Thursday 2 December 2021

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 228

This week's picture prompt is by photographer Kari Liimatainen from Finland. He has some wonderful landscape pictures, worth a look at his galley on DeviantArt

I could see him looking through the branches. But who was he, and what was he looking at?

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There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

An image of a lake seen through snow laden tree branches, with the sun coming up and giving everything a warm glow.


He’d sit here and wait, and then when they came out he’d have his fun. It was the best bit; the waiting and the anticipation.

The forest was muffled under snow, and little moved in the freezing hour before dawn, but Puck was here, eyes keen and watchful. He wouldn’t miss a trick.

The lake was all aglow and so were his eyes as the sun crested the horizon. Oh the glory, oh the delight. He was such a lucky Puck.

He saw them on the edge of the bank, appearing out of the water. They were tiny and delicate and oh how he wanted one. But they weren’t to be had; they weren’t to be owned. There were strict rules he had to adhere to – imps like him couldn’t get away with it. He might be named after the most famous fae, but he was a lowly dark half-fairy. These water sprites were elegant and fragile, and not for the likes of him.

No, the best he would get is this, peeking at them from the other side of the water, remaining hidden, and startling them a little to capture some of their essence to trade.

Water sprites held a lot of power, which is why catching them had been banned. It could lead to abusing and enslaving them and that wasn’t something the enchanted community would tolerate – unless you were one of the privileged few who could pretend it was consensual. But if they gave away a bit of their power, intentionally or accidentally, then that was allowed.

Puck shifted a little in his position and prepared to shake the branches above him. It might not seem like much but it would be enough to spark their fear, which would release electric shocks into the air. He was a nimble Puck and could easily catch them.

When it looked like the group had all emerged from the water and were basking in the morning sunshine on the snowy banks, Puck raised his arm up to the branch overhead, and with a sudden movement swiped it with his hand, causing it to snap out and back, sending showers of snow to the ground.

It worked. The sprites leapt to their feet, letting out tiny bolts of what looked like lightning into the air, across the lake to the object of their startlement and where Puck was sitting. He swiftly reached out with a bottle he’d brought in preparation and swept it through the air to catch them. It filled up fast, and he stoppered it quickly, not wanting any to escape.

Oh he was going to be a rich Puck for a while now too. But as he watched them return to the water, a darker shadow appeared in their wake and moved in his direction. He squealed. Puck knew what that was; you couldn’t get up to tricks and not know the consequences. Guarding demon spirits were in the employ of water sprites. They could take you over and cause you to lose yourself for several days. Puck didn’t want to suffer that, oh no.

He scrambled back up the riverbank and over the top rushing into the woods for protection. He shimmered up the nearest trunk and waited. The shadow appeared below circling round the trunks, but it hadn’t seen which one he’d picked. Oh thank Aine for its oblivion. The only problem now was how long it would stay down there. Puck settled into the nook of a branch. It might be hours but now he had his treasure, he could spare the time.  

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