Amy C at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie atTink's Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate - you post your story on Friday - 350 words, give or take. Here is the picture posted on last Monday :
and my (not so) short story to accompany it (sorry I exceeded the limit).
Neelya stood with her head hung low, her arms tense and sore, her hands
clenched tightly. She had shot and missed. Again. What was she doing here, on a grassy hill, amid swirling fog, dressed in strange, white clothes? Her hair fluttered in the wind and she noticed its colour was different too – ginger instead of usual raven black. Was she going mad?
Yesterday night was full moon, the time of pleasure, parties and joy. She was having fun in a tavern with friends like everyone else. She had shown off in front of them a bit, demonstrating her superior archery skills. After all she was challenged and, of course, she won. Then she drank some wine, and danced with a handsome stranger whose brilliant blue eyes never left her the whole evening. She had such a good time.Then something happened. She didn’t remember exactly what - the memory ended abruptly as if somebody cut out the last part of it.
She woke up because of cold. Her first thought wandered to her chambermaid, Yio - stupid cow, she had forgotten to close a window again. Neelya opened her eyes and found herself lying on a hill covered with frosted grass. She was chilled to the bone as apparently she had slept here all night, with only a bow, a jug of milk and a quiver full of arrows keeping her company. Her own warm woolly clothes disappeared (how? when? why?) - she was dressed in a white, tightly fitting outfit she had never worn or seen before. When she tried to stand up her head exploded and tears came to her eyes. A very bad hangover. She drank some milk to feel better. Her eyes focused on the bow - finally something familiar. In some distance she could notice a shooting target hung on a tree, exactly the same she’d been using for years. The rest came as a natural impulse, a calming-down, well-known routine. She took the bow and one arrow, drew the bowstring back. She stopped breathing and took careful aim. She shot.
First two misses could be understood, especially after a night spent under the stars, with a horrible headache and no breakfast. The third miss brought a disbelieving grimace on her face. The fourth made her angry. The fifth and sixth left her panicky and sweaty. She’d never missed so many shots in a row before. Never. It was lost - her special gift, her pride and pleasure, almost a part of her personality. How could it have happened? What exactly happened? Her head hurt like mad. She wanted to punch somebody and cry like a child at the same time.
All of a sudden she heard some noise coming from the foggy distance. Hooves. Standing on a bare hill she felt exposed, almost naked, especially as she was dressed in white. She decided to run to the nearest tree and hide high up, among leaves. Almost touching the first trunk with her sweaty fingers she never noticed the first arrow flying by. The second hit the target – her back.
Image via Wikipedia