It has been too long, hasn’t it? Well, here I am with a new flash fiction story, this time a result of the competition at The Angry Hourglass. The version of the story posted over there is slightly different because of the 360 words word limit. The story originally reached 420 words, I then edited it down to 359 as posted on the Angry Hourglass site and then edited some new words back in where I felt cutting down had hurt the tale.
Interesting story behind this one: I originally mistook the image prompt preview for a man fighting in a dojo with a lamp in the foreground. When I later looked at the larger version I recognized it was a man carrying a flame on a stick. Both interpretations have found their way into this short piece.
Visit the link above to see the other version as well as the prompt and other entries resulting from it, some of them exceptionally good.

Master of Man

He watched them flee into the darkness. Victory, but how? And why had he fought them? The aggression had been something that suddenly took hold of him to subside once they fled. Somehow not his anger, it was of somebody else.
„Hello“, Josh called out into the empty hall. Only one lamp burned against the night outside. Though dim, it should have been enough to see anybody hiding here. There was nobody.
„Hello“, answered something from no direction at all, feeling like a voice inside his head, „thank you for your assistance. This is my room. I was born here, I live here. And I cannot fight my oppressors, so thank you for taking care of that.“
„Where are you? Who are you? Why did I fight?“
„That was me, I made you want to fight. I can’t fight, but sometimes I can get help when I need it. I am who lives here. There were others living here, but those you drove off came in here. At first they started training as you do in any dojo. But as they got better, they started to become aggressive.“
„You’re not answering my questions!“
„No, I’m making you understand. There used to be more like me living here, one in every corner, but one day, they killed one next to the door, then the other one there. One by one, they climbed toward us, killed my brethren and had the hall grow dark and cold. You came in so I gave you eagerness to fight them. You saved me.“
„You’re not making any sense, who are you? I don’t even see a shadow.“
„That’s precisely who I am, no shadow.“
„That’s no better! Where are you and how do you make me feel like you speak inside my head?“
„Silly boy, that is what our kind does. We live to fill humans with emotions, with ideas, with warmth. To the most receptive, we can talk. I am flame, and fire, and light. And you will now pick me up.“
„Why would I want to do that?“
„Because you want to.“
„Yes, I do“ Josh said when a sudden urge to do so woke in him.

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