Gunpowder Treason and Plot
‘Penny for the Guy!’
‘Please, mate. Penny for the Guy?’
An elderly man stops, smiling. ‘Comes around quick, eh?’
‘Hopin’ we’ll raise loads this year,’ says John. ‘For the new statue, an’ that.’ He wipes his running nose on his sleeve.
‘Good lads. I’m sure St Fawkes would be proud.’
He’s barely turned and gone two steps when the air shreds with a boom. Then a gust of flame, like a dragon awakening in the bowels of the city, gushes along the skyline. Faintly, we hear screaming.
‘My God,’ says the old geezer, stumbling back. ‘My God. Virgin preserve us!’
‘What’s goin’ on?’ John gets to his feet. ‘Is it –’
We spin as another explosion cuts off his words. All along the river, we watch London burn.
‘The Recusants,’ whispers the old man. ‘Finally. We are repaid in our own coin.’ Orange flames dance in his wide, wet eyes.
So, er. Nothing like an image of a burning city to make one think of an entirely different (Catholic, Virgin-preserved, St Fawkes’d) England, wherein the original Gunpowder Plot wasn’t foiled and things developed in an entirely different way. Right? Is it just me?
This week’s Flash! Friday challenge is even more special than normal. This week sees the start of this year’s Flashversary, which means that massive prizes await the lucky winner (check the site for all the details, but this year the prize pot is pretty darn impressive), and if you’d like to take part, you are more than welcome. You don’t have to be a regular competitor; you don’t have to be a ‘member’ (if such a thing even existed). You certainly don’t need to pay any sort of entry fee. You’ve just got to look at the prompt image and find the story behind it, and be able to tell it in 150 words exactly. There’s no Dragon’s Bidding this week, and there’s no leeway with the wordcount, either. Write a piece of flash based around the burning city, above – as loosely or as closely as you like – and make it a Flashversary to remember. The more the merrier, and who knows but you could be one of the lucky people chosen to go through to the next round. Wouldn’t that be something to boast about over Christmas dinner? Sure it would.
I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar names among the entrants this week, but even if you don’t compete I hope you take the time to check out the entries. Even if you’re not a fan of writing flash fiction, every week Flash! Friday dishes up some of the best flash fiction reading on this here interwebs. Please do support the cause (penny for the Dragon, anyone?) and whatever you do, spread the word.