Warrior– Flash Fiction

Xena stood her ground before the fearful monster– eyes fixed, feet planted firmly, and head tilted back before letting out a challenging shriek. With a sudden movement, the warrior tore the sky in two and ravaged the trunk of the mossy beast. Her wooden sword tumbled backward and shards splintered the seam left in the air as she lost her footing and stumbled over sideways. A grunt escaped from her lips. She glared at the dirt pillowing at her cheek and rolled back over on her hands and knees. Catapulting forward, she leapt at her opponent– this time fists flying and tearing into the crusty, sharp flesh. The skin of her knuckles peeled backward, making way for rivers and smears of searing crimson yet she paid no heed and continued on without hesitation.

The snap of a twig caused the warrior’s gaze to wander outward, past the undergrowth and into the wood. She froze– tilting her chin slightly up and clenching her jaw before swallowing. The stale, uncooled, musk of a breeze was the only movement that dared disturb the moment except the sound of her fluttering heart as her lips curled gently upward in reverence.

The boy… no man… but still, somehow he seemed a boy– stood frozen, mirroring the wide eyes and statuesque pose of the wild deer that often passed through. Yet, this man looked not like a man… and not like a deer… and not like anything she had ever seen before this moment. His appendages dangled, awkwardly lanky and slightly askew. A thick coat of hair spread down from his chest like a matted and uncared for blanket and his skin revealed a mirage of cuts and twinkling scars as pale as his long, dreaded hair. The man’s eyes darted, searching for an exit but knowing they’d already been found.

“What are you doing?” asked the man, trying too late to hide the long claws extending from his hands. He let out a wince as one caught his side on the way behind him and added another crimson line to his tattered body. He looked down to meet her height and cocked his head as the girl procured a notebook and pen from the satchel on her back. She scribbled for a moment and then turned the paper around, holding it with outstretched arms.

Fighting monsters it said. Sweat dripped down the man’s face.

“I better get going then” he said as he tried to slip away. Xena interrupted his attempted escape, scribbling once again.

But you need me. It’s dangerous out there.

The man looked behind him both ways before meeting her firm, ice blue gaze once more. With a strange, crooked smile, he let out an awkward puff of breath.

“You must be confused… I am a monster” said the man. Xena smiled brightly before returning to her pad of paper.

It’s never the monsters who think that. It’s the warriors.

A long moment passed before the man processed the words, but when he did his face flushed a rosy red and eyes turned damp as tears rose to meet his eyes. Looking down, he tried to hide his vulnerability. Xena came closer to keep his gaze and stretched her hand toward the man– face sure and unafraid. The man looked at the girl for a long moment, searching for the reaction he expected but came up empty. Neither pair of eyes left the other as he inched his hand toward hers but as they grew ever closer he grimaced and halted at the sight of his sharp claws getting closer to her baby fair skin. Xena smiled at the hesitation and closed the distance.

Quivering, the man sank to his knees as years of emotions rushed out of their cage in a choked sob. Looking up at his tiny warrior, her eyes looked as steady as ever as she observed him without judgement. One final hesitation surfaced before he gave up the fight and went with the current. His massive arms swept her off her feet and into his warm, enveloping embrace… and with her he stayed.

~Fioza Leigh

Thank you for reading! Please comment below and let me know what you like/ didn’t like and share your thoughts! See you next time!

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Best of Friends– Flash Fiction

“Seriously?” Vivian answered the door. “I extend a peace offering and this is the best you can give? What even is it, a fucking Costco cake?”

“Well excuse me for not knowing what you’d like! I’m usually too busy saving my own neck in our encounters! Or was I supposed to stop as you had a knife at my throat and ask if you prefer chocolate or vanilla?” asked Darryl. 

“Ok, that’s enough you two!” Aubrey chimed in. “You’ll have to excuse him Viv, he’s not used to being civil.”

“You’re telling me.”

“Excuse me?” Darryl said, “I’m right here, you know?”

“Hmm? What was that? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of your own arrogance” said Aubrey.

“Oh I’m the one who’s arrogant? Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

“I thought you two were getting along?” said Vivian.

The two looked at each other. “Yeah, we are. He knows I’m kidding,” said Aubrey.

“If you say so. Come on in, let’s have some of that cake it looks delicious!”

“What the hell,” said Darryl.

 

~Fioza Leigh

 

Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

Comatose– Flash Fiction

Aida could feel the slow unhinging of her jaw and the ease that overcame her muscles as they slowly melted toward the soft cushion of warming sand at her back.

The rhythmic hum of the waves lapping gently nudged the thoughts of her day further and further from her conscious mind.

Called to respond, her eyes flapped open- struggling against the glaring orb directly above her in a fleeting and futile attempt to resist slipping into the numb embrace of relaxation- just as they always had and felt obligated to since she had started this work nearly twelve years ago.

With a deep sigh, the air wafted the familiar scent of warmth and fish and the soothing taste of salt to her body. 

Delivering the final numbing blow- her mind succumbed to the spiraling grip of sleep.

One last thought remained, echoing like a taunt: I wonder… could they feel the pain?

 

~Fioza Leigh

 

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

 

Flash Fiction– Revolutions

         Revolutions

 

          It was an unseasonably cold morning for May. Snow stood– frozen… suspended in time as long as the boy’s thoughts hung in his head. Both were cold to the touch but unable to be thawed away. The winter that eclipsed his heart had gone on for much longer than a season. How long exactly, he could no longer remember; he had kept count once in that journal– the one his mother gave him– but his father had not liked it and burned it as feed for the fire. Keepsakes from his mother made Atticus uncomfortable– they always had. The boy stared ahead, his pace halting ever so slightly before he drew a sharp, unnatural breath and shook his head from side to side as if willing the thoughts to fall from the walls that caged them.

          The sound of crunching sand and stone caused his heart to flutter even higher as he traversed to meet the curious gaze of the gruff man. The man whistled a command to his horses, willing them to bring the stagecoach to a halt.

         “Fixin’ to go somewhere?” the man asked, eyes searching the boy up and down. The boy only bit his lip and averted his eyes in response. A moment passed before he started shifting his weight nervously and sneaking glances in the direction he had come from. “I’ll tell ya what,” the man said “I could really use some help unloadin’ those boxes in the back once I get to the docks. Would ya mind lending me a hand?”

          The boy stared silently for a minute, meeting the man’s gaze with an intensity that caused a shiver to run down his spine. The man waited patiently, allowing him to weigh his options. One more sidelong glance down the road outstretched behind them and the boy hurriedly hid himself away in the back of the cart.

          “What’s yer name?” asked the man.

          “Don’t got one” responded the boy. “What’s yers?”

          “Gabriel” he replied, turning his head to meet the boy’s. Not knowing what else to do, he smiled and fought the tears from showing in his eyes.

          I like that name, thought the boy. He would adopt it as his own in the life that lied ahead. The stagecoach wheels began to turn, pushing the dirt and gravel further and further away with every revolution.

~Fioza Leigh

 

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

Begin Again- Flash Fiction

         Begin Again 

 

          Stupid cat, thought Akila as she glared glossy eyed at the last thing her father’s hands had held. She had screamed at him that night… screamed at him for the thought that this plush, stuffed, fat, cotton thing could possibly fill the hole left by her other dad. How could he possibly think this inanimate toy could replace the role of his now ex-lover? 

 

He had to hate her for it. That was the reason she was alone now, right? Getting juggled between aunts and uncles and friends of other relatives who would debate if she would be more happiness or more burden if added to their day-to-day lives? Now she sat in her uncle’s house– her words echoing… ringing in her ears. Just like the slam of the door that followed that night– and the shot of the gun that would tear through her house and Eurin’s head the day after that. 

 

          I wish you weren’t my father, she had said. And just like that, he was no longer. He shut the door on her… and on Eurin. And now Eurin was dead and it all her fault. It’s all my fault… it’s all my fault… it’s all my… 

 

          Ding! Ding! The sound of the doorbell shot through her mind, cutting the images of what shot through her father’s from view. She sniffed, running to the mirror in a frantic effort to make her face appear like a more normal, less swollen version of itself but soon gave up. She swung the door open with her best attempt of a smile only to realize she was putting on a show for no one. 

 

Instead, covering the tauntingly cheerful welcome mat, sat a very plain and simple dark oak box the size of her hand. She leaned over and picked it up, examining it for a note or engraving– any clue to where it had come from– but found nothing. Frowning, she took one last glance up and shut the door behind her. 

 

She continued to turn the box over that night as she sat by her bedside, opening it and closing it but still finding nothing. Confused, she turned out the lights, lay in bed, and turned over. 

 

Immediately the thoughts came rushing back. 

 

          If I hadn’t said that papa wouldn’t be gone. 

          I didn’t mean what I said… I’m such a bitch… he was perfect and now he’s gone. 

          They’re both gone… it’s all my fault… 

          It’s all my fault… 

          … 

          It’s all my fault. 

 

A rumbling seized the house, rolling deep and low… threatening like a hungry beast. Akila sat up in her bed and looked out the window for lightning but found nothing. She tiptoed down the hall, looking to see if anything was out of place but again nothing. Uneasy, she crawled back into bed. 

 

          If I wasn’t such a horrible daughter, my dads would both be here and I could snuggle with them right now. 

          Maybe papa wouldn’t have hated himself if he hadn’t adopted me. 

 

A schism tore across the ceiling of Akila’s bedroom, revealing a deep indigo 

sky, dripping through the space like blood. 

 

How did this happen? Akila thought. What did I do to cause this? 

 

The far side of the bedroom collapsed in on itself, narrowly missing the bed where she sat. Debris and rubble fell, threatening to destroy everything in its path. Horrified, she ran. 

 

I destroy EVERYTHING! 

            Why in the world would my uncle want me? Now I’ve ruined his house! 

 

Another wall crumbled, leaving the front door standing alone. 

 

I don’t bring anything good to this world! 

 

The foundations shook. 

 

I hate myself! 

 

The ground broke loose from under her. 

 

This world would be better off without me in it! 

 

The rubble crumbled until there was nothing left. 

 

Just as she was about to hit the ground, she jolted awake. Sweat filled her sheets as she gasped hollow breaths to stop the quaking. The room, the house, the walls were all intact. And still on the floor next to the bed laid the small oaken box. 

 

Akila picked it up and turned it over once more. Nothing had changed, that is until she looked inside. In the space lied the dust of drywall, a container of Spackle, and a putty knife. She looked up at the ceiling and found a small crack had begun to form above her bed. Slowly, she climbed up, took out the putty knife and started to fix the damage she had done.  

 

Photo by Ksenya Drozd on Unsplash

~ Fioza Leigh