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Bring a Knife, No Guns

Flash Fiction Contest winner

Matt Chinworth

“If you’re gonna go out to the farmland—”

“Stay out of the woods. I know.”

“Don’t sleep out there. Set up camp somewhere else.”


“You have everything? Food? Water? Rope? First aid? And don’t forget—”

“An offering. I know. I have everything.”

“I know you’ve heard it all before, but I’d just feel better tellin’ you all of it again. Phones don’t work out there, ya know? They just don’t. Let’s just run through it, okay? For me?”

“Yeah, all right.”

“If you come across a patch of dirt, no grass, all dead, don’t touch it.”

“Nothing good grows there.”

“Right, and if you come across someone else out there, don’t tell them your name. You never know if they’re real or not.”

“The Wendigo evolve in cruel ways.”

“Just avoid anyone else, doesn’t matter what they are. And if you hear a woman crying, hope it’s a cougar and don’t go looking for it.

“Look, I know all of this by heart and more. Don’t cross bodies of water, if you feel someone behind you don’t look, don’t go into the cottages of the share farmers—something else lives there now, close every gate you open, don’t take anything from the farm. See? I know. I’ve heard it all a hundred times over.”

“Yeah, and tellin’ you once more isn’t gonna hurt anything. If you see ghosts of the natives, they won’t hurt you.”

“Just respect them. I know. I’m not going to do anything risky. Please just—”

“Don’t look at the lake after two, don’t bleed into the dirt, time passes differently near the milking shed. You have to remember all of it. You have to. If you’re gonna do this, you have to.”

“Yeah, look, I got it. Let me go while I still have daylight to look around. Please. I’ll be safe.”

“Okay, I know, I’m sorry. Just one last thing, finding skulls is normal—”

“Only worry if I find ribs.”

For more from the inaugural TTV and Nimrod International Journal Flash Fiction Contest, click here.

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