A fun little piece from last December’s NYC Midnight Microfiction 250 competition, Honorable Mention, first round. Prompts were Action/adventure (genre), feeding an animal (action), and “wish” (word that must be included in some form). 250 words.
Gnarled vines lash Kaya’s shoulders as she barrels through the jungle, but she doesn’t feel a thing.
Her heart hammers. Footsteps? Callum will kill her. He said so himself.
She shakes off the distraction. In a quiet dell, she glances over her shoulder. Her pointed ears twitch. Going back is impossible.
Purplish eyes gleam from the underbrush.
Kaya searches her meager satchel. A blade, futile from this distance. A potion, useless against a beast. A cookie.
The creature slinks closer. Reptilian. Fanged.
Her fingers grasp the cookie. What had the gatekeeper said? Eat when thou hast no other path? It’s upon her lips when she stops.
Clever girls take the less-obvious path.
She flings the cookie at the lizard. It nibbles.
In an instant, it grows. Big as a house. With a screech, it rears, its primitive head thrashing in the canopy, forelegs ensnared by vines. Triumphant, Kaya flees, crashing through jungle again, must escape before Callum–
Thin air. An unforeseen cliff.
“No!” she wails.
In twenty seconds, she’ll be dead.
As she awaits this dark moment, the door swings open.
“What’re you doing in my room? I told you I’d…” Callum gapes at the screen, where the view has panned back like it always does when the player dies. The oversized lizard is still flailing, tree-bound. “Whoa! What’d you do to that Jooba-skink? He’s huge.”
Kaya grins. “Fed him the Manna-roon from the gatekeeper in Zamperion.”
“Ingenious!” Callum sinks into his beanbag. He picks up the controller from where she hurled it and beckons. “C’mon, little sis. Do it again!”
“Sure,” she says, glowing inside.