Flash Fiction Fridays: The Free-for-All Draws to a Close

Posted by KAREN WOJCIK BERNER


It has been a great six weeks, hasn't it? My thanks to all of the Free-for-All contributors for their fantastic stories.

Loosening up the word count requirement has been so successful, I am making it permanent. From now on, Flash Fiction Fridays stories can be 1,000 words or less, which I think will encourage more writers to participate.

The Free-for-All might be ending, but don't forget to come back next week for Nightmare month in October.

And now, a wonderful piece by Cleveland W. Gibson.


Remembering Blue Eyes
By Cleveland W. Gibson

I feel sick with excitement as I gun my trusty white steed into a frantic canter.

A curse to all Roman emperors comes to my lips when I hear the villagers to the left and right of me chant, "JARGE! JARGE!"

The sword, in my hand, is ready for use. I wave it above my head. What an act, especially when I'm petrified, not a real hero.

A black rock looms up ahead. It is menacing. I see a fair-haired maiden in a white flimsy robe tied to the rock. She screams in terror as she strains at her bonds. I follow her terrified gaze, dwell on the raw fear in those beautiful blue eyes.

There is the awesome dot in the sky with flames and smoke trailing behind it. I watch it. The dot rapidly drops down to the black rock to confront me. It is the dragon.

I fear nobody, but sweat sprouts on my face and hands when it rushes in to make contact. My horse panics, but I urge it on. I spank it with my sword. Nay, goad it. On! On! Nothing is going to stop me. Nothing can! Nothing can!

My sword greets the beast across the throat. I stab again, halting it in its tracks. How I love the thrust, the edge of a sharp sword in my hand!

Now I experience the cloying envelope of blood spilling down my arm. Dragon’s blood is always so different, heavy. Hot, even as it is dying it shoots flames towards me, but I have already released the fair maiden and set her up in front on my horse. Naturally, I become stunned by her inexplicable beauty, her rich golden hair full of glittering lights and those fantastic, fabulous blue eyes.

Oh, such blue such sea-deep tender blue eyes enough to surely melt this soldier’s heart.

**********************************************************************************

Today follows yesterday; today finds this old, retired mercenary suffering from dementia, living those last few days in a retirement home for ex- military campaigners.

I daydream a lot; I know the truth of how the mind can make me forget but with a savage vengeance, too many wonderful memories. The clang of service medals on my frail chest mean so little to me. Though I wonder about them a lot of the time. I ponder...

But my experience against the dragon is the absolute treasure I have captured in detail by writing it down in my diary each year.

Surprisingly enough I don’t remember being decorated for any brave action against the beast. And by rights it deserves a double entry in my diary. But the burning question remains: I don’t know where the medals came from. Perhaps, I muse. Perhaps, I agonize.

**********************************************************************************

I copy the words from one diary into the next. Then read the entry over and over again. So many times. I do this every year, to me it a lifeline to hope.

I try to stir up something in the magazine box I label my memory, but I fear real damage there. I know because of the tears slipping slowly down my face, finding the hollows in my cheeks. I’m also crying on the inside. Yet nobody sees.

In the mirror I look, at the old face my hair shot with grey and those spider lines around tired blue eyes. Those eyes, the key to my soul in tantalizing blue color, fascinates me. Such a haunting color.

My diary; it holds a key to the past. Yeah and my future sanity. But internally, I feel a struggle as fierce as any encounter with the enemy. Still the conflict goes on. Mentally and physically I am exhausted, yet I must try to cope with life.

My main regret is when I close the book I forget much of what I have told you. It's closed now...Help! Help me!

Why does everything seem to dim? Why? Oh, why? It's as if it were not very important. But my heart sings, "It is. It is, so very important."

**********************************************************************************

"Grampy George!" The children cry. "We've come to see you! Happy Christmas." All around I accept the greetings from the faces, young faces of my cherished grandchildren. "We love you!"

I talk to them. I am desperate to remember all their names.

It is so difficult when there's Mark, June, Tracy, Stephen and Alice. Such a lot of names, but I try. I really make an effort to identify each little person. Love what I see.

Suddenly as I look, I see they all have sea-blue eyes. It triggers off a distant memory but what? My diary holds a clue but what? It is closed, on the table away from me. I look at it. I, the old soldier, shiver expressively. I dread the thought of opening it one day to find nothing inside. Have I lost the plot? My reason?

I think very hard making lines crease my forehead and face. Did I fight the Dragon?

Perhaps. Did I rescue the girl and marry her? Perhaps.

Dementia, maybe, but I guess I'm always going to be remembering blue eyes.



Cleveland W. Gibson is the author of Silver Wolf and Only the Best, both available for Kindle e-readers. He was born in colonial India in an atmosphere of colour, mystery and intrigue. In the UK, he worked in the government, trained as a life guard and was a road race director for over ten years. Since taking up writing, he has published over 200 short stories, poems and articles in more than eighty-five countries. His current project is a fantasy novel, House of the Skull Drum.

Comments

Beverly Diehl said…
Who can fail to love a guy who slays a dragon? Very interesting progression here, and I loved that the grandchildren have blue eyes.
Kelly Hashway said…
I like how each section works like it's own story, too. Nicely done.
Interesting story, isn't it? Thanks for your comments, Beverly, Kelly and angel011.
Cleveland said…
Beverly
Many thanks for reading my flash fiction. I'm glad you enjoyed the read. Mind I'm more glad I could write this message to you. I've had trouble. But now I might be able to post and type more than one line. Don't ask what happened . Has to be fun I suppose but there we are.
Cleveland
Cleveland said…
Kelly thanks for reading. And if you enjoyed reading each section then I' pleased. In case you ask I have blue eyes. Thought I'd toss that in.
Best
Cleveland
Cleveland said…
Angel1011
Thank you for that nice thought.It is good to know angels like to read.
Best
Cleveland
Cleveland said…
Hi Karen
I wanted to say many thanks for posting my story. I read it and liked the way it appeared on the screen. I haven't been able to write a comment before because my computer wouldn't let me.Long story. But with a bit of luck I'm sending you this message. I read the flash fiction involving Gordon and Pippi but could I pass a comment? Oh no. But now I guess I can.
Best wishes and thanks
Cleveland

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