The Maze

Photo copy right: Victor and Sarah Potter.

Photo copy right: Victor and Sarah Potter.

How come everywhere was abandoned, surely someone must have stayed behind. He would be amazed if everyone had disappeared. Yet it seemed universal, every building he visited seemed like this one, instantly abandoned. Lights left on, why even on some occasions, he had found watering cans filled ready to water plants.

He knew that when he left home in his attempt to climb three Munros without stopping, there had been concern about North Korea’s intentions, but surely they could not have the ultimate weapon. The newspapers said that only the USA had managed to build one. Confused: Jim decidedly was.


Monroes is a term used to denote mountains over three thousand feet high in Scotland.

Bagging Munros is now a popular past time. But be aware attempting to bag to many at one go, can be a reason for delirium. Even if that state is only one of wild excitement, should you succeed in your attempt.

Within this prompt I saw the spiders web, it looked like a maze to me. So I decided to use the word ‘maze’ and see what came forth. The term ‘maze’ in old English is thought to have been used to describe delirium.



This Post Has 60 Comments

  1. neilmacdon

    A lovely atmospheric piece, full of mystery and sadness

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Neil, The prompt this week has lots of scope for interesting stories , I am looking forward to reading all the resulting writing tonight.

  2. Sandra

    I hope it’s not a feverish delirium. Wouldn’t put money on it, though. Nicely done.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Sandra. If I attempted to climb three Munros on the trot, I would need a lot of whisky to bring me round . If indeed it was possible to bring me round!

  3. Iain Kelly

    Being up a Munro might be the best place to be to escape the madness of the world around us!

    1. Michael Humphris

      That’s true but often the wind and snow will drive one back down to the madness.

  4. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    Three Monroes? Not I. Not even one. I liked that you saw a maze, rather than a web. That’s what I mean when I say it’s what you see and not what you’re looking at. Nicely done.



    1. Michael Humphris

      This week’s prompt offers many stories. I feel that I have learnt so much attempting to write flash fiction. Thank you for all the hard work you put into Friday Fictioneers.

  5. yarnspinnerr

    Loved the background note that made this so lucid.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you yarnspinnerr, I have been learning from all who take part in Friday Fictioneers. I also remember a teacher refusing to mark a piece of my writing. I had used an obsolete and obscure Victorian society name [The Plumage League]. She failed to understand ‘Plumage League’ so she totally failed to understand my ghost story.

      1. yarnspinnerr

        FF is such a cosmopolitan group and often a cultural or historical perspective needs to be explained. You did well in this post. 🙂

        1. Michael Humphris

          Definitely cosmopolitan, Thank you yarnspinnerr.

  6. Jelli

    Michael, I really enjoyed your story this week. A maze indeed (by any definition)… One can only imagine the scenarios that bring about the abandonments… what a way to return from a journey.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Jelli, I think that we all need a degree of imagination when reading fiction.

  7. Christine Goodnough

    So humanity has been wiped out in yet another tale. Interesting detail, the lights still on. Indicates flight rather than sudden destruction.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I envisaged a nuclear type devise that dissolved human beings. Grim.

      1. Christine Goodnough

        Oh, yes, grim!

  8. pennygadd51

    He’s having some truly amazing hallucinations! Going solo to bag three Munros was surely unwise, though.

  9. Varad

    This was absolutely well done, Michael. As far as the Munros, I’ve managed to bag two in the Himalayas… but not at the same time.

    1. michael1148humphris

      Thank you Varad. I always hoped to see the Himalayas. My youngest son is hoping to visit base camp next year. It is great to know that you must have seen stunning scenery.

  10. Lynn Love

    Interesting and unusual spin on the prompt Michael. That’s a powerful delirium he’s caught in

  11. Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

    Great tale Michael. I can imagine what it must have felt like coming back from a successful ambitious climb to find nothing. I can feel the panic rising just thinking about it. Thanks for the extra info. Bagging will not become a past time of mine.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sometimes I ‘think about’ bagging a ‘hill’ but not a mountain. But I would need a hip flask plus pencil and paper. It would have to be a clear fine day for the helicopter to set me down.

  12. Susie Clevenger (@wingsobutterfly)

    Yes, I might find the tallest Munro and climb as far as I could to escape the madness.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Ben Nevis, 4409 feet, but it is far from a quiet mountain… I used to walk up a flat topped hill of less than one thousand feet, which I visited most weeks, to dream and take in the panoramic view. I only once ever came across another person there.

  13. Joy Pixley

    Weird post-apocalyptic feel, or maybe he’s just crazy; the ambiguity worked for me.

    1. Michael Humphris

      If it was post-apocalyptic it would send me crazy. Thank you Joy for taking the time to comment.

  14. anuragbakhshi

    Atmospheric and chilling, but maybe he should pause and think- Why would North Korea nuke a friendly, beautiful place like Scotland? That would bring him back to earth I’m sure. By the way, my story on the prompt was inspired by Scotland too 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      Perhaps the missile guidence system was faulty . I enjoyed ‘arise sir spider’,which I thought for a moment was about Rabbie Burns.

      1. anuragbakhshi

        Ha ha ha. Thank you so much Michael

  15. Mrs. Dash
  16. justjoyfulness

    So, the ultimate weapon can selectively kill humans? That’s pretty scary. Or maybe not. It would be good for the planet 🙂

    1. Michael Humphris

      Such a weapon diffinately would scary. But without people who would clear away all our clutter

  17. granonine

    Your explanatory notes were most helpful. Really good writing here, making us feel the dizzying experience of a natural high.

    1. Michael Humphris

      It is quite possible to climb three Munros in one go. It would certainly be a great feeling to do so. I was sat having coffee with a fellow who has climbed over thirty Munros, not all at once I hasten to add. He still finds himself smiling as he relives these climbs in his minds eye.

      1. granonine

        I’ve always admired those who can push themselves like that. I’m afraid I’m just not very athletic.

        1. Michael Humphris

          There was many ways to exercise, even writing can be challenging. I enjoy walking, but I often need a cup of coffee first.

  18. Jane Dougherty

    I think it’s in Yorkshire dialect that to be mazed means to be confused. Nice take on the prompt, Michael.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Sadly today at differing moments, I came across two confused gentlemen both walking the local streets. Both were elderly and suffering from dementia. It led me consider how we fail as a society in caring for the elderly infirm. Fortunately in both circumstances people stepped in to help. I thank you for your comment Jane,

      1. Jane Dougherty

        As a modern, rich society, we fail to care for anybody who needs help. We’re too intent on rewarding the people who don’t, hoping that one day, we might be able to join them and wallow in the same bliss.

        1. Michael Humphris

          I can only agree Jane. I always hoped that if I had built a business empire, I would use the resulting wealth to do good.

          1. Jane Dougherty

            That’s how I hope I’d behave too. There are enough ultra rich individuals in all European countries to make a big difference, but they prefer to keep all their money just in case they live for about a million years.

  19. Dale

    Not what one would imagine oneself coming home to. Three Munros… quite the lofty attempt, methinks!

    1. Michael Humphris

      It is, but there are a couple of locations where it is quite possible to climb three Munros, and still live.

      1. Dale


  20. Sascha Darlington

    I did google Munro before reaching the end because I wondered why he was climbing on Alice and three of them to boot.
    The story is good, reminds me of an early Star Trek episode.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Sascha. There are a couple of locations where it is possible to climb three Munros in a day. Star Trek will do fine for me. Beam me up Scotty, it’s the only way that I would manage three Munros.

      1. Sascha Darlington

        lol. Me too, Michael. 🙂

  21. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    Coming back from the backcountry and realizing that all is changed is a recurring dream i have… especially when hiking

    1. Michael Humphris

      I am sorry to remind you of that dream. I often wonder about my dreams. To go hiking is good, sadly I am not much of a long distance walker.

  22. Dan Bohn

    I hope Jim finds someone – somewhere.

    1. Michael Humphris

      To be totally alone, that would be bad. Thank you for commenting Dan

  23. Liz Young

    Great story, and an unusual take on the prompt.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Liz, I do like a variety of stories.

  24. Sarah Potter Writes

    A creepy and atmospheric tale, indeed, Michael. There is a certain irony in North Korea developing another weapon altogether, while testing nuclear warheads as a diversion. Let’s hope this tale isn’t prophetic D:

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Sarah, sadly I expect that some countries are looking at anti human only weapons.I certainly hope that my tale is not prophetic.

  25. Sarah Ann

    Oh very atmospheric. A simple tale that leaves us wanting so much more.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Sarah. I was pleased that this story worked. Sadly I can not write any more about Jim at present, as I am working on another long term writing project. Which I think will fill much of the time I put aside for writing.

  26. patriciaruthsusan

    I’ve read about a bomb that just leaves buildings. It would be terribly sad to come back and find everyone gone. Good writing, Michael. —- Suzanne

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you for your support Suzanne, it is appreciated.

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