Written in response to the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt trail/trial and Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Double Take challenge using the homophone paced/paste and rap/wrap. (With apologies for taking liberties with the tenses!)
“Oh, deary me!” Colin shook his head. “You ain’t hitting the sweet spot today, darling. Time of the month, is it?”
Lacey shot him a sour look, which he cheerfully ignored.
“What if I put some glue on the tips? Maybe then they would stick to the target and not bounce off into the undergrowth.”
“Very funny,” said Lacey, through gritted teeth. “Just show me the technique again.”
“No point. The state you’re in, you couldn’t hit a barn door at twenty paces. With or without a dollop of sticky paste.”
“I just need more time to practise.” Lacey did her best to keep her voice calm and the bubbling rage from pouring out of her like malevolent lava.
“You need more than practice. How many times do I have to tell you to focus?”
“Too many,” spat Lacey.
“Not enough.” Colin rapped her on the forehead with his swagger stick. “Now, follow me.” He headed up the trail towards the isolation hut.
She groaned. This meant another twenty-four hours trying to guess the answers to the dumbass riddles he set. And licking the dew off the walls because Colin didn’t allow food and water during that trial.
“I’ve passed the enigma test,” Lacey reminded him.
“Which’ll make it easier for you second time around.”
“Sod off, Colin,” she roared. “I refuse to be sent back to first grade.”
“Rules are rules, Lacey. Each failure takes you back to the beginning. And if you can’t channel your physical energy, you need to work on opening the mental ones again.”
Lacey growled. She was beyond anger now. A red haze descended as she stooped to pick up a handful of the throwing stars. The first one caught him on the backside, the second embedded itself in his breastplate as he turned around, and the third hit his helmet with a satisfying clang.
She cringed as he ran at her, but rather than a punch, he wrapped her in his arms and spun her around.
“Well done, my lovely. I knew you’d get there in the end.” He put her down on shaking legs. “Come on, let’s go to the armoury and try you with the crossbow.”