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flash fiction

short stories written with 250 words or less, based on the beautiful photography of Kit Sora


        January 2020 Kit Sora 
lash Fiction Contest Runner-Up

     It was Beltane, a time for rebirth.
     The thaw would come, slowly. Yet, as Samhain released its wintry grip, the hamadryad found
himself in a different grip entirely. He was called Táwārē̆ - one with the trees - of the Tavari dryads. So used to seclusion, he now found himself in the company of two. The elf, Rhoekosa, stood before him, impassive. At her feet lay a man. His axe rested beside his body. Not dead but…dormant, like Táwārē̆ himself in the depth of Samhain.
     The hamadryad sighed. “What would you have of me?”
     “I’ve saved you,” Rhoekosa replied. “I’d have you.”
     Táwārē̆ stiffened. Though he was of human form above his waist, he now felt wooden
throughout. Sap welled in a brown eye. The deed must be repaid.
     “I’d have you in my dale,” Rhoekosa whispered. “It is possible, though not frequently
attempted.” A pause. “You would be safe.”
     His hawthorn roots twitched. There could be no movement in this form. No, any movement
would require great sacrifice. He inhaled – the sound of shifting branches – and looked around. How long had he watched over this windswept hill?
     The separation was painful. His roots relinquished their hold. His flesh was lost, and would be
for some time. He became insubstantial, invisible to mortal eyes, with only sprigs holding his
form together. Naked, he carried naught but thought, and the necessary seed.
     He reached for Rhoekosa. She grasped him gently.
     “Thank you,” she whispered.
     It was Beltane, a time for rebirth.




     ‘How many?’ The crone is uneasy. 

     ‘Five’, the maiden replies. 

     The crone nods, holding a lock of the maiden’s hair.  ‘Five imbued, five removed.’

     ‘Remove none.’  

     ‘Sorry child. That’s not how it works.’  

     ‘I’ve read the old texts, Mage. It can be done.’ Her voice is sharp with challenge. ‘The locks removed would never regrow, correct?’

     The crone nods. 

     ‘Then entwine..’. 

      ‘But you don’t kn-’

      ‘I know,’ the maiden interjects, ‘that five gold coins buy five virtues.’ She tosses a coin at the crone’s feet.                            ‘Temperance.’  She tosses another. ‘Forgiveness’. She lets the final three fall from her hand. ‘Diligence. Chastity. Kindness.’ She raises her chin. ‘Five locks of hair imbued, and my virtue will be pure. They’ll see their folly.’ 

      'What of humility? And charit-’

     ‘Never you mind! Now, if you please…’

     ‘Truly, the other locks must be remov-’

     ‘Shall I retrieve the gold, find help elsewhere?’

     The crone frowns. She begins her work. 

     The locks are interwoven. 


     Whispered incantation. 


     Subtle indemnification. 


     The maiden opens her eyes, takes the crone’s hand. ‘Mage, I was too harsh. Please, forgiv-’ Her eyes snap shut. She groans. 

     Wrath intercedes, and Forgiveness is precluded.  

     The maiden falls, clutching her head.

     Kindness pulls in one direction, Envy the other.

     Diligence urges her to act. She cannot.

     This pain; deeper than her locks. Deeper than thought. 

     Her mind is rending; pulled apart by sin and virtue.

     The maiden whimpers. 

     The crone understands. 

     The battle rages, and ever shall. 

     There is no escape.


        February 2022 Kit Sora 
lash Fiction Contest Winner

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