Welcome to a piece of Wednesday Word’s flash fiction on Darkling Dreams!
A good friend of mine, P.T. Wyant, is doing a blog post every Wednesday called Wednesday Words with a new prompt for a bit of flash fiction writing, just to get in the habit of writing something, anything. (Even if said flash fiction is complete garbage at the time. Garbage is better than nothing though, right?) If you’re looking for some inspiration yourself or just something to aimlessly write, then go check out her blog for this week’s prompt!
With that being said, I am going to share what I came up with for this week’s flash fiction prompt based off a three word combination. So here is my very rough around the edges minute of inspiration based off her prompt. I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!
(Please excuse any errors you may see, I said it was rough around the edges.)
Flames licked the dusk ridden sky, deepening the skies colors of blood red and burnt orange, smoke making everything hazy as if the sky itself was set ablaze. The crackle of roaring flames was accompanied by shouts of panic and yells of orders. People scrambled, trying to assemble themselves as the cottage burned, the straw roof catching fast and letting embers drift through the sky on the winds, threatening the dry countryside around the farm.
The village folk that had come to help could hear the screams of horses, squawks of chickens, and squeals of pigs from the barn not too far away, all panicking at the smell of smoke in the air. They could only hope a stray ember didn’t land on the dry wood as well and turn it to dancing orange flames along with the cottage.
“Grab the buckets! Form an assembly line! C’mon, people!”
The voice bellowing out was that of the village guard, trying to rally the people quickly as the flames sprang higher in the sky. Almost the whole cottage had gone up in smoke and ash already, pretty soon it would be too late.
No one had any answers for how the fire had started, but they all knew it only took one spark in the dry spell they had been having. Everything was suffering from the drought: crops, the land, people’s pocket books.
“Was there anyone home when the fire broke loose?!”
“We don’t know!” a woman answered him frantically, hitching her skirts up as she fell in line and started to help pass the buckets of water, but with the wells already half dry in the drought…
As if on cue to the woman’s answer, the person at the front of the line to throw the water on the burning building gave a shout when the front door burned off its hinges and collapsed. He could now see inside the blazing home and through the smoke and flames he could just make out a basket tipped to its side haphazardly on the floor, with something ruffling the blanket that had spilled out covering a bulge. Through the noise, the sound of terror filled cries could be heard from within. There were two still forms crumpled on the ground not far from the basket.
“There’s a baby in there!” he shouted, passing off the bucket back to who was behind him before bursting through the growing flames to go for the child.
“Roland!” the guard called, cursing when the man disappeared into the burning cottage, getting as close as he dared.
Roland coughed, putting his sleeve over his nose and mouth to try to avoid the stifling heat and thick smoke in the air. He could hear wood splintering above him as the fire ate away at the beams in the roof. Glancing up, he quickly rushed forward to scoop the crying child back into the basket and picked it up.
A crack and groan alerted him of the beam coming down and he jumped back quickly to avoid its smoldering crash.
“Roland! Get out of there before it collapses!”
He flicked his gaze to the crumpled forms of the parents, noticing spots of red spread across the fronts of their shirts and necks, and knew they were dead. Killed was more likely, then the baby left behind by the assailant, and the place torched to rid of evidence. Another groan of structure shifting sent him running back through the front door as the roof started to collapse him.
“Roland, you fool!” the guard scolded once he was out, guiding him away as he coughed and wheezed for air from the smoke, his eyes streaming.
The baby was still faintly crying, the child’s own lungs full of smoke, and he handed the basket off to the doctor’s wife as she came bustling up to him, cooing to the frightened child and taking them off to be checked.
“Th-They’re dead, killed,” he coughed.
“Who? Who’s dead?”
“The child’s…” He hacked for a second, leaning over on his knees as the guard thumped his back a little. Then he straightened. “The child’s parents, murde–”
His words broke off with a choke. No one had heard the distinct twang over the noise around them, but screams of fright from women and shouts of surprise from men added to the din of the crackling flames as the brave savior sank to his knees, then fell face first into the ground, an arrow lodged through his heart.
Now you can find this flash fiction work and others on my profile on Wattpad! Click here for my profile and go dive into a sea of Shards of Imagination!