“Extinguished” by Jeff Slade | Short Story Winner

Night had snuck upon the woodsman. It’d been dusk one moment, then pitch black. He carried no game; all his quarry had evaded him without fail. The wind howled, avoiding him as it blew past. He decided to head home.

Tearing some fabric from his tunic, he wrapped it around the end of an arrow. A flick of his wrist across flint and he held the impromptu torch aloft, careful not to set any branches alight.

He stopped when his path ended unexpectedly. It should have lead to a clearing, home on the other side. Instead there was a wall of impassable thorns and boulders.

Cursing the darkness, he backed up, proceeding further down the path toward another entrance. This too was blocked.

A metallic creaking made him shiver. He looked skyward: no moon. It was full last night, but now the heavens were empty, devoid even of stars.

It squeaked again, closer now. Perhaps a nearby cart? He decided to seek assistance, wandering toward the sound.

He found her by the water, facing away. One arm held a lantern, the sound’s origin, swaying back and forth. Inside pulsed a bright light. His eyes fixated on it and its beams of light shooting out-

No.

Rays surrounded it, but they drew inward.

The woodsman looked at his torch. Tendrils of luminescence wafted off its end, swimming through the air, spiraling into the lantern until it extinguished.

She turned toward him, eyes blacker than the sky.

The lantern door creaked open.


Jeff Slade is a St. John’s native currently residing in Salmon Cove, is an avid reader who enjoys both making and hearing puns, playing the guitar, and cats. Slade makes his publishing debut in Chillers from the Rock with his chilling tale: The Culling.

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Words © 2018 Jeff Slade. Image © 2018 Kit Sora.

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