The Hive

Photo prompt copyright: Sandra Crook

Photo prompt copyright: Sandra Crook

In the metropolis most of us collect something. I collect ladies. Tonight I have four in tow. There’s Poppy the dressmaker, Sandy the chatterbox, Judy silent as a lamb. Then Rosie who is amorous, but then I am.
The ginnels and alleyways are dark tonight. There are vistas aplenty. However my fingers explore Rosie’s waist. Till a cheetah appears at her feet. Then alarm bells sound and the guard comes out. Ever it is so. For this metropolis is heavily populated, and succulent pickings abound. Thank heaven I do not look dangerous. But when the sun comes up, I must retreat.


Not quite romance, more gothic horror, like Jack the Ripper ‘1888’.

Instead of Cheetah, I maybe should have used the word tiger. i.e. a Tiger beetle. But when I dreamed up this piece of flash, cheetah was the word I came up with. Why I could not bring myself to change Cheetah for Tiger, I do not know… !

A fine day at Mevagissey

A fine day at Mevagissey

This Post Has 41 Comments

  1. Ellen Best

    A horror who’d have thought it from that picture. Good job.

    1. Michael Humphris

      The life of insects is strange to say the least, thank you Ellen

  2. neilmacdon

    Great atmosphere and a sinister character

    1. Michael Humphris

      I am glad to hear it, thank you Neil

  3. Edith M. Field

    A superb tale about the different characters who inhabit the ‘metropolis’. I liked the cheetah because it appeared in a flash and its speed generated an alert to the danger it posed. This changed the direction of the story and was very effective.

    1. Michael Humphris

      So pleased to read how this story felt, thank you Edith.

  4. Iain Kelly

    Something very dark in the atmosphere here Michael. Very well written.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thanking you for such a very kind comment, thank you Iain

  5. jillyfunnell

    Great atmosphere – the descriptions of the girls sent me straight to Jack the Ripper.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I was thankful the story worked out. As I was attempting to write a romance, until the story fell apart !

  6. Jennifer Kennedy

    Dark and disturbing. Great imagery, I like the cheetah.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Then I am glad that I left the cheetah in. As I wrote this story I was so unsure of several of its elements.

  7. Jan Morrill

    Very dark and tense. I’d read on!

    1. Michael Humphris

      Why thank you Jan, this piece of flash kept challenging me, so I am not sure if I could develop it

  8. anuragbakhshi

    Dark, tense, and fun.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I am pleased, this story did challenge me, it started out as a romance !

  9. yarnspinnerr


    1. Michael Humphris

      You are too kind, yarnspinnerr, but I am grateful.

  10. pennygadd51

    I thought vampire, but Jack the Ripper…yes, I can see that. Well imagined, Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Penny, at first the story felt like it was heading into vampire territory. Although I started out to write a romantic piece !

  11. granonine

    Ew. Nasty bugs 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      Only the one, and the guard will get him, the cheetah ensures it.

  12. Sandra

    Great take on the prompt.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Sandra, I have spent the day in my garden, pruning and pruning, followed by stacking woody twigs high in a neglected corner, ideal for hedgehogs and insects.

  13. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    I like where the prompt took you. You most definitely stepped out of the box which makes me smile. Ominous and sinister story, though. Good job.



    1. Michael Humphris

      On rare occasions I try writing in a genre that I find difficult. ‘The Hive’ was such an attempt, so your comment gave me much needed encouragement, thank you Rochelle.

  14. justjoyfulness

    Loved the tension in the piece, especially when the cheetah appeared. Very imaginative!

    1. Michael Humphris

      The arrival of the cheetah in the story, surprised me, but now I am glad that I left it in.

  15. gahlearner

    This is so full of atmosphere and imagination. Great writing, Michael, and I, too, like the Cheetah. It has something unique and magical.

    1. Michael Humphris

      The arrival of the cheetah in the story, surprised me; but I am glad that I left it in. I was so pleased to read your feedback, as I was attempting to write in a genre that is rare for me [romance] but in the end I allowed a little horror to slip in.

  16. Dale

    I really enjoyed this, Michael! And I love when I have to look up a word – ginnel in this case…:)

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Dale. In medieval times ginnels were often restricted access to courtyards containing homes, a ginnel could be easily blocked and defended

      1. Dale
  17. Fatima Fakier

    A bug’s life, hey! Well at least the criminal types. Loved where you took this.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Fatima, this story was a surprise to me also, it is interesting where a photo can take one.

  18. 4963andypop

    Very lively, dramatic metropoitan life. Even if it’s on a bug’s scale, your main character stands out as an ueber-pedator.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Yes sadly he is ruthless, but then that was the life that he was born into.

  19. Sarah Ann

    That’s one gentleman no one wants to encounter on a dark night. Well done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      That is certainly true, thank you for your encouragement.

  20. lisarey1990

    Excellent atmosphere.

    1. Michael Humphris

      The Hive, was a surprise to me, I am glad it worked.

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