#MidweekMusings 1×06 : Carry You Home

She was still alive. The man next to her was dead, the hole in his head, the mush that was the back of his head. They’d shot him. He’d been in the way.

Frank knew what they’d done to her. Naked and tied to a tree. His blood turned to ice as he remembered Beth. He’d saved her body, but couldn’t save her heart.

The ice calmed him. “First, make sure no one’s still around.” He pulled his bow off his back, set an arrow, then moved, silently, like a wolf, through the trees and the brush. A predator, hunting. He listened, but heard no one. He searched the ground, and the trees, ready to fight if needed. A trained warrior. A trained killer.

The woman was still alive. Damn it. He should have walked away. Should have let her die. One more victim of the violence filled world. But, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t sleep that night if he did. He might never sleep again if he left her there.

He searched the woods until he found them. Three of them in the trees, four of them on the ground, arranged in a half circle around the woman, waiting for anyone to show up. A classic trap, she was the bait. Outnumbered, seven to one, Frank could have walked away. Waited until the men gave up. That might be a day, or two. That might be a week. They might stick around until their bait died. Either way, they’d move on, find someone else.

The woman, and her friend, lost in the woods. They’d probably been hunting a safe place. A village, a town, where people would welcome them. Take them in. Plenty of lost couples wandered in the forest, the mountains. Most of them starved to death. They didn’t know how to hunt for food.

Bands of men hunted them. Always killed the male. Always raped the female. Always set a trap. Frank knew they set traps because it always worked. Others lost in the woods tried to help. They rushed in, blindly. And the men who waited had another woman to rape. And they did. Endlessly.

Frank wasn’t lost in the woods. He lived there. Hunted there. Survived there. Alone.

Carefully, he pulled two more arrows from his quiver, propped them against the tree he stood next too. Frank knew what to do. He targeted one of the men in a tree, let the arrow fly. It struck the man in the neck. The second arrow struck the second man hiding in a tree. It caught him in the belly. The man howled in agony and fell. Idiot probably broke his neck in the fall.

The other men knew something was wrong, but hadn’t started to react. Frank fired the third arrow. It caught the third tree dweller in the chest. The man stood on a tree branch, and looked at the arrow sticking out of his chest. He looked surprised, like something was wrong, something didn’t make sense. He sat down on the branch. Frank wondered how long it would take for him to die. But he had no time to watch. He dashed through the brush to his left, toward the closest of the men on the ground. He pulled an arrow from his quiver as he ran. The man never figured out what was going on. Frank pounced on him, and drove the arrow into his neck. The man fell, silently. Unable to scream.

The other three did what Frank expected. They left their hiding spots, wandered into the open, headed toward the tree dweller who’d screamed. Frank put an arrow in the back of one of them. The other two turned, drew their guns, and started shooting at everything.

One arrow struck a man in the left thigh. Another struck the other in the right hip. Both howled in pain. Frank stayed hidden, and waited. The two he’d wounded panicked, dropped their guns, and started to rip the arrows from their bodies, which only caused them to bleed more profusely. The other five were no longer threats.

Frank walked to the two wounded men. He kicked their guns away, into the woods. They looked at him, pleaded for help. Frank never made a sound. He approached the woman. Untied her. She was too weak to walk.

“I know a place you will be safe.” He pulled the shirt off one of the dead men, helped her put it on. Then, he carried her. “A place you can call home.” He looked to the sky and screamed the cry of an eagle. An eagle answered. Frank screamed again. He knew, the eagle would fly to Jessica.

“I know someone. A woman.” Frank looked at the woman he carried. “She’ll take care of you.”

And he carried her away from that place of death.

808 words
@LurchMunster


For week 1×06 of #MidweekMusings, a flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#FlashMobWrites 1×16 : Bad Blood

It wasn’t the first night Frank couldn’t sleep. Valerie slept inside their small home, in their small bed. He’d worked hard with her to make that house, to make the things they had.

Frank stood in their garden. Valerie cared for it, every day he was away. He was away often, with his wolf, bear, eagle, and hawk friends. The animals, all predators, walked through the world with him. They hunted men. Men who saw women at things, possessions, things they used, then disposed of.

Frank lost count of how many he’d killed. But he remembered them when he slept. Flesh and blood, like him. He saw the faces of the dead, some of them boys being raised by their fathers.

What they did was wrong, he knew that. Women were people, not animals, not slaves, not sexual objects. They were human beings. Flesh and blood. Like him. He remembered when it started. That long walk to the ruins of a city to find books and tools. Anything they could use. Anything they needed to survive.

He’d found Kelly on that trip, rescued her. The two of them found others, including Beth.

Beth’s body healed. But her heart, her soul, were to wounded. Too many nights Frank closed his eyes, and saw her body in the forest, in an ocean of dried blood. Beth killed herself

And Frank went insane.

“How many have I killed?” He stared at slivers of the night sky, filled with stars as it peeked through the leaves of the trees. “Before I become like them? Before I lose who I am. Before…”

His heart ached, his hands shook. He wanted to scream, but had no voice. To cry, but had no tears. He wanted to feel. Anything. Alive.

All he felt was empty.

A wolf entered the garden, stood before him. Jessica followed it. “Frank?”

Frank said nothing.

“The wolf brought me here. Told me you were here.” She stood beside him.

Frank said nothing. He wasn’t sure he was breathing. Maybe he’d never breathe again. Maybe he was already dead. Like the men he’d killed.

Jessica looked into his eyes. “Frank?”

“I’m not who I thought I was.” He didn’t know where the words came from. “I’m not a hero. Not a good guy.” He couldn’t look at Jessica. She was a hero. He wasn’t. “I’m a killer.”

Jessica took his hand, “It’s time. Go. Find yourself.”

Frank looked back at his home. “Valerie?”

“We’ll take care of her. You know that.”

Frank looked at the stars through the trees, then walked from the garden, into the woods.

Jessica cried. The wolf kept her company. She didn’t know if Frank would. She stayed in the garden, waited for sunrise, waited for Valerie. She had to tell Valerie where Frank had gone. When he’d be back.

And she didn’t know how.

The wolf spoke, “He’ll return. When he believes he’s paid for the things he’s done.”

491 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×16, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×16. You might find something you like. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?

#HorrorBites 1 : A Bag Of Heads

imageJessica moved silently through the trees, searching for any signs of other people, and finding none. She carefully searched the area around the house, making sure no traps were present. She took her time. She needed to know the man was the only person in the house.

She remembered the bodies. Six naked women. Not even buried. All naked, bruised, battered. He’d raped them, then beaten them. Then beheaded then. The eagles told her all six had been alive when he took their heads. The bodies rested in the woods around the house. Footprints all around them lead back to the house.

The wolves and eagles guarded the bodies, protecting them from scavengers until she could bury them.

She had to stop him before he killed again.

She waited hours past the sunset, until she was certain he was asleep before she approached the house. She picked up the axe he kept by the front door, then slipped inside the house. She moved through the house slowly, making no sound as she searched for him.

He was asleep, face down, on the sofa by the windows. He snored deeply. Jessica used what she’d learned from the wolves, and silently crossed the room. He never heard her. When she reached him, she raised the axe, and slammed it down on the back of his neck, severing his spine. She wasn’t proud of what she’d done. She didn’t like to kill, but knew, sometimes there was no other choice.

As she turned to leave, she spotted a large duffel bag beneath the kitchen table. A note on the bag read “A Bag Of Heads”. She knew what was inside. The heads of the six murdered women.

Jessica sank to the floor, and cried. The whole word had gone insane.

299 words
@LurchMunster


Laura James has started a new flash fiction challenge, #HorrorBites. It happens once every two weeks, and is specific to the fiction genre, horror. I wrote this for #HorrorBites. Please go read all the other #HorrorBites stories. They are well written, and just might scare you.

#55WordChallenge : The Fence – Part 28

Taran handed me a picture. “The Wraith have developed a genetically modified people they call Zombies. They’re what attacked your people.”

“The Wraith?”

“Long story. They eat people.”

“Can they be stopped?”

“They have been. For now.”

“How?”

“We sent them a warning.” He handed me a picture of a tombstone.

“Jessica!” Our greatest enemy!

 55 Words
@LurchMunster


This is Part 28 of the serial story I’m working on for Lisa McCourt Hollar‘s #55WordChallenge flash fiction challenge. I like the challenge of writing a serial in 55 word chunks, based off of random pictures. Please, go read all the other entries in the challenge this week. It’s amazing what gifted writers can say in just 55 words.

The entire story, from Part 28 to Part 1, is located here.