Another week of Flash! Friday x2.
This week’s novel inspiration, from one fellowship to another: Lord of the Rings. I don't think I need to tell you what it's about.
The story elements are:
* Conflict: man v man
* Character (choose one): an uncrowned king, an ordinary person tangled in epic events, an immortal sacrificing immortality for love’s sake, a wizard battling a higher-ranked wizard, a princess disguised as a soldier, a humble gardener
* Theme (choose one): good triumphs over evil, courage, power of friendship, beauty cannot last
* Setting (choose one): long road en route to a volcano, a beautiful forest
We also were allowed to use this picture
though you may have noticed that of late, I have not. The character of the ordinary person tangled in epic events appealed to me, and led to "The Hero."
A hero? Bullshit.
I'm just a guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time. And a guy who, almost a year removed from that day, still wakes in a lake of my own sweat at least once a week. With the anniversary approaching, I imagine the local paper will seek me out, sit me down at a coffeeshop, and make me die through the day all over again.
I was walking home after my shift at the diner. A whim of providence killed the wind. If it hadn't, I never would have heard her.
"Somebody help me."
It was easy to find her. I followed the skid marks off the road, through the trees, to the pond. Only the roof of the car remained visible. I dove in. Through the rear window, cracked open just a bit, I saw two desperate doe eyes. The water was lapping at her chin, and ready to drink the rest of her.
"Don't worry, I said. "I'll get you out of there."
"I'm scared," was all she said.
"I don't blame you. What's your name?"
"Everything will be fine, Pamela." I tried to open the door. It wouldn't budge, which I expected. "Close your eyes a minute, Pamela." I grabbed the luggage rack, and managed to build up enough force to kick out the window. I reached in, took hold of her collar, and yanked her out just as the car sank to the bottom.
When we got to the shore, the EMS was waiting.
So, am I hero? They asked me that back then. They'll ask me again now. And I'll answer with words that have plagued me, gnawed at me, for nearly a year.
"To that girl, to 14-year-old Pamela Akers, I guess I am a hero. But a real hero would've realized she was in the back seat, and thought to get the driver, her mother, out too."
Originally I thought I'd write a happy story, one where nobody dies. Then I thought...
After completing that one, I looked again at the prompts. "A humble gardener" stood out. So I then wrote "Death By Acme."
He appeared in my sights, steadily looming larger as the distance between us shrank. His manner, his stride exuded pure confidence. One might even say cockiness. Deservedly so. For he knew he would get what he wanted. He always did. Though my trusty shotgun lay by my side, I realized it would be useless against him. He was damned near immortal.
Watching him approach, I got a sense of how Lee's Army must have felt during the waning days of the War, retreating in fear as Sherman's troops advanced, knowing there wasn't a damn thing they could do.
He hopped over the fence with ease, and plucked a luscious Daucus Carota from the ground. He consumed it with a greedy gusto, before looking at me with animated eyes.
Shotgun, handgun, rifle, knife, garrote, bear trap, dynamite, hole painted on the ground. It didn't matter. No tactic, no weapon employed by those who had gone before me seemed capable of killing him.
But that Acme Land Mine sure did the trick.
After the smoke cleared, the air smelled of hasenpfeffer, a dish my master – the king – loved. Collecting the smoldering pieces of that wascally wabbit, I smiled and said, "Merle Fudd, you have managed to do something amazing. Something that Yosemite Sam, Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and your brother Elmer never could."
So we'll see how I fared on Monday.