Friday, January 8, 2016

Flash Ficton Challenge: Mausoleum

This is a quick, "flash fiction" challenge posted by the author Chuck Wendig on his blog:

The inspirational photo was this one:

I hope you are entertained.


The soft whirring of servomotors broke the silence of the foggy glade with each of his footsteps. Each of those steps was soft upon the mossy ground. His clawed, metal toes dug into the ground, holding his shaky metal body steady.

He stopped and stood at the base of an old withered evergreen tree. The dark, aged stone structure was still standing where it had always been. Its pointed spires pointed towards the heavens in the center of the small, circular glade. A testament to the age before when the area was cleared for its construction.

A loud spark startled him for a moment and he looked down. The stub where his left shoulder had once been was firing off a short twitch of electricity. He gently touched it with his right arm. His still flesh and blood hand touched the exposed wire, carefully twisting them together. The sparking ceased, returning the glade to its silent serenity.

He took another step forward, but the soft whirring of his motors gave way to a sharp crack as his knee gave out. Gears, wires and sparks exploded as it shattered. He fell to the ground, his arm extending just in time to keep his face from meeting the dirt.

He panted, his fingers digging into the soft dirt as he fought to keep himself from collapsing. He was so close. So very close.

He looked up at the mausoleum ahead of him. The shape of the tomb inside was just visible at the top of the stairs. He groaned in pain as he worked his one good leg under himself and used it to push off.

Pain rippled through his body as he crawled towards the tomb. Remnants of a fight that now seemed so long ago, but was still fresh in his mind. He pushed it all aside. He still had the force of will to finish this journey that had started so long ago.

He thought of her face. Her beautiful face untouched by time itself. Her smile that always filled him with a joy he'd never experienced since. The dark, curly hair that rounded her head. Soft and shiny.

The images pushed him on. He imagined he could see her standing there now, her arm extended. There was that smile. Her eyes filled with life and wonder.

He crawled up the first set of steps. His breath heavy. His dirty hand grasped the edge of the next. He looked up only to see her phantasm had faded. She was gone again. He knew she was, but for that brief moment he allowed himself a glimmer of hope.

He pulled himself up the stairs, stopping at the top to allow himself to breathe.

Hope was not something he was accustomed to. Happiness even less so. Not since that day. When those cold beings with even colder hearts cut her down. Her and so many others. But she had been his life. When she died, most of him died too.

Not all, though. There remained a fire within him. It was the fire of vengeance. It was a fire that let him temper his body and his fury.

The augments were not cheap, but they were necessary. It was the only way to face her killers, and he did. One by one they fell before him. Some quietly, some loudly, some easily and some painfully. He touched his shoulder again. But the important part was that they all fell.

He sits up, moving slowly towards the tomb. He reaches up and grabs the edge, using the last of his strength to pull himself up.

He laid beside the figure carved into the lid of the tomb. It was her. Her face calm and serene, sleeping in a stone slumber. He ran his hand across her face, his mind flashing to the last time he truly saw her. Alive and happy.

He felt his body shudder as he laid his head beside hers, closing his eyes.

“I did it...” he whispered. “It's all over.”

As he let out a breath, the mausoleum shook around him. He opened his eyes. The whole area was illuminated by a bright, white light.

A figure stood at the base of the stairs. A golden glow illuminated it and separated it from its bright surroundings. He squinted towards it.

It was female and seemed human until you got to her lower torso...which turned deerlike, golden patterns weaved along her body. Golden flowers bloomed at her hooves.

She had a smile on her face. A familiar smile. A face framed by curly hair. She took a few steps forward until her forelegs stood at the top of the mausoleum. Her hand extended towards him.

“You've fought well,” she said. Her lips didn't move, and her smile remained. He reached to touch her hand. “And your fighting is done.”

He touched her hand and felt himself consumed by the white light, golden shapes danced at the edges of his vision. All the pain and fatigue vanished.

“Rest well, my warrior...”



  1. Hi N'Eligahn! I really like the idea of combining robot/cyborg SF with more straight fantasy. I'm not sure the two concepts felt fully integrated in the story as it stands? How do cyborgs and centaurs fit into the same world? I think the nature of this woman's killers also needs to be more developed.

    But I think combining these two things is a great idea, and I think you set up some nice imagery in support of it. There are some points, especially in the first paragraphs, where that imagery starts to feel a little burdened by the quantity of adjectives used -- I think you can pare back somewhat.

    1. Thank you very much for your feedback and I'm VERY sorry I'm only just now seeing this (>_<). As it stands, short fiction is something very new to me and a skill I think I'd like to expand more on.

      As it stands, the world building is, as I implied, not quite something I'm used to. In many of the things I work to build, I do a lot of the /major/ building stuff behind the scenes...when it came to the project, I just sort of wrote.

      Also, I am very aware how much I "overwrite", especially in terms of adjectives. A skill I've been working to grind away certain "bad" writing habits like that, and naughty adverbs.

      Thank you again. :D


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