The shadows deceived him. The constant changes from light to shade and back again played tricks on the mind. Cameron held his breath. Was that somebody moving? No, it had only been the sun coming out from behind a cloud for a few moments and illuminating a segment of a bush before it was obscured by the gloom again.
His mind raced, but his arms held firm. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been lying in wait with his bow cocked, ready for the moment one of his opponents would reveal themselves. Years of practice had preceded this moment. He’d trained his breathing until he could hold his breath twice as long as any of his friends. He’d meditated until he could shut his thoughts down on the spur of the moment. All of it for this moment, and for other, similar occasions.
A branch snapped behind him. Cameron whirled around and released the arrow before he realised he’d seen someone. The soft thud followed by a much louder curse satisfied a primal need deep inside him.
Arrows rained down on his hideout before he could finish the thought. They hadn’t seen him, didn’t know exactly where he was, but his shot had given them a general direction to aim for. He lowered his bow and pressed himself flat against the moss covered ground, happy to remain invisible and wait for however long it took. Unlike those shooting at him he wasn’t prepared to waste arrows on targets he couldn’t see.
The onslaught ended as abruptly as it had started. Either his enemies thought they’d managed to kill him or they’d given up trying because they’d at last realised how impossible it was to hit something they couldn’t see.
Cameron raised his head just in time to see four figures emerge from the bushes thirty metres ahead of him. His mind went blank as instinct took over, making his eyes and arms function without a conscious thought on his part. One after the other the four arrows left his bow, the second releasing before the first one reached its target. Like lined up dominoes, the four attackers fell to the ground in quick succession. He lowered his bow, his arms suddenly heavy and tired.
He didn’t hear a thing, wasn’t aware of the approaching danger until a shadow stretched out in front of him. Swallowing the curse burning on his tongue he turned over, ready to release an arrow at whoever had managed to sneak up on him, when a trumpet sounded.
Cameron allowed his arms to relax again as he watched a grin spread across the features of the man staring down at him. “Fuck me! You’re good.”
“Why, thank you, Pascal,” Cameron said, smirking widely. He sat up and turned to look over his shoulder, just in time to see the four men he’d shot down moments earlier, get up from the ground while retrieving the blunt arrows from where they’d fallen.
“Is there something you’d like to tell me?” Pascal asked.
Cameron shrugged. He’d thought about coming clean when his boyfriend of two months had first invited him to this medieval version of paintball, but that would have spoiled the surprise, especially considering how smug Pascal had been about his supposed prowess with a crossbow.
“You mean I should have mentioned that I’ve been into archery since I was eight?” He grabbed Pascal’s offered hand and allowed himself to be pulled up. “That would have been no fun at all.”
Thank you for reading my flash, I hope you enjoyed it and would love to hear your thoughts.
This image was suggested by Theo Fenraven. More stories inspired by this picture should be available in the Monday Flash Fics group, which is also where we’ll announce what image next week’s stories will be based on. We would love to have you join us.