Forward Rewind Forward

This story is based on the following image and writing prompt: 

Frosted Tamaracks flash fiction writing prompt by KS Brooks ALL RIGHTS RESERVED122911 peek
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks.

They wanted to rough it. There would be no phones, no computers, no contact with the outside world.

Trevor could see the glaring flaw in that plan now. Zack started having acute abdominal pain last night. This morning he was feverish and almost unresponsive. Whatever it was, they needed to get him to a hospital and quickly.

They crafted a makeshift stretcher to carry Zack several miles back to the trail head. When they got there, the car was gone…


The old Jeep must have exploded into a billion, microscopic, god-forsaken pieces. Trevor cursed, wishing for the eightieth time he’d brought his sat phone. “Well, bud, looks like I’m hiking for help.”

“I always knew it would end like this,” Zack whispered.

“Say what?” Trevor leaned close, ignoring his shaking hands–must be adrenaline.

“I’ve dreamt this a thousand times, bringing us here. I must die.”

The stress made Trevor feel pissed. “No, you must NOT die. We survived Iraq, we’ll survive this.”

“I’ve been here, seen this. I just didn’t believe it’d really happen. She’s gotta live…”

“Calm yourself, man. Just a little SNAFU. Do you remember how far to the nearest settlement?” Trevor hefted the stretcher, sweat congealing under his gear.

“She loves you,” Zack coughed. “I’ll sacrifice, to save her.”

“Shut up–you’re going home.”

Trevor’s terror subsided when Zack finally quieted. He fixated on pacing himself. Trevor doubted rescuers came by often, but he’d get Zack to safety.

But then Zack had to speak. “Be good to her. Like you’ve been good to me– Thanks, dude.”

“No goodbyes!” Trevor roared, plowing onward. But the stretcher jerked while Zack’s scream embedded shrapnel into Trevor’s bones.

Suddenly, Trevor noticed the keening began in his own throat, not Zack’s. And he was saturated by frost. Pine needles bored into him from below, concern plastering the familiar faces hovering above. Zack crouched besides his friend, his hand heating Trevor’s shoulder. “Dude, it’s all cool. We fight the same demon.”


Thank you, veterans, for your courage to look death in the eye and tell it to go fight someone its own size.

Originally written for the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge.

Also, attribution goes to the article, From “Irritable Heart” to “Shellshock”: How Post-Traumatic Stress Became a Disease, which influenced this post.

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An Engagement?

The Prompt:

Jeremy sat across from Heather in the little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. It was just his style to take her some place like that to “unexpectedly” pop the question. She waited eagerly to see the ring box appear on the table. He’d been hinting at it for nearly a month now. At least, she was pretty sure of it.

But the lemon chicken came and went. So did the fortune cookies. Heather felt her temper boiling up, but she batted it back down. Surely he would take her somewhere for dessert, or maybe a romantic walk along the lake, and ask her then. He had to ask her tonight, didn’t he?

Photo copyright K. S. Brooks.
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks.

 

Their conversation grew stale, as did the leftover taste of fortune cookies. Finally, Jeremy awkwardly pulled an impeccable velvet box from his pocket.

Heather straightened, plastering on her yes smile–she’d been practicing for months.

“What is that?” Heather purred.

“First, I have something to tell you.” He paused dramatically. “I’m moving.”

Heather stared blankly at him, wondering what he meant. He was moving to another apartment? Or wait–maybe he wanted to move in together?

Jeremy continued, “I’m going to Botswana. I didn’t want to tell you until I knew it was for sure, but I applied to the Peace Corp and I finally received my assignment.”

She was stunned. Heather’s perfect smile drooped. She barely managed to squeak, “When?”

“Five weeks.” Jeremy scratched his forehead like he was considering a math problem; all previous nerves had vanished. “Obviously we needed to talk about this right away.”

Heather’s shock briefly faded and she snapped “You bet, buster! I can’t believe you didn’t say anything!”

“Wait! Before you go all crazy on me just open the box.” He slid it over.

Inside on the satin pillow sat a golden ring. But not just any golden ring. There was no diamond. In fact, it looked almost like an earring. Heather looked up to excitement in Jeremy’s eyes.

“In some cultures, when a couple mates she wears a nose ring as a marker that she’s taken.” Jeremy smiled confidently. “You see, Heather, I want you to come with me. Will you be my female?”


 

This was written for Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge