Another week and another flash fiction challenge by Terribleminds.com. Adding to the success of the earlier ‘Aspect’ flash fiction challenges (my entries can be seen here and here), Mr Wendig has done it again. This time he’s expanded the possible sub-genre, problem and elements to include options for our flash fiction by 100%. That’s right, now there are twenty possible choices for each. Which of those possible 8000 choices did I get for my flash fiction?
- Sub genre – Twisted fairy tale
- Conflict / problem – Revenge
- Element to include – A severed hand
Sometimes it can take a while for the ideas to formulate into something tangible, not this time though. As soon as the three components had been generated I was off like a whippet out of a trap.
Flash Fiction: The Three Naughty Friends
Once upon a time in a far away kingdom there was a little village, a village with a large stone gateway. It was a perfectly ordinary village, filled with all the usual types of people you would expect to find. There was a mayor, a baker, a butcher, a candlestick maker, a blacksmith, a priest, a barman and three ne’er-do-wells, called Rob, Bob and Todd.
Rob, Bob and Todd were three friends who lived in the crooked stone house at the far end of the village. Rob, Bob and Todd had never worked for anything in their life, they had stolen money, begged for food, and generally made themselves nuisances of the entire village.
As they stole and begged, the other villagers became annoyed and irritated with the three friends and decided that they should all meet at the town hall and discuss what should be done with them.
‘They should be thrown out of the village’ said the mayor.
‘We should lock them in their own house’ shouted the blacksmith.
The other villagers had suggestions of their own about how to deal with three naughty brothers, but nothing could be agreed upon. Not until the local seamstress, Miss Bobbin stood up and quietly and meekly announced her plan. The rest of the village listened intently, as she explained everything.
‘Perfect’ the mayor exclaimed ‘We shall visit Rob, Bob and Todd this evening.’
The night was cold, and Rob, Bob and Todd returned home busy from stealing firewood from outside the local woodsman’s hut and some food from the farmer’s fields. They settled down in front of their large fire and filled their bellies with the stolen food. Soon they were all full and very sleepy; they closed their eyes and snored loudly.
THUD! THUD! THUD! There was a loud hammering on the front door that woke up the three friends with a fright.
‘Who is it?’ they said rubbing their eyes.
‘It is the mayor and the rest of the villagers’ said the mayor ‘Please let us in so we can give you a surprise.’
‘Oh boy’ said the three boys in unison ‘I love surprises.’ Rob, Bob, and Todd jumped up and unlocked the door.
As expected the mayor was stood there with the rest of the villagers but he wasn’t smiling. In fact the mayor and the rest of the villagers looked very cross, very cross indeed.
‘What’s the surprise?’ said the three friends.
Nothing more was said. The mayor and the rest of the villagers barged into the home of the three friends brandishing knifes, rakes, spades, hammers anything they could carry to punish the three friends.
‘You have been very naughty, all three of you’ said the mayor.
‘Naughty! Naughty! Naughty!’ shouted the villagers.
‘You have taken food from us, stolen our belongings, and never worked a day in your lives. We have had enough of your naughtiness and you all must be punished.’ The mayor lifted the lump hammer he had brought with him and held it above his head.
The three boys were now very scared, and knew that they had done wrong ‘We are sorry, we didn’t mean to be so naughty. We are sorry for taking from you and we want to become a part of the village.’
The mayor lowered his hammer and smiled at the three friends ‘Don’t you feel better now that you’ve apologised for your wrong-doings and all the naughtiness?’
‘We do’ said Rob, Bob and Todd ‘We do. We’re really sorry.’
The three friends looked at each other and smiled.
‘It is good…‘the mayor continued ‘…because you can now die with a clear conscience.’
‘Wha…’ The mayors lump hammer landed on the head of Rob, interrupting him and breaking his head, his blood as thick as strawberry jam dripped down his face. His corpse dropped to the floor under the horrified gazes of the remaining two friends.
The mayor and the rest of villagers tore into Bob and Todd, punching, kicking and hitting the two ne’er-do-wells until they lay on the floor of their crooked house, beaten and broken, shaking and thoroughly sorry for what they’d done.
Miss Bobbin the seamstress approached the two friends and with the shears she used for trimming material snipped off their hands. Alive but beaten, Bob and Todd fell fast asleep, pale like the floor they were lying on.
‘Well done everybody’ said the mayor ‘Miss Bobbin? Do you have everything you need to help these two to become a part of the village?’
Miss Bobbin held aloft the four hands ‘I do, we’re ready to cast the spell.’
Anyone passing the village on that evening would have seen the glowing lights and the coloured smoke; and heard the chanting and the singing but it would have seemed like nothing more extraordinary than a fireworks show, or a party. It was after all a perfectly normal village with perfectly ordinary people. It is said that on that night a mysterious visitor gifted the village with two stone gargoyles which were placed at either side of the stone gateway, but if you looked at the two gargoyles …
I mean really looked at the gargoyles…