A little while ago, I wrote this flash fiction piece and I decided earlier this month that I wanted to share it with you guys. I also have the pleasure of sharing the illustration created by Aravis. It was so cool to see her enjoy the story and creatively portray a really neat aspect of the tale. Show her some love and visit her blog, listed below.
“Magic Not for Hire”
The paint covered cloth sucked the water from the hairs of my brush. I mixed a little burnt sienna with a bit of white. The brush created thin strokes along the woman’s hair, highlighting strands of brown. I rinsed the brush, dipped its end in pure white, and added the evidence of the sun in her eyes. She would always see the light wherever she looked.
Pounding came from the door.
“Wait a moment.” I rose from my stool and covered the canvas with a sheet, careful not to smudge the wet paint. “Enter.”
Roger strutted into the room. “Frederick,” He shook his head. “I need tea.” He hurried to the stove.
“You’re welcome.” I sat down at my desk, opened a letter from my sister and scanned her narration of the outside kingdom. “Do you have anything new?”
His feet shuffled across the dense wooden floor, teacup in his hands. “The king sent another list.” Roger slid a piece of paper across the desk.
I grabbed the request and shoved it in a drawer.
Roger’s shoulders heaved. “Are you ever going to fulfill his requests. He hired you as a magician, and you’ve done nothing. He’s funding your—” He gestured to the blank canvases stacked around the room. “Your painting, but you haven’t done anything to prove your worth.”
A fresh page crinkled between my fingers. I pinched my quill and scrawled my sister’s name at the top.
“This is why the king is mad at you.” Roger gulped down some tea. “You only do what you want and not what you’re told.”
I sighed and put down the pen. “If you had the powers I have, you’d see that helping only the king would be a great injustice.”
“But it might save your life.”
I grabbed my sister’s letter and held it up. “What about helping these children that have no mother.” I pointed to the paragraph that described the tragedy that left five children orphaned. “Helping the king do meaningless domestic acts does not help this world. He wants security in his living, but I want to give life.”
“Please,” Roger rubbed his face with his palm. “Tell me what you mean by that? Magicians don’t give life, they manipulate it.”
The paper of my sister’s plea wrinkled in my hands. I folded it and placed it in the pocket of my shirt. My lungs struggled to breath, and my tongue dried.
The desk chair’s feet scratched the floor. I shuffled over to the easel and undraped the canvas.
Roger sat the teacup on the desk and followed. “She’s beautiful.”
My fingers gripped the side of the canvas and lifted it off the stand. You will be the hope those children need. My breath left my lips and slid across the paint. The colors swirled, lifted off the paper, dissolved into the air, and entered the world. I ran my hand across the now blank paper. Sometimes, I wished I could enjoy my own work. The canvas slid easily alongside the other empty ones.
Roger shook his head. “I don’t understand.”
I turned to look at his face. “Have you looked at the kingdom recently? It’s suffering. I studied magic so I could provide it people who might help it.”
“Can you please tell me why you can’t fulfill the king’s requests?”
My throat tightened. “No.”
“Please, as your friend, listen to me. Please do what the king asks.”
“Because I’ve been ordered to arrest you if you don’t comply. I don’t want to do that.”
My hands began to sweat. “My work is special and must stay secret.”
Roger shook his head. “Why?”
“My creations are free to live out the purpose they were created for. The king would hunt down every one of them and destroy the life they were made to live. I can’t let that happen.”
“Then why did you tell me?”
“Because I trust you will do the right thing, even if that means arresting me. To die and have had created is better than to live and have your creations destroyed. I was created to create, and that I will do until I die.”
Flash fiction by Alyson
Illustration by Aravis
“Jesus. Narnia. Crime Shows. That about sums it up ;)
I'm an avid reader and writer, and what time doesn't go to homework or any of the activities mentioned above goes to art.
I'm a writer of mainly YA and fantasy, and read everything in between.”
Check out Aravis’ blog at https://ramblingsofaravis.wordpress.com/