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This follows my new tradition of publishing stories I wrote for Cracked Flash Fiction Competition. This story is from 4 June 2016. The prompt was: The sword fell out of her hand. It was over. This story won Honourable Mention.

katana blood dawn

Blood Dawn

By Ronel Janse van Vuuren

The sword fell out of her hand. It was over.

Yuki couldn’t believe that she had failed. The katana gleamed in the dim light of dawn. Her opponent’s dark eyes stayed emotionless. She couldn’t believe that this stranger knew the ways of the sword better than she did. She was the last of her line; the last of the ancient order of samurai in the four kingdoms. Yuki removed her mask and fell to her knees. This was it. This was the end. She was ready to die an honourable death.

‘That was fun.’

Yuki’s head snapped up.

‘Your technique is a little stiff, but with enough practise I’m sure you’ll make a great warrior. Or assassin.’ The woman grinned.

Yuki’s heart hammered in her chest. The strange woman’s words didn’t make any sense. What kind of speech was this to give before executing the defeated?

‘Come on, I’m dying to try out the local cuisine.’

Yuki still didn’t comprehend. The woman in leather knelt in front of her.

‘We can do with more women in the Guild of Assassins. Let’s discuss this over Saki.’

She accepted the leather-clad woman’s hand and stood up. Her kimono rustled gently in the breeze acrid with smoke. Yuki sheathed her katana, the sun momentarily shining like blood on the blade.

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When I read “sword”, every kind of sword and the world around it ran through my mind. I settled on the katana for various reasons. I really liked this story. To me, it felt like it could belong to any fantasy world. My favourite part is the first twist: the opponent not killing her and offering her a place in the Guild of Assassins. Perhaps my real favourite is the ending line… What did you think?


“Beginning today I will no longer worry about yesterday. It is in the past and the past will never change. Only I can change by choosing to do so.” – Penny Jacqueline White