Ye gods and little fishes be praised. It’s Friday, and I’ve actually managed to write a piece of flash fiction for the first time in weeks.
I might cry. Seriously.
I had almost given up hope that I’d ever manage to pull the cat (no pun intended) out of the bag ever again, truth be told. My brain’s been a bit out of kilter lately. But this week’s Flash! Friday prompt stirred up several ideas in my poor old skull, and I went with the one that floated to the top.
And so, without further ado, here it is.
‘What you waiting for? Do it!’
The pellet gun’s heavy in my hands, and there’s sweat pooling around my fingers. I stretch them out and resettle them on the trigger, but it doesn’t help.
‘You too chicken, man?’ Allen laughs. I can see his crooked teeth.
‘Poor widdle baby too afwaid to shoot?’ Dean pulls a face, all big eyes and pouting lips. ‘Poor baby afwaid Mommy’s gonna spank him?’
‘Shut up, you guys,’ I mutter. It’s not a smart move. Allen smacks me hard on the arm and steps in close, his breath invading me. I feel the stinging outline of his hand tingling under my skin like a barb. Like I’m in a pit, sides all steep, and there’s a lion coming for my blood.
‘You wanted this,’ he whispers. His words leave a wet cloud on my face. ‘Don’t forget that. There’s guys’d kill to be where you’re standing.’
I blink away. The kitten’s still tied, wide-eyed, too scared to even mewl. Allen fixed the stake down, so it won’t move. The wire’s already cutting into its tiny leg. It knows. I know.
Time the shot with my heartbeat. I’ve only got one pellet.
I swing and take out Allen, and then I run.
The photo prompt was the teeny little kitten, above, and we had to include the character of a ‘gladiator’ – perhaps not literally, but described in terms strongly enough to be evocative of a gladiatorial battle. I was struck straight away by the fact that the image was of a kitten (a baby lion?) looking fearful, and how that was such a reversal of the typical gladiatorial scene, and then my story began to take shape.
So, it’s not the best piece of flash ever written. It’s not going to win any prizes. But, you know? I think it might be the first piece I’ve managed to write this year. That’s sort of scary. Friday the 13th is lucky for some, I guess! Let’s hope this means my mojo is well and truly back… and happy Friday to one and all. Hope to see you on the Flash! Friday podium this week!