Blood Moon: ‘Fiction In A Flash Challenge’ Week #32 NEW Image Prompt. Join in the fun! #IARTG #ASMSG @pursoot #WritingCommunity
Hi everyone! It’s that time of the week again …fun flash fiction from Suzanne Burke. This week’s theme struck me as strikingly spooky. Here’s the short story I came up with >>>
‘Come on, guys. This isn’t funny,’
The utter silence persists. Not even a sigh of a breeze disturbs the foliage. I startle at the eerie hoot of a lone owl.
‘All right, already. The joke’s on me. You win.’
I wait, half afraid and half hopeful. My concession will surely lure them out now. Behind, a branch snaps. I whirl around and peer into the dark … impenetrable past the dull orange glow of my lamp because the thick entwined trees block any effervescence the red full moon offers. Actually, I’m glad the eerie crimson glow is hidden. While I pretended this is all a lark, this jaunt freaks me the hell out.
The flickering flame produces shadows that leap and cavort grotesquely. Cold sweat coats my back and face. Annoyance bolsters me against the creeping fear. How can they think it’s okay to leave a female alone in the deep, dark woods like this? Anything could happen.
Huffing and puffing … I’ll blow your house down. … Ha ha ha aaa. Okay, I seriously need to calm myself and not lose the plot. They’re here. Somewhere. They must be. I wasn’t asleep that long before … before SOMETHING woke me.
Ahead, a fallen log lies across the mulchy trail. The heavy foliage rustles and trembles. Then it shakes. Another branch snaps.
That does it. Terror triumphs—takes control. I scream. And, yes, it’s as high and girly as every corny slasher movie depicts. But I’m too scared for pride right now.
‘Who is it? Who’s there?’
In my panic, I break into a sprint and stumble deeper into the woods. Where did my friends go? What’s going on?
My foot catches on a root poking out of the mud. I face plant, and the lamp flies from my hand. It bounces, once, twice, rolls a few feet, and then smashes against a tree trunk. I lay on my stomach, panting and flicking my terrified gaze here, there, and everywhere.
Night blind, cold, and covered in mud, I lift myself to my knees and listen. Every tiny click and skitter makes my heart lurch and race.
I feel watched. Stalked.
I stagger to my feet and lurch forward. An ominous drum beats. The sound bounces from the trunks around me, and I can’t tell from which direction the threatening cacophony comes. All at once, the trees end. I stand in a clearing, bathed in the sinister glow of the blood moon.
Torches flare to life all around. I’m surrounded. Shadowy figures loom. My breath catches, and my throat constricts. I cannot scream or cry for help or beg for mercy. Those stories aren’t simple myth or legend but as real as the night around me. And I’m the guest of honour … the sacrificial virgin.
Unable to watch as they come for me, I sink to the ground and bow my head. I never said I was brave. My bladder lets go. Hot, humiliating urine squirts down my legs.
An escaped giggle gives them away. I stare at the nearest figure and swear, badly. As my friends guffaw and slap each other’s backs, Damian asks, ‘Who’s banging the drum?’
The youthful mirth hangs itself on the noose of dismayed dread. The drum beats come closer. A ghostly gale extinguishes the torches. An ephemeral female voice seems to speak from every direction, ‘You should not have trespassed on this sacred ground. Rahu demands your blood.’
How I made it out that night, I’ll never know. I’m the only one who did. Selenophobia, the psychiatrist calls it. But I know better. There truly is blood in the moon.
© Harmony Kent 2021
I’d love to know what you think of this short piece … so please don’t be shy and leave me a reply.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Please put your entry (or a link to it) in a comment HERE or email it to Sooz at her email address. by DEADLINE: 4pm EDT on Thursday, January 21st. Subject: Fiction in a Flash Challenge. If you post it on your own blog or site, a link to THIS page would be much appreciated.
UPDATE: The response to the prompts has been just wonderful. As a result, Soooz be sharing all entries received, and her own contribution on her blog AS SHE RECEIVES THEM. Rather than posting all of them only over a few days.
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