Flash Fiction Friday #3: “Last Gifts”

What is flash fiction? It’s an itty bitty story, generally under 1,000 words or 3 printed pages. Fresh fantasy and sci fi flash fiction every Friday!

*Please pardon grammar whoopsies. They will be fixed when this story is published in a collection later this year.

 

“Last Gifts”

A Fantasy Flash Fiction

By

K. D. Jones

The sun was high in the sky when the bear happened upon the penguin lounging on a cushion of snow.

“Ah,” said the bear, “at last, someone I can ask for directions! Where might I find the North Pole?”

The penguin blinked at her. “What on earth are you?”

“I’m a bear, of course.”

“Bears are white.”

The bear looked down at her thick brown fur. “I beg to differ. Can you give me directions to the North Pole?”

“We don’t have any brown bears here.”

“So I’ve noticed. I’m on a special quest to meet Santa Claws to request some gifts for my cubs.”

“Santa Claws? Who is that?”

“It doesn’t matter. Where do I find the North Pole?”

“Aren’t you a long way from home?”

“Miles and days from home. Which direction do I go?”

“To get home?”

“To get to the North Pole.”

“Ah, well, you won’t have any luck here.”

“Why is that?”

“Son, you’re at the South Pole!”

“Well, that does pose a problem. Now, at least, I know the only path I have to go is up. Thank you, that answers my question.” With that, the bear turned and left, leaving the penguin shaking its head.

Weeks later, after traveling by land and boat, the bear arrived at the North Pole. Though she was very hungry and was weary from her long journey, she did not stop until she had reached the famed Santa Claws.

The Great White Bear sat on his ice throne and looked down upon the brown bear. “Do you know where you are?”

“Yes.”

“And why have you come?”

“To ask for gifts for my young,” replied the brown bear.

“And what gifts could be worth such a long and perilous journey?”

“I am dying,” said the brown bear. “I was poisoned some many moons ago by a hunter’s dart and shall soon perish. I would like to grant my cubs protection from all harm, so long as they shall live.”

“How many cubs do you have?”

“Two.”

“You may ask for two gifts, then.”

The bear had thought long and hard about this. “I shall also wish for them to know how much I love them after I’ve passed. For them to know I am always with them and am watching over them.”

“Fine gifts. They shall be given. What is your name?”

“Ursa.”

“Well, Ursa, I shall grant your wish.”

With her dying breath, Ursa at last laid down and died, finally at peace. The Great White Bear ushered her spirit to the stars, where it lingered as a constellation, always looking down upon her cubs, just as she’d asked.

And, for the rest of their long, happy lives, the two cubs grew up and knew neither harm nor pain, and never suffered for they were never truly alone. They had each other—and a mother’s undying love.

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