As the mist parted, I found myself face-to-face with the tip of an arrow, so close my eyes crossed as I tried to focus on it.
I’d watched liked a hawk as I picked my way through the forest, carefully, quietly, afraid that even the slightest crunch of the leaves beneath my feet or the crack of a broken tree branch would give me away. I’d been scanning the forest for hours and my eyes were accustomed to the murky gloom. I should have seen the archer coming. A cursory glance at the hand below where the arrow rested told me the archer was a man. Where he’d come from or how he’d found me were a complete mystery, however.
The forest was silent except for my suddenly ragged breathing.
He lowered the arrow from where it had been aimed at the spot between my eyes to my chest. Hardly a relief, since the bowstring hadn’t loosened a fraction. At this range, it would certainly kill me.
It did allow me to examine his face. A hood covered his head, although I caught a glimpse of dark hair at the edges, and above the green-grey fabric covering his mouth and nose I saw dark eyes ringed with something sooty. There was nothing kind or welcoming in his gaze.
I jerked and tried not to flinch as another hooded figure appeared on my left, disarming me of my sword before I could reach for it. Another set of hands gripped my upper arms and in moments, they were bound tightly.
Only then did the arrow lower and the tension on the bowstring relax.
He slung his bow over his shoulder and gripped my upper arm. A cloaked figure appeared on the path in front of us and set a brisk pace. The archer jerked me forward and it was all I could do to right myself and keep up.
I wanted to shout, wanted to beg for an explanation, ask who he was and where they were taking me, but the hush of the forest seemed oppressive and my tongue felt thick in my mouth. I stared at the archer beside me, trying to discern who he was. Certainly not the King’s men I’d been hiding from.
It wasn’t until a breeze ruffled the hood of his cloak and I caught a glimpse of a finely sculpted ear tapering to a point that I realized who held me captive: an elf.
Fear made my stomach churn.
The only thing worse than the King’s men were the elves of Ironwood Forest.
I don’t have any plans to write fantasy novels, but it’s a lot of fun to do in flash form!
Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics.
I look forward to seeing you next Monday!