I’m being brave today 🙂
My last post was about a walk on our mountain. Today I’m sharing with you a story I wrote about a different kind of mountain walk. Don’t panic – it’s flash fiction so only 500 words, and it’s fantasy so if you’d prefer to move on now that’s fine.
Langford paused before reaching the top of the pass. Way down below his mates hunkered down in the forests afraid of the laughter they’d heard on the wind. He was not afraid and the tower would be his. Shaking out his cramping legs Langford struggled up the final slope careful not to set the scree sliding beneath him.
Up above him the skyline was clear, no more mountains beyond to disappoint. “Look at the sky. Don’t blink. Don’t look away.” He muttered to himself a hope, an incantation against what was about to happen. Every pass they had crossed should have been the last. The old scrolls said he should see the desolation stretching away into the distance guarded by the old witch’s tower. But no. Every time they had crested the watershed another range appeared. Every time they blinked.
This time he would not blink. This time it would be different.
Langford climbed into the gale blowing up from the other side. His eyes teared up and he blinked. And there was the mountain. And that voice in his head again laughing, “You’ll have to do better than that!”
“All right, I will!” he shouted into the wind. “I know your out there, Witch. I know who you are”.
Picking up a rock the size of his fist Langford angrily threw it out into the void and waited starting to count the seconds to try and work out how deep the valley was and how far he had to walk before the next mountain pass. But the rock didn’t fall it vanished.
Langford threw a second rock and a third and these also disappeared at the apex, never starting to fall. The rocks were folded into a nothingness as though slipping quietly through the surface of a lake.
Langford crouched in the lee of the ridge and wondered. He didn’t know if he envied his companions their modicum of safety or not. They’d been expecting to be attacked by creatures of the mountains and although they had heard the wild dogs in the distance none had ever approached – their howling had always seemed to come from behind. This voice in their heads was different, unreal, and it scared them all.
Langford stood again and looked out into the valley. Far below the endless sea of trees and gullies with their rushing streams, high above him the jagged outlines of the mountains against the clear blue sky. Frowning Langford thought the shape of those mountains looked familiar.
Casting around he found a rock that would roll, and sure enough it gathered speed and rolled on past the point where the barrier was. The barrier quivered briefly as the stone brushed its edges. It was not anchored to the ground.
Langford climbed to the ridge line and threw another rock, never taking his eyes from the point it disappeared. “I can do this,” he said and he gathered all his strength and leapt out into the void and broke her spell.