Flash Fiction #24
(Prompt from me) Three minotaurs are at sea on a large raft. It is late afternoon. The minotaurs have a prisoner. The prisoner is a swan. It has a golden collar around its neck, but the chain that links the collar to the ring set in the center of the raft is made of iron. One minotaur sits near the raft's edge, a single hoofed leg folded. He stares out towards the setting sun. The other two minotaurs are on the other side of the raft. Each is perched on a rusty barrel. They have a cooking fire between them in a sooty brazier. Some root vegetables are lined up on a grille over the fire, and the smoke from the fire carries the rich and starchy scent. The swan cries out once. It has been still and silent for hours, huddled despondently in between a couple of logs. Now it makes a sound. "She's hungry," says one of the minotaurs by the fire. They don't actually know if the swan is female. "Give her a bit of our dinner," says the other. He's whittling at a chunk of wood in one thick-nailed hand. Every now and again, he reaches up and scrapes it against the tip of his horn. "There's precious little enough for us," protests the first. "You want the swan to starve?" "'course not." The minotaur snorts. "But then again, better her than us." The other minotaur, the one by the edge of the raft, looks around at them. He's lean, and his fur is pale brown. "We'll die without her," he says. "Don't forget that. Without her, we're lost and alone at sea." The whittler shakes his head. "We're lost anyway, you ask me," he says. "Maybe the other shore doesn't exist. But no good would come of letting the bird starve." "It would be terrible fortune," agrees the pale minotaur. "Pah," says the third. "I'm beginning to doubt this swan of yours entirely." "You saw the signs," says the whittler. He flicks a scrap of wood out into the water. "Maybe I was mistaken. Maybe we all were." "I saw more than the signs," says the pale one. "I saw her find water, and I saw her find gold. With my own eyes. Where else would I get a collar like that? It's there as a reminder, and as a promise." He looks back at the sun and sees it's touched the horizon. All of a sudden, he lows, low and loud, and after a moment, his fellows join in. ---15 mins--- Flash Fiction Index: http://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=393711
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