Flash Fiction entry

Defender of the Corn – Flash Fiction

Matthis woke to the thump of the planet’s heartbeat. It rumbled though the earth, shaking his sod house. Daub dropped from the rafters over his bed, soiling his sheets. It was not yet dawn. Had it been, he’d have risen to plough the fields still damp with morning dew.

Instead, this rhythmic pounding threatened to level his house. He tore the bed sheets aside and pulled a sheepskin cloak over his undergarments.

Thump, thump, thump.

Matthis burst from his house. His land (as far as a peasant might lay claim to the land he toils) was swarming with soldiers. Their unified step quaked the ground.

“Oi!” Matthis cried, waving his sickle. “You bloody bastards! What are ye doin’?”

As though bidden, a horseman galloped forward. “Hail King Anders,” he said from his mount.

“Oh, bloody… Hail!

“Hector the Unworthy marches against your monarch to seize the crown. Tell me, peon, is there fresh water on these lands, that might quench the thirst of Anders’ soldiery?”

“No!”

The horseman frowned. “The King himself requests…”

“I don’t care what ‘e requests! Bloody kings. Not a one of ‘em knows ‘bout tending land. Your stupid army is murdering my corn!”

“You’ll be compensated of…”

“Compensated?! He’ll ‘ave to compensate his own table; there shan’t be food for it come winter. Not from me – nor any other poor bastard whose land you go traipsing over.”

The horseman dismounted, unsheathing his sword. “Tell me where I may find fresh water or I will run you through!”

“Go ahead! I’m ruined anyway.”

“Now listen! I am the King’s vassal, the leader of his armies and his most trusted counsellor. I pay you great compliment in addressing you at all!”

“Oh… bollocks!”

“Insolent knave!” He raised his sword. “Traitor!”

Metal slashed the air, and the rusty taste of blood erupted in a cloud. Poor Matthis – he pulled his sickle from the throat of the lord and stumbled backwards.

“Oh, bloody Hail…”

—————–

Submitted to a Flash Fiction competition – 275-325 words, taking the themes of conflict and an ordinary person tangled in epic events, inspired by Tolkien.

Awarded 3rd Runner Up.

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