Okay, so writing novel takes a long time. Hence the reason I decided to enter this flash fiction competition run by the Australian Writers Centre.
I didn’t win but it was great fun and helped offset the frustration of how long it takes to get a novel completed. After all, it really doesn’t take that long to write 500 words. I clocked in at 496 words and you had to follow these guidelines:
- The first sentence had to contain a question.
- It had to contain the words JAM, JACKPOT and JUNGLE (or an applicable “s”, “ing” or “ed” version).
- It had to end with BANG. Literally. The final word had to be the single word sentence BANG.
Anyway I thought I would share it with you, otherwise it will just gather cyberdust in a folder on my computer. Enjoy!
Because of the bangle. Emerald and gold. Imbued with powers.
And because he adores me. “You are the one I love,” he says, as he fastens the clasp around my upper arm.
But the humans don’t know about the powers. All they see is a priceless heirloom of the House of Reichelt.
Archie doesn’t know it either. His eyebrows knit in perplexity when I told him I wanted no betrothal ring. The only thing I want is the bangle.
I’d gone through so much to coax it from Archie. I could have stolen it but the Grand Council of Queens would not approve.
So instead, I chose to make him love me.
I force myself to endure hour after hour of society balls. I eat a scandalous number of scones with jam and cream. I drink flutes of champagne. Flirt my fan. Wink my eyelashes. Sway my skirts.
The society mothers glare at me behind frilly hankies and stilted smiles. They think I hit the jackpot with Archie, a matrimonial prize. Gorged with gold. Dripping with titles.
Archie never suspects he’s courting the most powerful enchantress in centuries. A magical warrior who has bested the Sorcerous Cats of the Restless Jungle and the Shape-Shifting Warlocks of Yammer. The spell-weaver who seeks a certain power—and discovers the bangle can bestow it.
“You are the one I love.”
Truth be told, I’m fond of Archie too. I don’t want to leave the safe haven he offers me.
But I must. If I do not, the Nebula will find me. These humans will be nothing to him. He will smite them down.
So now Archie has given me the bangle. Freely. I open communications with the Queens and establish the protocols for returning to my true home.
I slip out on the appointed night after Archie spends an hour asking me why I’m so distracted.
“You have not been yourself, my love. The servants remark on your penchant for wandering the grove.”
I make sweet answers but perhaps I’m not convincing enough…
I reach the grove and throw out a shaft of power. It glows hot then transforms into a brilliant ruby gateway in the heavens. Through it, the Queens stand resplendent, steadying the path.
As I begin the ascent, Archie’s cry reaches me.
“My love! Where are you—?”
He’s panting, struggling. His eyes roll back and forth as the Queens suck the oxygen from the air around him.
“No! Stop!” I cry. I do not want him to die.
“We won’t kill him,” says the Queen Elect.
“But I will.”
The Nebula steps out.
Archie convulses and dies, screaming, “You are the one I love.”
The Nebula hovers, cackling at me.
“Now give it to me!”
How did he know? Even as I howl Archie’s name, the Queens draw me through the gateway.
With a screech, the Nebula lunges.
“GIVE ME THE—”
His last word morphs and splices… the gateway seals with a mighty—