Flash Fiction Challenge: Inspiration From Unreal Looking Real Places

Ok, so this is another piece of flash fiction written for a challenge put up at Chuck Wendig’s blog terribleminds. I decided to get this one done early instead of last minute. This week’s challenge was to pick a photo from among this amazing set of 24 that you should definitely check out to be the inspiration of our bits of flash. These photos were all of real places that look fantastical and I think I could write a flash piece for each one. I just might eventually. For this challenge though I picked the photo of Mt. Roraima, Venezuela. I immediately thought – awesome place for a Korean-influenced wuxia battle with a hint of Lovecraft. Yeah my brain’s a bit weird, but to be fair – I’ve been thinking of combining these elements for awhile now – this challenge and that picture just gave me the push to actually do it.

The Story (Currently Untitled)

Mists and clouds surrounded the flat peak like an island in the sky. Only one figure rose higher than the moss and lichen on the barren mountaintop. Choi Eunae stood at the peak’s edge reflecting.

Keeping a hand on her sword’s hilt she strode purposefully forward until she stood in its center. The winds rose loud around her and whipped her long, straight black hair free of it’s simple tie to fly wildly about her. Eunae ignored the wind, and her hair, and the brilliant glare of sunlight reflected off the tops of clouds. Bowing her head, she said a quiet prayer and drew her sword. She held it with her left hand, resting point down in a patch of moss, and pulled the first small pouch out of her robe with her right.

Shaking it open she called out loudly, so the wind could not steal her words, “Boshagar I call you in the name of death.” So saying she flung the first pouch’s salt about her before letting it fall to her feet and taking out a second pouch.

“Boshagar I call you in the name of entropy.” From this pouch she flung red rust, gathered from fallen soldiers’ armour.

Holding final pouch she paused. Father forgive me. “Boshagar I call you in the name of all who have come before me.” A mixture of her father’s ashes and incense spilt out of the little silk bag.

Eunae scored a line across the rock at her feet with her blade, turned and began walking away. At three steps the wind started to die down. At five the wind stopped entirely. At seven the clouds began to roil. At nine they climbed into the sky around the peak, turning the bright sunlight into a dim twilight glow. At ten she turned to watch reality tear.

A crack appeared in the air on the other side of her marked line. It glowed purple and a sound like thunder broke over the peak as it opened slightly. Two sets of seven clawed fingers worked out of the crack and long tendrils of something darted through the small opening. The boom of the initial opening was replaced by a ripping sound that made Eunae’s teeth hurt as the two monstrous hands pushed the crack open wide and Boshagar stepped through.

Eunae felt a plummeting in her stomach when she gazed upon the demon. Boshagar was malformed in every way. Its body was lumpy and twisted and had a wet sheen to it. Seven eyes it had and no two lined up as a pair. Along with a general shape that mocked the form of humanity it had its collection of tendrils rising from its back. They seemed almost cuttlefish like. It blasted out a scream and when it spoke it sounded like two voices coming from one body. The voices were in sync, but not harmony, and the sound of it threatened to make her nauseous. One was a shrill screeching, the other a resonant booming that she could feel in her chest.

“Where is the sacrifice?” Boshagar asked.

“You’ll get none today, demon,” Eunae said.

“The price for failing to complete the ritual is your life and soul, girl.” Boshagar lifted a leg to take a step toward her, but stopped when Eunae flicked up her sword. There was a fire growing in her eyes, burning away the fear that should have been there.

“Cross my line at your peril foul one. You’ll get no sacrifice today. Today you bind yourself to a promise. Return to your realm, take your lesser demons with you and do not return again, until the end of all things.”

For a few moments there was not a sound as the witch-warrior and the demon lord faced one another. And then Boshagar laughed and the peak shook. “Funny girl.”

“Your binding promise Boshagar. Nothing less will save you.”

All seven eyes glared at Eunae and Boshagar shook its head. It raised its misshapen foot again and stepped over the line she had made.

Eunae screamed a battle cry and rushed forward, her sword held wide in one hand and her hair flying free behind her. Sword against claw they fought. With a spinning cut Eunae sliced the ends off of three tendrils. They raged back and forth, neither giving up a step until finally the supernatural endurance of Boshagar tilted the advantage in his favour. When she slowed the demon lashed out and cut deep with a seven clawed hand. Eunae staggered and fell to her knees. One hand held her sword, the other pressed her wounds and dark blood pooled in her palm.

“It’s over girl. Life and soul, you are mine.”

“My life perhaps, my soul never.” Eunae grasped her sword’s blade with her hand full of blood and painted it red.

Boshagar loomed over her. “Pitiful.”

“A final quenching. I give it my blood and we are one. I am Choi Eunae. This is Jojeonja, forged in the year, the month, the day and the hours of the tiger. It is saingeom.”

Boshagar roared and raised up to strike a final blow, but Eunae jumped to her feet with her last energy and drove the blade into the demon.

“We are one. We are your doom,” she said and fell back as Boshagar screamed. Her blood on the sword burst into blue and green flames that raced over Boshagar and consumed him. Jojeonja fell to clatter on the rock beside her. The wind returned and blew away the cloudwall. The sun shone on the peak and the sunlight on her face returned some warmth to her. Eunae blinked away tears. She thought of laying there and dieing peacefully attended by the sun and wind, but duty compelled her to live, if she could. So she began the painful process of binding her wounds before setting out to struggle back down the mountain to the village where help could be found.

The End

If you liked this a list of all my freely available fiction can be found here.

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