Well, it's been a while, but here's another Flash Fiction Friday offering. This one took a bit longer than the normal week - several, in fact. I'm trying to relax a bit and write without constant self-editing and the accompanying procrastination. Could be better, I'm sure, constructive criticism is welcome.
The challenge was to write a story, examining a character, and the way they manage their stress. Plus, use a random character generator to give them three character traits. 1000 words max. I got naïve, caring and coarse, and decided to do as three characters.
Like I said, took longer than planned and is a bit over at about 1080 words.
With a bang, the back door of the truck flew open and all three of them tumbled onto the dirt road.
"Oof," said Gregor, "Is good though, we now free. Quickly comrades, off road and into bushes."
"Oh, no, I must protest strongly,” said Percy. "I'm sure they'll realize their loss and return forthwith. We must ensure there is no impediment to our rescue."
Gregor lowered his bushy eyebrows and glared at his friend. "Get real. You stay, you die, too bad."
Indira shook her head. "Enough of that talk, Gregorovich. Percy, are you OK?"
"I'm quite all right,” said Percy, "Just – ow! I fear I may have twisted an ankle. Most unfortunate."
"Good," said Gregor. "You wait, I leave. You distract them."
Indira stomped a foot. "No, we grew up together, and we will stay together. Percy, you are very trusting, but in this case, you may be wrong. We should leave. And avoid people."
"Well, if you're sure," said Percy, "I would then suggest the forest rather than that field. Better cover."
"OK," said Gregor. “Together then. I'm biggest, so break trail. Indira next. Percy, always picky, but is good. Stay at end, cover tracks back up."
The trio managed a slow but steady progress through the woods. Gregor grunted as he pushed his way through the thick underbrush, Indira hummed a little tune, and Percy muttered constantly to himself.
Suddenly there was a shout, far behind them.
Percy squealed, "It's him, he's found us. Oh, I'm just so tired, and thirsty, and hungry. Maybe you're wrong, maybe we're safe now."
"Safe?" said Gregor. "Crazy talk. Indira, explain to poor confused Percy facts of life."
She paused. “Well, Percy, our owner has been getting too old to look after all of us."
"I know," said Percy. "He was quite clear that this better place would be good for us, no more worries --"
Gregor snorted. "Because we sausage and bacon!"
Percy stared at his friends. "What? You don't mean, to the butcher?"
Indira nodded. "I'm pretty sure that's the case. Why else would he keep fattening us up?"
Percy settled back on his haunches. "Really? Oh my, I never thought . . ."
"Sorry," said Gregor. "Is real life. Get up my friend, we must run, later you can be upset."
"Let me pick our path, Gregor," said Indira. "You leave a pretty wide one—nothing personal. Percy, keep covering up as best you can."
"When we escape," said Gregor, "what then? Not little lost puppies somebody takes home."
"No," said Percy, "but maybe we'll find an abandoned farm or something. We have to keep going."
Gregor was about to argue, when there was another shout, much closer.
Percy squealed again, in panic. "That's it, he's found our trail."
"So what, we are three, and he is one," said Gregor.
"Good point," said Percy. "Maybe if we looked fierce, he'll change his mind and let us go."
"Well, he sounds pretty excited," said Indira. "And what if he has that stick? The one he used on the bull."
"I remember," said Percy. "One jab and Horace was down on his knees. OK, you go ahead, I can't go much faster on this ankle."
"Then we fight," said Gregor. "Together."
Indira raised her snout and sniffed. "I smell water, not too far. If it's shallow maybe we can lose our trail. Let' go for it. Gregor, help Percy.”
So they ran, as straight as they could, Indira leading, Percy leaning on Gregor, and the shouts behind getting closer and closer.
"Come on!" she shouted. "I see light through these bushes. One last push, boys." They burst through the bushes, and there it was. A wide river. And a steep riverbank. Before they could stop all three of them slid down and into the water, and down under the surface.
Percy thrashed in a panic, disappeared, then popped up again. "Help! It's too deep. I'll drown, we'll all drown. We can't swim."
Gregor nipped at his friends side. "Calm down. Of course we can swim. All this fat, we float like ducks."
"My goodness, you're quite right," said Percy. He smiled at his friends as he bobbed in the current. "Would you look at me, I'm swimming." He peered back at the swiftly receding shore. "Oh, and there's our owner. He sounds more upset than angry."
"And he does have that stick," said Indira. "But we are safe, for now. Try to swim to the other shore, it looks shallower over there."
Eventually they reached a small eddy and were able to drag themselves onto a sandy beach.
"All those years I missed going swimming," said Percy. "I like it. And I'm certainly not thirsty anymore."
Indira gestured with her snout. "This way, there's a trail." Eventually the trail became a dirt road, then a gravel road, winding through the quiet forest, in the afternoon sun.
"Enough exercise, rest now," said Gregor. "I smell apples up ahead, under trees."
He was right, the ground was covered with dozens of delicious apples, only a bit bruised. The three had just started to feast when there was a rumbling on the road behind them.
"A gate," said Indira. "Quick, before it finishes closing."
But they were too late, they were trapped. And they had company.
"Well, well, what have we here?" The man leaned over the gate and smiled. "Don't be afraid, I could never harm three beauties like you."
"We must run," said Gregor, stepping back.
"Wait now," said Percy. "He does seem to be a friendly sort."
"And he did call us beauties," said Indira.
"You look like purebreds," said the man. "Looks like a Mirgorod, bred in Russia for their lard. And a fine big specimen at that."
Gregor huffed in appreciation.
"And a Berkshire, from England, quite nicely coloured."Percy pawed the ground delicately.
"Finally, if I'm not mistaken, an Indian Ando Goan. One of the prettiest ones I‛ve seen too." He laughed. "And if I didn't know better, I'd say she was blushing.
He paused. "You know, you three look remarkedly like the ones my friend was hoping to drop off. He wanted a long term home for you, and I was looking to expand my breeding herd. This is just too weird."
He picked up a sack. "Look, I have a fresh snack for you guys. Can I tempt you?" He threw some corn ears over the gate.
The trio looked at one another.
"Please, can we stay?" said Percy.
"I think so," said Indira.
"Dah," said Gregor.