The Night Princess

When Minuella was a child, her summer days were spent laboring in the fields and tending livestock. At night she lay upon her straw mattress, with her cat Sareel curled up next to her, as Grandfather told tales of faraway lands and great kingdoms. Grandfather’s stories were the only wealth left to the family: they were Minuella’s inheritance.

One night, as Grandfather slept, Minuella grabbed Sareel and fled the ramshackle cottage. “I’m no peasant,” she proclaimed to the blue-eyed Siamese. “I want to see those great kingdoms. I want to be somebody.” She followed a star northward through the sweltering night, into woodlands that the older villagers said were enchanted.

In a forest clearing, Minuella stood in awe as moonlight trickled through the mighty canopy of leaves, freezing into solid form. Snow whirled through the summer air as the moonlight solidified into a Castle of Ice. Stars clattered to the ground to form a glistening tiara at her feet. Sareel leapt from her arms and transformed into a stately lynx.

A troupe of snow-men emerged from the Castle of Ice and bowed. “Your majesty! Take the starry crown, and claim your title as Princess.” Minuella did so. “Come, Sareel,” she said. “Our kingdom awaits.”

For a thousand nights, Minuella and the handsome lynx ruled from the Castle of Ice. “Oh, Sareel,” she confided to her feline companion one night. “My fairy tale dreams have come true. Why am I not happy?” She removed the starry crown and let it clatter to the frozen ground. Sareel licked her face gently and gave a rumbling purr.

With the first touch of sunlight, the Castle of Ice melted into the dewy ground. Minuella rushed home with Sareel the Siamese in her arms. “Come on! We’re late for breakfast!”

A fairy tale written for Flash! Friday vol. 3-40, where the prompt was Grimms’ Fairy Tales. My chosen prompt was a theme of transformation and a setting of an enchanted forest. Image: Three Sisters (Die drei Schwester). Public domain in the U.S.; artwork by Alexander Zick (1845-1907).

Daichi’s Parricide

Written for Flash! Friday vol 3-15, where this week’s prompt is the setting of a parking lot, along with this CC2.0 photo by Tanakawho.

From the time Daichi was born, he lived in a world divided. The only son of a temple priestess and a foreign investor, he witnessed many heated arguments during his childhood.

When Daichi’s father revealed plans to turn the venerated Statue of Ryuu into hole 18 of a mini-golf course, tempers flared throughout the community. “Shame on him,” whispered the elders, “for his blatant disrespect for our traditions.”

“Shame on you,” whispered others. “He obtained the property rights fairly.”

“New construction will bring needed jobs,” argued many underemployed youths.

The battleground was the new asphalt parking lot. Protesters gathered defiantly, chanting to drown out the rumble of the bulldozers and the shouts of their rivals.

In the heat of the conflict, a hooded black figure emerged from the woods. Striding wordlessly across the parking lot, he drew back the bowstring and let fly a flaming arrow.

The arrow hit its mark, igniting the sacred statue and nearby construction equipment. Fueled by ancient wood and modern diesel, the conflagration swept across the parking lot. As the community fled the conflagration, they were united in their hatred for Daichi’s reckless endangerment. But they all agreed it was an impressive bonfire.

The Umbrella Doesn’t Stand You Up

I wanted to sneak a second entry into Flash! Friday vol. 2-51. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish until one minute past the deadline. Oh, well. Once again, the prompt was coming of age, along with the image shown.

Your Hand in Mine/Goodbye. CC2 photo by Tony.

Alaina opened the red umbrella and waited with her toes in the water. Soon this rainstorm would pass. The clouds would clear, and Christophe would come.

He said he would love me forever.

She closed her eyes and smiled, remembering words whispered softly in her ear. Right here last night, they had stolen a little time just for themselves. No one had ever made her feel so special.

He told me I looked beautiful in the moonlight.

Morning would bring the end of summer vacation. Alaina would fly back home, Christophe back to college. If only she hadn’t been so shy — forced him to make the first move. No matter, she thought. They would have one last, perfect night together.

As the tide rolled in and the sun rose over the ocean, Alaina stood alone in the waist-deep water, still holding the red umbrella.

He said he would come.

The Deadpan People

Written for Flash! Friday vol. 2-51. This week’s prompt is coming of age, along with the photo prompt shown.
Your Hand in Mine/Goodbye. CC2 photo by Tony.

A thousand years of rains have washed the blood of forgotten gods from the hillsides.
And what use are gods to a people who have subdued the Earth themselves?

They, who discovered fire.
They, who split the atom.
They, who cracked the genetic code.
They, who have slain the gods themselves.

That divine spark of intellect we kindled still burns in their minds.
They sail the oceans in ships as gray as their souls.
They soar joylessly through the heavens.
The gates of Olympus are swung open: nothing is denied to them.

What of the great heroes and monsters of legend? The passion and poetry? The prophets and oracles? The Age of Miracles?

That magic is gone now.

I look in on them from time to time — the last of a lost pantheon.

Sometimes I pity them. Sometimes I envy them.

I raise my umbrella against the rain. The tears of the lost gods pour down on me.

Small Fish

An entry for Flash! Friday vol. 2-43. This week’s prompt was to include a politician, along with the photo prompt shown.

Local fisherman, Yugoslavia. CC photo by GothPhil.

Vasska stood on the bow of the tottery fishing boat. The lake waters rippled all the way to the horizon. His net was empty.

Astern, Gavril sat gripping the oars, but not rowing. “How did you get into such a dirty job?” Vasska asked the fisherman.

Gavril shrugged. “Long ago, I met a fisherman who changed my life. And you, young man?”

“Heh…” the youth blushed. “Last year I ran for public office. But everyone thought I was too young to understand the common man.”

“I see.” Gavril ran a finger thoughtfully across his shaggy beard. “And you want to improve your image? Videri quam esse?”

“Vide-what? Anyway, I’m out learning about the real world.” He struggled to untangle himself from a rope, and smiled wryly. “Maybe someday I’ll be President.”

Gavril rose to help Vasska haul the empty net aboard. “It’ll take a long time, boy, but first I’ll teach you to be a fisherman.”