I thought it would be interesting to start doing a “fiction” Friday, where I freewrite from a creative prompt for 30 minutes. I’ve posted the prompt below. If you’d like to write one too, by all means do!
Comment below where your imagination took you!
Not a single gun was fired during that battle. Not a single knife was pulled. And yet, it left hundreds dead. (From the writersencyclopedia.com)
Josiah knew that once he set one bare foot on the battleground, it would all be over. He glanced at the woman holding out his leather armor.
“Is all that really necessary?” he asked.
She nodded, face blank. “You don’t know what will happen to you before they’re taken out. Someone could let loose an arrow. Do you really want to be in cotton when that happens?”
Josiah pinched his shirt and shook his head. “It doesn’t really matter, does it? When it’s over, they’re going to get rid of me.”
The woman, Kellana, placed his armor on the chair with care. The only thing missing was the boots. She sighed.
“I won’t let that happen Sir Josiah. You know that. We keep each other alive.” Her arm touched the long sleeve of her dress as she said this.
Not forever, Josiah thought. Instead, he walked to the chair and picked up the leather chest piece.
“Looks a bit big,” he said. He ran his hand along the front. It was worn and chipped. Also stained with something dark. He didn’t need an active imagination to guess what it could be.
Kellana frowned. “They said it was the smallest one they had. I can go back and ask — ”
Josiah was already slipping it over his head and fumbling with the strings to tighten it. The straps tangled with his fingers when the armor was halfway over his shoulders.
“Is this what it feels like to wear one of your corsets?” he said with a jagged grin over the top of the head hole.
Kellana’s eyes went colder, but her lips formed a thin smile. “It’s been a while. I hardly remember.”
She reached forward to help him and watched him flinch when her skin made contact with his. It had been seven years, but he still wasn’t used to the feeling of another person’s skin.
Kellana pretended she hadn’t noticed the jerk and twist of his face as she pulled the armor down over his head. Within just a few minutes she had him buckled up. The armor barely looked too big anymore.
“You’re good at this,” he said. There was resignation in his voice mixed with a drop of fear. His curls had been mused from the excitement and sweat beaded against his thick, untamed eyebrows.
Kellana smiled and put a hand against his armored chest. “It was mandatory in my court for any member of the royal family to secure the guards’ armor before battle. Good luck, they said.”
“Who said?” Josiah whispered.
She patted him lightly twice before moving back to the flap of the tent.
“The horn will sound soon,” Josiah sound. Her words and proximity had left him breathless only for a moment. “You should leave.”
She inhaled in a movement to speak. But then she turned and stumbled out of the tent as if she was tripping over her own unspoken words.
Josiah managed the rest of his armor by himself, a much easier process when he could see the straps he was tightening. His heart was beating violently against the skin of his chest. The armor wouldn’t protect him if his body turned against him now.
Just as he slipped off his shoes, a horn sounded in the distance. Did the captain really manage to put holes in all of the soldiers’ boots in the night? Or was he just too impatient to wait another day?
You’ll die one way or another after this. It was a strangely comforting thought. After years of damage, to finally be free…
Josiah pushed the tent flap aside, feeling the earth crinkle under his toes. He eyed the forest behind his tent. The trees were filled with soldiers. All of them were probably staring right back at him through the shelter of their leafy camouflage.
He turned his back on them and started jogging away. The armor weighed his body down, but years of traveling on his own in the wilderness gave him the physical edge needed to keep up a consistent pace.
Far in the distance, he could already see a long line of bodies, marching forwards. Towards him. He twisted his head around, the helmet obscuring part of his vision. Already the ground was rotting where he had stepped. Already the ground ahead of him was starting to yellow. But how far ahead would it travel? How fast?
An arrow shot into the ground next to him. Close enough that he could feel the fwip as it plunged into the earth.
Then he could hear the screaming. He squinted at the lines of soldiers as they crumpled to the ground in pain. As their hands touched the earth, their skin broke out into vicious red hives. They yanked off their helmets and threw them to the ground. Some started tearing off their armor.
It was a natural instinct. One that would quicken the process even more. Several more arrows hit the ground next to Josiah. He had stopped in his tracks, even though he knew he should continue forward. His breath came out in white, opaque puffs. Thick droplets of sweat fell off his chin.
An arrow came down in his blind spot and struck his shoulder. It pierced through the armor. He could feel the point dig into his skin.
Josiah bent to his knee and pulled the wooden stake out with a single yank. The wood rotted in his grasp before he could toss it aside. His vision was started to distort. The colors of the field became saturated with unnatural colors.
Too much. Too many.
There came the sound of a second horn from behind him, but he barely heard it. He only heard the continuous thudding of the enemy’s bodies crumple to the ground like overripe fruit falling from their branches.