Yesterday saw the second BeaconLit writing festival in Ivinghoe, Bucks and part of the day's activities was a flash fiction competition - max 150 words with 'beacon' as a theme.
I was very happy, and surprised, to be announced as the winner. Here's my story:
The Longest of Nights
They said if I lit the Beacon then help would arrive. They said men would gather and drive the invaders from our lands. They were wrong.
The Sais chose their moment well. They’d harried our borders for months – killing the menfolk, stealing their cattle, taking their women and children as slaves. Bishop Iestyn said it was punishment because many of us still followed the old ways and hadn’t taken his murdered God to our hearts.
Some think the dead only walk our paths during Samhain but on this, the longest of nights, the veil between worlds is at its thinnest so we light fires for our ancestors, to guide their shadow bodies to our doors. Together we celebrate the solstice and tomorrow’s rebirth of the sun to our land.
Yes, the Sais chose their moment well – for who would notice one Beacon when the whole land was on fire?