Flashathon 2012 Hour Eight

This hour of Flashathon we turn to Linda Adams. First, I want to thank Linda, she has helped promote this event to several writing forums. If you’re here from one of those forums, if you saw her post, then thank you also for stopping by. Linda also gave me two prompts, so I’m going to throw them out as an option. Because I like options in hours.

Mad Clown Disease


Killer Kites

Linda can be found on her blog here. She’s a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a damned fine writer with both fiction and non-fiction sales too numerous to mention. When you finish up your writing for the hour, check out her book and magazine publications, then look for her upcoming stories in the 2012 Forward Motion Anthology and The Darkness Within.

  1. avatar

    #1 by DLThurston on October 27, 2012 - 4:14 pm

    They came at us out of the skies. Beautiful and graceful, dancing on the breezes. We watched them as they soared overhead.

    We didn’t know we had to run.

    The first death was thought a tragic accident. A sturdy box kite swooping out of the sky, striking a young child on the head. He bled, no doctor could stop it. A one in a million accident, an undiagnosed inability to clot, there were explanations given, and they satisfied us.

    By morning ten more were dead. By the end of the week, perhaps a few hundred. It became difficult to keep count. Where there had been just one or two floating overhead, catching updrafts and darting through the jet stream, there were now dozens. And then hundreds.

    We were told to stay inside. They would bash and break against doors and windows, but could not penetrate. But we were now prisoners. Under siege. We ate through our food, then took chances. A certain death of starvation versus the possibility of being killed by one of the paper and wooden raptors that flew overhead.

    Eventually everyone knew one of the dead. We couldn’t bury them, that meant going outside, so they rotted where they fell. No armor could protect body collectors, and while our weapons could fell the things, they came back in larger numbers. They could clearly out reproduce us, what chance did we have?

    Until one day we discovered that we could fight back. Not with weapons, but by pitting them against each other. Nylon would drive them to madness, would make them into our slaves. Our best men could control them, force them to strike each other, force them to kill each other.

    And so they fell. One by one, until the streets were littered more with their dead than ours. Only then did we emerge, slowly, carefully, and reclaim our cities and our countries.

    They are seen as toys now. Wrapped into plastic and sold to children. Only a few remember the wars, and they are dying out. I’m one of the last. I still break into a sweat when I see one flying overhead, dodging and diving in the gusts of wind.

    I hear they still fight them in Asia and in Brazil. I fear we are reminding them of their past, of their potential. A child died at one of those fights last week, and I can only hope we are not teaching them to kill again.

  2. avatar

    #2 by Dana Gunn on October 27, 2012 - 4:48 pm

    Krush looked out from the trees and saw one of his orc warband fall in mid-stride. The large orc laughed a deep, throaty laugh at his warrior’s misfortune. Other orcs gathered around him in just inside the treeline and joined him. When the unfortunate orc warrior did not rise, Krush frantically looked around.

    “Guard!” he cried. He was looking through the trees and out into the field in an attempt to find an elf or other creature that might have felled his orc from such a distance.

    The orcish laughter immediately quieted, but they did not move to respond to their leader’s order. A few orcs looked behind them and several stared with wide eyes at Krush. Forest sounds, including crickets and birds punctuated the silence.

    Krush, the largest orc of the warband returned the stares of his orcs for only a second before he drew his sword and began striking the orcs with the flat of his blade. “Now! Now! Now! Something just killed Bloch out there. He did not just trip.” He continued striking at the orcs as they fled to take up their assigned guard positions. “Look for Elves! Look for Men! I want what killed Bloch in front of me in minutes.”

    Krush knew his voice would alert other Elves or Men to their location, but the wanton murder of one of his warband had birthed an ire he had not experience since the Elves ambushed his village many years prior.

    While the orcs were alert to possible enemies, Krush stepped to the very edge of the treeline, lifted his hand to block out the noon day sun, and stared at Bloch’s corpse. Bloch had been approximately 50 yards from the trees when he was killed. From that distance, it was difficult to make out many details without striding into the open to do an examination himself. The one thing he could see was flapping wings sitting astride Bloch’s back.

    Krush’s heavy and low brow was knit in confusion. That was no buzzard. And no buzzard would have been that quick to a kill. He was several steps out of the trees, prodded by curiosity, when his lieutenant, Turo, grabbed him from behind and pulled him back into the wooded cover.

    “No, Krush!”

    With a growl, Krush spun to face his lieutenant. A look of pure fury passed from warlord to warrior. “Turo,” he said quietly, “what are you doing?”

    Turo pointed to the skies. “Look.”

    Krush upturned his face expecting to see a flight of arrows, flying mages, or, based on Turo’s reaction, at least a flight of dragons. The sight that greeted him surprised him more than any of his previous thoughts. Kites. Hundreds of kites were gathering in the skies.

    The warlord dropped his gaze to his dead warrior’s body. A kite! That was the bird perched disrespectfully on the orc. A scream to his right suspended his analysis of Bloch. Two of his warriors grasped at their unarmored throats in succession to stem a spray of arterial blood. Blood and feathers painted the surrounding trees.

    Krush unshouldered his shield and brandished his sword again. “Archers!” he called and pointed his sword skyward. “Target the kites!”

    When no arrows were immediately lofted, Krush looked around a second time at his hesitating warriors. Only two of his archers remained. The remainder were on the ground or slumped against a tree. Part of the kite flock was now perched in the trees. An orcish curse escaped his lips. They were orcs! Their death would not be caused by mere birds!

    He sheathed his sword and doubled his grip on his shield. With an eye on a fallen bow, Krush crouched and rushed for the ranged weapon. The cries of the birds perched in the trees mocked him as screams of his orcs continued from the underbrush. Krush dropped the shield when he dove for a bow. Tucking his shoulders under him, the warlord turned the dive into a roll and came up with the bow and a handful of arrows determined to defend himself and what remained of his warband.

  3. avatar

    #3 by Linda Adams on October 27, 2012 - 6:07 pm

    Cool stories! And thanks for the glowing write up! :)


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