Flash Fiction (22) – Just In Case

barb wire, fence, barb wire fence, rust

Prompt from Madision Woods, go check out her blog and read others’ responses to this prompt.

Just In Case

She picked up the rifle and slung it over her shoulder.  She had never had to use it, but her dad always made her take it, just in case.  She saddled up her horse, grateful that her morning chores consisted of one task.  Riding.  Granted, she couldn’t deviate from the fence, so it got tedious some mornings, but all she had to do was ride.  And make sure the fence didn’t have any downs in it, or worse, any animals tangled in it.  Sometimes she was late for school, and sometimes she missed it altogether.  But it was her job to repair any damage to the fence, and first she had to find it.

She heard the calf before she saw it.  It was shrieking.  She urged her horse to move faster.  She topped a swell and could see the animal.  It had gotten tangled in the wires.  She was glad, this had happened before and it shouldn’t be too hard to untangle the calf.

When she got closer she saw the wires were cutting into the calf, they were around his legs and his belly and the one that cut deepest was around his neck.  The more he struggled the more the wires sunk their rusty teeth into him.  She grabbed the wire cutters and began cutting and pulling, trying to free the animal.  But the more she freed him, the more he fought, and the more entangled he became.  It was a fruitless effort.

She stopped and went back to her horse.  She grabbed her rifle.  She had never had to use it before but her dad always made her take it, just in case.

Flash Fiction (15) – The Invasion

spiders, soldiers, flash fiction, tree

This prompt is from Quill Shiv.  Here’s his take on the prompt and check out the comments for other people’s take on the prompt.

The Invasion

Grandma saw a spider.  It was a normal spider, not big, not scary, just normal, but it terrified her.

“They came in the summer.  The spiders did.  They were everywhere; they covered everything.  If you stood still for too long, they covered you.

“And they yelled, they yelled all the time.  In that thick tongue of theirs.  It sounded like demons had overtaken the town.  They didn’t even bother learning Bengali.  They shouted at us, poked us with sticks, beat us, and laughed at us.  But we never knew what they wanted!  If only they spoke Bengali, if only we knew, we would have done it.  But we never knew.

“They put me and my parents in the ghettos.  That’s where we had to live; we weren’t allowed to stay at home.   And they didn’t give us netting.  So when we tried to sleep the spiders would come.  So everybody took turns watching for the spiders and shooing them away.  Because if they came they would wrap you up in their webbing.  And the spiders were everywhere.  They came in the summer and they never left.

“The soldiers stayed, they stayed for so long.  In the ghetto we were split into teams.  Each team had a job.  I was on a good team, with a good job.  They said it was because I was pretty and young so they gave me the good job.  Me and the rest of my team would go to the garbages.  Not the garbages from the ghetto, we didn’t have enough to throw anything away.  The garbages from the city, that’s where we went.  And we dug, and sorted, and stacked, and piled until everything that might have any value was set aside.  Then the soldiers would come.  We loaded everything into trucks.  Then the soldiers loaded us into trucks.  Apparently we had some value, not much, but enough to warrant being loaded into trucks.

“The trucks were too small for all us.  But the soldiers didn’t care, they used their sticks to force more and more of us in.  I couldn’t breath.  I was supposed to be on watch, but I had fallen asleep and the spiders had found me.  Their webbing stretched across my face, every time I tried to inhale the sticky strings tickled the back of my throat and I started coughing.  Those damn webs.

“Kill it.  Kill the spider, Amar Baca.  I’m going to grab a shawl; I’m cold.”

So I killed it.  I didn’t want it to upset my mother any more, normally I would’ve just put it outside, it was such a little spider.

The Farthest Shore – a review

Philosophical

Captivating

Conclusion (of the Earthsea trilogy)

I have only just moments ago finished The Farthest Shore, the conclusion of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy.

I need a moment to catch my breath and slow my heartbeat.

I’m still trying to verbalize my feelings about the book.

Let me say, the conclusion of this book, as with the previous two books, is amazing (if you’re interested in my reviews of those books you can find them here and here).  Le Guin manages to explore philosophical and ethical questions in a manner that drives the stories but never overshadows them.  At the end of this book, I find that I keep thinking about her take on life and death and their inextricable connection.

I’m not going to recap the novel, you can check Wikipedia for that.

The Farthest Shore, Ursula Le Guin, fantasy, dragons, wizards, magic, books,  Earthsea trilogyI would recommend this book, and this series, to fantasy readers.  I would, however, caution potential readers.  These books are not easy reads, they require thinking and hard work.  Like so much in life, there is a lot of work put into building up for the fireworks.  If you are willing to put the work into these books, you will definitely be rewarded.  If you prefer reading books for their face value stories, then I can recommend some others that you will find much more enjoyable.

Flash Fiction (14) – Riding the Wind

Prompt courtesy of L.S. Engler, go check out what this prompt inspired her to write.

Riding the Wind

She lay where she fell, looking up into the sky.

She was aware of the wind as it twirled her hair and tickled her nose.

She willed her soul to ride it, and even as her soul warmed she felt her body cool.  Undeterred, she rose with an updraft.

The wind tugged at her skirts and pinched her cheeks.

Looking down she saw her body crumpled in the snow.  But instead of returning, as she had practiced through the years, she turned from cold nights and hungry days and instead rode the wind and chased the sun.

Flash Fiction (4) Finding Treasure

broken mushroom

(Prompt courtesy of Madison Woods.  If you’re interested go check out her story (which happens to amazing, inspirational, and less than one-hundred words!) and then read the comments to find more stories from this particular prompt.)

I couldn’t see his chest rise and fall but I imagined my breaths matching his.  I had waited for our reunion, dreamt of it, and prayed for it.  Anticipating his surprise, I quickly made my way to where he slept.

But I was the one surprised.  And I had been wrong.  My breath hadn’t matched his, nor would it.  I was alone as ever.  With him gone I didn’t even have the dream of somebody.  And with him gone all eyes would be on me.  I wouldn’t be able to outrun them for long.  Even though I knew it was hopeless, I wouldn’t live, I would fight to survive.

I gave myself a moment and a final kiss.  Then I fled the forest.