theinkwell fiction challenge | Thorns



The one blemish of the open country. Growing in a field that extended all the way to a cliff. I always wondered how it was possible for a lush green paradise close to the sea to have a field of thorns right in the middle of it. It seemed nature had a sense of humour.

I was pondering on this as my steps carried me to Mr. Hargreaves orchard. This was where I had been earning my pay these past couple days, working as a labourer on his land.

It was planting season and work was going on. I showed up, did my bit and collected the day's pay. I left and stopped by a couple fun spots with friends, and spent some hours having a good time.

It was evening when I got back home, and was in the process of putting my tools away when I noticed that some of them were missing.

There was only one place I had been to work that day, and that was Mr. Hargreaves orchard.

It was Friday and Mr. Hargreaves didn't have workers on his orchard on Saturdays and Sundays. The thought of leaving my tools there till Monday wasn't acceptable to me, so I went back for them.

It was dark when I arrived at the orchard and I went straight to where I worked on. As expected my tools were right there on the floor.

I picked them up and was about to put them in my bag when I heard a shrill voice in the air.

The area was usually deserted at night and I wondered who else would be out by this time of the night. I had heard tales of lost souls and vengeful spirits roaming the countryside, but I had always dismissed them as fairy tales.

The voice came again along with the presence of light, and in the distance I saw a group of men in red robes holding torches.

In their midst was a bound lady.

A wave of apprehension hit me and I wanted to flee, but there was also curiosity which got the better of me as I decided to follow the men.

After several minutes, the men eventually arrived at their destination. A cleared portion deep in the orchard where a wooden pole stood at the center. At the top of the pole was a carving of a goat's head.

As I stood wondering what was going on and what the goat signified, the answer dawned on me. I had somehow stumbled onto the ritual rites of a diabolical cult. I dreaded to think what would befall the lady who had been secured to the pole.

The men left, formed a group in the distance and began a chant which went on for some time. Enough time for me to have the crazy idea of being a hero.

I didn't know where I got the courage from, but I mustered enough of it to cross over to the lady. Immediately I arrived I went to work cutting her restraints. It seemed like divine providence that I happened to have a bladed tool suited to the task at hand.

I cut her down and loosened her restraints while urging her to get the hell out of there. She wasted no time in doing that and disappeared into the night.

I turned around and noticed that I had attracted the attention of the men. In order to ensure they wouldn't think of going after the lady, I did something drastic.

I knocked down the pole and when it hit the ground, the men came after me with a fury I had never seen before. I turned and ran for my life.

I ran until I got to the field of thorns. I knew I needed to put permanent space between me and the men, so I decided to take what would be my most dangerous and drastic action of the night.

I ran through the field.

I felt pain as thorn after thorn made impact with my body, but I still went forward hoping this dangerous path would deter the men from following me. I ran all the way to the cliff and took a dive.

No one followed me.

I splashed in the water below, swam to shore and from there I ran all the way to my front door. I opened it, locked it behind me and collapsed on the floor in exhaustion.

That was where I was until the morning came, alongside the news of Mr. Hargreaves arrest for being a member of and financing a cult. The lady had gone to the authorities and they acted immediately, arresting Mr. Hargreaves and a number of his associates.

As for me, after taking my time to heal from the physical and psychological wounds, I went back to doing what I did for a living.

I still pass the field of thorns sometimes, but instead of looking at them as a blemish. I see them as a blessing, because without them I might never have escaped the men that night.

Author's Note

This is an entry to theinkwell fiction challenge - Week 4 hosted by @theinkwell

Image credits Pixabay, @jacksondavies



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