short story, story promptDhari would rather risk her life by escaping through a portal to unknown lands than stay in the clutches of the Emperor building his death machine…


This was it. This was her only chance.

This day only rolled around once every four years. If she missed this opportunity, she wouldn’t be around the next time it arrived. It would be too late for her.

This was the only shot she had at saving her own life.

Dhari hurried through the forest. Anxiously, she looked skywards. The night was was still dark, stars winking down at her. No sign of sunlight, thankfully. If she couldn’t make it to the Sprite Ring before dawn, her life was over.

She stumbled over a tree root and winced as her ankle twisted painfully. She tried to ignore the stabs of pain that shot up her leg with every step that she took. There was no time to slow down. They probably already knew she was missing. Trackers would be hot on her trail soon.

Breathing heavily, she leaned against a tree trunk for just a moment to recover. It would have been immensely easier if she’d been able to get to the Sprite Ring before night had fallen, but leaving the Palace any earlier would have resulted in them finding her before she even had a chance to activate the Ring and get away. Leaving at the last possible moment had been her best option for success. Assuming she made it to the Ring in time, anyway.

Pushing on, she peered between the trunks. Am I even going the right way? It was so hard to be sure in the dark and she only had sketchy directions to start with. She’d simply have to trust her instincts and excellent sense of direction. It shouldn’t be too long before she reached it. She’d know within the next ten minutes if she’d made a critical mistake.

Several minutes later, a sigh of relief rushed out of her. There it was. The stone ring was almost three times her height and was held upright by a stone platform with steps up to it. She sat heavily on the stairs. All that was left to do was wait. At sunrise, the circle would activate, creating a portal that would transport her to another land.

That was her hope, at least. No one knew for sure what happened when someone crossed through the Sprite Ring. No one had ever returned from the other side. The Ring itself was known only as a rumour. Most people didn’t believe it existed and only a few shady characters knew its whereabouts.

Well, she didn’t really care what happened to her on the other side. It couldn’t be worse than staying here. She would be dead within the year if she stayed. The Emperor would make sure of that.

No. There was no way she would return to the Palace and continue working on that deadly machine of his. She’d rather risk the Ring and whatever was on the other side.

A low hum began vibrating through the stone stairs. Glancing at the Ring, a faint white sheen was gathering in the centre of the circle. She scrambled to her feet. Dawn must be breaking. It was almost impossible to tell this deep in the forest.

She grabbed her bag and jumped up the stairs. It would only remain open for a few seconds, so she had to be ready.

The hum increased in volume and the white film began to spread itself to the edges of the stone circle.

A dog’s howl drifted to her and she fearfully gazed back in the direction she’d come from. They were definitely onto her.

In a flash of bright light, the portal opened. Without thinking twice, Dhari leapt through into darkness.

Is this one of your favourite 500-word-story-starters? Click the heart to like it and it may become a fully-fledged story! –>  2

<– Day 73     #    Day 75 –>