Out of Time

castle

Jessie’s chest burned with each inhale. Her legs threatened to give in to the ache that shot through them. But she couldn’t slow down. The sky was already fading to shades of pink and orange. She was running out of time.

She cupped her quivering hands and squinted toward the castle far in the distance. The image of her sick brother, too fragile to move, consumed her. She clutched the antidote tightly to her chest. He wouldn’t survive another night under that evil witches spell.

“Leander, where are you?!” she yelled in agony, “I’ll never make it by sundown on my own!” Almost on command, the lion scooped her up from behind and onto his back.

“Sorry I took so long,” he roared, as she clung to his mane and they pounced toward the castle.

A rumble echoed through the sky as the pink turned to gray. A malicious streak of lightning hit the ground. Then another, igniting flames around them. Jessie’s eyes froze. She knew the sorceress wouldn’t allow them to approach easily. A final bolt struck only inches away, pulling Leander’s paws from under him and throwing them both from the path.

They tumbled down the grassy slope to the water below. The icy blast pierced Jessie’s skin, paralyzing her instantly. It wasn’t deep, but the lake’s evil tendrils immobilized its prey, holding them prisoner to watch the world above, from below. She glared at the surface, straining to move even her pinky, but nothing would budge….

The gong of the bell tower echoed. Jessie’s imagination snapped to attention.

Midnight.

Time, that little serpent, had slipped away from her again.

Disappointed, she thumped the pages shut, and shoved the worn hardcover back into the open slot.

The barely lit library was deserted. It’s ancient, musky smell hung in the shadows, giving Jessie a familiar feeling of comfort as she approached the looming doorway.

“Until tomorrow…” she bid goodnight, and the doors swung closed behind her.

Trifecta

Written for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word TIME

3a : an appointed, fixed, or customary moment or hour for something to happen, begin, or end <arrived ahead of time>
b : an opportune or suitable moment <decided it was time to retire> —often used in the phrase about time <about time for a change>

 

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36 responses to “Out of Time

  1. I was engrossed in the story and …. midnight. LOL Talk about reading interruptus! Thanks for the Trifecta too … I am going to check it out. Always enjoy exploring writing prompts and challenges but I have not explored too many online. Great, entertaining read, as always.

  2. Leander is the best name for a lion. This is an excellent piece. You should definitely continue with these characters.

  3. ha, I’ve done this at home before–pulling a book off a shelf right before bed and finding myself still reading an hour later (:

    • Yes! A friend of mine said the same thing. I didn’t even realize it until he pointed it out. Subconscious I suppose 🙂 Thanks Christine

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