In Locksley: Part 1, Rob Locksley makes an impossible shot at the summer camp archery counselor tryouts. In Part 2, his co-counselor Christine is determined to find out how he did it.
This is the second of three flash fiction stories connected to Heart of Darkness. Part 1 is free to read here. Part 2 is also included in Gateway (Otherworld 4). Part 3 will be included in Aldebaran before being released free online.
Christine dropped an armful of bows onto the picnic table, trying to ignore Rob Locksley working alongside her.
“I’m sorry you didn’t get the lead, Christine,” he said again. “I thought you’d get it because you’ve been at camp for so long.”
Christine just gritted her teeth and went to the shed to get more bows. Rob followed her. “How about this? The camp director may say I’m the lead archery counselor, but you know how things work around here, so you can be in charge.”
I can’t ignore him all week, Christine thought, gathering up more bows. She sighed and turned to face him. “Fine. You just have to answer one question for me.”
She set the bows on the table with the others, then dug in her bag for the arrows Rob had cut in half at tryouts. She put them on the table in front of Rob. His eyes widened, and he even took a step back from the table.
“How did you get so good?” she asked.
Rob didn’t speak, just looked at her, then back at the broken arrows.
“You promised to answer any question I asked.”
Rob sank onto the picnic bench with a sigh, fidgeting with a silver ring he wore on one hand. “I know. I’ve just never told anyone before. Normally, I don’t even shoot at my full ability around other people.”
“Then why did you this time?”
“That’s another question,” Rob said with a forced smile. Christine didn’t smile back, and he sighed again. “It was a competition. When there’s an archery competition, I can’t help but try to win. My dad jokes that it runs in the family.”
“Your dad’s an archer, too?”
“And another question, but yes.” Rob stared at the table, twisting his ring around his finger. “Everyone in my family, going back to the Middle Ages. We’ve traced it all the way back to one man. Someone who’s become more legend than history.”
Rob looked up at her. “Think. What legendary figure was known for his skill with a bow?”
“Seriously? You’re saying you’re descended from Robin Hood?”
“Also sometimes known as Robert of Locksley.”
Christine stared at him. Right! Even his name—how did I not guess before?
“So are we good?” Rob asked.
“No. You still haven’t answered my question.”
“Which one?” He smiled warily.
Christine almost smiled back, but stopped herself. “The first one. How did you get so good at archery?”
“I started learning to use a bow almost before I could walk. This bow”—he put a hand on his wooden recurve bow—“has been passed down in my family for centuries. It used to belong to Robin Hood. The string has been replaced a lot, obviously, but we’ve taken very good care of the wood. I wasn’t allowed to touch this until I knew how to care for it and how to shoot correctly.”
“So you have two decades of experience, lessons passed down from generations of master archers, an impossibly old bow, and a famous ancestor. No wonder you’re good.” She smiled, the first one she’d shown him since finding out she wasn’t the lead archery counselor.
Rob relaxed. “Yeah. Are we good now?”
“Yes. And we have a deal.”
“What was the deal again? You asked so many questions I forgot.”
“Careful, Locksley,” Christine grinned. “You’re not completely out of the woods yet.”
He groaned. “What else do you want to know?”
She pointed to the halved arrows, still lying on the table. “I want you to teach me how to do that.”