Flash fiction from prompt. Use words: painting tree and clock.
|I stopped briefly, bent over and tried to catch my breath. Wisps of fog curled around my legs and climbed my body. I struggled to breathe and the damp smell of moss caught in my throat. I coughed, stumbled and reached out to steady myself against a tree.
The forest was quiet but I heard them in the distance. They were far off, but closing in fast. The barks and howls sent chills rippling down my spine. They had dogs.
I looked ahead at the thickets and down at my bloody legs.
Well, I'm not stopping now, I said under my breath. I took off again, charging through the underbrush, branches tearing at my skin, but pain a distant concern.
Time past, how much, I have no idea.
What I did know was that it was almost over. Snapping branches, barking and the sound of horses snorting echoed in my head. They were on my heals , I knew it. The smell of sweat and hot sour animal breath tapped on my shoulder as if to say, give up pal, you're done.
As my mind wondered, my foot caught on something, a root perhaps and I stumbled and fell into a clearing in the woods. I hit the ground hard and everything went black.
The security guard pressed the button on his mic.
"I need help in the British hall."
"Copy, what's the problem?"
"I've got a guy, he's unresponsive."
"How's that possible, the museum is closed."
"No idea, just get some help down here."
I opened my eyes to three blank faces.
"Sir, are you okay, you've been out for..." he looked at the clock, "for at least five minutes."
I looked around at the paintings and up at the one just above me. It was a clearing in the woods. A group of hunters dressed in bright red jackets, some on horses, others on foot, were stopped, confused looks on their faces, their dogs sniffing at the ground.
"Damn, that was a close one," I said. I stood up and dusted myself off.
The guards looked at my bloody legs.
"What happened to you?" One of them asked.
I smiled and looked at the painting.
"Ah, it was nothing. That's a nice painting, what do you suppose they're looking for?"