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The Star Thief

by DerekH 

Posted: 28 September 2004
Word Count: 147
Summary: For this weeks word challenge "enchanted". I didn't have much time so it's a bit of a silly one...

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The Star Thief

We are bound for grandfather’s cottage, far away in the northeast of this land. We began our journey when the sun was high. Now the sun is gone, and we travel under a blanket sky of deepest blue. This dreaming sky frightens me. No stars hang in the heavens. How can this be so?

Ahead I spy the answer; the glowing citadel. Its myriad towers loom, encrusted with stars; sparkling flowers stolen from god’s celestial garden. Such a fearful place, some spires ablaze, blinding orange and yellow; some so lofty they are lost amidst the poison cloud. Here the Enchantress dwells. We must not steer too close.

“Father, we must take another path, I fear we may be too near the castle gates.”

“Derek, grow up and shut up…it’s the chemical works!”

Too late, he is already under her spell…all is lost.

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Comments by other Members

Milou at 19:25 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Great Derek - once again you get humour and pathos in a very short piece. I loved the last line especially - despite our illusions being burst the narrator is still enchanted. Excellent.


Dee at 19:58 on 28 September 2004  Report this post

Derek, this MUST go in the FF collection. I love it!

I don’t know how well you know the Dales? In Upper Wharfedale, between Grassington and Kettlewell, there is a stone quarry which in daylight is an abomination… but at night… it’s like a fairytale castle… are we thinking about the same place???



forgot to say - I love the title


ShayBoston at 20:33 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Excellent, Derek. As Dee says, one for the book. A like the way 'young Derek' is totally unfazed by his Father's comment and continues his fantasy game.


Ashman at 20:45 on 28 September 2004  Report this post

Painted some wonderful pictures and had me so engrossed with the excellent descriptions that the twist couldn’t help but draw a smile to my face.

I’ve read a fair few pieces of work on here, but really felt the need to comment on this. Well done.

DerekH at 20:55 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Hi Em/Dee/Shay, Really glad you liked it. Thank you ...

Dee, The fairytale citadel is based on a real place, that sounds similar to the one you mentioned, but I can't remember where it was.... and it's drivin' me mad!


DerekH at 20:58 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Thanks Ashman, It's great to get such good comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it.



crowspark at 21:20 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Hi Derek, an enchanting piece - love those last two lines.


Dee at 21:24 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Hi Derek,

I don’t know where you are in Yorkshire & Humberside but the place I mentioned is on the road from Skipton to Kettlewell - between Rylstone (of WI fame) and Threshfield, if my memory is correct.

You have to drive past in the dark to get the full effect!


anisoara at 22:59 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Derek -- This is clever! Love it. I had all but forgotten how a chemical plant can look at night. I remember driving into West Virginia at night, passing the DuPont factory in Charleston, and it looked just like that - a fairy castle stuck with a million stars. The only time it could ever look beautiful.

Well done.


DerekH at 23:02 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Hi Bill, Glad you liked it. Thank you.

Dee, I don't live near there...but I might drive over that way and have a look sometime...

DerekH at 23:10 on 28 September 2004  Report this post
Thank you Ani, Yes they can look amazing can't they... when I tried to think of an enchanted looking place I'd seen, it popped straight into my head.



scottwil at 07:10 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Very funny. I love the double gag ending. Chemically induced possibly?


Account Closed at 09:15 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
I used to live near one of these and they are fascinating beasts - you described it very well.

It don't smell like no Enchantress's palace though!

I also liked the fact that his father didn't managed to break the spell.


bjlangley at 11:14 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
This is fantastic Derek, and on a second reading I really got the voice and was right there with them on the adventure.

The only minor picky points I can come up with are:

Do you need the capitals in Chemical Works?

The comma in the first line, would it add to the effect of the piece if it were a semi-colon?

Perhaps drop the comma in the second line here: "gone, and"

and the one in the fathers speech here: "grow up, and shut up"

All the best,


DerekH at 11:39 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Hi Ben, Thanks.

I'm scared to put semi-colons in, after Dee gave me a proper whipping for using them in another piece ;)...(I was gonna go through to see if I could strip some out to be honest:)But I agree, I think it would work there...

One thing you are definitely right about is the comma in the fathers dialogue...it would read much better without.

I put the comma after "gone" to pace the sentence the way it seemed right to me...I guess it didn't flow for you??

I'm not sure about chemical works...I was just trying to show it was the name given to the place...I guess I didn't need the capitals though?

Great feedback Ben...I need it if I'm going to get this stuff print-worthy.



anisoara at 12:35 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Naw, you don't need capitals for the chemical works unless it's the Dupont Chemical Works or something like that, ie, the proper name.

DerekH at 15:48 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Thanks Sion, Don't know about chemically induced...but Australian Shiraz induced yes...always!

Elspeth, Yes...all that gltters...and so on. Thanks for reading.

Ani, Thanks for putting me straight, I was unsure because it was almost a proper name...a given name maybe... but you and Ben are right, I will change that.



Dee at 16:04 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Derek - less is more. A semi-colon is a comma with a zit. With very few exceptions they're only good for making smilies.


DerekH at 16:23 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Ben started it ;)


Please tell me if there are still too many commas with zits Dee... I threw a load of 'em out, but there's still a couple o' hangers-on.

Dee at 16:41 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
That’s fine, Derek… but, now that you can do punctuation, you really must learn how to spell it. ;)


DerekH at 16:47 on 29 September 2004  Report this post
Oooh you're BAD...


I had a go at fixing up "The Bubbling Mirror" too... (I'm terrified of hitting the wrong key now!)

Anj at 09:48 on 01 October 2004  Report this post

I love the way the fairytale language lets us know that the narrator fancies himself a knight astride a proud steed, and your description of the odd beauty of a chemical works. But for me the killer line is "Too late, he is already under her spell…all is lost.", that he still insists on believing it.


Take care

DerekH at 00:13 on 02 October 2004  Report this post
Hi Andrea, thanks for the great comments. I'm really glad it all came across the way I intended.



Kal at 19:21 on 04 October 2004  Report this post

I'm a huge fantasy fan, my favorite being Raymond E feist. I really thought i was at the beginning of this wonderful, magical quest. The language was enchanting. Then those last two lines. Absolutely killer. It really made me laugh.



DerekH at 19:31 on 04 October 2004  Report this post
Thanks Kal, It's so good to get a comment like that. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading...



roger at 10:21 on 07 October 2004  Report this post
High Derek...I love the way you produce lovely, flowery, literary prose, then take the piss out of it. Something you can only get away with if you can REALLY write in a genuinely literary style, which you can.

DerekH at 10:59 on 07 October 2004  Report this post
Thank you Roger, Wow...I honestly don't think I deserve so much, but I can't say I mind getting that kind of praise.



jewelsx at 02:41 on 24 January 2005  Report this post

I was just trawling through the archives and came across your work, very interesting piece of flash fiction.


I am off to search if you have any more.

Tuppence at 17:25 on 06 February 2005  Report this post
no1 steals my stars
they are luminous on my ceiling so i can look at them every night
every1 is dedicated
every1 should have a star & an angel & i not cranky
nice 1

DerekH at 09:35 on 07 February 2005  Report this post

Thanks for reading.


DerekH at 09:39 on 07 February 2005  Report this post
Tuppence, Thanks for reading...glad you liked it...at least I think you did.


Neezes at 23:40 on 17 September 2010  Report this post
Funny, nice use of narrator's perspective.

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