Fickle Fingers

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Photo © Artycaptures



Haraea watched his hand for unexpected movement, but no demon possessed it except pain.  Yesterday, half his body was charred. They soaked him in Carenna’s divine grace–any expense for the Taen’s remaining war-mages–until all was healed.  Yet today, the hand hurt again.

Marli took the brunt of it.  They buried her last night.  A healer brought Haraea mead, cooing sympathy for his loss.

He’d studied for years to repay them for rescuing him.  Other orphans were not so lucky.  All those hours memorizing ancient phrases, practicing complicated gestures until they were second nature.  Then yesterday, in the midst of casting, Haraea’s fingers had cramped, spasming uncontrollably.

They assumed Marli’s shield had failed.  Nobody realized the blast originated behind the shield.

Their superior marched in.  “Ready to return?”

I’m broken.  I can’t trust myself.

If Haraea couldn’t cast, they’d give him a pike and send him down to fertilize a random battlefield.  No, he’d have to find other healing, other drugs.  Some longer-lasting cure.

I’m so sorry, Marli.  It won’t happen again.

“Let’s go.”

 



Word count: 175. Written for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers flash fiction challenge.  Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting!  Click here to see the other stories inspired by the prompt photo, and feel free to join in yourself!



 

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28 thoughts on “Fickle Fingers

  1. Woo, spooky. You’re a wonderful storyteller. I am intrigued! What happened? What’s going to happen?
    I got a little confused who “he” was throughout. The gender of the characters is not clear from the unfamiliar names. (which, by the way, are beautiful names). Maybe it’s that I missed some earlier stories, if so, sorry! Time to catch up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for letting me know the pronouns were confusing, Heather. All of the “he’s” refer to Haraea, the main character (Marli is female, and I never identified the supervisor, who only has that one line). I was trying to avoid starting every sentence with his name, but maybe I should go back and sprinkle it in a few more times. And no, you didn’t miss anything — if a story ever refers to characters from earlier stories, I always include links. What happened was that Haraea’s hand glitched out in the middle of a spell (arthritis maybe, or nerves), and he accidentally killed his partner and almost himself. But nobody knows, and if he admits his weakness, he’ll get demoted from war mage to army grunt, with a life expectancy of “next week.” What will probably happen is that he’ll get hooked on the magic version of opioid painkillers, trying to keep it from happening again, and end up having another accident anyway.

      Glad you liked the story, thanks so much for reading!

      Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for noticing the title, Sammi; you know I’m such a stickler for them. 😉 Yes, he’s in a terrible situation. It reminded me of real-life soldiers who fear that their nerves will fail them in the crucial moment and their fingers won’t obey them.

      Liked by 1 person

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