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  • Madeline Walz

Locksley: Part 1

A summer camp is looking for a new lead counselor for archery. At the tryouts, Christine thinks she's got the position no problem until a new camper makes an impossible shot.

This is the first of three flash fiction stories connected to Heart of Darkness. Part 2 will be included in Gateway (Otherworld 4), and Part 3 will be included in Aldebaran.


Christine squinted down the length of the aluminum arrow. “Almost got it,” she muttered, “and… there.”

She released the string on her compound bow, sending her third arrow flying towards the target. Bullseye number three, she thought. Beat that, New Kid.

“Great job, Christine!” the camp director called as Christine went to the target to collect her arrows.

“Rob Locksley, you’re up.”

“Good luck,” Christine said as New Kid stepped forward, stringing a wooden recurve bow. That lead counselor position is mine, she added silently.

She stopped to watch as Rob nocked a wooden arrow, pulled back the string, and immediately released it. In seconds, he’d fired off two more arrows.

He barely aimed, but I swear all three of those hit the bullseye, Christine thought, staring at the target, which was empty except for one arrow in the exact center.

The arrows had seemed to… but no. No one was that good.

Why hasn’t the director said anything yet?

She turned and found the camp director gaping at Rob. Maybe they did—no. It’s not possible.

“Very good, Rob,” the director managed. “Very, very good.”

Without a word, Rob went to the target, sliding his unstrung bow into his quiver. He pulled the arrow off the target, then bent down and picked up several long, narrow things from the ground. The other two arrows?

He put the arrow from the target into his quiver, then tossed the things from the ground into a garbage can, nodding to Christine as he left. Christine nodded back.

“Good job today, Christine,” the director said, preparing to leave. “I’ll send out the camp positions in the next few days.”


As soon as the director was gone, Christine ran to the garbage can. She reached in and pulled out the things Rob had thrown out. They were the other two arrows.

I did see it right. He cut them in half.

The two arrows were in four pieces, each as long as a full arrow, but only half as wide.

How can anyone be skilled enough to cut arrows in half the long way?

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