Flash Fiction ~ Only Courage

I recently participated in the penprints flash fiction dash  and had a lot of fun. I wasn’t able to send in my story to Ms. Rosalie Valentine, due to the fact that I was working at a summer camp and had no way to send it.

But I decided to post it on my blog as a substitute even though I didn’t get it published on the penprints blog.

My flash fiction is centered around one of the mysterious characters in my WIP The Time of The Dangers novel.

I had only a 1000 word max to write this so everything is probably confusing if you haven’t read my WIP novel. (WIP means “Work In Progress”)

I’m sorry it is confusing and unedited but I was asked to share so I made it a blog post subject.

Only Courage

By:  Farmgirl

Jenny was focused on getting home. Her long-lost daughter was so near. She sighed. Shiela would never recognize her, now that she was changed.

She took a step onto a woodland trail then stooped to look around the edge of a stream. There among the grasses was a miniscule mud path. It sloped up the bank and led to the roots of a large oak tree. Jenny dropped to her knees and began to finger the little pathway and felt tiny prints in the mud. She followed the pathway with her finger and saw that it stopped just under the tree. A tiny wooden door with a brass knocker was set in the darkness of the roots. Jenny withdrew her hand and stood. She had found her family’s home tree. Finally, after 11 years of careful searching, she had found it.

Faint laughter from young voices came from inside the tree. Jenny crouched at the front door and lifted the tiny knocker with the edge of her nail and let it drop into the wood.

Tink! Tink! The laughter stopped. Jenny could hear little feet pattering. Slowly, she hid next to the tree as the door juddered open.

“Please, don’t be afraid. I want to speak to Shiela. It’s Jenny.” she said quickly, trying to keep her voice calm.

“There is something out there Sheila. They want to speak to you.” A male voice pronounced.

“Who is it? What do you want?” Shiela asked assertively.

“It’s Jenny. Your mother dear…” Jenny answered.

“Mom?” Shiela wondered.

“Shiela dear, I’m afraid you will not recognize me….at all.”

“Who is it?” asked thumb-size Polly.

“It’s someone you don’t know….” Shiela’s eyebrows knitted together. “Can I see you?”

“You may be frightened…. I am not who I used to be.” Jenny said with a sigh.

“She sounds tall Shiela. Something is not right.” Caleb, Shiela’s husband, brought the conversation to a hush.

“I know Caleb, but she has my mother’s voice.”

“We haven’t seen your mother since we first wed. She disappeared remember? After the storm we never saw her again….” Caleb trailed off.

“I remember….” Shiela whispered. “Please, you will not hurt me if I come out?”

“I promise dear…. I would never. I only want to speak with you.” Jenny answered.

Shiela touched Caleb’s arm with her paw to reassure him, then stepped out from under the tree. Jenny moved slowly at first but then her eyes met Sheila’s. The fur on Shiela’s neck bristled. Jenny saw one of her paws clench.

“I told you I have changed. Please don’t be afraid. I finally found you. After 11 years I finally found you.”

“What do you want?” Sheila demanded. She relaxed slightly, but her paw was still clenched against her side.

“I have come home of course, but I had to find you and tell you what has happened.”

“Go on.” Shiela’s whiskers twitched as her tail wrapped gracefully around her legs.

“It all started the night of the great storm. I was left along the bank of that river and somehow slipped into a hole in the ground. It was more like a cave and a home to some creature. It wasn’t very deep under the surface or very steep but I am still terrified of it to this day. After finding myself in semi darkness, my fur wet and cold, I felt something watching me. Out of the shadows I saw two gleaming orange eyes, then a deep voice rattled my insides. ‘Why have you disturbed me? What gives you right to trespass?’  Of course, I was too frightened to answer. Then the voice spoke again and much more angrily this time. He bellowed ‘I have had enough! Cursed are you who has come upon my doorstep. From this day forth you shall take the form of others and be immortal. Never again shall you be yourself unless you consider my eyes without fear and whisper to me the words of immortality. For I am the dark lord and the darkness conceals me.’ The creature broke free from his cave, the ground caving in around us. I was snatched into his claws and then tossed into the forest. Lying on my side, I saw the creature who had cursed me. He was a terrible monster. Wings, scales, and teeth. Later, I found out he was a dragon. When I stood, I found myself no longer small but large. I had human legs and arms. I looked as I do to you now. I panicked and then realized what had happened.”

“How very awful.” Shiela commented. Her right ear moved and she turned her head to find the rest of her family grouped together just behind her.

“Oh, my darling. How wonderful! Three grandkits!” Jenny exclaimed.

“This is unusual mother, but I believe you.” Sheila said, changing the topic. Jenny nodded. She crouched to her knees. Tenderly she looked over her grown family. Sheila, her only daughter, had married 11 years ago and now her three kits and wise husband stared up at her. They were foxes. Tiny red foxes about the length of your hand when they stood upright. They were dainty and practical. Jenny remembered when she used to be just like them. She used to be a tiny fox too.

“I will never be like you again I am afraid.” Jenny whispered. “Unless I find the dragon who cursed me and whisper the words of immortality to his face. Then I can be a fox again.”

“What does she mean mom? What is immortality?” one of the kits asked Shiela.

“She means dearest that she won’t die of old age.”

“Oh.” Polly whispered.

“It’s immortality my darlings. I have all the time in the world to be set free if only I have the courage.” Jenny said sadly. Sheila came closer. Gently, she set a tiny paw on her mother’s knee. Her eyes stared into Jenny’s and at once they both knew that courage was all they needed.

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