Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction: Rise of the Realms Spin-off Shorts

Since the day Kat DuPont made a deal with the Fee of the Earth Realm, each realm has begun to merge. Follow along with Rise of the Realms flash fiction short stories, and watch as her consequences unfold.

To the readers: Each flash fiction will be written from scratch at the time of posting – a complete “on the spot” writing of the author’s imagination. Each story will be written and posted immediately, untouched by an editor. At no time may this be copied reproduced in any way, without permission. (C) D. Fischer 2018

*****

Dead, gnarled trees sprout from the ground of the quiet forest. Beautiful, thick fog blankets the sky and crawls across the dirt beneath Jennifer’s bare feet. She marvels at it, the wisps moving as though it’s alive.

It smells of death here, that she is certain.

Her guide, a dark-skinned man whose name she does not know, waits behind her, his body as transparent as hers.

Jennifer lifts her hand, examining her see-through fingers and takes an unnecessary breath. The scarce oxygen fills lungs that no longer aid her silent heart.

With a slow turn of her torso, she looks to her guide. “I’m a ghost? And this is the afterlife?” Her tone is frightened and quivers. The time between her death and her arrival to this place left no room for adjustment.

The man shakes his head, his long black hair tickling his ghostly shoulders. He’s dressed in jeans that are cut off at the knee, frayed at the edges. His torso is bare, absent of clothes, and even though he’s transparent, she can see the evidence of his time marking his skin, deeming him somebody’s property.

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘ghost’ in the death realm. We shades don’t take too kindly to it, mam.” He takes a step in her direction, approaching with caution. “This place is the Tween. It is the empty space between life and death. It is meant to ease the transition for the once living.”

Jennifer’s throat constricts as she gulps. “So this is real? And what are you? Death itself?”

He shakes his head once more, his expression grave. “No mam. I’m a shade just as you.”

“No reaper then?” She giggles without humor and he lifts his hand to scratch his jaw, uncomfortable. Curious to his mood, she puckers her lips. “What is it?”

Closing the distance, he places his arms around her shoulders, turning her. “This place isn’t what you think it is. It is not for the faint of heart. Many go mad.” He pauses and begins to guide her into the dead unearthly forest. “You must prepare yourself. There are reapers, but we shade’s have been intervening.”

Jennifer tilts her chin, confused. “Why?”

They take a few steps together in silence. “A rebellion, mam. For our unjust treatment.”

The shade opens his mouth once more, preparing to shed some insight, when he snaps his jaw shut and looks over his shoulder, halting them.

“Are you okay?” Jennifer asks. She follows his gaze and gasps. Three figures hover above the ground, their features hidden under tattered black cloaks.

“Reapers,” the shade mutters in a rush of breath.

“Wha-“

The shade cuts her off. “Mam…When I tell you to, I want you to run,” he whispers. “Do not ask questions. Do not look back. Run. Find the portal.”

“The portal?” she asks, her voice shaking.

“You’ll know when you see it. Are you ready?” Reluctantly, she nods.

The ragged breathing of the reapers fill the silence while the shade gathers his courage. Challenging the reapers is known to end in agonizing punishment. Kheelan himself could send him to the void where he’ll float until the end of times as nothing but a memory. It’s an eternal punishment for which there is no return.

The shade’s Adam’s apple bobs when he gulps. “Run!”

Gathering her strength, Jennifer takes off at a dead sprint, her arms furiously pumping at her sides. The dead branches low to the ground pass right through her. Her breathes are harsh due to fear, and when she hears the blood curdling screams of her guide, a sob escapes.

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