Tahji’s Freedom


© Shaktiki Sharma

Tahji was curious. He’d never seen so many people before. He half hid behind the post to get a better look through the doorway. They were talking their people talk. Tahji could understand a little of it when one talked, but they were all speaking at once. It was so confusing. Perhaps if he got closer.

“There you are, little one.” It was Tahji’s child-friend Rohan.

“You shouldn’t wander off like this. You might have gotten lost.”

Tahji saw Rohan was carrying his ornate little home. The door was open.

“So soon?” The mantis had been enjoying his freedom.

I wrote this in response to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo challenge. The idea is for authors to use the photo prompt above to create a piece of flash fiction no longer than 100 words long. Mine is 100 words.

To read other stories based on this prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

47 thoughts on “Tahji’s Freedom

      • I understand. I meant it when I suggested that it would be a novel idea. Mantis are predators that only feed on live pray, so it made me wonder how the boy felt about that. Maybe that’s the reason why he let it out every now and again. I thought it would be interesting to learn why the mantis came back. It must be a very strong friendship.


      • The story is fiction with a hint of fantasy. In real life, it couldn’t possibly occur, but think of all the stories that show children and animals as having a friendship. That’s the relationship I tried to build between Tahji and Rohan.

        As far as live food for the mantis, this generally means live insects. Rohan has a bond with Tahji a mantis, but probably doesn’t have feelings about Tahji’s food supply. In fact relative to flies, Tahji might be providing a service by keeping their population low around the house.


  1. Really enjoyed this mantis eye view of humans – I really want to believe he could understand human speech and you made that all the more credible by him only understanding when one person was speaking. Great stuff, James


    • Thanks. In some sense, I made Tahji a “child” to Rohan’s “adult”, even though Rohan is probably around nine-years-old. Like most “children” given a certain amount of autonomy, it’s up to the “adult” so say when it’s enough.


  2. It’s good Rohan was mindful of his friend’s safety. There was likely to have been at least one person at the gathering who wouldn’t have been pleased by Tahji’s presence.


  3. Nice how you show how people sound different from a bug’s perspective. I was thinking about writing a story where someone kept the insects as pets too, but I couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t going to have as happy of an ending as yours, either, so I like yours better!


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