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 Red Witch”
The battle cries no longer echo across the field. Smoke from the weapons along with the pungent tang of blood fill the air. Discarded armor, like carcasses, litters the ground. Everything is as it should be. I wipe the gore from my lips and place my hand on the banister.
“Your Excellency?” The male voice approaches me.
“Have you found more rebels?” I say over my shoulder.
“No, my queen.” Nygell, my second in command, surveys the massacre. “This won’t earn you any favor with the people.”
“Anyone who disagrees bring them to me.” My bloodied skirts swish as I turn away from him. “I never turn down a meal.”
I hear the warning in his words. We swore an oath to the ancestors—never take more than is needed.
“You’ve already crossed the line. Do not press your luck.”
“Nygell, we do what we must. The villagers forced my hand.” My eyes travel over his muscular frame. He still wears his battle gear, now covered in mud and guts. “If you wish to retain your position in my army and my bed, learn to hold your tongue.”
His dark hair tumbles over his blue eyes as he bows before me. “Forgive me, my queen.”
“Much better.” I cross the threshold into the throne room. “What of the girl?”
Nygell stops before me as I take a seat. “No sign of her. We’ve checked every lane and alcove.”
“Summon my scryer. I want Calla found before nightfall.”
He bows again and rushes from the room.
When Nygell returns with the scryer, the sun pales overhead. I’ve had time to change from my stained gown into something befitting a queen.
“What took you so long?” I bark as the old woman, dressed in a plain black dress, approaches the throne.
She inclines her head before glancing up at me. “I apologize, your grace. There was a family emergency.”
I lift an eyebrow. “Do you realize I could drain you right now, and feed your wrinkled flesh to my pets? When you are summoned, nothing else matters!”
The woman smiles. “You want me to find the girl?”
“Yes,” I hiss, not appreciating the scryer’s lack of contrition.
Nygell unfurls a map and places it on a table to the right of the throne.
“I require blood, my queen.”
My heels click against the stairs as I stalk toward her. I bite my wrist and let the blood fall over the map. It beads up and moves in a circular pattern. The scryer points to the abandoned temple by the river.
“Calla, is indeed smart.” I nod to Nygell. “Pay her.”
The scryer is paid and quickly removed from the room. Minutes later, Nygell returns. “Luciana, what aren’t you telling me?”
I stop my pacing. “I’ll go after Calla myself.”
“Luciana?” He grasps my elbow and pulls me close.
Nygell’s fangs lower, and his blue eyes darken. “She’s my child. Your daughter.”
His jaw drops, and he steps away from me. “Are you certain?”
“Of course.” I push my brown locks off my forehead. “Nygell, I—”
Crimson snakes up his neck to his face. “Why didn’t you tell me, Luciana? All these years, and you let me believe someone else fathered her.”
For years, I was the wife of a king—a man who paid little attention to me. He had his paramour, and Nygell kept me company.
“I’ll explain it to you later. Right now, I have to get to Calla. She doesn’t know about you. She’s on her way to the other side.”
Nygell’s eyes widen. “What’s on the other side, Luciana?”
“Someone who is a bigger threat than anyone in the kingdom.”
The wind whistles about me as I move from tree to tree in the forest. I should have grabbed my cloak, but my mind was on fleeing. Edwen, my trusted friend and a seer, hurries by next to me.
“Calla, the temple is just ahead. We’re not being followed, but the queen knows you’re here.”
Her words send a shiver down my spine. My only chance of salvation is reaching the portal. The queen is a hateful vampire determined to bring down anyone who disagrees with her.
I turn to Edwen. “Then this is the end of our journey. If the queen finds us together, she’ll kill you.”
Edwen’s small hand curls around my fingers. “Be on guard. I foresee a confrontation with her.”
“Anything else?” I ask eagerly.
She shakes her head. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine.” We hug. “Be careful going back.”
Pebbles crunch underneath my feet as I walk toward the demolished structure. Years ago, villagers visited the temple daily. Thanks to Queen Luciana it’s a shell.
Vampires did not always rule our land. There was a long, arduous war between the kingdoms. King Abram took the advice of a witch. She told him the best way to defeat the enemy was with an army of crimson knights. The bloodthirsty creatures entered the kingdom and ravaged the adversary. Eventually, the king married the witch and she became queen. Little did he know that she, too, was a vampire.
The gravel grinds beneath another set of footsteps.
“Calla, where do you think you’re going?”
“Away from here, Mother.” I face the queen. “Things have gotten out of hand. We need some help.”
“There’s nothing on the other side which can help you.” The first threads of a fireball spins in her hand.
“Do you plan on killing me? Will you drain me like your enemies and feed me to your hellhounds?”
The fireball grows.
“I’d rather not.” A smile sneaks across her red lips. “After all, you are my only child.”
“I’ll take my chances.”
I duck around a wall just as my mother lets the fireball fly. The ball collides with the stone pulverizing it. The portal is just ahead as Edwen described. It resembles a bright arch with a shimmering lake and trees beyond the door.
If I stay, she’ll kill me.