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 #35:
The Marking Part 4
By Michelle Greathouse
Talah had only one thought on her mind as she ran through the night - getting back to the village in time to stop the devastation she’d seen in her vision.
As the sky lightened from darkest night to the graying of dawn she slowed, finally coming to a halt, breath slightly labored from her exertions. In the distance the sound of water could be heard. They had made it back to the river.
Talah turned to the man who followed her, “The bridge is ahead.” He nodded once and the two continued their journey.
As dawn broke the sky Talah focused on adjusting her eyes to the brightness of the new day, grateful when the opaque film slipped into place. As they neared the bridge, Talah scanned the opposite bank for anything out of the ordinary.
From behind number five touched her arm, “Wait.” He crouched down, taking Talah with him. “Who is that?” He pointed down and to the left the of the bridge where a man could be seen through the trees.
“That is my brother.” Talah raced across the bridge, number five right behind her. “Brother? I did not see any men in your village other than the ones held captive.”
Talah had no time for explanations, if Ren were here - the situation was dire. He knew how dangerous it was for him to be this close to the village.
Ren stood when he saw Talah, opening his arms
and hugging the Warrior. “Sister, it is good to see you in good health.” Ren cocked his head to the side and looked at number five, surprise clearly written on his face. “Who is your traveling companion?”
Chance stepped forward and offered his hand in greeting. “My name is Chance Strong.” Ren shook the proffered hand. “Ren, Torq’s Son.” The next several seconds were spent taking the measure of each other. Talah shook her head - this was the very reason her world was dying.
Men and their silly posturing. Over a hundred cycles ago Epras was a thriving metropolis, known for its art and architecture, vintage wine and beautiful women. The tiny planet was the place to see and be seen. Until greed ruined it all. Two men, Carlisle Roth and Viktor Strum - once the best of friends - became the worst of enemies. In their fight to own Epras and all of its trade, they started a war that ended in the total destruction of the world they both wanted.
The beautiful art and architecture was destroyed, the vineyards burned - the more fortunate women, fled in terror.
No one knows exactly who is responsible for the nano-tech that was unleashed on Epras - but the results were immediate and long lasting. Every person with the XY chromosome dropped dead. That left women as the only survivors on a ravaged planet. Those women adapted and over the years, they became the Warriors. Now the population has to be rebuilt and for that, they need men.
“Ren, what are you doing so close to the village? You know how dangerous it is for you. If you are caught...” Ren took Talah’s hand. “Sit, please and I will tell you.” The three sat on the ground, Talah and Chance facing Ren.
“A week ago I had a vision. The village was completely destroyed - Mother dead. I left home that very day and arrived not long ago.” Ren had experienced visions since he was a small child, more than once he’d saved many lives with his gift.
“Ren, I had the same vision last eve - that is why we are in such a hurry to get to the village.” Talah controlled the urge to jump to her feet and take off running.
“Be at ease Sister. The vision showed the future - a full moon cycle away. We have time to stop whatever danger is heading our way.”
Chance spoke up, “Did you see who is to blame? Why the village is attacked?”
Ren turned to Chance. “I did. It is your people who will attack the village. They want you and they will stop at nothing to get you back.”
Word Count: 700
Okay, so this one took me in a direction I didn’t see coming. What do you think?