Sunday, December 1, 2013

Flash Fiction Challenge: 200 Words At A Time, Part Two

The following is my contribution to the Flash Fiction Challenge: 200 Words At A Time, Part Two, presented by Chuck Wendig. I didn't create anything for the 1st part of this challenge, but have picked up a story started by Whit Richardson with his post Wendig’s exquisite corpse-esque Flash Fiction challenge. Whit Richardson's section is in italics.

The accursed shoreline sat in the hazy distance, the beach from this distance a delicate piece of golden thread. Beyond, a few rolling hills of verdant forest were visible before the land was lost in a low, thick fog that sat like a cushion over the land.

Jorick couldn’t see them, but he knew the mountains were there. The mountains, the source of his suffering, the reason he was here, trapped on this fat tub of a ship, exiled from the land.

Both hands gripped the rough, sun-scarred wood of the ship’s taffrail as he looked at the land.

He thought of his mother and father, both lying dead on the floor of their home. He had found them there. There was nothing he could have done. It had all happened so fast. The image had flashed through his mind countless, painful times over the past two months.

He dropped his head between his shoulders and listened to waves slap the ship’s hull and the creak of its bones. A breeze tussled his chestnut hair and it was fresh, salty sea air.

“Jorick,” a man’s voice said from behind him. “The doctor needs you. It’s happened again.”

Jorick took a lungful of fresh air and turned to descend into the stinking belly of the ship to rejoin the hundreds of people exiled along with him.


The exiles crowded below deck seemed to absorb as much light as air, blocking portholes, the few oil lamps and even the light from the deck prisms. Jorick moved through the dark stink of the hold toward amidships, where he found doctor Mahkoi wrapping one of three bodies in a blanket. “How many is this?” he asked.

“Seventeen here, ten more on the Morningstar. I’ll make rounds through the rest of the fleet by tomorrow to see if it has spread any further.” He moved over to the next body, a young child whose features has been so distorted by the fever that it was impossible to tell if it was a boy or a girl. People had moved well away from the bodies, even the weepers, that Jorick presumed were family, kept their distance.

“And if it has?” Jorick took one of the blankets and started to wrap the last body, an old man with a row of the red splotches running across his left cheek

“In these conditions a hell of a lot of people are going to get sick. A fairly high percentage of those will die.” The doctor finished wrapping the child.

“What can we do?”

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