I love flash fiction (very short stories that you can read in one quick gulp). Here is my attempt at one, inspired by summer camp memories and a First Nations legend of the west coast forest:
I scrunch deeper into the salal, loosening the sweet scent of ripening berries, letting the thick leaves close around me. The twitter of birds stops suddenly, and I freeze as footsteps pound down the forest path. No one sees me. From further up the trail, girls’ voices drift through the trees.
“I see you, Cara!” Olivia, the girl who is IT, calls shrilly.
“Home free!” another voice shouts.
Then silence. It’s as if the sounds have been smothered by the thick moss that covers everything.
Something snuffles on the other side of the salal. A wild animal? No, it is probably that girl from cabin 6 who breaths through her mouth. I keep as still as possible, holding my breath.
“I see you, Madison!” Olivia’s voice is a thin thread, tangled and lost among the big trees, the ancient ferns and the absorbing moss.
The snuffling beyond the salal moves on.
Then Madison’s theatrical scream pierces the forest. It’s the same scream she used to end the lame scary story she told in the cabin last night. As if the scream was enough to make it scary. No murderer with a bloody chainsaw. No crazy knife-wielding hitch-hiker. Just some Wild Woman of the Woods who catches children who wander into the forest. Not much of a story, but the other girls in the cabin hang on Madison’s every word.
I listen for another shout from Olivia, or Madison’s triumphant laugh. Ha Ha, I scared you. But there is nothing.
I consider emerging from my hiding spot and running for Home. But I don’t move.
The forest is silent. Even the birds remain quiet. Waiting.
* * *
For more flash fiction, check out author kc dyer‘s Festive Flash Fiction Advent Calendar posted in December, which includes flash fiction by kc and other authors. Here are the links to the flash fiction I shared there: