The prompt for a piece of flash fiction is: “It’s Independence Day and something unexpected happens . . .” So here we go!
You’d probably think dancing in the arms of Lord Edward Westing, Earl of Sussex (etc.) would be utterly thrilling. But you’d be wrong.
Bertie, as we all call him, is seventeen with bad teeth and worse acne. He’s a little obnoxious, but he’s a good dancer, he’s fun at parties, like tonight’s Carraresi Feast Day ball, and he’s family, if distantly.
He spins me into a dip and I glimpse the glass dance floor, and the orange sunset reflected in the sea below us. This year’s venue, an open-air gazebo over the gulf, is the best I can remember, and the evening’s just begun.
The music winds down and Bertie whips me into one more spin. “You’re getting rusty,” he says. “Hope you’re not planning to impress anyone.”
I look away. There’s someone I want to impress, but I doubt he’s here. I try to surreptitiously scan the crowd, but my eyes are drawn to the white wake cutting through the gold gulf not far away. Heading straight toward us, fast. My stomach plunges faster than it did when Bertie flipped me.
The boat speeds up. I realize my grip on Bertie’s hand is so tight he can’t even squeeze back—then the speed boat leaps out of the water onto the floating bridge, the only way on or off our little island. Two masked men clamber out of the boat, carrying assault rifles.
“Dove è la principessa?” one demands.
La principessa. The princess. Me.
They want me.
Rough and sketchy, but isn’t that always the way with flash fiction?
Photo by Alyson Hunt