The flash fiction writing prompt contest for April 2020 is now officially over! The theme was memory. The entrants were given 150 words to create stories from three prompts, and they all did a fantastic job. Julia Skinner (@litaflameblog) and I had quite a time trying to choose the winners.
Here are the posts if you want to see all the entries:
My day was going quite nicely until the human walked in.
Male, female, it doesn’t matter––I don’t want any of them in my swamp. Though I will admit that females are rarer, so I don’t immediately growl, bare my teeth, or threaten death upon her and her children’s children.
She’s what the humans would consider beautiful, with her honey-brown skin and long, night-black hair. I don’t see how having such soft, unarmored skin is in any way appealing, but then again, I don’t understand humans, not a bit.
She kneels, her dress dragging in the muck. Most females wouldn’t go near a swamp, let alone a dragon. I’m intrigued.
“Sotirios, great one.”
Fire smolders in the back of my throat. She knows my name? I thought I’d been doing the whole hermit thing quite well. But if this human has heard of me, then I’m not doing it well enough. I need to find somewhere even more secluded than a swamp, which will prove to be difficult.
“My name is Casimira, and I desire your assistance.”
I am not sure why she wants me to know her name. I have better things to do than get caught up in the meager lifespan of a human. “I am not interested,” I say. “Now, if you please, this is my swamp, and I would prefer that you leave alive.”
Remember my desert-themed prompt contest from last October? This image was one of the prompts I used. Well, it inspired me too! So here is my interpretation of the prompt. I didn’t limit myself to 100 words, though, because I’m allowed to break my own rules. 😉
Bones clattered in Rasul’s sack with each movement his camel took. He gripped the reins more tightly, swaying with the steps of his mount. Though his keffiyeh shielded him from the sun’s rays, sweat dripped from his skin.
“Look ahead!” Baqir pointed with a sun-darkened hand. Not ten camel-lengths in front of them, the tip of a thick white bone gleamed in the harsh sunlight. The rest disappeared into the sand.
“Oh!” Almas peered around Baqir’s broad back. “A new skeleton? Where do you think it came from? Is it a mirage?”
“It seems real.” Rasul let a smile curl his lips. There would be coin in their coffers soon enough. “The wind must have stirred the dunes to reveal this one. Fate smiles upon us today.”
They were lucky that they hadn’t accidentally trod on a skeleton. That could seriously wound a camel depending on if the creature slipped or even impaled itself on the protruding bones. Fortunately, that sort of unfortunate mishap had only happened twice in Rasul’s time of gathering.
Almas bounced, and the camel shifted uneasily at its passenger’s behavior.
Baqir jerked the reins, and the camel settled down. “Watch it, boy,” the stocky man snapped.
“Sorry!” Almas stilled only momentarily before resuming his bouncing. Baqir let out a low growl.
Rasul ignored his companions and gazed at the bone. It was a good find indeed. There had been a time when this area of the desert was rife with tanim skeletons. Everywhere one looked, bones would protrude from the sand, great ribcages and powerful limbs, even thin wing-bones. It was a mass tanim grave, left over from some great battle before Rasul’s time.
But now, moons after Rasul and Baqir had started gathering the bones, the skeletons had become more and more rare. Unfortunately, the demand for bones had not lessened; in fact, it grew greater and greater as their fame grew. For who could resist talismans of luck and protection?
I would highly recommend reading Parts 1 (here) and 2 (here) of “Bloodrose” before continuing. But I suppose you can make your own choices, and if you choose to start in the middle of a story, I can’t exactly stop you.
I hope you enjoy Part 3!
Holy crap. Did all that come from her finger?
I was just doing a midnight tractor run, checking on the heifers to make sure they weren’t calving yet. That’s it. I didn’t sign up for giant demon roses coming out of nowhere and trying to kill me.
Raisa’s scream jolts me from my panic. “Raisa!” I shout. “Are you okay?”
No reply, just wails. And all the while, the roses are growing and growing and growing. I can barely even see Raisa anymore through the tangle of thorns. But seriously, where did the roses come from? Could they really have come from her blood?
I hope the heifers aren’t anywhere near. I don’t want them or their unborn calves getting close to these things.
But now what? The sane part of me wants to hop on my tractor and run the heck away. Also to call the cops. But I can’t just leave Raisa here. Why did this have to happen in the middle of nowhere when I don’t have my phone on me?
Muttering all the reasons I shouldn’t do this, I grab my axe from the floor of the tractor’s passenger seat and stare up at the roses. They’re even taller than I would’ve thought. Wow. Um. So, what now? Do I just, like, chop them down?
I swallow, staring up at the giant rose. I’ve never been able to kill an animal. It just freaks me out, watching them squirm and die. Never been able to kill our chickens or anything. Nate always makes fun of me. But my all-powerful brother isn’t here, so I guess I’m gonna have to do this myself.