Melissa noticed that his hand was bandaged and bloodied and there was quite a cut on his face. His hands were covered in mud as well.

“What happened to you? You’re in a mess!”

“I fell and rolled down a ditch Melissa, don’t worry about it!”

Melissa suddenly felt cold again, glancing into the back she saw torn and muddied clothes, covered in blood. At that instant, she realised the impossible. Her blood ran stone cold, she didn’t know where they were going right now, except deeper into the moor, this wasn’t the way home and she knew it. Looking back at David she cleared her throat.

“Where are we going?”

David said nothing, he looked round at her. His eyes had changed, his pupils slitted and angry.

“Do you ever stop asking questions?” he growled, his human tone had gone and was monstrously wild. Melissa’s hand had been close to her knife. Screaming at him she drew the knife and plunged it into his heart. Un latching the door she threw herself out of the car, landing hard onto the muddy floor.

Turning to watch the Land Rover drive into a mire, it stopped suddenly. The engine was still revving as it started sinking deeper into the murk of the mire. Standing now, breathing hard as tears ran down her face, she simply watched, listening to the dying cries of the beast as it sunk with the car. In a few short minutes the roof was covered and it was gone.

Nothing was left except silence, the birds resumed this cawing and chirping as Melissa turned and started the long walk back. The time was early afternoon, she would be lucky to make it back before dark.

Simon 🙂

Halloween – The Ghost Called Bob #2

After last years little Halloween story – I thought Bob’s story should carry on!


It’s at this time of year when the nights draw in, the swirling mist leaks around the village and when the children go to the front door of anyone with decorations or a pumpkin that the story of Bob is remembered. No one will speak his name in a voice louder than a whisper for fear of awaking him. The children who go around trick or treating in their skeleton and ghost costumes watch in the dark corners, not daring to mention his name and hoping not to find him. It’s said Bob wears a pointed hat with a rope around his neck. Some have said he leaves a trail of blood where he walks and that he preys on the stray or lonely children.


Bob looked on as he did every year, but this year was different! Mary would join him just as agreed in the dark alley between the garage and the Co-op. The children didn’t come down here often and it was quiet. Still annoyed with the rope around his neck, tugging and tugging he never noticed Mary sneaking up on him. Bob smiled when Mary appeared, for a moment they thought about what they could do and hatched a masterly plan.


A crowd of children approached and the watched and waited. Mary appeared in front of them, screaming the children had nowhere to go except down the dark alley. They had nearly reached the end when Bob appeared from out of the drain, scaring them back down the alleyway.

Gleeful at their plan, Bob and Mary both giggled and chuckled in their ghostly way. Until they heard a third little voice, giggling away. They both looked down and to their surprise they saw a little girl of not more than five, laughing away and crying again!

Confused and baffled both the spirits looked at each other and both agreed this had never happened before! They shrugged and and asked the child who she was and why she was laughing. She stopped laughing and told them her name was Lucy and she had wanted to meet Bob and Mary. Her big brother had told her about the their spooky games when the dark day came and the children ventured out to trick or treat.

They asked her where her brother is now, she shrugged and said she didn’t know. They walked down the dark alley way and helped her brother shouting her name from far away. Keeping out of sight they followed her until her brother saw her and rushed to get her. He shouted at her telling her how he would get in trouble if he lost his little sister and didn’t stay close.

Bob and Mary picked their time and appeared to send a chill down the boy’s spine. Dropping his haul of sweets he ran screaming leaving his sister behind (again). Lucy picked up the sweets and put them in her bag, and made her way home with her sweetie swag. She agreed to see the ghosts neat year and share some more spooky cheer. The two watched as the little girl ran, back to her home as fast as she can.

Soon the children were all gone, Bob and Mary shared the night again and didn’t stop until the morning had nearly come. They went back to their graves and settled back down for another year. Hoping that that next year was going to be even more fun.

Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell

No ownership claimed to image – Image courtesy of google.

Inferno – Esthers Monday Motivations 

This week Esther set her Monday Motivations challenge around the words Glasses, Blaze and Madness. This is quite a tricky one to combine but I’ve had a go anyway:


Beep, beep,beep the alarm sounded so distant in Sam’s sleep. Not sure if it was a dream he thought the claxons would stop. 

They didn’t stop, slowly he awoke from his deep sleep, the room dark, the beep, beep of a fire alarm ringing in his ears. His head banging from the heavy drinking session only a few hours before. 

Gathering his senses Sam put on his glasses but still could see anything apart from a faint glow from the door. Hurriedly he pulled on his trousers, falling flat to the floor with a bump as he lost his balance, knocking his already hurting head.

“I don’t need this!” He mumbled as he lay there panting. He pulled his trousers on awkwardly then stood up and made his way to the door. Turning the latch he opened the door and was met with a wall of fire. The blaze roared only feet away from him, but Sam felt no heat.

In a moment of what seemed like madness he stepped into the fire and walked towards the direction of the stairwell. His vision a blur of flickering yellow and orange he took one step at a time until he cleared the inferno. Descending the stairwell he realised he was now naked, his clothed burned off of him. At that instant a black cloth landed next to him.

“Put that on will you?”a soft female voice purred “Your modesty need protecting and I saw enough of that earlier!”

Sam spun round “what? You? Laura?”

“Laura isn’t my name, call me shadow”

Sam pulled on the cloak “what happened?” He asked from under the long black cloak.

“I told you, you have a special ability!”

“I thought you meant…”

“No, not like that, but I have to admit it was pretty good!” Shadow exclaimed “You are an immortal entity and your abilities are only just becoming apparent. The master knows about you and wants to meet you. Will you come?”

Shadow held her and out looking deep into Sam’s eyes, he took his glasses off, black and cracked he threw them down. He looked straight at Shadow and took her hand.

Simon 🙂

UK Blog Awards

A few weeks ago I got sent an email about the UK blog awards. I have no idea how or why, but there it is.

Now obviously this is not as prestigious as Sacha Black’s Bloggers bash awards, but you have to try and get the awards that are there right? ;-P

Have a look and nominate your favorite UK blogs, cheer someone up!

via UK Blog Awards

Simon 🙂