Presenting my 750 word challenge story for the above picture by Richard Shilling, an Environmental Artist. This challenge was set by Miranda Kate, please find her on twitter @PurpleQueenNL. The challenge is part of her #MidWeekFlash game on Facebook, and the link is below the story.
A stone skipped away unbalancing Laird’s feet, he cried out and fell. Rolling, bouncing down the wooded fellside. Any tree could have killed him if he struck it, he willed one to take his life. An agonised groan escaped his lips, his body thumped to a stop in a pile of scree. Putting a hand to his head he felt his blood seeping from wounds, mingling with his tears.
“Damn you!” Laird rolled on to his knees. “Damn you, I take care of your creatures. I respect your world, and you repay me by taking everything I own and love from me. You couldn’t even show mercy and kill me when you made me fall. What more torture must I endure before you’ll let me be.” Laird watched his blood and tears dripping onto the stones, while wracked with agony. He breathed in deep; exhaling many times, dispelling some of the pain but not the mental anguish and anger he felt. Rising to his feet, he heard a high-pitched growl and cursed his luck. With its heckles raised, a large rusty-red male fox approached. It had a familiar scar upon its muzzle. Laird had scared off a wild dog, saving the fox. The scar, a lasting remnant of the horrific battle.
“Hello, old friend. Come to finish me off, have you? You’ll get no resistance from me.” Laird dropped to a knee, surrendering to the majestic animal.
The fox bowed its head. Giving a yipping bark, its locked it’s amber eyes on the man.
Laird remained still as it came closer; encircling him, then it was rubbing its head against his knee. “Now, that’s gratitude, friend. You may be my last companion on earth.” Laird wiped his eyes. “I found my wife sleeping with my friend. I was so upset, I lost my job too. I woke this morning to see my car being towed away. I went to my brothers, even he wouldn’t take me in. I’m done for, fox.”
The fox gave a cry, not unlike a sorrowful woman. It took hold of Laird’s jacket sleeve and pulled.
Laird knew at once and stood to follow. “Lead on.” He staggered into a tree, regained his balance and set off into the woods. Always following the foxes brush-like tail. Ten minutes and countless trees passed. Never had he been this deep in the woods. Without warning the fox disappeared between two tremendous larches. Laird followed and found himself at the foot of a large drystone wall.
The fox turned left along the wall and came to rest before a five-foot-high trilithon. It consisted of two upright stones with a lintel stone above. This was not like Stonehenge, for it had a sphere stone between the uprights. Another on the lintel carried a second long stone that bore twenty smaller stones in perfect balance.
“What is this, friend?” Laird ran a hand over the lintel. Placed it on the sphere and grew-wide eyed. It was as if the stone was connected to a power plant. Laird’s head snapped up, his mouth open in a cry of agony. His heart stopped beating and he fell to the grasses, his vision fading to black.
“I’ve lived these scenes.” Laird’s voice sounded hollow. Scenes moved around him at speed. Him winning a medal for distance running. His first car, a Rover P600. His drunken 18th birthday. Tears flowed from his eyes as he saw his wedding day, Tina was the only woman he could ever love. The picture revolved again; showing him seeing her in bed with his friend. He felt his heart jolt. “Nooo!” he cried.
Then a new image appeared; Tina was in this image too. She was screaming in mortal fear. Laird’s friend was preventing her from leaving a shed. He drew a knife and vanished in a blaze of white light.
Laird was suddenly back and gasping for air by the wall. The fox was standing over him. “Thank you, old friend. I know what I must do.” Laird rose, laying a hand on the foxes head as he gazed at the stone sculpture. “My life in balance has been so good that I missed what was important. I missed what was really going on,” he said before heading home.
A newspaper on a table days later read: ‘Laird Matthews branded a hero after saving his wife and three other women from a psycho’s shed. He says a fox and divine inspiration told him how to find and… More on p12.’
Thanks for reading! Do you fancy writing a 750 word story for the above photo. Head over to Finding Clarity, follow the instructions and have fun.
Check out more of my tales in the Short Stories tab too.