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This was my entry for Cracked Flash Fiction Competition on the 25th of February.  The prompt was: “You can’t bring that on board.”


Purple Sparks

By Ronel Janse van Vuuren


‘You can’t bring that on board!’

Jess looked around worriedly and then stared into the man’s eyes: ‘I can bring it on board.’

‘No. You can’t,’ the crewman said with a quick shake of his head.

Sighing softly, Jess looked around once more, making sure that they were alone.

She punched him in the face and he crumpled to the ground.

‘See, Sophie, of course I can bring you on board,’ Jess said to the small dragon trailing her. ‘Besides, this ship is as fireproof as can be.’

She grinned as purple sparks flew from the dragon’s snout. On their way to their cabin, the two of them walked beneath the banner welcoming witches and familiars to the Annual Magic Cruise.

Dragons are marvellous creatures, aren’t they? I had a lot of fun writing this story for Cracked Flash Fiction Competition on a week I’m not judging.  Why wouldn’t a witch have a dragon as a familiar instead of a cat or toad? There’s a lot of possibility there…

This was also the winning story for the week. Here’s what the judge had to say:

I chose this story as the winner for two reasons. 1. The compounding surprises– the unexpected but believable punch Jess delivers to the crewman and the last phrase when you reveal where “on board” is. Both were fun. 2. The economy of language. You deliver a ton of scene, all accessible, with few words. The use of the adverb “worriedly” caused me a bit of a stumble. Given the fact she’s considering punching him (we later find) and that her answer, “I can bring it on board” shows boldness, it feels like she should be looking around “undecidedly” or chewing her lip, not because she’s afraid but because she’s calculating her next move.

What do you think of this story? Anything you’d add or change? I always appreciate feedback, so leave your thoughts in the comments.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love the short story collection “Once…“.

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