The Rise of Eventide: Flash Fiction

Updated on December 12, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris has written more than 175 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

Source

A young maiden named Eventide, proud owner of her own stone house and a field capable of producing much more food than she could ever eat, was also the repository of a broken heart. An illness, whether the curse of angry gods, the conjuration of wicked men or simply the stuff of life, had taken her parents along with the elderly and very young across the valley.

She was grateful that her father had worked hard to provide for his family. The sum total of his life’s work was this house, the field surrounded by a sturdy stone wall, the well that never failed to provide clear, cool water, the stone barn, Archibald the sway-backed plow horse, a milk cow and a few chickens.

Following her father’s example for time and conditions, Eve planted the field with seeds from his final crop. She buried and watered them, then fertilized them with dung from the animals.

Source

On the morning after she finished planting, she went outside to witness the devastation. Birds of every kind were digging up her precious seeds and eating them with impunity. She ran this way and that, waving her shawl and screaming until her voice and her will gave out. She fell to the ground, weeping, pleading for the illness to return and take her as well.

News of her misfortune reached the village. When she hitched Archibald to the wagon and went to town to purchase supplies, Ailbeart, who now ran the dry goods store after the death of his own father, goaded her about the failure of her first crop.

“You need a good man to take care of you, Eve. With the farm as dowry, you could do very well for yourself.” He finished the little spiel with a wink and a nod.

“I have nothing against a good man, dear Ailbeart,” said Eve. “If, in the course of your business dealings, you should meet one, please send him my way.” She returned the wink and nod and walked away.

Source

But the words of Ailbeart haunted her. She was doing her best to rid the field of the fowl, but it was taking all of her time and energy. Maybe the storekeeper was right, and this life was too much for a woman. But this she could not and would not accept. She renewed her efforts and drove the birds off day after day until it was clear she was winning the battle. She could not bare the thought of continuing this fight, though. She set her mind to finding a way to keep the birds away for good.

I need someone equally skilled at chasing away my feathered foes. She had heard of the craft of forming a human shape that could scare birds out of a field, so she made it that day’s project. Her father’s farm clothes stuffed with dried grass made a believable body. An old grain sack, likewise filled with grass, sufficed for a head. Button eyes a radish nose and a string bean mouth even had her keeping a suspicious eye on her creation. She wove a straw hat and placed it on its head, then carried it into the field. She buried the end of a board in the ground and tied the figure to it with strips of cloth. Eve stepped back to admire her work.

“Hello there,” she said with a curtsey. “My name is Eventide, Eve for short. I don’t get many visitors out this way. Won’t you stay for dinner?”

The button eyes stared back and the string bean smile never wavered. Somehow the little scene left her sad and lonely.

Source

Day after day the birds continued to raid her field. She threw stones, waved her hands and shouted until not even a feather remained. But the straw stuffed figure had been a failure.

Eve woke one morning to a ruckus outside. She looked out the window and saw a man who was attempting to chase away the birds. To Eve, it didn’t matter that he was trying to help, trespassing was trespassing. She grabbed her father’s machete and stormed out the door.

Words were on the verge of flying out of her mouth about her property and having things under control here and thank you, but please move on. Two things stopped her and sent her back to the other side of the stone wall. The first was her father’s clothes. The second was the board tied to the man’s back at his waist and chest. He turned. Their eyes met. And Eve fled to the house.

She was too frightened to look outside. What had gone wrong? What evil had found its way to her farm? She hid along the wall in her bedroom with the straw tic pulled close, the blade of the machete cold against her arm.

Source

By late afternoon, she suspected it had been an early morning dream. She crawled out of her hiding place. Her muscles ached from lying on the floor all day. She looked out the window toward the field. Everything was as it should have been. The birds were gone, the crops were safe and the human figure stood tied to a board that was buried in the ground.

Machete in hand, Eve ventured out. Lifeless button eyes stared straight ahead. The radish nose and string bean mouth clearly needed changing. She remembered when he had turned toward her that morning, the soft eyes, the strong, handsome face.

Eventide sat on the rocky ground. She had turned her life around and made the little farm successful. She had even earned the respect of the townspeople.

But the woman in her wanted more. She breathed deeply, afraid to speak, more afraid not to.

“I’m going back inside now. My invitation stands.” She rose from the ground, brushed the dust from her dress and went to the kitchen to make dinner.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        21 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Thank you Lawrence. Glad you enjoyed it.

      • profile image

        Lawrence Hebb 

        21 months ago

        Really enjoyed the story.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        22 months ago from Central Florida

        What a story! A tad on the creepy side, but cool nonetheless.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Ruby, Thanks for reading and for the very kind words. I'm glad the story caused a little nostalgia for you.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        MizBejabbers, the fact that you want to read my stories is an encouragement and a compliment. Thank for reading the story.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Bill, My son told me the other day to stop trying to write stories and just write. That's what I was doing with this one, just letting words build the way they wanted. Thank you for those confirming and encouraging words.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        22 months ago from Southern Illinois

        Oh, I loved this charming story, especially Eve's reply to Ailbeart. This reminded me of the stories I adored reading as a child. You are so gifted!

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James-MizBejabbers 

        22 months ago

        This really was a good lead line, but it also had an ending that left me speechless. I love your stories, Chris, and I hope to find time to read more.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        22 months ago from Olympia, WA

        The first sentence of a story is so important, and here we see one used to full advantage, hooking us and making us want more. Excellent job, Chris!

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Venkatachari M, I'm glad you found it both wonderful and terrifying. I like that. I'm not sure I understand the identity of the man yet. Maybe we will have a chance to find out.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        Eric, Thank you for that very kind comment. Glad you liked it.

      • cam8510 profile imageAUTHOR

        Chris Mills 

        22 months ago from Missoula, Montana through August 2018

        manatita, Thank you for stopping by. I'm not sure I know who he is either.

      • Venkatachari M profile image

        Venkatachari M 

        22 months ago from Hyderabad, India

        Wow! It is both wonderful and terrifying. Whether it was somebody to win her love or was it some alien? Great fiction!

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        22 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Fantastic, it is always such a joy to read your stories. I count you as one of the gifts I receive.

      • manatita44 profile image

        manatita44 

        22 months ago from london

        Great story! I wonder who that man was? A hard way to make a living! Nice one.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://letterpile.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)