This is an entry into Monday’s Finish the Story flash fiction challenge, run by Barbara W. Beacham. I haven’t joined in with this one for a while but with a photo prompt like this, how could I not? This challenge gives you a picture prompt and the first line and asks that you finish the story in 100-150 words. The given line is in italics.
Etched in Stone
The petroglyphs told the story of an unusual event, an event so horrific that, in the space of moments, Oræftan’s life changed forever.
Five left to follow the herd. Only he returned – a mangled remnant of himself.
He jolted awake from troubled sleep with a pounding heart, the memories that haunted his dreams pursuing him into the waking world. Each breath grated harshly against his throat; tears stung the raw skin of his cheeks.
With a trembling hand Oræftan reached for the stone wall of his shelter, his fingers trailing over the roughly etched images. Soon he’d be finished. Only one last section remained to complete his telling of events: the great wyrm that attacked them upon the cliff’s edge.
The burning substance expelled from the beast’s gaping jaws had left him blind, deaf and mute. There was only one way he could warn the rest of his tribe of the danger.
With touch his only guide, he carved.
Word Count: 150
This is actually the second version of this story I’ve written today. I’d practically finished it earlier – just had some edits still to do – when the laptop I was using (my new laptop!) decided it was time to do a restart. As I wasn’t in the room at the time I couldn’t even delay it until later as I usually would! This wouldn’t really have been a problem except it decided to freeze midway through ‘installing updates’. An hour later I decided to start again on my old laptop, which I’m still using now… Hopefully my new laptop will decide to work again soon.
If I’d had a few more words I would have liked to write a little about exactly how Oræftan managed to find his way back to his tribe after the wyrm’s attack. I doubt it was an easy trip in the state he was in…
The name Oræftan, by the way, is from the Old English for ‘artist’ or ‘craftsman’.
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