Friday, 31 October 2008

Halloween Flash

Charles Gramlich has been showcasing flash fiction during the weeks preceding Halloween. Today is my contribution.

DISCOVERY

He woke to the soft notes of a flute, echoing through the tunnels beyond, coming in through the opening to the rooms of his cave chamber. The sound intrigued him—perhaps the goatherd was out with the goats in the orchard below. He moved quietly and quickly toward the tunnel leading to the waterfall, where a high ledge overlooked the orchard, the Keeper’s cottage, and Miller’s Woods.

Slowing his steps, Odin kept to the shadows along the side as he neared the bright beams of sunlight spilling onto the ledge. He edged his way to a dark niche in the rock wall where he could watch unnoticed. He could see four figures, their grizzled hair unkempt: three who sat side by side on the ledge, and a fourth against the side wall.

The waterfall lapped gently over the smooth stone lip. Within weeks the flow would grow to a noisy torrent, veiling the entire opening of the tunnel, its roar reverberating throughout the tunnels, down as far as the third level of the cavern. Spray flew over the foursome as they sat with their legs dangling over the edge. The three together were enjoying the last of a meal, gnawing on the gristle of a long shank and cracking rib bones with their teeth to get at the marrow.

The largest of the four males lifted his bone in salute to the others. “See what a cooperative effort brings? Now you know how stupid they really are.”

“I didna’ think they would lure so easily…great sport they proved to be.”

“Yeah, made ‘em tender with the chasin’…I do like ‘em carryin’ young. An’ now we don’t havta rely on stingy rations—we can pick out the plumper ones.”

The male who had just spoken turned to the smallest of the company, sitting alone at the far end of the ledge, next to the waterfall and the stone ladder that led to the bottom of the cliff. “Piper, you’re having none of this fine meat…pity.”

Piper shook his head while holding his bone flute in his lap.

“What’s the matter with you?”

“This’ll bring nothin’ but trouble…they’re not from the Colony stock.”

“Pah,” he scoffed, “the Keeper’ll never know…humans go missing all the time. We’ll just take what we need when the rations are low. Just not hungry, or are roots ‘n berries enough for ya?” Wrinkling his upper lip, he reached down to pick up a leather object and tossed it over, taunting him. “What does it say inside, Piper, o learned one of the caverns?”

Knowing it would be imprudent to refuse, Piper picked up the small leather package and pulled it open. He looked at the picture and the words on the thin, flat rectangle he found inside, and sounded them out in his head before he spoke, as Silas had taught him. “Washington driver’s license…David Lawrence…date of birth…”
THE END

From "Passage" by Barbara E. Martin

20 comments:

laughingwolf said...

ooo cannibals we have!

good one, barbara....

Barbara Martin said...

Tony, thanks.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ahh, the delicious taste of long pig.

Great flash. Put me in mind of Lord of the Rings in some ways.

I just put it up as a link on my blog post.

Maria said...

Hahaha what a nice story :) I don#t want to meet those guys!

Billy said...

Saw you at Charles' blog. This is great writing. I'll be back :)

willow said...

WILLIES!! Makes me think of "Ravenous"! :P

Miladysa said...

Scared the living daylights out of me!

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, wonderful storytelling and I loved the ending. I have enjoyed your entire week of holiday posts. Happy Halloween!

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, those lads are having it raw. Thanks for the link.

Maria, they only come out when it's dark.

Billy, welcome and thank you for your kind comment.

Willow, I guess I'm too close to my writing because it's only a little creepy for me.

Miladysa, then I take it I wrote well.

David, this is an excerpt from my first manuscript. Thank you for your kind words.

Now I'm off to watch Johnny Depp in 'Sleepy Hollow'.

T and S said...

WOW...Barbara. You have amazing story telling skills.

Sekhar said...

:) nice one Barbara.
Keep up the original writings of yours ;)

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

go VEG guys, eeek!
Sleepy Hollow is soooo good, Barbara...

Barbara Martin said...

Thomas, thank you.

Sekhar, I will be posting the odd flash fiction in the future.

Gary, these guys are meat eaters to the core.

Donnetta Lee said...

Cannibals make such a good topic today! Very creepy. I enjoyed, oops, I mean, I was disturbed by it! D

Webradio said...

Thank You for this text...
Yes, thank You !

Barbara Martin said...

Donnetta, I wanted to escape the tribal cooking pots on mysterious tropical islands in the Pacific.

Webradio, you're welcome.

Steve Malley said...

Great stuff!

Barbara Martin said...

Steve, thanks.

Vesper said...

Great piece! Very interesting and scary, with a bigger story lurking in the background...

Barbara Martin said...

Vesper, welcome and there is a much larger story in the background.