I’ve been grinding away at college for the past few months, hence my neglect of my blog, but hey I’m back so yay for that! I was recently introduced to the style of flash fiction in my Creative Writing class, so I wanted to post what I had typed up for this week’s assignment. I actually had a lot of fun writing this and it was great to use an idea that was sitting in the back of my mind for months. I hope you enjoy. I’ll post more of these as I write them in the future, though can’t say how frequently that will be!
This idea dawned from my love for Dark Fantasy. I came up with this scene when writing down ideas for magic systems in the hopes of reeling in the inspiration for my next big project. Unfortunately I couldn’t conjure up a great amount of story to justify writing a lengthy project, so I turned to short story. Again, I felt the idea didn’t justify ten to twenty pages. Then there is micro-fiction. I took this idea and turned it into a short story of less than 700 words. It was actually quite nice to just get the story out of my head and translated to text. I hope you enjoy.
“The blight is centering from this oak tree,” Kaitlynn said. “I am sure of it.”
Brandon gave Kaitlynn a look that told her he was skeptical of it all. The mage had taken him across the fields of Ameron for nearly a tenday to reach what Kaitlynn theorized was the cause of the taint. The river cutting through the lands had turned black from the taint, spreading the Maddening to any creature that drank from its dark waters. Grass took on a shade of deep maroon and the bark of trees transformed into the semblance of throbbing flesh.
“Kaitlynn,” he said with a nervous tone that didn’t suit the paladin. “Maybe this is too much for you to handle.”
“I am well aware of the risks,” Kaitlynn said.
“If the taint claims you, then you know what the Order has charged me to do.”
Kaitlynn pulled down her black cowl, flowing locks of strawberry blond curls falling to the middle of her back. She looked at Brandon with those determined green eyes he’d often lost himself in.
Brandon forced himself to smile, knowing Kaitlynn wasn’t about to forsake her quest. As he had been trained to do in Talibest, Brandon drew his sword and readied for whatever might come.
“If the blight takes me,” Kaitlynn said, turning her heart-shaped face away from him to look upon the bleeding oak once more, “I wanted you to know that I was glad you were chosen for my Cleansing.”
Brandon swallowed the lump that started to form in his throat. “As am I.”
“Remember, Brandon. Don’t hesitate. If it overtakes me, I will no longer be me. I will try to hex you.”
The paladin took his position a few paces away from Kaitlynn as she placed her delicate hands on the fleshy bark of the tainted tree. Brandon moved an errand wave of his long silver hair out of his face as he saw the tree’s branches twitch, aggravating the wailing faces that covered the surface of each maroon leaf.
Kaitlynn pressed her forehead to the tree and closed her eyes, muttering in the magical language. Light enveloped her, then the tree. Brandon had to shield his eyes before the light faded away.
As Brandon’s eyes focused, he saw that the tree was normal again. Its fleshy bark and maroon leaves replaced with that of a healthy tree. The blood-red grass died, but Brandon knew the land would heal itself.
His eyes then fell upon Kaitlynn who was facing him, doubled over, her strawberry blond hair masking her face. The paladin approached her gingerly, holding his sword like a stinger.
Kaitlynn raised her head. The taint passed on to her had turned her eyes red and blackened the veins in her face. She opened her mouth to speak.
Brandon gasped, panic taking him. The paladin’s training kicked in and he plunged his blade into Kaitlynn’s chest.
Kaitlynn let out a cry of pain as she slumped forward into Brandon’s arms. She looked up at him with surprise on her face; her eyes fading back to the beautiful green he had come to love. Then her eyes turned empty, as if staring into an abyss, the look of horror petrified on her delicate features as death took her away from him.
Brandon felt his eyes well with tears as he grasped her. “Was it a spell?” he asked in desperation. “Tell me it was a spell!”
Brandon wasn’t certain of the truth. Was she taken by the taint or did she succeed in destroying it within herself? Did she speak to hex him or was she going to say she was fine?
Brandon clutched Kaitlynn’s corpse tighter. The black in her veins had disappeared long before her warmth.