Fifteen Minute Ficlets (#15MF) is a weekly Sunday writing challenge hosted here on The Literary Phoenix. Based on a single word, write a short story in fifteen minutes. The word count is irrelevant. Just write your heart out for 15 minutes and be inspired by the word. You never know what you’ll end up with!
This week’s word: “Bamboo”
1. a giant woody grass that grows chiefly in the tropics, where it is widely cultivated.
2. the hollow jointed stem of the bamboo plant, used as a cane or to make furniture and implements.
Olive regarded the giant bamboo pole with relative interest. Balanced on its point, it stood at least a foot taller than her. When she weighed it in her hands, she found it was light and supple. Tossing it experimentally from one hand to the other, she decided to give a good spin. It made a sharp whistling noise in the air. She smiled. That was certainly satisfactory.
Timothy jumped backward, out of reach of the new weapon, but he was grinning. She looked fierce and concentrated holding it, he thought, and was please he decided to bring it back for her. It was not often his adventures took him to the far east, and there were many unknown wonders in those regions. In the place he most recently traveled, there had been a regiment of masked men and women who brandished these very poles with such skill that they were nothing but blurs. Timothy would know well – he had been struck more than once.
“Careful with that,” he suggested with a laugh. Olive’s green eyes flashed and she grinned wickedly back at him.
“Think I can’t handle it?” she challenged. To emphasize her point, Olive grabbed the pole by its head and swung it out like a club. Timothy ducked and rolled it his side to avoid impact. The swing off-balanced Olive, and she stumbled a little before falling hard on the grass. She let the bamboo pole fall from her hands and lie beside her as she erupted in a fit of giggles.
“A little practice wouldn’t hurt,” she confessed. Timothy just smiled.
“You like it, then?” he asked. Worry settled in his bones. What if she was just humoring him, pretending to like it? The unwieldy thing had been a nightmare to carry back halfway across the Dreamland, maybe she felt guilty at all the trouble it caused.
He need not worry. Olive lifted it again, more carefully this time, and lay it across her lap. She ran her fingers over the smooth tan skin, pressing against the natural dark brown bumps every few inches. “It will be perfect for knocking people out on horseback,” she told him gratefully. “It’s much lighter than a lance. Thank you.”
Timothy grinned and leaned back on his palms, staring at the clear blue sky above. It was a perfect day, and since he was newly back from a mission, there were no assignments today. A well-earned day of rest, his commander had called it, and it couldn’t have been more beautiful. Lazy bees hummed along to the wildflowers, and if he angled himself just right, he could see the hazy outline of the Heart Palace in the distance. The rolling green hills were all beautiful, but the most beautiful thing at all was the fiery redhead sitting across from him, a curious expression on her face.
“What?” Timothy asked. He pushed his hand forward and ran his fingers through his brown hair. It was getting shaggy again.
Olive smiled and quickly looked away, wanted to gaze into anything but his brown eyes. “Nothing,” she blushed. “I’m just glad you’re home.”
Timothy’s heart leapt as he glanced around at the breathtaking landscape, his eyes falling finally back to his friend and companion. She wouldn’t meet his gaze, but it made no difference to him. He grinned, then said, “I’m glad to be home.”
The characters in this ficlet come to you from one of my many WIP, ‘Tweens. ‘Tweens is a MG/YA fantasy series that follows a little girl who is destined to save the Dreamworld with the power of her imagination. Of course, she can’t do it all alone, and is joined by her trusty djinn best friend, her older brother, and her protector knight. Working summary….
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