This week’s “Flash Fiction” challenge was a great one, but…well, challenging. We had to rewrite a fairy tale using a sub-genre. I randomized both categories and got Little Briar Rose as a space opera (think Star Wars.) Enjoy!
Sleeping Beauty: A Space Odyssey
The Gondek ruled the eastern half of the Andacassian galaxy. The current leader was worried for, despite a peaceful rule, she had only nine sons and no daughters. Gondek law explicitly dictated that only a female could rule the provinces.
The Leader finally gave birth to a beautiful daughter and immediately planned a great feast, inviting all the rulers and ambassadors from as far as five galaxies away.
On the day of the celebration, all the guests arrived in splendor. When the Gondek Leader called the assembly to order, the dignitaries came forward to pronounce their gifts upon the daughter, such as renaming their capital cities in honor of the baby. Others bestowed less tangible gifts on the infant, such as the wisdom to rule, the ability to love without prejudice, and a kind nature. The festivities continued on this way for many hours until night fell.
Just as the last bit of daylight disappeared, a great explosion lit up the sky. The attendees gasped as a cloaked figure emerged from the sky on a dangling wire, alighting on the ground just outside the ballroom. Four pairs of legs on each side of the body carried the new arrival down the silver carpet that led to the doors of the ballroom. The creature rose up slowly and stood erect, its metallic blue form shining in the floodlights.
It was the Ka’chera leader. She strode through the sliding doors, taking no note of the whispering guests or of the condescending looks from those moving away from her. Eyes straight ahead, she walked toward the host.
“Greetings, Gondeks,” she said in a loud, clear voice. “Only yesterday, my advisors informed me of this gathering, yet I do not recall receiving an invitation.”
The Gondek leader rose from her seat, moving toward her guest. “You have my humblest apologies, my friend. It surely was an oversight as you are, of course, welcome here anytime.”
The Ka’chera crouched down and tapped two of her legs on the floor as though she had been waiting for someone for a long time. “It is doubtful that you remembered to invite so many from so far away and yet could not remember to include your western neighbor. It is no matter my dear, you shall pay for your so-called oversight.” Lightning-quick, she stood erect again and was face-to-face with the Gondek leader. “Here is my gift to the newborn: on the day your precious daughter turns sixteen, she will cross paths with a Ka’chera and on that day she will die.” The Ka’chera leader spun around and exited, departing as quickly as she had arrived.
The Gondek leader left the celebration and called an emergency meeting of her security council. Council members discussed what they knew about the Ka’chera and the Leader ordered specific actions.
“Rather than strike out at them in return, we will protect ourselves from an assault. The Ka’chera residents thrive in darkness; we will bathe our capital city in light at all hours. They inhabit the lush rainforests of their provinces; therefore, we will rid the capital city and its surrounding areas of all foliage. Should a Ka’chera cross our borders, it will be considered an act of war, and the offender will be exterminated immediately, no questions asked.”
In the years that followed, the Gondek leader took special pains to make sure that her daughter had a full guard about her at all times. Although a bit overprotected, the princess grew up to be a wise, loving, and good-natured young woman.
On her sixteenth birthday, she ventured out far beyond the borders of the capital city, much to the dismay of her guards, for night had already fallen outside the city. Feeling mischievous, she shook off her guards and ran as far as she could until she happened upon a beautiful rainforest. She wondered if she were still in her home province, for she had never seen such a breathtaking landscape. Deciding that she had gone far enough, she made her way to return home when suddenly she heard a rasping breath followed by tormented moans.
She walked closer to the sound and saw a tarantula lying on its back with all of its legs up in the air except for one. The creature turned its head and groaned, giving a startled cry when it saw the princess.
“Don’t be afraid,” the princess said, moving toward the pitiable creature. “Let me help you up.”
“My leg is broken,” the spider croaked. “I’ve been waiting for a long time.” As the maiden helped the spider up, all eight of the creature’s legs wrapped around her body so that she could not move. “I mean, princess, I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”
A flicker of fear passed through the maiden’s eyes. Suddenly, she brought her knee up to kick the spider’s lower body, and then with her other foot she kicked the spider hard enough to slip out of her grasp. She ran as fast as she could, but the spider was faster, catching up to the princess and grabbing her from behind. The maiden grabbed the spider’s topmost legs and flipped it onto its back, putting her foot on its lungs.
“I know who you are, Ka’chera,” the princess said over the spider’s struggles for air. “Did you really think that my mother would not have prepared me for this day?” When the spider fainted, the maiden hoisted it onto her back and brought it into the capital city.
Knowing her mother’s edict, the princess begged the Gondek leader to show mercy and allow the Ka’chera leader to return to her own province. The entire Andacassian galaxy celebrated the maiden’s kindness and wisdom, for it fostered a peaceful coexistence for many years.