Flash Fiction – Brave

“Are you planning on staying up here all day?” Their eyes met over the twigs and branches of the ancient tree. Fear evident in her green eyes, well hidden under her bravado. Marcus had always been able to see through his fiancé’s brave exterior, her stubborn resistance to let others think her weak or useless. It came from being the smallest, not the youngest, just the smallest, in her family. They all smiled at her, congratulating her on her courage, loudly telling others about her prowess at this or her daredevil antics on that.

“What are you doing up here?”

“You looked so comfortable, I thought I’d join you.”

“Don’t be stupid, your too heavy, you’ll fall.”

“Then you should hope I go first, I’ll snap all the branches on my way down and you’ll have an easier descent and something soft to land on.” She rolled her eyes but he could see the fear lesson just a little. She was going to make a powerful queen one day, he was proud she would be his wife. “Why don’t you climb down?”

“I can’t,” she scowled.

“I know you’re not scared.” The wind picked up, threatening to throw them both from the giant oak.

“My hair,” she tugged at the unruly mass of curls, pulling her head forward only to have it stop suddenly, her face wrinkling with pain. Her hair had managed to entangle itself like a miniature birds nest. “I knew I should have cut it off.” He hated the idea of her taking scissors to her cloud of coppery curls, he was also pretty certain that those curls wouldn’t last the night after embarrassing her this way.

He hadn’t climbed the tree with any thought of being able to get her down, he couldn’t climb even close to her current height, at fifteen he’d began to fill out and would have broken the smaller branches in the canopies upper reaches. No, he was up her to distract her from the milling family bellow, to help keep hear rising fear at bay, distract her with his presence and his own precarious predicament. Rescue would come from her brother, if he could get here in time.

Again the wind whipped up around them, Madi clung to the branch, fingers going white with the effort to hold on. She would be feeling those gusts more strongly then he did, feel herself being tossed around like a ragdoll.

“Don’t cut your hair off,” he called up to her, desperate for something to get her focussing back on him.

“What?” Her eyes were like giant emeralds shining in her pale face.

“Don’t cut your hair tonight, it’s not it’s fault you know.”

“Hmph,” she snorted.

“They make you look taller,” he teased, smiling as she glared at him. From corner of his eye he caught sight of two figures riding towards them on horseback and he felt his own fear of falling loosen in his chest at the sight of the magicians.

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More stories by Tracey Ambrose @ traceyambrose.com
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