For Queen and Country


Scene from the 2017 film “Victoria & Abdul

The wedding loomed closer and all Tay could do was think of storm clouds. She did love Silas, after a fashion, but while their marriage would join their two Kingdoms into a formidable and wealthy Empire, Udristan to the east and Mutriuka and Kozanar to the south would likely become fearful. Previously, neither her beloved Sasmen or Silas’s nation of Crenia to the west were considered a threat, but this wedding and all of its implications could be interpreted as a prelude to war.

“A penny, Tay.”

She had been staring out her private tower’s western window at the city skyline and the farm lands beyond, and hadn’t noticed that her mother had come in.

Turning, she walked over to her, knelt, and kissed her hand in greeting. Then she rose and faced the Queen. “You would be short-changed, I’m afraid.”

“Oh, that again.” Her friendly demeanor instantly soured, and she adopted an expression of displeasure. “I’m only thinking of our people. This alliance will strengthen both of our nations. You know that.”

“And quite possibly plunge us into a bloody war, Mother.” She spun and walked to the window, and then turned back to her progenitor and the most powerful woman in their nation. “I’ve explained the dynamics of it again and again…”

“Yet you fail to convince me, little one.”

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The Pest


© Yarnspinner

Mornings were lovely here. Jim sighed as he took his cup of coffee and book to the table in his garden. He could finally afford the peace and quiet a lifetime of working had denied him.

His wife had passed away and the children all had lives of their own. He tolerated the occasional holiday or summer visit, but found he preferred his own company.

“Hey there, neighbor. Welcome. Great garden. Mind if I have a look? Thanks.”

“Who the hell…?” Jim rose to his feet and found his right hand being vigorously shaken by a paunchy, balding man in baggy shorts and a garish Hawaiian shirt.

“Bill’s the name. Glad to see a new neighbor. Sure that we’ll be best friends. What kind of garden you got? How about a cup of coffee? Cream and sugar if you’ve got it.

Jim got coffee, the sugar, the cream, and added an abundant portion of strychnine, not enough to kill the pest, but enough to make him think twice about coming over for refreshments again.

This was written for the FFfAW Challenge of the Week of May 9. The idea is to use the photo prompt above to create a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 174.

To read more stories based on the prompt, visit