Quiet

I waited, in the brush, invisible, silent. The forest was quiet, I heard nothing. Not the wolves, bears, or owls, although I knew they were around. I also knew they’d wait, and watch until I acted. They’d act when their selected leader acts.

I didn’t smile, although you might have said I did. My lips separated in a quiet snarl. The men were coming. I closed my eyes, and listened. I could hear them in the distance, getting closer.

Men. On their way to my home. My town. The town Jessica, Hannah, and Valerie started. The town we’d made from nothing. All of us were survivors. Wounded by what happened in the word. What happened when the veneer of civilization fell away. When the world went insane.

Men murdered my father. Raped my mother and sister, then murdered them. But what happened to me was nothing compared to what happened to Valerie, my love. To Kelly, and so many others.

I remembered when I found Kelly, what men had done to her. I remembered when Kelly and I rescued Jenny, Beth and the others from the stables. It was the first time I’d struck back against the chaos. I’d found more stables since then, with the wolves. We’d shut them down, freed the women trapped in them.

I learned to speak with the wolves, bears, owls, hawks, eagles, foxes. Jessica had them teach me their languages, their ways. Eventually, a bear told me, “You have found yourself.”

Now, I waited for the men. Quiet. Hidden. No guns, a bow and arrows instead. Something they wouldn’t hear coming. The wolves and foxes had taught me to move through the brush almost silently, like a predator stalking prey.

I waited for the men, noisy as they were, arrogant as they were. Them, and their guns. Not afraid of anything. Intent on sending a message to everyone, “You can’t stand against us!” My snarl said otherwise. The men were in for a surprise.

The noise they made grew louder, I knew they were nearby. We’d planned well, we’d watched them approach for days. We knew the path they followed, where they were going, how they would get there and when they would get there. They wouldn’t know we surrounded them.

I raised my bow, drew an arrow, and quietly waited for the first man to appear. I didn’t have to wait long. He stepped between the trees, breaking branches, kicking brush out of his way, acting like he ruled the forest. Right until the moment my arrow sank into the center of his chest. I quietly drew a second arrow and let it fly. Then a third. Three men down.

I had no need for noise. I quietly moved through the brush, patiently stalking the men, hunting them. I could smell the chaos and fear consuming them. I let three more arrows fly. Three more men fell.

They panicked, started shooting their guns at nothing, at shadows. The time for quiet had ended. I screamed the battle cry of the owls, causing them to take flight, followed by the wolves and the bears.

It was a short fight. Men screamed. Men shot at shadows, and anything that moved, at each other. Soon, there were no more men.

And the forest was quiet again.

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G is for Green

She was not well, I could tell. Another migraine, my best guess. That and the never-ending pain of the fibromyalgia. Another man would have known there was nothing he could do. No way to help, other than be quiet, and be there. If she needed him.

But, I’m not normal. I’m not another man. I’m me. While it remained true I couldn’t remove her pain, couldn’t cure her migraine, I wasn’t totally helpless. There was something I could do.

As she sat on the sofa, I sat on the floor, facing her, and in a quiet voice I asked, “Trust me?”

She nodded. I smiled. “Then, close your eyes and dream.” I took her hands in mine, and she closed her eyes, as I captured a dream and turned it into words for her…

Feel the softness of the breeze as it touches your skin, caresses your face. Hear it pass among the trees, the soft music it plays as it rustles their leaves. Open your eyes and look around at the green everywhere you can seen. So many shades, from pale to strong, and light to dark. The way the sunlight filters through the trees, beams hanging in air here and there. Fields of leaves flickering in the light, as the breeze moved them about.

Look to the canopy of the forest you’re in, so high over head. See how it paints the sky in shades of green, filled with gaps of blue, and the gold of the sunlight. Listen as you hear the sounds of pinecones, acorns, and nuts fall through the forest, bouncing off branches and limbs, until they strike the ground.

In the distance, you hear the sound of water in the, flowing in a stream, over rocks, and between the trees. Sometimes quiet, almost silent. Sometimes, roaring in rapids, and maybe even a waterfall.

Now and then, you walk, to another space along a trail, in the forest wonderland. Every time you stop, you drink in the magic of a world that’s real. One not made by the hand of man. One that was there before we were, and will be there after all of us are gone.

For this is life’s gift to you this day. A land that’s alive, painted in the colors of sunlight, blue sky, and an endless sea of shades of green.

Close your eyes, my friend.

And dream.

#ThursThreads Week 116 : We’ll See About That

Mystica watched the white flames play across the surface of the lake. She saw the Angels attack Merlin, and the dragons. She saw villages of fairies and humans burned to the ground. She spoke to the machines, “Are they coming here?”

“Yes.”

“Will you stop them?”

“No.”

“So, you will allow this war?”

“Yes.”

The flames shifted, showing her the Angels enter the Great Northern Forest. She knew they’d arrive any moment. She used white magic to float above the center of the lake, where she waited for the Angels to arrive.

She watched them float above the trees, surrounding the clearing, and the lake. A single Angel silently flew across the clearing, to the center of the lake. “Witch of white! For your use of magic, and protection of those cursed with wild magic, you shall die.”

“We’ll see about that.”

The Angel swung his arms, as if he had two swords, and was trying to cut Mystica to pieces. The white magic protected her. The Angel didn’t understand. “How are you still alive?”

She stared at him. “Burn.”

White fire leaped from the lake, grabbing the Angel’s ankles, yanking him from the sky, dragging him under the water. The trees around the lake and clearing launched their branches up, like spears, into the Angels by the lake.

That quickly, the Angels were gone.

Mystica shook her head. “The White Magic protects this world,” she declared, “And I am the White Magic.

242 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 116. It’s another little tale from the world of Cylinders. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 15

We rode for hours through the forest, then beside a lake. After sunset, we reached an ancient city. “Welcome to Old Phoenix,” the woman said.

We stopped outside a church, where an old, disheveled woman sat in the dark, backlit by light from a partly open door behind her.

“Meet Alice’s mother,” the man said.

55 words
@LurchMunster


This is part 15 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s flat amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

#MWBB 18 : Tinta

“There is magic in this forest.”

I laughed at the old man, sitting on an old wooden stool on the stone porch of his small cabin. “Yeah, right. Magic.”

The old man smiled. “You are young, with the brashness, and arrogance of youth.” He looked pas me, to the forest surrounding his home. “You will see.” His eyes gleamed a brilliant blue, “You will see.”

I thanked him for the water, and the meal, and took my leave of him, heading north, into the forest. I was following someone. A girl. I’d seen her in the village, south of the forest, two days ago. I’d called out to her, tried to get her attention, but she didn’t hear me. When she left the village, she headed north. Into the forest. I followed her.

I don’t know why. I’d asked why I was following her for the past two days. Was it because she was pretty? Was it because I was curious? Perhaps I wanted to make sure her journey through the forest went well, and she arrived wherever she was going safely.

The old man at the cabin had just smiled. “She went north,” he’d said.

“Who?”

“Tinta.” He watched my reaction, saw my hesitation to answer him, to ask him questions. “She knows you’re following her.” He’d smiled again, “Why don’t you stop for a bit, have lunch, and a drink. Then continue your journey.”

“I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Oh, son. You are no bother. I get few visitors here. Let me practice my hospitality.”

He’d fixed sandwiches, more than we’d eaten. He’d put the rest in a bag, and handed it to me. “For Tinta.”

Tinta kept going north. I kept following her trail. It wasn’t hard. Her footprints were easy to spot in the snow. It was easy to see the tree branches she’d brushed against.

“There is magic in the forest.” I kept hearing the words of the old man, as the sun set on the second day, and I found a small alcove in the trees to camp for the night. I was glad the old man had given me the sandwiches, as I ate one that night.

Some say I never woke up. And I do remember looking at myself, sleeping on the ground under the trees. But it wasn’t really me. It was must an image. A mirage. As I looked down on myself, she walked into the alcove and stood next to me. She took my hand. She kissed me.

“I’m Tinta.”

“I’m Raven.”

“I know.” She led me into the forest, heading north. As we walked, the snow faded, and the forest filled with colors, the sounds of birds, the music of leaves being played by soft breezes, and the magic of the sun’s beams painting patterns of light as it shined through the forests canopy.

It was beautiful. So was Tinta.

“There is one thing,” she said to me. “Now that you’re here, you know, don’t you.”

“I can never leave.”

I have never missed the world I left behind.

There was indeed magic in the forest. The old man had been right. It was the magic of dreams. I’d always dreamed of finding her. I’d always known when I did, she’d bring color to my world. I’d always known I’d never return to the world I’d always known. That I’d stay with my true love. Walking hand-in-hand, through the trees. In a world where winter never came.

581 Words
@LurchMunster


My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 18 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.

#SinfulSunday 24 : Salty

I woke up that morning, cold, and painfully stiff. It hadn’t been any fun to get out of my sleeping bag, and get to my feet. Dew had settled on everything in sight, and a fine misty fog filled the air. I didn’t really care how I felt. I’d finally convinced her to come with me on a camping trip in the mountains.

I’d slept outside the tent, under the trees, and the stars. So she could sleep inside the tent, and have some privacy. Now that I was up, I wanted to see if she had slept well, and was OK. I tapped on the tent’s entrance, “Are you in there?”

“No, I’m over here,” she answered. I looked toward the edge of the camp site, where the trees began, and the sun was filtering through their leaves. She was wearing tiny shorts, and a tank top t-shirt. She smiled, “Let’s take a walk.” I followed her into the trees. She stopped, standing in the sunlight. “I need a hug.” I walked up behind her, and put an arm around her waist. “Better?”

“No.” She reached back, took my other arm, and pulled it around her, pressing both my hands against her, pushing herself back into me.

The only thought in my head was, “Wow.”

Then she pulled off her top, and stood there, naked from the waist up. My arms still wrapped around her. She reached up, and gently pushed my head toward her shoulder. Not knowing what to do, I kissed her shoulder. She sighed, and asked, “What does it take to get you to see the obvious? As salty as I am right now, I’d think you’d be able to figure out what I want.”

She looked me in the eyes. “You can figure out what I want, can’t you?”

Just on a hunch, I let my hands run up her body to her bare breasts.

All she did was smile, nod her head, and whisper, “Yes.”

343 Words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this piece in response to the prompt for week 24 of Rebecca Grace Allen‘s Sinful Sunday Flash Fiction challenge. It’s 143 words too long, and it isn’t terribly sinful. But at least I wrote something.

If you are 18+ years of age, feel free to go read all the entries in this weeks challenge. They are, very much, “Sinful”.

 

#TimonySoulers #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 3, Humbaba

The note said Humbaba protected the trees. The Herrenvolk had cloned him after Gilgamesh had slain him, putting him to sleep underground, until they needed him. Until we threatened their forest.

We’d all laughed. “Humbaba? A myth?” We’d taken our machines into the forest. Started cutting down the trees. Laughing in our habromania. “Take that, Humbaba!”

That afternoon the ground shook. Lightning came from nowhere. The ground erupted. The sky grew black. And a giant, with a lion’s head roared. “Who threatens the forest of the Herrenvolk?”

I was lucky to escape with my life.

98 Words
@LurchMunster


This is what escaped from my mind for the third day of ‘Timony Souler’s #DiabolicalDeeds flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Please read the short works of the other writers participating in this challenge. And enjoy your Halloween.

Fairies : For Rose (Part 3)

On the first night of his journey, Scream found he didn’t sleep well at all. He kept waking up, afraid he would fall out of the tree. So, with the coming of the dawn, he decided he should find a good vine he could use as a rope, to hold himself in place while he slept at night. Or, he had to learn to sleep on the ground, which his mother had suggested he not do. He also noticed that he slept bent at funny angles, so he was stiff, and sore when he woke up. And sleeping in a tree, he felt as if his body had tried to conform to the shape of the tree. It took a while for the pattern of the tree bark to fade from his skin that morning.

He concluded the journey would be a bit more difficult than he’d expected. But, that was OK. Rose and her sisters would be there at the end of his journey. He’d spend some time with them, and have fun.

He continued to move from tree to tree. The trees continued to grow taller. And the woodland changed into a forest. There was no clear line or marker. But somehow, Scream knew he’d reached the edge of the Northern Forest.

He saw several wolves that day. It amazed him how silently something the size of a wolf could move through the forest. Along the ground. Through the brush, the fallen tree limbs, and the dead leaves along the ground. From his perch high above the ground, he watched each wolf he encountered. He even followed one for a time. The wolves were not just silent. They were very quick. Able to cover large distances easily, and rapidly. And they did not tire easily.

Scream also saw an eagle. And several hawks. The eagle was majestic. The way it rode the air currents, its wings extended, catching the wind and gliding along. He saw the eagle’s tail feathers adjusting to keep its flight level. He decided that one day, he would learn to soar through the sky, effortlessly, like that eagle. Riding the wind, and not endlessly flapping his wings to just stay aloft.

The hawks flew in much the same way. But they flew lower, closer to the ground. And they used their wings more frequently. Scream was surprised to see a hawk fold its wings, and plummet toward the ground, extending its wings just before reaching the ground, extending its talons, and capturing a small rabbit as it flapped its wings and returned to the sky. The hawk had landed in a tree, and started consuming its prey.

The raw power and grace of the hawk making it’s kill convinced Scream that a skilled warrior knew, and used technique to best his opponent. A skilled warrior knew, as that hawk knew, that technique provided a warrior an edge in battle.

Scream saw many bird nests on his journey. He stayed a safe distance from them, so he didn’t frighten the parents, or their young. After seeing several bird nests, he realized he didn’t have to tie himself to a tree. He could use tree limbs and leaves to make a small, temporary nest of his own to sleep in. It would take practice, and it would take time. But he knew he could learn. And he felt that learning to build simple places to rest in the trees would allow him to sleep better on his trip, and would keep him from falling out of the tree while he slept.

“Mother,” he thought, “you were right. There is much we can learn about life simply by watching the animals. The animals were here before we were. They know how to live in the forest, in the sea, on the land.” His appreciation of his mother increased. He remembered Mystica’s home, and the homes of her daughters, in the trees. Made by the trees. How natural they were. How simple. How solid. How safe. He could learn much about living in the forest from them.

He had plenty of water to drink that day. He found a stream of water running through the forest. He realized there were a lot of streams and rivers in the forest. There was plenty of water to drink, and plenty of water for things to grow. It was something he hadn’t expected. He’d expected trees, and water to be separate. Much like the river and the lake where Rose lived. He didn’t expect them to be so thoroughly mixed together.

He decided to take a bath in one of the streams. He splashed water all over himself. Rinsing the dust, the sweat, and the dirt of his journey off. It was refreshing to feel clean. He stayed on the ground long enough to eat some dried fish, and some of the sea weed. He marveled at the way the sunlight filtered through the trees. The way he could see beams of light passing through gaps in the limbs and leaves. The way the ground was always in shadow, never brightly lit.

While he was on the ground, he got to see a couple of deer, and a raccoon visit the edge of the stream, and drink. He got to watch the raccoon stand in the stream, and watch the water. He watched as it plunged a front leg into the stream, and pulled it out, holding a small fish. He hadn’t realized raccoons had workable hands.

He took back to the trees, when he was ready, and continued his journey. That evening, as the sun began to set, he found some tree branches that had fallen. He placed them across the gap between a couple of tree limbs, and tested the resulting surface to see if it could hold his weight. He had to try several times to get the right branches, and to get them positioned properly, so they acted like a little floor between the limbs. He covered that little floor with dead leaves.

As he prepared for sleep on the second night of his journey, he thought of Rose. Of holding her hand. Of her smile, and how it made everything seem OK.  He remembered how, when he was lost, and alone, and wondered if he’d ever see his mother, and his home again, Rose had smiled at him, and held his hand.  And he felt like everything was OK. Like being lost forever wouldn’t be so bad.

That night, he slept on his own little nest in the trees. And he slept well, finding he wasn’t afraid of falling. And having dreams of walking with Rose among the trees, holding her hand, and getting to see her smile.

Safe In The Darkness

I stood, lost in the darkness, outside the clearing. She nonchalantly waited for me there, knowing she was safe. Knowing I protected her. A wolf enter the clearing, saw her, tucked its tail, lower its head and quickly crossed the clearing, leaving her alone. After a time a fox quietly approached her. Crawling along the ground. Whimpering. She gently scratched behind it’s ears. And the fox returned to the darkness it had come from.

“I know you’re there.” Her voice had always been music to my ears. “Won’t you come talk with me?” I remained silent, within the darkness, as I would until her nonchalance had burned away, and she would protect me in her world, as I protected her in mine. If that day ever arrived.

Even if it never did, she would remain safe in the darkness of my world. I would see to that.

I created this piece for the 28th #SatSunTails, hosted by Rebecca Clare Smith. Please go read all the entries for this weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. They are all works of art crafted by artists that paint with words.