Wednesday, August 18, 2021

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff #flashfiction

#WEP 2021 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH! #wepff

SEVEN by J Lenni Dorner

The mighty leader enters to horns and cheers. His golden, bejeweled crown is nested atop his head today. He tucks his dark cloak behind him as he takes his spot on the soft, elevated great-chair. 

"Bring forth the flowers and sweet fruits," he commands. A muffled laugh rolls through the crowd. "And dim the light. There's no need for us to smell or see them this well."

Once the Great Hall is satisfactory, the large doors are opened and seven enter.

The crowd steps back as they hold each other and whisper. The leader waves his hand for silence. "As I am so magnanimous, I have granted Freedom of Speech to our guests today. These seven have been chosen by their own to speak for them. No repercussions shall come from what they say here today."

The tallest of the seven moves forward, a sashay in his step, perhaps because that is his walk, or perhaps because the beatings made him unable to move any other way. Scars make his facial features almost unrecognizable. 

"You grant us the freedom to speak as we please? You're givin' something we always had, until you took it."

The crowd gasps. The leader nods. "It was the only way to assimilate you. And see? You have learned proper language, even if you have yet to master it. You are most welcome."

"I wasn't offerin' thanks. We had language without you."

The leader motions for his cup. "We can cancel this invitation, if you wish. There is no obligation on your part to speak here today."

"We want to know when you're all leaving?"

The leader holds his cup to his lips. "Leaving? We have no such intention. This is our home now."

"This land is our home. Always was. And will be again, when you shuffle off." The other six clap and cheer.

"I have generously given you homes to live in, the food in your bellies, the clothing on your bodies, and the words that fall from your mouths. Remember that."

"Nah. We lived here before you came. We had nicer homes, better food, more suitable clothing, and the words of our own people. You took what isn't yours."

"We have given more than we have taken." The leader drinks his fragrant drink, allowing the nectar to coat his tongue. He knows the fruit, the spices, and even the vessel in which it was made just by a sip. "You had no idea what your land could yield."

"You've no idea about the land. It's ruined for what grew here. Five species are dead. You brought new bugs and there's nothing to fight them."

The leader slams his cup on the arm of his chair. "We save lives with our ways! We've brought knowledge beyond yours."

"How would you know?" The scarred one laughs. "None of you ever asked what we know. Based on how you live here, we know a lot you don't. You bring ways to fight the sick you brought. Our kind and yours both die from our sick now. We didn't back when the cure grew regular. But instead, you make your drink. And you'll drink it to all our graves." 

535 words FCA

Who are the seven for you? Native Americans in the past? Citizens of Afghanistan now? Creatures of a fantasy world? What if it's your people and the mighty leader is a space alien? 

What would you do if you became like one of the seven?
Check out the other flash fiction entries here. 


  1. Great post. And questions at the end. It reminded me of Native American in the past, but it could also be the citizens of Afghanistan or other countries in more recent history.

  2. So powerful! My first thought was of the Indigenous cultures of North America but this could be so many places in humanity's past and present. Potentially future as well, although I hold out hope that we're learning.

  3. Past, present, future, it's a never ending cycle. Now done with new and 'better' sounding terminology, but it's still just 'sh..' wrapped in gold.

  4. I thought of the Inuit culture ... but we need to learn so much from our indigenous friends - they have much to teach us ... and we need to think at least seven generations ahead. An important post for us - Hilary

  5. A thought-provoking post and a great take on this challenge.

  6. Thanks for the WEP post. A reminder of history that does seem to repeat in spite of all the rhetoric about wanting peace and equality. One tribe takes over another as far back as history takes us. Huge sigh here.

  7. Hi,
    In every corner of the world, there are people who are being redistributed to other places, or leaving their homelands because of war or hunger. Your post applies to all who have had to escape or put up with the tyranny of man.
    Shalom aleichem

  8. For me the seven could be my ancestors in India, or in Africa, or in the Americas, any or all those who have been dispossessed by the arrogance and greed of outsiders. A very powerful and moving flash and a brilliant take on the prompt.

  9. This made me think of many from history. India before independence, America as you say, Australia, Afghanistan now..really so relatable to so many cultures. A great entry.

  10. There is a long, bloody history of colonization. Colonizers tend to think they know everything and disregard the knowledge the people already living there possess. It looks like it might end badly if the leader chooses not to listen.

  11. Hi J Lenni. This reminds me of how white society takes over a black society and treads over the cultural ways and the growing of crops which has gone on for centuries. Much like the white settlers in Australia who chased the First Peoples away (and shot and poisoned them) then proceeded to farm with their English methods cutting down the trees and razing the land which is revered by the First Peoples. Drought and bushfires followed of course.

    Don't get me started on Afghanistan and the Great White Leaders who have abandoned those poor people to the Taliban slaughterhouse. Even God will shut his eyes. (Oh, naughty me, I just practised freedom of speech!)

  12. Oh and to me the 7 could be the G7.

  13. Excellent story! I did get a very Native American feel, but also alien. It's how history circles round, repeating itself.

  14. My first thought was of a fantasy world but now I agree with the other commentators - it could be anywhere in this world of ours - shame on us.

  15. A wake up call. Oh the arrogance of mankind. The conquerer must always feel he/she is better than the conquered - but clearly the only way forward is in collaboration, humbleness and a willingness to learn from and respect for one another. Well written. Thank you.

  16. Your clever tale reminds of the days of colonial imperialisms. Yet, given how selective you were in revealing details about the ruler, or the people who serve under him, it could be anywhere, or any time. Well done.

  17. Thanks JL for this travel in time. Atmosphere, language, exchanges all transport me back….like opening a historical atlas. Well done.

  18. Is that what they call fantasy realism? Because it seems very plausible.

  19. What a wonderful entry. Granted the freedom to speak just this once? And the things he says. This was a fascinating read.


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