Welcome to Story Time Saturday!
These are flash fiction stories. My word count goal is no more than 1,000 words each story. I’ll show you the prompt, the story, and a teaser graphic.
Here is this week’s:
“The Ophidian Destiny”
In nature, there are terrors lurking in the shadows waiting to devour. When you choose not to believe, that’s when the horror strikes.
The villagers, gathered around the fire circle, allow the young woman to enter. A haunted look settled into her eyes. The elders chanted in their native language as they passed her around the circle like an object to the village priestess.
“Elena, it is time for you to leave the tribe. You know our tradition.”
The young girl nodded.
“On the night of the first new moon your metamorphosis will occur. Choose your mate wisely.”
I remember the ceremony as if it happened yesterday. In two nights, my human form will cease. I check my image in the mirror. The scales are appearing already. Too soon. I apply more cream and they fade.
“Elena!” Philip steps through the open bathroom door. He comes from behind and kisses my cheek. “How many times do I have to tell you? You’re beautiful without all that make-up.”
I plaster a smile on my face. “I want to look my best for you.”
“Well, we need to go. Our reservation is at seven. We have thirty minutes to get there.”
“Give me another minute.”
“I’ll meet you in the car.”
My eyes meet Philip’s reflection—broad shoulders, cocoa-brown skin, grass-green eyes, close cropped hair. He’s the image of a warrior. The perfect choice.
He pats my backside and leaves.
Philip will never understand what will happen between us. I never meant to fall in love with him. There’s danger in letting humans into our hearts. My destiny can’t be avoided.
I chose the restaurant over the water. Philip deserves a special night before his life changes forever. The place is reminiscent of my village—palm trees, wait staff dressed in colorful sarongs, drinks served in coconut shells.
“Elena, what’s wrong?” Philip grasps my hand. “You seem distant tonight.”
“Nothing at all.” I’m tired of lying to him. He’s begging me to move in with him. Every time he asks, I refuse. Every month I disappear for a week. Philip thinks it’s always business. We’ve been doing this song and dance for a year. I’m not just dodging secrets.
I’m dodging my destiny, my curse. It’s what will happen to Philip if I reveal what I truly am. He’ll either be sacrificed after we produce heirs or he’ll become a meal for a hungry monster.
Movement on the far side of the room catches my eye. A tall, muscular man with thick black hair stares at me. I know the chiseled face. He’s from the village. Ha’upu, one of the defenders. It’s their job to go after girls like me. Ones shirking their duty to the tribe.
“Philip, I need some air,” I say flatly.
He grins. “Haven’t you noticed we’re sitting on a patio?”
I stand up, my chair scraping the floor. “Then, let’s go for a walk. I need to leave now.”
“Okay, okay. The bill’s paid.” He grabs his suit coat and places his hand on my lower back.
A long stretch of silence follows us from the restaurant. Every few steps I glance over my shoulder. Ha’upu may not be following us, but I don’t doubt there will be others. There are always others.
We stop at the water’s edge. I dig my bare feet in the wet sand enjoying the coolness. The only way to protect Philip is to tell him the truth.
“Philip,” I stare into the distance. “how do you really feel about me?”
He intertwines his fingers with mine. “I love you, Elena. I see a future with you.”
I drop his hand. “You may not feel the same once you learn the truth.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m not human,” I mutter.
“Don’t interrupt. I can only say this once. We had to leave the restaurant because someone has come for me.” I glance at Philip and sigh. “Do you believe in curses?”
He laughs. “I think you’ve had a little too much to drink.”
“My people are cursed. Every new moon we change. It’s why I leave each month. I don’t want you to witness it.”
“You’re scaring me, Elena.”
“And you should be scared. No human is safe around me.”
Philip clenches his jaw. He doesn’t believe, and that’s dangerous.
“Ever notice how I take extra care around snakes?”
“In two nights, I’ll become that which crawls.”
“You expect me to believe you turn into a snake? Are you seeing someone else?”
“No. There’s no one else.” I step into the rising surf. “I turn into something a lot worse than a plain snake. My tribe is waiting for me to return with my mate.”
Philip crosses in front of me, blocking the moon. “So, your family wants to meet me? I’ll go with you. No need to concoct a far-out story.”
I shake my head. “You don’t understand. My family, my people expect me to produce heirs. Once I give birth, they will kill you. It’s how our people stay alive.”
He cups my face and pulls his hand away as if he’s been electrocuted. “Your face… something’s wrong with your face.”
The metamorphosis is happening. I’ve fought it for too long. The water calls to me, begging for the change.
“It’s the curse,” I hiss.
“Elena?” Philip stares at me.
He’ll never believe the danger he’s in. I have to show him.
I drop my shoes and untie the halter dress. A soft whoosh releases as the fabric hits the sand. I feel the webbing between my fingers and toes. My spine loosens and flexes from side to side. Philip’s heartbeat sounds like thunder in my head.
“Talk to me, Elena. What’s happening?”
I stretch my neck and loud rips fill the air. My skin splits. I arch my back, and it peels off like a coat. Philip steps into my line of sight. Suddenly, I’m very hungry.