Flash Fiction Friday w/ Dawn Kirby

Friday, October 26, 2018

Okay my amazing followers Dawn Kirby as something completely new for us this week. We hope you enjoy and as always leave us a comment with your thoughts and maybe with a suggestion or two of what you would like to read.

Close to the Blade
By Dawn Kirby

My life began at the edge of a blade. Not one made of metal or flint, but one made of circumstance. In this case a most unfortunate circumstance. You may ask why. That, I don’t know. You may say, like so many have, I could have changed my path. But no. There is no hope for a young Apache born with the promise of death lingering over her.
From my first breath his spirit shadowed me. My mother barely survived my birth. My father blamed me for the poor health that dogged her from that day forward. For the children he should have had were it not for me; vocally thankful I wasn’t the first. My grandparents were of little comfort. There was always some war, some battle with the white man or another tribe on the horizon. Our people couldn’t be bothered with the discomforts of a child.

Strength in the face of adversity was our way. It made good warriors. Made good wives, good mothers and fathers. Not that I would have the chance to be either. As I said, death’s blade was always close. Over the years I’d come to believe my hellish existence was his way of keeping himself entertained.

From the close calls I’d had with poisoned berries to the many arrows and rocks the young boys, mostly my three older brothers would shoot my way to see if one of them could end my obvious misery. Several times I’d been hit. Some knocked me out. Some merely broke the skin. Through flash floods and droughts, the end result was always the same. I lived.

Then that night came. I was older then and curious to see why my tribe feared the white men so much. I waited until the sun went down and snuck out of out our sparse village. I’d watched and listened to the elders teach the young boys of our tribe how to track for so long, finding them wasn’t hard.

While they used the shadows to survey the layout of the fort, I crept close by hoping to get a glimpse of the monsters these men were believed to be. Then it happened. I lost my footing and fell forward. A heard a deep voice yell from inside. I scrambled to get to my feet and take my place among the shadows.
Chaos broke out around me. I could see my people running for cover while the white men fired blindly into the night. Arrows flew through the air. Some found targets. One found me. I bit down hard on my lip trying to keep from screaming as I dropped to the ground to pull the arrow out of my thigh.

To this day I don’t know if I succeeded in pulling it out or if it was done sometime later. Either way I woke up to find the arrow gone and me lying in an unfamiliar room soaking in my own sweat, fighting to survive.

A kind woman had taken me in on that horrible night, determined to nurse me back to health. I later discovered it had been her house I’d stumbled across. Day by day, little by little the infection that had ravaged my body dissipated. My strength returned. Fearing repercussions if I went back home and a sense of obligation to the woman who had saved me, I stayed.

Truthfully the fort was an easy place to live compared to the village I grew up in. Of course there was work to be done, but living felt less difficult. Shelves were stocked. Cattle was abundant and homes were made of more than pelts and dirt.
I’d be foolish to say my life was finally on the right path, but it did feel like it was on a good one. At least here mean little boys didn’t taunt me for fun. Eyes were kept keen despite the curt nods. Regardless of my answer, the question as to why I remained was always left unanswered in their minds.

As time passed I grew close to the woman who saved my life and her son. In fact he was so kind to me, he taught me how to read and write. In return, I taught him a few words in my native tongue. I offered to teach him all, but he said there were very few his work as a Lieutenant in the US Calvary required.

The hours I spent in his presence were the happiest. Imagine the pain when I found out my feelings for him would never be reciprocated. If he loved me, he hid it well. If he cared, he hid it even better. The day he brought his new bride home the blade that dogged me nicked my fragile heart in a way I knew would never heal.
The man I loved arranged for me to return to my tribe within the month. He never gave me a reason why. He rode out early one morning and came back that evening with my father. No words were spoken when I left, but tears did fall. Tears of sorrow, loss and hopelessness.

My return was much like I had imagined. No celebration. No welcome home. In fact, very few realized I was there at all. Had it not been for my mother’s constant conversation, I doubt those few would have noticed. Why would they?
I shed the dress my caretaker and friend made me and adopted the beaded buckskin clothes I’d grown up in. My father burned every remnant of my time with the white people. It was to be forgotten. By him. By me. Eventually by everyone.
For a time it was. For a time I convinced myself that death had finally stopped toying with me. What else could he take after all? My family barely tolerated me. My tribe ignored me. The man I loved shunned me. I was alone. The end would have been welcome.

Little did I know fate was somehow courting death.

Upon my return one afternoon from gathering plants for medicines, I came across the chief and the elders of our tribe as they disappeared into the lodge. Something was going on. Tension had been building between the tribe and the soldiers since my return. The government, our chief had said was trying to persuade him to surrender our lands and join them as citizens.

As proud Apaches no such thing would ever take place. Denouncing our heritage was tantamount to a solider abandoning his post. It would be a betrayal generation after generation would pay a heavy price for. As much as I loved the solider I’d left behind me, I could never dishonor my ancestors in such a way.

That said, I would never let harm come to him either. From my hiding spot I heard their plans. The warriors would attack when the moon was at its darkest point and leave no one alive. The attack would delay action against my tribe for a time, but forces would arrive before long. Until then the elders would try to gather the neighboring tribe together to fight a battle for not only their territories, but their lives as well.
Despite sending me away, the fort had been the only place I felt peace. I dropped my basket and ran towards the direction of the fort. The sun was sinking fast, but I had time. If I could get there and find my solider maybe he would have a chance. Maybe they could hold off an attack until another option could be explored.

Darkness fell sooner than I expected. I slowed my pace as I approached the fort walls. The night was eerily quiet. I could sense something sinister in the air. Had they decided to attack early? Had they come in another way?

Panic took hold as I ran through the front gates. I heard a man scream. Before I could turn to see who he was, I felt something tear through my chest. I fell to the ground, but didn’t stop. If I had to crawl to warn him, so be it.

The woman who had saved my life once was at my side again. She held my body close to hers while she barked orders to find the doctor. I shook my head. I knew death’s blade had finally made its final cut.

I lingered long enough to confess my love and warn her of the impending attack.

Death’s gift for a life of misery, I guess.

Why am I telling you all this? Because my memory has been erased from history. My name removed from my tombstone. My grave roped off as though I never existed.

My story written off as myth...

My name is Indian Em’ly and I lived. 


Dawn Kirby lives in West TX with Jamie, her husband of 17 years and their three wonderful children Tristan, Aishlynn and Shelby. She's the author of SECRETSDECEIT and TRIBULATIONS. All three part of the paranormal romance Serenity Series published by Twisted Core Press. Her work is also featured in several 7DS Books anthologies such as SEVEN DEADLY SINSA MAN’S PROMISELINGER, among several others. Another short, DATE NIGHT was published in 13 Tales of the Paranormal by Firefly and Wisp. To find out more about Dawn's work please visit www.dawnmkirby.com.

Places to find Dawn Kirby 

The Serenity
All Links Go to Amazon

Secrets Book 1
Deceit  Book 2
Tribulations Book 3  


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