We’ve wrapped up the judging of the First Annual QSF Flash Fiction Contest early, so we’ll be sharing the top stories over the next 6 days. After that, most of the submitted stories will be posted on the site for everyone to enjoy. We had some fantastic submissions this year – congrats to everyone! All stories were limited to 300 words max, with the theme “endings”.
The winner of the contest is Cari Z – congrats, Cari! Here’s her story – enjoy!
A Second Chance to Die Well
By Cari Z
It’s time to close the crypt. Dayell knows it. Less than two minutes to midnight, and his men are giving him concerned looks. Time to close the crypt, or when Jen’s soul breaks free from his corpse it will seek out the nearest vessel and overwhelm it. It has to be contained, entombed for all eternity, or it will winnow through the living like a scythe as it seeks vengeance. It’s time to close the crypt, but Dayell just can’t do it yet.
Dead by dark magic, denied his rightful journey to the Halls of Valor…it should never have happened this way. Jen had scorned magic, teased Dayell for his precautions against it. “Magic means nothing against hot blood and hard steel,” he’d murmured in the night when Dayell fretted, smiling lips close to his ear. “Magic will fall to will every time.” Magic was a fretful, vulnerable thing, it was true…but even so it was dangerous. Dayell had known how dangerous, but was unable to convince Jen. Unable to save him.
“Day,” his second warns, and he sluggishly rouses himself to lay hands on the cold stone. It’s time to close the crypt, to lock Jen in tight, leave his spirit hopeless and raging…no, he can’t do it. He just can’t. But if he doesn’t, then his men’s lives may be forfeit.
But he can be the vessel, Jen’s second chance for vengeance and valor. Jen won’t hurt him, not after everything they’ve been to each other. He can feel the moment coming, the air thickening with power. He heaves on the stone, rolling it over smoothly, closing off the crypt but leaving just a crack… All he needs is a moment.
It’s midnight. Dayell closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and welcomes Jen’s soul into his bones.