It was called the Golden City for two reasons. The first being, quite reasonably, the fact that it was the wealthiest city in the land, both in knowledge and coin. The second was rather less subtle.

The Palace was gold.

It wasn’t actually entirely gold, in the sense that it most assuredly was not made from the precious metal, but it was painted and decorated, dressed up with just enough real gold in the gilt veined white marble that it shone out like the giant, garish monstrosity it was. Golden archways, windows adorned with golden latticework, golden painted turrets. The Palace grounds themselves were encased in golden fencing, huge golden lions guarding glimmering gates of yet more gold.

It dripped from from every corner, oozing wealth and prosperity. The magnificent fountains at the entranceway looked as though they were spewing molten gold themselves, so was the reflection shimmering in the rippling water. As though you could run your fingers through it and claim it for your own, only to face the disappointment of watching clear water seep through your fingers. A trick, a con, so like everything else in this city. So like all the merchants and nobles who came here, desperately grasping for more.

It was a dazzling sight to see though, perched there in the middle of the city, especially on a bright summer day such as this. It gleamed and glowed, like a beacon alerting all to its presence, set on higher ground than the surrounding buildings, making it seem that much larger and more imposing. You could see it no matter where in the city you stood, reflecting light like a radiant aura.

It was grand. It was spectacular. It was utterly, and completely… awful.

It would blind you, this hideous display of wealth. Either from the glinting, golden rays of light reflecting from the Palace, leaving your eyes aching from the glow. Or the common misconception that you should always be grasping for that gold yourself. It pierced the mind, addled your wits, that chase for grandeur.

And Wil despised it.

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Fuji
Fuji (@fuji)
1 month ago

Great story, Emily. I’m usually not one to want to know more about a flash fiction story, being content to make up various back stories or continuations. But this one! You had me mesmerized with the descriptions of the hideous gold city, and for once, I want to know more. Is “Wil” by any chance the same Wilhelmine in your serpent story from a while back? I remembered her name, and noticed the one “l” in the golden story character’s name. Must be a woman, I thought, and then remembered your glorious heroine of the serpent story. Can’t wait to hear more about all this, should you wish to continue!

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

Fantastic piece of writing, Emily, your descriptions of the city transport me there. Can’t wait to read the entire story when it’s finished. I loved Wil in your earlier story. Looking forward to finding out why she despises the city.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
30 days ago

Wow Emily, my eyes ached from visualising all that glistening gold you so wonderfully describe. I’m actually with Wil on this one! That palace is indeed a monstrosity. You have set the story up so well and I look forward to learning more about Wil’s adventures within the Golden City.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
30 days ago

Hello, Emily. Your story is so dazzling and intriguing. And your description of the golden city is amazing and stunned me. I look forward to knowing why Wil despises the golden city. Great story about the theme (color).

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
28 days ago
Reply to  Emily O'Leary

You’re most welcome.

Annyball Pencil
Annyball Pencil (@annyball-pencil)
22 days ago

I don’t often admit it, but I love stories with satisfying last words. This is a clear picture of such stories. You’ve woven the Golden City deep into my mind. I could smell the city, even taste it. Then you did something I never expected: smashed that beauty with just one sentence. Truly magnificent!

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