Flash! Friday for Oct. 9: And the Vultures Wept

If you’re not familiar with what Flash! Friday is, here’s the explainer. But in short, it’s a fun weekly contest of flash fiction writers, where each week a new picture prompt, “element” prompt (based on fire and ice), and a limited word count is given, and writers have 24 hours to submit their story. By Monday, the judges pick a winner.

The Oct. 9 prompt was this picture:

“Eternal Procession” CC4 photo by Marc TosoAncient Skys Photography.  Read about Bears Ears (“Shash Jaá”)’s current political troubles here.

The additional prompt was a requirement was to write the story outside your usual genre or in a genre that’s new to you The word count was between 150-160 words.

I’m grateful to have received a shout-out from one of the judges, Mark King, who said about my entry:

for attention-grabbing opening

You can read the full results here.

My entry had a word count of 160 words, and was based in the Western genre. Here is my entry:

Beckett came to spitting the dirt hair of a corpse from his mouth.

His dust-crusted eyes saw blood everywhere, as if the sun had turned red. He blinked again, and realized it was the red-rock landscape towering over him. Checked his holster. Empty. Checked his limbs. Working.

The corpse, still attracting vulture attention, was Guy, a surly fellow from Ogden. Guy didn’t like Beckett on account of his Mormonism. He tried to amass a mob, as they did in the East, but the others looked at him like the saloon drunk. Nobody cared which way your wind blew out West.

Guy and two hunting dogs tracked Beckett to bears ears, toppling his wagon. The ambush was thwarted by Balwant, a young member of the Goshutes, who didn’t know his people were warring with Beckett’s people. Stolen land and budding religions didn’t matter to Balwant. He was scouting clouds and scowling at a coward.

Beckett kept the faith and kept moving.

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