Flash Fiction: From the Ashes

I have been contemplating writing a piece of short fiction, maybe a novella, for a while now but just haven’t had the time or true motivation to do so. I have an outline or two written down, but I can now agree that the “my work is crap” mentality is real, folks.

Below is a flash fiction piece that I wrote for Mark Lawrence’s Battle of the Bards contest a couple of years ago. Though I didn’t even come close to winning, I felt that my chops were tested a bit. Flash fiction is stupid difficult, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. It just so happened that it was being judged by some of my favorite writers, so it was a little bit of a gut punch when I got 0 notes lol.

From the Ashes

Ash lays strewn about on the ground, much like trees after a forest fire. But there are no trees on the outskirts of Yoncrath, and no fires set ablaze. The dwindling farmhouses still stand on their supports, but their owners have returned to the dust. Only one remains: a woman, dead yet still alive. Her one purpose in the afterlife: to follow the commands of her master. Her once silvery blonde hair is now a sleek gray, her voluptuous body a carrion feast fit for a wake, but her power is greater than has ever been.

Night falls and she strides across the sooty landscape, her blood-red dress wafting ashes in a whirlwind, taking in and savoring all she has brought to fruition. And she smiles, for she knows he will be pleased.

Inside the gates of Yoncrath, a boy awakens with a startle. Fresh sweat and tears run down his face, creating lines like channels of the Ugnog River. He sits up and looks around his dilapidated quarters. Just another dream. But it felt so real. The heat from the flames. The smell of burning gristle, those farmers and their wives left smoldering. Their children, nothing but charred bones.

The light of a new day pours through the window, stealing into the room like an assassin and throwing blinding light in his direction. He throws his covers aside and heads for the door, contemplating the dream. What it stands for. What it means for him, his family, and his city.

Halfway across the world, a tremor shakes the countryside. Blood rains from the sky and fire erupts from beneath the surface. Corpses claw free of damp soil, unholy marionettes danced by a foul puppeteer. An army marches.

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