Another piece of flash fiction, entered for a competition for darker stories at Darker Times.
It didn’t win, and if I’m honest I wasn’t totally happy with it. Sometimes the word limit helps, and sometimes it doesn’t, I think this is one where it didn’t.
The rain lashed down, soaking me in the darkness. I didn’t want to be out here, but the flock hadn’t come in for their feed. That meant they’d gotten out again.
Fortunately I found the hole in the fence quickly. Unfortunately it was into the forest. I’d rushed out without a jacket, and now I was paying the price. Even better, my torch was running low. No wait, now it was out. So now I was in a dark forest, at night, in driving rain, looking for creatures whose colouring ranged from brown to black. Could it get any worse?
The sound chilled my blood. It was off to my right. I called out, “Hazel… Catkin…” The two leaders of the flock would normally come to me, though I’d always felt their names somewhat mis-sold them. Hazel could be a real monster when she wanted to be, and Catkin was worse if anything.
Off to my right again, then answered from the left. If I hadn’t known better I’d have thought they were stalking me. Then what sounded like a cry, followed by several more angry bleats. I ran towards the sound. I heard screaming. The flock had found someone, and were stalking them. I had to do something before it got out of hand. I tried to go faster, but I was no longer on the path and the branches kept whipping my face.
The scream sounded again, and I leapt forward in a panic. I found myself on my back, seeing stars and with blinding pain across my forehead. I must’ve hit a branch. The screaming had stopped and I could hear snuffling. The rain seemed to be easing off.
Had whoever screamed been able to get away? There were a few fences around the wood which the flock wouldn’t be able to get over. Perhaps they’d made it? I got up and headed towards the sounds. I kept telling myself that whoever it was must have got away.
The moon had broken through the clouds, and I could see a clearing ahead. Dark figures seemed to be clustered near the centre of the clearing, and they were making a lot of snuffling sounds. I walked towards them, knowing that as they were pheromone bonded to me they’d just assume I was part of the flock. I gingerly looked over at what they were gathered around. It was the fresh corpse of a small Scottie dog. I gagged a little but was relieved, it could have been much worse..
Then I heard more snuffling at the edge of the clearing. The rest of the flock were there, gathered round a much bigger form. Peering closely I made out a woman’s shape in the moonlight. I gagged. She was obviously beyond help. I slumped to the floor, dazed and not knowing what I would do. I couldn’t help railing at the madness of genetically engineering a cross between Soay sheep and wolves.