Friday, February 4, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: Week #25

Amy C over at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie over at Tink'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 story on Friday - 350 words, give or take. 

And here is picture prompt #25:


A Bargain Made
By Michelle Greathouse

Niobe had been climbing for what seemed like years, when in actuality it had only been a couple of hours.  She knew she was being pursued, she just hoped she had enough of a head start to lose them on the cliffs.

Finally reaching a plateau, Niobe leaned against the rock at her back and scanned her surroundings.  From her vantage point she could see for miles - and she saw the three men who were tracking her.  


Hoping they had not spotted her, Niobe resumed climbing.  She moved to the left and noticed what looked like a recessed opening in the cliff, she angled her way in that direction and was rewarded with an opening barely big enough for her to fit through.

“Thank the gods”.

Niobe closed her eyes and used her hands to guide her along the narrow passageway.  After a while the passage widened and Niobe opened her eyes to a dim glow and what she hoped was the destination she’d been seeking.

She entered a large cavern and gasped at the life size carvings of angelic demons that adorned the ceiling.  Niobe stepped further into the room and noticed that the walls were covered in paintings unlike any she’d ever seen.  Paintings of beasts and men engaged in war, sword wielding women fighting three-headed monsters and things Niobe had never dreamed possible.

At a low growl from her right, Niobe turned, unsheathing her sword and coming to a ready stance - but nothing was there, or nothing she could see.

Niobe quickly made her way to the middle of the cavern and the dim light emanating from that area - a well.  The closer she came to the well, the louder the whispers became.  “The Well of Whispers, this is where I need to be.”

Re-sheathing her sword, Niobe climbed upon the lip of the well and knelt, closing her eyes in silent prayer that what she was about to do would be enough to save her people.  For months now the water had been undrinkable, the crops dying and the animals not giving milk or eggs.  People were starving - and she could stop it.

Niobe lost all of track of time as she sat, meditating upon the bargain made with the creature tormenting the kingdom - out of boredom, he’d said.        

“My lady, please step away from the well.”  It was Vanser, her father’s man-at-arms, double headed broad ax in hand and concern on his face.  He was followed closely by his two most trusted men, Daid and Fen.  All three had been sent to stop her from doing what she was about to do.

“Vanser, I had hoped to have this deed done before your arrival.  You mustn’t try to stop me, this is the only way he will ever leave our kingdom alone.”  Niobe stood and all three men took a step closer.

“No, don’t come any closer.  I have made up my mind and will not be swayed by anything you have to say.  I do this for my family and my kingdom - tell my father I thought it was the best course of action.  Tell my mother I love her.”

Niobe let gravity take hold and fell into The Well.

The three men rushed to the side of the well - but Niobe was gone.  The light from The Well began to dim and Vanser lead his men out, urging them to hurry as the passage closed behind them.

Upon the exit of the last man the opening closed completely.  Wherever Niobe was, they would not get to her this way.

The End
Word Count: 606

This picture was so inspiring I looked it up online and found that the woman was only half of the picture.  In the full picture you see three men - so I kinda ran with that.  LOL

Hope you like it.




Blodeuedd said...

Oh, no so much unsaid, is she really gone? Was that really the end?
Still very nice and sweet, no blood and gore here either

Michelle Greathouse said...


I don't know if she's gone - as in dead. I'm thinking that well was the portal to the demon realm - so she's with the demon now. :)

No murder and mayhem on my end either - I'm telling ya, we've crossed over to bunnies and sunshine. Gack! LOL


Amy C said...

Great story, Michelle!

Hmm, with the Demon now? I like that idea. Not good for Niobe, though!

I posted yesterday about this picture. It is from a cover of a fantasy book that I had read a few years ago :). That makes two now from book covers!

Michelle Greathouse said...


Thank you. :)

How in the world did you find that book cover? My memory is awful - I probably couldn't remember a book cover from last week. LOL


Amy C said...

It just popped in my head after I stared at the picture for awhile! I must have a pretty good memory :). And I didn't even really like the book.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Michelle!

When I came across the image, only the kneeling woman was part of the image. Cool that you found the whole picture, and it's very similar to the cover art (if not exactly the same) as the book Amy had read. I haven't read the book or even seen it before, I just like the feel of the image, but boy, did I struggle coming up with a flash for it!

Your's was beautifully done, and the three men sound like they're going to keep searching for me, maybe travel to the demon realm to find her. I wonder if she'll be cursed with demon magic or maybe become part demon herself. The description of your cave is wonderfully done!!

Great Flash Michelle!

Dottie :)

Michelle Greathouse said...


Thank you. :)

In the beginning I had a completely different story going - not once, but twice. Then I stopped and took a day to think about - that is when I found the complete picture and the story took off. I like it. :)


Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Great stuff! I like the entire picture even more than the original and the original was a great template for a story.

Michelle Greathouse said...


I agree, I like them both as well. :)

Thanks for stopping by, have a wonderful weekend.