Flash Fic: (A Cautionary Tale) The Real Enemy

The Real Enemy

Genre: Thriller

Words: 504


She was at the wildlife preserve to take pictures, despite the gloomy light. It had rained for hours overnight, and dark clouds still filled the sky that morning. She hadn’t been out in a week, and she really needed to move.

Birdsong filled the trees but as usual, she couldn’t see the little bastards. They hid in the thick spring foliage, taunting her. She grinned in the general direction of one loudly chirping bird. “Yes, I hear you. How about showing yourself?”

They never did though, and when she got too close, they flew farther away.

Disillusioned, she returned to the car, where a female bluebird attacked the driver’s side mirror. She took pictures, hoping at least one would be good. Given the crappy light, it was doubtful, but she was ever hopeful.

Engine noise drew her attention, and she turned. A red pickup was coming down the bumpy dirt road toward the small dirt parking lot. A man was behind the wheel. Shit, he’ll scare the bird away. She liked being alone.

He stopped behind her vehicle. “Taking pics of that crazy bird?”

She laughed. “Silly, how they think their reflection is an enemy.” She hadn’t talked to another person since her last visit to the grocery store, and that had only been to the cashier. Normally she’d consider him intrusive—the bird had flown into the trees—but she was starved for human contact.

“Cardinals do that, too,” he said, glancing around.

“I know.”

He wore a battered cowboy hat and hadn’t shaved in a few days. “I don’t like being here when the hunters are out.”

She’d been so focused on the bluebird, she hadn’t heard the gunfire. She heard it now. “What are they hunting?”


She’d seen a female turkey when she’d driven in half an hour ago. No wonder it had been skittish.

Without thinking, she’d moved closer to the truck. It was what one did when talking to someone, even a stranger. She got to within three feet of him and stopped. “Oh! I shouldn’t be so close.” Even as she said the words, she reversed course. Because of the pandemic, a minimum of six feet was recommended between people.

“Worried about the virus, eh?” His eyes twinkled, and his smile was charming. “That’s not what’s going to kill you.”

She didn’t understand what he meant until he climbed out of the truck, a serrated knife in his right hand, and strolled almost casually toward her.

She scrambled back to her car and remembered there was a fence beyond that. Her keys were clipped to the camera strap, which was looped around her neck. She’d never reach them in time. Trees blocked her exit to the right. She was trapped.

She screamed as loudly as she could, her blood running cold with terror.

The bluebird, perched on a branch close to the car, was startled. It flew, darting between her and the killer, heading for deeper woods. She followed it with her eyes, envying its wings.

About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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7 Responses to Flash Fic: (A Cautionary Tale) The Real Enemy

  1. Helena Stone says:

    LOL. You thought just a pandemic wasn’t scary enough?

    Great tale though.

  2. Fenraven says:

    What can I say? Most of this story is based on actual events, which my writer’s brain elaborated on. It occurred to me that people have forgotten to be cautious about the normal things, which have been overshadowed by the virus. But rapists and killers are still out there!

  3. Lindsaysf says:

    Chilling! I’ve missed your stories.

    • Fenraven says:

      I miss writing them. 🙂 I haven’t been in a creative mood for a while, though. Taking photos is about all I can handle lately. I don’t have to think when I snap a picture. Writing demands thought!

  4. Allison says:

    I was kind of hoping the bluebird was going to pluck out his eye or something, lol.

    Very creepy, great job!

  5. Pingback: Flash Fic: (A Cautionary Tale) The Real Enemy — Theo Fenraven – A Flowering Progressive

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