It had been three days since Simon had woken screaming.

Brad was in first, pulling his son from his sodden bed. The bed, it turned out, was so set it had to be thrown out. His eyes weren’t focusing when his dad had got to him, and Simon had punched and kicked until his dad could calm him down.

He then withdrew, sat and rocked. Or cried silently.

A day in the hospital and all his parents could be told was that he was in shock.

They had been about to accept a sedative but Simon had snapped out of his state long enough for his opinion about that very clear.

And, that night, both Brad and Janet had heard him walking about the house late into the night.

The found him the next day sleeping fitfully under the sofa.

Over the next couple of days he had been more communicative – but he still wasnlt sleeping.

Janet was beside herself. The doctor’s had warned them both about not making Simon feel guilty for being like he was; that he was obviously terrified of something; that guilt would make him withdraw more. She tried to be happy and smiley around her son but she needed to know that he’d come back to her.

Brad had more pressing things to worry about – interviews with the police and social services. Warnings about what they’d do to him if he’d touched a hair on his son’s head. He was less than pleased and was seeking legal advice. As he hissed to his wife. He didn’t pay his taxes to be called a pervert.

In the space of 3 days, the house that was so happy, so solid, had broken.

***

Simon was siting by the fountain. He found looking at the water calming. Comforting.

It took his mind off Santa being murdered over and ov-

He looked at the water, and took a deep breath.

It stopped him thinking about the dark, the impenetrable dark that held things unimaginable, things dancing and gibbering and eating and killing and –

“Son?”

Simon jumped; looked up at his dad. His eyes were dark, sunken. Brad hated to think how little sleep he must have had.

“Are…are you ok, son? You know you can tell me, right?”

Simon thought about the dark Gods waiting to kill him; thought about the monster with the tentacled face, murdering Santa again and again.

Tears ran down his face.

He wrapped his arms around his dad and sobbed into his chest.

“No, dad. I…I don’t think I am ok.”

***

Today’s image was supplied by Chris Wild

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The Bad Idea lounged on its Throne of Nightmares.

It had what it wanted. Oh, it had taken all night but, in the end, Santa and that brat of his had broken and told it what it wanted to know.

On reflection, it hadn’t taken that long at all. Maybe just 40 minutes. 10 after it told them what it wanted.

But it was having so much fun that it made it last all night.

And the idea was simple.

It chuckled. Oh – such a wit. It saw what it did there.

No. It worked like this – implant the idea of an idea over there. Wait for someone to grasp that idea. And then it becomes reality.

Or..something like that.

It drummed its fingers together. There were some finer points to iron out. It’s not as if there was a tentacled god on the other side that he could pass the idea of itself into.

And…

It hadn’t thought about this in any real sense. It couldn’t find a point in the timeline it could access that it crossed ov-

Oh.

Oh. How droll.

It roared with laughter. How would it be able to see itself? It wouldn’t exist in the Idea Timestream. It would exist over there!

And  there was a point, very soon, where it just ceased to register on this side at all.

Oh – it was all coming together.

And the plan was glorious.

It would carry on seeding the idea of itself into the minds of fools, the deranged, the dangerous, the powerful. But this time the idea would carry a command: Sacrifice. Spill blood and open a portal.

A ritual to be written from the delirious dream of some madman years before. And then lost forever.

The Bad Idea stood – speaking to itself.

“Going back, invading a dream, compelling a book to be written – that was child’s play. And I can seed the myth of the book throughout time. And it will only take one of them to attempt the ritual. One of them to grasp my idea.

“And as soon as that is done, I will walk The Other Side and bring pain and terror unimaginable.”

It started shouting, shaking it’s fist, flecks of acidic spit forming, and flying from, its twitching, writhing tentacles.

“And I will be the pathway through which other, lesser, bad ideas would cross over. I will rule them all. Physical and terrible. Every dawn would be blood red with the suffering of MY-“

It stopped, suddenly aware of what it was doing.

“Oh.”

It had been ranting. Ranting in the dark.

To no one at all.

How…how could that have happened. It coughed, suddenly embarrassed.

Oh.

But it was a glorious plan.

***

Today’s photo was supplied, once again, by Kostika.

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Ramona sat in her veranda contemplating the last few weeks. Which, seeing how full they were, felt more like months.

Her apartment never did get finished. It turned out Nathan wasn’t quire as enamoured with her spontaneity and quirky ways as he thought he was. And so they fizzled out. And even if she was earning a tidy sum, it wasn’t a salary for two, and he wasn’t going to afford that place on her own.

But, as luck would have it, a couple she knew were off traveling for a year and they offered her their place to sit for a year.

Mona moved their stuff into storage and her stuff in – including all her new possessions – lamps, candles, lights, lanterns.

“Maybe” she reasons. “I’m he house of lights. I am Ra Mona – the Sun Goddess.” She blushed at the thought of it now, and thought, somewhat sadly, that it was probably that straw which broke the camel’s back between her and Nathan.

Still, they gave the place some atmosphere, and she liked that her energy bill was going to be nonexistent for a couple of  months.

“Enough of this.” She announced.

She closed her eyes and tried again.

***

Her initial attempts at meditation were guided. Not having a clue where to start, she went out and bought a stack of CDs with breathing instructions and forest sounds.

They just made her want to piss.

And those were the ones without the pan pipes.

So now she was  au natural.

***

Focus on your breathing.

In.

Hold

Out.

Hold.

In.

Out.

Empty your mind. Focus only on your breathing.

Slowly inhale, slowly exhale.

Well. This is going ok.

I’m acing this focus thing. I have no idea why I thought it was hard.

All it is is listening to my breathing. Look

That’s in.

And that’s out.

This is in

And thi-

Piss

***

Breathing. Counting down from 10 to 1.

And 10.

Relaxing the legs, feeling the stress and tension drift away.

9

Feeling the weigh of my body in my legs.

8

Witness the tension and stress drain from my chest.

7

Hear the beat of my heart, and the roar of my breath.

6

Now my arms and shoulders.

5

Focus on the shoulders. Loosen any tension left there.

4

Now my neck.

3

Finally my head, Relax my head, but keep the line straight, so it sits upright, facilitating my breathing.

2

Feel, and accept, the weight of my body. Relaxed, with no stress.

And on 1, remove all verbal thought.

1

*

Ramona sits. She breaths deeply and clearly.

She is in her veranda, the windows gateways to the world outside, and barriers to it.

Like her eyes and mind. The gateways to Not Her, but barriers to it now – as she focuses inwards.

She feels a sense of happiness.

She looks so calm.

So happy.

So…who is she describing this to?

Her mind should be blank.

She..Her…

ARSE!

***

“Forget one hand clapping, is that the sound of me snoring?”

She snapped her eyes open with a snort.

“CRAP”

***

Something was different that last time. Her mind did focus on a single thought. It kept that thought, span it around in her mind.

And – at a timeless point in her meditation – she felt…something.

An outpouring.

In her contemplative state she examined the outpouring, saw it was energy, was content with that, and continued to focus on the thought.

When she started to come out, her meditative state reminded her that there had been an energy fluctuation and she emerged excited and rejuvenated.

Outside in the garden she had set up a summoning triangle – a place where she could contain anything she created safely, until she decided if it should be loosed on the world.

Triangle for summonings, circles for summoners.

She hoped.

She pulled open the door and saw her first success.

“Oh…DUCK”

***

Today’s photo was supplied by Tine Sørensen

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The Mona’s – Ra-, and the new, sunless Mona – opened their eyes. As the fires burned, they were connected. Ramona saw the whole of everything: The moments of connection, everywhere, every when, that Mona could connect to.

Ramona thought she’d throw up, and closed her eyes again, breaking the connection as she moved Mona to memory.

She opened her eyes again. “The cameras are the wrong way round. Why are they the wrong way round.”

She felt the ground against her back. “Maybe I’m the wrong way round? Why am I the wrong way round?”

***

Santa knew why he was on his back. He was strapped to an altar.

His existential crisis had raised a few notches.

“Now, while you’re an idea, and your utter destruction would take making everyone who knows about you…” The Bad idea used a tentacle to pull imagined fluff from its suit. “Forget.”

“But – you can feel pain.” He leaned in, its tentacles crawled over Santa’s face. “You can feel pain, can’t you?”

Santa was too afraid to even nod. Not that it mattered.

“Well, really. Who cares. Let’s do this, anyway.”

It plunged its hand into Santa’s chest. Felt the bones crack and give, felt them tear at its unwholesome flesh. Felt the sting as its blood ate into Santa’s wound.

Felt Santa’s Heart.

His big, healthy, beating heart.

And pulled it out.

All over the world, Children started crying.

***

All except one.

Simon was being given a lesson in the timelessness of dream.

He was running through a swamp. His feet were not moving fast enough.

Tears streamed down his face.

Behind him were sounds. A sloughing, heaving, giggling sound.

And as fast as Simon was trying to go, it was faster. Sometimes if was in front of him, forcing him back, sometimes behind. Always just out of sight – outlines and shapes suggesting something that he didn’t want to see.

***

“You’re looking pale, there, Fatman. Is it because you don’t have any blood in you?”

Santa gasped weakly.

The Bad Idea sighed. “You’re no fun like that. Let’s have that original idea back.”

Santa took a huge gasp of air as his body returned to normal.

“We’ll be doing that again. Now, you know what we’re doing to your helper. To make it stop, tell he what you did with the tomato.”

“Is…is that what you want to know?”

The Idea seemed taken aback. “Well…of course.”

“But I don’t know how that worked?!”

The was a silence.

“Wrong answer. Kill the boy. Reset him.”

***

Simon stopped running. Everything had gone quiet. He tried to hold his breath.

To make sure it was gone.

All he could hear was his heart pumping in his ears.

“Bequietbequietbequietbequietbequietbequietbequiet” over and over. A mantra for safety.

The silence was deadly.

Which made the noise that the creature made when it dropped on Simon all the more awful.

***

Simon wet the bed.

***

Santa screamed noiselessly before slumping back on the slab, sobbing uncontrollably. “He was just a child. Why would you do that?”

The Bad Idea chortled. “Oh come now. Dead is no use to me. We’re just warming up. That little charade took about 5 minutes where he was. We can do this all night.” Its voice hardened. “And we will. Until you tell me what I want to know!”

***

Ramona could hear a child crying, and remembered the boy with the book. She tried to sit up but Nathan grabbed her. “You fainted. It must be the heat. Are you ok?”

She nodded. “The cameras are the wrong way around,” she said weakly.

The child stopped crying.

“Nathan. You know how you love me for my spontaneity?”

Nathan nodded.

“I need to learn to meditate.”

***

Today’s photo was supplied by Henrik Chulu.

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In blank fields, as barren as sheets of paper and holding as much potential, stands a tree.

It has stood for all time, and no time at all. It was built; planted.

And frozen.

Encased in its branches is the idea of a child, who is also a child with an idea. In his hands is a book. A book as blank as the fields the tree sits in. A idea of a child who – being of no time and all time – knew that he would wait half a life time for a little girl to grow up and meet him in a waking world. Knew he would be frozen for all of those years to pass in less time than the blink of an eye.

But this changes. Now.

Now the searing heat of awakening burns the ice from the tree. The book – once blank – bleeds inky ideas into the ground around it.

The pressure released will heard as a  roaring thunder; the physical shock of having a damn of ideas break will destroy balance. Reason will be disconnected as lunatic songs burn new neural pathways – new ways of seeing. New ways of thinking.

And with the Moment of Disconnection comes the Moment of Distraction.

Bursting through the floor of the cafe, overturning tables and clients, the world rises to catch the body as it falls. To hold it for the split second of destruction and then – drops out.

But as the land drops, something is left behind.

The first idea from the burning mind.

A woman.

A woman with pink hair.

Naked, shivering, on the floor of The Sidetrack Cafe.

***

Todays photo was supplied by Martine Pedersen.

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