This month’s Flash Fiction parameters were:
Prompt: Early spring in the forest
Word count: 200 – 220
Please judge all entries solely on their merit.
1 Title THE RETURN
It’s said that evil never wins, and I have returned to this place to ensure it never does. The house is still, the shutters drawn, and around the trees daffodils stand like sentinels in the chill of the early spring.
I was raised here; I know the secrets within these walls, and the people who left their footprints upon this house of horror.
Searching through the rubble inside the house, I sense his presence. Like an animal he has returned home, and around the room I see the unmade bed, the scattered bottles, the empty plates. The warmth from the fire tells me he’s near; I spin around, alert to the sounds as the floorboards creak.
Staying close to the wall, I remove the gun from the holster and release the safety catch, my heart pounding in anticipation.
I pause, listening for movement. The wind howls through the forest as a branch crashes to the ground. I freeze, then move quickly through the door, scanning the trees on the hill. A mist covers the mountains, blocking out the sun as darkness closes in. I drop to my knees, and wait.
High above the ground, a man stares through the lens of a rifle scope, his finger resting upon the trigger. Shaking with fear, he knows he must not miss.
2 Title I’M TRULY SORRY SUZANNE
I lie hidden in the dank, green bushes of early spring in the forest, watching my duct-taped hostage. He’s a disgraced politician. I know how little he is worth in the minds of others, and I now wonder if anyone will pay even the mere $10,000 for his life.
He’s rorted the system in claiming false expenses. His demands for hundreds of thousands of dollars for travel not undertaken, and for personal credit card purchases unrelated to his electoral duties, have finally brought him undone. A select committee is investigating further allegedly spurious receipts. All who know him, despise him, including his wife, who has found out that his supposed fact-finding tours to exotic countries have been without her, but with his private secretary, Enid. He had told his wife, that as a female, she could not accompany him.
My partner, Suzanne, without whom I can’t make it, is to phone the moment the money-parcel is at the drop-site. I will then pull a string allowing a sharp knife to fall beside my hostage who can cut himself free without knowing that I hide nearby.
A deadly brown snake slithers silently past my knee; I jerk; the snake bites; I die without having pulled the string.
You’ll have the money, but not me; I’m truly sorry Suzanne.
3 Title Early Spring
Words 220 words
It was the early spring in the forest that saved me. The young cougar was an inexperienced hunter and mistimed his jump – too early.
I had a micro-second’s warning and dropped and rolled, coming to my knees and fumbling in the quiver for an arrow. His body crashed ahead of me, scrabbling and growling, head already swivelling back at me, his body leaning hard left, pivoting in a U turn.
Hunting deer was one thing. Being hunted was another. This tree-hugging environmental shit with a bow was about to kill me.
The cougar wheeled, claws gaining traction in the forest floor, yellow eyes focused on me.
I notched an arrow – a metallic, expensive thing. Still only an arrow. Compound metal bow, unrecognisable to a hunter for another age, but only a bow.
The cat accelerated towards me. I drew, aimed at the open mouth and loosed. The arrow dropped a little and took it in the neck but didn’t stop it. The bow dropped and my hunting knife was it my hand. It hit me hard, its claws embedding in my skull. I stabbed sideways, blade repeatedly finding the head. Blood flowed down covering my eyes blinding me, but I kept stabbing, falling, screaming now – terrified.
If I lived – telescopic Winchester from now on. If I had eyes.
Gerhard turned a corner and abruptly stopped to light his cigarette. It was an old PI’s trick to spot a tail. He turned up the collar of his coat and pulled the brim of his hat low, cupping the light with his hands. It was dusk and street lights glowed yellow. From the corner of his eye he watched the approaching shadow grow longer and stop. He pressed himself into a recessed doorway on the cobbled lane and waited. The tail came round the corner in a hurry having lost sight of his quarry. Gerhard stuck out his size twelve, tripped him and then pinned him to the ground. “Who are you’, he growled. No-one. I’m walking home like you.’ ‘Who are you?’ This time the luger was pointed to his head. “Please, I can explain.’ ‘ SS or Gestapo?’ Gerhard cocked the pistol. ‘Early spring in the forest….. Gerhard eased his weight off the man slowly. He recognised the password. But something was not right. He patted him down and took his piece. ‘Alright. Whats it all about?’ ‘Your client is a double agent.’ ‘And you’re not?’ Gerhard was suspicious, but too late for the blow on the head from behind. He hit the ground hard.
5 Title Beauty Without Borders
As the wind caressed the wild flowers, they looked lovingly into each other’s eyes. Their weekends in the forest had become a ritual ever since their honeymoon. No one knew where they went; they just disappeared every Friday after work and never returned till the wee hours of Monday morning.
During the week, work colleagues would look on wondering how they could still be so in love years later. Their weekends away seemed to be paying off, as their performance at work only accelerated post-marriage.
The sun felt so warm on their skin as they paused for a drink.
The darkness was overwhelming and they were suddenly shivering.
They pulled their helmets off, looking in disbelief at each other, and then gazed around the bright, white room.
“Where are we John?”
‘How long had they been here, were they even married?’ Nelly wondered, staring at her gloved hand.
“I don’t know” he responded. John’s search for an escape was halted as Nelly started shaking uncontrollably. “John” was the last word she whispered before fainting.
Laying her down gently John ripped the rest of his suit off.
‘This must be some top level tech to make us believe that was all real.’
‘Now where’s that door that got us in here? We have to be able to get out.’