This story today is written for a writing challenge hosted by Adam Ickes. Welcome to Storybook Corner, a monthly flash fiction prompt held on the 21st of each and every month.
The challenge, for those of us who choose to accept it, is to write a story based on the prompt provide below. The goal is to end up with a story with a beginning, middle, and end that falls anywhere between 300 and 500 words in length. Make every word count, but don’t fret too much if you can’t hit the word count. Sometimes stories refuse to be constrained. Sometimes those are the only stories worth telling.
Try to read as many of the other stories as you can in the time you have available. We all work hard on our stories and like to share our work with as many readers as possible. I wasn’t able to grab the linky tool this month for some reason; however you can get to the other stories by clicking on the link above.
I enjoy writing multi-part stories, so my story continues this month. In April, in Part 1 of The Hike Through Time we met Joe and Kelsey, a married couple that like to hike. On their current hike, they traveled further than they had before and began having odd experiences that they were unable to explain. Our hikers have somehow entered a time warp and our couple settled down for the night in the hopes that maybe things will be clear in the morning. Next in the May installment, Part 2, the couple met a toad that used to be a boy and his poor behavior is why he is a toad and trapped in this other world. And now, The Hike Through Time (Part 3)
This month’s prompt is the following image:
Under Pierre’s direction, the newly formed group began traveling towards the beach that Joe and Kelsey saw on their first day. Reaching a bluff that afforded a view of the beach and ocean below, Joe turned around slowly to take in their surroundings.
“There appears to be a small village down in that valley,” said Joe.
“Never having the view from this height before, I was not aware of the village nor have I been able to travel far on these small legs,” said Pierre.
“Why don’t we investigate the village? I can’t think of any other option,” said Kelsey.
Traveling through the grassy valley, the pilgrims soon reached the outskirts of the village but there was no sign of people. Approaching the first building, a small stone hut with a grass roof, Joe knocked on the door. After a few minutes, he knocked again. When there was still no answer, Kelsey peered in one of the windows.
“I don’t see anyone inside.”
The travelers walked on towards the center of the village but it seemed to be deserted.
“This is certainly odd. There is no one around; however the village doesn’t look abandoned. Whatever happened here it must have been recent,” said Joe.
Why don’t we split up and investigate. Maybe we can find some clues that will tell us what happened here. I’ll take Pierre with me,” said Joe.
After about an hour, they found themselves back in the village center with no answers.
“It isn’t a large village but there are good number of homes. Where could all the people have gone? We may have to settle here for the night and move on in the morning,” said Joe.
“Don’t you think that manhole cover over there is out of place? Everything we’ve seen so far has appeared to be from a medieval time period.”
“You are right Pierre.”
While Pierre and Joe were discussing the manhole, Kelsey thought she heard voices. She approached the manhole and put her ear to the ground.
“It is very faint; however I think someone is down there,” exclaimed Kelsey.
“We need to find something to pry up the manhole cover. I was in the blacksmith shop earlier and I am sure I’ll find something there,” said Joe.
Joe went to the blacksmith shop and soon returned with a metal rod. It took some effort but he was able to remove the manhole cover. The three of them peered down the shaft into darkness.
“Hello. Is there anyone down there?” inquired Kelsey.
After a moment, they could hear multiple voices and a clanking sound as someone climbed the metal ladder. Joe raised the metal rod for protection if it proved necessary. Suddenly, a man’s face appeared from the darkness.
As he climbed out, he said, “Have you slain the troll?”
All at once, Joe, Kelsey and Pierre shouted, “What troll?”
Come back next month, to see how the story unfolds.