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 #44:
And here is picture prompt #44:
By Michelle Greathouse
They came for her just before sundown, and she offered no resistance. It had been years, generations really, since anyone had made this sacrifice.
The village prospered, untouched by disease or strife of any kind. The villagers had grown complacent, had forgotten the bargain made that kept everyone healthy and happy.
There was unrest in the forest. The youngest in the village had no idea what had changed - but they sensed something was different. And they cried, unconsolable tears that ripped at the hearts of their parents.
Delia’s brother was the same. He cried day and night for three days, finally succumbing to sleep through complete exhaustion. Delia heard her parents talking late into the night, recounting stories their grandparents had told them as children. Stories of those that must be satisfied.
The Elders in the village called for a town meeting and the people gathered in the square, volunteers were called upon - hoping someone would step forward before the elders were forced to choose.
Her parents protested - but neither volunteered to take her place. The village sighed in relief, a huge burden lifted from their collected shoulders.
No time was wasted, Delia made hasty goodbyes and returned to the only home she’d known for her entire sixteen years. She bathed and washed her long dark hair - if for no other reason than to drag out the time. Once finished, she sat and waited for them in her mothers kitchen, clad only in her robe.
Lost in thought, the heavy knock startled her, but she rose and opened the door to find two of the village Elders standing stiffly at the threshold.
“Delia, it is time. What you are doing is a brave thing. The whole of the village is indebted to your unselfish sacrifice.”
Odd how Delia was now being called brave and unselfish - when those self-same villagers called her head strong and haughty for turning down several of their sons marriage proposals.
They walked her to the edge of the forest and watched as Delia made her way to the clearing - then they fled. No one had every witnessed what transpired in that clearing and they were not about to be the first ones to do so now.
Delia stood still, head slightly back and eyes closed, tears coursing down her face. She felt the breeze stirring, almost a caress, and released the breath she’d been holding.
Gentle tugs at her hair caused her to gasp, but she settled again as a feeling of calm suffused her body. She never felt the branches that ran up her legs, affixing themselves to her calf and thighs. Or the ones that attached to her waist, back and arms. By the time the branches entered her skull, Delia was already drained to the point of death.
If anyone had looked back at the clearing, the only remnant of Delia would have been her discarded robe.
They were satisfied - for now.
Word Count: 507
Well that is certainly different. :) I hope you liked it - kinda creepy, I know. But I’m pleased.
Have a great weekend.