The Furious Fiction March competition again lent itself to a Gretchen’s (Mis)Adventures inspired story. Or maybe my head is just too full of the series to see past her? In any case this piece was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it.
READY FOR THIS MONTH’S CRITERIA? IT’S TIME TO PLAY “PERSON, PLACE, OBJECT”:
- Your story must include a PERSON IN DISGUISE.
- Your story must take place in a PARK.
- Your story must include a MIRROR.
His Highness, the Frog
“I can’t believe I agreed to this. There’s no way a toad will fall for this,” Gretchen flicked the plumes tied to her pointed hat.
“Hush,” Nora snatched her hand to stillness. “If we stand any chance of catching it, you need to shut your trap.”
Gretchen ground her teeth and drew a sharp breath through her nose. They’d been lying in the stinking muck for hours. If there was a giant toad hiding in the Baron’s parklands, she’d wager it was further into the reedy marsh.
Nora tilted the small mirror to flicker light across the water and Gretchen suppressed a groan.
“Where did you hear about that, anyhow? Those slimy things spend most of their time hiding from the sun.”
The murky water lurched, and a brown shape disrupted the surface.
“Gotcha.” Nora sprang forward in an undignified splash, raking hands through ripples fanning out.
The water stirred by Gretchen’s knees and she snatched the slimy creature from the sticky mess at her submerged feet. She held it aloft, victorious, and shrieked as it wriggled in her grasp. Nora rolled over in the mire, her eyes widening at a spot behind Gretchen.
“And what have we here?”
Gretchen turned with her squirming quarry to stare up at the Master of the Hunt sitting astride his sleek horse.
“You know it’s a grievous crime to pilfer from the Baron’s lands?” His mouth twisted in a contemptuous grimace.
“It’s a toad.” Gretchen lifted her chin. “I doubt the Baron wants its legs for his breakfast.”
“The Baron cares for all the creatures under his wardship.”
“Tell that to the deer,” Gretchen muttered.
Nora splashed out of the water and stood by the horse with her hands on her hips. “Here, now. As part of his Lordship’s household, I have the right—”
“Hand over the toad.” He held out a gauntleted hand and rolled his eyes.
Gretchen’s eyes flickered to Nora, and she swallowed. Wading out of the mud, she squeezed the toad’s belly, and as she held it up to the Master of the Hunt, a wet gurgle erupted over his boots.
“Filthy creature,” he hissed, recoiling. “Toss it back into that swamp or I’ll lock you both in the dungeons.”
Gretchen schooled her face to calm and tossed the toad over her shoulder with a wet splash. “We witches have a civil duty, you see. Can’t have a toad with a bellyache on the Baron’s lands. Not that your sort cares for such lowly creatures, but even the smallest—”
The Master of the Hunt turned his horse and launched off, bending to wipe the muck off his boot. Nora scrambled in his wake to sift through the sticky mess on the ground and held a small stone to the light, grinning.
“A fair-sized toadstone, if I do say so myself.”
“So, should we split the proceeds with the Baron?”
“Pah,” Nora waved an arm. “If he wants one, he can come catch one himself.”
So there’s Furious Fiction March done.
And this story will feature in a future episode of Gretchen’s (Mis)Adventures. If you’d like to score a free copy to read the whole thing, get in touch. As soon as its ready I’ll send one your way.
As always, I encourage those who haven’t tried out Furious Fiction to sign up here. It is completely free to enter and there’s a great community around it who spend the weekend cheering each other on.
Or to check out last months Gretchen story *With another bonus offer* click here.