Hello Internet! Lex here! Jaime Samms returns to my blog for the first round of Flash Fiction Friday!
What is Flash Fiction Friday? The featured author of the week had been given three prompts to choose from. Then they produce approximately 500-1000 words of the first thing that comes to mind! And Jaime has written a good one!
Moon Clan by Jaime Samms
“Horse!” Duncan jumped gleefully up and down splashing mud up over the tops of his tiny rubber boots and onto his jeans. “Good right?” He was proud of his ability to identify the marks in the soil, just like his grandfather taught him.
Cleveland watched his father’s face carefully, wary of the deep lines dragging the corners of his mouth into a frown. “Dad?”
“Bring Duncan home. Clev.”
“What’s going on?” Cleveland took his son’s hand and glanced again at the hoof print on the path. Granted, it was a large print, but the little forest was ideal for their horses to seek shade on hot days like this.
“Grandpa Tully?” Duncan stuck his thumb in his mouth and gazed up, brown eyes big and worried.
“Go home,” Tully repeated. “I’ll be back later.”
“Dad, what is it?” Cleveland picked Duncan up, ignoring the mess the boy’s boots made of his expensive jeans. Nothing rattled his father, but now, like a rabbit with the scent of hound up his nose, he looked this way and that, turning only his head. If he could twitch nose and ears, he’d be doing so.
“Now, son. By God, why do you never listen?” He manhandled Cleveland around and pushed him toward home. “Hurry up and get the boy inside.”
His father’s fear was infectious. After everything Cleveland had gone through to get and keep Duncan in his life, he was not about to take a chance. He practically ran for the house.
“Aunt Bett?” He called through the kitchen and set Duncan on his feet.
“What on earth is all the fuss?” His aunt appeared from the front room. “Cleveland—oh, now child look at the state of you.” She put her hand s on her hips and mock-frowned at Duncan. “And where is Tulsa? Lunch is practically on the table.”
“Still in the woods. We found hoof prints. Big. Probably one of the Clydesdales, but I’ll go back and make sure he’s okay. He was pretty spooked.”
“How big?” Aunt Bett was crouch in front of Duncan, shucking him out of his muddy clothes. She stopped—the boy in only his superman briefs—and peered up at Cleveland. “How big were the prints?”
“I don’t know. Big.”
“You wait here for your daddy, boy. Help me with Duncan.”
Cleveland frowned, not liking that this aunt seemed as spooked as his father. “I won’t be long.” He fled before she could stop him, this time running for where he had left his father. Their reactions had him scared now, too.
He heard his father’s voice before he saw him. The man sounded desperate and hushed, pleading. Cleveland slowed to listen.
“We need time, Ghishad. He isn’t ready.”
“You still haven’t told him, have you?” The voice was so deep it rumbled in Cleveland’s balls. He crept closer, trying to peer through the leaves to see the man that belonged to such a sound.
“There hasn’t been time. He only just got custody of his son. You’re the one said his heir had to be secured before the…please. One more season.”
“I don’t have another season,” Ghishad growled. “I have a son ready to rut. I will not I let him waste his first seed on anything but securing the line. If he doesn’t mate this year, everything our families have worked for is lost. I won’t be able to hold him off for another.”
Mate? Cleveland snuck forward and used a fingertip to push a branch up to see past the foliage. His father stood with his back to the path, looking up at the most enormous…thing Cleveland had ever seen in his life.
He noticed the broad chest, first, covered in a thick pelt of straight, auburn hair that matched that flowing form the beast’s head. And beast it was. Its lower half was all magnificent horse. It shifted, stamping an aggrieved hoof on the turf. The ground shook under the explosive outburst, and Cleveland immediately knew it was no mere horse print his son identified.
“But…” His father’s voice sounded small next to the other’s.
“It’s the last moon of the season, Tulsa. Bring the boy to the glade at moonrise. Make sure he’s ready.”
“I can, and will. We’ve spent our lives protecting what is ours.” The anger the horse-man-thing projected suddenly bled away and his massive shoulders curled in. “I know it hasn’t been ideal. I know you would have chosen differently, but it is what it is. I am the only child of my generation, and you the only compatible match. I am sorry.”
The creature shifted and twisted. A dark swirl of shadow and fog wrapped around it. When the strange mist dissipated, a man—a very naked one—stood where the horse-man had been.
He was still huge, broad-shouldered, hairy and everything Cleveland didn’t like about the gender. Ghishad was handsome enough, if one went for that sort of thing. Cleveland didn’t. Nor did his father. But then, Tulsa was straight.
The naked man touched Tully’s shoulder. Cleveland expected his father to shrug it off. He didn’t do physical affection. Not even with Duncan, or Cleveland’s mother, before she’d died.
Strangely, he didn’t pull away. He leaned slightly into the touch, with a look of desperate resignation. “Fine,” He whispered.
“Perhaps it will be more than obligation for our sons,” Ghishad said.
What? Cleveland stepped out to confront them. He wasn’t a fan of this talk of mating and obligations, or of the sad, longing look on his father’s face.
“What is this?”
Tully whirled and a storm of shadowy grit rose, obscuring the creature, until the giant horse-thing was back.
“You aren’t supposed to be here!” Tully moved toward him, but flashes of silver hide and pale skin blocked his way, resolving into another horse-man.
“Mine!” the creature snarled, staring at Cleveland out of slivered, silvery eyes. “Don’t touch my mate.”
Oh fuck. Cleveland stared. This horse-man was smaller than Ghishad with unmistakably similar features. His hide was a dappled grey, his chest leanly muscled and hairless. His tail switched and his hooves danced, a study of dainty power. Cleveland—and his traitorous cock—had the sudden, unsettling feeling things would be very different between himself and this creature than they had been between his father and Ghishad.
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