A Writing Journey

Posts tagged ‘flash fiction’

Flash Fictions

Do you like flash fiction? I’m undecided. I like the idea of quick writing exercises, but flash fiction never feels finished to me – it never feels like I know enough about the characters, the setting, the anything.

I’ve done flash fiction before – of the 300 word category. I know some have higher word counts, but that is almost too much for me – it says “get invested in this, then keep writing” which, in my opinion is not the point.

In the theme of flash fictions, I’ll leave my thoughts at that.

Adventure well,

Emily

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Flash Fiction: The End of All Things

One of my earliest posts was about the origins of the world (which is just called “The World”) in which Quest for Salvation takes place. In that post, I mentioned that it came about from a short story that I wrote and fell in love with. I have decided to share that story (it’s really more of a flash fiction) with you. I have edited it a couple of times since I first wrote it. Originally it was going to be included in QFS, and then I decided that it didn’t fit well with the rest of the story, so I took it out. Please let me know what you think!

“The End of All Things”

     In the Dosid Temple, Vahn manipulated the Crystal Grove. Life and light flashed around him, coursed through him. The spiraling colors and constantly shifting brightness of light cast strange, spectral visions about the Grove. Vahn shut his eyes, letting phantom heat sweep through him. An ethereal hum rose in the air, causing the Crystals to reverberate at various pitches. A colored wind swelled through the room, intensifying all sensation.

“Quite astounding, young Vahn,” a grizzled voice praised from behind.

Vahn dropped his hands as his eyes snapped open, the Crystal Grove going dark and silent instantly. He turned and bowed graciously to the elderly man standing just inside the Great Arch.

“Thank you, Master Yonrys.”

“Long has it been since I’ve seen the Grove so alive,” Yonrys sighed wistfully. “We could hear the Song in the Council Chambers tonight.”

Hiding his chagrin behind a mask of politeness, Vahn picked up his robe and shook it out before replying. “I apologize if I have disturbed the Council’s deliberations.”

The old master’s eyes crinkled. “Quite contrary, my boy. They all enjoyed the Grove-Song. And it led them to discuss you.”

“Me, master?” he wondered. “May I inquire as to the reason?”

Yȯnrys gazed pensively about the Crystal Grove, stalling for as long as he could. His eyes lingered at the far window that over looked the hot-houses where food was grown. “The Council of Masters believes that you have been made ready to touch the Godlight.”

Vahn’s face went slack. “The Council… the Godlight?” he repeated, dumbfounded. His attention snapped back to reality. “And you, Master? What do you think?”

The old man’s near-colorless gaze returned to meet his young charge’s. He studied Vahn’s face briefly before answering. “I agree with the Council. You have indeed abundant Talent, and you have become quite skilled at the art of manipulating energy fields. I do believe this is the logical step to take.”

The master’s neutral tone did not prevent Vahn’s gaze from becoming awestruck. “To commune with the Collective… what an opportunity!”

“And a risk,” Yȯnrys asserted sharply. “Do not forget that the Collective are not Men. They see beyond our sight. Not everything They relate is something you will want to hear. There are bones of men driven mad at the bottom of the Rift. I would mourn to see you join their number.”

“Of course, Master. I will remember the risk at my Communion.”

“You are wise beyond your years, boy, and sharper by half than any other Talent-weaver here. I have my Faith in you, young Vahn. Now off to bed with you, tomorrow may just be the longest day in your life.”

“Yes, Master.”

Vahn bowed again to his aged mentor, this time deeper and more sincerely. He then cinched his robe and pulled on a pair of boots before exiting under the watchful, smiling eyes of Yȯnrys.

Vahn willfully kept his pace slow, even though his desire to run was nearly overwhelming. Excessive exuberance was much frowned upon in the mountain monastery. He continued his restrained march out of the Temple complex and across the frozen, snow-covered terrain to the towering pair of dormitories.

Just inside the open archway of the first, and significantly taller, dormitory was a crystal platform, worn smooth by generations of men who, like Vahn, resided in the towering building. The “platform” was merely a hair-thin disc, the cold flagstones completely visible beneath it, though tinged the strangest blue. The Crystal had been taken from the Grove at the time of the dormitory’s foundation to transport those with Talent to the upper levels, insulated and otherwise unreachable.

Vahn stepped unhesitatingly onto the platform and disappeared in a flash of white light and blue sparks. He instantly reappeared on the eighth floor, where he paused to gaze out the window, shielded by the excess Talent leaked by the residents of the floor.

The dormitory was built at the edge of the plateau, seamlessly melding with the sheer cliff-face, dropping hundreds, if not thousands, of feet to the mostly frozen river and the bones of men gone mad. Across the Rift was a vast open plain, as snowy as the plateau that housed the monastery. At the far edge of the plain the mountains rose sharply once again, just as they did everywhere one looked. What was beyond those mountains, Vahn couldn’t begin to imagine. He could only assume it was more of the same; mountains boxing in snow-covered plateaus and frozen rivers, but his only memories were of this isolated monastery within the Dosid Mountains.

Pulling himself from the breathtaking view that had become stale and ordinary, Vahn retreated to his quarters at the far end of the hall. He pushed aside the tapestry that hid his rooms from view and paused on the threshold, a sense of unease clamoring at the back of his mind. He shook his head, dispelling the feeling, and crossed through the small anteroom to his main chamber, and then to the bath-chamber.

In the elegantly carved stone bath, Vahn soaked until the water went cold. When it did, instead of using his Talent to reheat it, he climbed out of the bath and wrapped himself in the same robe that he had worn earlier. Then he re-entered his bed-chamber, but instead of falling on the low bed, he collapsed onto the pile of cushions that he usually reserved for guests. There he remained long into the night, pondering the coming day, until at last a restless slumber claimed him.

~

     Awakened before dawn by a lowly acolyte, Vahn immediately recalled the honor being bestowed upon him. The acolyte stood over him silently, waiting to be acknowledged before speaking.

Vahn glanced at her in minor dissatisfaction. “Yes, yes. Speak already.”

The acolyte bowed respectfully. “The Tenders of the Godlight and the Masters of the Temple wish to express their great respect for the young Lord and beg that you follow the instructions bequeathed to the humble acolyte before you.”

Vahn waved his hand impatiently, his nerves getting the better of him. “And the instructions, acolyte?”

“The Masters beg you follow me to the Bathing House.”

“I can’t bathe in my own chamber?”

“No, my Lord.”

“Very well,” Vahn sighed, pushing himself to his feet. “When do I get to eat?”

“You are not to eat this day, my Lord. You are to fast until after your Communion.”

Vahn kept his irritation in check, but barely. “Very well,” he said again. “Lead on then, girl.”

The acolyte bowed again, stiffer than the first time, and then turned, leading him down the familiar hall and, once on the ground level, out of the dormitory.  The harsh morning wind attacked Vahn with a vengeance. He stared at the acolyte in awe, for though her short hair and robes were tossed wildly by the savage wind, the girl herself seemed unaffected. She led the way quite calmly past the Council Chambers and to the Bathing House. Within the confines of the House, the air was hot and still. Steam hung in around them like fog and water droplets clung to every surface.

The acolyte turned to Vahn, but kept her eyes down. “The Masters beg you to remove your robes and bathe,” she said, softly and quickly. “There are salts at the edge of the pool with which you are to cleanse yourself. Then you are to ascend to the second floor. When you are finished come to the outer room and this acolyte will guide you again.” After relaying the instructions, the acolyte hastened to the outer room of the House, leaving Vahn on his own.

Vahn slipped out of his robes, leaving them in a pile on the floor. He shuffled forward, unable to see the pool he knew was somewhere before him, and fell into the water, plunging into the deep. He surfaced brief moments later and gasped for air. The water was hotter than he’d ever felt it before. He retrieved the scrubbing salts from the edge of the bath and proceeded to cleanse himself. The salts smelled strongly of some unknown herb, similar to the mint that the Cultivators grew in the hot houses.

After he had washed, Vahn climbed out from the bath and wrapped a towel around his waist. He skirted the edge of the pool to the back of the house, where a staircase led to a rarely used second level. Emerging onto the second floor, Vahn saw a Master of the Faith and Scripture standing beside a table filled with needles and tiny bottles of ink.

“What is this, Master?” Vahn asked.

The Master gazed at him steadily. “You are to be marked with the ancient patterns, symbols of your honor and character, and the symbol the Fate gives as a path for your life. Come. Sit.” He gestured to the stool before him.

Vahn advanced warily, glancing with apprehension at the needles.

“You will not feel it,” the master said, catching Vahn’s discomfort.

“The salts?”

“Yȯnrys told me you were clever. Yes, the salts numb the body to pain. Now hold still.”

Vahn sat as still as the mountains themselves as the black and teal inks were applied to his skin in delicate swirls and complex patterns. He tensed as the master inked graceful symbols on his cheek, but the master made no mistakes. It seemed like eons before the master set down the last needle, but still he was not finished.

The man, standing behind Vahn, placed a hand on his head and on his bare back. He began murmuring in an archaic tongue. The words sounded like a prayer – or an incantation. Either way, Vahn felt energy building in the room and when he ended the speech, there was a flash of ice-cold fire across Vahn’s skin.

“The marking is complete,” the master said, stepping away.

Vahn glanced over his shoulder – his back still stung – and saw the barest gleam of gold. He looked down at his torso and saw what the master had not inked. A sparkling crimson flower – something Vahn had never seen in person – on his upper right chest attached to the glowing golden vine, twisting over his shoulder and threaded through the black patterns. The patterns themselves had also changed. Before the incantation the black and teal had been distinctly separate, but they had merged, somehow darker than before, drinking in the light and extinguishing it, but with a strange greenish iridescence.

“What did you do?” Vahn asked.

The master answered an unasked question. “The Crimson Dahlia. Its story is filled with suffering and sorrow. We shall have to see what becomes of its bearer. It is strange that you have been given two marks. Such has never happened in my years, and I doubt in the years of my Master before me. You have a long future ahead of you.”

“You mean you didn’t choose this?”

“The Fate chooses all. Your time here is complete. Go rejoin your guide.”

Vahn stood stiffly, and somewhat shakily, at a loss or words. He understood little of what the master had told him. He retraced his steps to the entrance of the Bathing House, where a ceremonial White Robe waited. He donned the Robe eagerly, smoothing it over his front reverently. Stepping into the outer room, he found the acolyte waiting with her hands clasped behind her back, her feet spread shoulder-width apart.

“My Lord,” she said, bowing yet again. “It is dusk. The time is near, and this acolyte begs you follow in her steps just a short while more.”

“Of course. Lead on,” Vahn said, his excitement returning full force.

The girl turned and once again took charge, this time leading him across the plateau, to the base of the Tower. The Tenders of the Godlight, masters in their own right, stood in a half-circle facing away from the Tower, heads bowed.

The acolyte halted and turned towards Vahn. “Here this humble acolyte must leave you in most Worthy care.” She bowed to him a final time before hurrying back towards the Temple complex.

“Gȯdtrey volüt tran,” the Tenders rumbled in unison. As one their faces rose to the sky. Their eyes were open but unseeing, their hands upheld as if to receive a gift. “Drȯn ta leet, fa ree cyunduer.”

Vahn stood still and silent, unsure what to do. He was about to speak when the Tender in the middle of the semi-circle stepped forward.

“Vessel of the Vine, you have come to take part in the Communion of Souls. The bearer of the Mark has been deemed worthy by earthly minds. May the souls passed before grant passage to the Bearer. Bearer, approach the Godlight, be struck with fear and awe, so that you may become wise and fearless.”

The Tender stepped aside, revealing the base of the Tower. But it was not the base as Vahn knew it. An arch of stones glowed blue-white, and the stones inside the arch appeared almost fluid. Vahn stepped forward and, when no one stopped him, passed through the half-circle of Tenders to enter the tower through the liquid stone.

The stairway spiraled up the walls of the Tower, and Vahn climbed for hours, unaware that time outside the Tower had slowed nearly to a halt. Inside the pitch-black Tower, Vahn kept his right hand against the wall, his left stretched out before him. He could sense, if not see, the great open space in the middle of the Tower. There was nothing to keep him from falling to his death if he lost contact with the wall. But he climbed.

His legs grew leaden, his chest burned, and deep in his mind a strange tingle had begun. Each step cost more energy than the last, each breath sending another dart of pain through his lungs. It was agony.

At last he took a step and out of the darkness materialized another archway, exactly like the one at the base. For a brief moment Vahn wondered why he had not seen it before, but he quickly dismissed the question. The secrets of the Tower were, after all, innumerable.

Vahn stepped through the arch without hesitation and found himself at the very top of the Tower, in the Chamber of the Godlight. Around him the cold wind surged, whistling around the pillars that supported the dome of the Tower. He paid the winds no attention, just as he ignored the magnificent and altogether supernatural view of the Dosid Rift and monastery plateau. His eyes had time only for the mystical Godlight, before him at last.

The Godlight was a Crystal. Vahn didn’t know why this surprised him, but it did. Of course, it was not an ordinary Crystal by any means. The Godlight blazed brighter than any in the Crystal Grove, with an incredible blue-white hue, and with no Talent-weaver to Source it. Or rather, no physical Talent-weaver. The Collective resided, somehow, within the Godlight, and Vahn supposed that They were the Source.

Shaking himself from his awed daze, Vahn reached out to touch the Light…

And was immediately transferred to an intensely bright, glowing place.

He was completely surrounded by pure white light, standing on it, breathing it. He could still feel his body at the top of the Tower, his arm outstretched, his legs shaking with the effort of the climb. But here he was in this brilliant place, as physical as he was in the other.

He had the barest second to comprehend all this before the tingle in his mind erupted into a cacophony of voices.

“So Darkness has come,” a woman’s voice rang out above the others. From the corner of his eye Vahn saw the hem of a skirt, rushing away. He turned, but nothing was there.

“We must not foretell,” a man’s voice resounded, accompanied by a click of a boot. But again when Vahn turned there was nothing, no one.

“The Dark One will steal peace from all, the Dark One will become our fall.” The child’s sing-song rhyme was followed by festive laughter, but there was no one there.

An elderly voice took up the rhyme. “The Dark One wars against the old –”

“Banish we him to the cold!”

“The Dark One ruins his only kin –”

“The Dark One will begin again!”

“Raised in darkness he will destroy –”

“That which he cherished as a boy.”

Vahn spun in a panic, frightened by the angry voices, trying to catch a glimpse of one of the speakers hovering at the edges of his sight.

“No,” he managed to choke out, “no you’ve got it wrong –” But his voice was drowned out by the chorus of souls.

“Eater of Faith! Destroyer of Truth! Eater of Faith! Destroyer of Truth!”

“Eater of Faith!

“Destroyer of Truth!”

“Demon of Taruin!”

“Be gone, Demon!”

“Get out, Destroyer!”

“Your darkness shall not sully our light!”

“Your power shall not cause our destruction!”

“We will NOT bestow our Gifts to the Darkness!”

“You are not welcome, Demon of Taruin!”

Vahn’s true body was flung backwards against the low wall as his consciousness was hurled back into it. The Godlight’s blazing brightness was like a candle against the sun after the World of Light. Vahn was practically blind in the darkness of the night, deaf in its silence.

The gravity of what had happened came crashing down upon him. He had been rejected by the Collective. He had been cursed by the only thing he had ever loved, the only thing that had ever motivated him.

Throughout the Dosid Mountains, throughout all of Taruin, was heard a cry of heart-shattering anguish, augmented by the stolen Talent of every living thing atop the Dosid plateau, dropping each acolyte, master, tender, and student into the unforgiving grasp of death.

Take care, fellow travelers

Flash Fiction – War Wounds

Flash fiction is proving to be difficult for me.  This one was especially so. I am a pacifist, so the prompt “War Wounds” was not easy for me. Go ahead and have a read.

Beck gaped at the ragged hole in the wall, the jagged floor and shattered window.

    Leon glared at Beck, hands on hips. “It really isn’t that bad. Quick fix, easy job.”

That’s what you said before! Beck thought. He held his tongue and took a deep breath before speaking. “Not that bad? Leon, there’s no kitchen anymore.” The words were as even as possible, and yet Beck could still see Leon’s spirit crumbling. Any harsh word and the kid went to pieces.

    “I tried. I really tried!” Leon’s voice wavered, but Beck heard the anger lurking beneath the tears.

    He took a step forward, across the threshold. “And you made a really good effort, but honestly, it looks like our kitchen has been in battle. What will mom say when she gets home next week?”

    “Oh, we don’t need to worry about that. We’ll have this place fixed up by then. It will be quick – an easy job.” Leon’s voice trembled again and Beck knew that he understood the magnitude of the job.

    Beck couldn’t imagine what Leon had done to cause such a disaster. He’d been talking about fixing the hook that kept falling off the wall, but could all of this really stemmed from that?

    “Well, we’d best get started then. What’ll we need?”

    Leon’s face twisted in consternation. “A wall. A window. And a new floor.”

    Beck held back his groan. It’s okay. I’ve got this. “Okay, Leon. I’m going to go to the store and get supplies. You get dinner. We’ll start after we eat.”

    Somehow, Beck was back before Leon. He got to work, loathe to let the mess set for even an hour. It had to be fixed. When Leon got home, they ate and then worked for a few more hours until Leon fell asleep against the holed wall. Beck carried him to bed and then went to the living room and fell asleep on the couch.

    They worked, side-by-side, at a pace that barely left them any time to sleep. It had to be done. A quick fix, an easy job. It would be done. No doubt.

    A week passed. The day she would return greeted both Leon and Beck in the kitchen, working furiously to finish the repairs. The window was in place, and the floor even. They were painting the wall. It had to be dry when she got home, or she would know. She would probably know anyway. She always knew, Leon’s mom. Didn’t trust him.

    The car pulling into the driveway stilled them both. She walked into the kitchen and they tried to act as if everything was normal, as if they hadn’t spent a furious week fixing her house. She smiled, greeted them. Nothing amiss. Beck looked at the intact wall, squinted. The paint was a shade lighter, not even a shade, a smidge. She didn’t notice. Beck grinned. It was a scar, covering the war wound Leon had dealt in battle. Not fatal this time.

So, what do you think?

Take care, fellow travelers.

Flash Fiction: I know this sounds crazy, but…

Another flash fiction! I had fun writing this one, and at a friend’s challenge I tried to keep it more upbeat. (Tried being the key word there.) This one is three hundred words, and the prompt was “I know this sounds crazy, but…”

Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

“I know this sounds crazy, but I’m psychic. For real. I know they’ve got all those shows about people pretending to be psychic but’re really just observant and smart, but I’m seriously psychic. I knew when I woke up this morning that Jeanine Taylor wasn’t gonna be at school. And I knew that it was because her little brother’s in the hospital. And last year, on my sixteenth birthday, I knew Aunt Linnie was going to kick the bucket. (She did, and gol dang if Mom didn’t blame me because I said so. What else was I supposed to do?)

“I dunno if I can use this psychic-ness to help people or what. I mean, I couldn’t help Aunt Linnie or Jeanine Taylor’s little brother (he’ll be fine, by the way. It’s just appendicitis.) But there was that time that I knew Ben Croft was going to get hit by a bike and end up in a coma. He was standing just a few lockers down from me. I could have talked to him, kept him for even just a few seconds, but I didn’t. How could I know that I wouldn’t cause him to get run over by that kid? Because I never know if it’ll be good or bad. And it sucks sometimes because I know who’s gonna break up with who, and what Granny’s gonna get me for my birthday (it’s gonna be a pink button-down this year – pink!), but I never know if my actions can impact it one way or another.

“But I do know that tomorrow afternoon it’ll rain and Jeanine’s car is going to crash into the school bus. So you really gotta do something, or those kids might die.”

The cop stared at me like I was crazy. She was probably right.

Well, that’s that. Thoughts?

Take care, fellow travelers.

Flash Fiction: He Didn’t Like the Rain

So, a friend of mine put this prompt to me for a 400-word flash fiction. The result is as follows.

“He doesn’t like the rain,” Christy whispered.

Naomi glanced over at the younger girl. There was no way that Christy could know, this boy was at least twice her age – not even a boy, more of a man. And yet the little one delivered the words with absolute confidence. Naomi looked up. Not a cloud in sight. He was growing nearer, that one that didn’t like the rain. She’d seen him around before. His name was something strange and old-fashioned. Matthias. And he didn’t go by Matt. It was Matthias or nothing.

Good afternoon, Matthias, Naomi thought as he passed by. She would have given anything to speak to him, but she couldn’t. He passed by without even looking at her. And why would he? He was older, smarter, and ready for life. She was toting her little sister, a girl that spoke for her.

Naomi and Christy walked on. The mall was almost empty when they’d entered. Of course it would be. The stores were closing – only the movie theater and that seamy bar and grill were still open. The girls went to the theater. Christy picked the movie, and as always the girl strove to pick something Naomi would like too. Perhaps there was something to being raised with a mute sister in a household of neglect.

No snacks, no drinks. Didn’t have money for that, anyway.

Throughout the movie, Naomi kept thinking about Matthias. She didn’t know anything about him, not really. He had graduated high school less than three weeks ago. She didn’t go there, but some of her friends did and she’d gone to football games, amazed by the noise and the shouting. Were people never quiet?

The movie ended. The girls left and outside the sun had set. Naomi couldn’t see any stars – even the moon was blocked by dark clouds. Was it supposed to rain? But he doesn’t like the rain, she thought.

Indeed, as the girls began the long walk home, fat drops fell and soon enough they were sprinting through the streets, soaked to the bone. They stepped into an intersection. A car careened around the corner.

Naomi couldn’t scream, couldn’t warn the little one. Too late. She dropped to her knees. She couldn’t even cry. Footsteps. Matthias screaming at the driver. Matthias sobbing over the little one. Matthias staring at Naomi. Matthias.

He didn’t like the rain.

What do you think? I liked writing this. I intentionally wrote out-of-genre because I think I need more experience writing non-fantasy fiction. I also like the shortness of it. It really made me keep to the basics.

Take care, fellow travelers.

Flash Fiction – Change

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.

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Threadwinners

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Quiet Water Craft

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creativepixie.wordpress.com/

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