My entry to the 200-word Flash Fiction Contest over at Joey Francisco’s Soul and Sweet Tea blog…which you should go and check out, because it’s chock-full of creative goodness! My only regret is that I’m only finding her site now, and so I have so much to catch up on!
I took my prompt from Ms. Francisco’s photograph of the watchtower at Fort Matanzas:
Stone stairs and the blood of Landstanders foolish enough to raise arms against him disappear beneath Fin’s boots, as every step takes him closer to the top of this tall, windowed tower, and to the girl trapped within.
“Wavewalker!” a guard warns, but he’s silenced by metal tines already streaked red; it’s the same for his partner beside. And up Fin runs, never stopping.
His muscles ache, his lungs burn, but the door is just ahead, and suddenly he’s crying her name as his spear splinters the heavy wood:
He’s barely broken through when she rushes up, arms thrown around him. And though her eyes are wide and frightened, her voice drifts to him with such gentle love, like the dreamy sway of the coral among which they used to swim. “You came.”
Time is short – more Landstanders are surely already racing to reclaim their princess prize – but still he cups her face, so sea-pale and soft, and kisses her, for fear it will be the last thing he ever does.
He draws back at the taste of tears.
“There’s no way out,” she whispers.
The spear creaks in his fist. “There’s always a way.”
As per the instructions, I stayed within the 200-word limit (mine comes in at 198 words), and I didn’t think too much about plot or craft. I just wrote.
I don’t usually jump for contests. And, to be honest, it’s not really the contest that interested me, in this case. I’ve just been having such fun playing in the 100-Word Challenges for Grown-Ups over at Julia’s Place that, when this came up in my Twitter feed via @speechwriterguy, I had to see if I could write something a little bit different than what I’ve been doing with the 100-Word Challenges.
This fantasy conflict is actually one of the earliest plot ideas I had for what became Fearless, believe it or not. It never went further than a very basic and archetypal idea of princesses and warriors, of course, and the more realistic, personal love story between Ross and Amber won out for me, in the end. But it was quite a bit of fun to revisit, in a way, those original concepts, here. And, who knows? Maybe I will flesh out the conflict between the Wavewalkers and Landstanders, one day.