The King’s Last Stand [Short Story]

The king lay in bed with a fever. He had been this way ever since three days before, when the peasants had waged an uprising in the town outside the castle’s walls.

He could hear them dancing and singing through his window. It made him sick. How dare they take his kindness for granted?

A servant entered the room: “My lord, the people are asking you to forsake the throne. What will you do?”

The king curled up under his blankets: “I will do no such thing! Woe is me! I am bombarded yet I stand here still! I will not give up my kingdom. It is my right to rule!”

The servant slid a long dagger from the sleeve of his robe: “I have enjoyed serving you, my lord. I am sorry to hear you feel that way.”

At DVerse today, the prompt is to write a piece of flash fiction or other prose of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line: I am bombarded yet I stand.

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

To Live Forever [Short Story]

If she had a name once, she had long since forgotten it. Two years ago, she signed away her identity to join human trials to solve the troublesome issue of death. They had not told her that to solve death they had to induce it many times because the scientific method demanded that their results be replicable.

The first time they killed her was not so bad. The second and third times were harder. By the fourth time, she was tired of coming back. Still, the experiments continued.

Every night her mirror reflected a faceless shadow. After two years, the experiments were declared a success. She was, beyond a reasonable doubt, the first immortal.

She traveled the world with company representatives to tout their success and sat in the front row as the scientist who had killed her 731 times accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. As he took the stage, she began to cry and a reporter later wrote that she was crying with joy.

The faceless shadow from her mirror walked up and stood beside her as she cried. It leaned down and whispered to her in her own voice a language of death that only she knew. It told her it would never leave her side, as long as she lived.

For the rest of her life, and she is still alive somewhere, her death remained incarnate, cursed to live, wandering a pace or two behind her wherever she went and whispering in her ear the truths she did not want to hear.

Photo by Blake Carpenter on Unsplash

The Sphinx [Short Story]

She was sitting quietly at roadside with the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle when I chanced upon her.

So silent was her repose that I had no warning of her presence until it was too late to turn back.

Without even a hello she gazed through my eyes and said: “Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?”

I wondered what gods she believed in. I knew that no matter the answer I gave, I would be wrong.

My answer was silence. The space between us echoed with my answer’s absence.

“What a disappointing answer,” she muttered, almost to herself, grabbing and devouring me in one bite.

I never got the chance to gloat when a second later I realized that my answer had been correct.

Photo by Karen Khafagy on Unsplash

At DVerse, the prompt today is to write a piece of flash fiction or other prose up of up to or exactly 144 words, including the given line of poetry:

“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart
which safely exists in the center of all things?

– Rainer Maria Rilke