© Sue Vincent
It had been a week since Dani and the Davidson children had encountered the nightmare of the Great Gray God, the one meant to be a trap for them, woven by the demon imp disguised as a black cat named Onyx.
Although they were higher in the Dark Hills, which was really a range of mountains, it seemed warmer than the frozen wasteland they had crossed before. The clouds had given way to a brilliant blue sky and friendly yellow sun. The rocky ridge they were crossing had bits of snow only here and there, and was otherwise covered by exotic grasses and wild flowers. The trees looked a lot like the pines back home. It had warmed up enough for them to shed their heavy outer coats for lighter jackets.
Little Zooey had taken to riding on Dani’s back when she got tired. It was a long walk for a five-year-old but also for the rest of the children. Mandy knew that their guide was only a year or two older than she was, but Dani seemed so strong, almost tireless compared to the thirteen-year-old. Although she and her younger siblings seemed to be doing better than they had been when the journey began, it was still hard work, probably harder than anything they’d ever done before.
© Sue Vincent
There was a sense of finality as the gateway between Gerliliam’s forest and this vast frozen wasteland closed behind the five Davidson children. At first they had questioned the wisdom of changing into such heavy clothes and coats, the weather in the forest being mild this morning, but now they faced a long stretch of frozen marsh with jagged snow-capped peaks beyond.
They were standing by four big stones which marked the exact place they were supposed to wait. There was a small, muddy pond right in front of them, but beyond that was only the vast flatlands covered with ice and snow.
Although the clothing provided by Gerliliam’s friend, an unusually friendly troll, kept them warm, they were all trembling with fright. Thirteen-year-old Mandy had the keenest sense of loneliness and responsibility. She was the oldest and now that the ancient grey dragon and his friends had departed, all of the others were turning to her.
Ducks on the Boise River near Julia Davis Park – Boise, Idaho
Landon remembered two childhoods and this was the second time he had turned twenty years old. Sitting on a bench on the Greenbelt by the Boise River, he contemplated how ordinary life had become as a university student. Every night he dreamed he was someplace else. Every night he dreamed he was someone else.
Contemplating a water fowl, he asked, “Are you really a duck, or are you about to morph into a murderous wraith or bloodslayer so you can rip out my throat?”
The mallard ignored the BSU sophomore and slipped under the water’s surface looking for lunch.
“Lucky bird. I bet you don’t have nightmares about the Dragon Wars.”
© Sandra Crook
When Jake was seven, he and his brothers and sisters were taken away to strange lands, to forests and deserts, to where dragons and demons were found. He lived and lived and nearly died in those lands, fighting the war of restoration, of good vs. evil. But years had passed.
When Jake was seven, he found his way home again. Years had passed but he was still seven.
Mom said Dad would be out of the hospital soon. She had a lot to do to get ready for Dad to go home, so Jake and his siblings stayed with Grandpa for the past week.
When Jake was seven, he was at his Grandpa’s house. He used to like video games, the old ones Dad showed him, like Pac-Man and Mario Brothers. But that was before. This is now and now is different.
© Sandra Crook
Nine-year-old Taylor jumped grabbing the tree’s largest branch and pulled himself up. He danced among the leaves this way and that like cinematic swashbuckler’s of old, wielding his sword.
“Taylor, Grandpa said it’s time for dinner.”
Darn. His twin sister Paris. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
“He said now.”
The boy stopped and looked down at her. He used to ignore Paris but they’d been through too much together. He remembered when the demons were real and she almost died.
“Okay. Coming.” With acrobatics honed on the battlefield of Dragonworld he deftly landed near his twin. “I’m here now.”
I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.
As you might have guessed, I’m again leveraging ideas I’ve presented in The Whisperer, Mr. Covingham’s Secret and other similar stories about a group of five siblings who are somehow spirited away to another realm, one of dragons and demons, of friendship and warfare.
In today’s tale, I showcase two of Zooey’s siblings, twins Taylor and Paris. I’m writing a novel with these children at the center. I’ve got four chapters in rough draft now and am continuing to write. Hopefully, these wee tales will whet your appetite.
To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.
For a different point of view on the old tree, and a look at one of Taylor’s other siblings, read The Remembering Tree, an expanded tale based on today’s prompt.