Flash Fiction Friday – Priorities

I forgot to post this yesterday as I was out at a barbecue and came home quite late, but here is this week’s flash fiction Friday post. I start it during Sunday Morning Tea Time last week (oh hey, check out my Twitch channel!) and finished it the other day. It’s based on a prompt from the Story Generator on Seventh Sanctum. This was the prompt: “The story is set in a tomb. The story must have a zombie in it. The story must involve some boots or shoes at the end. A character writes a book”. With that as my basis, I wrote the following. It turned out to be another D&D-inspired piece – so many of mine seem to be lately, maybe because I’m playing a lot of RPGs and watching a lot of RPG shows right now. I’ll probably try to do something different (less D&D-ish) next week, but we’ll see. In the meantime, here it is:

Priorities

“The journey from Doureville to the Tomb of the Marquis Celdoraine was a long and tiring one, though not in my view a dangerous one. The Dourevillian Jungles are difficult to traverse but hide no dangers greater than the odd hungry jaguar or venomous snake. It took us nearly four days to locate the tomb, and we arrived in the late afternoon. The entrance was easy enough to locate, though it proved to be impossible to breach by brute strength and the skill of a lock-pick alone. While the others argue over how to open it, I took to examining the runes that were carved around the entrance. It did not take me long to discover it was the key to accessing the tomb, nor did it take me long after that to decipher the code and deactivate the lock. I do not exaggerate when I say that if not for my efforts, we would still be outside trying to get in.

Successful deciphering or not, the great stone door opening caused quite a racket and within minutes, as we explored the tomb’s vestibule, we were set upon by a small group of shambling skeletons. With a bit of help from yours truly, my companions dispatched them quickly and with little trouble. As it is quite late, we have now set up camp in said vestibule and will take our rest here before pushing further into the tomb. My comrades have stepped out to set traps and look for any edible plants available, so I took the opportunity to make these brief notes. It is said that the interior of the Tomb of the Marquis Celdoraine is rather like a maze, with a plethora of tra-”

A sound caught Leland’s attention, and he looked up from his book, the quill stilling mid-word in his hand. For a moment, his brain wouldn’t register what his eyes were seeing. How could such an awful, shambling creature have crept up on him? Yet there it was, a gruesome zombie with flesh hanging off of its bones, no more than ten feet away from him. Leland swallowed. The creature was not moving, just staring at him though he did not know if it could actually see. Leland’s eyes darted to his boots, which were drying by the fire about halfway between him and the zombie, then to the shabby-looking, leather bound tome a few feet away – the first part of his book. It contained all the notes and writings from their last adventure, and there was no way the book could be completed without it. There was also no way he could get both his boots and his book before the zombie got him. Leland took a deep breath, slipping his quill into his pocket and closing the book in his lap gently. Then he lurched forward, and the zombie lurched for him.

Outside the tomb, the ranger indicated to the paladin the way she’d knotted the snare. “See if you do it like this, whatever gets caught here, if it’s small enough, will just choke itself in no time. Suddenly, a scream tore through the humid evening, echoed by some weird birds far away. The next moment, Leland came tearing past, his sock-clad feet moving at an unusual speed. Clutching the books to his chest, he shouted at the top of his lungs “zombiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeessss!”

The paladin sighed, and stood up. “Fucking bards…” she mumbled, drawing her sword as she headed for the tomb entrance.

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