Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
The breeze tugged and played with my hair, and I breathed deep the scent of the evergreen trees. I wanted to warp myself up in the sunshine and grass and imprint the feeling of warmth and green in my skin. Another deep breath that caught in my throat, a hiccupy sob as tears fell, the sadness of not knowing this simple joy for so long in my life. I sat on the cool stump the feeling of wood worn smooth from the elements under my fingers grounding me as I gave in to the tears.
“That feeling doesn’t go away.”
Hastily, I wiped my face and nose on the sleeve of my shirt. At the fringe of the clearing stood a man. He was taller than I, his arms crossed over his chest. He had a slight accent, as though he had come from the Northern States back home. He was dressed in a cream colored shirt and pants, with dark bronze armor at his chest and legs. His hands were covered with dark leather gloves, a hood up over his head, so I could only see his face.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I tried to see if there was any way that I could run if I needed to. A sword hung from his hip, and in one hand he carried a staff with a glowing black gem.
“The wonder of being free.” He pushed the hood off his head, and I could see him a bit more clearly. “Whoever brought you here was smart at least. This is one of the realms that’s easier to regain your sense of self.” He didn’t move from the tree line, but lowered his staff, his body posture still neutral.
“You speak as though you were caged.”
“You speak as though you don’t know much about anything but the caged world.” He replied easily. With that I could tell he was older than I was.
“Who are you?”
He fell quiet, the tension in his hand once more tight around his staff. “I am Caleb of the Darkforge family.” His head was held high, jaw firm.
I scrambled to my feet, looking desperately for something to ward off any sort of attack. I knew of the Darkforge family, we all did. That name was the source of a long line of necromancers so powerful that even the government didn’t intervene. Their children were necromancers and that name guaranteed that the newborns wouldn’t be culled.
“I won’t hurt you.” He stepped toward me, into the sunlight. “You are safe here. Trust me, I know better than to mess with a storm witch who has recently escaped.”
“How do you know what I call?” Panic made my heart race, my voice no more than a squeaky yelp. Warmth raced through me, gathering in my hands, my fingers itching. He took another step toward me and I flung my hands up and out, bracing against any attack. Brilliant light flooded the clearing, the crackle and snap of electricity as a lightening bolt cut through the trees, crashing into the necromancer with furious strength. The air sizzled, smoke curling around the edges of trees, branches blackened from the bolt. Two feet from me lay Caleb Darkforge from the most powerful necromancer family. Out cold. My conscious told me to make sure he was okay, but the overwhelming urge to live spurred my feet forward and I ran back the way I came.
By the time I got back to Astrid, I was out of breath, my legs screaming at me to stop, my uniform ripped at the sleeve and knees, my palms scraped and bloody. I collapsed on the grass next to her, panting.
“What’s wrong?” She didn’t open her eyes, but I knew she was aware of everything around her.
“I think I killed someone.”
“What?” With that she did open one eye and look at me. “Explain what you mean.”
“In the forest, in the clearing. Necromancer, and I think I killed him.” My chest seized with the effort to speak and trying to get gulping breaths in at the same time.
“Why do you think he’s dead?”
“I called lightening.” I held up my hands in a panic. It was then that I noticed my fingertips were singed, the skin peeling a little bit.
“Did he do or say anything?” Astrid sat up, reached for her pack and dug around in it. She produced a clear vial of liquid and cloth, set to cleaning the scrapes on my hand.
“He said who he was, and he stepped toward me, and I panicked.” I winced as the cleaning stung a bit. “I killed Caleb Darkforge.”
Astrid’s laughter startled me. It was wild and free, breaking the stunned silence that followed my last statement. Her whole being was consumed with it, her shoulders shaking, head tipped back, her hands falling away from mine to thump against the ground. She wiped her eyes and drew a few shaking breaths. “You didn’t kill him.” Traces of her amusement shone at the corners of her eyes, the way her mouth turned upward. “At most you hit him with a wild bolt, but since you didn’t know to draw a rune, you’ve probably just given him a nasty shock.”
A snort and biting back more giggles. “No pun intended of course.” She composed herself, cleared her throat and looked at me. “Brooke, you knocked him out. His gear has storm resistance. He’s probably a little crispy around the edges, but he’ll heal pretty quickly. If it was anyone else, yes you probably would have killed them.” She put away her vial and the cloth. “If it would make you feel better, we could go make sure he’s okay.”
“I don’t think so.” I studied my hands, fascinated at the way they were already healing.
“How about we go into town, and get you clothes.” Astrid’s voice was hesitant. “You don’t have to wear the uniform anymore.”