A.L. Kaplan Wins Flash Fiction Challenge

A.L. Kaplan 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:


bok tower gardens 1998 fairy tale flash fiction prompt KS BROOKS
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Graveyard of Heroes
by A.L. Kaplan

“Shield’s up.”

Every warrior raised their shield at Sorbo’s booming command. A thousand metal plates snapped together into one solid barrier just as arrows rained down on them. Davi’s force field flared to life around the two of them. Hands on hips, Sorbo watched as the projectiles burst into flame on contact. The swan in the small pond they stood near flapped its wings and moved away. Sorbo ignored its irritated vocalizations. It seemed more perturbed than alarmed at the army standing on the grassy bank or the arrow shower.“These cowards hide in their tower and toss twigs,” he said.

Beside him, Davi gazed at the castle tower, a faraway look in his eyes. Moisture beaded on his furrowed brow.

“Commander!” Davi’s voice rose in pitch. “Take cover. Another attack is coming.”

“Stand your ground, wizard,” said Sorbo. I’ll not let a few pinpricks keep us from our prize.”

With slow, but deliberate movement, the swan returned. Its snowy white neck tilted to the side and a strange sparkle radiated from the bird’s eyes, as though it were studying him. Amused wrinkles creased Sorbo’s scared face. The animal would make a nice victory meal.

Suddenly, it trumpeted louder than the tower’s horns, raised is wings, and charged. Dozens of swans popped out of bushes and shrubs, hissing and snapping at his soldiers. Screams erupted as the shield fell apart. Even Davi’s magical barrier disintegrated. Sorbo’s confidence fled as the swan army turned his attack into a rout.

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