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Mar 2, 2013
A Frightful Night - All audiences - Flash Fiction Friday
I had a bit of trouble before I started working on this because I didn't really know what to do with the prompt "Fairy Tale with a Twist".
I hope you'll enjoy the read.
For the first time in years, they dared to venture out of the house and into the forest. It was impressive and frightening to them, dark and powerful because of the threat that lived within. The threat that loomed over their lives, commanding and overwhelming. Unspoken and unseen but very real. Too often already had they seen others venture into the forest without ever returning. But Edward was certain they would return. He had prepared well, the bag of breadcrumbs on his hip was full and the long dagger in its sheath, sharp. He would leave a trail for them to follow home and if any trouble arose, he would defend Jessica, his little sister, with his life.
Many long hours of handling the dagger left him with enough confidence.
He could and would protect his sister.
Jessica was scared, but she did not want her big brother to know. If he could do it, so could she. She was a big girl now. If Edward wasn’t scared, then she wasn’t scared either. She would make her big brother proud of her.
Finally, he would be proud of her.
She wanted, no needed, him to be proud of her, so she sucked up her fear and followed him out of the house. Close behind, just half a step really, she followed as he led the way through the garden, down the path and to the forest. The big, dark, looming forest. It grew taller and darker with every step she took, but Edward would protect her. She knew it. She believed it.
Edward would protect her.
At the outer edge of the forest, Edward stopped and looked at his little sister.
“Are you scared?”
“NO!” Jessica yelped as if in pain.
It made Edward grin.
“Then why are you clutching my hand?”
She didn’t even realize she was and let go quickly, a blush rising to her cheeks.
“Don’t worry, little sis, nothing will happen to us.”
“I know.” she said.
At least she thought she said it even though no sound came across her lips.
Maybe she shouldn’t have agreed after all.
Edward dropped a first breadcrumb on the path and stepped over it.
She followed hesitantly, her eyes glued to the tiny crumb on the immense vastness of the forest path.
They would never see it.
She panicked and ran after him, clutching his hand once more.
“I’m scared, Eddy.”
She did not need to tell him, he knew.
Her voice trembled and her hands were sweaty.
That alone told him how scared she was.
The way she called him Eddy made it even worse.
Eddy, teddy, teddy bear, big cuddly teddy bear.
“Don’t worry, Jessi.”
She would not let go.
“Here, you drop the crumbs.”
“Maybe you should go back.”
If she wanted to go back, she had to let go of him and walk through the forest alone. Looking back, she could barely see the edge of the trees.
She wouldn’t let go.
She reached a hand into the bag of crumbs and dropped a few.
“Hey, not so many. Just one is enough and not too close together.”
“We’ll never find the way.”
“We’ll find the way.” Edward promised.
He tightened his grip on her hand and continued walking.
Every few steps, he felt her reach into the bag and drop a crumb.
The forest grew darker around them and Edward felt his sister’s fear crawl into him. He refused to let it stop them.
He was going to prove there was nothing to be afraid of. How could he do that if he let Jessica’s fear into his own heart?
“There’s something in the forest.” Jessica declared suddenly, gripping his hand tighter yet.
“No, there isn’t.”
“Yes, there is. Look, the breadcrumbs are gone.”
He turned back so suddenly he almost lost his balance.
The breadcrumbs were gone.
He couldn’t see a single one.
Jessica’s fear was now his own and he felt his heart pound furiously in his chest.
“How will we find our way back?” Jessica asked in alarm.
“There is no way back!”
The harsh, raspy voice startled them and Edward’s dagger was in his hands before he even realized he was reaching for it.
“What are you going to do with that little thing?”
“I’m not afraid of you.” Edward called, the tremor in his voice and the trembling of his outstretched arm betraying his words.
“I think you are, little boy.”
Suddenly, she was there.
A dark shadow with fiery eyes. Her hooked nose and evil snarl visible under the large, black, pointy hat. Her hands protruded like spiky claws from the long, black robe she wore and behind her, a black cat licked its chops.
Jessica screamed in horror and she laughed at the fear she caused.
It was an evil laugh, echoed through the forest and coming back at them from all sides.
“Come here, little girl.”
“Stop!” Edward shrieked, “Get away from her!”
He lashed out and – more to his surprise than to hers – actually cut her with his dagger.
She hissed in pain but did not pull away. Instead, she struck with her bleeding hand, leaving a sticky trail on his cheek and across his mouth.
Edward fell to the ground and curled up in fear as the shadow fell over him, threatening to swallow him whole.
“Are you afraid now, little boy?”
Her hand hit him again, leaving more blood in his hair, but then she turned away.
“Come here, little girl.”
She grabbed Jessica’s arm, making her scream again, feeling the bony fingers dig into her skin.
“There isn’t much to eat, but the two of you will have to do.”
She turned again, finding Edward no longer cowering on the forest floor.
Instead, he stood tall, a wicked snarl on his blood covered lips.
“Leave my sister alone.” he commanded.
“Your sister is my dinner and you will be dessert.”
She took one step and her arm came forward.
He bared his fangs and the fire in his eyes grew to match hers.
“What are you?” she shrieked in fear.
He leapt at her, sinking his fangs into her throat.
Twilight descended over the forest as he sucked the life out of her.