‘Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021.’ Week #32 Entry Part 8) by Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #IARTG #
HELLO EVERYONE AND WELCOME TO AUTHOR SUZANNE BURKE’S “FICTION IN A FLASH CHALLENGE!” EACH WEEK SHE FEATURES AN IMAGE AND INVITES EVERYONE TO WRITE A FLASH FICTION, OR NON-FICTION, PIECE INSPIRED BY THAT IMAGE IN ANY FORMAT AND GENRE OF THEIR CHOOSING. MAXIMUM WORD COUNT: 750 WORDS. IN ADDITION TO RUNNING A WONDERFUL BLOG, SUZANNE HAS WRITTEN MANY EXCITING BOOKS. PLEASE A HAVE A LOOK AT HER SITE: WECOME TO THE WORLD OF SUZANNE BURKE
Here is my contribution to this week’s prompt. Enjoy!
Here is the image prompt:
Sophie hated these woods at night. During the day, they were cheerful. Cicadas played their endless rattle songs in the trees, while black-capped chickadees fed from your hand.
This trail was usually lit by sunlight, its rays marked the path ahead with the promise of a refreshing dip in Potters Lake, or, if you went the other way, the back door of Nanny and Pappy’s cottage. On most afternoons, the smell of fresh baked cookies would reach your nose before the brown walls of the cottage could be seen.
Yes, the daytime was safe time, but not now, out here, in the dark, and with only an old lantern that Pappy had used as a kid . . . now that was old.
Her teacher, Mr. Palmer, had said darkness was just the absence of light, that everything was the same. She’d love to have that man here, now. If only he could here the thumps, the rustle of branches as they were parted by the claws of who knows what. Sophie tried to ignore them, to keep the lantern pointed only at the path ahead. She was weirdly mad at the lantern for lighting up the edges of path. It showed a pair of glowing eyes that stared at her very soul, before disappearing back into the woods.
Every ounce of her wanted to run back to the cottage. Her desire was increased when she heard the crazy call of something on the lake to her right, just beyond the bushes. Sophie had jumped then . . . had almost dropped the lantern, and then what? Complete darkness!
She felt the gross things squirm at her side; disgusting, slimy, and terrifying. She tried to imagine they were not there. But they were, and the sooner she got to the lake, the sooner she’d be rid of them. Sophie shuddered at the thought of what was to come.
Something grabbed her right sneaker, and she was pulled towards the bush. A scream was caught in her throat, it wouldn’t do her terror justice, anyways, and who knows what blood thirsty monsters it would attract.
Claws tore at her jacket and snatched her hair. In her panic, she dropped the lantern and it smashed as she fought for her life.
Trees are good for the environment. Not these ones, Palmer, not all trees were good! Some were evil and would grab you . . . these trees kill you! Find that in your stupid Life Science book, Palmer.
Then she was free of them. She raced towards the lake. Scared to death, running like a crazy person down a trail that was almost as dark as her closet. But there was a weird satisfaction that she’d at least ripped off some of their spiny fingers They were still freakishly stuck in her hair, though.
Their angry brothers and sisters tried to stop her, by grabbing at her feet, but she was ready for them, this time. She was an expert dodgeball player. Nimble as a mountain goat, her gym teacher had said. Well, all those games had certainly paid off.
She didn’t have the nerve to get the broken lantern, but the slimy things were still with her. She hated her luck.
A monster screeched in the trees and her feet seemed to float over the path. Up ahead, was the last corner before the lake. Another screech, this time directly overhead, was answered by a bone chilling yodel!
There was nothing for it, no turning back for Sophie. She had a job to do and no self-respecting girl would let it go undone.
Sophie put her head down, to avoid it being torn off by the screechy thing and raced to the lake. The slimy creatures bounced off her right side, and it felt like every monster from all the horror films she’d ever heard about were after her.
The lake appeared. The job was finished!
“Sophie! What on earth happened to your hair? Are you alright?” Pappy’s worried face looked at her from his boat, that was still tied to the dock.
Sophie ran onto the dock, nearly of breath. It was difficult to speak, but she managed, “I-I’m okay, now.”
She reached into her coat pocket and cringed. Her hand grabbed the carton of those slimy devils. “Here’s the worms we forgot.”
“Thanks, Sweetie, that was brave of you to go back in the dark. Especially with all of those roots on the trail. Now, let’s get those twigs out of your hair.”