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Read "The Same Coin," a Flash Fiction Contest Runner-Up!

In May, we challenged you to submit a 300 word flash fiction story containing the words spider, rainbow, and cake. From over 1,100 stupendous entries, we chose two Grand Prize Winners and three Runners-Up. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did! (For more excerpts, check out this forum thread.)

"The Same Coin" by Salma S. - Official Runner-Up

She perched in the eaves, ready to rappel down with her knife at a moment’s notice. Dressed all in black, she would look to anyone below like a spider waiting to prey.

The rainbow hues of their jeweled gowns made her angry. How many mouths they could feed by selling that fabric!

They stood stuffing their faces with birthday cake and champagne, while her stomach growled. She had snuck her porridge into her grandmother’s bowl. That was yesterday night, the last time they had eaten.

As she watched them, her vision grew darker and darker. What they didn’t realize was the cost of their extravagance. The rich and the poor are two sides of the same coin. For every waltz the rich dance, the poor walk miles to the quarry for work. For every golf swing, a swing of the hammer. For every flirtatious laugh, there is a strangled cry. For every dollar spent, the prying of coins from hungry, unwilling fingers.

And this, this unnecessary ball. For this, they would be the ones to pay.

The glint of a crown passed under her, and she knew. It was time.

She glided silently from beam to beam, tracking the prince’s progress through the crowd. He walked with a limp and a cane, the only signs that he had been born with the lethal virus. That he had been born an Afflicted.

So had her own brother. The same hour that the prince had come into this world, so had her younger brother. And the same hour the prince was treated and cured by the royal physicians, her tiny, mewling brother breathed his last breath on the palace steps, her mother still begging for entrance.

Two sides of the same coin.

For every life saved, a life is taken.

author photo

Salma likes reading books and watching movies with lots of twists and turns. She loves surprise endings and can’t wait to write one of her own. When she’s not writing, she’s on a horse or playing with her puppy Smarty Jones. 

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