Gretnya gripped her husband’s hand, writhing anxiety choking her as the final calf was led into the testing area.
Please, she prayed to any deity listening.
“It’ll be fine,” Brindel said. “This time it’ll have worked, you’ll see.” The tremble in his voice contradicted the confidence of his words. She squeezed his hand tighter.
The strange sickness had swept through the herds with rampant disregard for the livelihoods depending on them. In the space of a month the carcasses had piled high. Two winters later and smoke from the pyres continued to hang, a heavy death cloak, over the plains.
Faced with ruin, many tribesfolk had left, seeking work in the distant towns. The few who remained continued to try every spell known to the mages, desperate to protect the remnants of their herds. Hope lay with the young. Surely something, eventually, would stop the disease from taking hold.
Please, let it be this time, Gretnya prayed.
Finally, the mage emerged from the testing pen. His expression told them more than words ever could.
Word Count: 174
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This post is for Priceless Joy’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. This week’s prompt was provided by MajesticGoldenRose. Thank you!
I actually have one word free in my story this week, and I was tempted to put an extra one in the final sentence, before the word ‘expression’. I couldn’t decide which one to use, however – ‘joyous’or ‘stricken’. They leave you with very different endings! In the end I decided to use neither. You can all decide for yourselves whether the results of the test are good or bad.
I hope you liked it.