Flashfiction: Cruelty

About: Action scenes and dialogue always feel tricky to pull off. Practise is the remedy!


The scent of burning flesh filled his Nostrils as another breath of fire engulfed the unfortunate souls nearby. He danced to the rhythm of thundering hoofs and the whistling of arrows, whilst being serenaded by screaming men and horses. His nemesis had a capacity for cruelty that was only surpassed by its tenacity. What they were engaged in was not a battle, battles had no clear winner for such was the nature of war that all involved parties lost in one way or another. This was not war. He knew there could only be one outcome, survival or complete eradication. A deafening roar, combined with the thunderclap of his massive wings, were testimony of his anger. Worst were the arrows, not because they posed any immediate danger but because he was unable to remove the ones that found their way through his hide and how they tore at his wing membranes.

They were insects, puny and insignificant individually but they swarmed around him like the tides of an ocean against its shores. He could no longer fly. Too many arrows had punctured his wings. Much like a crocodile with its jaws snapped shut around its prey he was caught in the death roll of combat, but whether he was hunter or prey he did not know. He could feel the satisfying crunch of breaking bones and snapping tendons underneath his clawed feet and heavy tail, but for each time he attacked a lance found its way through his softer underbelly scales. Slowly, but steadily life ebbed out of him as he bled. He found malicious glee and solace in knowing that those splashed by his acidic blood would writhe in agony as it melted through armour and flesh alike.

For all of his might, as with the ocean, there was nothing he could do to stem the tide. Outraged at the very possibility of his situation he breathed deeply and exhaled the last of his expunging flames. He was a Dragon, the very pinnacle of life, the apex predator, the most ancient of creatures, and yet these maggots had the audacity to attack him! The indignity of it was almost as unbearable as the lance protruding from his stomach, or the one lodged in his hamstring, or the arrow stuck in his left eye. Summoning his reserves he lashed out one final time before succumbing to the strain of his wounds and collapsing. Exhausted, his lungs greedily drew breath. The swarm retreated, gauging, waiting. He grew still, and as a couple of men approached on horses, lances pointed at him, he was powerless to do anything but glare at them.

One of them, a man who had been wearing a helmet with red plumage, opened his visor and met his stare. He saw then the true nature of humanity. There was no rage, no anger, not even hatred, in those cold eyes. The human stared at him with eyes ruled by apathy.

“It seems to be immobilised,” the human said to his fellows. “We can let it bleed to death now. Ready the archers just in case, if it as much as twitches let loose a volley.”

The man turned his horse around and spurred his horse into motion. It was at this point the will to live left the dragon, the soul-crushing reality of defeat had killed his pride. Now, he simply lay there waiting to die. Broken, he drew his last breaths and cursed the existence of a world (c)ruled by mankind.


About Fredrik Kayser

Everything is connected.
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4 Responses to Flashfiction: Cruelty

  1. Fredrik Kayser says:

    Thank you, Shane! I tried making the top half of it ambigous. I wanted that sort of “aha!” moment:D I’m very happy it worked, hehe. Thanks again.

  2. Fredrik Kayser says:

    Thank you, Phoenix! I’m glad you enjoyed it, writing action scenes always feel a little daunting for me, hehe. I’ve always wondered how other beings/species view us humans, I think indifference is our scariest state of emotion (or lack thereof) because I’ve yet to see animals exhibit similar extremes. I imagine it’d seem very strange to them. ^^

  3. shanechall says:

    Your first paragraph is awesome. By the end of it I was thinking “Oh, it’s a dragon!” and then I read it over again and all the details became so much greater, like dancing midst his flames to a rhythm of hooves.

  4. phoenixgrey85 says:

    This is a good piece of writing. I loved the coldness of the human, the way the dragon saw him. And I liked how I knew you were writing form the point of view of a dragon before you ever mentioned the word. Good use of description.

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