I Can’t Tell [Flash fiction]

A flash fiction piece about secrets. Written for Flash Fiction Friday’s prompt “I Can’t Tell.” (#FFF 225)

Black typewriter text over an ambient purple background. The text reads "# FFF 255 I Can't Tell"

Read the story below or listen to the audio narration. The narration feature is experimental 🙏

Let me tell you a story that I am not allowed to tell.

Once, there was a boy and a girl, and they were deeply in love. Is that too obvious? Let me try again.

A long time ago, in an empire lost to history, there lived several kingdoms. One such kingdom was ruled by a queen, born of the Sea and Oaths. She was bright and merry, ruling with kindness by day and throwing grand banquets at night. She would feast ‘til dawn with the stars and nobles who came to visit her.

From a much farther kingdom, there was a king, born of the Sun and Scales. At night, he would disguise himself as a twinkling star and come to join in the queen’s banquet, to see her dance and laugh and flirt. He did not tell her that he was a king in hiding, and she did not tell him that she already knew.

When the stars and the guests were drunk to their boots, the two would meet in the palace gardens, alone.

In the beginning, all they had were their voices. He would sing softly to her, and she would blush well-hidden under the veil of the night. She would whisper back verses, hiding between her metaphors and hoping he would not decipher them.

“My lady Moon,” she prayed one evening to the sky. “Let mine eyes gaze upon him just once.”

The Moon felt compassion for the two: the lady bound to her Sea and her Oaths, and the lord bound to his Sun and his Scales. And slowly, slowly, the Moon cast its crescent smile upon them.

That night, there were no voices passing back and forth, and there were no kings or queens either. There was only a boy and a girl, and they were deeply in love.

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