“Fates” is more #FlashFiction by Tom Tinney #scifi #YA #RiteOfPassage

flash fiction

As part of the monthly Flash Fiction contest for Apr 2015, this was my submittal. The size restriction is the length of one LinkedIn post (approx 650 words).
The theme is an action that is rite of passage. The required elements this month are an anachronsim (anything out of its proper place in time) and a coin.

 

Fates- by TomTinney

A cold wind blew across the mountain top, whipping JakLine’s straight white hair across his pale face. Instead of rocky terrain, there was an amphitheater of sorts, hewn from the very granite itself. JakLine stood at one end of the flat ground and shivered slightly. He felt his father’s hand on his shoulder tense, and then relax. JakLine regained control and ignored the chill.

The Sun set slightly south of them and the first of three moons crested the Hellfire Mountains to the East. His opponent will have been raised in the volcanic fields of those mountains.
A Star-Riders ship roared overhead, a flame and smoke trail marking its path across the horizon. JakLine looked skyward with envy and hate.

“Did ye sup this eve, son? Ye’ll need your strength,” LineKrow said.
“Yes, Father, I’m well fed,” JakLine replied.
“That’s good. Are ye limber? Have ye-,” his father started to ask.
“I’m well prepared. I’ve done everything as ye and HawPey instructed. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” JakLine snapped. LineKrow smiled and nodded.

JakLine took a calming breath. He was having a hard time containing the adrenaline rush. Today was the day. His day. He would succeed. He felt his light mail pinch and grab his undershirt. The two hilts, one dagger, the other sword, press against him inside his fur overcoat.

Two figures came over the rise at the other end of the rocky bowl, tall and dark, their fur billowing with the breeze.

The Hellions had arrived.

“Hail, Windeater, Time of truce be honored,” LineKrow said in a strong and clear voice.
“Hail, LineKrow, I honor the time,” the larger of the beasts replied in a growling version of common tongue. They continued walking, reaching the center of the amphitheater.
“Our young are of the age that we were. We’re getting old,” LineKrow said, a chuckle at the end.
“Aye, they are, but the matter is upon us and we must provide an answer. The Fates demand,” Windeater replied.
“Indeed. Tis’ time. Ye may approach and begin when the coins hit.”

JakLine shrugged off his outer coat and stepped forward, drawing his weapons. Twenty paces away, he saw Windeater bend to the smaller Hellion and touch their foreheads, then separate. The older Hellion tossed a silver coin skyward, as JakLine knew his Father had done the same behind him. He saw a bright flutter pass forward, over his shoulder, then looked to track the Hellion’s coin. His father’s coin struck with a “ting”. The Hellion’s followed.

The fury of battle was immediately unleashed. JakLine drove at the younger Hellion with both blades, slashing high with the longer, while stabbing low in anticipation. Neither blade found purchase, but JakLine watched a tuft of the Hellions fur float to the ground. Close. The Hellion looked surprised.

They turned into each other, the Hellion using its metal-like claws to strike and a black metal sword to parry. The battle raged, each attacking, feigning and then defending. Each gave no quarter.

JakLine glanced at his father, who nodded. He dropped to his knees, scooting inward and thrusting upward with the dagger, under the empty air strike of his opponent. As he pushed upward, his opponent twisted his neck downward and grabbed JakLine under the rib, lifting him into the Hellions jaws. The Hellion bit him. JakLine wavered and his eyes blurred, his arms feeling like loose cloth. His vision narrowed.

In a wave, his mind cleared. He felt a surge, bringing both blades across each other, beheading the beast. He heard his father clapping. He knew the taste of victory.

******

LineKrow stared down at a drooling JakLine, the Hellion’s psychedelic poison doing its work, as it had done to him twenty years before.

“It’s not to be, LineKrow. The Fates tell us ye, and ye’re clan, aren’t yet worthy of the Black Metal.”
“Aye, and without the metal, we can’t reach the damned Star-Riders. Both our people still suffer.”
“We can’t ignore the fates,” Windeater replied, as he and his uninjured son turned to leave.

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