Happy Friday! I’m super excited this week because, while #5MinuteFiction has been on hold a while, Wendy has decided to start up a new contest on her site. The new contest, titled WOW 555, calls for a ~500 word response to a prompt posted on Monday. You have the week (5 days) to do it, and it must be submitted by 5 on Friday of the same week. People vote for their favorite story on Saturday, and the results are posted on Monday, with the new prompt. For exact details, check out the rules!
This week’s prompt: Give us a scene as told from an unexpected perspective.
Since I’m preparing for NaNoWriMo, a lot of what I’ll be writing from now until the end of November will relate in some shape, way, or form to the story ideas I mentioned in my NaNo post. My response to this week’s prompt is linked with Reckoning‘ s sequel. While it might not actually be included in the book, it serves as character development for Lexia’s successor as my leading lady: Jenna.
A small child, smaller than most, she wasn’t usually out alone, without her parents or her usual escort to keep her safe. Shivering in the rain, she was helpless and, if I could, I would have wrapped her in my embrace. Unfortunately, all I could do was watch as she huddled into herself, unable to move away from her spot in the bush, under the window she’d used as an exit.
Even over the pouring rain, the screams from inside the house were deafening. If she could hear them, or they frightened her, she didn’t show it. She seemed to wait a beat, before making a run for it, straight towards me and covering the thirty or so feet quicker than I thought she could. In the dim light and rain of the early evening, I cast a large enough shadow that she wouldn’t be seen, if she stayed near. Tiny hands gripped me, as if I was the only thing keeping her rooted, safe. Again, I wanted to reach out, cursing the immobility that kept me from helping the child.
For a while she stood there, hiding behind me while watching the house. What was going on? Her small fingers, despite their dainty size, actually dug into my bark. I internally winced as she continued to squeeze, her grip tightening with every sound coming from the house. It wasn’t a grip of fear, however, but rather anger. Her face contorted in hate, an expression that was largely out of place on her. She seemed to only barely contain her rage, showing more self-control than a child that young normally possessed. Watching her shifting expression, I nearly forgot her painful grip, until she finally loosened it, pulling her hand back to reveal a very clear, very permanent, indentation.
“Jenna…” Behind her, a few feet away, a woman I’d never seen before stood by one of my brothers, using him as a partial shield while also watching the young girl, Jenna.
Jenna’s shoulders were shaking and I realized now that she finally cried, her sobs mingled with sharp intakes of breath, showing just how long she’d held it in, and how much effort it had taken her. “S-Save…th-them…p-please.”
Her words left her in a garbled mess, practically choking her. The woman emerged from the shadows, cautious but with authority. Her eyes held sympathy for the girl collapsed between us. “You know I can’t, Jenna. But I can save you.”
“I don’t…want you to.” To hear those words from such a tiny voice frightened me. Save her. I implored the woman, and for a moment I thought she heard me, her eyes dashing to the imprint of Jenna’s hand on me.
Without a word, the woman approached Jenna, crouching beside her and placing a hand on the young girl’s head. Jenna went slack, and I panicked, thinking the woman had harmed her. She scooped the small child into her arms, and I noted the rise and fall of her chest – she was only sleeping. Confused, I watched as she walked away, deeper into the shadows, hidden by my family.
Check out the rest of the entries on Saturday and vote for your favorite!
As always, think happy thoughts!