3: Snowfall

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Writing and Reviewing!


“It's too late.” The armored figure steps toward Mason, dimly illuminated by the shop windows.

Mason flinches, hesitating to move. He knew that voice. The figure removes her helmet, Johanna.

Her black hair is rough and long. Her cheeks are sunken. Dark rings had formed under her eyes. Johanna tosses her helmet to the floor. She draws a broadsword, eyes traveling over the blade before they meet Mason’s. She tosses the sword to the floor.

For a moment, she stares at him.

“Johanna.” Mason reaches out.

Johanna attacked. Two swift swings for his head. Mason ducked out of the way. She sideswiped him, sending him spinning.

He stumbles out onto the busy street, landing in the snow. People scatter around him. Johanna appears in the doorway.

“Stop!” He demands, holding up a hand. “Listen to me!” Johanna rushes forward, kicking Mason in the gut. He falls backward into the crowd.

“Fight back!” Johanna marches forward. “Come on!”

“Get away from him!” Jerru appears, running out of a nearby shop. A bow made of green light generates in his hands. He draws the string, materializing an arrow. Steam starts to flow from between the plates of Johanna’s armor. Jerru tenses.

“Don’t!” Mason yells. “Don’t hurt—”

Johanna grabs Mason and flings him with absurd strength. He flies across the street, crashing through several wagons.

He struggles to get up, a glare forming on his face.

“Melinda is in danger!” Flames flicker in his hands. “What are you doing?” Johanna hesitates. Jerru moves closer.

Johanna is faster. She spins into a roundhouse kick, knocking him through a wall. People come running out, screaming. Johanna turns to Mason.

“I won't fight you,” Mason says. Johanna charges. Mason dodges her first few swings but takes a plated elbow to the spleen. He falls. Johanna hoists him up and hurls him into the air.

“Fight back!” She demands. Mason lands hard in the snow, coughing. Johanna approaches slowly. Each heavy step seeming to shake the earth.

She places a foot on Mason’s throat, earning a weak groan. Mason claws desperately at her boot. His legs kicked in every which way.

In a moment of sudden clarity, Mason extends his hand towards Johanna’s face. Fire crackles in his palm. Johanna blinks.

Suddenly, she’s at home.  

Their home.

A small house in a field. Mason, Melinda, and Megan are there. Snow is falling.

Megan and Melinda are doing laundry, putting clothes on the line. The clothes collect snow on the line. Mason is sitting nearby. Johanna watches them. Their father is on the front porch, eating.

“What are you guys doing?” Johanna asks. “They’re not gonna get dry in the snow.”  Megan turns to her.

“You don’t think it's worth trying?” Megan cocks her head, frowning.

“Trying?” Johanna pulls a shirt off the line and shakes the snow off. “You’re just wasting time!” She hands the shirt to Megan.

Megan vanishes. The shirt she was holding is carried away by the wind.

Johanna turns to Melinda, eyes wide.

“You just have to put the effort in.” Melinda hangs up a pair of stockings. “What don’t you get about that?” She lowers her head and vanishes.

Johanna backs away, taking shaky breaths. Mason stares at her, eyes wide.

“Pleas—”

A streak of green light cuts through the air. The field is gone. Johanna has returned to the messy street of Sandango City.

She stumbles backward, reaching for her chest. There’s a hole in the center of her torso, straight through her armor, skin, bones, and all.

Jerru fires two more shots in rapid succession. Two green streaks ripping through Johanna. She falls.

Mason scrambles to his feet, nearly slipping on the snow. Jerru keeps his distance, readying another shot. Mason turns to Jerru then down to Johanna.

The holes aren’t bleeding; they were instantly cauterized. Her mouth quivers. Her eyes dart from side to side, unfocused.

“Why?” Mason clutches her hand. “Why did you do this?”

Johanna’s eyes meet his. Tears streak her cheeks. A low moan comes from her throat.

“I-I’m sorry.” Her voice was weak. “It's too late for me.”

“No!”

Her eyes shift past Mason to the snow-filled air.

She misses Megan. She recalls the last time she’d seen her sister. She wonders if she’s still alive. Snow is starting to pile on her. Somehow it gives her a sense of warmth.

Mason is shouting. But his words are muffled. She doesn’t hear him. She’s gone.


Submitted: May 24, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Matthew Hair. All rights reserved.

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