My response to Flash! Friday’s forty-fifth prompt (the above picture). Two hundred words was the limit (with a ten-word leeway). This one was tough! I hope you like it.
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‘Saving Theo’ (209 words)
Gretchen found a foothold and pushed herself up. Theo greeted her at the summit. Had he been waiting? Forgetting the stakes, Gretchen drew him in for an embrace.
‘Theo! I’ve missed you!’
Theo tentatively licked her cheek. Then his ears drooped and he pulled away. Gretchen looked up. Ursula the Witch stood across the way, her wrinkled face stretched into a grin. Theo cowered behind his master.
‘Child,’ said Ursula, ‘you’ve come.’
‘I said I would.’
Ursula smirked. ‘Do you have it?’
Gretchen reached into her pocket.
Ursula beamed. ‘Bring it to me.’
Gretchen held out the stone, allowing Ursula to take it. Theo barked in protest.
‘There,’ said Gretchen. ‘Now let us go.’
Ursula closed her fist around the stone. ‘How much do you know about this dog?’
Gretchen glowered. ‘I know he’s loyal. I know he returned alone after my father …’
Ursula held the stone to the light. ‘You think I killed him.’
Gretchen’s fingers grazed the handle of her dagger. ‘He went missing on this very trail!’
Ursula frowned. ‘You insolent shit. You’re not worth saving.’
This was Gretchen’s cue. She gripped Theo by the collar and made a break for it.
Ursula shook her head. Tonight, the malevolent Animagus, Theodore, would claim another victim.