Flash Fiction Challenge: The Last Battle

Photo by K.S. Brooks

Most of us had figgered it to be a suicide mission. Thirty-odd mounted and sixty or so infantry against that Union fort.

We made our camp just a mile or so away, over a hilltop.

The plan was to attack at daybreak, but somewhere in the night, it looked like daybreak got the jump on us. The sky lit up something amazing and the air filled with a buzzing like a million bees. By the time we run up to the hilltop, there wasn’t nothing to see. That Union fort was still there, though its front gates was swung wide open. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, no men walking the wall.

Me and Jimmy walked down there a ways. There wasn’t no one there. I waved the captain over and we went down for a look-see. There was nary a soul to be found. Not one living thing. Every man, horse and dog was just gone. From what all we could tell, there hadn’t been a shot fired neither.

It sent a chill down my spine and old Jasper said it was ghosts done it. Then we heard that buzzing again. We all reckoned we’d find out soon enough.

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013.

On Wednesday morning, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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7 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: The Last Battle”

  1. I am not a coward, but I don’t mind telling you I was a scared something fierce when I heard that buzzin’ commence. Jasper and I started runnin’ like the devil himself was a chasin’ us and we cleared them gates in a flash. When I looked back I could see our unit a disappearin’ in whirlwinds of dust. Jasper fell to his knees and wept like a frightened child but not me. I was frozen in my tracks. I reckoned it was the rapture, or some’in.

    Twas then I saw them. Ghostly injuns on painted ponies ridin’ in a circle on the parade grounds singing in that high pitched voice that they do. But they weren’t quite real. Ya could just about see through ’em. Not much more to ’em than the dust their ponies kicked up. I realized they were Choctaw Confederate Soldiers by their outfits ’bout the same time Jasper mustta too ’cause he got up and walked back a toward them. Arrow hit him square in the chest and I could see he was dead before he fell.

    I’m not a coward, but I tell you what…I ran for my life. Wasn’t till after the war was over I realized them injun’s mustta died in that Union fort. Prisoners come back to get their justice agin them Union devils and maybe all white men, I don’t know. I’m not a liar neither, I know what I saw.

  2. I wanted to run but there was nowheres to go to git away from the buzzing. I took cover in a holler under an ole tree root. A shadow passed overhead and when I peeked through a gap in the roots to see what it was I dang near wet meself. Ok, to be truthful, I did. It was some kinda round object the size of a water tower, shiny and silvery-like. Jimmy just stood in the clearing, all stupid-like, staring up at the thing. I wanted to yell at him to git the hell outta there but I didn’t want to give myself away. The thing hung there in the sky over top of Jimmy. Then a light shone on him and he was gone. Gone, I tells ya! As shore as I’m sittin’ here in this hole in a pair of wet britches, Jimmy was gone. The thing moved toward our camp. I would bet my last dollar all the men in the camp have gone to the same place as Jimmy, wherever that is. I’m writing this down on the back side of a letter I was fixin’ to send to my sweet Maybelle. Darlin’, if I sees you agin, I’ll be a-tellin’ you this story in person. If not, I pray this letter will reach you somehow. If anyone finds this, please know I ain’t no deserter. Just a yellow-bellied coward. All’s quiet now. I’m gonna poke my head out and take a

  3. It’s my barn to rest in haunted feelings. My wife is gone still with the embargo of death. It wasn’t her fault. The cancer evolved too quick. I loved her more as she was sick looking for attention knowing the release.

    We had polite neighbors. I kept quiet. We had campfires and fruitcake. But what that has to do with depression? I really don’t have an answer. I still keep the lights on like we are alive and well. The barn still has her smell.

    She was amazing with horses. She was a whisperer. An animal magnetism that wouldn’t stop for even Devon. Devon still sits by my side and wags his tail. Mopes but hurries for attention. He knows too well when we stare at the stone alone with Alena by the birch tree. That’s where we made life.

    The barn is on the market still. Haunted though never knowing if it will disappear. My neighbors are still polite. I don’t even care about the lights. I keep them on for prayer, or obtained begging if you wish. My thinking is gone with solitude. My partner is gone. Need to turn the lights off.

  4. The buzzin’ was dang near loud as a locomotive whistle, like you was ridin’ atop the thing with your head to it. I covered my ears, clamped my hands over ‘em, but the buzzin’ kept on shriekin’, blarin’ in my head. I screwed shut my eyes, on account of I thought they might burst from my skull.

    All of a sudden, it went real quiet. I kept my ears covered still, my eyes shut, until I heard the new sound. It was muffled at first, but it grew, and grew, and then blasted at my ears when I put down my hands.

    It was cheerin’, it was. Thousands of voices screamin’ and roarin’.

    I look up, I find myself in the strangest dang place you ever did see. Not people cheerin’, but monsters, of all colors and shapes, lined what I could only think of as some kinda fightin’ pit. They screamed their ungodly chants at me. Honest to God, I thought I was in Hell, that the good Lord, in his grace, had seen fit to send us all down there for our sins. Then I looked up, in front of me, and I saw him.

    A Union man, in his fightin’ blue. We stared between us, he and I, for a moment. Then our eyes lingered on the two swords, each next to a man. I understood one thing then and there. There was still a battle to be fought.

    So I grabbed my sword and charged.

  5. Just then we heard the buzzing. I near shaat myself and old Jasper definitely did. Phewee. Me and Jimmy tolded Jasper to head back to camp. I was afraid Jasper’s putrid smell of baked beans from last night’s dinner would attract them bees.

    Me and Jimmy then ran to hide in the barn. At first, I noticed ‘fine’ tackle (which I would return for later) then I spotted three adult-sized dark shadows on the far wall.

    Well, me and Jimmy ain’t no cowards and we approached them shadows about as fast as the bees were approaching outside. Maybe we’d a get our answers after all. Jimmy, always a gentleman, said, “Howdee stranger,” and all hoopla broke out.

    Darn it if them black things weren’t human. They flew up to the ceiling, making a screeching cry while circling overhead. One even opened the window near the ceiling. Soon the hundreds of thousands of babies buzzed their way in and made a fine feast of Jimmy.

    I ran like a chick’n for the first time in my life. When them bee sized babies caught me and starting tearing flesh off of me, I was shocked at how fast my skin was gone. It was atonement for my sins. Those old codger priests were right – day of reckonin’ skips no man.

  6. Eerie quiet settled stubbornly on the dense smell of horse manure and urine. ‘Where’er the horses?’ thought Jimmy. A buzzing sound disturbed his musings.
    “Jasper, you hear dat?”
    “Ain’t never heard notin like dat ‘efore,” said Jasper as he shot his arms in front of his eyes in an ‘x’.
    The portal buzzed loudly now. Both men stood spellbound. Foam and steam accompanied the swishing sound air locks popping open. Two men, dressed in makeshift period clothing, stepped out of the fog in front of the two cavalry soldiers. Both interlopers cringed at the smell in the underground stables.
    “Greetings, fine sirs,” stated the older visitor, his hand stretching toward the flabbergasted soldiers.
    Jimmy looked at Jasper and both men reached for weapons, but hesitated to draw them. Jasper screwed up his courage and breathed out loudly.
    “You stole dem horses?”
    The two visitors raised eyebrows and shoulders simultaneously while casting their eyes between themselves and the soldiers. Jimmy aimed his pre-loaded flintlock and fired just as an orange glow surrounded the two visitors. His projectile fell on the ground.
    Jimmy and Jasper turned tale and escaped as fast as they could by the way they had entered. Their tale of monsters and opening doors ran around the camp rumour mill and got more and more complicated with each telling. Finally, Captain Johnston, now a General, descended into the underground stables. The horses were there. A group of shell-shocked Union soldiers told the craziest tale he had ever heard.

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