Flash Fiction Friday: The Fairy Egg

“Come buy!” the farmer cried, standing in the marketplace. Held outstretched in his weathered hands were fat brown freckled eggs. “Come buy egg with golden yolk, rich and fine for any folk!”

A small girl approached, clutching a fistful of coins. Her bonnet hung around her neck, letting the brilliant sun reveal a face as freckled as the eggs. Her flame-red hair danced freely in the wind. “How much for the eggs, I pray you, sir?”

The farmer eyed the handful of shining coins and smiled. “What a bright and pretty lass you are! But these are fairy eggs, and I’m afraid the cost is more than you can pay.”

The girl’s eyes widened. “Fairy eggs? Oh, how much sir, how much?”

“Twenty pence.”

Crestfallen, the girl opened her hands. “I only have eightpence.”

“Well, for a girl as lovely as you, I can part with one for eightpence.”

Letting out a squeal of delight, the girl cheerily handed over all her coins. The farmer held out his basket, and let her pick the one she wanted.

“An extra-magical choice,” he said, upon her picking up the smallest egg. “Blessings to you, child!”

The girl said, “Thank you, kind sir!” and set of at a run.

Shaking his head and grinning, the farmer gathered his wares into his cart and moved to a different part of the marketplace. The girl made her way to the butchers, where her mother waited while the butcher packaged meat.

“Did you get the two dozen eggs?” her mother asked.

“Much better, mother, I have gotten a fairy egg for only eightpence!” The girl held up the small freckled egg.

Anger blazed in her mother’s eyes. “You’ve been swindled!” Her mother smacked the girl’s hand and the egg fell to the ground, where it cracked and splattered on the cobbles. “Foolish girl! Look, it’s only a small chicken’s egg! I should never have trusted you!” Her mother looked at the butcher. “We shall come back in a few moments—I pray your leave.”

Trying to stifle a smile, the butcher nodded.

Full of upbraidings, the girl’s mother grabbed her by the ear and dragged her across the marketplace, only to find the farmer gone.

“I ought to box your ears!” her mother shouted. “Now what will your brothers and sisters eat?”

Wailing, the girl followed her mother back to the butcher’s.

High in the treetop above the butcher’s cart, hidden by the summer-green leaves, a fairy sat and wept bitterly.

“The Fairy Egg” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.

Constructive criticism welcome in the comments. 

Image courtesy of OpenClipArt.org

Flash Fiction Friday: The Centurion

This man was the Son of God.

The Centurion stood at the foot of the cross, dumbfounded. The words had spilled out of his mouth before he even thought about them. A few members of his century shot him sideways glances, but he could see the fear in their faces just as clearly as he perceived it in his own heart. He felt himself begin to tremble. How many times had he seen death, never once troubled by it? How many times had he overseen the torment that led to the death of criminals and insurgents? This man was different. Why? Why had he forgiven where others condemned? Why had he prayed where others blasphemed?

If this man—this wretched, beaten, whipped man—was the Son of God, then what judgment would fall on their heads for their participation in his death? The Centurion staggered back from the cross a few steps, craning his neck to read the words Pilate had written: Rex Iudaeorum. King of the Jews. From the rumors, Pilate had not even wanted to crucify the man in the first place. Now here the man was, this “King of the Jews,” his body dead and slack. The sky raged. The earth shook.

There could be no question of it. Death and judgment from the heavens would surely fall on the Centurion and his men—this God would strike them down for their crimes against his Son.

Yet no judgment fell. The man’s body was removed from the cross and taken away to be buried.

One of the soldiers, Quintus by name, walked to the Centurion’s side and grimaced. “Son of God, sir? I think not. He is dead. They are carrying him away now as we speak.”

The Centurion’s eyes followed the mourning group of Jews who walked away with the man’s body. “No. That man—that ‘King of the Jews’—he is the Son of God. I am certain of it.”

Quintus scoffed. “Which God, exactly?”

“That,” the Centurion said, glancing up at the clouded and stormy sky, “is what I do not yet know.”

“The Centurion” copyright 2017 by A.L.S. Vossler.

Constructive criticism welcome in the comments.

Image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net