Home > Flash Fiction, Horror > Going out on a limb

Going out on a limb

I decided to experiment a little. I am curious to see if any of you recognize what that experiment was. Oh well, whether you notice or not, I hope you enjoy the story.

L. E. White


Red sat on the limb of an old oak, watching the camp. It was almost dark, but his replacement wouldn’t be there for at least another half hour. Orson was never late, but the clouds that were coming in were making the forest get dark faster than it usually did. Red wasn’t worried though, even if the weather threw off Orson’s arrival, things had been quiet most of the day.

When Orson arrived, he took a spot on a limb on the other side of the trunk from Red. “You going to stay and watch what happens? You usually take off the moment I arrive.”

“I was thinking about it,” Red said. “These assholes deserve it.”

“Did something else happen?”

Red let out a frustrated sigh. “They have been running all over the mountain today and they blast anything that moves.”

“Yeah,” Orson looked over at Red, frowned, and then turned back to keep his eyes on the camp. “It would be nice if only the people who knew how to live out here would come out here.”

The pair fell quiet as the watched the men. A fire was lit and the smell of cooking worked its way up to the watcher. As the darkness grew, more men returned, joining the group as the night took over the mountain.

The moon rose, bright and full. Her silver light stretched shadows down to the camp, where they stopped in a hazy line as they met the shadows cast out by the flame.

A limb below Red and Orson snapped. Red tried to look down, but he couldn’t see well enough in the darkness to distinguish what had broken the stick from the other shadows.

“Don’t bother,” Orson said. “I can’t see them either.”

“You can’t?”

“No. They move from shadow to shadow, hiding from the light. As good as my vision is, as many times as you and I have watched and waited for them to get rid of intruders, I have never seen them approach the circle.”

“Neither have I,” Red said. “They only do this in the dark. I’ve never stayed here to see it happen before.”

One of the men walked away from the fire. He stepped into the shadow of a tree. Red and Orson heard the tearing sound of flesh ripped from bone.

“When the men notice, then they will come out. That is when you will be able to see them.”

Both of the watchers fell silent when one of the hulking creatures came into view on the far side of the camp. The thing was dark of fur and the light did not reflect from its eyes. It looked like a cross between a bear and one of the great cats. Huge fangs reflected the light of the fire. It did not attack; instead, it waited for the men to notice it.

When one did, he screamed.

The rest of the pack charged out of the darkness, coming at the camp from every side. While the men went for their weapons, eyes on the decoy, they were torn to pieces.

Orson turned away once the men were all down. His job would have been to alert the pack if anyone had managed to get away. “Why did you stay to watch this tonight?”

“They killed my wife yesterday.”

Both of the watchers were silent for a time.

“It is time for me to go get my dinner,” Orson said. “Have you been on watch all day?”


“Do you want me to bring you something?”

Red shook his head. “No thank you. I’m just going to get some sleep. It is past my bedtime, but I had to see this. I had to watch.”

“I know,” Orson said. “I became the night watcher when my son was killed. I understand. If you need to talk, you know where to find me. You can wake me if you need to.”

“Thank you,” Red said, but Orson was gone. The owl had left the tree with only a single wing beat.

The hawk watched as the camp was torn apart. He watched until all he could see was the smoldering coals of the campfire. He watched until the dawn forced the great spirits to return to the earth.

With the first rays of the sun, he cried out, letting his pain echo across the mountain.

Then he flew down to the camp site, and began to feed.

Categories: Flash Fiction, Horror Tags:
  1. February 4, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    Another good one!

    Writing from a non-human perspective can be challenging.

  2. February 5, 2015 at 12:18 PM

    Thank you.

    Yeah, I don’t think I have ever written from an outside perspective like this. I know the names were very corny, but that wasn’t really the point.

  3. February 7, 2015 at 9:18 PM

    Very well done. I particularly liked the use of the decoy. Reminded me of Jurassic Park “Vlever girl!” 🙂

    • February 7, 2015 at 11:49 PM

      Thank you. I wasn’t thinking of that but now that you mention it I can see it.

      Love that movie.

  4. February 8, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    Well played. Took me a bit to figure out whose eyes we were looking through. I liked the angle you chose for this one.

    • February 9, 2015 at 1:32 PM

      Thank you. I’m really glad to hear you liked it.

      Hawks and Owls are two of my favorite things. It made it more fun for me to use those two birds as the watchers.

  5. February 10, 2015 at 1:13 PM

    Interesting POV. Nice work.

    • February 10, 2015 at 1:25 PM

      Thank you. I am glad you liked it.

  1. February 8, 2015 at 11:10 AM

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