Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 28

WELCOME to Flash! Friday! Today it gives me tremendous pleasure to introduce the judges’ panel for the 3rd quarter of Year Two, beginning July 4. These are writers you already know and love: the super sparkly crew of three-time Flash! Friday winners. (Note: Maggie Duncan won her place among them too but has already served.) What better eyes for this contest than writers whose work has consistently vaulted them to the top?! So without further ado, please join me in welcoming

Aria Glazki;
Betsy Streeter (our only 4-time winner);
Craig Anderson;
Margaret Locke; and
Phil Coltrane.

It is going to be a BLAST!!!!!!

Also noteworthy: today in 1837, Queen Victoria ascended the British throne. And on today in 1887, the massively busy Victoria Terminus railway station opened in Mumbai (then Bombay). Clearly Her Royal Majesty prefers not to be ignored today; and so accordingly we shall pay our humble dues. Or not so humble, obv, depending on where you make her go….

 ♦♦♦♦♦

Before we leap too eagerly into Q3, however, fabulous and fearless judge Jess West will close out the final two weeks of Q2. We’ll bid her a fond adieu next week. If you don’t know her and are curious about her judging style & preferences, be sure to scour her judge’s page to see how to snag her attention.  

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Awards Ceremony: Results will post Sunday. Noteworthy #SixtySeconds interviews with the previous week’s winner post Wednesdays.  I (Rebekah) sometimes quite presumptuously post my own unbalanced writings on Tuesdays or Thursdays.  

Now let’s get to it!

Word limit150 word story (10-word leeway) based on the photo prompt.

HowPost your story here in the comments. Include your word count (140 – 160 words, exclusive of title) and Twitter handle if you’ve got one. If you’re new, don’t forget to check the contest guidelines.

Deadline11:59pm ET tonight (check the world clock if you need to; Flash! Friday is on Washington, DC time)

Winners: will post Sunday

Prize: The Flash! Friday e-dragon e-badge for your blog/wall, your own winner’s page here at FF, a 60-second interview next Wednesday, and your name flame-written on the Dragon Wall of Fame for posterity. 

***Today’s Dragon’s Bidding (required element to incorporate somewhere in your story; does not need to be the exact word(s) unless instructed to do so, e.g. “include the word “chutzpah'”):

arrogance

***Today’s Prompt:

"New crowns for old ones!" --Disraeli presents Queen Victoria the crown of India. Punch, 1876, by cartoonist John Tenniel.

“New crowns for old ones!” –Benjamin Disraeli presents Queen Victoria the crown of India. Punch, 1876, by cartoonist John Tenniel.

138 thoughts on “Flash! Friday–Vol 2 – 28

  1. Tamara Shoemaker
    @TamaraShoemaker
    Word Count: 148

    Message

    “It is a gift, Highness. A pretty dainty for a royal eye.”

    His entire posture bespoke obsequiousness, ridiculousness, the absurd. From the bending curl of his goatee to the droop of his turban, he groveled before Her Majesty.

    “From His Magnificence with many compliments.”

    He bowed low before the queen, the chest clasped in one arm, the crown in the other.

    “The Sultan dares to compliment me?” Disbelief rippled through the queen’s court. Her Highness leaned forward. “Doesn’t the Sultan realize who I am?”

    “Would Highness like to see the next gift from His Magnificence?”

    A thin, white eyebrow winged upward, a silent question.

    “It is a message, Highness.”

    His fingers gripped the handle of the box; he opened it.

    “He asked me to return your son to you.”

    On a bed of crimson straw, a flayed skull grimaced at the queen.

  2. So excited to be judging in the next quarter!

    And, if anyone’s interested, I’m actually hosting a giveaway right now, so when you’re done writing your Flash! Friday entry, reward yourself by entering 😉 Enter here: bit.ly/1qWJixD

  3. The Show Must Go On
    Ian Martyn (@IBMartyn)
    158 words

    The crown was strapped for cash so what else was a queen to do? As talents go she didn’t have much that was marketable. She had tried an ad for ‘rent a queen for the day’ but at £1,000 there were no takers. Looking regal just didn’t pay the bills. So when they approached her for panto she’d had to give it serious thought.

    ‘But one can’t act.’ she had said.

    ‘No matter, your highness. Most of them what takes part can’t act. This ain’t Shakespeare you knows. Just your name on the posters ’ll be a big draw. I can see it nows.’

    ‘Well, if you’re sure.’

    She had insisted on the lead of course and no skimpy costumes or thigh slapping. Treading the boards that opening night as Cinderella she could have wept. Oh calamity, what a state the country must be in. If she wasn’t much mistaken that was her prime minister playing Widow Twanky.

  4. @Ali_OMalley
    147 words

    She was the epitome of royal. Perched atop her throne of gold and velvet cushions Queen Victoria looked upon the foreign visitor with thinly veiled boredom. His white turban and dark skin did little to interest the young Queen.

    Bowing at the waist the exotic man addressed the Queen and gave her the message as he had been instructed to do by his master. “Your Majesty, I have travelled far to bring you this message from the Prince of Persia.”

    With the mention of the infamous Prince, the Queen turned her full attention to the messenger.

    “My Master wishes to visit Your Majesty, and to show his friendly intentions he has sent me with these gifts.” He watched as the young Queen gave her nod of approval and smirked internally. They could never resist the lure of gold and soon his master would rule in her place.

  5. ONE CROWN TO RULE THEM ALL
    Brian Creek (@BrianSCreek)
    156 words

    Azeem smiled. It was a sure sale.

    “Does it really do what you say?” asked Victoria.

    “It is my greatest creation,” said Azeem. He picked the jewel encrusted crown up, holding it aloft so that the candle light twinkled off each stone. “With this you will make every nation bow at your feet. Every person in the known world will pledge their allegiance to you. You will be the greatest ruler in history.”

    Azeem felt butterflies now as he waited for the Queen to accept. Soon he would be the richest man alive and she would process the power to rule the entire world.

    “A ruler of slaves?” said Victoria.

    “I’m sorry?”

    “It is false to rule with magic.”

    “But your majesty,” begged Azeem.

    “Guards!” said the Queen. “Remove this man.” Three guards stepped from the shadows. She pulled one aside and handed him the crown. “And lock this in the Tower with the other artefacts.”

  6. To Kill a Fly

    “A woman on the throne, women explorers, what will be next? Women voting?”
    John stared down his nose at the newspaper. Next to him an issue of Punch showed a cartoon of Queen Victoria.

    Mary stared at her cooling tea. She could feel old tears burning her eyes. New bruises throbbed.

    “I want to fly in an airship one day.”

    John snorted behind the newspaper and slurped his tea.

    Mary thought of the flypapers still soaking in the kitchen.

    “Did you see the girls again this morning?”

    “I did.”

    “I do not know what you women have to gossip about. And then act like you are learning practical things. The house is still run exactly the same. Preposterous. A waste of money.”

    “I enjoy it.”

    “You are being foolish. Tell me one thing you learnt today.”

    He rustled the paper again.

    “Did you know flypaper is full of arsenic? It does not have a taste or smell.” Mary smiled.

    Words: 160
    @CarinMarais
    http://www.hersenskim.blogspot.com

  7. To the Victor the Spoils
    (160 words)

    ‘You will see to it!’ said The Queen her temper fraying. The Generals had talked enough. She was exhausted by them.

    ‘If The Queen wants their Crown, she will have it!’ said General Spirit.

    ‘No! The Wars must end. The fields are laden with the festering flesh of young men. We have more wounded than upright, more dead than alive! It’s preposterous,’ said General Feeling.

    ‘I’ll not listen to this! I shall have that Crown! Send them back into battle!’ said The Queen, her cheeks flushed.

    ‘They’re The Queen’s subjects, and, if need be, they will stand on festering limbs, and fight for her! Stitch them up; send them back!’ said General Warmongering. ‘That’s what makes this country great!’

    ‘Yes! Quite! That’s the ticket!’ said General Spirit. ‘For Queen and Country!’

    The only voice The Queen ever obeyed shot through The War Room, ‘That’s enough for one day. Come,Your Majesty, it’s long past your bedtime,’ said The Royal Nanny.

  8. Go conquer it
    @dieterrogiers – 157 words

    “Uneasy lies one’s head. An ancient, cumbersome crown might have suited our forefathers, whose exploits on the battlefield could effortlessly carry this heavy a headgear, yet it is ill-fitted for a monarch that governs an empire from a throne room.”

    “As fortune would have it, our Commonwealth includes kingdoms spanning the entirety of the globe. We have procured a crown more fitted to her Majesty’s needs. A true Indian treasure”

    “This crown, was it procured with bloodshed?”

    “The raj is not a popular rule.”

    “We detest violence, mister prime minister.”

    The queen took the crown in her hands and inspected it thoroughly.

    “But we do find it pretty. Can you procure more of this ilk?”

    “Not without more bloodshed.”

    The queen put the crown on her head. It was light. A far better fit than the English crown.

    “The world deserves British rule,” she said.

    “And we hear the gems of the Dark Continent shine brighter still.”

  9. Modern Royalty
    by: Katrina Ray-Saulis
    @kraysaulis

    The cracked paintings of former queens were foreboding around the walls of the great hall. Centuries of women who had run the country, many for longer than she had been alive. The wars, the famine, the disease they had all braved and fought and vanquished weighed heavy in their confident gazes.
    A war she didn’t believe in was being waged in a country she couldn’t always find on a map. Soldiers were scattered to nearly every corner of the world. She’d seen their photos. These old queens wouldn’t have known their soldiers. They lived in a different time. A different world. Not this world that seemed to be both growing and shrinking simultaneously with each bit of new technology.
    She took a deep breath and did her best to mimic their faces. To wear their mask of conceit and pride. She looked at the crown in its glass box and shivered.
    She was tomorrow’s queen.

  10. Reblogged this on Write This Way and commented:
    Just dropping in to say WELCOME to the new judges. Get to know ’em now before they disappear into the fog of a charred landscape, deep within the dragon’s domain. Once there, their voices rise as ethereal whispers, conveyed by the dragon herself. Hold them close and hug them tight, it’ll be a while before they stumble out of that misty land of dreams, dazed and bedraggled, to join you on the battlefield once again.

    For those who don’t actually live in a world painted with fantasy, Flash! Friday is gettin’ some brand spankin’ new judges soon. Come write with us!

  11. Never Enough

    No, it’s not enough.

    I want all the marbles; I want all the fish in the sea. I want to dance on their graves and yours and mine, too, and throw pennies on the coffins and tear my hair and yowl up at the moon.

    It’s not enough, not enough, not enough.

    I want glaciers, I want continents, I want tribes. I want the blank spaces on the map, empty maws roaring with secrets, impenetrable, tamed only by my footsteps.

    I want effigies. And I want them to burn.

    I want languages and revolutions, underground cities and elixirs of immortality.

    I want to reign in a comet.

    Don’t proffer me your crowns; I want to wear headdresses of stardust. Don’t grovel with your treaties; I want to devour whole galaxies.

    Can’t you see? Don’t you know? It’s not enough, not enough.

    It will never be enough. For me.

    by Steph Post
    @stephpostauthor
    148 words

  12. Be Careful What You Wish For
    Margaret Locke (@Margaret_Locke or margaretlocke.com)
    160 words

    “I want a refund,” the woman said, thrusting the small crown toward the oddly robed gentleman.

    His gold-filled grin didn’t quite reach his eyes. “All sales are final. It was stated in the contract.”

    “But this one doesn’t work!”

    “Results do vary.”

    Her eyes flashed. “You can’t sell a faulty product! I shall expose you for the charlatan you are!”

    “Madam, I’m no charlatan. I’m a genie. We’ve been through this.”

    “Genie, soothsayer, prestidigitator – whatever you call yourself, you are a fraud.”

    “Did you not wish yourself rid of your husband?”

    Her eyes rounded. “That was an accident!”

    “If you say so. And did you not want more respect?”

    “That’s my point. When I wore this all anybody did was laugh.”

    The man sighed. “Try this latest model? It’s bigger, rounder – has more flair.”

    She eyed it dubiously. “It’s Indian.”

    “Yes, and full of power.”

    “Sure, and I’m Queen of England!”

    “Your wish is my command, madam.”

  13. Heart’s Desire
    156 words
    @TinmanDoneBadly

    He could sense her attention wandering.

    “As I was saying,” said Djisraeli the Wizard, “I can offer you this new crown-shaped lamp in exchange for your old -”
    “What’s that on your arm?” asked Mrs Aladdin.

    “Proof of my genius,” said Djisraeli proudly. “I call it a handbag.”

    “What’s in it?” asked Mrs Aladdin.

    “Everything I need,” said Djisraeli. “Tissues, money, carpet-keys -”

    “It must be wonderful,” said Mrs Aladdin. “You can lay your hand instantly on anything.”

    “Er, yes,” said Djisraeli. “You’d think, wouldn’t you?”

    “I want it,” said Mrs Aladdin. “I’ll give you this lamp for it.”

    “Seriously?” said Djisraeli, turning scornfully away. “You think I’d swap my wonderful invention for some old lamp?”

    He was two hundred yards away before what had just happened sank in.

    “Djoh,” he said.

    Meanwhile Mrs Aladdin sighed, absent-mindedly rubbing her lamp. The Genie emerged.

    “I can grant you -” he began.

    “A handbag,” said Mrs Aladdin. “Now.”

  14. 27 comments already and it’s not even noon!?! Heh… today is busy and I’m still playing catch-up after being sick through most of May and June, but I ADORE Queen Victoria so I’ll probably be back. My Steampunk series (partially finished, on the shelf at the moment) is titled “Victoria Pontifex.” Now let’s see what I can do with the prompt…

  15. Freedom Of The Press

    She examined the drawing on the scrap of paper distastefully. “We are not amused by the arrogance of this… cartoonist.” The last word was laced with disgust. “Can nothing be done about this… abomination?” She asked in disdain.

    “I regret not Highness, freedom of the press you know.” Her Prime Minister replied.

    “Perhaps it is time We considered changing that.” She said coldly.

    “That would be… unwise Highness. It would cause considerable… unrest.”

    “We are the ruler of The Empire That Never Sleeps, the greatest in all existence and We can do nothing about the press?” She exclaimed in disbelief.

    “Not… openly Highness.”

    “Ah!” A speculative light appeared in her eyes. “It woul be most… pleasing, if something… unfortunate were to happen to that… man.” Her voice dripped scorn. “See that Our displeasure is made known.” She ordered.

    “As you command Highness.” He bowed as she swept out, his mind busy plotting the ‘accident’ soon to befall the cartoonist.

    159 Words
    karnemily@yahoo.com

  16. Barbarians (160)
    @brett_milam

    To their small minds the waste heap extended for miles into the sky. Other kids from the nearby Sheohar district already surrounded the heap with dirty hands, feet and the stench of trash bored into their pores; the Scavs.

    “There, Pavak, a can next to the tire,” Faaris said, pointing with his walking stick from below.

    Pavak yelped as he retrieved the can and stuffed it into his raggedy pouch. At night, they’d try to sell their treasures.

    That night, they were in front of a pub for British soldiers. A wooden sign hung in front that said, “No dogs or Indians allowed.”

    Neither boy knew what it said since they couldn’t read, but like any Indian, they recognized Queen Victoria’s portrait on the wall through the window, stoic and her crown gleaming.

    “Can, can,” Pavak said, squeaking to the street giants.

    A man in a bowler hat ignored him and spat on Pavak’s grimy toes.

  17. The Crown – 150 words

    Tegan sheathed the blade in the Queen’s chest, following through and pushing her to the ground. “The people will have proper government now. Not the exploitative tyranny you gave us!”

    Queen Regalle IX writhed at her feet, clutched at the dagger for a few moments and then died.

    She was their Queen no more. Just a newly-dead piece of meat holding the crown up.

    Pulling her weapon free and dropping it beside the body, Tegan stood back, arrogantly placing her hands on her hips. “Time for things to change for the better,” she said. She crouched down to pull the crown free from the corpse, buffed it clean and then placed it rakishly on her own head.

    “Long live Queen Tegan,” she grinned. “And long may she reign!”

    “Yes, indeed,” said the overseers, subtly but irrevocably taking control of her through the crown. “Long may you rule over them.”

  18. A Royal Wish
    John Mark Miller – 160 Words
    @JohnMark_Miller

    “I wish to be queen.”

    The words haunted Catherine as hollow eyes returned her gaze in the mirror. She touched her face, once gaunt with hunger, now haggard from years of heavy responsibility. Slowly, she began to lift the crown to her head.

    “This should have been my deliverance,” she thought, “but it has become an insufferable burden.”

    “You look tired, Your Majesty” a familiar voice hissed behind her. “A bigger crown, perhaps?”

    The Arabian accent was unmistakable. Catherine lifted her nose in an effort to hide her terror. “That won’t be necessary.”

    He slithered across the room. “You could try again, you know. You’ve one last wish.”

    Cold dread struck her heart. “I wish…”

    “Yes?” his eyes were bulging in anticipation.

    Her voice was regal and wise. “I wish for you to learn the very lessons you’ve taught me.”

    He gaped, speechless.

    In a whisp of magic, he was wearing the heavy crown.

    Catherine smiled. “Long live the King.”

  19. “The Princess of Shit”

    The princess pinched the crown between her forefingers as if it were dripping with shit. Because it was. Nothing was good enough for the kindergartener, Suzy. When she ate apples, she wanted them peeled and sliced. When she watched Yo Gabba Gabba, she watched it on the big TV in Mama’s room. And when she played house, the setting was always Buckingham Palace.

    Suzy stood on her throne, an oak stump in Frink Park, staring at a pleb. Thomas looked back at her with hope gleaming in his bereft eyes. His gaze glanced between his princess and the crown that was undoubtedly constructed with dog poop. “Made it just for you, your grace.”

    “No, peasant,” she spat, as if the words didn’t deserve her voice. “I want a diamond necklace, not a crown.”

    “But your gr–”

    “To the dungeon!”

    The guards descended upon Thomas with jump rope handcuffs. They dragged him away, his Skechers kicking against the park grass.

    Words: 159
    @iRkat525
    http://irkatstories.tumblr.com

  20. God Save The Queen
    159 words

    When Disraeli approached Aasha in his quest to make a crown befitting of India’s new queen, she accepted.

    She did not speak of her nights spent waiting on the dirty streets as her mother vanished into dark rooms with strange men, only to come back with barely enough to feed her family.

    Aasha did not ask where this queen had been when their children were dying from hunger and disease.

    She simply did what she was told.

    She mixed her blood into the gold that coated its frame and whispered ancient prayers while she wove the fabric that would rest upon the queen’s head.

    Aasha poured her heart into her work and when Disraeli handed it to the queen who accepted her offering with an arrogant nod, she smiled.

    Aasha’s heart was a black and twisted thing that brought death to all who touched it…just like the poison with which she’d laced the crown.

    No God would save this queen.

  21. The Immortal
    (160 words)

    ‘You are sure?’
    ‘It is confirmed.’
    ‘Lock the castle down. We must not let the dark cloak of night sweep through these corridors.’
    ‘Yes, Majesty,’ said The Priest.
    ‘And we will need all the weapons you have.’
    ‘I will go directly to the chapel.’

    The Queen stood with the crown in her hands: the message sent to signal her mission had failed….he was coming.

    The attack began in the castle’s scullery, easy pickings. Cook’s yowl his calling card: the feast had begun.
    His pace quickened, as his appetite heightened: one, two, three… all blood curdling cries. The first corridor taken.
    The Priest stood sentinel on the second, but his Holy armour only withered.
    ‘No water is Blessed, no artefact Sacred,’ was the scoff as he swooped.
    The air on the third grew rank with his breath. And then he was with her.
    ‘Good Evening, Your Majesty.’
    ‘Good Evening, Count,’ she said before he made scarlet ribbons of her neck.

  22. The Jewel

    My grandfather, choking on his after dinner port shook visibly, this copy of Punch was making him apoplectic. His huge girth wobbled up and down with a mind of its own. He leaned towards me and I moved slightly away I didn’t want him to rasp my face with his bristly beard like he usually did, mistaking my cries of pain for amusement.

    My sisters were beastly to me saying grandpa only favoured me because I was the plainest and no one would ever want to marry me. I was destined to be a spinster living at home in Windsor. They would be married off to wealthy, titled men, their arrogance was astounding.

    “The Jewel in the Crown” spluttered Grandpa. He’d always hated Disraeli, not that I knew why. Politics weren’t for girls.

    Little did I know that one day I would be married off to an Indian Maharajah. Grandpa always had his eye on a trading opportunity

    158 words
    @stellakateT

  23. Office Politics

    “Decided you’re up for the challenge yet, eh, Queenie?” Jack asked. “Just make sure I’m around if you do it. Wouldn’t want to miss the laugh, especially on a Friday.”

    “Perhaps you should go for it yourself, if you’re so keen?” Vicky said.

    “Your oppo, your Highness.”

    “Which makes it my call? Literally? Convenient that, isn’t it?”

    “Next you’ll be saying one isn’t amused,” Jack said. Instead, Vicky picked up the receiver.

    “Don’t tease,” Jack said.

    Vicky ignored him. “Can I speak to Paul, please?” she asked, before introducing herself.

    Nodding, Vicky said quickly, “Magic. I’ll get back to you with the figures,” before tying the call up.

    “How’d Daniels take it?” Jack asked.

    “Didn’t cotton on,” Vicky answered.

    “Didn’t think you’d do it,” Jack said, shaking his head.

    “Goes to show, doesn’t it?” Vicky said. “Now you’ll have to hold good on your end of the bargain after all. Visit Aileen in Accounts and tell her to come on…”

    (160 words)

    @FallIntoFiction

  24. The Sultan
    143 words

    The Sultan came to visit as he so often did, and the Queen accepted as she often did. He came bearing fruits in the form of rubies, emeralds and diamonds inlaid in golden crowns. They made an exchange of old crowns for new crowns, Western ideas for Eastern philosophies, neither giving away best kept secrets.

    Finally, the Sultan stroked his pointy beard as he bowed his head to leave. As he did, his turban shifted with the weight of hidden gold. The Queen inclined her head, ever so slightly to her guards. The arrogance of that man. Thinking he could keep his best treasures to himself.

    With a swirl of skirts, they both parted and made their separate ways, both confident they had made their escapes. The Queen’s guards would seize him just when he thought he was safe. That would teach him.

  25. What a Waste
    147 words

    “Did you see this?” he shouted to his wife. “A new cartoon in the paper about our beloved Queen. Says ‘ere she’s gettin’ herself some new crowns from some bloke wearing a dress.”

    “That so?” his wife said. He could hear her bustling around in the next room preparing the evening meal. Porridge again, most like. Times had been hard but at least the meal would be hot. God bless her, she did her best with so little.

    “Yeah, that’s so,” he continued. “The rich keep gettin’ richer and the poor… Well, we stay poor.”

    “Must be nice to be Queen. Best hurry up, now. Your dinner’s gettin’ cold,” his wife shouted through the privy door.

    “What a waste of gold,” he sighed.

    He ripped the page out of the paper, used it to wipe himself and then hurried to join his wife at their rickety table.

  26. Queen

    ‘What’s this cartoon about?’ he asked.

    His mother sighed. Children and their questions.

    ‘Ehm… in 1876 this was the Prime Minister of England. And this was the Queen of England. She was also boss of India.”

    ‘Why?’

    His mother sighed again.

    ‘Because. The Queen was a bit arrogant and wanted a title that showed she was boss of India. She asked the Prime Minister if he could take care of it. And he did. She got the title “Empress of India”. So then she was Queen and Empress at the same time.’

    She looked in his big brown eyes, sparkling with admiration for this powerful lady.

    ‘I want to be Queen too.’

    His mother reacted with a loving smile. ‘But you’re a young boy from Zanzibar.’

    ‘I want to rule England and India. I want to rule the world.’

    ‘But…’

    ‘Just wait and see.’

    Farrokh Bulsara disappeared in his room and started practicing the piano.

    156 words
    @bartvangoethem

  27. Walls Between
    (Word Count: 160)

    Vickie Brown’s momma told her, “Wishful hearts build walls of dreams,” but six dollars and Delta Bus Lines had built solid walls.

    Built walls between now and the odor of his comfort and tentative touches from tender calloused hands stolen in the back of the Church, as she was lost in the ecstasy of a song.

    Built walls between now and the tiny gold ring he had bought. It was to be love’s crown worn forever.

    Built walls between now and the tears cried when he found her.

    Built walls between now and him and those words he protected himself with, “a haughty eyed Jezebel, thinking you too good for me.”

    She stares down at rings crowned in jewels. The path her heart takes is built between these walls; and, sometimes, between the walls of her dreams, she wishes for that tiny ring.

    Built between the walls in downtown Memphis is a billboard proclaiming, “Vickie Brown: Queen of Mississippi Soul.”

  28. “We’re all mad here.”

    John furrowed his brow, hunched bentback over his drawing table, an obsidian raindrop poised to fall from the nib of his pen.
    “Who’s there?”
    Returning pen to inkwell, he turned to survey the darkened studio but saw naught save a glimmer of light from the crescent moon hanging yellowsome in the far window.
    Turning back, he found to his immense consternation that the rain had in fact fallen, inksmearing Mr D’Israeli’s meticulously delineated features into a semblance of that foolish hatter.
    Even as he saw it, John chanced to hear a fluting laugh in the wind.
    “Good lord man, get a grip!”
    He blotted the spillage, found patch and paste and covered the ruin, then saw that Her Highness had spontaneously sprouted a tray of tarts in her outstretched hands.
    Defeated, he groaned, and in the far window, the crescent moon grew wider.
    “Were you really so arrogant, Mr. Artist, to think that you would ever be free of us?”

    160 words
    @Karl_A_Russell

  29. IMPRESSIONS

    The Queen was not pleased, nor impressed. The little turn in her mouth suggested as much, but it was of no matter.

    The message would be delivered. That was all that was necessary.

    The translator motioned at him as if at a child.

    His hosts wore many things, but impatience had been the most fashionable accessory yet.

    The envoy spoke and translator performed in the lulls: just as a wave of words washed back out to sea, the translator rushed in with a bucket of words like starfish and sand dollars–familiar, safe.

    “Please, accept this crown as a token of our faith in a strong relationship between our kingdoms.”

    The translator relayed the message, and they spoke amongst themselves: mostly huffs of disdain and disbelief.

    They did not know he knew English.

    They did not know he was royalty.

    They did not know their arrogance changed their fate.

    The message would be delivered. That was all that was necessary.

    160 w/o title
    @dreadedthought

    🙂

  30. It’s all a Matter of Perspective
    (156)

    Music and laughter permeated the ceremony. No longer agitated or nervous, the quiet calm that wrapped about allowed her to put things into perspective.

    The jeweled crown lay before her. Whether she accepted or not, she would have to deal with the fallout: either as Queen or Intruder. Not that they were mutually exclusive to this crowd!

    The important thing here was not what those in the room thought of her, but what she thought of them.

    The ‘nobility,’ though courteous, scorned her for both her race and gender, resenting the idea of someone inferior ruling them. Her father’s warning resurfaced: ‘Pride goeth before a fall. If you think you’re better than someone, think again!’

    The commoners, however, had touched her with their warm welcome, being honestly happy and eager to answer her questions when she’d gone out among them.

    If assuming the throne meant they’d live better lives, who was she to deny them that?

    She only hoped that didn’t make her just another arrogant ruler.

  31. ‘Happy anniversary, your Majesty!’

    She yawned. ‘How kind of you to remember, Prime Minister.’

    ‘How could I forget, the 20th of June, 1837. A great year for Britain. The year I entered Parliament!’

    She yawned.

    ‘Yes, a great year for the nation. Majesty, I have a very special present for you, which no other Prime Minister could give you!’

    She yawned.

    ‘It is the Imperial Crown of India, Majesty. You will be the Empress of India.’

    She yawned.

    ‘I am the greatest Prime Minister you have had, or will have, am I not?’

    She yawned. ‘And the most arrogant.’

    ‘A little arrogance will help us make Britain the nation on which the sun never sets!’

    ‘I would give my crowns, my jewels, my castles, and the whole of India in exchange for Albert! Can you give me that?’ She screamed.

    He yawned.

    Wordcount: 142
    http://lucciagray.com/

  32. For Queen and Country (158 Words)

    “A great victory, my Queen.”

    Thanks to his negotiations, they had added another shining jewel to their empire: a country of millions. When he presented the Queen with the treaty, she had been pleased, though she had kept her countenance grave in line with the occasion.

    “We shall be fair and just rulers,” she had said, “as we have throughout the centuries.”

    He had bowed. Throughout the centuries the kings and queens of the realm had boiled people or devised other gruesome means of dealing with those who displeased the crown. Only the royals could afford such ignorance and arrogance.

    Later he stared at the cartoon from the local paper and recognized himself: the object of scorn, the power-seeker, the eternal Jew, with the fair and innocent Queen. He crumpled the paper in his fist.

    Let the little people believe what they would.

    Whatever he did was for his country, even when his country despised him for it.

  33. “The Empress”

    By Michael Seese
    @MseeseTweets

    160 words

    The queen was not pleased. Her minister attempted to appease her.

    “Please, your Majesty. It is for a short time. For the duration of the ceremony.”

    “I won’t. I simply will not do it.”

    “I’m afraid you must.

    “I am the Queen of England… and other insignificant places. I do not have to do anything I do not wish to.”

    “Your Highness, consider your female subjects here, in England… as well as those other insignificant places. You are a role model, and that includes fashion. My sources on Cacrnaby tell me that skirts of grass and necklaces of flowers are poised for a breakout season.”

    Victoria sighed.

    “But it looks like a pineapple.”

    “It is a pineapple.”

    “Damn my grandfather! If he had just let those bloody colonists have their way, they would be independent now, their bumbling buffoonery notwithstanding. And then, I would not be forced to degrade myself by assuming an asinine title like ‘Empress Of Hawaii.’ ”

  34. I hope you enjoy this. It’s been a while since working with only 150-160 words.

    Liquid Dreams Dried to Charm (158 Words without Title)

    A crown sat upon the man’s hand. “The new colony has embraced your guardianship, Your Majesty.”

    “If it pleases, more treasures of honor grace this small casket.”

    The turbaned messenger bowed before the Queen and set the bejeweled crown on a waiting pillow. He made a show of opening the carved ivory chest with its purple silk lining. S magnificent gold and ruby brooch pendant, with matching chain, sparkled in the reception hall’s light. Within the chain’s circle were a ring and an intricate, filigree circlet for Her Majesty’s brow.

    “For the Queen who rules the world,” said the foreigner, bowing again. “Please examine their beauty.”

    One handling of the gems would seal the fair ruler’s fate, he knew. Then, regret for all.

    Dark eyes watched as one delicate, white hand reached into the chest to take up the circlet with interest.

    Now, dream long, Queen of the World.

  35. Heavy is the Head

    “It seems as if you’d need an awfully big head to wear that crown. It’s huge!”

    “That it is, son, but you’ll grow into it. We all do.”

    “Did Grandpa wear it?”

    “He did, and Great-Granny, too, and her father, and his father, and his father, and his mother.”

    “And you?”

    “Yes, and someday you’ll wear it, too.”

    “Can’t I try it on now? See how great it would look on me.”

    “Cheeky little prince, be patient. You’ll get your turn.”

    “When? When?”

    “Enough. Wearing that crown is not a particularly happy thing because the only time someone gets to wear it is when someone else dies.”

    “So I’ll get to wear when—“

    “Yes.”

    “Then, I don’t want to wear it. Ever. I want you to be here for a long, long time, Daddy.”

    “Not to worry, son. I’ll be here. Now, time for you, Mummy, and me go out on the balcony and wave. Let’s go, Georgie.”

    @unspywriter (Maggie Duncan)
    159 words

  36. Queen Victoria and the Cursed Crown
    160 words

    Queen Victoria was one of the most well-known figures of her time, but few knew of her secret talent- a propensity for solving mysteries.

    On one such occasion in India, her Majesty heard talk of an ancient headdress, said to be more beautiful than all of the crown jewels combined, and incidentally, deadly to any who possessed it. Its current location was unknown, but Victoria took to the streets to track down her next lead. Going incognito is no easy task, especially when your face is on a postage stamp, but it was nothing to the Queen. After tracking the lethal crown to a peddler of rare antiquities (while Albert thought she was having tea), Victoria revealed herself to claim the prize said to have doomed sultans and beggars alike. The peddler was shocked at the request, but seemed more than willing to grant it. Yet Victoria was not afraid, it would not do for an Englishwoman to be afraid.

    ~Taryn Noelle Kloeden
    @tnkloeden

  37. PEN AND TELL BY INK

    PEN: “They argue vehemently over the propriety to print this latest sharp satire. My forked tongue holds final flourishes for penultimate paper bite.”

    INK: “They’ll settle. The public needs my malleable service to portray this abstruse turn of events. The gall of that turbaned dandy in the up-turned slippers! Offering a lesser version of the Crown Jewels to our venerable Dark Queen!
    The bell cannot be un-rung on this uncontrolled Imperialism the dandy presses so beguilingly. Our Dark Queen’s countenance tells of her true feelings: the weight of the increased responsibility purses her face and rounds her diminutive shoulders, already shrunken from abject sadness.”

    PEN: “My stylus and nib ready themselves for final highlighting on this lined irony. Now the editor has seen fit to send copy to print for all the continents to ponder. My tongue is split on the Dark Queen’s dilemma.”

    INK: “Mine is not; for I am India.”

    WC = 152, excluding title

  38. “Crown for the Queen” by Mary Cain (Word count: 160)

    The strange golden crown glimmered in his hands, the incrusted rubies shimmering as if it were a beacon, the round design and large gem atop it far more extravagant than the Queen’s own. Her fingers intertwined with the cold, scratched metal, the jewels having lost their fine edges only reminding her of how many those had worn it before her.

    “This crown could be yours, Lady Alexandria. If you would only be my Lord’s,” the ambassador said, his voice slick and devious as the smirk upon his sun kissed face.

    Her grip tightened on her crown as she looked towards her people, worry in her weary eyes as all others stared at their sovereign, the one they looked to for protection.

    And she would be damned if she couldn’t protect them from a foreign tyrant.

    Her gaze now hardened she turned to the man before her.

    “Tell your Lord this; I have no master, and he shall not be mine.”

  39. Imperatrix Universi
    [150 words]

    The Great Virgo War had been disastrous for the Empire. Now its end was near. The Draco space fleet circled Britannia Ultima, blockading the planet and cutting off all trade with the rest of the galaxy.

    “Your Majesty, the Draco ambassador believes you to be quite addled.”

    “It matters not, Prime Minister, what they think of me. I think them to be disgusting reptiles.”

    “Nonetheless, the ambassador has sent an ultimatum. Surrender immediately, or the Draco fleet will reduce our planet to magma. We must surrender!”

    “Worry not, Prime Minister. I am attending to our war strategy myself. Victory shall soon be ours.” With a dismissive wave of her hand, she sent the Prime Minister away to deliver her response to the Draco ultimatum.

    “Incompetence,” she grumbled as he left. Victoria the MMMCMXCIX, by the Grace of God, of Britannia Ultima Queen, Empress of Centaurus, resumed plotting her brilliant counteroffensive.

  40. Calculated Conversation

    “This is my latest — my newest — my everything,” Di sputtered, showcasing his work, perched atop worn fingers. Colorful stones sparkled among golden lattices. Victoria paused in a swish of heavy skirts. Di leaned toward her eagerly.

    A servant darted to their side, divesting Victoria of her circumspect crown.

    “Countless hours — I personally — worked, every detail.” Di’s lips smushed into a smile. “No expense spared,” he assured.

    “To the discerning eye, your work speaks for itself,” Victoria stated.

    “Yes, Your Majesty. Thank you, Your Majesty.”

    “And what do you ask, for this work?”

    “A trade, Your Majesty,” Di suggested, eyes flicking from Victoria to her crown. “The new, for the old.”

    A flutter of her fingers sent his heart soaring. Months invested, but finally — success!

    Biting grips on his arms dragged him back to the royal hall.

    “You think to fool me with false trinkets?” Victoria asked, voice laced with unforeseen disdain, leaving Di to gape as she turned away.

    (159 words; @AriaGlazki)

  41. Crowning around

    The Indian ambassador stared at the figure in front of him, masking his disdain. She thinks she’s so bloody important. What good is a Queen anyway? She has no marketable skills, apart from sipping tea with a stiff upper lip. He prepared to exchange her jewel encrusted crown for the one he’d specially prepared. The only thing special about it was the paint. Her royal highness was only going to chuck it in a tower, so why waste gold? He smiled his best smile as the trade look place. She’s not so smart after all.

    Victoria stared at the ambassador and immediately knew he was untrustworthy. One didn’t last long as a royal without being able to spot the bad apples. No doubt he would be ripping her off. She proceeded anyway, because he wasn’t giving away a crown, he was giving away a country. Plus hers was a fake too, because one doesn’t get rich by giving it away!

    160 words
    @todayschapter

  42. A Weighty Thing
    By Meg Galipault
    @meggali
    150 words

    A crown on the head is a weighty thing indeed. Disraeli—I loved his name; the syllables sang on my tongue when I spoke them. I did not attend his funeral. That is the weight of jeweled protocol. As the empress of all, I cannot deign to attend a lesser person’s funeral. And all are lesser people.

    I did not think I would be so lonely and never be alone. I did not calculate the separation between subject and the Royal Me. You must not turn your back on me, literally or figuratively, when taking my leave. You bow and negotiate your careful backward steps.

    Are you not my pets? Well behaved here in the castle but in the city, you make me think of rats. Think on it. No human interaction is genuine.

    You are as distant from me as those fading, dancing horses in the caves of Lascaux.

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