This year, we're expecting the unexpected for the independence Day Flash Fiction Blogfest. I just found out about this one too, but I thought it would be fun to practice some flash fiction. Not one of my specialties. I write epic fantasy, remember? I actually wrote out two and was hoping to get to a third because they weren't great... but you know how life goes. If you're interested in reading the other entrees, run to Ali's dojo!
The flames licked the cooking pot, weaving fantastical stories before Laina's eyes. She could have watched them play all night, but she had work to do, late as it was. She let her eyes drift back to the clothes she had spent the last hour scrubbing. Her hands stung from the boiling water, but her master didn't like spots and she didn't like the whippings that came if she left spots. The burns hurt less.
The thought was motivating. She picked up a soiled tunic, dunked it in the bucket of soapy water, then began scraping it against the rough rungs of the wash basin.
An unexpected thud brought her to her feet. It was well after midnight. No one in the house was awake but her. She clung to the dripping shirt as the sound came a second time. It was more distinct and accompanied the clash of metal.
Laina began to shake. Had marauders come to rob her master? If anything was stolen she'd get the blame. If the robbers didn't leave her for dead.
A loud wallop against the door made her jump. It shook against its frame until another loud thwack sent splinters soaring across the kitchen. Several men dressed in knights' livery entered the room, her master dangling between them.
"This your master, girl?"
Always honest, she stammered, "Yes,"
The knight turned to her master. "It's the king's punishment for you." Then he turned to Laina and smiled. "Your honesty has earned you independence."