Today is the second of four in my Flash Fiction Feature, with another awesome Christian writer whom I’d like to introduce to you. For the month of June, I challenged four writers to write a flash fiction piece for my blog…only I sent each of them the same photograph as inspiration. It has been fun to see how each one took the same photo and wrote such different stories! Tune in each Saturday of June to check it out…and leave a comment for a chance at the weekly GIVEAWAY! I’m so excited.
Welcome to my good friend, Kelli Hughett
And here is the photo with which I challenged her, and the other three writers.
By Kelli Hughett
I should have known better.
Pebbles on the forest floor sliced my palms as I fell to my knees at the base of an impossible climb. He’d never find me here.
Not because I was well hidden; because he wasn’t looking for me.
A mist encircled, descended, showing its resentment for my intrusion into the sanctum of the mountain. Unwelcome. I glared at the trees that disappeared as if turning their faces from me, enrobed in fog. I knew all too well the feeling of being unwanted. Isn’t that what he’d said when he left? “I don’t want you.”
Moisture stung as it soaked through my petticoat and a rumble of thunder echoed softly through the forest. I curled my knees beneath my skirt and clasped my hands over the thick blue wool. I should have known a heart like his was untouchable, if my own was not so well protected.
I ran my hand through the loam on the forest floor, under a covering of needles and small wood chips, the dirt was black and springy. Not like the clay soils of home. Overall, it wasn’t a bad place to die. Peaceful. Quiet.
But that was the problem; I was to go on living.
I scooted against a tree as the first drops of rain hit my face. They weren’t as cold as I expected. My cheeks were too cold. The drops collected on the tips of fir overhead, glimmering like diamonds. Emotion I’d kept locked away escaped in a burst of pain, but I didn’t need to cry when the sky did it for me.
# # #
He wrestled his mind into order again. He would not think of her—would not! He’d given his word of honor to the president. When he’d departed St. Louis, his heart and soul had been for the mission, but somewhere between the Rockies and the Pacific, he’d lost their allegiance, leaving his chest empty.
A low rumble of thunder echoed. It would rain in the woods, but here on the beach, the wind only threatened to rip his hat from his head. At least he’d left her in capable hands, safe at the fort. Stretches of gray sand, dotted by sea-worn rocks sloped to the turbulent green sea. In four hours, the tide would change and the Daisy-Maye would arrive to take him away, back to Washington to give his report.
The mind is a cruel machine. Thoughts of her punished and delighted him at the same time. Would it be so bad to remember the way her hair escaped the confinement of pins as she laughed? Yes. It was bad, but not thinking of her was worse.
It wouldn’t be so difficult if she’d fought harder when he’d said the words that cut his own heart out. “I don’t want you.” The fight in him had drained away with the color in her cheeks as his words registered in her eyes. Was he such a good liar?
Awesome, again, right?
I encourage you to leave a comment below for a chance to win an electronic copy of Kelli’s latest book Red Zone. I’ll draw from all the commenters on Wednesday. Meantime, click on the cover to learn more!
And, of course…Tune in next Saturday. Amory Cannon was the next author to accept my challenge and write a story inspired by the same photo. Another giveaway, too!!
The first giveaway is over, but Heather Gilbert’s flash fiction take on the photo of the mossy woods lives on here.
Photo credit: Paul Baxter http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bark_Cabin_Wood_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1322.jpg