Flash Fiction: Could Be Yours

Started over on Typetrigger.

Could Be Yours

It could be yours, I kept repeating in my head. It was a mantra. I wasn’t normally afraid of heights, but this branch was particularly hazardous. And yet at the end of it was my reward, dangling by a thread. I took a glance at the ground below at the roots of the great oak tree, but there were no acorns left; they were swept away in the flood. All that remained was this one hope. My last chance hanging in front of me.

I steadied myself on all fours and used my bushy tail to center myself. I inched along the branch, not my usual zippy zappy self. There was too much riding on this. The acorn almost gleamed in the sunlight — a beacon calling out to me. I crept further along the increasingly narrower branch, until it started to bend with my weight.

I hesitated and stopped moving. It wasn’t too late to go back. I looked behind me at the safety of the tree trunk. The branch was still intact. I could still make it out of this alive.

I turned back to the acorn. It was so close now I could smell the nut within the hard shell. It filtered through my nostrils and my belly ached.

I pressed on. Inching closer as the branch drooped sharply in response. I could reach it now. I stuck out a paw and brushed it. It was real all right. Not a mirage. I pushed it harder. It shookย the whole branch and my heart raced as it took meย along with it. A mighty crack reverberated down the branch and the acorn and I were swung down. We dangled precariously but I held on. I wouldn’t go out this way. I wouldn’t. The tree trunk was within leaping distance. I grabbed the stem of the acorn and I took the chance. I jumped. The acorn snapped off and stuck to my paw. Time slowed. I looked for grooves in the tree — something to hold on to. My free paws hit the bark and slipped down. The acorn was too heavy. I scrambled but it was no good. The acorn and I slid down the tree.

And then everything was still. I realised I had closed my eyes. I opened them to see myself on the ground at the base of the tree, alive and with my acorn. It was a beautiful moment. I could have wept, but there was time for that later. I hungrily clawed at the acorn to reach its inner goodness. It was finally mine.

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