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.
“Bright as Stars”
A Fantasy Flash Fiction
K. D. Jones
“You must hurry, my dear!” said the old wizard, clutching the young starling’s hands. “Tonight is the night. You must release your power into the sky, or you will turn into stardust.”
“Stardusting” was what her friends called it. She’d seen her sister turn into stardust because she couldn’t release the Light in time. The loss of her sister ached deep within her, but she couldn’t focus on her pain now. She had to release her gift.
She let the old man usher her up the stairs of the palace. “Why do the royals keep starlings?” she asked as their footsteps echoed off the cold stone walls.
“Because your Light is precious. It lights up the night sky with beauty and wonder. Otherwise, we would have nothing but darkest night, stretching on forever. New starlings are needed once the Light burns out up above.”
“Why do I even have this gift if my fate is to give it away?”
“Why do flamecasters bear flames? Or watermancers create water? Why do wizards shepherd all the magical children? Everyone has a purpose, my dear. Now hurry.”
Up and up they climbed. Already dizzy, the girl didn’t dare look down. Her sister was afraid of heights. That’s what did her in—she couldn’t make the climb. She would not—could not—be her sister. Her mother and father wouldn’t survive the loss of two children.
Out they burst through a wooden door and onto the rooftop terrace. Bright yellow flags rippled on the night wind, and the moon cast a silvery glow on the crests of waves in the surrounding moat.
The girl looked up, straight up. So many stars! So many had released their gifts—or became stars themselves. Was her sister watching her right now? Was she proud of what she was about to do?
Sparkling white light began to build in the girl’s hands. She lifted them as her blood began to thrum.
“Now, child!” hissed the wizard.
Unsure what she was supposed to do but trusting instinct, the girl thrust her hands up. Light shot from her fingertips, and she cried out at the joy and the pain. It bolted into the sky, ricocheting off clouds and moonbeams until at last settling into thousands of tiny drops of glittering starlight.
Weary but grateful to be relieved of her gift, the girl stumbled.
The wizard caught her. “Well done, my child.” He stroked her hair. “You’ve done this kingdom a great service. All those people below—” with his staff, he gestured out at the twinkling city below—“will be so glad you were selfless enough to brighten their days.”
“Yes,” she murmured, her eyes growing heavier. “Selfless. I’m thankful to share my gift with others.”
She drifted off to sleep, seeing her sister smiling down at her, the pride and affection in her gaze shining bright as stars.