Another Fun Fantabulous Flash Fiction Photo-Prompt Challenge, brought to us by the talented, generous, & lovely Nicole Pyles of The World of My Imagination.
The rules are simple:
1) Use the photo and the 5 words provided in your story.
2) Keep your word count 500 words or less.
The Words: Pocket Watch, Cosmic, Ghost, Vegetable, & Train
Something about this week’s picture really pulled at my passion. Outstanding choice, truly! Soul-o-plenty up in there. A strange occurrence happened while I was writing this too (that I will keep as my secret for now) that really delivered the final bit needed for this piece. I had lots of fun. I wanted to keep going. I was at 707 words when I wrapped up the first incarnation. Behold! A slimmer, trimmer piece now is before you. Enjoy!
Journey to Huge Stone
The young man’s left thumb, the third most sensitive area of his anatomy, made a pass over the ornate gold hands, and flesh, if it did touch metal, did so in measurements molecular.
It’s 5:14, his thumb informed, as it closed the top on his ancient pocket watch.
In the a.m., his shivers specified.
The days were shorter. The mathematics of Earth’s elliptical orbit in the cosmic phenomenon called a solar system could not be altered. But his pace could. Though weary, he had to reach Huge Stone before Winter.
He touched the metal track with his stick, moved his right foot two crossbeams ahead, and then his left followed stepping four.
Normal stride was three beams long. His full stride was four, and from here on is all he’d use. Winter was a hungry hag, and he was not going to be a meal for her.
Through the predawn dark he traveled, like the ghost of a long extinct android, his efficient, mechanical gait always four beams long. His walking stick sliding along the metal, keeping him centered between the train tracks.
Though the crossbeams made the effort greater, the tracks destination was Huge Stone. Remain between them, and he would find the fabled city, and maybe even a ship. No trees or cliffs confound one’s westerly navigation when on the tracks as well, and the steady pace of even stride was easily measured.
The sun was high before he heard the first growl of hunger.
One thousand more strides, then I can stop.
His belly rumbled louder.
He walked as he nibbled the day’s cuisine; salted venison. Same as yesterday, and every day since he’d left Mymammy. He’d eaten his last vegetable weeks ago. That’s why his stamina was failing.
Dusk brought a strong wind, clouds, and the cold of dark an hour early. That night was too frigid to camp; he would burn as much energy shivering as walking.
Colder it became, so, on he walked, day after day, feeling Winter’s boney fingers reaching around his neck. He could not keep his four-beam stride, so, cursing his weakness, slowed to three.
His mind was weary too, and he fumbled with his calculations. Where was he now? How far?
Finally a warmer dawn came, and he could feel the change all about him. He wanted to shout for joy, but dared not.
He patted himself all over, congratulating his body for its supreme efforts.
He had made it. He could sense it all around. Though a great city be dead, it is a city still, not the wilderness. It has its own distinct energy; scent, wind, wildlife … all different, and the soul too.
Though his eyes were blind, and he knew not of hues and colors, he still could “see” it ahead … tall jutting structures as high as mountains, like Giants challenging the sky.
He smiled and quoted the old words given him to say on his arrival…
“Huge Stone, the Eagle has landed!”
Word count: 500