This is the first in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.
The Orchard, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 2nd December 2012
Word count: 1,000
Theme: Supernatural, werewolves, survivalist
Tony sat in the orchard catching his breath, shivering in the cold night. He remembered back when he was here only a year ago, when he had fallen out of the tree and broke his leg.
For six months he had to use a crutch to get around. It had been a lovely sunny day then, with little else to care about in those halcyon days of summer holidays, and the camaraderie of casual acquaintance. When it happened, it proved painful and embarrassing, he climbed as he high as he dare, and then higher still on a dare. If he completed the dare, there was a promise of a kiss from Sarah Dalstein, a girl of particular beauty in this out of the way little village in Suffolk. However, falling and breaking his leg had dashed his hopes. Everyone was very concerned of course, and then the ambulance came and took him away. When he returned to the village, that his family spent every summer in, he found himself to be the butt of far too many jokes.
Now, here he was running for his life through the very same orchard, the wounds in his side weren’t nearly as painful as the broken leg, but it didn’t feel that much different. Only now it wasn’t only himself that had fallen, it was the whole village to a hoard of werewolves.
“Come on!” he shouted at himself hoarsely, trying to force himself up.
“Hawoooooo!” he heard in the distance.
They were on to him again, this time he didn’t need to shout at himself, their howls were enough to set him going. He staggered deeper into the orchards trying to keep himself hidden, yet instinctively knowing that these wolf creatures that were spreading across the whole of Britain would be like their name sakes, fast, deadly, and keen hunters.
“I’m not giving in,” he told himself and carried on.
He spun as heard something behind him, a whooshing sound, and maybe something cracked. He needed to hide, somewhere they wouldn’t find him. Truth was this was the limit of his knowledge of this areas geography. The village, its orchard, and his father’s second home here in the country.
“Home,” he groaned regretfully. He had run away when the windows were smashing, and the home was filled with the rank smell of death, and animals. His father had screamed at him to run as he waved a golf club around, keeping the animals at bay.
And he did run, feeling like a coward. He had sped through the village, the animals all around. As he went past the post office, an arm, no blade coated paw fired out the window and clipped his side. He rolled, but he didn’t stop, he ignored the pain in his side, the scrapes on his arm and face as he’d hit the ground, he just ran.
He thought, by the team he’d reached the orchard he had gotten away, but now, the sounds behind him were getting stronger. He could hear them breathing.
There was nowhere to go, he realised. He was like a lamb to the slaughter. He looked for a weapon, anything at all.
He grabbed a branch, and hid behind a tree. Then he waited.
The waiting lasted an eternity, and then suddenly, there was a crack. It was no more than five feet behind him, to his left. He gripped the stick hard and raised it ready to strike at whatever came past.
Suddenly the stick was yanked from his hands from behind, as he turned to see what had happened, from his left a huge body leapt and tackled him to the ground.
It was two men, he realised, with hope. Then as he took a moment to survey the men, he noticed the smell, and their eyes – eyes of animals, of deadly predators. “Werewolves,” he muttered realising the truth of the name uttered on the news.
Well he wasn’t going to die without a fight, he was no sheep. He heaved the one on top of, unbalancing and sending him rolling to the ground, and then he leapt to his feet, his claws ready, and he could feel the rumble of his snarl as he turned to face the one that had stolen the stick he was going to defend himself with.
“There you are,” the stick holding man said, “We’ve been waiting for you.”
Tony looked down at himself, he hadn’t imagined it, his hands were claws, and hair was growing like crazy from his arms. Crazy, maybe that’s what he was.
“Now, don’t be afraid, pup,” the man said his twisted smile morphing before my very eyes into a snout. “You are one of us now,” he said as his whole body followed suit.
Tony’s did the same, and suddenly he was struck by the strangest feeling, he was on four legs and it felt comfortable. It felt exciting, like being at the very top of the roller coaster before flying down.
Whereas it had hurt to run before, now he set off at a quick pace, and though it was sometimes awkward he just followed the ground and it led him.
It led him away from his attackers. He bounded back down the orchard, trying to put distance between himself and his attackers, but getting distracted by obstacles, enjoying the feeling of his now animal tuned body that adapted to the land, which could fly seemingly forever and didn’t seem to be winded.
His enhanced hearing warned him of something following behind, he dared to look back and saw two wolves, a brown and a white one chasing him down.
That’s when he tripped, and was suddenly human again as he came crashing down, sprawling in the dirt.
The other wolves were there moments after. The one that had spoken the brown wolf morphed back into human.
“That was foolish,” he said, “Tobias finish him.”
Tobias didn’t need telling twice, he leapt at the winded human’s neck.
Nice little werewolf story to start off. I like the idea of werewolves not actually being animalistic, but that those who choose to be werewolves choose to be brutal and deadly. Also that it was spreading like an epidemic, which doesn’t say much for us as a species when we seem to eagerly accept the animalistic. Of course my main character doesn’t really even get to consider it, when he runs, he’s running for survival, he doesn’t even consider becoming one really. I deprived him of the choice.
I built this from Story Cubes, I was a bit unsure what to do with an apple, and the teepee became home. However everything’s in there, so I’ll call that a success.
If you enjoyed it, let me know. If not, don’t worry there’s 364 more to go.
|From Daily Flash Fiction Challenge|