ROW80-2 checkin 6/20 - and, scene!
Fairy Tale Felon


This week's  challenge  from Terrible Minds was based on a photo of a tree.

TM 2012/6/15 - The Crooked Tree

It’s a snapshot of a crooked tree in some fog (a tree that is, so you should know, no longer present — it broke and is gone). 1522664805_98e29cf44d_z
It’s maybe one of my favorite images — I’m a woefully amateurish photographer and when I take a shot that looks like something more than my intent for it rather than less, I’m always pleased.
And I think this photo has a lot of story potential.
What kind of potential? Well, that’s on you.
Horror, fantasy, literary, whatever.
You have up to 1000 words.
Post at your online domicile, link back here.
You’ve got till Friday, June 22nd, at noon (EST).
Tell us about that crooked tree, won’t you?


I wrote this story on a very hot day, so the images of cool mist were a pleasant change. The story is short, it was mostly about the setting. And with a twist at the end of course. 


The morning mist chilled him to the bone, as he stood alone in the early morning light.

He squinted across the field, and eventually picked out the old tree, more shadow than shape. The early hour, the isolated location, plus this mist should give them all the privacy they needed to resolve this disagreement.

He breathed in a calming breath. The damp air smelled of both life and death, of fresh grass, early morning flowers, the musk of a passing deer, of leaf mold, smoke from the battlefield, quickly buried bodies.

The distant sound of cannons was muffled, but reminded him that after this was over he still had a brigade to lead - hopefully to victory, likely to death. 

He'd only been there a few minutes, but already the dampness was sneaking through his woolen cloak. Might as well get this over with. He set off across the field, through the wet grass, and within minutes his pant legs were wet to the knees. Hopefully after this was done he'd be able to grab a few minutes in front of a hot fire, and maybe even a quick shot of whisky. 

As he got closer to the tree, the shadows resolved into shapes - horses, his opponent, the seconds. His cousin stepped forward with the weapons he'd chosen, a matched brace of pistols. He picked one, then waited while the seconds retired to load the guns. He hoped the powder was OK, last time he'd had a mis-fire. 
The morning sun was just starting to burn through the mist as he stood back to back to his opponent, pistol cocked and ready. The seconds started counting out the paces for them. "One, two, three..." At ten, he turned, aimed and fired. A miss. Again.

He saw a puff of smoke from his opponents pistol, then heard its pop. He felt a sharp pain in his chest, and blinked as a red mist formed in front of his eyes.

"Waiting to respawn - 6, 5, 4, ..."

He stretched, adjusted his helmet, and flexed the haptic gloves. Squeeze the trigger, he thought, don't pull.

"... 3, 2, 1, 0,'"

The morning mist chilled him to the bone, as he stood alone in early morning light.




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