Don’t Ever Leave Naporia (flash fiction)

Here’s a piece of fantasy flash fiction about a magical town and the threat of modern society. It’s about 740 words and has an estimated reading time of 3 minutes. Let me know what you think!

Naporia was a strange town.

The town’s two hundred or so residents weren’t allowed to ever leave. The town sat nestled in a valley between the tall mountains; the climate was perfect. The people of Naporia had everything they needed to survive.

Legends developed about the town: that it was really a kind of Garden of Eden, a bucolic and beautiful place where no one had to worry about anything. But the people didn’t know any other way of life, so perhaps they didn’t know how good they had it.

That’s why everyone was so shocked when Evarius, a young resident, escaped and went missing. His parents – Solina and Dillian – were heartbroken, but they were also aghast he would do such a thing. Why leave paradise?

One sunny afternoon, Solina packed her things in the cottage. Dillian watched her determined face and began to worry.

“Where do you think you’re going?” he demanded.

“I’ve had enough!” Solina shouted. “I’m going to find our son.”

“But … that’s forbidden. Evarius broke the golden rule; he left. Who knows what’s happened to him? Do you want to end up like him?”

Solina pushed past him through the cottage door. “I don’t care anymore. And besides, you should be joining me. Our Evarius is out there in the valley somewhere, maybe in trouble. I have to find him.”

Dillian let out a worried sigh. “Fine. Go ahead. But we don’t know what things creep and crawl in the valley. No one knows. You’re going at your own peril.”

A light breeze blew as the sun shone; it was always perfect weather in Naporia. Salina had packed extra clothes, rations, and everything she would need.

She walked through the town with purposeful strides. People watched her in a mixture of disgust, curiosity, and amazement. Did this woman really dare leave the town that no one ever leaves? Would she dare chance it?

Salina arrived at the edge of Naporia’s town limits and halted. It seemed that some type of force field pulled her back, and she tried to walk through. She pushed through it with effort, then fell forward on her face.

Outside Naporia’s limits, things were strange. She saw shining lights in the distance and tall buildings near the foot of the mountains. The weather was colder, so she put on extra garments to stay warm.

She had a weird feeling – that she’d almost stepped forward in time, that perhaps Naporia was more magical than she thought.

Salina traveled through the valley toward the shining lights. By the time she reached them, she became even more confused. Large roadways connected to the strange place and fast vehicles zoomed by. Up in the air, she saw things flying through the sky like gigantic mechanical birds.

She entered this town by traveling along the stretch of road and made it there before dawn. The people there wore strange, tight-fitting clothes and finagled with handheld devices. Everywhere, there were large signs with confusing messages, some of them with bright, colorful lights.

“Mother?” came a voice.

She looked and saw a young man who resembled her son, but not quite. His clothes were all different – not the tunics and colorful cloth pants of Naporia residents. His beard was gone, and he sipped from a cup that said “Starbucks.”

“Evarius?” she asked. “What is this place?”

“It’s modern society, mother. It’s a city.”

“Has this always been here?”

“Yes. I know it must be a shock, coming from Naporia. But, see, there was nothing to fear by leaving Naporia. Everything is fine here – it’s much better.”

Salina had to sit down to take everything in. Everything moved so fast! She longed to be back in her bucolic town.

“Evarius, no! You have to come back. This isn’t your home.”

“This is my home now, mother. The city.”

Salina stayed for another hour talking with her son but eventually decided to turn back and return to Naporia. Evarius refused to go with her.

But at the end of her journey back, she couldn’t find her town. She traveled up and down the valley, but there was no trace of Naporia.

She sat in the valley as the sun set and wept. They’d warned her to never leave, and, as she cried, she wondered about the magic of Naporia.

In the end, was the town just a figment of her imagination?

The End

(Photo by Darcey Beau on Unsplash)

4 thoughts on “Don’t Ever Leave Naporia (flash fiction)

  1. Dave Williams September 19, 2021 / 11:34 am

    Good story, Nick. I like how you flipped the typical scenario of a character leaving a city and going to a magical place. Salina could’ve seen the city as magical, with wondrous things, if she didn’t see it as so scary. Which sounds like that was Evarius’s reaction. An open-minded guy.

    • Nick Pipitone September 19, 2021 / 11:48 am

      Thanks, Dave 🙂 When I was down in TN recently, it got me thinking about growing up in a small town and moving to a big city. It’s a big deal for some people.

  2. Terveen Gill September 21, 2021 / 5:50 am

    I love this.
    The twist at the end is wonderful.
    Finding that warmth of home again is so important. 🙂

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