Flash Fiction: Princess of the City

Welcome to the Spot Writers. The prompt for this month is to write a story using three of the following words – tender, dreamy, boss, week, lamp, table.

Today’s tale comes to you from Val Muller, author of the young adult novel The Scarred Letter, a reboot of Hawthorne’s original. Until August 20th, you can buy the ebook for only $1.99! The post is written in honor of her sister’s birthday, though the story does not in any way reflect reality J .

Princess of the City

By Val Muller

The front door creaked open and then slammed shut. She heard Ellie skip up the stairs and toss her backpack onto the floor in the kitchen. In the driveway, a car horn tooted twice before an engine roared down the street.

Must be nice not to have to take the bus. How embarrassing—for a freshman to have a ride home from school while Meg (a senior, no less!) had to take the bus.

Ah, but that’s the way it always was with Ellie. The week she’d been born, Dad came back from the hospital with a birth certificate. His job had been to prepare Meg for the arrival of little Ellie, due home the next day. He showed Meg the embossed birth certificate the hospital had issued. It was shiny and gold, crisp and thick—printed on textured card stock.

“See, Meggie? Your little sister’s birth certificate. Same as yours.” Dad flashed the certificate.

“Same as mine?” little Meg had asked. Dad walked to the file cabinet and retrieved Meg’s birth certificate to prove it.

But it wasn’t the same. Meg’s birth certificate was printed on flimsy paper—thinner than printer paper, even. It wasn’t gold and embossed. It was completely flat, printed in a border of faded blue instead of gold.

“It’s not the same,” Meg had said. “Hers is special.”

Dad frowned. “Technology has probably improved. When you were born, maybe they weren’t able to print in gold.”

Little Meg shook her head. She stared at the certificate. City of Eldenberg was written in an embellished golden script that Meg could barely read. “I don’t think so. Maybe my new sister is just super special.” Her lip trembled. “Maybe she’s Princess of the City.” Her mind raced with the possibility: she imagined a tiny princess being brought home on a puffy pink cushion, wearing a tiny crown and waving a miniature scepter. The baby would probably order Meg around right away—and surely Mom and Dad would have to obey the Princess as well. She’s be the boss of everyone.

Meg couldn’t stop the tears. Dad tried fruitlessly to hush them away, but he was soon due back at the hospital, and Meg was left once again with Grandma, who didn’t understand a lick about how upsetting it was to be sister of the Princess of the City.

When Ellie came home, things were worse than Meg feared. The baby was so tiny and tender that all Mom or Dad had to do was look at her, and their faces would dissolve into a dreamy oblivion. When Daddy was reading Meg a story, all the baby had to do was cry, and he’d drop the book and tend to the Princess.

When Mommy was feeding Princess, Meg wasn’t allowed to ask for anything—not drink, food, bathroom, or toy.

Even Grandma seemed smitten by the baby.

Meg sighed as she remembered all this. The afternoon was fading into evening, and she turned on the lamp on her night table. It illuminated her report card, the one she had just received at school today. All A’s, as usual. She was still in the running for this year’s valedictorian.

Then a flicker of a smile pulled at her lips. It was report card day, and Ellie had just gotten home. Ellie may have inherited the good looks and lucked out with boys, cars, and popularity, but the one thing Meg had over her were the brains of the family.

Meg crept to the corner of her room and opened her bedroom door. She could hear Mom now, asking about her report card.

“You should see your sister’s grades,” Mom was saying. “She works so hard for those A’s. The least you could do is study just a little. C’s are just not an acceptable grade. I think maybe it’s time…”

Meg smiled and closed the door. She didn’t need to hear the rest. High school was rough, but Meg had a funny feeling that her life would fall into place starting in college. She was a peasant, a craftsman, one used to working. The problem with Princesses is that they never have to learn how to do things for themselves. Even if they do have a golden birth certificate.


The Spot Writers—our members:

RC Bonitz: rcbonitz.com

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: http://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Deborah Marie Dera: www.deborahdera.com

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