Tag Archive | Christian Flash Weekly

Just for Fun: Useless

Knights Castle. CC 2.0 art by HKD.

Knights Castle. CC 2.0 art by HKD.

Useless

by Rebekah Postupak

The firstborn Prince Charming, Eilen, heir to the throne, conquered a dragon, woke a long-sleeping princess, and saved the kingdom.

The secondborn Prince Charming, Gallen, Duke of the West, revived a magic-slain princess in a glass coffin and mended the age-old feud with the dwarves.

The thirdborn Prince Charming, Lenven, Duke of the East, married a princess-hearted cinder girl and forged a lasting treaty with the people of the fairy godmothers.

The fourthborn prince was Fred.

Despite years of training, Fred failed miserably at swordplay, horsemanship, waltzing, archery, and magic spell-breaking. He showed some small promise at thievery, but this was a talent the king mostly discouraged.

“We do love you,” said Eilen, clapping Fred on the back and sending the boy sprawling. “It’s just… you’re so useless.

“Of course you don’t mean to be,” Lenven added hastily.

So it was a great surprise to all when they discovered Fred could fly.

And see through things with x-ray vision.

The king’s eyes glowed with pride. “Right hero, wrong story,” he said, shaking hands with the mayor of Metropolis.

***

Written for the weekly flash fiction contest “Christian Flash Weekly,” inspired by the provided verse and coming in at the required 178 words. Yes. That’s 178 exactly.

Little Old Lady

Briar Rose. Public domain  (copyright expired) illustration by Anne Anderson.

Briar Rose. Public domain (copyright expired) illustration by Anne Anderson.

Little Old Lady

by Rebekah Postupak

She hated the way she walked now, the way her shoulders hunched, the way her boots shuffled along the ground. Took forever getting anywhere, even when she managed to borrow a horse. But worst were the looks, the faux pity dripping down smooth cheeks, the dismissive clicks of tongues on pure, white teeth. Wish we could help. Sorry. If only her hands could unclench, she might have punched them for it.

“Not just anyone could be tasked with this mission,” she’d been told severely. “You should consider it an honor.”

An honor? Her boss’d better recheck the dictionary.

Early on her list had been the young girl, lips of vermillion, raven hair, bright eyes, in the forest home.

“Buy an apple?”

The girl’s face had flushed with annoyance. “I’m busy,” she’d said. Too busy for an ugly old lady like you. “The socks of seven men don’t darn themselves, you know.”

She’d bought the apple in the end, of course, and eaten it noisily—at least the first bite—recognition and regret blooming in her eyes even as she fell.

Then there was the teen wildling, roaming the castle’s forbidden turrets.

“You don’t recognize this, I’d imagine.”

Something sparked in the girl’s eyes. “It’s a spindle.”

“Take heed. Please, not so fast! The needle is sharp.”

“I thank you for your warning.” Old fool. As though you could know better than I. The wildling approached hungrily, seeing only an obstacle to freedom. She, too, fell, eyes closing against her will even as realization dawned.

There were the greedy, candy-obsessed children who gnawed at her cottage’s walls and roof rather than help in the garden. The mannerless girl with fifty feet of matted, lice-infested hair who locked the two of them into a tower rather than bathe. The arrogant beast of a prince who turned her away on a stormy night.

On and on they battled her, a thousand different faces, a thousand different voices, but their responses formed a single unified cry: Myself!

“People can change,” her boss had said. “Sometimes they even change before it’s too late.”

Yes; she loathed the way she walked now, clumsy and awkward, the object of public disdain. It was a temporary housing, though, and one day, when she had completed her mission, she would walk tall and strong and beautiful again like the warrior she was.

But for now she pressed on obediently, relentlessly, even as the proud voices melted into legend, which melted into pages. Searching. Asking. Yes, even—

Hoping.

♦♦♦♦♦

417 words of “What If?”, written for the flash contest #ChristianFlashWeekly, inspired by the prompt of Hebrews 13:2, Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

The Collar

Shackles and chains

Shackles & chains. CC photo by Mervin Geronimo.

The Collar

by Rebekah Postupak

The collar chafed.

Keset flexed her long, turquoise-and-cobalt neck, relishing her temporary freedom from the wretched thing. The moment the sky hinted of grey, her new Rider would circle her neck with the leather shackle and click the reins into place again. She had worn the Tenth Tier war dragon collar for two years now, but her pride still stung as fresh as the first day. Deep in the mountains is where she belonged, ferreting out cave goats, bathing in under-earth streams. Not here.

“Keset.”

Her hind ears, a set of six scarlet spikes ringing the tip of her tail, caught her Rider’s call. Dawn already?? No; but duty called regardless. Keset groaned, stretched one last time, and slunk out of the tiny rocky hollow serving as her bed.

“We’ve a long day ahead,” said her Rider a few minutes later as he snapped on the final tether. He had a name, Keset supposed, but she wouldn’t bother to learn it. This one would perish too, as her previous Riders had, and the under-commander would throw another bland-faced half-soldier on her back to replace him.

“Fine.”

“You’ve had breakfast?”

“I’ll snack on the battlefield.”

The Rider stopped his preparations to grin up at her. “Funny this morning, eh?”

“Funny every morning,” said Keset. She swallowed hard. Don’t get attached.

“It’s pretty rough out there, I guess,” the Rider said, cinching the rough burlap saddle around her belly. “Not many of us left. We’ll have to give ‘em what for today.”

His voice cracked—youth, not fear—and Keset swung her head around despite herself. Black hair curled tightly across his scalp, but his chin was unshadowed. Fourteen, if that.

“Skill counts more than numbers,” she said gruffly. “And you’re a trained Rider. You’ll do just fine.”

Lie, Keset. Tell the boy Death isn’t a raging fire that peels your soul raw. Tell him there’s hope, that even now his mother weaves a grand new cloak for her returning hero-son.

“So will you,” said the Rider, something he should have been too young to grasp flashing in his eyes. “They say no dragon sets the sky ablaze like you. You’ll be home soon, wearing king’s treasure instead of a harness.”

This child comforts me? The thought chafed more than the collar.

It continued chafing as they soared across the battlefields, plunging in flames to crumble enemy machinery. It needled her as the healers stitched together first his arm, then her leg, and as they returned to the skies, shrieking a duet of defiance. It chased her relentlessly as they darted in and out of the invaders’ polished weaponry, and it beat at her wings even as she plummeted, bleary-eyed, in dying sunlight.

“Fly, Keset!” whispered her Rider, his bloodied fingers clinging to her scales as though willing courage into her bones; he did not glance at the ugly arrows gouging his left side.

But she could not catch him as he pitched off her back onto charred ground and lay tangled in the harness next to her.

She froze. Her neck was… free. She could return to her caves, oath fulfilled—at least technically—and still claim the right to reward. She could—

Keset stared at the wounded boy.

That flash in his eyes did not belong to a boy.

It was a warrior’s.

Keset drew a deep breath and nosed her head slowly, painfully, through what was left of her collar before gently lifting the Rider in her claws. She summoned her last drops of strength for the flight home, the sun on the enemy’s arrows glinting like gold.

♦♦♦♦♦

600 words, written for the flash contest #ChristianFlashWeekly, inspired by Proverbs 3:3, Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.