Flash Fiction by Linda Mooney
My words were:
incorrigible, sparked, epiphany, Zamboni, stymied, and Petrichor
“I miss making love to you.”
Neecha stared at her husband’s back as he prepared to leave. He paused momentarily, deciding whether to turn around and face her, or to continue out the door to where his horse and his elven army awaited. She held her breath and prayed. Prayed he would respond. Prayed he wouldn’t go, although she knew he must. Prayed he would turn around and look at her.
She heard him sigh. His shoulders slumped; his head bowed slightly. Another moment’s indecision, and he continued down the short walkway.
Her heart broke. Shoving a fist into her mouth to stifle her sob, she could only watch through her rising tears as he made his way toward the gate. She knew she should go after him, but she couldn’t make her body obey, and her mind rebelled. For the past three months it had been his pride versus her pride. His irrational, incorrigible sense of duty versus her need to keep him safe. As a result, their sex life had suffered. That, and their love.
They were at an impasse. She felt stymied, unable to come up with another excuse, another reason that would prevent him from leaving her this final time.
No. Nothing will stop him from attacking the huge beast and defending his home and his people.
An idea sparked. Although nothing would prevent him from going to defend his people, maybe if she delayed his departure. A few minutes, another hour could mean the difference between dying in battle, and surviving.
A cool wind blew over them. Neecha took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the rich petrichor of the rain-washed earth. Spring was turning her face to the sun. Soon, this past winter would be a memory.
Standing in the doorway, she slowly unbuttoned the front of her gown. Lowering her arms, she let the sleeves slip off her shoulders. The rich silk puddled around her ankles.
He paused at the gate and turned around for one last look at her. She saw his eyes widened at the sight of her slightly rounded belly. She hadn’t told him about the child she carried. Not yet. She had started to many times, but this damned impasse between them had kept her silent.
She couldn’t keep it from him any longer. Not when this could be the last time she’d see him.
“If you are brought back to me on your shield, know that I will tell your son that you died valiantly. That you died a hero.”
He started at the revelation, and his expression changed. She knew he’d had an epiphany. With the gods' blessings, he’d no longer charge indiscriminately against the enemy. He’d take greater care. Perhaps even direct his warriors from a safer distance, although she doubted it. Regardless, she knew she’d struck a chord deep within him. How long had they’d been praying for a child and heir?
He rushed toward her, sweeping her up into his arms as he carried her back into their home, straight to the bedroom. Neecha laughed until his mouth came down over hers, covering her lips with his. Smothering her with his love.
The army would have to wait. The enemy would wait, whatever type of creature a Zamboni was.
At that moment, she and Orlen had to celebrate this miracle of creation. Then, they would celebrate the love that created him.
Sighing happily, she surrendered to his passion.