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.
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.