Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sweep (Flash Fiction)

Found on Google Images. I own nothing.

FLASH FICTION PROMPT


Swish. Swap. Swish.

The rough straw broom scraped along the worn stones. The priestess calmly continued her work, moving with slow deliberate movements, until she reached the end of the entryway. There was a faint gleam in her soft, brown eyes and her grip on the rough wooden handle, betrayed something deeper, something darker. Every so often, her gaze would flicker off to the left and towards the grand, stone archway that proclaimed the entrance to their safe haven.

“Anka?” The Head Priest rounded the corner, his sharp, dark eyes seeing everything that she did not say outright. He could not ask, anyway, for even in the wild forest, the trees had ears. “How many?” He asked, at last. His black eyes shifted to fix their gaze on the tall, looming mountains that bordered their sanctuary.

“Thirteen.” She continued to sweep, with careful, practiced moments. She'd been counting the refugees ever since they'd heard the news. “And then some.”

“And the others?” He asked, calmly. There were sure to be soldiers hunting the royal family, at least, those who had managed to escape. He had hoped for less than a dozen, but he would work with what he could. The refugees would be their first priority. He would focus on them instead.

“Five, six, maybe more. A child, I think.” Anka blinked. Her hazel eyes darkened to a near caramel hue, before she tightened her grip on the broom and prepared to go on sweeping.

He sighed, hands folded into the thick, warm sleeves of his outer robe. He knew this one too well. She was warding the front of the entryway, weaving her gift into the heartfelt prayers being whispered in her heart. She was worried for them. He was worried for her. This would be the first time she would actively have to sit out of an attack.

"Anka?"

"I am fine, Father." She inclined her head, but the smile didn't reach her eyes.

He regarded her, silently for a moment. “Very well. We will do what we must and we shall save all that we can.”

Her shoulders quivered, faintly. That was not the answer she wanted to hear, but it was one she was familiar with. A soldier of her caliber knew and accepted the risks and losses of their own kind.

He tilted his head forward, capturing her eyes with his own. “The path we walk is not an easy one.” He reminded. “But we are able to make a clean sweep of it all at the end of every day. The people that are coming to us, seek sanctuary and peace for their troubled souls. We are beacons and we are guardians.” His expression softened. “We do not fight, for He fights for us.”

(c) Sara Harricharan

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