The Fire of the Gods

Posted: March 19, 2012 in Short Stories
Tags: , , , , ,

First things first: I have to apologize for not posting for a week.  I went to an AMAZING retreat with some of the ladies from my church.  I had to leave my house at like 5 AM on Thursday.  I had absolutely no desire to wake up extra early just to put something up here.  Next time I go away, I’ll set some stuff up to automatically post or something.

Back to today’s story —
This week’s flash fiction prompt was a title.  Obviously, the title had to be “The Fire of the Gods.”  Yes, some of the characters are being set up to be incredibly disturbing.  That’s intentional.  Don’t worry; I’m not losing my mind.  It kind of hurts to write that kind of character, especially since they could go either way.  I’m kind of thinking these might become main villains at some point in time.  Anyway…Here you go.  Enjoy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What will they do if they catch us?” Kendra tucked a lock of stray mousey-brown hair behind her ear and leaned against a tree to catch her breath.

“Don’t stop, Kendra!  I don’t really want to find out,” Ian grabbed her hand and dragged her along behind him.  He pulled her on a zigzag path through the trees.  The sun was going down.  The night would bring him the advantage if they could just keep running a little while longer.

A shotgun blast ripped a branch apart twenty yards from Ian and Kendra.  Kendra shrieked.  Ian shoved her head down just before another blast bored a hole in the trunk behind her.

The gunshot gave Kendra an energy burst.  She outpaced Ian for a second as they sprinted to the next copse of pine trees.  Ian was several feet in front of her when he yelped and disappeared in the semi-darkness of the forest.

“Ian!”  She bit her lip and choked back a cry.  Panic wanted to take over her mind.  She fell to her knees to peer at the dark patch where Ian had vanished.  The panic nearly won when a pale hand shot out of the hole.  Ian’s hand latched around her wrist.

“Shut up!” he hissed, pulling her wrist down so her head was level with the opening of the hole.

“Are you okay?”

“Get down here.  We might be able to hide for a little, figure out what to do.”

Kendra let Ian gently pull her into the hole, which turned out to be the opening of a small cave.  They huddled in the corner of the cave furthest from the small entrance.  Kendra wrapped her arms around her knees and shook.  Ian glared, unblinking, at the entrance and bared his teeth.  If the hunters found them now, before it was fully dark, he wouldn’t be able to take them all down, but he wasn’t going to be caught without a fight.

Feet stamped through the dense patch of trees.  Men shouted overhead.  Someone fell and cursed close to the cave entrance.  Someone else dropped a huge backpack directly on top of the hole.  If they picked it up in a hurry during the night, they just might avoid seeing the cave.

Ian longed to whisper to Kendra, to tell her his plan.  She had to stay put, no matter what.  He was a fighter; she wasn’t.  There was no way she could take on the trained hunters above them.  But he could.  Once the sun went down, he would become one with the night, sneak out of the grave-like cavern, and start slitting throats.

He groaned inwardly.  How had it come to this?  Willow planned the raid perfectly.  They all had their parts to play and had done so without a problem.  Kendra spoke to the computers to get them access to the building.  Ian grabbed one of the boys, Shane grabbed the other boy and one of the girls, Nora grabbed the other girl, and Willow started a massive fire on the other side of the town as a distraction.  They weren’t even going to hurt the kids, not really.  They would take the children’s memories and identities and deposit them in an orphanage half a world away.  The children were just toddlers.  They wouldn’t really miss the memories and the orphanage was a good place, with good, kind caretakers.  The parents were the ones they wanted to punish. They were all partially responsible for Nora’s breakdown.  It had all made sense at the time.

And then things went terribly wrong.  One of the boys wouldn’t stop crying.  Ian had clamped his hand over the kid’s mouth.   He hadn’t realized that the child had a problem that kept him from breathing through his nose.  It wasn’t long before Ian realized that the boy had stopped struggling.

Ian choked back vomit at the memory.  He shook his head.  He would deal with that if they all made it back to the complex.  For the moment, he couldn’t afford to think past this night.  He had to focus.  Besides, he sneered, I’m not getting out of here alive.

Willow observed the men from the perfect cover of the high branches of a pine tree.  Sap soaked her black pants and hoodie, but she didn’t care.  Ian and Kendra had disappeared an hour ago into some little cave in the ground.  She figured the cave was supported by the interwoven roots of all the trees and other plants.  She wasn’t sure how they would manage to get out without being seen.  Ian is probably planning some kind of heroics.  If she knew Ian, he was torturing himself because of what he had done.  By accident!  If the stupid kid hadn’t screamed, it never would’ve happened.  She had to do something.  Nora and Shane had already disappeared.  Whether they had been captured, killed, or managed to get away, she had no idea.  But she did know one thing: she wasn’t losing anyone else.  Not tonight.

The sun hit the tops of the trees.  The whole forest seemed to go up in a blaze.  Willow got an idea.

All of the fires she had ever set had been started with small flames.  She’d been practicing with larger flame balls, but she had never made one on her own, in uncontrolled circumstances.  She would only have one chance at this.  If she failed, Ian’s guilt wouldn’t matter.  Kendra’s fear would dissipate.  And Willow’s own anger would never flare up again.  If she failed, they would all die.  But if she succeeded, they would all survive to fight another day.

She dropped silently onto a pile of rotting pine needles and oak leaves.  She flung her arms out to the sides and called fire from her core to caress her arms up to her elbow.  A few hunters had time to aim their guns before hell-flames erupted from her fingertips and set the whole copse ablaze.

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Comments
  1. drgrigg says:

    I enjoyed this. You’ve done a great job of hinting at a larger story. I am guessing that it’s intended as part of a larger, longer piece? I would be interested to read that if so.

    • missared says:

      Thanks! Yeah, this is part of a larger work in progress. I’m using Chuck Wendig’s challenges to write short stories connected with that. They’re not in order yet, but you can go back and read my other short fiction on here to find out more about the characters.

  2. Great story. Also a good idea, using the challenges to enrich a wip.

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