My response to Flash! Friday’s fortieth prompt (the above picture). Three hundred words was the limit (with a five-word leeway). Again, I composed this entirely on my phone (harder than it sounds!). To challenge myself, I departed even further from realism, which I suppose you would call my comfort zone.
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Kin (305 Words)
She’s here. I can hardly believe it. I always believed she would return, though her absence these last three hundred years had given me sufficient cause to doubt it.
She grips the handrail. Her knuckles are white. She has crossed this bridge before, but has no memory of it. Why should she? It was her choice to become mortal.
‘Kokoro,’ I say. ‘Welcome.’
She stops, braces, reaches for the staff at her side. Even in this primitive new form, her bravery is unparalleled.
‘Kokoro. It is I, the spirit of–’
She raises her staff. ‘The wise man in my village warned me of your treachery. I know what you are, Forest Spirit. I know what you’re capable of.’
For a moment, I am speechless. ‘It hurts to hear you say that, Kokoro. It is clear the mortals intend to use you for their selfish ends.’
Kokoro taps the planks with the tip of her staff. ‘Enough!’ she shouts. ‘I have come, Forest Spirit, to defend my village. Relinquish the Great Orb, or engage me in mortal combat!’
‘This is madness!’ I cry. ‘We’re family! You were born a spirit, like me. Don’t you remember?’
Kokoro lowers her staff a few inches. ‘I …’
‘Yes!’ I say. ‘Remember! You and I are kin. The mortals of your village don’t care about you. They wish to destroy me and take the Orb’s power for their own.’
Kokoro begins to cry.
Her lapse is just the opportunity I need. Taking the form of a strong wind, I blow her right off the side of the bridge. Just like last time, she shrieks and plummets to her death.
For their insubordination, I desecrate the mortals’ village. I expect Kokoro will return to challenge me again in another three hundred years. I wonder what form she will take …