Here's the simple offering this week, not quite 1,000 words. Enjoy, and don't forget to check out the other flashers!
Thick green leaves tore from branches as the young woman flew by them, frantically running for her life. She panted for breath, her bare feet expertly weaving among roots reaching up from the forest floor in a vain effort to trip her as the heavy boots of intruders gained on her. Her black hair fanned out behind her and shimmered in the moonlight, slicing suddenly to the left or right with her sharp movements.
Why did she have to wander so far? Her mother warned her against such things. There are some things in life you never learn, Onatah, she thought. She’d lost the trail, the familiar, worn path so well traveled by her ancestors for centuries and wove her way to close to the roaring ocean. The savory salty air pulled her in and she only wanted to glimpse the water once before she followed her path back home.
But the men in gleaming silver armor had spotted her and licked their lips once before the chase began. They carried long pieces of metal that shot out pellets of poison the likes of which young Onatah had never seen, and she knew if they caught her she would never see her family again.
Using the brightest star in the night sky, Onatah wound her way through the trees and prayed for the elusive forest goddess to drop down and help her. A flash of white to her right briefly distracted her and a root caught her foot.
Onatah landed face first in a pile of mud and leaves. Coughing and gasping for breath, she pushed herself up and turned to see three men closing in on her quickly. Wide eyed with fear, she scrambled to gain her footing, but the mud was too slippery and she floundered and fell again. The men laughed, the sound cruel and harsh on her young ears. They spoke in a language she’d never heard before, and Onatah furrowed her brow in confusion and shook her head. Tears streamed down her face.
A man stepped in front of her. From the angle she sat in, Onatah could see his great, round belly underneath the armor, dark with hair and filth. She shuddered, thinking of that on her virgin skin, and closed her eyes.
The snap of a twig nearby brought the men into a frenzy. Nervous, they pulled their weapons into a ready position and waved them around frantically, seeking the creature that made the noise. A whisper made them jump, followed by a tinkling laugh. Onatah froze. Could it be?
Could the goddess have come to save her?
She hardly dared to breathe as the men huddled together, back to back, for safety. The forest seemed to sigh around them, every tree shifting in unison as though they took a step back. Onatah gasped when a woman landed in a neat crouch in front of her.
The woman’s shock of white blonde hair brushed the ground at her feet, and her leather skirt slit up both sides to the thigh. Another piece of leather was tied across one shoulder and draped down to cover her breasts, and across her lithe stomach lay a sheathe of weapons. What appeared at first glance to be a large stick was actually a carefully molded staff forged of the bark of a petrified tree.
When she stood to her full height, she was deceptively demure. Onatah found herself being dragged away by a set of invisible hands just as the goddess looked at her and winked. “Onatah,” said a handsome man with ice blue eyes and the same white hair as the goddess. “Your village is just over this hill. Go now.”
Without a backwards glance, she ran.
The other magnificent flashers:
Julie Hayes (m/m)
Victoria Blisse (m/f)
West Thornhill (m/m)
Elyzabeth M. VaLey (m/f)
Sui Lynn (m/m)
Freddy MacKay (m/m)
Ryssa Edwards (m/m)