Flash.Fiction: Initiation

I’m a sucker for a sob story, for an underdog. So I knew I had to save this little bear from the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction challenge.

Photo by K.S.Brooks ksbrooks.com

Photo by K.S.Brooks
ksbrooks.com

The prompt is:

The bear in the middle is Ursula. She always felt she was destined for a special purpose – maybe as a gift to a sick child or as a favorite toy.

Though she was passed over again and again, Ursula kept a cheery and hopeful disposition.

But at last a year had gone by since she had been unpacked and shelved. The store manager gathered up the unwanted toys and put them in a bargain bin in an effort to unload them before Valentine’s Day. As the day wore on, every toy was picked except Ursula…

And my response (250 words):

The hope Ursula clung to died as the store manager extinguished the lights and locked up. Today had been her last chance. Now she’d end up in the trash, because seriously, how long could he keep her around?

No one wanted her. Her fur wasn’t the sparkly pink little girls loved, nor was it the blinding white young men chose for their new loves. It was brown, bear brown.

She closed her eyes, wondered how many days she had left. Weariness from the false cheer, from the happy face she’d displayed for so long overtook her and she drifted into hibernation, free from sadness and fear.

“Wake, my sweet girl.”

Eyes blurry with sleep, Ursula didn’t recognize the face or the voice. “What? Who?”

“Artemis, silly bear.” As she leaned over the bin, the woman radiated beauty and power. And goodness. “You didn’t think you were left behind because you’re of no value, did you? I have plans for you, important plans.”

As Artemis lifted Ursula from the bargain bin, the world changed. The store dissolved. They stood amongst ancient ruins, washed white by the sun. Dark blue seas shimmered in the distance.

“Welcome to Brauron,” Artemis said. “You’re needed here. We guide girls on their path to womanhood.”

~ o ~

The next morning, when the store manager opened up, he couldn’t remember who bought that last bear. But never mind, at least he wouldn’t have to throw it in the garbage.

Time to put out the Easter bunnies.

~ o ~

NOTE: If you’re interested, the story of Artemis at Brauron is a historical and mythological one combined.  In ancient Greece, when girls reached puberty, many went through a rite of passage held in honor of Artemis.  You can read more at Wikipedia and Ancient Peoples.  Or just do your own search on “Artemis” and “Brauron”.

NOTE: On Wednesday (February 18th) afternoon, IU opens voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

I’d really really — really —  love it if you’d vote for my entry. No login / user account creation is required to vote.

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