What is flash fiction? It’s an itty bitty story, generally under 1,000 words or 3 printed pages. Fresh fantasy and sci fi flash fiction every Friday!
*Please pardon grammar whoopsies. They will be fixed when this story is published in a collection later this year.
A Fantasy Flash Fiction
K. D. Jones
Leaves of gold and crimson crunched under the woman’s boots as she trudged through the forest. The sun was almost set now, the last rays of daylight casting everything in a dim golden glow.
“Are you ready for the Change?” asked her mentor in a ragged voice. He was too old to be hiking, she thought, though she wasn’t about to tell him that.
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation, though nerves thrummed beneath her skin. She kept climbing the hill, kept her eyes on the darkening horizon.
The air turned cool and misty. Crickets and frogs began singing and belching in the thickening night. Fireflies danced in the fog, glowing like fairies.
“We’re almost there,” said her mentor.
Her heart skipped a beat. Could she survive the Change? Did she truly have what it took to be one of the Moon-Kissed?
The trees parted, revealing a placid lake. The sky, now indigo and star-dappled, began to glow near the horizon.
“It is time,” her mentor said. “Kneel.”
She did. He tapped his staff on both shoulders. A blade hissed as it was drawn from its scabbard, and he held the point to her heart. “If your heart is not true, run yourself upon the blade now and be done with it.”
“My heart is true.”
“As one of the Moon-Kissed, one of the sacred warriors assigned with protecting our village, you must complete the Change to officially join our ranks and complete your training.”
“My heart is still true, Mentor.”
“Good. Rise, and let’s test your will.”
She stood. Though her legs wobbled, she straightened her spine and shed her thick robe. Her white silk dress billowed in the breeze blowing off the lake, and goosebumps popped up along her pale skin. Her white hair whipped behind her. Heart galloping, she lifted her eyes to the sky and felt her skin begin to itch and tingle as the moon rose.
Her mentor began chanting.
Her breath came faster and faster as silver light spread across the meadow, then the lake, then—
She cried out as the first rays of moonlight hit her, setting her flesh aflame and her bones twisting. All the while her mentor chanted, his eyes glowing with the same silvery light that now drenched her and was tearing her body apart.
She screamed, which turned into a roar as straight, white teeth became fangs the size of the blade he’d held to her heart, and her nails turned to darkened claws. Her flesh stretched and stretched as her bones broke and reformed, as muscle and sinew twined and bent around a new shape.
A stronger, more powerful being than human or animal.
The pain at last subsided, and she slowly straightened, the transformation complete. Her long, fur-tipped ears perked. So many noises. There was the rush and hiss of the waterfall, five miles away! And the sound of wagons rolling along cobblestone in Mistburn, the city ten miles from here. And the smells, so many new smells—rain-soaked earth, the incense of wildflowers, the freshness of the nearby stream—and the sights, a million vivid colors, colors she’d never dreamed of or knew even existed.
This is amazing, she thought with wonder.
All her fears abated, replaced by awe and triumph. And as the last of her doubts died, she knew her faith in herself had been rewarded.
She was strong enough to survive the Change. Strong enough to be a warrior, one of the Moon-Kissed. And now she would take her place among her people and do what she was born for.
To protect, to believe in a better tomorrow. To elicit fear in the hearts of her enemies.
And to inspire faith in those who needed it.