Flash Fiction Challenge - The Thief's Blade

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Remember that Flash Fiction Challenge I did way back last year?
I'm doing it again. Here's how it works: 

Rachelle over at The Ink Loft paired each of the participants up. We give and receive a prompt, and then must write something from it under 1,000 words, afterwards critiquing the entries. 
It's pretty awesome. 

Here's the prompt I received from Sj: 



And, my entry. I had to start it over several times, but once I tried writing it on paper it began to flow better. I'm rather relieved that I was able to finish it before the deadline. xD
Enjoy. :)

The Thief's Blade

Mahati ran, sword pressed to her chest. She would not let it fall to the hands of soldiers. She would escape the busy marketplace. 
She would escape them all.
“Thief!”
Mahati grimaced. If only she could escape the accusations so freely thrown her way. She dared a look behind her shoulder. Four soldiers sprinted, barging through the crowds to get to what they were after: the prince’s sword.
Mahati threw her cloak's hood over her head, shielding her face, and ducked into an alleyway, spooking a crow. With one high-pitched screech he shot into the air, his beady eyes glaring at the chase from above. She took a moment to catch her breath and tuck the sword under her arm, squeezing it against her side.
Mahati flipped her braid behind her back and raced out of the alleyway, coming out besides a market stall selling wooden whistles, intricate designs carved onto their tiny form. Snatching one, she raised it to her lips and struck a tune.
Attention swung her way at once. Mahati welcomed the stares. Too often would soldiers pass by the obvious in search for the hidden. She closed her eyes, letting the melody rise and fall. A little boy clapped his hands to the rhythm, his sandy hair flopping up and down as he bounced on his toes.
She was a musician, and nothing else. A smile tugged on her lips.
Mahati opened her eyes.
A white horse clopped rough the crowds, coming her way. A uniformed soldier rode on top, eyes searching the crowds.  Mahati tensed. She ended her song and gave a curt bow, returning the whistle to the seller, applause following. Then she was off again, running.
Mahati avoided a group of soldiers and shifted to the direction of the bustling people. I’m not a thief.
No, she was a lost and frightened little girl, separated from her ma.
“Mama!” Mahati cried. Her voiced raised a pitch as she wrung her hands, the prince’s sword safe from sight. A few sympathetic glances sent her way.
“Mama!” Mahati said again, hurrying through the marketplace. “Where’d you go?”
“Girl?” A hand touched her arm.
Mahati whirled around and stared into the face of a soldier. Her palms grew slick as she latched them behind her back, dropping her gaze to the ground. The sword under her arm shifted, threatening to reveal her true identity.
She was a girl without her mother. Nothing else.
“I’ve l-lost my mama.” Mahati sniffed. Two flashes of blue appeared to her right. Soldiers. Mahati stiffened.
“Can you describe what she looks like?” The soldier said.
Two more flashes of blue, on the left this time.
“Um,” Mahati squeaked. She glanced around. Soldiers seemed to be everywhere, forming, almost circling around where Mahati stood.
The sword slipped another few inches.
“Let’s see if we can go find her.” The soldier took Mahati’s hand, pulling her arm away from the grasp of the sword.
Mahati gasped.
The soldier turned.
The prince’s sword fell from her cloak, and clattered on the ground.
Mahati dived for the weapon, but the soldier was faster. He grabbed the hilt, and held it at Mahati, eyes narrowing.
“You don’t know!” Mahati screamed, “The prince—he’s not the real prince. It’s an impostor. It’s not his sword!”
The soldier ignored her. “I’ve caught the thief!” His voice echoed, loud. Those who had not already drawn their attention to the scene now did. The market chatter stole away, replaced with whispers, words of “thief” and “sword” whisking into the air.
Mahati bent her head. The solider grabbed her arm, yanking her away.
Thief.
The crow watched. He squawked once, blinked his crimson eyes, and then dashed away.
In her mind, Mahati was nothing but a musician, her song enjoyed by everyone. She was a girl, searching and yearning for a mother’s love. She was Mahati, serving for a greater cause.
But in other’s eyes, she was only a thief.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Byeeeee!
- Katie Grace

37 comments :

  1. Gorgeous story! I really enjoyed the tension you presented. It's definitely something I would want to see more of. :D

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  2. You built up the tension very well here, and I loved Mahati's bravery and quick thinking (I could never steal a sword, let alone avoid capture for that long).

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    1. It was really fun thinking up some ways she could escape the guards.
      Heh. I don't think I could, either. xD

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  3. Oh wow, I love it! I love how tense the whole scene is -- that's something I have trouble with, writing good tension. Like proverbs31teen, I would so keep reading this.

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  4. First of all, I love your writing style, and your descriptions! You give just enough without infodumping us, and I can really see the scene in my head. I love how you show Mahati's character, too, without outright telling us - how she's a quick-thinker, how she knows what she's doing here, how she can definitely act. I'd keep reading, too! You got me hooked.

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    1. Eep! Thank you so much, Aimee. That makes my day. <3

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  5. I really enjoyed this! I'm going to echo Aimee here. I thought this was a really good hook and that you gave us just enough. No infodump here!

    I like Mahati and how you portrayed her--as brave and daring and...scared. I'd definitely keep reading.

    I also really like the name! Can I ask where you got it/how you came up with it?

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    1. Thank you so much, Ally. :D
      I love finding unique names. Usually I go to one of two places to search for a name. (If I don't make it up myself.)
      1. http://fantasynamegenerators.com/ -- They have a TON of different names for all sorts of different fantasy creatures, names, and towns.
      2. http://babynamespedia.com/ -- This is where I found Mahati's name, randomly browsing throughout their selections. :p I really like that you can do a 'meaning' search, so if your character has a certain trait or ability you can search that way. (Ex: Brave, Warrior, Song...)

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

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    2. I love finding unique names, too. :-) I usually use these two:
      1. http://www.babynames.com/
      2. http://www.behindthename.com/

      Both of them have meaning searches. :-) I sometimes just use Google Search, though (or Swagbucks search). :-P

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    3. Ooh, thanks for linking to these sites, Faith! :)

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    4. Oooh, yay! I might just have to try these links! I have a hard time coming up with names. I can do it, but they frequently end up sounding the same. :-/ Thank you!!

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  6. Oh, I love this story. Even though this story is really short, I really got to know Mahati. I love how she's so imaginative and she acts so that people don't notice her thieving. Great job, Katie!

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    1. Thank you, Ana! I'm happy with how it turned out. :)

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  7. This is very good, Katie! I love Melati's character, and that you clearly showed her capability and also that she was frightened. I would love to see more of this story. :-)
    (I'll come back and do a more detailed critique later.)

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    1. Whoops. Malati. *facepalms* I spelled it wrong.

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    2. Actually, it's "Mahati." xD Close enough, though.
      Thank you! I'll look forward to reading the critique. I'm planning to get around to it tomorrow. :)

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    3. *smacks forehead* Yeah. That. :-P I knew what it was... I think I used to have a character named Melati, so I automatically typed that. :-P Mahati. *nods* She has a nice name.

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    4. Heh. xD
      Melati is a nice name, too. I like it. :)

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  8. This is fantastic!
    I really like how you were able to create a clear story without it being very long. Mahati is a very neat character, too. I also like the last few lines- it was a perfect way to conclude the story. Although now I am dying to know what happens next! :)
    Great story, Katie!

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    1. Thank you sooo much, Bailey!
      And I'm glad you liked the ending. I was struggling on how to tie it all together, and it's good to know that it turned out. :)

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  9. Oh, I agree with everyone on this! It was so well done, Katie! I especially loved how well you developed Malati's character in those few lines. And oh, may I /pleeaassse/ read the rest of this story??? Please?

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    1. Thank you, Natasha!
      Weeell, I haven't written the rest of the story, but if I ever happen to write it, I'll make sure that you get to read it someday. xD

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    2. Thanks, Katie Grace! I hope that I'll get the chance to! :-D

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  10. Pretty good story! Action-packed and Mahati sounds like such an interesting character. :)Thanks for letting us read your prompt.

    http://teensliveforjesus.blogspot.ru

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  11. Ooh, what an amazing story!! I have all these questions now- in a good way! :o) I would totally read more of this if you continued it :D (Also Mahati is such a cool name :) I love the ending, where it says:
    "In her mind, Mahati was nothing but a musician, her song enjoyed by everyone. She was a girl, searching and yearning for a mother’s love. She was Mahati, serving for a greater cause.
    But in other’s eyes, she was only a thief."
    I was leaning closer towards the computer screen the whole time I was reading this, thinking "Is she going to make it? Are the soldiers going to catch her?"
    Great job!

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    1. Aw, thank you so much, Sierra! Your kind words mean a lot to me.
      Thanks for the awesome prompt, too. :)

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  12. Sorry I didn't read this right away. I do love the idea, though—I really felt concerned for Mahati, and I want to know more. What's the deal with the prince? Is she going to be okay? Either way, this is a great snapshot for us to enjoy. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Heather. :)

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  13. Okay, here's my critique. :-)

    This is very good! The amazing amount of character that you put into such a limited amount of words is stunning.
    One thing I thought was missing was smaller things that always seem to make the story more intense—this is more of a personal preference, but putting things about her head beating, or her breath coming quickly, as well as smaller sounds and smells would be able to make it more real, and more intense.
    I like how Mahati, when pretending to be a musician, and a girl searching for her mother, she wasn’t simply pretending—she actually stepped into the role and thoughtlike that.
    I’m having a hard time actually finding thing to correct in this—it is very good!
    I like that last line. It brings it to sort of conclusion, but with a cliff hanger.
    While reading this I found myself routing for Mahati, and I very much hope she gets out of this.

    That's about it. :-) Keep up the good work!

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    1. Smells. I always seem to forget about adding those in. Thank you for reminding me about that, and the rest of the critique!
      Though, I could also create a group of people in a fantasy world that can't smell, so it'd easily take care of that problem. xD

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    2. xD Yeah, you could do that.

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