No Exceptions


The mood of the encampment shifted as a scout brought in a whimpering Regarian. Jena flinched inwardly, but the healer in her stayed professional. “Is it the parasite?” she asked as the scout helped him onto a cot.

He pulled off his boot. The all-too familiar silvery growth enveloped most of the Regarian’s foot but the lack of smell told Jena it was still possible to save him.

“Please,” he whimpered. “Don’t let me die.”

Jena sighed. “You’ll have to follow our rules. That includes regular usufruit consumption.”

He wrinkled his nose but nodded. “Do I have to swear loyalty?”

“No, but if you don’t cooperate with the medicinal regimen you’ll have to leave. No exceptions.”

Another healer handed him a bowl full of mush made from the pungent fruit. Jena touched her bracelet and turned away. What would Joya say if she could see her treating a Regarian?

It didn’t matter. She hadn’t seen her sister in months, not since she refused to touch the fruit.


“Do what you want, little sis,” Joya had said. “But getting us to eat that nasty fruit is all part of a plot to make us weak.”

“That makes no sense. People have eaten the fruit long before the silver-death. Just not that much of it.”

“If you buy into that Regarian fiction about the silver-death, it just lets them know you’re easier to control,” Joya scoffed.

“The silver-death doesn’t care if you’re Regarian or Dyronese. Think, Joya! If the fruit doesn’t work, the worst that will happen is we’ve eaten smelly fruit and have bad gas. Think of what you risk by not eating it.”

“I risk nothing. I have my strength and the strength of our ancestors. Don’t worry, sis. I’ll leave without a fuss. And when I return, I’ll have stories of battles, and a new bracelet for you.”


Neither Jena nor the other healers showed a sign of the silver death, despite treating dozens of patients with them. The fruit purged all but the direst cases of growth. She hoped she’d see Joya at the end of all this. But for now, she had her wits and her ancestors' instincts of survival. That was, hopefully, enough.




Photo by Jed Owen on Unsplash


Song Choice: Stay Alive from Hamilton

This flash fiction piece was created as a response to the prompt given for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings post, Writing as a Metaphor for Living. The words I used were mood, plot, and fiction.

25 comments:

  1. Terrific in its own right, and also as an allegory. If only those who need it would get this message!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is incredibly riveting, Rommy!💝 There is a moral here that needs to be widespread.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You tell it like it is, Rommy! Although it is written in the third person, the story is firmly told from Jena’s perspective. Your description of Jena is so human in the sentence: ‘Jena flinched inwardly, but the healer in her stayed professional.’ I don’t know what’s worse, a virus you can’t see or sense in any way or a parasite that causes a silvery growth that smells and can only be treated with a smelly fruit.
    I looked up usufruit and was surprised to see that the word exists. It’s not a fruit! It’s legal thing like a trust that allows an individual to give the freehold of a property to an individual but allows someone else (a life tenant) to use the property during their lifetime. That made me smile.
    I love Jena’s reply to Joya: “Think, Joya! If the fruit doesn’t work, the worst that will happen is we’ve eaten smelly fruit and have bad gas. Think of what you risk by not eating it.”

    ReplyDelete
  4. How relevant is a tale like this as we see some nations and states all over the world failing to sensibly battle the Corona virus.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The real hero resides in us all. Could we all be like Jena, a wonderful world results
    Happy Wednesday

    Much💙love

    ReplyDelete
  6. A brilliant bit of flash fiction!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Joyas of the world fill me with both sadness and frustration. Ignorance, suspicion (even if justified), and the old I-know-better syndrome claim so many lives all the time. It makes no sense. What's the harm in doing something the doesn't hurt if it might save lives?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just finished reading this, and in your voice too! All in my mind of course. Not aloud lol ;). It was beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the worlds you build. Your dreams must be all dragons and magic! Jena..a woman of faith, Joya...a warrior. I want to see more of these characters.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A healer and a warrior, battling the same world in a different way. A science fiction story.
    I also read two different points of view as an allegorical tale. Both interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  11. A story for our time! Now, if only such a fruit were available for those stricken with Covid-19.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Interesting metaphor. Where can I find this fruit? And...what's with the bracelet?

    ReplyDelete
  13. A clever parallel to our times. Gas is a small price to pay...

    ReplyDelete
  14. Mirrors our times perfectly! Will there be a brutal second wave and will there still be naysayers...???!

    ReplyDelete
  15. So many takeaways from your piece, Rommy. But how well it depicts the ills of our times! So cleverly captured.

    ReplyDelete
  16. So are you telling me Regarians had Covid 19 or something like that before us? Oops! I just noticed MMT suggested something similar!

    ReplyDelete
  17. A well-written piece that has significant symbolism in it. Well-done!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Enjoyed this very much; the story and the metaphor alike.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Fruit and masks--sigh--if only those who needed to could read this--wonderfully told!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Powerful and relevant. Good piece.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Fantastic story. Will there be a Part 2?

    I love the photo. It makes me hungry for something covered in powdered sugar. A fig, I think.

    ReplyDelete