The King #writephoto | Short Story

The grey clouds above us had begun to churn, rumbling and rocking over one another as we shivered. They were an omen, I thought, my knees knocking together in the air. They were an omen for our future.

The King.jpgUp ahead of us, our captors were murmuring to each other, gesturing first at us, and then over the hill to a point that we could not see. I shifted slightly, my chains grating painfully against my ankles, and glanced at the boy behind me. He must have been only nine or ten, his skinny arms limp at his sides and his face tinged with blue.

I wanted to offer some words of comfort to him, but I couldn’t find any to give. Then I heard the sound of approaching footsteps and I turned back to the front to see one of the guards marching down our ranks.

He was a tall man with a thick, black moustache that did not entirely hide his twisted smile. In his hand, he held the dreaded whip and was stroking it gently – almost lovingly.

“Walk,” he croaked, and I felt a tug on my chains as the prisoners at the front of the party began to march forwards. Again, I felt an excruciating pain against my raw ankles, and then it was my turn and I, too, was climbing the steep hill towards – or so it seemed – the clouds themselves.

At the top of the path, our party began to turn. Then I heard sighs and stifled sobs from the front, and the guard with the whip darted forwards to silence them. When I reached the top, I didn’t cry or gasp. My eyelids drooped slightly over the eyes that had become hard and stony. It wasn’t anything worse than I had been expecting, but it was eerie. There was no denying that.

the deadThe process was a long one. They led us into the gallows three at a time and, for every prisoner, they read out our shared sentence: this party has been found guilty of treason in the highest degree. Having plotted against our Lord the King, they are to hang by the neck until dead.

I thought of the King then. I hadn’t considered him since the day of my capture, but it all came back to me as I watched the guards toss away the bodies of my fellow prisoners. I thought of his malice and his demands, remembering how, on the day of his coronation, he had asked for a gift from each household. I remembered watching my daughter being dragged away from me, screaming as she was hoisted into the back of a van.

Back then, they had told us that she was to be made a slave, but I had never really believed that. My daughter was dead. They were all dead.

More bodies were being removed from the grass now and I took a couple of steps forward as the next three prisoners approached the gallows. What about the boy that now stood behind me? What could he have possibly done to insult the King? Perhaps he had thrown a stone at one of the guards as they had slaughtered his parents, or perhaps he hadn’t done anything at all. Perhaps he had been taken as a punishment to his family. It didn’t matter, though. Guilty or not, he didn’t stand a chance. There were to be no trials and no inquisitions. The King’s word was the law, and he had decided that we were to die.

I was at the front of the line now. I closed my eyes as the guard at my side thrust me forwards, leading me up some rough, wooden steps towards the gallows.

I did not resist. I only looked at the boy behind me, watching as the guards lowered the rope to his level. I didn’t take my eyes off of that boy the entire time. My eyes were fixed – resolute. After all, if this was to be my final moment on this earth, then I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember what our Lord had done.


Word Count: 696.

I hope you liked this #writephoto story. It was inspired by the weekly prompt challenge that is hosted by Sue Vincent. You can read all about it here.

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Dracula: A Thief’s Tale | Flash Fiction

“We shouldn’t be here,” Callie murmured, her eyes fixed on the window.

sunset2.jpg“The sun isn’t setting yet,” I soothed, but I knew that she could hear the falsity of my tone.

“Calm down, you two,” Bryn snapped from behind us. He was still shovelling treasure into his backpack, his eyes wide. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do with these old coins, but they’ll be worth hell of a lot.”

“He’s going to wake up!” Callie squealed.

I turned to her, but then stopped. From somewhere below us, we could hear the sound of a coffin being pushed open.


Word Count: 99.

As some of you may already be aware, I have been recently been rereading Bram Stoker’s Dracula (check out my review here). So, when I looked at this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, which could arguably be a sunset, how could I not think of the terrifying Count Dracula? I have absolutely loved reading this book and honestly cannot get it out of my head, so you’ll have to excuse this little bit of vampire fiction!

If you’re interested in the Friday Fictioneers prompt, it is a weekly challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields that asks its participants to tell a story in only 100 words or less. You can read all about it here. Thanks for reading, and remember to click on the blue Inlinkz button below to view more stories based on this prompt.

Picture Credit: Dale Rogerson.

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The Caged Warlock | Flash Fiction

The soft clinking sounds of the windchimes should have been soothing, but they weren’t. They were chilling.

“He won’t take his eyes off me,” I muttered, looking everywhere but at our prisoner.

“He’s tied up,” my companion hissed, though he, too, looked uncomfortable.

“I just wish the others would hurry up with that truck,” I sighed, my eyes scanning the area. “We need to get him away from here before-”

I had been desperately trying not to look at our captive, but as my eyes darted through the trees, I caught a glimpse of his cage.

It was empty.


Word Count: 99.

This little piece of fiction was inspired by the Friday Fictioneers prompt challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-FieldsThanks for reading! You can click on the InLinkz button below to view more pieces of flash fiction based on this prompt.

Picture Credit: Liz Young.

Blind Trust | Flash Fiction

“Don’t look!” my companion hissed from beside me. She spoke with such a ferocity that I momentarily lost my balance.

“What are you talking about?” I demanded, steadying myself. “I’m blindfolded! All I can see is darkness.”

She snarled softly, nudging me a little to the left as a way of directing me.

“This isn’t what I had planned,” she said after a while. “Anyone could be out here. It’s not that late yet and, Cassie, I’m glowing.”

I didn’t know what to say to this, so I stayed silent, concentrating on my footsteps.

“It’s hard to explain,” she added, prodding me in the stomach so that I turned further to the left. “I wish I could tell you what’s happening, but it’s hard. There are rules.”

“It’s fine,” I murmured, reaching for her hand. “I don’t need to know. You’re finally going home. That’s all that matters.”


Word Count: 148.

This little piece of fiction was inspired by the weekly prompt challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks for reading!

Picture Credit: Michelle De Angelis.

Clutter

“I don’t understand the problem.”

“Well, it’s just clutter, David. Can’t you see that?”

It was Friday; David wasn’t sure how, but, somehow, he’d made it to the end of another week. He was now standing with his wife in the spare bedroom, his eyes narrow.

That morning, he’d snapped. The crumpled resignation letter had finally been handed in and the final paycheck had been collected. Then he had marched around the corner and, finally, he had done it.

He’d created his own music room.

“This clutter,” he snapped at his wife, “happens to be my life.”


Word Count: 97.

This little piece of flash fiction was inspired by the Friday Fictioneers prompt from the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Check out the rules here.

I’m not sure why, but I found it really difficult to keep to the word count this week (more than usual, anyway). Perhaps this picture is just particularly thought-provoking!

Thanks for reading! You can click on the Inlinkz button to the right to view more interpretations of this week’s prompt.

The Longest Journey

The old soldier sat up a little from his bench at the very end of the station, his weary eyes suddenly alert.

Nobody had taken much notice of him as they hurried up and down the platform’s edge, piling into their trains or else scurrying away down the stone steps. He was just another commuter – another lost soul on his way to another land.

Except that he wasn’t.

The old war soldier had only one destination, and it couldn’t be reached through train doors or down stone steps.

The station before him was now empty and, according to the voice booming out of the speakers overhead, the last train was due.

He sighed, pulling up his jeans as he wandered towards the platform edge. It had been a long time coming but, finally, his train had arrived.

He was smiling as he jumped in front of the fast-moving vehicle.


Word Count: 149

I wrote this piece of flash fiction for the prompt challenge over at Ad Hoc Fiction. If you liked this piece, and you have the time, you can vote for this entry simply by following the link to Ad Hoc Fiction, and clicking ‘read more’ until you reach the piece called “The Longest Journey”! As always, thanks for reading!

The Cure

I had been sitting alone on a metal, slightly rusted park bench when he had come to me.

Hadrian's Wall4.jpgI can remember hoping that he would pass by me without stopping, for his appearance had been very eccentric. He had been tall, with sleek blonde hair that fell to his shoulders. On his head, he wore an old-style top hat and had a curious moustache that made me think of days gone by.

“Bad news?” he had asked, gesturing as he did so at the plain, grey mass behind us. I smiled cordially, not being in the habit of talking to strangers and, once again, I turned my back to the hospital.

I think that I had then expected the man to move on. I had purposefully not engaged with him so that I could be left to the solitude of my dark, brooding thoughts. Yet he did not move on. Instead, he crossed the patch of grass that had stood between us and came to lounge beside me on the bench.

“I had bad news once, too,” he continued, seemingly indifferent to how uncomfortable I was. “I went in there,” he said, gesturing at the hospital again, “and they told me that I had stage three cancer.” He laughed. “Well, obviously, you can imagine my surprise. It was not what I was expecting to hear, having only visited my doctor about a head cold.”

“I’m stage four,” I said, rather coolly. “It’s inoperable. There’s nothing to be done.” At this, the man put a sympathetic hand on my shoulder. It was nothing more than a friendly gesture, but it took me completely by surprise and I leapt to my feet.

“Hey, now,” cried the man, getting to his feet, too. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I want to help you.” I looked at him then, taking in his kindly expression for the first time and, as my eyes met his, I felt something soften in me. It would have been impossible to say why, but something about this man had made me trust him. I still do not know what unearthly power flows through Dr. Jacques Mathok, but from the moment that I looked into his eyes, I became helpless. He had taken me by the hand and rubbed it gently, telling me again that he wanted to help me. Then he had led me into a dark car and belted me into the passenger seat, brushing my hair from my face as he did so.

“I want to help you,” he repeated as he drove me away from the park and out of the city entirely. We drove for hours, but I had not resisted. I had not asked him to stop. I had only smiled airily as my kidnapper had driven me away from my home.

Then, at long last, he had stopped driving. I do not remember too much about where he had taken me. I only remember that we were in a country lane with rocky cliffs behind it. The rest of my thoughts seemed clouded by my unflinching trust of this stranger.

Mathok had climbed out of the car and had come around to my side of the car, unbelted me, and then taken me by the hand as he led me up the rocky path behind us. Before long, we had come to a cave. It was small, and most of it was taken up by a large pool. An extended stalactite reached over it and, from its point, a steady drop of water was filling the pool.

My captor had then asked me to kneel by the edge of the pool and I, as helpless as ever, had obeyed him. I watched meekly as he pulled a curious, glass flask from his pocket and offered it to the pool. As the stalactite’s water began to fill it, he let out a low hum that echoed soothingly around the chamber. I smiled as he offered me the flask.

“This will cure you,” he had said and I, nodding, had drunk.

Mathok had not lied, of course; the pool’s water had cured my cancer. Yet it had also cured me of something else: my humanity.

From the moment that the water touched my lips, I felt my personality drain from me. I was no longer myself, but a spectre of the fountain. I no longer wished to contact my friends or family. In fact, I could hardly remember them. The word ‘career’ meant almost nothing to me and all of the problems that I had known that morning had simply melted away.

My only concern now is the same as Mathok’s. A slave to the pool, it is my wish to bring others to taste its waters. I go to the nearby hospitals and I wait. Then, when I have chosen a suitable candidate, I approach them. I let them look deep into my eyes, through which the pool’s waters now flow. They become entranced by me and I, using this connection, lead them to the pool. There they drink, and there they lose themselves.

It is a repetitive life, yet the pool makes it all seem worthwhile. I may be its servant, but what does that matter? It cured me. It will cure us all.


Word Count: 882.

This piece of creative writing was inspired by the prompt from Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Unfortunately, I was unable to stick to the word count for this prompt, as the idea for this story really took a hold of me. I have therefore decided not to join the link-up for this prompt (this for flash fiction, after all), but you can read the stories that have managed to stick to the word limit by clicking on the blue froggy below! Thanks for reading!

Picture Credit (Photo #2): Enisa.