Flash Fiction Friday #9: “Dreams of Gold”

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.

“Dreams of Gold”

A Fantasy Flash Fiction

By

K. D. Jones

 

The duchess couldn’t remember why she’d entered the trinket shop, except that something gold and shiny had caught her eye from the window. Again.

She could hear her husband now. “You spend all our money on jewelry!”

“I have to have it!” she’d whine. “Life’s not the same without the shiny.”

“Hello!” said the girl behind the counter, dropping a curtsy. “Looking for something in particular?”

“Oh, I’m just browsing. Don’t mind me.”

“Sure, my lady,” said the girl, with a knowing smile.

The duchess browsed the wares, silver rings laden with gems, sparkling earrings big as her palm, and necklaces made of ribbons and crystals. It was all so magical and wonderful!

“Do you have anything in here that will grant wishes?” the duchess asked suddenly. She’d never owned a piece of magical jewelry before. She should add that to her collection, flesh it out a bit more.

A haunted look came over the girl’s face. She pressed her lips together.

The duchess eyed her shrewdly. “You do have something—I can see it in your eyes. Come on, out with it.”

“I—it’s not for everybody.”

“I’m not just everybody. I am a duchess.”

“I can see that, my lady. I just don’t think you would want this particular item.”

“Clearly, if I didn’t want it I wouldn’t have asked for it! Bring it out.”

Resigned, the girl ducked her head and went to the back to fetch said magical item. She returned with a small black box.

“If I give this to you, all your dreams will come true.”

“Well, that sounds fantastic!”

“No, you don’t understand. The ring pays no mind to how your dreams come true. Anything can happen.”

“Oh, what could possibly be so bad about that? How much do you want for it?”

“It’s priceless.”

“Nothing comes without a price. Name yours.”

The girl bit her lip. “I will give this to you, freely, if you promise never again to return to my shop.”

The duchess eyed her suspiciously. “That’s an odd request. Let’s see this magical ring.”

The girl opened the box. Light shone faintly from a simple ruby set in a band of burnished gold. The gem seemed to pulse and call to her, beckoning her to pick it up and put it on. Mesmerized, the duchess started to reach for it.

The lid slammed shut. “Promise me,” snapped the girl.

Taken aback, the duchess blinked several times. “Dear girl, I promise.”

“Good.” The girl shoved the box into the duchesses’ hands before she’d barely finished speaking. “Now, please, take your leave.” Without another word, she turned away.

“Well, how rude!” said the duchess. But she couldn’t complain too much. She’d gotten a free ring! Exactly what she’d come in here for!” Was it odd she’d seen the box on display in the window, or thought she had, and yet the girl had retrieved it from the back? Maybe she had seen a similar item. Jewelers tended to copy each other, after all, once a piece became famous and started to sell.

After arriving at home, she put the ring on and made a wish. “I wish to be able to buy as much jewelry as I want!”

That night at dinner, the duke choked on a piece of steak and died right there, face-down in his plate. The duchess, distressed at suddenly becoming a widow, fretted and fussed over him, but alas he was gone.

The next day, she found out she was to inherit his fortune. “But I don’t want that!” she whined to the handler of their estate. “I want my husband back!”

The day after that, she found out her father, mother, and siblings died in a tragic fire, leaving her the family fortune.

“You are wealthy beyond dreams, my lady,” said the estate planner. “You are able to afford anything you wish—including as much of your beloved jewelry as you want.”

“But I didn’t wish for this!”

“Did you not?” asked the planner.

She blinked at him. “Who are you, really?”

His eyes glowed faintly red, and he smiled, looking at the ring on her hand. “I am the granter of wishes. Not all genies come in lamps.”

With that, he vanished in a plume of smoke, leaving the duchess alone with her ring and a great big empty house.

 

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