I recently submitted an excerpt from a fantasy tale at Inkitt.com. Here’s the link to the complete entry, told in three parts: An End to Hiding
This is part of what I hope to be a complete novel someday. I’ve taken a break from the fantasy genre for a while, but I still enjoy it and want to return to it at some point. I have a general plot outline in place for the novel, but there’s still much work to do. The submission is for Inkitt’s current fantasy story contest, so if you like the story please be sure to click the heart icon to recommend it. The winner will be the top-recommended story.
Hafley dared not wait to confirm Martinson’s fate. Greta curled herself into a ball on the ground, trying to protect her head and belly from further abuse. Rage swelled in him, threatening to cast reason further aside. Already soldiers recovered from the initial shock of his attack and their overconfidence in Martinson. He had lost the advantage of surprise, and he knew he could never beat all of the fiends.
He fled into the woods, leaving the hoarse shouts of his enemies behind. He was less encumbered than all of them and planned to outdistance them as quickly as possible. He hoped the brush and roots would further slow them.
He heard a deeper barking than that of the hound he had killed. He feared that the dogs were the larger fighting breed Martinson favored for use in the pits. If he could stay out of sight and move quietly, they might not be able to track him. If they did find him, they would surely kill him. They were accustomed to fighting bears, and Hafley did not allow himself to think he stood a chance against them.
The barking grew louder, and he abandoned all hope of stealth. He increased his speed against the wishes of his aching muscles and pounding heart. The sword pulled heavily at his arm, urging him to drop it. Hafley dared not abandon his only defense, even after nearly impaling himself when a root snatched at his boot.
Something was wrong. Ahead he heard the report of rushing water. The river, still swollen with the rain from the night before, should have been well behind him. Instead he headed toward it. He cursed himself, and then he realized that the river could help him lose both dogs and men. In their armor, they would never risk drowning in the quick current. The dogs could surely swim, but they might balk at the sight and sound of the rapids. If he merely let the currents carry him, he might even keep hold of his borrowed blade.
His pulse pounded in his head as he struggled to maintain his pace. He risked a glance over his shoulder, only to see the two dogs closing. They were giant mastiffs. Each must have nearly outweighed him. They were poor endurance runners, yet they crashed through the brush as if Hafley were their last meal.
He stumbled over a root and lost his sword in his panic to break his fall. His hands slipped in mud as he hit the sloping ground. He slid, face first toward the embankment. Muddy, matted hair fell into his eyes. The dogs were so close that he could hear their labored breathing even above his own. He fell.
It took him a split second to brace himself for the clutch of the chilly water. It took even less time for the pain to register as his body broke upon the rocks.
When he could breathe, he wished he had not. Some unseen blade stabbed him with each breath. His left arm would not obey him. He ground his teeth as he made his legs push his body toward the river. He preferred drowning to capture, but there was still fight in him. Thoughts of Greta spurred him toward the currents.
The frigid water inflamed his every scrape and gash. The remnants of his clothes dragged him down to slam into every rock. Voices were only noise, words unrecognizable over the frothing current. A new pain erupted through his shoulder, and he spun briefly enough to see his attackers.
Gazing downward, the arrow shaft and point protruded obscenely from his chest. The archer on the bank some thirty yards upstream already pulled an arrow to his cheek. Only then did he realize he was being swiftly carried away. He tried in vain to orient himself with feet downstream and head protected, but the current ordered and his body obeyed. He failed to see the rock, and then he failed to see anything.