Amy C at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie atTink’s Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate – you post your Flash Fiction on Friday – 350 words, give or take. Here is the picture posted on last Monday :
Lovely and mystic, isn’t it? It made me continue the story of Neelya I started last week:
Neelya didn’t know how many days she had been suspended between the black abyss of death and the misty island of life. She was waking up from time to time, then losing consciousness again. If it was death, it was very uncomfortable; if it was life, it was bound to get better soon, otherwise death would be really a far more preferable option. One night (it was probably night, it was pitch-dark and cold whenever she was) Neelya finally felt a little stronger. She opened her eyes but, as she couldn’t see anything around, she decided to focus on her sense of hearing instead. It was a good idea. She could make out voices belonging to two different men, coming from below clear and strong. One voice was silky and pleasant like mulled wine with cinnamon and mead, the second – a bit deeper and harsher, belonging undoubtedly to an older person. The men were talking, possibly arguing with each other, but she couldn’t understand their language. Exhausted by the effort she slumbered again, immersing in never-ending dark corridors of her nightmares, always looking for something that couldn’t be found.
– I told you to leave her under that tree but you are never one to listen to wiser people, Zavi.
– I know, Murq, I am sorry. I admit you were right and I was wrong. I promise…
– Don’t try to placate me with meek words, Zavi, I know you too well to fall for your tricks. What are you going to do with her now?
– Perhaps she is going to die after all.
– No she isn’t. A herbalist visited her yesterday at my request. He said the wound wasn’t fatal to begin with and now, properly cleaned and dressed, is healing fast. She was unconscious but visibly stronger, with very little fever left.
– You asked a herbalist to come and see her? You mean you paid for it?
The eyes of older man glittered with gleeful malice when he answered.
– Yes, I did. I wouldn’t want to spoil your experience, young friend. Anyway, in a day or two she is bound to feel well enough to stay awake for longer and ask questions.
The younger man blanched.
– She won’t remember anything Murq, how many times I must repeat this simple truth?
– You can’t be totally sure of it, can you?
– I suppose…
– Can you?
– Can you?
– No, I can’t
The older man chuckled.
– Finally a simple truth coming from your mouth my friend. I am touched. Do as you may, I return south, my mission is over.
– You can’t leave me alone with this…burden, Murq. I might be independent now but one moth ago I was still your apprentice.
– Well, it’s good you finally remember your lack of experience but cheer up Zavi, the situation is not tragic and it certainly doesn’t have to be a burden to you. You said it yourself – she is a good-looking girl, a high-born lady to boot, and if you spin the right tale she might be grateful enough to make it a very enjoyable, even if temporary, adventure. I saw you two dancing in that tavern – perhaps you even won’t need a potion to persuade her ladyship.
– Why don’t you want to stay with me a bit longer then? I’ve seen you several times with girls – you enjoyed it and I am willing to share.
The older man flashed a smile.
The older man flashed a smile.
– Sorry Zavi, I think I’ve made it clear time and again: I am not one to share anything with you, no matter how willing you are. You are an independent mage now – your decisions, your problems, end of the story. I am leaving tonight, the sooner the better. Go fetch me some wine and tell that rascal Lim to groom horses and pack my things or else.
Neelya dreamt of a very old forest, full of ancient firs and oaks. Their thick trunks gleamed with dew and the air smelled of wild flowers and ferns. Contrary to her other nightmares the scene was permeated by sunlight and very cheerful. She entered a clearing and saw a strange gate, undoubtedly made by humans but looking as if it managed to grow straight from the ground at the same time. It was flanked by two giant stones – the biggest stones she has ever seen. They were covered by moss, emitting warmth and light. The rays of sunshine fell on her face and she felt good. Something urged her to run to the gate. As she started to walk she heard a voice of a woman singing. Her legs, clumsy and heavy at the beginning, became agile again. She was now truly running as fast as the wind, reaching the gate in no time and going through it in one graceful leap. She felt warm and strong but she also noticed familiar tingling sensation in her hands. She knew she would live. She also knew something more important than that – her gift, the very thing she had been looking for in vain in dark corridors of her nightmares, was back.
Image via Wikipedia
Sorry, I didn’t count the words. 350? I would say rather more than less ;).