Okay. I’ve been trying to write flash fiction because it’s good for me. So I’m going to show you what I did today … and THEN show you what I used as my prompt, because it makes me giggle. Here you go (it has no title):
Téméra stood in the long line of commoners waiting to see their Sovereign and air their grievances with the monarch. She bounced on the balls of her feet, impatience and the gnawing in her stomach making her restless. Her district was starving and ill and ignored by law enforcement – Téméra was the healthiest and strongest still, so she was making an appeal to His Majesty herself. A last-ditch effort, to be sure, but Téméra was not going to stand idly by to watch everyone around her become emaciated as she herself waned.
So she stood.
Having joined the line pre-dawn, the sun was well past its peak by the time she drew near the doors. Her head, always mildly aching for her lack of food, was pounding in the summer heat and hours of standing in line.
Finally, she reached the crier.
“Your name?” he asked, quill poised above a scroll.
“Grievance to put before His Majesty?”
“The starving and squalor in the Cobble District that appears to be ignored by those on all levels that find themselves above the peasantry.” Téméra found a note of bitterness creeping into her tone.
The crier raised an eyebrow. “‘The low standard of living in the Cobble District,’” he said, quill moving. “Very well. This way, Miss Touriére.”
The large doors were opened and Téméra was led down a large, echoey hall, floored in marble. A smaller door, three down from the entrance, was opened. The crier held out an arm to stall her, and stepped in before her.
“Miss Téméra Touriére of the Cobble District to see His Majesty, King Avner the fourth of the house of Aucuna.”
As Téméra stepped into the throne room – grander than any room she had set foot in before – the first thing she noticed was the smell.
King Avner, who Téméra was surprised to see looked no older than her, sat on his marvelous throne, paying no heed to her – and he had a decadent meal set before him. A roasted bird, surrounded by steaming vegetables, three different kinds of soups and stews, a whole loaf of bread with several slices already cut, showing the fluffy white the crust hid, and a dish of candied fruits.
The smell of the meal spiraled all through the cavernous room, and it almost made Téméra faint.
His Majesty was in the process of selecting just one of the many dishes – not as a meal, but to sate him until he left to take supper.
Téméra felt rage begin to boil within her.
At the door, the crier cleared his throat. Téméra looked back at him, and he nodded toward the King. The message was clear: say what you came for.
“Your Majesty,” Téméra began, infusing all of her strength into her voice. King Avner did not look up from his food. He was now being served from the stew farthest to the right. “Your Majesty, I am coming from the Cobble District. You are likely aware of the poor crop this year, and that most of the kingdom is on rations. The Cobble District has not been receiving … ” Téméra trailed off. The King picked up a slice of the bread. She could smell it from where she stood, in the center of the room. Her mouth watered.
He carelessly took a bite and began to chew.
“Your Highest Majesty,” Téméra snapped. “Do you think you could look away from your expansive meal for just one moment and listen to me?”
Her voice rang through the vaulted expanse of the courtroom, and an eerie silence fell. It broke when the guards flanking the throne began to draw their swords, but the King held a hand to stay them. They re-sheathed.
The King still held the slice of bread.
“What and impudent way to address your King,” he said, more curious than offended. “Please, Miss … ”
“Téméra. Just Téméra. Which you would have known if you weren’t so distracted by …” She gestured to the spread before him and the bread he still held.
The King’s eyebrows shot up. “That same insolence once more. I am a patient man, Téméra, but I will not allow you to speak out of turn again, or I will find myself obliged to exact some punishment.”
Téméra bowed her head slightly. “My apologies, sire. I get quite hostile about the general lack of bread in my life.”
The King slowly looked down at the slice he held and back up to Téméra. “Ah,” he said finally. “Is that what you have come to the court about, then?”
“Yes, Your Highness. The Cobble District has received no rations in almost two months. We have tried to scrape by, but we are starving. We have, of course, taken it to the head of the District, but Lord Balyntine has not responded to the several notices and in-person grievances we have sent. Illness has come in our weakness, now. So I am here. We need help. And food.” She paused, and her stomach clenched. “Mostly food.”
King Avner nodded. “I see.” He turned to a footman who stood poised to serve him more of his meal should he desire it. “Pack the rest of this up and send it home with young Téméra.” He turned back to her. “Your family, at least, will eat well tonight. I will see about the issues in the Cobble District.” He was looking at her curiously, eyes glinting.
“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Téméra curtsied. The footman, who had scurried away and back quickly, soon came to her with a small crate, which she accepted. “Good evening, my liege.” She curtsied once more to her King.
“It was a pleasure to have you in court, Miss Téméra.” He nodded, dismissing her, and Téméra left the throne room, her feet barely making noise on the cold marble of the floor.
I have a page of quotes (mostly from my life, either overheard or from conversations I’ve been directly involved in) on my phone. This is based entirely around the quote “I get really hostile about the general lack of bread in my life.”
That just amuses me.
I hope you liked it! I find it somewhat charming, but it is only about 45 minutes of work, so I wouldn’t say it’s a masterpiece of mine. Let me know what you think of it.