Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Grumpy Monkey Fiction: Pursuit, Fairy, Knight

{Another in a series of fast fiction stories based on a creative writing prompt}

Sir Belvedere stumbled through the glen. His heavy armor clanked and his broadsword felt heavy and useless in his hand.

Beads of sweat were forming on his brow and the small of his back, and he could feel them dripping down to the bottom of his iron suit as he wheezed and crashed through the forest.

Despite his heavy breathing and the clank and clack of his armor, he could hear the flutter of wings behind him. The fluttering was growing louder. And more sinister.

Sir Belvedere grimaced at the thought. Not only was his current situation troubling for his personal safety, his honor was at stake, too. What would the other nights think if they saw him fleeing through the forest like a milkmaid, running from a pack of fairies?

But they didn’t know. They hadn’t seen. These were no ordinary fairies. These were not wispy, well-meaning creatures of the woods who flew by in the twilight on a trail of stars.

These fairies were dark-eyed and dark of spirit.

They lived in the black and twisted trees that lined the forest path. And they whispered things. Terrible things.

“The horse,” one had hissed into his ear as he had lay sleeping under one such tree that morning.

And as if by some black magic, Sir Belevedere had risen from the ground, untied his horse and sent it galloping off through the forest, leaving him and the girl with no supplies and no means of transport.

“The girl.” They had whispered next. And Sir Belevedere — the brave, the noble, and the most just of all the knights in the realm– had thrown himself lustily at the peasant girl that he had rescued from foul bandits only days before.

“Give us a kiss,” he had gasped as he groped and tore at her blouse. She had started to scream.

“Silence” the fairies had whispered. And Sir Belevdere had clamped a heavy hand over the girl’s mouth. She bit down hard, gnashing into the palm of his hand and drawing blood, but he held tight.

“The girl” the fairies had said in their soft hiss, and his grip grew tighter and tighter until the girl stopped struggling and sank to the ground.

Something about the way she dropped to the ground had shaken awake the last remaining vestiges of the honorable knight he had once been, and Sir Belevedere had turned tail and fled into the forest, leaving the girl to gasp for air.

He hadn’t dared to look back. But the fairies did not stop coming. And they did not stop talking.

“Finish” they insisted.

Sir Belvedere splashed through a shallow brook and began climbing up a mossy hill. The fluttering was right next to his ears now, and the voices were echoing inside his helmet.

“The girl,” they said. “The girl.”

Reaching the top of the hill, Sir Belvedere dropped to one knee and readied his sword.

He was done running, he knew. The suit was heavy and waterlogged, and he had only so much wind left. It was time to fight.

Drawing a deep and steadying breath, he turned to face his tormenters.

Dozens of black shapes flittered and fluttered in the dim light like angry flies. “The girl,” they said.

“No!” Sir Belvedere shouted, and began swinging wildly. But the fairies were too small and too quick for his lumbering sword. His huge arcing swings whistled through the air and found nothing but the ground and the trees. “Stand and fight!” he bellowed.

But the fairies did not comply.

He swung his sword to and fro until his lungs were ready to burst, then sank to the ground and buried his head between his knees.  He closed his eyes.

Perhaps if he ignored them, the madness would end.

But the fluttering grew louder and louder and louder–until it stopped.

Although it should have been impossible given the size of the fairies and the thickness of the metal, Sir Belevedere suddenly felt the tip-tap of dozens of tiny feet on his back and shoulders.

“The girl,” they said. “The girl.”

Sir Belevedere gritted his teeth. A single tear dropped from his cheek. When he reopened his eyes, they were as black and empty as the fairies themselves.

“The girl,” he said.

And he rose and sprinted back the way he had come.

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