I haven’t been keeping up with my flash fiction challenges lately, and I wasn’t intending to do so. But this week, Priceless Joy–the person who manages Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers–is suffering from a personal loss. FFfAW is one of my favorite little flash prompt groups, and Priceless Joy is such a kind and generous fellow in this blogosphere, that I wanted to try to write something for this week. Hopefully I can manage something uplifting.
A VOICE IN THE WATER
The stag bent down to take a drink from the crystal stream. Its massive antlers dipped into the water, causing the gentle current to swirl around the many submerged tips. Hemming took aim with his bow and fired.
The arrow whistled through the air towards its target. But instead of piercing the animal in the neck as he had expected, it broke apart. The stag looked back at Hemming. The beast rose up on its hind legs, then began to glow with brilliant green light. The shape of it changed from beast to man, a glowing man in flowing silken robes.
“Come here my child. Do not be afraid.”
Hemming glance around and seeing no support or possible route of escape, shuffled forward.
“Do you know who I am, child?”
Hemming shook his head.
“I am Darmin.”
God of nature. God of the hunt! Hemming’s face went wide with fear.
“I am not angry. You are just a hunter, doing what you must to survive.”
Hemming nodded, unable to speak to the divine being.
“You work hard to care for your daughter, alone as you are. Yet you have not recovered your spirit from the passing of your wife.”
Hemming nodded and began to weep.
“Look there. What do you see?”
“The creek,” Hemming stuttered. “A flowing stream.”
“Yes. The water starts in the mountains, flowing down with power and grace. When it reaches the end, it is picked up by the clouds and returned to the mountains to flow again. Life is not so much different. Put you hand in the water, child.”
Hemming bent down to the rushing stream. With an audible breath, Hemming reached out and placed his hand in the water; it was cold and sharp, and danced around his wrist. Then he heard a sound that made his eyes flow like the water that embraced him—a soft laugh as familiar as his own voice. The god placed a warm hand on Hemming’s shoulder as the man wept uncontrollably.
He knew now she was not truly gone.
**AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story strongly violates FFfAW’s low word count, but I didn’t feel I could write something meaningful with only 150 words. This is dedicated to Priceless Joy. Thanks for all the kind words over the past months as I have struggled to find my way as an author and blogger. Every word has helped me greatly. I hope you can find a bit of light in the dark time.