Friday, June 28, 2019

#FridayFlash - Hired Help

Bridget paused, brows drawn together. She and her brother MJ had been up to this area a hundred times in the last couple months, had become used to all its little eccentricities, so she immediately knew something was wrong. The young woman couldn't quite put her finger on what raised the hairs on the back of her neck though. Best to stand in the shadow of the large oak tree until she knew what was out there.

The sun was high overhead, just starting its westward march. Humidity clung to everything, thick in the woods where the breeze couldn't reach. It wasn't the heat that bothered Bridget, but something in the quality of the stillness. More than the lack of breeze that suppressed the desire to do much more than nap.

It was a smell, too, she decided. Beneath the summery greenery and ripening berries was a dusty spice. The faintest aroma that reminded her of the travelers from the desert. She sniffed deeper and sneezed violently.

~Come on out, human.~

Bridget's heart leapt to her throat, hammering with fear. She couldn't see the speaker, but the mental voice came with an image; a dragon awaited her. Large and vicious and hungry.

She turned and ran. No amount of faerie juice was worth facing a dragon. Bridget forced her way through clinging vines, ignoring thorns tearing at her skin. The game trail they'd used was not meant for any real speed, but Bridget did the best she could.

The sound of wings filled the air with a thunderous flapping of leather. The dragon roared, and the canopy stirred in the wind of the creature's passage. Bridget couldn't see it, but the day felt colder after the shadow passed over her.

She dropped her basket and ran faster. The dragon could only be going to the village. Bridget couldn't do much to stop the beast, but blind panic forced her toward her family.

Time meant nothing. Bridget's legs became leaden, and though she was forced to slow down, her thoughts became no more coherent. She struggled to draw breath, and each beat of her heart sounded like the word dragon. Just that, over and over.

Dragon. Dragon. Dragon.

Bridget collapsed at the edge of the forest, staring across the burning village. Tears fell from her eyes and she sobbed, watching helplessly. Smoke stained the sky, flames roared with hellish fury, and screams sounded from every street. Renewed cries of terror went up when the dragon began another strafing run.

"Why?" she sobbed out, squeezing her eyes closed, pounding her fists on the ground.

Something tugged at her hair. Not the wind. Tiny hands, insistent. She ignored it at first, lost in her grief. Nothing mattered anymore, let along someone trying to get her attention.

"Hey, human!"

The final tug was sharp, painful. Bridget managed to open her eyes and look around, and her breath was immediately stolen. What were the faeries doing here?

"We warned you." The lead faerie hovered just before her, close enough to see the vicious expression on the tiny woman's face. "You really brought this on yourselves." Sheep screamed from their paddock.

"You...did this? How?" Bridget tried not to flinch when a house collapsed nearby.

Three of the faeries began playing with her hair, braiding and tugging on it. The leader moved closer, planting hands on her hips. "We called in a few favors, and the friend of a friend came to watch over us. Since you wouldn't stop wrecking our home, he had to wreck yours."

Bridget sobbed, letting her gaze travel across the burning buildings. They'd only wanted to make some money, bring a little prosperity to their town, and faerie juice was in high demand amongst the mages. She and MJ had just been trying to help by raiding the faerie nests.

The lead faerie darted forward to touch the tears streaming down Bridget's face. "Mmm. People juice is delicious."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to say something to me. I love hearing from you.