Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 28
Once upon a time there lived a hunter in a wild land. Each morning he set out into the forest to check his traps and seek out game. Each afternoon he returned to his cottage to tend its small garden and to cook a simple meal. And each night, he rested that he would be ready to begin the next day anew.
One day, while treading a path that even he seldom used, the hunter passed an old man who wore a thick cloak and walked with a long staff. The hunter gave him a cordial greeting, yet the man responded by grasping his arm, pulling him backwards along the path.
“I pray you,” said the traveller, “walk no farther this way!”
The hunter began to protest, but his words were drowned out by a widowmaker falling on the path where the traveller had just passed and he had just been approaching. The vast bough rested, still trembling from the impact, as the hunter struggled to put his gratitude into words.
But “Do not thank me,” said the traveller. “I have not saved your life, but rather the trouble of lifting that bough.”
The hunter looked to the traveller and realised with horror that the man’s wrinkled face was but a skull, and his thick cloak a pale shroud. Likewise he carried not a staff, but a vicious dart. The hunter tried to pull away, but the terrible figure’s fleshless hand was still closed over his arm, and he remained fixed upon the path as firmly as a coffin nail. Continue reading
In ancient days when the island was new, there lived a hunter like none who lives today. KaloKa was this hunter’s name. He walked with footsteps silent as still water, and his arrows could snatch the stars from the sky. Born beneath a warlock’s moon, he understood the words of the wild beasts, and when he wore the skin of an animal he took its shape upon him. His hunting spear brought death like sleep, and at its approach no prey would flee, for its point brought no pain and the creatures of the forest had not learned to fear it.
But though the hunter brought no pain, no fear, there was one who came to hate him: his only brother, LokeRo. Though born beneath the same moon, LokeRo had a cruel spirit and no magic was bestowed upon him. All beasts had come to fear his scent, and even insects shied away at his approach. Still KaloKa honoured him as kin, and often let him join the hunt, though it meant both would be without a meal.
One day, overcome with envy, LokeRo drove his spear into his brother’s back and threw him in the sea. He told the tribe that KaloKa had fallen and been taken by the sharks. From the white island, KaloKa watched him tell this lie, and the ancestors that stood around him watched it too. KaloKa knew that when his brother’s time came, and his spirit made the journey to the white island, he would be scorned for all the days of time. But this was not enough. From the white island, watching the lie, KaloKa’s spirit grew cruel too.