Randy Austin is the readers’ choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.
The winning entry is rewarded with a special feature here today and a place in our collection of winners which will be published as an e-book at year end.
Without further ado, here’s the winning entry:
by Randy Austin
A sleek form hovers in the river beneath the trestle. Massive for a rainbow trout. It has to be the King. Tales have been told of this giant trout. Uncatchable some say. I smile. He’ll make a fine trophy.
I wade in. The cold bite of the water is unrelenting. I’ll soon be numb and stumbling over rocks I can’t feel. Must get closer before that happens.
In position, I check my rod and fly. Can’t lose my prize to faulty equipment. Both in good condition. I’m ready.
His large tail sweeps, keeping him steady in the strong current. A smaller fish tries to join him in the shade. The King moves to intercept. Colors flash and he’s alone once more.
My first cast settles too far to the left and floats by unnoticed. Next cast is better. The King slides closer, considering, before settling back down. Undaunted, I cast again. Perfect. The King rises. Splash. He’s on.
The rod bends into a deep U-shape. Steady. Keep his head up. The battle rages; my arms burn; and finally the King tires. Exhausted but elated, I stroke his brilliant colors.
I see a rusty hook already hanging from his lower jaw. Another has left an open wound. A closer inspection reveals more scars. One on his side matches mine.
Now I understand. He’s a veteran of war, like me. We share a bond. I unhook the King and slide him into deeper water. A quick salute. “Thank you, your Majesty.”