The Ruins – Flash Fiction

Selena Wolff posted her most recent Flash Fiction Friday challenge over on Solitary Words. The genre for the week was horror and the three words that needed to be included in the story were bluebottle, immolation and depraved. There is a 500 word limit for this challenge.

I have made an attempt at this challenge but am not sure how closely the story resembles a horror one, perhaps it more closely fits in the thriller category.

The Ruins

I tried to avoid looking at the head that rolled inches below my own. The fire flashed as it received another offering and the smell of burning flesh reached my nose.

I’d confronted my fear of flying to finally experience the Central American ruins I’d spent a decade lecturing about. Four other scholars from around the world had joined me there. Our goal was to collaborate on a book exploring ancient Mayan culture.

Shortly after we arrived, we were greeted by Mayan Historian and Anthropologist Dr Pedro Barios who took us on a tour of our first ruins. That evening whilst settling into our tent we’d discovered a letter warning us if we didn’t leave harm would find us. Dr Barios told us not to take it seriously but I took to sleeping with a knife by my side.

The next day we parted ways with Dr Barios. With a local guide we ventured deeper into the jungle towards a known ruins site. Our struggle was not just with the hanging tentacles of the banyan trees or dangerous creatures lurking about but something more sinister followed us. As we were silently stalked like prey we moved on unaware of his presence until we nearly reached our destination. The small needle like darts appeared, each one of us experiencing their sting before becoming paralyzed.

The ropes that bound me and suspended me a foot from the ground, gripped my body almost as tightly as the terror itself. A bluebottle had set upon the head that once belonged to Dr Lila Roberts. I could still hear the echoes of her shrieks in my mind. I was the only one left.

I had watched as one by one the other four members of my party were moved over the altar and decapitated so their blood could be collected. Once their body was completely drained of blood it was sacrificed to the fire in the nearby pit.

I began to get the movement back in my muscles and a plan came to mind. My immolation was drawing nearer. I unbuttoned my trouser pocket and swiftly caught the knife as it dropped out. Turning it in my hand I sliced the ropes that bound me my wrists. With one free hand I turned my attention to the other. The depraved Dr Barios dressed in his priestly robes was chanting over the blood he had just finished gathering and had his back to me. His two assistants were busying themselves with the last body. I sliced at the last bit of rope and dropped to the ground. I quickly dashed from the temple and headed towards the jungle. I was sure I was being followed but I ran as fast and as far as my legs would carry me.

The years of survival weekends with my brother kicked in. Days later I stumbled on a village supported by American missionaries. They helped me on my way back home. Authorities have been unable to find Dr Barios, who still haunts my nightmares.


About Billie Jo Schinnerer

Born and raised on the edge of the Helderberg Escarpment in eastern New York. Formerly a primary and middle school teacher. Moved to the North West area of England in 2003. Now a mother of three and a wannabe author.
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6 Responses to The Ruins – Flash Fiction

  1. Wish I had the knack of flash fiction. Even just reading it, I am itching to flesh it out! LOL!

    • This piece had a lot more flesh before the delete key got to it. Sometimes I think flash works and some times I feel it is a bit watery. This piece could be better with more guts.

  2. I thought it was a great story. Good job. It had my attention all the way to the end.

    Christopher David Petersen

  3. Selena Wolff says:

    O my stars, Billie. It is a thriller, but it fits the horror challenge perfectly. LOVE it!!!

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