This week I’m sharing the last assignment in Lisa Kessler’s Flash Fiction class. If I haven’t mentioned before, I want to reiterate how much fun the class was and how much I learned. Thanks, Lisa! *hugs*
The last assignment was a story on the topic of our choice and the word limit was 500. I think this is my favorite length. It’s tough and forces you to make every word count. I chose to write a speculative fiction piece. I hope you enjoy it! (In case you’re curious, this story came in at 495 words.)
A cool, damp caress traced Jenna’s jaw before brushing her lips. Shivering at the delicate touch, she pulled her grandmother’s quilt higher. She’d expected realism from her first Civil War reenactment, but the canvas tent was damn cold.
A firm hand shook her awake. Jenna shrieked, her heart thudding wildly in her chest. “Who’s there?” She fumbled for her lantern.
“I’m sorry, but I my brother needs your help.” With nimble fingers, he lit the wick.
Why was a Confederate soldier leaning over her cot? Was it some kind of prank?
“Miss, please, you must hurry!” The man tugged at her quilt.
“Whoa, now.” She slapped his hand away, thankful she’d slept in her chemise and pantaloons. “Why me?”
“Because you’re a nurse, of course. I heard you speak about medicine.”
The day before, Jenna participated in a living history demonstration on Civil War medicine. Her career as a paramedic fed her interest for battlefield medical practices. When she learned her great-great-grandfather fought with Stonewall Jackson, Jenna decided to pair her studies with reenacting.
“Miss…we need to go now,” the solider begged.
“Fine. Out of my tent while I dress. Then, I’ll help you.” He quickly left, and Jenna donned yesterday’s dress and boots. Wrapping a shawl around her shoulders, she grabbed her first aid kit and the lantern before heading outside.
The night air held a crisp chill. She hoped they didn’t have to travel far. Jenna cursed the uneven ground that had her stumbling. Moments later, they reached another soldier, bloody and struggling to breathe.
Jenna knelt and conducted a quick assessment. “He doesn’t have much time.” She told the first soldier as she dug through her supplies. “We need an ambulance.”
He frowned. “An ambulance?”
Jenna closed her eyes and slowly counted to ten. Did he have to stay in character? She was out of bed, freezing her ass off. Wasn’t that enough? This man needed help.
She opened her eyes—the men were gone. “What the hell?” She stood, turning a circle. No sign of them. Checking the area, she found blood glistening on the grass where the man had lain. Un-freaking-believable. Hope they enjoyed their joke. She wasn’t laughing.
Jenna headed back to her tent. She’d be demanding answers in the morning.
* * * *
“I had the weirdest thing happen last night.” Jenna helped Will fix breakfast over the campfire. “I think I was hazed.” Jenna kept her eyes on the eggs, feeling a bit ridiculous.
Will looked up from slicing the homemade bread. “What do you mean, hazed?”
“Well…I think some drunken soldiers played a prank on me. Got me up and dragged me out to treat a wounded solider.”
Will’s eyes grew big before he chuckled. “They gotcha, did they?” He shook his head. “Let me guess. A Confederate soldier came for you, claiming his brother had been seriously injured?”
She stopped stirring. “How’d you know?”
He winked. “The ghosts of the Hale brothers struck again.”
* * * *
As a “thank you” to Lisa, I want to pass along that she will be teaching another class, starting March 2nd. This one is on Infusing Your Scenes with Action Using all Five Senses. For more information, click here.