Aphelion Issue 245, Volume 23
November 2019
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Flash Fiction
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The Prince

by Lucy Zhang

So in love with the idea of him, these girls,
as necessitated by the pristine immersion
in their required strife:
Evil ugly stepmother, check. Evil ugly jealous person, check.
Deus ex machina, check. Beauty to conquer all, check.

Oh, it wasn’t as though he was immune,
fluttering eyelashes, faint-headed willow-like structures,
polished nails that should’ve made playing an instrument impossible
yet there she is: a maestro.
Cinderella Sleeping Beauty Snow White Rapunzel
the damsel in distress who at times required him to do all the leg work
at times did everything on her own
tip-toed into his similarly faint heart.

Beauty and he, the Beast made the kind of tale
that erupted his lungs into bleeding laughter–to think
a worthy first time
throwing temper tantrums–as cruel as he desired
so the damsel could play heroine
and then his first face was returned to him, pretty eyes to boot.

It didn’t matter, he supposed
as long as no one ended up
with their eyes plucked out of their skulls
like the hollow skulls of extradimensional princess counterparts.

For his well-kept secret provided an influx of insight

entertainment just as well, he’d seen plenty while dimension leaping:
insomniac Sleeping Beauty, pyromaniac Cinderella,
rape, sodomy, fascinating forms of suicide
(carbon monoxide over and over again, those silly artists).
Twist time and space into a fishtail braid
and he’d be back to his own world,
listening to everyone jabbering about this and that

like the proper prince
held the hands of potential queens
tapping his toes, tipping his wine beer alcohol water beverage
played the love-struck man
wondering what would happen after all this was done
marriage, children, happily ever after into the sunset of bleeding oranges, pinks, greys?

These thoughts buzzed, stinger near his ear,
compelling him to hop world to world
(hopefully not the one with the homicidal Beauty,
he’d like to keep his limbs too)
and honestly, he was far too busy dimension traveling
to consider future-after-marriage anyway.

2019 Lucy Zhang

Lucy is a software engineer at Apple and has a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science. She enjoys watching anime, eating hot pot, and hiking on occasion. She writes poetry and fiction in her spare time and hopes to develop enough patience to finish a book.

Find more by Lucy Zhang in the Author Index.

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