Short stories, Flash fiction, and Novel Excerpts

Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

New Moons (Parts 5-7) 200 word series story

In Writing on February 1, 2010 at 1:36 am

I cringed, anticipating the cruel bite of the lash that never landed.  I was free!  My vision blurred; wiping tears and sleep from my eyes, I surveyed my surroundings.  Steel-grey light covered the evergreens around us.  After three months of captivity, using my lore to hide from the depravity around me, this morning felt different, surreal.  The wind held its breath, no creature stirred, and the light cast no shadows.  I held a second chance at life in my hands. 

Ishta slept by the dying fire, Taji at his side.  Her head rested on crossed paws, eyes open, staring at me, through me.  My breath caught as I fought to keep my guilt inside.  I knew there was nothing I could do for those girls, but shame flooded through me.  Tides of humiliation swelled through me, crashing on the barren rocky shores of my soul.  I had to tell someone, get this suffocating band of pain off my chest.

But could I trust Ishta?  Though he rescued us from slavery, what were his motives?  Why would he—after little prodding—help me get most of the way home?

Sometimes trust is taking a leap without knowing where you will land.

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New Moons (6)

200 words

I added three drops of Sylvan ether to the water-skin before handing it to the boy.  He needed to be strong enough to walk on his own.  His time in the wagon made that impossible under normal conditions, but the healing water would help.

In trying to earn the boy’s trust the night before, I gave my name, and received nothing in return.  Though in his position, I’d keep my secrets close too.  God of Moons knew I had my own share so I couldn’t begrudge the boy his.

Gesturing, I caught Taji’s attention.  She seemed fixated on the boy.  I formed a circle with both hands and she bounded into the forest to catch something we could use to break our fast.

The boy, his gaze released, slumped over holding his chest.  A warbling moan escaped him.  He fell to his side and I rushed over to help.  His outstretched arm halted me. 

He panted in the dust a moment, “I’m fine.  Just some cracked ribs.”

The way he held himself—hands under his arms—I had my doubts, but held my tongue.  How could I expect him to reveal his secrets if I kept the truth from him?

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New Moons (7)

200 words

I thought Ishta would ignore me and pick me up.  But he didn’t.  He gave me my space, and earned a measure of trust.

A glint of silver sparkled in the new morning light as he pulled on his boots.  He caught me looking and reaching down, pulled two daggers, and tossed them at my feet.

“These woods can be dangerous,” he said pulling on his pack.

I picked them up while he buckled his sword belt.  I looked for a place on my bedraggled person to put the razor edged blades that wouldn’t cut me to ribbons. 

He chuckled and said, “Sorry, forgot that part.” 

Removing his pack, he fished out two sheathes and a strip of leather.

“Thread those through the—,” he began but stopped at my withering glare.  “Right.  Well, I guess you know what to do then.”

I watched him through lowered lashes while I tied the leather throng around my waist.  He cut a dashing figure watching the surrounding forest even as he rolled his sleeves to the elbows.  I tried to think of something witty to say when Taji’s heart-rending yelps cut through the morning mist.  Her cries of anguish sounded shockingly human.

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