A Tale of Three Friends

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
A long time ago, in a lonely forest, lived three unlucky friends.

Vanished into the land of the lost souls, they were outcasts left to perish—left with nothing but regret and anguish.

It was written that they would live to face a thousand torments in solitude, but they made their way to each other against all odds, against all ends.

They were three friends, three brave souls, in this story that never ends.

"Have you heard of me?" asked Arrogance.

"Ours is a lovely story," said Innocence.

"Listen," said Patience.

This is the story of three hearts that once were broken—born with the desperation to belong in a world that showed no compassion, they faced rejection before they could prove their worth.

Arrogance was despised, for no wisdom could ever come from someone so fearsome and ambitious as him.

Innocence was forgotten. Left behind by those who claimed adoration for her, but ended up turning their hearts to aggression. She became a ghost, lost in sorrow and fear, full of pure memories, and weak.

Patience was thrown away—left to her own survival because there was no place for someone who'd rather endure than slay.

They were the fallen and the beaten, the hidden and the forgotten. Their liberty was stolen, hunted by the past of dreams unspoken, but in their grief, they found a home.

Together they enlightened their hearts. Fears, there were none.

"We don't need anybody," said Arrogance.

"We'll be together forever," said Innocence.

"Wait," said Patience.

Years passed, and the three friends stood together, growing clever in each adventure, fiercer than any soldier, and louder than any monster—such strange spirits that fate chose as their victims, but there was no doubt about their power.

Patience strengthened Arrogance. Arrogance inspired Innocence, and Innocence comforted Patience.

Their difference was their balance.

One of the friends even used to write poems about them—about all the battles they conquered since they were cast away, and the secrets they used to say. Her tender words spoke from a sincere heart, but she forgot that for love there is a price to pay—trust you must give away.

And soon, the friends remembered the ache of betrayal.

One of them found a way out of the forest, a secret gate back to the land of the greatest, but to cross it he had to abandon his dearest possession—the friends who took the ambition out of his heart and defiled it with affection.

Arrogance made his decision.

"Promise me you'll stay," begged Innocence.

"I don't believe in promises," said Arrogance.

"Let go," said Patience.

Innocence ran after Arrogance, but the farther he went, the more dangerous he became.

He was overwhelmed with disdain, and the forest got poisoned with deadly anger. The branches shattered with the weight of a hatred unknown. The flowers turned into stone, and the clouds were filled with thunder for the one who desired a throne of his own.

A fighter turned into a traitor. A friend turned into a stranger.

Innocence begged him with horror to remember the life they built together—a treasure too precious to lose. Her fragile pleas made Arrogance doubt, but it wasn't enough to change his mind. For no good could ever come from someone so proud.

Afraid to show weakness, Arrogance became heartless. He gave up all his memories of a selfless love and replaced them with bitterness. The cruelest words he said—worthless lies that buried the regret he truly felt.

That night, Arrogance made Innocence cry.

And for the first time, Patience couldn't mend her heart. She was frightened by a resentment too terrible to deny.

For their home was destroyed, and the three friends were lost.

"We gave you everything," said Innocence.

"That was never enough," said Arrogance.

"Forgive," said Patience.

This is the story of three unlucky friends in a lonely world.

They are not together anymore, but you can hear them still in the forest where they are no more.

It is haunted by their ghosts, where their sorrows will live forevermore, and if you wander there for too long, you'll hear them say once more.

"I love you," said Innocence.

"Goodbye," said Arrogance.

"I'm sorry," said Patience.