Flash Fiction: The Lesser Of Two

For a flash fiction contest, 250 word limit

The lesser of two

Beneath her pristine sky, she led her fleeing people, away from the beasts ravaging their home, towards the refuge of the mad climber.

Inside the mountain cave he took shelter from his oppressive rain. His eyes were clouded with a private suffering. Today he could not continue upwards. He lamented the storm that defeated him.

Entering, she caught him whining.

Terrified villagers poured in, and the climber heard them speak of the fell creatures tormenting them. He had encountered such monsters before. Thus he made preparations to leave.

She asked what he meant by defeated. He had climbed so far, the city being a great distance below and besides, there was no storm. She saw only a tragically sunny day.

Rebuking him, who did not appreciate even this, she pointed outside to the bright sky. The climber gathered his things, explaining how she was not cursed, and does not experience the same burdens. She did not understand and he was accustomed to this.

He buckled his scabbard, walking towards the exit.

Furious voices accosted him. Stop coward! We are safe here!

He continued, speaking, sometimes only to himself.

He spoke of being infused with sadness and a storm-wracked perspective. How he may not keep company with the happy. That he climbed alone, wearily, whilst others may settle.

And how monsters do not scare one who contends with such demons.

Thus the man who had been ascending the Mountain Of Hope charged past the frightened villagers, sword drawn, towards their enemy.