This story was written for Cracked Flash Fiction (a weekly competition where they give you the first line and you have to write a story of 300 words or less). It takes place in the same world as the NaNoWriMo novel of 2015 (working title: The Charms of Life and Death).

Dust Red As Blood

Arek dug his fingers into the dry ground. Red dust caked beneath the priest’s fingernails and clung to the blood staining his wrinkled hands. Tears turned the world to a blurred, red puddle even as he pushed more of the dirt from the quickly dug grave. He wiped his face, leaving it painted in streaks of red dust, tears, and blood. Some way from him, standing close to the Veil usually hidden from mortals, was one of the Guardians of the Veil. Her light blue cloak stood in stark contrast to the deep brown of the leather armour she wore. Her face was veiled and her right hand hand was clenched around a spear. She stared out over the flat plain dotted with small settlements. Behind her the shrine of the Khalne Alima stood broken and burnt.
“Why did you not take me?” he shouted at her. She turned a solemn face towards him. A frown pulled at her brow.
“I was the one who should have guarded the shrine today. You should have taken me!” Arek shouted.
She did not move and kept on staring at him. Behind her the Veil glimmered as if it, too, was seen through tears.
Arek got up and staggered towards her.
“Please, let us trade places,” he pleaded. “Galeun is too young. He was never supposed to have been here.”
“You came as soon as you saw the fire at the shrine. You did not think of your own wellbeing,” she said. The Guardian’s words were clipped as if she was unused to talking. “You are asking something of me which I cannot give.” The Guardian pointed over his shoulder and the man turned around. On the ground, next to the boy, was his own body, disfigured from the wounds dealt to him.

Ana Filipa Neves
Photo by Ana Filipa Neves
Advertisements