Friday Flash: Freedom

The image prompt came from Poise and Pen, a site filled with lots and lots of pretty inspiring pictures. Also this theme is different and I am bolding the flash instead of putting in quotes like usual.

I am not quite happy with this flash. The ending needs something, I think. Just not sure what. But here it is:

She clutched her pet’s bright red feathers to her throat. A few feathers drifted to the white stone floor, like metaphorical blood.

Shane stood across the room, smirking, tattered black pants hanging from his legs. Shifting did that to clothes. She normally enjoyed the aftermath of a shift, but not today. Oh, no, not today.

“You have no right.”

“Don’t I, darling?” He smiled, flashing perfect white teeth. “Our contract is over. I am free. I am not your plaything any longer.”

“Your alpha offered you to me for another two years.”

“He’s dead and my brother isn’t going to renew it.” Tray was the best brother anyone could want, especially since he was their father’s bastard boy and decades older.

She scowled at him, but lifted the ornate box on the side table and slipped all the feathers she held inside. “If you leave, I will stuff your skin with your own feathers. Yes and your brother, too. You will make a beautiful duvet.”

“Good luck with that, darling.”

* * *

Shane paused outside his mistress’s palace. Former mistress. His back ached still from the last whipping and from breaking the iron bonds. He rubbed his throat. For the first time in years, he touched bare skin. It was rough and scarred now by the heavy iron slave collar. He took a deep breath and luxuriated in a lungful of free air.

“Shane, lad?”

He turned slightly and joy soared through him. His brother’s hair had more silver, but his smile was big and welcoming. Then Shane was hugging his brother, laughing and pounding him on the back. Pain shivered up his back when his brother squeezed him too hard and Shane stepped back a little.

“Are you well? Can you shift?”

His brother’s fingers were gentle on his back and for a long moment Shane just stared. The same black eyes and long lashes. The hair was a little more feathery in the back, a little stiffer in the front, and he knew, the first sign his brother was spending too much time in his shifted form.

Half a dozen guards surrounded them both. Soldiers he’d grown up with, but he couldn’t look at them now. Not yet. Couldn’t bear to see the pity or disgust in their eyes.

Shane shook his head. “No . . . I -” He didn’t want to say he had to break his cuffs and collar himself. Tray would get too angry. “I shifted twice already.” He wasn’t the alpha, able to shift four times a day without tiring. “You didn’t have to come yourself. You freed me. That’s enough and she’s dangerous -”

“Shh.” Tray wiped tears from his cheeks and pulled him close. Shane blinked Tray’s shoulder; he hadn’t realized he was crying. “Don’t worry. No more tears, you hear, lad? Bring the carriage around. Come on now, lad, come on. In you go. There’s a good lad.”

Tray helped him into a red carriage; several shifted men were harnessed in the front and Shane knew they would be traveling through the air.

28 thoughts on “Friday Flash: Freedom

  1. The ending doesn’t work for me either. How about something as simple as, “Tray helped him into a red carriage; several shifted men were harnessed in the front. He was finally going home.”

    I was also confused by the descriptions of Tray. He is said to be decades younger, but his hair has more silver and he keeps calling Shane “lad.” That seems odd to me.

  2. I really like it, but as you said the ending. It needs to go further!

    Also, I think this is a typo, I’m not sure, but it confused me, not sure what’s going on at this part: “Shane blinked Tray’s shoulder; he hadn’t realized he was crying.”

  3. I read this through twice, I agree with Tim re the description of Tray, also about the ending, it seems flat to me, not even an ending really. I liked the idea of the story but as I read it as a flash it really felt like you had cut a piece out of something much larger, I think if you worked on this piece you could pull it together more.

    1. I suppose I could. Maybe. I am not sure – it’s too much for a drabble, but I am not sure if I have enough story for anything longer. Thanks!

  4. Lovely, lovely world. I like how this takes shifting and applies it in a vastly different way. The hint at the end of the flight does wonders because it implies a nice depth to the way shapeshifting works in this world.

  5. Dad gummit, WP ate my comment from earlier this afternoon. Like the others, I thought the ending was a little abrupt. It needs either closure, or an acknowledgment that Shane isn’t truly free of his former owner just yet.

  6. It’s an interesting world you have here, I know it’s a loose connection but I kept thinking of the movie “Jumper”

    I like the evil comment about turning her into a duvet too. :)

  7. I think it needs to be a bit longer to expand those parts that need explanation. I found parts of it a little confusing – like, why does he need to be able to shift again, and why is it a bad thing that his brother is spending too much time in his shifted form?

    1. He needs to shift so he could fly home, without needing the carriage. Or at least not all the way. I am not sure it is a bad thing, just changes some features in the man form.

  8. The term “shifting” can certainly be interpreted a number of ways. I assumed shapeshifters, but, as Steve mentions above, the term is also used in the film Jumper which is about teleportation.

    I enjoyed this though. Could definately be the start of something. Plus I want to know what happened to the original alpha, I’m assuming Tray had a hand in matters?

  9. I read alpha as a reader and the slaves as writers.. just my state of mind at the mo.. shifting as storytelling.. am I stretching this metaphor too far? I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, so I had to read a couple of times. That’s not always a bad thing, particularly for me who has the concentration span of a midgie, but there was something slightly disjointed about ti,a s though parts were missing or as yet untold. There is a great feel to these characters though, and a longer story waiting to shift onto our screens?

  10. I found the story intriguing, but I think you don’t like the end because it’s not violent enough ;) One or the other of them needs to spill a little blood don’t you think?

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