The Chase Begins

An Anasazi Story by Jeff Posey.

“You say the leader of this little band of orphans is from the Village of the Twin War Gods?” Pok asked Raana.

“Yes,” said Raana. Pok didn’t trust this man, didn’t know him. He claimed to come from an inconsequential village to the southeast where an army of orphans had appeared, killing a dozen Masaw Warriors and threatening to overthrow Pok and the High Priest.

“He’s called Tuwa?”

Raana gave a single nod of his head.

“The grandsom of the old skywatcher there?”

“Others told me. I didn’t hear him say it himself.”

“How big a man is he?”

“Not big at all. He travels with another, called Choovio, who is big in the chest and shoulders like a bear. But Tuwa is shorter than most men, as if he didn’t grow enough.”

Pok’s lips spread into a wry grin. Of course, he thought. It’s the boy I threw away coming back to haunt me.

“He should be easy enough to kill,” said Pok.

“Not so easy. He’s trained the orphans with him to follow orders he gives by hand signals and piercing voice calls. They’re the best archers I’ve ever seen.”

“You’ve not seen my best archers. How many of these orphans are there?”

“Twelve, counting the four women.”

“Women! The women are archers too?”

“They’re as good as the men.”

“Impossible. The war gods would not allow it.”

“One of the women makes all their arrows,” said Raana. “I’ve held them. I’ve never seen better, except she doesn’t know how to make stone tips.”

“So what kind of tip does she use?”

“Reeds, cut to sharp points.”

“How quaint. Our enemy hasn’t even advanced into the age of stones. You make them sound as soft as the underbelly of a rabbit.”

“Don’t underestimate them. They have surprising strength. But after I find where they’re hiding and I have enough warriors, I can take them, I’m sure.”

Pok glared at Raana. How presumptuous of him, he thought, that he would not only join in the fun of eliminating these meddlesome wannabe warriors, but would actually lead it.

Then he relaxed. If Raana wanted to help, he would let him. Allow him to believe he’s running the operation. Besides, his own warriors were so superstitious and skittish about the eerie flute music coming from the side canyons, he couldn’t get them to do much of anything. So he’d let Raana take the risk of finding and maybe even fighting his renegade son and his band of toy soldiers.

“If you can find where this Tuwa and his little group are hiding, you will be amply rewarded,” said Pok.

“Thank you. I will not fail.”

Yes, you will, thought Pok. Any way it goes, I will mash you like a squash bug.

# # #

Is this too much of a fragment? I know it’s not a “story” at all. Is it frustrating when all you get is a little out-of-context conversation like this? Am I violating the tenets of Flash Fiction by having a Flash Scene instead?

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22 Comments

Filed under #FridayFlash, Anasazi, Ancient Americans, Chaco Canyon, Chimney Rock, Historial Fiction

22 responses to “The Chase Begins

  1. The strength of dialogue and the revealed characters within it make this a satisfying piece, Jeff. The closing is a suitably dark insight into Pok’s thinking on this matter.

  2. I like the way you included links to the related stories. The names created a certain deja vu, and it was nice to get a memory refresher.

    Scene vs story: Moot point for me. I was captivated enough to read to the end, enjoyed it, and wanted more.

    These stories have whet my appetite for ancient, star gazing cultures, and I look forward to your novel.

  3. Very nice. I enjoy reading about the world you’ve created here.

  4. KjM

    Oh, I’m growing to like (in a way) this Pok. He’s clever, cautious and devious enough for three.

    Regarding your question: I’m quite happy with this as a flash. There’s enough background given in dialogue, internal and otherwise, to knit together the story.

    Nicely done.

  5. I’m a new visitor and I like it even without knowing the back story.

  6. shadowsinstone

    I happen to really enjoy slices of time, taken at face-value. Deeper meaning may be lost, but that’s what gets the mind’s engine cranking.

  7. I think this one worked better on its own than the last; you clearly have some threads leading to the backstory, and hinting at the continuing story, but you start with the problem of what to do with this unknown warrior and end with the decision of what to do about him.

    I suspect for your continuing readers it’s not a problem to have flash scenes; it would be helpful for new readers to provide links to the parts of the backstory that are important. I’m not sure what the most graceful way to do that is, but hey, it’s the internet, we can do stuff like that!

  8. Enjoyed reading it, one small criticism.

    The sentence with the flute , from reading it , the word eerie seems slightly out of place. Also the statement seems a bit short. ie why was it eerie , how many flutes , where are the side canyons?

  9. Another great piece. I’m with the others in my opinion that this worked fine on its own. As a regular reader I was satisfied. Is this piece strong enough to hook a new reader? I would answer with an emphatic yes. You are creating your own set of rules with your serialized flash and we readers are happy to follow.

    That said I offer this thought. “toy soldiers” bumped me out of the story for a second. Did the Anasazi children play with toy soldiers? Would they not be ‘toy warriors’? and if so would the boys play with dolls? I don’t know enough about the culture so perhaps I’m off base.
    ~chris

  10. I always enjoy your work, Jeff. I would love to have more context, but the pieces are quite interesting on their own, too.

  11. It stands on its own, and gives us a look at your characters, so I think you did very well with this.

    Two words jumped out at me that didn’t seem to fit – “quaint” and “wannabe”. That just my opinion.

    Your dialogue is wonderful. Good job.

  12. It was very much a Flash Scene (great concept!), but I concur with others in that I do not feel duped.

    I’m waiting for a bout of the (hopefully non-swine) ‘flu so I can have the time to sit down and read all of these in one go – fascinating world

  13. it’s just fine – will work better in a larger body but the dialogue is strong and the story engaging..well written

  14. soesposito

    Can’t wait to see a band of orphans and women squash Pok like a bug..tee hee. (I, too, liked the image of the underbelly of a rabbit.)

  15. Your dialogue is always a pleasure to read, and no I didn’t feel cheated by its length; in fact I thought it was quite self-contained. 🙂

  16. I would not worry too much if it violates the tenets of Flash Fiction or not. It is a complete scene, and therefore satisfies the reader – at least this reader. I suppose to be a “story” it must have a story arc: a beginning, a middle, and an end. I see those elements here. Yes, it is obvious that this is part of the body of a larger work. But I think it still works at the basic level as a story.

    I like the set up here, by the way. I love how dismissive Pok is of these “toy soldiers”. It makes his eventual comeuppance so so satisfying (unless, of course you are really going to play a mean head game on me). I grinned at the “soft as the underbelly of a rabbit.” Made me recall the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. 🙂
    ~jon

  17. I thought it worked quite well as a scene from a larger piece. But it was self-contained enough as flash fiction that I didn’t feel jilted.

    Nice job!

  18. I think it works quite well. Some of my own stories are more flash ‘scenes’ too. Pok is really despicable. I’m waiting for someone to mash him. 🙂 Another great story, Jeff!

  19. It works very well. You are so good with dialogue!

  20. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for The Chase Begins « Anasazi Stories by Jeff Posey [anasazistories.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  21. I think it’s a great piece of fiction and although it may not be entirely independent, it still gives us some interesting insight into the characters and the world you’re building for them. 🙂

  22. Another excellent installment Tony. “Mash you like a squash bug.” Perfect. Peace, Linda

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