Flash Fiction No. 35


Run Rabbit Run

Panting breaths scraped between the sounds of shrubs smashing underfoot. Hurried feet pounded the damp earth, attempting to avoid gnarled tree roots and amputated boughs. Eyes flashed wild and white in the splintered moonlight.

Faster. Must go faster.

Lungs burned without release. The echo of voices haunted her on the breeze. Twigs and thorns scratched at her hands. Undergrowth crackled not far behind her, lifting her heart into her throat. She spun to see what it was, her ankle twisting with a painful cry.

Air ripped from her lungs as her back ploughed into the hard soil. Blood rushed into her face sprinkling her vision with prickles of coloured light. She heaved in a couple of breaths until she could push herself on again, crashing through trees and bushes.

It was too much to think about and too much to deal with all in one go. How could they tell her that after so many years?

Something hard slammed into her stomach, catapulting her forward onto her hands. Soil exploded beneath her fingers and face, muddying her like a wild child. Large hands grabbed her shoulders, hauling her up. She dangled like a doll. The ground, such a long way down, wasn’t the reason for her resounding gulp.

A smile spread like a scythe, cutting across the shadowed face with gleaming white atrocity. “Hello princess…” The lisp hissing between his lips chilled her bones.

“You’ve got it wrong,” she wobbled. “It’s not–”

“True?” He grinned deeper, deadlier, the shadows cutting through his features like a knife. “We can test that, princess…”

She shivered. The red gleam in his eyes set fire to her nerves. There was something about him that was altogether unholy. Instinct screamed that she had to get away, but he was offering her the chance to find out the truth.

“Don’t you want to know the truth?”

She hesitated, still dangling from the grip of his fingers in the moonlight. “How?”

His tongue slithered across his lips. “I thought you would never ask, princess…” A blade snapped open in his free hand, drawing towards her face. She struggled and screamed. “Hold still, child! I need to taste your blood to know.”

“You’re going to kill me,” her whimper slipped out.

“As delectable as that would be… I have my orders to bring you alive.”

Questions of bluffs and double bluffs fluffed up her brain as she shivered in his grasp like a trapped rabbit. How could she trust him? How could she trust anyone? She’d been told so many untruths and now her whole world was falling apart.

Those people back there in her house, they weren’t her parents. They said she wasn’t even human. How could that be?

“My master wants me to bring you,” the wraith hissed with his lisping breath. “We need to do the taste test, princess.” He grinned, tapping the cool tip of the blade against the slim arc of her throat.

She trembled, nodding.

The cut was quick, but his taste test was too long for her liking. He pulled back, leering with foul breath and eager, scarlet eyes. “Yes. You’re one of us. Are you ready to take your throne of blood, Princess?”

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