Now on Tuesdays…at least for the foreseeable future…welcome to Flash Fiction Tuesday. In case you don’t know what flash fiction is, it is an extremely short story (sometimes created in 100 words or less) with a beginning, middle, and an ending.
But in my case, I write flash fiction with an open ending. I allow my readers to draw their own conclusion as to what happens next to the characters of each story. This week we step into the forest…back into another place and time…
The branches tug at my skirt and the leaves whisper softly under my moccasins as I follow the trail of the raccoon. Hunting is warriors’ work but too many of our braves have been killed by the pale face and now I must put on the cloak of hunter or my small village will go hungry.
Mother Earth is drowsy and all her creatures are getting ready for the long winter’s sleep. We have gathered our harvest and smoked much meat, but food is becoming scarce. I do not understand. Why must the white man kill more than can be eaten in two day’s time? I have come across his savagery on the trail as he takes the best and leaves the rest to rot in the forest. His scent is so strange to me…a heavy, musky smell which blends with the smell of death with no honor, until I think the pale face must dance with the evil spirits.
The elders of the village warn me about the pale-faced visitors…how they take from us that which is not ours to give, and sell to others of his tribe what they do not own until Mother Earth’s tears fall down like rain upon this land. When will they realize we are one with all living things? That we come from a sacred people who guard the spirits of the forest and whose ancestors have been on this land for many moons before they arrived?
I am startled from my thoughts by the low growling of a black bear breaking through the trees in front of me. How can I be so foolish to not see the signs I have crossed the path of my people’s enemy? The elders of the village call him Unole Asgina or Thunder Devil because of his great, thundering roar when he attacks. He is but one leap away from me. So close his scent burns my nose. I stare into the black pools of his spirit as I realize I will die this day. What will become of my people when I am no longer around to help provide for them?
But wait…what is this other smell I catch floating on the wind? Even the bear stops for a second and shakes his head as if to clear his nose of the stench before turning in the direction of the forest to the right of me. There, just beyond a broken tree stump, is a pale face kneeling with a fire stick my grandfather has warned me about. Unole Asgina has seen this pale face too and stands on hind feet to roar at this new intruder before charging toward the trees. I think this white man will die today, but suddenly I see a flash of smoke and clamp my hands to my ears as a sound even louder than the bear’s fills the air around me. As if in slow motion the Thunder Devil falls to the ground and I watch it’s life spill onto the forest floor.
For just a moment I look into the eyes of this pale face and wonder if he will point his fire stick in my direction? But he lowers it to his side and stands up to face me. White and brown stand together and look into each other’s souls. I can not forgive what the pale face has done to my people, but for today I can give thanks to the Great Spirit that he sent such a man to save my life. He slowly nods his head in my direction and I do the same before I melt back into the forest behind me. The raccoon long forgotten, I will return to my village campfire with stories to tell and much to give thanks. I can always save the hunt for another day.
International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, LUNADAR: Homeward Bound (a YA fantasy) is scheduled to be released in ebook edition by June 2018 from Story Catcher Publishing, with the print edition hopefully coming out late fall 2018.