It’s that time again! Wednesday briefs is a group of authors who write a piece of free flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of either a visual or text prompt. I’ve linked the other authors, so if you could please go check out their stories and show them some support.
This week I am continuing with Darkest Before Dawn. Rose is a twenty-two year old woman who has taken custody of her younger brother Ben. The duo are fleeing cross-country, with something terrible and shadowy on their heels. They’ve come to rest in a farmhouse that’s been in their family for years–seemingly abandoned. Rose will do anything to protect her secret, and the secret that her little brother is unknowingly harboring.
I’ve used the prompt: “Walk a mile in my shoes.”
They walked down the winding driveway, Rose keeping Darren’s instructions in mind. Ben bolted once they cleared the fence marking their property, taking off down the gravel, kicking up dust behind him. She walked a little faster, stride stretching, feeling the muscles in her legs start to unwind a bit. The sun beat down, chasing down the chill she had gotten from working in the shade. She watched, lips twitching into a smile as Ben struggled to get over a fence, a wayward snort of laughter escaping when he succeeded, but landed on his rear in the dirt.
“I’m not.” She tightened the straps on the backpack and jogged to catch up to him. One foot on the bottom beam and she launched herself over the fence, landing neatly next to him. She pulled him to his feet and they continued on their way.
The creek was a winding slow moving body of water. Rose set the backpack on a rickety wooden picnic table before picking her way down the sloping bank. The area was shaded by old growth trees, broad maple leaves casting a canopy of green over everything. The water was clear and crisp, tumbling over rocks, and it looked to be three feet at the deepest point. The sound of the water’s path paired with the sounds of the birds and the rustle of the trees as a gentle breeze was relaxing. Ben thundered past her, shoes in his hand, pants rolled up to his knees, lopsided as he waded into the water.
“It’s cold!” His face was split open with a wide grin, his voice loud and carrying. Rose looked around on impulse, the usual fear of being watched coming back to her. She couldn’t see anyone, and did her best to shove her paranoia aside.
“Give me your shoes.” She crept closer to the water’s edge, hand extended. Rose recognized the wicked look a moment too late, and he pulled her into the creek, soaking her jeans almost to her knees. “You little shithead.” She splashed him, ignoring his shrieks of protest.
“You’re the one who fell for it.” Water crashed over her, soaking her completely. “You can’t do anything about it either!” He cackled with childish glee, before wading upstream a bit. “You think there’s fish here?”
“Probably.” Rose climbed up the bank, and sat on the table, the warm wood comforting against the wet clothes. “Don’t go too far okay?”
“I can swim.” Ben said. “Plus, you can relax. I think we’re okay here for a little while.”
“You can’t be too careful.” Rose said. She pulled a tattered paperback from the backpack.
“No, I have this feeling that we’re going to be okay.” Ben’s voice had shifted a little bit. She raised her gaze over the edge of the book. He was deliberately not looking at her, but his shoulders were tense, the water swirling around him. “You ever get one of those feelings?”
“All the time, kid.” Rose snorted, feigning ignorance. Heightened intuition was a trait that she carried, and the others that she had met shared it as well. “You should walk a mile in my shoes.”
“Those pointy things with the ridiculous heels?” He asked. She could hear the fear in his voice, the worry. She was all too familiar with the overwhelming feeling of knowing something was going to happen. She had grown used to it–the thing that scared her was when everything was quiet.
“Yeah, those. I’ve got them in the car.”
“I don’t know how you can walk in those.” He kicked up water as he waded along the bank. “Do guys really like those?”
“Don’t worry about that.” She turned a page, not really reading the words, having memorized them years ago. The feeling and sensation of holding a book in her hands and staring at the printed word soothed something deep inside of her. “You’re too young to think about girls, let alone girls who wear high heels.”
“I bet you’d wear those shoes for Darren.”
“You’re about three seconds away from getting my foot up your ass.” She turned another page.
“He was watching you Rosie. Like the guys do in those sappy movies mom used to watch all the time.” Ben was turning over rocks at this point, watching as the bugs scurried to safety. It had been a long time since either of them had mentioned family.
“He’s just trying to figure out what we’re doing here. He’s being a silly man. Thinking that he can flirt his way into getting me to talk about what’s going on.”
“You think he’s cute?”
“You find any crawfish?” She tried to change the subject. “Maybe we’ll go into town in a couple days. Get some fishing things. Make you catch dinner one night.”
“We’d probably go hungry.” He nodded sagely, and Rose bit back a grin.
—- To be Continued.
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