Thursday, February 11, 2021

Northern Enlightenments

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Flash fiction lightning streak image

This story is for Miranda Kate's weekly flash challenge. She posts an image as an inspirational prompt for writing a story. This is from Miranda's post: This image is from a website, advertising a holiday home called Bø Huset in Bø, Sortland in the Vesterålen Region of Norway - Fjords country. The holiday house is hosted by Michelle Edelman, who I am assuming (until she responds to my email) is the person who took this stunning shot. 

Here's a link to the prompt image. Please note that anyone can join in with a story up to 750 words. Mine has 602 words for those who are counting.

Northern Enlightenments

K. R. Smith

It was cold, perhaps the coldest night of the year. The sky was clear. The air was still. That was good—at least for Jake. With no wind, he could hear footsteps a long way off. 

Jake had followed the tracks before and knew where to be for a good shot. He nestled in as best he could behind a fallen tree to hide his presence. His rifle rested in the crook of a branch. Everything was in place. 

It was difficult to keep his breathing under control. The frigid air, the excitement, even his thoughts worked against him. One well-placed shot would bring fame and fortune. Most of all, it would bring respect. The doubters, the ones who had laughed, would be silenced. Jake knew his job and he did it well. It was only a matter of time—if he could a steady hand.

It seemed an eternity until his eyes spotted movement among the trees. He turned on his night-vision goggles. The heat signature was clear. This was not a bear or a moose; it walked on two legs.

Soon the target was close enough to see using the dim light of the stars and the auroras that slithered above. Jake strained to keep the quarry in sight among the brush. Then, it stopped. Had he been spotted?

He watched through the scope of his rifle, trying to breath slowly. The sight line was not clear; he couldn't risk a shot. 

The target began to move again, making its way to a small knoll. It couldn't be more perfect. Instead of standing, however, the target sat down, mostly obscured by brush. Jake cussed quietly under his breath and waited. 

After a while, all movement stopped. In the dim light, he couldn't tell what was going on. Was what he saw really the target or had his prey somehow eluded him again? Jake turned the night-vision goggles on again. The image was just a blob; there was nothing identifiable at which to aim. The target was there, but huddled too close to the ground.

Jake waited for a while longer, but the situation remained unchanged. He knew he had to make a move.

As slowly as possible, he got his legs under him, eventually reaching a kneeling position. He was in luck; the prey was facing slightly away from him. Jake prayed his target's peripheral vision wasn't very good. He raised his rifle, centering the crosshairs on the body. 

With his finger hovering over the trigger, he was puzzled that his target seemed to sit motionless, the head tilted back. It made no sense. Why?

Jake looked upward, just as his quarry was doing. Above him, luminous colors danced, weaving to-and-fro in a mesmerizing display. It was more magnificent than any aurora he'd ever experienced. When a huge burst of color brightened the landscape, Jake heard a murmur of approval from the brushy knoll. He watched the shimmering lights for a while, then studied his intended victim. He flipped the safety on and propped his rifle against a stump. 

He leaned back against a tuft of grass and lit a cigarette. The light startled the creature, which stood and faced him. Jake pointed to the sky. It made a grunt, shook its huge fingers towards the heavens in response, then sat back down to enjoy the glowing exhibition.

There was going to be a lot of crow to eat, for sure. The fame and fortune he'd dreamed of disappeared into the darkness. But whatever this thing was—sasquatch, yeti, bigfoot—it didn't matter; he couldn't destroy something that understood beauty.

© 2021 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. I wondered which way that was going to go - was he going to shoot someone he knew? Was he going to get hurt? Was it a figment of his imagination? Nicely done. Thanks for joining.

    1. Thanks! It took some effort to keep things vague until the end.


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