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  • Writer's pictureJabe Stafford

One Page Wonders II - Melted Monarch

Flash fiction is a love of mine, and so are geeky tropes and pulp-style stories of every variety. Sometimes it's the characters that spur the writing. Other times it's atmosphere, concept, magic system, or a twist. One Page Wonders blogs started as a writing exercise. Now they're digestible, one-shot stories you can read on the bus or while sneaking 5 minutes at work!

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The king’s crown melted at his touch.

King Ezra Bartholomew Richmond IV shot up from his massive four-poster bed and tossed the still-melting circle of gold to the stone floor in front of the assassin. It soared over discolored brick and a covered chamber pot before landing with a thudding splat. “Look what will happen to you and to every weapon you brandish against me.”

He pointed at the steaming treasure using his only un-covered hand, then at each flawless gemstone that fell and liquefied along with the crown. Hissing and molten metal odors flooded the king’s sleeping chamber. This was enough to deter those after Richmond’s life in the past. Decades of destroying his own royal headwear and possessions both to demonstrate his power and his wealth.

The person behind the slave’s mask bounced on the balls of both feet, covered head to toe in dark, thickly padded cloth. The ballet slippers the assassin wore brushed against the stone with each sweeping step around the puddle of gold. Gauntleted fists pounded on the thick oaken door at the entrance to the king’s chambers. Shouts of panic, terror, and concern. Cries of, “Your majesty” and, “Break the door down” echoed off the halls outside.

“I know every passage in my keep,” the king roared, removing his other glove. “They are all sealed against intrusion. How did you get in?”

The assassin looked the monarch up and down, noting the only exposed skin from the neck down was his hands. All else was covered in two separate sets of skintight night clothes sewn with royal symbols in violet and silver.

A woman’s voice emerged from behind the slave’s mask, singing an old nursery rhyme. “‘Metals. Stone. Skin and Bone. The king will melt what’s not his own.’ How does it feel knowing you will die having never touched anything you love?”

She dashed past the bookshelves, danced around the table and its decanters, and reached for the king’s hands outstretched in self-defense.

For the first time in his life, King Richmond pulled his sure defense—his bare hands—away from his attacker. He ripped off his shirts with one hand, exposing his bare, pallid torso. “Come at me and die at my touch. I only need to slip a hand into a fold or a collar to melt you.”

Sweeping a leg low, the assassin took the king off his feet. He landed on his side with a meaty slap and immediately began sinking through his own chamber floor. Snarling, he tried standing. The woman in the mask batted him down with the barest swipe of her fist.

With strength no woman her size normally possessed, she dragged the king along the floor, melting out a trench in the stone. He wailed and writhed, molten rock clinging to his skin, but not burning him.

She wrenched the king up by his still-covered feet and held him over the discolored bricks that made up the floor near his bed. “Do you doubt I am strong enough to break into your precious sealed passages? Here, let me show you one you never knew about.”

Dropping the king, the assassin called out, “A sealed latrine shaft for you, King Ezra The Enslaver.”

The old, flaky brick melted beneath the king’s weight much faster than the solid stone had. Putrid odors wafted up from the hole while the king fell, wailing.

The assassin removed her slave’s mask and dropped it in after the former king.

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