This post is part of the Writer Wednesday Blog Hop, a weekly meme designed to inspire creativity and encourage sharing of stories.
For more information and to see my other stories, check out my Writer Wednesday Blog Hop tab.
The challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction in up to 500 words, incorporating two given pictures into the tale. This week I bring you …
Stepping out into the evening air, Henry drew his coat around his chin with one hand, the other grasping his grisly cargo. Glancing along the street, he kept his head down as he walked, barely noticing the lamps beyond the brim of his hat.
He set his pace as quickly as he dared, not wanting to draw attention to his haste but needing to arrive as soon as he could. This was an unenviable task, they all knew it, and tonight he’d been nominated. Nobody ever volunteered for this.
The further he walked, the less he felt the chill, and began to relax as he fell into his rhythm. The buildings were fading away around him, open fields and a few trees replacing them as his only companions. As he traveled, the sun drew closer to the horizon leaving a greyness in the sky that complimented the ground. He could still make out the neatly paved path of his journey as he approached, it had not yet faded into the twilight. It wound back and forth ahead of him, scraggly bushes on one side, and grass slipping down on the other where it descended into the valley. The shadows had already taken over down there, and Henry kept his focus on the path ahead. He’d heard this part of the task could play tricks on the mind, and he was determined to keep his clear.
The paving was even all along the path, no deviation from pattern or mis-shaped segments. He measured his stride to match them evenly, never stepping on cracks, placing his feet firmly in the centre of each one. He wasn’t superstitious by nature but right now every detail counted.
He’d felt relaxed so far, but as he crested the hill the chill returned to his bones. His palms began to sweat and he constantly adjusted his grip on the package, it’s weight seeming to increase as he neared the end of his journey.
Through the darkness now he could see the pedestal in the centre of the path, marking the end of his trip. Made of stone and standing waste high, its centre glowed a deep orange as it awaited its contribution.
Henry pushed his hat back absently as he made his approach, lifting the sack he’d been carrying and lowering it gently into place. As it sat there, the blood that had seeped from within began to drip down the side of the pedestal. At first it seemed random to Henry, until he saw the orange glow travel along the length of the stand ahead of the blood, itself following hidden grooves into the ground.
Although unseen, Henry could feel them watching and it took all his will not to turn and bolt. He knew he had to be patient, to wait and ensure the journey had been a success.
As he saw the spear point shoot through the front of his chest, he guessed in the end it hadn’t.
Word count: 495