Indies Unlimited, a wonderful site that supports independent authors, has a weekly flash fiction challenge. They post a photo and ask for 250-word stories. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while and finally one came up that caught my interest: http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/09/07/flash-fiction-challenge-the-headsmans-block/. Here’s my story.
The Headman’s Block
They force me to my knees before the headsman’s block. My stomach churns, like I want to heave up last night’s roast venison. Is poaching a few deer so bad? A man deserves some comfort, don’t he? I breathe slowly and stare at the deep grooves criss-crossing the stump, thinking of all the other outlaws who lost their lives here. All but Robin, that is. No, not the Robin you’re thinking of. Robin of Mortwood Forest was his name and don’t you forget it. They don’t tell many tales about our Robin, but they should. He’s the only man to ever escape the block.
“Don’t worry about me,” Robin would say with that smirk of his. “They’ll never get my head. You know why? Because I believe, boys. I believe in the magic of the forest and it’s going to do right by me when the time comes.”
And darned if he didn’t speak the truth. They say the headsman swung his axe and Robin vanished, body, head, and all. They say that stump just swallowed him whole, like the forest spirits called him home. Wish I’d seen it.
Me, I’m trying to believe, but I’m not feeling anything from this here stump. I start praying to the forest gods and the trees and the leaves. Even the acorns. Sunlight glints on the axe. I’m not near as brave or smart as Robin, but I’ve had a good life, haven’t I? I close my eyes and lower my head.