To kick off my flash fiction writing, I have a thousand-word story. I don’t know if I’ve technically done flash fiction properly, but oh well. I wrote this piece in two sessions. I am choosing not to edit these pieces as they are meant to be a little more free for me. I am curious to see if you can spot the place where I ended the first session of writing. Will you try to guess? Here we go!
Water trickled down the wall. The rain had stopped and yet thunder still rumbled above. A bird fitted past the mouth of the cave, catching Tentra’s scattered attention. Her eyes widened. The bird! She could eat that, couldn’t she?
Yes, but only if I can catch it! Need food! Tentra leapt to her feet and flung herself after the bird. The cave had provided more shelter than she’d thought. Branches dripped and dumped the rest of the rainwater on her as she dashed through the underbrush. Birdie! Come back! I want to eat you! But the bird was gone.
Tentra ceased her mad dash to circle slowly, head cocked, listening for the flap of a wing, the slice of feathers through air.
TO ME, a voice whispered in her mind. Tentra stiffened. Where had the voice come from? She had to follow. It might have food. Again the voice called, TO ME. Tentra set off running. Thunder rumbled again. Her feet splashed in the mud, branches scrapped her face and yet she kept running. The voice pulled her forward. She surged through the trees.
TO ME, TO ME, the voice urged.
I come, I come! Tentra cried out. The forest was silent but for her passage. The thunder fitted. The wind stilled. Tentra ran. She stumbled and feel to her knees. No! she shrieked. I come! She staggered back to her feet and surged on. And then she stopped, eyes wide, models flared.
Smoke? Someone was here? She turned again. Who was in her forest? Who dared walk her paths? She took a step towards the scent before halting and lifting her nose to scent the air again. Someone was surely in the forest, with the hot smoke. Tentra based her teeth.
DON’T FRET, the voice crooned. IT IS BUT I.
I do not fret. I stalk, Tentra snarled.
TO ME. TO ME.
Tentra tried to resist the lure of the voice, the calm that it effused. She could not. She carried on, wrapped in the siren call. The voice sang to her, urging her forward. Tentra succumbed and trotted through the trees, eyes half closed, listening only to the voice.
TO ME, MY LOVE, COME BACK TO ME.
I come, I come.
Through the trees,racing she went, faster and faster until she broke through the trees. She spotted, panting, and then soldiered on. The voice was near now. She could feel it in her bones. She could smell it in the air. Energy crackeled all around her. Tentra scurried forward. Soon She could see the speaker and she halted in uncertainty.
What was this creature – watching, seeing, thinking?
YES ME, the creature whispered and Tentra was trapped by the energy, flowing from the creature’s being. She struggled against it, but unable to breathe, she was unable to launch an effective assault on the barrier. The creature drew near.
I’M SORRY, it said, fleshy limbs stretching out t caress the energy swirling around Tentra. I’M SORRY BUT IT MUST BE DONE.
Tentra writhed. Pain! Like the hot of smoke! No rain to save her. Not even her wet coat. Only hot smoke.
Why? Tentra wailed, a silent echo of her pain.
IT MUST BE DONE, the creature repeated. Moisture stood in its round eyes. THE BIRTH MUST BE. IT IS TOLD.
No cry could express Tentra’s grief. The creature knew. The moisture flowed down its snub face, dripping to the earth. The energy constricted and Tentra’s bones creaked with the strain.
End, she begged. The creature shook its head. Tentra repeated her demand with more force. Again the creature shook its head.
THERE IS NO END, EVEN AFTER THIS. BE STRONG. BE BRAVE.
A bone snapped, then another. Tentra howled her agony, but it made no change in the creature’s torture. She was being broken, bone by bone. There was no salvation. There was too much pain.
Tentra woke. The world was harsh and cold. The ground was not spent, but hard. She lifted her head to scent the air, but could smell nothing. There was no smoke, no moss, NO dirt or rain. Everything was gone, yet she could see it still
She twisted to get to get feet and flinched. Fleshy limbs! The creature’s? No, attached to her. She turned her head. An animal lady not far from her – some sort of mountain cat. Tentra’s eyes widened.
She thought, no, I am me. Then she paused, chicks her head to the side and wondered, who is me?
With this riddle she leapt to her feet and, stumbling, fled into the trees. They hurt. They bit. They stung. She knew she didn’t like trees, but she did before. The voice in her head, thinking, spurred her to a faster pace. She could not escape it. The thinking followed her. She fled. And she stumbled. And she crashed into another creature. It was different, so slightly, from the one before. She knew it was, yet she could not say how. It simply was. It scrambled away from her, climbing back to its feet. She remained on the ground, staring dumbly at it. Its face twisted in a way that made Tentra feel worried. She mimicked the movement and then shook her head. It felt strange, uncomfortable, to move her face that way.
It’s frowning, she thought suddenly. It’s frowning at me. But who is me? She looked up at it.
“Are you hurt?” it spoke. Tentra wasn’t sure. What did it mean? She tried to ask, but it couldn’t hear her. “Are you scared?” Its mouth and the things inside moved. Answer it. She moved her mouth, but no sound emerged. Her eyes widened. The creature crouched beside her.
“What happened to you?”
What. A new thought occurred to her. “Wh-what is me?”
The creature rocked back. Grief made moisture in its eyes. Tentra got to her knees.
“What is me?” she repeated.
It sighed. Looked away. Looked back. “You’re a human.”
That’s it! Let me know what you thinkand if you can find the point where I took a break.
What do you think of flash fiction?
Take care, fellow travelers.