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 #34:
The Marking Part 3
By Michelle Greathouse
Talah had no trouble following the trail left by number five. She had trained and hunted in these woods her entire life, she could navigate them with her eyes closed. Had in fact, during her eighth summer session with Va’Rin. Talah could now look back on that memory without cringing. Va’Rin was a harsh task master - but a valuable teacher.
She reached the stream quickly and found where number five had entered the water. Shaking her head in a combination of respect for his courage and dismay at his stupidity - Talah broke into a jog and followed the stream until she reached the falls.
Talah gazed down into the pool of water. “No body.” So he hadn’t drowned. Scanning the sides of the pool she could just make out the drag mark from where he’d pulled himself from the water. “Heading north.” Talah made her way down stream and crossed the wooden bridge she’d spent her eleventh summer helping build. She still cringed a little at that memory.
She back tracked a bit and easily picked up number five’s trail.
The sun was long gone, by Chance’s estimate he’d left the village three hours ago. He should be nearing where he’d left his Prowler. Yes, just there. He spotted where he’d fallen into the Warriors trap and was careful to skirt that area. Now his Prowler should be no more than 50 klicks ahead.
Talah knew number five was heading back to where he’d been found - but she didn’t know why. The Warrior’s had searched the area when number five had been captured - but they hadn’t found his transport. Queen Margred could have gotten a nice pile of coins for the transport.
As the night sky darkened Talah’s vision adjusted to compensate. She had the best night vision of all the Warrior’s - a fact that she was secretly proud of - but would never acknowledge to any one but herself.
Talah passed the area that held the traps - long stride and steady pace closing the distance between herself and the one she was seeking. In the distance she spotted number five walking the perimeter - of nothing.
Number five held his hand flat in the air and Talah watched as a blue light scanned his palm, seconds later a door opened and number five climbed inside what could only be his transport.
She’d lost him.
He’d evaded her.
Talah stopped a klick from where she’d seen him disappear and stood, head high. She nodded once and turned to leave.
A pain unlike any she felt before ripped through her head, doubling her over in pain. Talah grabbed her head in her hands and grunted with the effort of holding in a scream. She dropped to her knees, her bow digging into the ground.
She had no idea how much time had passed, it felt like years before she was able to open her eyes again. Talah found herself reclining against the side of a Prowler transport, number five squatting next to her.
“Steady now. What happened?” Number five held out a flask of water. “Take a sip”.
Talah gratefully accepted the flask and took a sip. It wasn’t water - but it went down smooth. She shook her head, realized it wasn’t a good idea and stopped. “I had a vision. The village invaded, the Queen dead - her own sword shoved into the earth beside her. I have to go.” Talah rose unsteadily to her feet.
“Let me grab a few things, and we’ll leave.” Chance headed into the Prowler and Talah heard him opening and closing compartments. He emerged wearing a shoulder holster and two weapons, as well as a side arm strapped to his thigh and Talah saw that he’d placed a knife in each boot. “Let’s go.”
“Not that I’m not grateful for the help - but why would you offer it? We’ve held you against your will and now - I wanted to make you nothing better than a slave.” Talah was more than confused.
Chance looked at the woman standing before him. Proud, fierce and beautiful. “I need help getting off this rock. I figure if I help you, you’ll owe me - and I’m really not a bad guy, all things considered.”
Chance used his palm to close the hatch on the Prowler. “Lead the way.”
Talah nodded once and took off at a flat out run towards the village, not even looking back to see if number five followed.
Word Count: 755
The daughter says I’ve redeemed myself a little with this installment. Her exact words were, “It’s not as good as the first one - but not as boring as the second one. Good job.” ROFL
Have a great weekend everyone.