It’s June and once again I’m partaking in ‘Nathan Burgoine’s super-fun 2018 flash fiction challenge! This month we had to write a fantasy story, set in a junkyard/scrapyard, featuring hot chocolate.
And I’m sick as a dog this week. I’m using that excuse for bending the rules, genre-wise. *cough* But ‘Nathan said we’re supposed to have fun, so I did, despite my nearly comatose state.
“Forsooth! You shall feel the burning heat of my manly wrath—deep into your bowel!”
Henry lowered his sword. “Um, Frank?”
Frank lifted the visor from his knight’s helmet. An overgrown blond fringe nearly obscured his green eyes. “Huh?”
His chestnut-haired friend flashed him that look.
“Oh! Hahahaha! Right. I’ll try again.” Frank raised his sword. “Forsooth—”
“Okay, seriously, maybe no more foresoothing.”
“Why? It’s a valid exclamation.”
Henry pulled down the visor, dark as gunmetal, flashed an amber glare, and huffed. “Fine.” He cleared his throat, then postured in his somewhat rusted chain maille:
“I am not afraid of a feeble peasant who fancies himself a Slayer. Prepare to meet your doom!”
“Wouldn’t it be better if we said thou, thee, and thy?”
“I thought we agreed we can’t keep track of when to use thee or thou.”
“Right. Okay.” Frank struck his most valiant pose. “Then, forsooth—”
“Oh, for frig’s sake—”
“I shall impale thou with my sabre!”
“You said thou.”
“I think it worked that time.”
“And it’s a longsword, not a sabre.”
Frank sighed and stared at the blade. “Can’t we just pretend it is? Like we’re pretending everything else?”
Henry kicked a tin can out of his way. It landed at the base of one of the many piles of metal in the town’s scrapyard. This might not have been the greatest backdrop for the teens to enact their medieval fantasy screenplay. Especially since they hadn’t really written it yet and were making things up on the fly.
“Okay,” he said, not a little sadly, pulling down his visor. “I shall impale thou with my—”
A missile flew through the air, hitting Frank’s makeshift shield, the force of the blow knocking the boy right on his rump. The stone rolled on the ground past his feet and made its way into an open crockpot.
Henry swivelled round to search for the source of this attack and sneered when he found the culprit.
She leaned against a bed frame that jutted out from a mound of rubbish, forming a sort of trapezoidal art installation. In her hands was a slingshot made of some rope and a bit of leather—the kind one wound up before releasing whatever one wanted to hurl at their victims.
“Kailey,” Henry growled.
“Sir Nerd”—she bowed elegantly—“Hope you got your tetanus shot.”
“Hi, Kailey!” said Frank with a friendly wave.
“Sir Geeksalot,” she said, smiling. “And it’s thee, Frank. ‘I shall impale thee.’”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. Call me the medieval grammar police.”
Henry stormed up to her. “Okay, Officer Pronoun, you’ve had your fun. Now get lost. We’re working.”
She seemed distinctly unimpressed. “Uh huh. Working on what?”
Frank stood up, then bounded over to the girl with a bounce in his step. “Our first film! It’s a fantasy called What a Wonderful Knight!”
“It is so not called that,” said Henry.
“But you said I could choose the title.”
Kailey rolled her eyes and removed her backpack. “And to think I actually felt curious as to why you’re dressed in those cast-offs, duelling in a junkyard, being grammatically incorrect in Shakespearean tongue.”
“We found these here! Someone must have been into that medieval lifestyle thing. These bits are in great shape!”
Kailey stared at the battered helmets, hacked-up swords, and rusted chain maille. “Yeah, okay.” She reached into her backpack and removed a thermos. “Well, I don’t want to interfere with such genius, and I do support the arts, so consider me your patron.”
“What does that mean?” asked Henry, suspiciously.
She poured some liquid into the lid and passed it to him. “Artists need sustenance, especially on a cold autumn day.”
Henry turned up his nose at the offering. “I hate hot chocolate.”
“I don’t!” cried Frank, gratefully accepting the cup.
Kailey smirked. Henry scowled.
“So,” she said. “How much of it do you have written down?”
“Nothing,” Frank said after a good slurp.
“Nope. We’re trying to improvise it for now, to see the shape it’ll take.”
“That explains why nobody’s around filming it.”
“Yeah, well, we better get back to things,” barked Henry. “Come on, Frank.” He took the empty cup from his buddy’s hand, tossed it at Kailey, then grabbed Frank by the arm and dragged him away.
She shook her head. “Um, fellas?”
“Go away, Kailey,” said Henry.
“I can be the one to film it, you know.”
They turned around. She pulled out her smartphone and dangled it about. “It shoots in 4K and I’ve dabbled in video editing . . .”
Henry froze. Frank’s eyes sparkled.
“Forsooth, knave! Gird thy loins, for I cometh upon thee!”
Henry chuckled at his friend onscreen. “Ah, Frank. Innocent as a dove while so cluelessly inappropriate.”
Kailey nuzzled against him as they watched. “At least he was the sweet one. You were such a jerk.”
He kissed the side of her head. “So you keep reminding me.”
“I think that acorn I whipped at your skull later that night really did the trick. You were much nicer after that.”
“You mean I treated you better because I was afraid of you.”
“Well, if it worked…”
Henry held her close. “We were thirteen.” He sighed. “Feels like forever ago.”
Something in the tone of his voice made Kailey pull away. She studied his face. Then snickered. “Okay, okay, I recognize that forlorn expression. G’head already. You really want to.”
“No, honey, it’s our date night. The kids are finally asleep and I haven’t seen you all day.”
“Seriously, it’s fine.”
“Call him. It’s been awhile.”
Henry smiled brightly. He leaned in to kiss her. “I have the best wife, you know.”
“Well, duh.” She kissed him fervently and grabbed the novel she’d been enjoying all week.
Henry picked up his cell and dialled. After a pause, he exclaimed, “Forsooth!”
Kailey could make out a voice saying, “Forsooth! Behold my throbbing longsword!”
Her husband laughed with abandon as she rolled her eyes.
Forsooth! © 2018 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.
Cait Gordon is the author of Life in the ’Cosm, a story about a little green guy who’s crushing on the female half of his two-headed colleague. Cait is currently working on a prequel to ’Cosm called The Stealth Lovers, a military space opera. When she’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts for indie authors and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors are writers who manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also really likes cake.