When I got the prompt – “I think I preferred your old hobby.” – for this story on Cracked Flash Fiction Competition on 11 June 2016, I had no idea what I was going to write. Perhaps all the pictures of cats were making me a little delusional… Then I had a look at a folder filled with pics and phrases I keep for inspiration.
At least I had a setting. Then I saw the dress…
Though I have no idea where I’d gotten this image, I just knew that it was the right dress for my assassin to wear. (Yeah, between the spooky forest and the dress I just knew it had to be an assassin story. And, of course, the vision of Geena Davis throwing knives in A Long Kiss Goodnight kept flickering into my mind’s eye.)
And it was a good combination.
My story won Honourable Mention too. FYI, dauphin is the crown prince of France 😉
By Ronel Janse van Vuuren
‘I think I preferred your old hobby,’ the dauphin said drolly.
I looked at him surprised. I hadn’t even noticed that he was still there.
‘I should have known that you chose that dress for reasons other than being my princess for the night.’ Amusement twinkled in his eyes.
Blushing, I straightened invisible wrinkles from the numerous folds of my ball gown. He was right, though: I had chosen it for the hiding places it provided for my knives.
‘So when did you go from chef to knife-thrower?’
Moonlight glinted off the knives barely visible in the misty forest; imbedded almost to the hilt in the would-be assassins.
‘We should return to the party. We’d catch cold out here,’ I said, trying not to look at him.
A cat, as black as my dress, slinked past. Its green eyes flashing in warning.
‘Now, if you want to live,’ I said harshly, grabbing his arm and pulling him back through the doorway we’d used to leave the castle earlier.
He didn’t resist. I wish he would. Then my instincts would kick in and I could complete my mission. The dauphin slipped his arm around me and my bones nearly melted.
They should’ve sent someone else to assassinate the dauphin. I’m incapable of harming him. Even if it means killing the CAT who saved me from a life of iniquity.
*CAT = Criminal Assassin Tactician
So, what did you think? Do you like my twist on assassins and royalty? Do you think this is set in actual pre-revolution France (historical) or in a far-off land (fantasy)?
“Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which, if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or a Shakespeare.” – H.F. Hedge