Every Wednesday, on Writing Under Pressure, you’ll find a post based on a word prompt. Past essays, poems, or flash fiction pieces can be found under Wednesday’s Word on the sidebar to the right.
Today, I welcome fellow She Writes member, Mercy Loomis, to Wednesday’s Word.
I met Mercy in person last month at a meet up organized by E. Victoria Flynn. Victoria, Mercy, and I nibbled on sweet treats for several hours that Saturday and talked all things writing.
We laughed at the story material found within the four walls of a coffee shop – a writer’s paradise when it comes to characters.
I also had a taste of Mercy’s writing during our meet up, and I decided to invite her for some “word of the day” flash fiction fun.
Mercy chose the route of a prompt from my personal word bag (in lieu of Wordsmith.org), thus allowing me to play Wordsmith for the day. Oh, how I love control.
The word I chose for her: bitten.
Trevor tried to pretend he wasn’t winded, but keeping up with Naomi’s long, shapely legs was proving to be more of a challenge than he expected. Not the he minded the view, of course; even though it was dark the trail they were hiking could just keep going up and up forever, as far as he was concerned.
Of course, his own legs would give out long before he got tired of watching. Flex and swing, flex and swing. When she’d picked him up and he saw the short-shorts he’d assumed she wasn’t the outdoorsy type, but either bugs didn’t scare her or she did a lot of Stairmaster. Naomi’s loping strides devoured the trail like…
Something pricked his arm, and Trevor swatted at it with a muffled curse. “Stupid mosquitoes,” he muttered, staring dolefully at the smear on his hand. In the deepening gloom the blood looked almost black. Pausing, he wiped his hand on his jeans and stuck the flashlight in his pocket, the beam pointing up into the leaves and giving the path a weird green glow.
“What are you doing?” Naomi stopped and turned to give him an irritated glance.
“Getting some bug spray.” Trevor dug through his fanny pack for the little bottle. “I must’ve been bitten half a dozen times already.”
Naomi sashayed back to him and took his hand in both of hers. “Aw, what’s a few bug bites? Please, I really hate that stuff. It tastes terrible.”
Trevor blinked, momentarily confused. “Tastes? But why..?” Naomi fluttered her eyelashes at him, and he tossed the bug spray over his shoulder. It landed somewhere in the bushes and was instantly forgotten. “Right. You got it, babe.”
Laughing, Naomi drew him farther up the hill. “C’mon, we’re almost there. You have to see this place.”
Trevor stumbled after her, giddy with the implications of her teasing, but when they finally crested the slope and emerged from under the trees his lascivious thoughts were momentarily silenced by the view. Barely ten feet ahead of them the bluff’s face fell away in a sheer cliff overlooking a glimmering stream that snaked through the wooded valley below. The moon lit up the landscape like a giant spotlight, and even as he stared open-mouthed he saw a barn owl swoop down over the water to disappear beneath the branches.
And another mosquito bit him.
Trevor cursed roundly, slapping one cheek and flinging the dead insect away. “Doll, I don’t understand how you can stand being out here dressed like that. Not that I don’t appreciate it,” he hastened to add, “but they must be eating you alive!”
There was an undertone to Naomi’s chuckle that made the hairs on the back of his neck rise, a low growling that went beyond sultry into something else, something animal. “Oh, they wouldn’t do that. Doll.”
Trevor turned to her slowly, trying to shake off a cold shiver that coursed down his spine. “Why is that?”
She grinned. That was when he saw the fangs. “Professional courtesy, of course.”
Mercy Loomis graduated from college one class short of an accidental certificate in Folklore, which explains a lot. She has a BA in Psychology, but don’t hold that against her. Though fascinated by mythology her whole life, she blames her husband and the History Channel for her late-found love of studying history.
Her stories appear most recently in the anthologies Please, Sir from Cleis Press and Taste Test: Rainy Days and Mondays from Torquere Press, as well as in Hungry For Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance, coming from St. Martin’s Press in October 2010. See what she’s up to and find links to her other work at www.mercyloomis.com.
You can also find her at She Writes here.