Friday, May 25, 2012

And so dissolves Clan Afton

I am linking up with Lightening Flashes at the Anne-Girl's blog! This is a new, monthly blog series in which the Anne-girl gives us a picture and we write a piece of flash fiction. The picture was sweet...my flash fiction was...intimidating. Here it is! I hope you enjoy it in some measure.

The Inspiration:


What came of it:
     "Forget about her, lad. Put her from your wee mind." The young knight's voice came soothing, hushing, close to Eanon's ear.
     Eanon relaxed in the man's arms. He felt same with the low, masculine voice murmuring in his ear and the coarse prickling of the knight's beard pressing through his linen tunic. He might be young, but Eanon felt a glimmer of curiosity mingling with the red-hued fear as the gilded hill rose higher, step by step as the knight carried Eanon down the boulder-pocked slope. What would happen to Aunt Eileen--beautiful, cruel, crazed. She was lying there, crumpled near the fire was Eanon had seen her last before the Red Fury swept through. Another of her drunken passions, Eanon knew, but they never ceased to frighten him. Then the Red-Fury had come with their gruff voices and flashing armor. Stern, they stood beside the table and conferred among themselves.
     Eanon huddled in the corner of the croft behind the stack of peats. They made a pungent-odored fortress shielding him from Eileen and the Red Fury alike.
     "She's dead--the witch," one soldier said.
     "Nay, not dead. She's likely enchanted herself as she has so many others--Bah!" the second speaker spat over Eileen's still form. His spittle popped in the fire.
     "She is a poor, addle-pated woman. Do not disrespect her so." This last voice was measured, gentle, and strong.
     Eanon raised himself, curiosity to see the soldiers, pulling him to his feet. Was Eileen--cruel Aunt Eileen--dead at last from her reckless passions? But a moment later he saw her chapped, cracked lips move. Then she raised herself, her tangled black curls making a web across her tortured face. The soldiers took a step back and Eanon shrank from the bold, reckless gleam in her eyes. It was such a gleam gave him these welts if he stood too near her.
     "I am not dead, vermin!" her voice was weary and shaking. "But I, Eileen McAfton, will never stir from my father's croft though all the wights of the dusk pulled me away. You seek to destroy the clans of the Glen. But never--never while I live, and the brave chief Eanon. I am keeping him--training him to be a man of war and he shall slay every last one of you!"
     Her wide, soulless eyes sought him and Eanon felt no mere peat-stack could cover the scalding burn he felt as her intense gaze scorched him. She held her arms out to him and Eanon wavered for a moment with the eyes of the wild woman and the soldiers upon him. Should he got to comfort her? Aunt Eileen...so bitter....so desperate. But the fitful fire sparked in her eyes again and Eanon's blood rushed to his bruises and made them throb. She laughed and swayed to her feet; beautiful, wild, she stood a queen.
     "You are here to take me--to do me a harm. Never, while I live!"
     Eanon scarcely recognized the glimmering object in Eileen's hand as the Ophthel dagger, but so it was and Eileen rushed upon the men, slicing at them with precise, measured strokes. An unearthly song flowed from her lips. Eanon knew it--Clan Afton's war-hue--and his stomach knotted. The Red-Fury drew their weapons and surrounded Aunt Eileen. A few more strikes with the Ophthel dagger and the woman fell to her knees sobbing and choking.
     Her despair frightened Eanon. He cried too and fled from the dark, low croft. Swift foot-steps pursued him and the youngest knight's arms lifted Eanon in a mail-clad, yet gentle embrace.
     "There, there, lad. We shan't harm you, be you chieftain or shepherd. Lie still now and forget her. Lie still..."
     Eanon watched the hill now as the red rays of sun burnished croft and slope alike. "And so," he thought, a cold weariness creeping through his short, childish frame, "And so dissolves Clan Afton."

3 comments:

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Horse Lover said...

how tragic! well done, Rachel.

Anne-girl said...

Wow. That's powerful, and a little unsettling. Thanks for joining in Rachel!