“She’s supposed to be here!” the Shopkeeper sounded distressed, something Maxine hadn’t seen before. His agitation bothered her but more in an annoyed kind of way rather than making her worried. We came all the way up this gigantic mountain for nothing?! she thought.
Yunil the Riant was dreaming. Each unconscious thought the ripple from a pebble landing in a deep, dark edgeless pool. One ripple ran into the next before they each faded off into oblivion. She felt serene, languid.
“Well, Maxine Waters, I can’t say I’m impressed but it looks like luck was on your side.”
Maxine blinked to find the dreadlocked man standing above her. What had Falcon called him? Captain Gray Wind? No, Gray Wing.
He held out a hand and, after a few seconds of hesitation, she took it and he hauled her to her feet. She immediately felt the need to sit down again.
“Did you hear me? We’re under attack!” the dreadlocked man stared at Maxine with an intensity that made her want to move out of his view.
“Um, sword?” Maxine flexed her right hand fingers unconsciously.
Before he could answer her, another BANG made the ship tremble and Maxine fell back against the wall of the cabin. The dreadlocked man cursed loudly and yelled to someone as he ran from the door, “Falcon, bring her a sword–a weapon of any kind, really–and tell the crew to hold positions. We aren’t letting this behemoth of a beast bring us down now when we are so close to Minka’s Port.”
Maxine was dreaming but she was only tangentially aware of it. The rain was still pounding and the wind was blowing but she wasn’t sure if she was in the middle of a storm or observing it from somewhere else. She drifted back and forth between one location and the next, simultaneously aware of being wet and cold and warm and dry. Her confused brain tried to make sense of up and down, light and dark. If she was able to form cohesive thoughts, she would say she was in one hell of a quagmire.
When Maxine left her house twenty minutes ago, the air was merely wet. A light drizzle left a soft mist on her zip-up hoodie. As she neared the corner market, though, the promise of a dry sky was quickly thwarted by a billow of cold wind and a swift downfall of heavy rain.
The following story is 100% true. While I have truly enjoyed pushing my creative brain to write these flash fiction stories this month–and I have had great opportunity to use them to develop some background for my novel–this month has been a challenge to say the least. I needed the opportunity to get away for some “me-time” but in most cases, I forced that opportunity into my afternoon at the expense of spending quality time with my two little kids. A constant struggle for the stay-at-home mom!
The woonchaj waited in a cave deep inside the big, gray mountain. It closed its eyes and felt for a signal—just like it had every day for the last 500 years. As much as part of the mountain as the animals and plants that lived there, it had been in this world for longer than it could remember.
A slight tremble of earth, soft steps of a hare, a whooshing wind through the pines. The forest was telling the same story it had every day. Deep, deep, deep into the core of the mountain, where even the woonchaj itself didn’t understand the strange connections between this world and another, a man screamed. The woonchaj sent a tendril of comfort to the man and the screams quieted.
The little girl loved to play in the woods but every time she went out, she had trouble finding her way back. Because of this, she never strayed far from home. The Spirit of the Woods loved to hear the girl’s sweet voice, singing her little songs she made about the birds and rocks and trees. When the girl stopped coming into the woods, it missed hearing her voice, so one day, when the girl was playing near the edge of the forest, the spirit came to find her. It said, “sweet girl, why don’t you play in the trees anymore?”
I think I’m lost, the cat said to herself. She had hunted in the woods outside the village many times but had never traveled so deep into the foothills. A tame house cat, she never assumed she could compete with her wild cousins.