Microcosms runs a flash fiction contests every Friday. They give you the character, setting, and genre. You have 300 words and 24 hours to write a story. 300 words isn’t a lot. I am learning to “kill my darlings” -a quote Steven King uses meaning to cut all the extra words that we as writers are proud of but don’t make the story tight, strong and the best it can be.
I was excited to find out I had won last week’s contest. The character/ setting/genre were elf/castle/memoir. The prompt was to write a fairy tale. Fairy tales date back thousands of years ago and include fantasy characters, magic, and language that disguised the rebellious subtext of the stories. Here’s my story.
King Rifki’s Worst Enemy
So, here’s the truth. I’m not actually an invisible elf. I’m just a regular elf. Gramma Leojym has a magic concoction that she rubs on me each morning. I don’t know how she makes it. All I can tell you is that she goes in the cellar and comes back up with a jar of goop that smells tart like rotten spaghetti.
Anyway, I’m so excited to serve in the Legion of Loyalty. Ask no questions, tell no lies. That’s our motto. Our job is to protect the king. Each day after Gramma rubs invisible oil all over me, I slip into the palace when the shutters are unlocked.
My job is to stand still as a board and study King Rifki’s face. I have learned to recognize the look. As soon as I see the greedy look in his eyes, I scan the room for the red-headed woman. There is always a red-headed woman. As the king starts towards her, I shoot my bow and arrow
at any part of his body as long as it is above his chest. He hardly notices. It’s a tiny arrow, really – especially compared to how big he is.
Barbu notices though. She always notices and gently guides the King away from the distraction and back to his work. The white dust having done its job – making him forget about the red-head.
I overheard Mama talking the other night. She said if not for us, the people would know who the king really was. Mama says we protect the king from no one but himself. I heard her call him a philanderer, whatever that is. All I know is I get an extra scoop of apple pie when I get home from the castle. And I like apple pie.