The fabric caught on the callouses of his hand but James didn’t care, he just scrubbed harder. He wanted to look perfect, needed to look perfect; and he wouldn’t let the smell of bleach distract him. The prince was coming and James couldn’t help bouncing his feet as he stood by the sink.
When the white shirt was clean, or as clean as a farmer mid-season could make it, he pinned it to the line and rushed back inside. His wood cabin was small, but tidy, and he could offer the prince variety of cushions to sit upon. As he patted a gold and red one, a flush grew in his cheeks. He hoped they weren’t too big for his majesty.
The sun fell over the horizon, the colors of sunset shining into the cabin through the window. He was almost out of time.
James was panting by the time he made it back outside, the shirt damp as he slid it on. And then he was standing at attention by his front door, his farm on display and his house tidy. James knew there were better, more affluent subjects in the prince’s kingdom, but he chose James and who was James to question it?
The trumpets were the first thing he heard, followed by the rolling carriage wheels. The carriage was large, larger than James’ cushions, so some of the stress eased from his shoulders.
The carriage came to a stop. A man hopped from the front with another brass instrument. “Presenting!” He blew into the horn. “His royal highness.”
When the door opened, James fell to the ground. A sign of respect, to lower himself under the prince. Above he heard the sticky steps as the prince hopped down, made his way to James.
“Rise,” the prince said.
James did, grasping the princes hand to place a kiss on the slimy, suction cupped skin. “Ribbet,” James saluted.
It was windy on the other side. With each step, Val’s hair whipped around her head, lashing at her cheeks and neck.
“Just another three steps,” the voice in her head said. It was a deep voice, a male voice. The timbre was one she had heard before but could not place. “Through the mirror and you’ll be free.”
And a part of her knew it was a trap. Following a voice that had no body, one that had called to her as she sat curled in a ball by her bed, crying. Her mother had warned her not to follow the voices as she was carted off to the asylum. Yet here she was, following
“X-rated,” Kyle said through a smile.
“And you found it here in the park?” Carla asked, head poking out from behind her longboard to glance at the naked curves.
“Well,” Kyle began slowly. “I may have brought it from home.”
“I wanted to show you?”
“Why, in everything that is holy, did that seem like a good idea?” Carla dropped the longboard and skated down the pipe.
“Crap.” Kyle followed. When he reached the other side of the half pipe, he had enough self-preservation to look ashamed.
“You told me you were curious about ladies…maybe.”
Carla sighed. “That was a secret! My sexuality isn’t one of your games!”
A rite of passage story given a thoroughly modern makeover.
At the core of this story is a friendship between Carla and Kyle, both coming terms with the inevitable changes of adolescence.
There is an honesty and openness in their relationship that shines through the tricky subject matter.
Kyle’s curious to know more. Carla’s secure enough to start coming to terms with who she might be: strong enough to do so on her terms, rather than Kyle’s, but forgiving enough not to completely cut him out when he realises the mistake he’s made.
Carla’s a great character – I’d like to know more about her.
In today’s age, where x-rated material is so freely available to skew impressionable minds, it was reassuring to read a story that touches on this subject matter, but ultimately is about a boy and a girl getting to know each other as friends, rather than objects.
So while this piece of flash fiction stands by itself, it has the potential to withstand being fleshed out into something more substantial and longer. That’s why it made my top four.
BEEP BEEP – Entering optimal visual coordinates for planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.
Human 6.21046 picks up his tablet and taps a finger on the page, “From afar, the planet is blue but as we travel closer the mass turns into a barrage of colors: green and white, the yellow sun casts half the planet into shadow. I must move closer to fully investigate.”
BEEP BEEP – Entering the atmosphere of planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.
He grips the tablet as the ship catapults forward. “Closer now, landmasses form. There is an infestation of crop fields and, in other areas, patches of grey. Hovering over them as I continue my descent, the blue of the planet almost disappears.”
BEEP BEEP – Entering ground level of planetary mass 4926, alias: Earth.
He stands when the ship lands, one hand pressed against the metal door and the other clutching his tablet. He writes, “My entrance has caused a disturbance. Humanoids are backing away from me in what appears to be fear. I tell them that I am a human as well. I assure them that I’ve traveled across the galaxy, from across time. One fearful humanoid vomits up his food ration.”
Human 6.21046 takes a step forward.
“I’ve come to write your stories.”
Written for today’s FlashFriday
Twofold prompt: Character must be a writer and include this photo –
I kissed her cheek and secured my overcoat.
“Don’t do anything that may kill you,” Ann pleaded. Her concern was justified; four had fallen to their death only yesterday.
I walked out the door without comment. She hadn’t seen the bruises on my shoulder or mentioned the cuts on my knuckles. She did not need to know that I had fallen too.
It was nearly sunrise and the half-constructed monstrosity loomed in the distance. Our duplex, like all Company funded homes, lined the street leading up to the project. With our shelves empty, it did not matter if I came home bruised and broken. I only needed to come home less destitute than when I left.
The overcoat pressed against my bruises as I wrapped it close, blocking dust from unpaved streets. Pavement was a luxury and there were no luxuries here. I thought of the dustcastles Marlon and Marie made and of their smiling faces.
It may hurt, it may diminish my lingering pride, but I needed to provide for them.
I walked up to the site and under the morning light I could see the sign on the fence:
Occupancy Full – No Workers Needed.
I stumbled to the ground. We would go hungry tonight.
Written for Flash!Friday where the twofold prompt was:
1) Theme: Defeat
2) Incorporate this photo:
Carl tried to keep his eyes away from the clock. He had been trying, and failing, for the last three hours. Instead, he swung his feet under the table, doodled onto the margins of his worksheet and, with each thirty minute chime, he would walk to the window and wait.
Carl waited for his mother.
But he doesn’t want you to think this is some sad single mom tale! His mom isn’t struggling as a waitress or bartender or naughty dancer. His mom is an engineer, a great engineer, for the US Navy. She knows so much stuff! All the numbers make sense to her and she knows how to check the equation so the math turns into a backwards riddle.
Mom was awesome. She was just late again.
The timer buzzes from the oven and with one last look outside the rain-fogged window Carl moves to shut it off.
Mom had left him his favorite because she is awesome.
Only, he didn’t want to eat alone. He thought of Mr. Quaid across the hall with his smelly cat and tiny furniture but didn’t want to hear him complain about the tenants upstairs. He just wants to eat his favorite casserole with someone nice but all his friends were far away until school tomorrow. He wants to eat with his mom.
His eyes flicked to the clock again. He should complete his math worksheet; have it done before the morning so his mom doesn’t get mad. He clicks on the television instead and continues to wait amongst the blue glow of the screen. Mom is better at math and math will be better when Mom is here.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”