Recently I was invited to submit something for a flash fiction contest. No, it wasn’t a personal invitation, I doubt that I’m that important. It was one of those spam type invitations that get sent out to thousands. Normally I wouldn’t submit anything, but with little to do this morning as my daughter played a game on her mother’s ipad, I decided to write something.
The genre is fantasy. So I decided to parody it all subtle-like, incorporating the lyrics of a Grateful Dead song. The prompt starts it off and I put the prompt in italics. The rest of the words are my own. Enjoy.
She noticed a hint of movement beneath the starlit trees. But, that was nothing compared to the trail of blood that led out of them. And there were seven bodies left behind. He was afraid to move. The knife might come out of his stomach. Fortunately, the song he was humming provided the power to keep him alive. Then moonlight glinted on antlers in the trees.
Henry staggered, knife in hand, blood dripping through cracks between fingers.
“…Look out of any window,
Any morning, any evening, any day…”
Still singing. “Stop singing that damn song!” She screamed. “Stop it! I said stop it!”
“…You’ll find the sun is shining,
Birds are winging,
No rain is falling through a heavy sky…”
She took another step back. “You made me do it! You did! You made me do it!”
Henry fell, his face smashing into a sapling, bending the tree, denting his cheek. From the ground he sang:
“…What do you want me to do.
To do for you. To see you through?…”
And behind him she saw Elroy, of the deer people. And the antlers danced in the moonlight, the bodies obscured in shadow. Bloodthirsty eyes burned red.
Henry stood up, still holding his stomach in. “I’m fuckin…,” he said. That wasn’t part of the song. He staggered. “You…” He couldn’t say “killed us.” He spat blood.
But behind him the deer people danced on—she saw them dance on. She could see them. They were real. She knew they were real. “They’re real,” she repeated. She had been saying it but didn’t hear herself. “They’re real. They’re real.”
Henry fell again. On the ground he sang:
“…For this is all a dream we dreamed
one afternoon, long ago…”
“It’s not a dream! Not a dream. Don’t say that. Don’t say that!” But Henry wasn’t saying anything. He was only singing the song to stay alive, to keep thinking, to keep moving.
The deer people, they stopped dancing—she saw that they stopped dancing. And the red fires of eyes turned inward, towards the clearing, menacing, hungry.
“Why didn’t you drink the punch!” she screeched. “It happens quietly when you drink the punch! Like the others. You made me do it! You made it hurt!”
Henry didn’t get up. He stayed on his back and tilted his head towards the woods behind him, the last thing he would ever see. But there was only darkness behind him. Shadows of trees and nothing else.
She took a step towards him and could see the deer people closing in—she could see them, Elroy in front with his Great Claw Hammer.
“No, I’ll do it!” But she wasn’t screaming at Henry anymore. “I’ll do it. I’ll finish it.”
Henry didn’t hear her anymore. He heard the singing of his voice.
“…Just a box of rain, Wind and water, Believe it if you need it, If you don’t just pass it on Sun and shower, Wind and rain, In and out the window Like a moth before a flame…”
Henry felt something. Her. The knife slid out. He groaned.
“A sacrifice to Elroy and the deer people.”
When she looked up, knife in hand, raised above Henry’s throat, she saw them, and knew they were there, eyes blazing, antlers nodding up and down, white teeth shining in the moonlight.
Henry saw nothing behind him. Deer people aren’t real.
It would be hilarious if I actually won. The story makes no sense at all. It’s also funny that I’ll probably get an unusual amount of hits for this post because I titled it “Flash Fiction Contests”. Sorry, I’m not offering a flash fiction contest. I have nothing to offer. But I doubt very many people looking for a flash fiction contest actually read this far anyway. Thanks for reading!