MFtS: Etched in Stone

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.

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

Photo Prompt : © Barbara Beacham

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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36 thoughts on “MFtS: Etched in Stone

      • The Neolithic and Bronze Age are my favourite prehistoric eras. You can see human society beginning to form in the shape it’s in now. I think there isn’t enough prehistoric fiction out there (The Kin is one book I remember from childhood)

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      • I definitely agree! I’m working on a novel that’s set partly in Neolithic Britain, though with the amount of time I spend writing flash fics it’s going to take me years to finish it. 🙂 Have you ever read any of Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear’s ‘North America’s Forgotten Past’ books? I seem to remember finding them very enjoyable.

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    • Originally I’d planned to just have him mute, so he couldn’t communicate the danger through words. It was the tactile nature of the petroglyph’s that made me decide to make him blind as well. The deaf was just a final horror because I’m evil like that…. I’m very glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve just visited your blog and read your story. I tried to leave a comment but I’m not sure whether it actually worked! If it didn’t – it was very good! Just typical of modern scientists to bring back the worms that the ancients managed to wipe out. 🙂

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    • I’d like to say ‘yes’ but I only tend to have time to write a couple of flash fics each week and there are so many wonderful prompts! For me, if I can write something historical or fantasy I’m more likely to choose that prompt… I loved this week’s picture and sentence – they suited me perfectly! Thanks for visiting. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Excellent story. You had me captivated form the beginning. His story is really interesting. I really would like to see more about his adventures. Is this story inspired by Celtic myths? It seems so. In any event the story is lovely. I enjoyed it a lot.

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