Microfiction Writing Contest, Round One

I entered myself into another NYC Midnight microfiction writing challenge. Today was Round One, and my group was assigned the following guidelines:

Genre: Fairy Tale/Fantasy

Action to include: Squatting

Word to include: Pile

The story must be 100 words or less. I wrote three potential stories, then selected one to submit. The remaining two stories I am sharing below; I will share the one I submitted after Round One results are in.


The fireflies came, one by one, settling in the rafters of the farmhouse. It didn’t take Old Gan long to realize they weren’t fireflies after all, but something more intelligent– more human-like– though small and difficult to see by daylight. But the evidence of their presence was more discernible: nests of straw arranged for beds; new piles of detritus swept into the corners every morning; and every morning a single gold coin placed carefully on Gan’s bedside table, though he never caught them in the act. Well, so long as they paid, perhaps they weren’t squatters after all…



Yesterday, he had been a mighty king, reveling in his wealth and power. He had believed himself infallible, invincible, indomitable. That was before the impossible happened: a magic ring, a genie, a single wish, and a big mistake. 

“I wish to understand my people.”

That’s how he’d come to his present state, clothed in rags, squatting behind a pile of rubbish to evade his own former guards who’d caught him “trespassing” on the castle grounds. He prayed to the gods for deliverance, vowing henceforth to work for the people instead of himself.

Assuming, of course, that he was still King.

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