Wednesday 7 June 2023

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 298

This week's picture prompt was taken by Shihya Kowatari, a Japanese photographer. Shihya Kowatari is a Japanese photographer who captured the leaves and flowers under the lights of different colors. She has some incredible pictures, so worth checking out. 

A dark little fairy tale.

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There is also a Facebook group for Mid-Week Flash, if you fancy getting the prompt there.

The skeleton of a pink leaf slightly curled lying on a purple ground, with blurred lights in the background making it look glittery and magical.

Fairy Wings

Iolanthe caressed the delicate leaf-shaped wing, its fine gossamer structure silky under her fingers. She couldn’t believe they were finally hers. She would at last be able to fulfil her true fairy potential. She trembled at the anticipation of having them fitted, but first she washed the blood off the tips; if they saw that they might be alerted to the fact she hadn’t come into possession of them legitimately. Some things were worth more than morality – at least she thought so.

If you wanted to be accepted in life you had to be prepared to cut corners, and on occasion take risks. Those might include cutting another life down and risking your own, but to finally be able to become one of them, it was all that mattered.

She went over to the full length mirror and turned her back to it. Her own mangled stumps had kept her grounded. A congenital defect they said, because her mother shouldn’t have fallen in love with her uncle.

Io didn’t care. He’d been a good father until they’d hanged him for treason to the Queen. Iolanthe didn’t consider her a true Queen. She’d been self appointed and used brute force with some of her sycophantic followers to become their ruler. She wasn’t loved she was tolerated. Everyone knew it, but her father had been the only one stupid enough to say it.

But none of that mattered now. Once Io had her wings she would be away from all this. She’d heard about another collective in woods to the south and that was where she was going. Her escape plan was in place. Everything was moving along as it should. As long as the surgery went well, it was full wings to the wind.

A knock at the door told her they were here. She dried off the wings, let them in and they set about preparing her and the room for the operation. She thought she’d be too excited to fall asleep, but the hypnosis spell worked within seconds, and the next thing she knew she was waking up in a darkened room, her back killing her.

Iolanthe’s head was fuzzy but she was sure this wasn’t her chamber. And when she tried to move she couldn’t finding her hands and feet strapped down. Was this to protect her new wings? But no matter how much she tried she couldn’t feel any motion from her back, just pain. Even her old twisted nubs used to move a little bit.

Then she heard a door open and a lamp was lit, and she saw she was in an empty cell, laid out on a cot.

“Ah, you are awake, good. We will keep you here for the time being, until we deem it safe to move you,” the nurse said, checking her wounds.

“Where am I? I can’t feel my new wings.”

“That’s because you don’t have any.”


“Only donated wings can be refitted. Stolen wings have a fail safe that can’t be unlocked. You should have known that. The doctors realised as soon as they attempted it. You are no better than human now – even less than, because you’re a murderer. Once they recover the body they will dispose of you along with it.”

Io felt tears fill her eyes. If she couldn’t fly they may as well dispose of her too, there was no point in living otherwise.

1 comment :


    “A token,” Levid had demanded, his great horned head looming above the horizon. “A single symbolic item that encapsulates the essence of your world. It’s the very least thing I could ask of you. Surely you can think of something suitable.”

    Every government appealed to everyone in their population old enough to understand the complexity of this request. Inevitably, there were arguments, respected scientists facing off against artists, none of them able to agree on what this ultimate item should be. Should it be an artistic representation, a real thing, a concept, or a creation invented to demonstrate the abilities of the world population? The only thing that most people could agree upon was what they thought it shouldn’t be, every one of them knowing that the item they wanted to champion would be the epitome, everything else either too obscure or irrelevant, or simply inappropriate and likely to offend.

    The horned destroyer refused to negotiate or give clues, saying it was up to the collective populations to decide on it themselves, not knowing the penalty if their offering wasn’t considered suitable.

    Most of the world’s nations considered the task in various ways. Many assigned experts to propose candidates for the item they would choose while at the same time asking their greatest xenobiologists to contemplate what they thought the Mighty Levid would prefer. There were already disputes between each of the countries, the larger, most influential ones spying on the others they thought had the best chances to succeed and trying to infiltrate their rivals’ assessment committees, hoping to sabotage or misdirect their efforts.

    It was like a war without bullets or bombs, everyone in the world speculating on what the result would eventually be.

    Daniel was the elder of the Clarke twins. His sister Delores emerged into the world thirteen minutes after him, her delayed birth making her a day younger and an introverted Aquarian, her brother capitalising on her initial hesitance with a wilful dominance he’d never relax. Not that she found that a problem. She was happy to let him make his mistakes and then learn from them.

    "I think it ought to be a robot," Daniel said. "We've already got AIs that can do almost everything. It'll only be a few years before we can build one into an android. Even if it's not what the demon wants from us, it could beat him in a contest. Arm wrestle him into oblivion easily, without needing a best of three."

    Delores smiled. Her brother was a fool who thought he was a genius, his imagination his greatest asset. Whatever he didn't know, he'd invent, convincing almost everyone. Delores was never fooled. She knew him too well. He was inclined to fantasise to extremes, and his inventions were over-embellished. He had no interest in simplicity; that was where his truths were hidden.

    “I think it’ll be a leaf,” Delores said. “Mother Nature, at her best. Humanity are rank amateurs when it comes to creation. All show and no substance and completely lacking in patience.”