Flash Fiction Friday: Farmind Forest

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Courtesy of damesophie at pixabay.com

What’s up, everybody? It’s time for Flash Fiction Friday once again!

Also, Happy Autumn! Are you snuggled up with your pumpkin spice lattes yet? What about your hazelnut cappuccinos? Let me know in the comments!

I’ve gotta be honest.  This piece was a tough one to write.  I hadn’t written anything all week, but after a talk with my writerly friend about plot and making the reader care, I finally got back into the swing of my main novel 😀 ! Woo!

But I also hadn’t written my piece for Flash Fiction Friday yet.

And that was hanging over me.

But I got help from an awesome prompt website: Seventh Sanctum.

Here are just some of the prompts I got from the “Writing Prompt Generator” for opening lines:

I’ve found that all hackers have a keen sense of religion.

It was spring, the season of war, which everyone expected.

My life is just like the story of Hansel and Gretel, except I’m a starship pilot.

Look at these! They’re all really good! I’m squealing like a little girl on Christmas morning right now! I mean, the algorithm can get predictable once you spot the patterns, but still.  These are really, really wonderful openings.

And yet, I’m choosing none of them.  Or perhaps, I shall later at a different time.  If you want to use them, by all means, go ahead! I’d love to hear what you do with them.

Instead, the prompt that I got will be the bold opening sentence in this week’s 700-word-ish piece.

Farmind Forest

This is a story about ignorance, wanderlust, and a bowman.

It starts in an autumn forest, where a lone man trudges through its topaz-colored leaves as he clutches the arrow sticking through his bleeding shoulder.

He stumbles, back-first, against a tree trunk and slides down, careful not push the arrow in further.  With each gasp for breath he takes, he winces.  Sweat lines his brow.

He didn’t quite understand exactly how it happened, but of course, no one ever understood what happened in the Farmind Forest in autumn.  Ghost sightings, demonic reflections in the creek water, and even the chance of immortality are just some of the things he heard happened here.

This is why he came.  And now, he came to regret ever coming.

But before he can start regretting, he needs to do something about his wound, and quickly, before infection begins its feast.

He takes the arrow in his hand.  Gritting his teeth, he slowly starts to pull back.

Just as fiery pain is about to envelop his senses, a deep voice calls out to him.

“Hey! You alright?”

The lone man squints into the distance, gazing between the tree trunks and the falling leaves.

A bowman, two times his size with cropped black hair, rushes to him.  He shakes his head, removing a roll of bandages, two daggers, and a flask of some liquid.  “Gods above,” he says.  “I am terribly sorry.  I thought you were a dear.”

The wounded man smiles.  “A pretty large and slow one, if I were.”

“Oh, good.  He’s got a sense of humor, this one.” The bowman eases the wounded man’s cloak off.  “What’s your name, lad?”

“Thomas.  Yours?”

“Greg,” says the bowman.  He eases his daggers above and below the butt end of the arrow, raises the pair like levers, and cuts the arrow as if holding a pair of scissors.  “What’s a boy like you doing in a forest like this?”

Fire blooms into Thomas’s side.  He grunts and winces again.  “I could ask you the same thing.  This forest in autumn is not the place to hunt for dear, I’ve heard.”

“What have you heard it for, then? Here. Bite this while I pull out the other half.”

Thomas’s eyes widen at the sight of the clipped half of the arrow coated in blood in the bowman’s hand.  “Surely you jest.”

“Nope.  Not a jest, lad.  You’re gonna want this.”

Resigning to his fate, Thomas takes the arrow half in his teeth and bites down with a sigh.

The bowman then opens his flask.  The scent of sweet liquor wafts from the rim.  “Ready?”

Thomas blinks.  “Fer wert?”

In three quick moves, the bowman pours the liquor down Thomas’s shoulder, yanks the arrow out, and tosses it aside.

Searing, stinging pain erupts from Thomas’s shoulder.   His screams echo through the treetops, and his shudders wrack almost his entire frame.

The bowman shushes him and begins to unravel his roll of bandages.  “Easy, lad.  Nice, lad.  There’s a good boy.”

Thomas doesn’t respond.  His eyes shut, and his jaw goes slack.  The arrow-half tumbles to his lap.  His mind slides into delirium.

“That’s it, lad.  Relax,” the bowman says.  His voice lowers to a soothing baritone.  “Also, you didn’t answer my question earlier, about what you’re doing here.”

Thomas’s mind slips further and further away from consciousness.  Words fall like the leaves around him.  “Travelling… creek… immortal…”

“Ah.” The bowman wraps the bandages around him, lowering to a whisper.  “That.  Then that means you’re just like the other young lads that come out here, aren’t you? Wanting something more than a little ordinary stroll in the woods, eh?”

Thomas doesn’t reply.  His head lolls forward just as the bowman finishes tying his bandages.

The bowman nods.  “There we are.  Now, why don’t we get you home?”  He clicks his teeth twice.

A graying moose clops to the bowman.

The bowman lifts Thomas onto the moose.  “Take him back home for me, will you? I’d do it myself, but tonight’s pretty busy.”

The moose snorts and chuffs, but complies, turning to the edge of the forest and clopping away.

Watching Thomas leave on his moose companion, the bowman frowns.  “Forgive me for doing that to you, lad.  But it’s best you know nothing for now.”

In a gust of wind, the bowman shifts into leaves and scatters themselves into the air.

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