My story “Mud,” which earned a kind honorable mention from Sørina Higgins as she announced the Week 1 winners of Mythguard Institute’s “Almost an Inkling” flash fiction contest. The prompt was to write a story about portals to another world in a maximum of 333 words. It is posted here for your enjoyment.
“They call you Mud?”
The tiny blue king frowned at the pajamaed boy whose reclining body covered the dry hill. “Who does?”
“People at school.” He shrugged, giant shoulders sending loose dirt and curls of dust down the hillside.
The wind zipped by in a peevish way, annoyed that the ground was still barren. The king ignored this. “Friend,” he said, firmly, reassuring. The boy rolled over, looked at him sadly. “I too am tired of my world.”
Mud was confused. He saw only new wonders: rolling plains leading to a purple sea, flocks of four and six-winged birds singing above white sands, and a city of painted mollusk shells full of tiny blue people. “Why? It looks so much nicer than mine.”
The king waved his scepter over parched hills and plains. “Drought. I miss the soughing of scarletgrass in the westward wind. The bubbling fountains. Sweet lemonade. My city will soon die without fresh water. If we could only fill our reservoir….well, we could make it, then.”
“Wait!” Mud’s excited cry echoed over the plains; the king covered his ears.
Then it happened, in reverse of the way it had happened a few hours earlier. Mud motioned like he was throwing something from off his head….and vanished.
Back in his bed, Mud threw off the blanket and ran to the kitchen. Soon he sat in his bed again with a large glass of water between his knees, several more within reach. The blanket went up over his head….
The reservoir gurgled and overflowed, filling aqueducts and pipes leading to the city. Water from other glasses wetted the plains and hills.
“Smell that sweetness, O our hero-friend?” laughed the king.
“What is it?”
“Petrichor. New water on thirsty ground. And your new name here, to be followed by many glorious titles.”
Petrichor smiled. In the painted mollusk-shell city the tiny blue people cheered his new name, and all about him were new shoots of scarletgrass, a-whispering in the wind.