Writing flash fiction is a great way to keep the creativity muscles sharp and avoid boredom by bouncing around between words and characters like a Tigger with a pen after eating a bowl of sugar, but the constant shifting from one world or character to the next has the unfortunate side effect of never letting you spend enough time in a single world to really explore it or its characters. It has been a lot of fun these past N^something weeks writing about different themes and situations, but this Tigger is tired of bouncing and has decided to try something new.
What if I continued writing flash fiction, but instead of changing the world, characters, and everything else each week, I remain in a single world and tell a continuing story about a consistent group of characters? I’ve never written a serial before, so it could be a lot of fun.
Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
Shattered Irons: Part 1
The great floating mountain peak above cast its shadow down across the valley below as the sun disappeared behind it. Foren stretched out on his back in the soft grass, inhaling deeply of its sweet scent as he pillowed his hands behind his head. Somewhere above him, a muted chittering sound told him that Alfons had woken up. He yawned and closed his eyes, fully intending to let the slow, rhythmic creaking of the massive chain tethering the airborne mountain lull him to sleep.
He smiled as a gust of wind and heavy thump signaled Alfons’s return to the ground. Beggar’d be looking to get fed, but there were naps to get on and Foren was never one to pass up an excuse for a snooze, however brief, and noonshade seemed as good a time as any.
But then, nobody ever mistook horsebats for patient creatures. Unlike their miniscule bat cousins, horsebats adored people and were raised alongside their riders as mount, pet, and best friend all rolled into one. Before Foren even managed to skirt the edge of unconsciousness, Alfons had crawled over top of him, chittering and whuffling at his jacket in search of his aftershade treat.
Foren feigned sleep and pretended to ignore the beast, but the dam holding back his laughter cracked, crumbled, and finally broke by the time Alfons nudged his face with his nose, chittering with utmost insistency and puffing insect-smelling breath all over him. With a grin, he opened his eyes and scratched behind Alfons’s ears, eliciting a contented whine before the horsebat learned too far into the touch and flopped to the ground beside him in a tangle of wings and fur.
Still chuckling, Foren rolled over and scratched up and down his friend’s hairy, exposed belly. “Let’s see how you like it, huh? Not so nice being pinned down with an ugly face staring down at you, is it?”
For his part, Alfons wriggled and chittered in joy. Foren knew all the best spots to scratch after having been together for the better part of twenty years, when both of them were little more than babies. After several minutes of wrestling and scratching, he pulled back, breathless with laughter as he reached into an inner jacket pocket. “I know what you want. How do a few sugared crickets sound?”
At the merest mention of the treat, Alfons flipped back onto his belly and scampered up to his friend. His mouth still moved as if it was chittering, but in his excitement, the sound had risen higher than Foren could hear. He crouched low, ready to pounce as Foren withdrew the first treat, then sprang upward as it was tossed high in the air.
The force of the wind generated by the beating of Alfons’s wings pushed Foren onto his back, but he did not miss the view of Alfons snatching the cricket out of the air and greedily downing it without ever changing course. One after another, he tossed crickets in random directions into the air, and each one was gobbled down by Alfons without either cricket or horsebat touching the ground.
Once the sixth and final cricket was consumed, Foren relaxed, fully intending to return to his noonshade nap as Alfons wheeled and dove and frolicked in the air above. After a few moments of watching the play, when the first fuzziness of sleep began to creep over his mind, an urgent cry from above roused him to full consciousness.
High above, Alfons was circling a spot on the chain and crying out to alert him to the danger. Foren’s heart sank when he saw what had upset the horsebat.
The side of one of the chain’s links had broken, and that link was being slowly pulled apart by the force of the mountain above. Interminable minutes passed before it finally snapped, leaving him helpless as the mountain began drifting skyward, trailing the upper part of the chain as the lower part thundered to the ground in front of him.
So, what did you think? How do you feel about exploring this new (as yet unnamed) world with me? I have no idea of where the story is headed, but that’s the fun. We’ll travel together and see just what kind of trouble this pair can get into. Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to share with friends, family, your grandma, your grandma’s dog (or cat; we don’t judge here), and anyone else you think might enjoy it.
Thanks for reading!