The Jellyfish Princess

Martha Lane

I told Izzy Mum was the Jellyfish Queen, that they’d carried her off on their gummy-bear backs. Every night, under scrunched covers, I whispered stories of fish-scale freckles, seaweed plaits, her crown of seashells and pearls. I whispered the rules of the Jellyfish Kingdom, that once you were Queen you couldn’t return.

Izzy believed every word.

Dad said I mustn’t blame myself when Izzy was dragged from the water, her body a lionfish now. She’d spotted the bloom from our perch on the rocks. Said they would take her to Mum. Smiling, dived in.

I should’ve whispered that tentacles sting.

This story won the People’s Prize vote in the July 2021 Monthly Micro Fiction Competition.

About the author: Martha Lane is a writer by the sea. Her flash has been published by Sledgehammer, Perhappened, Bandit, Reflex Fiction, Briefly Zine, and Ellipsis among others. Balancing too many projects at once is her natural state. Tweets @poor_and_clean.