Fiction Prompt: Who Goes There...
Storytelling nearly always involves filling in a blank: Who dunnit? Where did the pirates bury the gold? What did that boy learn? Why did the chicken cross the road? Where did those people come from?
"Halt," the sentry called out. "Who goes there?"
Ground-mist was creeping up from the valley, slow and full of moisture. His canvas gaiters were already soaked. The sentry adjusted his grip on the worn wooden butt of his carbine, and angled his head toward the darkness.
He'd heard something, he could have sworn he had; even with ears that still rang from percussion after these past weeks' of constant skirmishes, he'd heard movement in the laurel-slick.
Using a delicate stalk of beggar's wheat, she pointed at a hash-mark on the map. "Who goes there? You can't mean to leave that pass unguarded, surely."
The other two exchanged a glance. The larger of the two men scuffed the toe of his boot in the dust along the southern edge of the make-shift map.
The larger man, his voice reluctant, had just begun, "Lady––" when his companion snapped, "You aren't going to like it. Zhat-zhat and that lot from her village have a plan."
"But they are children! If it comes to battle ––"
"Lady, they are no younger than you." Both men looked at her. The one with pity, the other unreadable but impatient.
The large man cleared his throat before saying, "It will come to battle, and we all must fight. Zhat-Zhat has a good plan." He coughed and added. "It might even work."
"Who goes there?" Myra said, not listening for the answer. "I mean what kind of person, seeing this––" she waved a curled hand wildly, indicating not just the motorized carbon-fiber chair, but her own foreshortened physique. "Just says whatever bullshit question pops into her head? My lovelife? Are you kidding me?"
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