I must admit that hosting a flash fiction contest was a bit stressful. First, there was the fear that no one would submit stories … then the fear that there would be a bunch of stories, and I would be blind by the end of the week.
Thankfully, there was a happy median, and here I sit … my vision as fine as it was before, and with the winning story selected.
So congratulations, to Ellie Was … a talented writer.
by Ellie Was
Hoss gazed into the pools in the rocks on the ocean shore, reflection rippling and glistening in the ever-dynamic sea.
I am… I am… HOSS! Hoss reared on Hoss legs and bellowed, “HOSS!” but there was no sound. Hoss alighted and gazed off over the sea for a moment, disappointed, but as the wind rolled off the waves, a glorious Hoss tail flapped and whipped about Hoss’s Hoss legs, and Hoss stamped with glee.
Hoss! Called Shok. My friend, Shok breached the water and gazed up at Hoss with black eyes, you are Hoss!
Yes! It is as the story and the fish with hair.
Shok buoyed at the shore, looking blankly at Hoss.
Hoss stomped Hoss’s hooves, leaped round, and off Hoss went.
The rocks and the sand gave way to tall grass and brush, and then forest, and soon, Hoss was galloping through puddles and swamps and creeks on a path through tall trees. Small things with teeth on long fins and things with big fins that swam in the air made way for Hoss.
I am best. Said Hoss. I am beauty and fierce. Hoss leaped over a fallen tree. Yes! I am neat. Hoss’s new hooves kicked up dirt and mud and puddles and Hoss pressed on into the wind, eyes open and drying because they could not close, but Hoss did not care! Hoss was Hoss. Neat.
“HALT!” A Big Thing, covered in black like a shadow, blocked the path and waved a tall stick. Hoss halted, but Hoss did not know why.
Big Thing, Hoss exclaimed, please do not do that thing! Hoss stomped Hoss’s legs, but they did not stomp.
Big Thing approached and circled Hoss, inspecting Hoss’s Hoss legs and Hoss hair. Hoss looked at Big Thing and said, What is happening!
Big Thing ran a hand over Hoss’s head and back. “Tall, strong, fast, fierce. Awesome!” Big Thing looked Hoss in the eye. “You are the coolest thing ever.”
Big Thing did another thing that Hoss did not like. Big Thing swung up onto Hoss’s back and clung to Hoss’s neck. Hoss bellowed, with no sound, furious and frustrated, but pressed on through the trees once more with Big Thing along for the ride.
My Hoss legs! My Hoss hooves! My Hoss hair! I am fish with hair, I am my own! But Hoss galloped unwillingly, and Big Thing said nothing, only yelling happily as they rode. Hoss became sad, for Hoss could not yell.
The trees thinned and Hoss and Big Thing came upon an assemblage of squares of different sizes with other Big Things doing things among them. They rode fast at the things, and one screamed, and then they all screamed.
“I am the best! Haha!” Big Thing yanked and pulled at Hoss, and Hoss swerved and circled in response. Was this the Hoss life? Was this all there was to legs, and hooves, and hair? HOSS was best. Big Thing was worst, worst ever.
“Abomination! Horror! Insane!” the things shouted. “Neat,” one said, smiling at Hoss and not running and screaming like the rest. Hoss disagreed: Hoss is not neat. No longer neat.
“Kneel before me! Haha!” Big Thing hit some things with the tall stick, and the things fell and yelled. “Haha!” Big Thing said again and again. What is happening, what is my life?
Hoss saw a thing with bright hair and stopped, digging Hoss’s hooves into the dirt, and Big Thing stopped saying “Haha!”
“Go!” said Big Thing. “Do my bidding!”
The thing with bright hair stared at Hoss with very big eyes, and was shivering. In Hoss’s Shok head swam the fishes and things of the sea that Hoss loved, and the life Hoss had left behind, where Hoss was free, and not Hoss, but Shok instead.
Fish with hair, Hoss cooed, do not be cold. Everything is alright. Hoss erupted with Hoss instinct and fury, and, like Hosses on the beach with Big Things on their backs that see Shok and shiver, Hoss sprung bottom-up and Big Thing soared forward. Fish with hair screamed like a gull, and Hoss reared up and screamed with glee, too.
Hoss pranced away, because that is what Hosses do with their vibrant legs. Big Thing shouted as Hoss vanished into the trees, and the other Big Things made angry noises at the Big Thing that “took it too far.”
So the trees surrounded Hoss once more. Hoss leaped over logs and little things that would not get out of the way. Swamps glistened in the sun. The little things that swim in the air made happy noise. See, everything is alright.
Soon, Hoss emerged onto the beach, hooves kicking up sand and pebbles. Hoss approached the water and stepped in.
Hoss! Shok called. That was quick!
I am, said Hoss, and I am neat. But the time for that is done. My eyes are dry.
Shok gazed with blank black eyes. Then close your eyes, for it is better to prance among the things in the air than to see and be under water with things that do not live in air!
Hoss turned Hoss’s Shok head toward the sunlight and the forest with little and big things. Hoss blinked. Oh.
When Hoss turned around again, Shok was nearly gone, with a Shok fin receding into the ocean water. But Shok! I have a Shok head.
Shok breached again and glanced around at Hoss. Because you will always be Shok, too. And my friend. And you know the water and the air, and it is great.
Hoss watched Hoss’s Shok friend vanish, and leaped back along the beach, in the middle of the air and the water.