Wednesday, 2 October 2013

500 Word Challenge: Freed By Fire

The Challenge: A character is hateful through most of the story. A character gets dirty. There must be a figurine at the beginning of the story.

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    I was covered in dirt and blood, in pain, and could barely keep the sword in my hand. The fight wasn’t even half over yet.
    I cursed Vick again, the slick bastard watching me from the VIP box above the stadium. I knew that stealing the sacred Talisman from the Darklings had been a bad idea. I told Vick, but he didn’t listen to his slave. I fought monsters, he made money. But Vick never had enough. When he saw the demonic Talisman, a figurine of a shrouded man, he demanded I steal it for him. As his bondsman, I had to obey him. Didn’t matter that he played cruel games with me, whipped me when I challenged him, or laughed in my face when I asked for freedom. Vick was a black-hearted son of a bitch, and now I had to kill a dragon for him. If I lived, the figurine stayed with Vick. If I died, the Talisman went back to the Darklings.
    Only Vick thought I would win.
    The black scaled dragon growled, pulling its head back and shooting white-hot flames at me. I tucked and rolled before I could be roasted, painting myself a new coat of mud. I crouched and whirled, the dragon’s back to me. I rammed the sword into its ribs, driving it deep. The dragon roared, twisting to try and snare me in its jaws. I pulled the sword out and stepped back from it, using the sword to cleave one of the wings from the dragon’s back.
    Its agonized cry broke my heart.
    I hadn’t wanted to do this. I hadn’t wanted to steal the Talisman, or fight one of the last dragons. But I hadn’t been given a choice.
    “Finish it, Hayden!” Vick shouted at me.
    I was breathing heavily and my bloody body ached, but I still felt anger burning in my chest. I glared at Vick. He glared back.
    “Finish it now, or it’s a hundred lashes! It’s just a damn dragon!”
    That’s it. I sliced the sword along my palms and walked to face the beast. Darkling dragons can create mental links through blood contact. The dragon noticed what I was doing, and let me touch its face.
    The man in the black suit, I thought remorsefully. He’s the one who made me do this to you.
    What do you want? the dragon asked.
    Freedom, I answered. Kill him, and you’ll have the Talisman back.
    It felt my honest vow. Then it turned and sent a quick blast of fire up to where Vick was sitting. His was dead before he knew what hit him. I walked to Vick’s charred corpse and opened his jacket, taking the strangely cool Talisman out. I turned and bowed my head, placing the Talisman in front of the dragon. I looked up, finding it regarding me with respect. It inclined its head, took the statue, and lumbered away.
    I stood and breathed. I was dirty, hurt, and completely free.

- - -

"There's something behind me, isn't there?"

This idea actually stemmed from another concept I was thinking of today, that loosely described Gladiator/Monster idea I've mentioned in past posts. The character's name is Hayden, but the name is pretty well all they shared. Once I came up with that idea, the rest was easy. I'm trying to stay away from typical monsters, and I can't remember the last time I wrote about a dragon, so this was a fun little short to do. :)


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