We're about a week away from the one year birthday of this series, and today's story takes us back almost to the beginning. "Birth of a Believer" is set about two or three weeks after the events of "Don't Go Near the Well," as time is reckoned in the human realm.
You don't have to have read that flash fic or be familiar with the Myth and Science universe to understand this flash fiction. However, long time readers may notice a couple easter eggs hidden within.
As always, you can find the audio here.
“They laughed at your Granny for putting out a saucer of milk ‘for the fairies,’ but sometimes the old ways are not without reason.” As she spoke, Mother’s eyes never strayed from the half finished dress she was making, and her needle flashed as it wove over and under the material.
“What does that have to do Uncle Peter and his family?” Penelope asked.
“You know the legend about that well, same as Peter and Rosalind,” Mother said.
Penelope stopped cutting the vegetables for the night’s stew and frowned at her mother. “You’ve always said fairies were nothing but stories,” she said. “Now you’re saying they’re the reason for their disappearance?”
“Skeptic I may be, but I know enough to believe when there’s evidence in front of me.” Mother tied off her work and cut the thread. She picked up the next piece and began pinning it in place.
Still confused but not wanting dinner to be late, Penelope went back to chopping the onion she’d just peeled. The knife had gone dull weeks ago, so she had to be careful, which slowed her down. Father and her older brothers worked so late, she didn’t have the heart to ask one of them to sharpen it, and the thought of scraping it over the whetstone frightened her too much to try it herself.
The blade wobbled and slipped over the onion’s curved edge toward her fingers. Jerking her left hand back, she missed slicing herself by a hair’s breadth. Penelope’s heart thundered in her ears, and she took a shaky breath as she went back to preparing dinner. Maybe sharpening the knife wasn’t so scary an idea after all.
“I wrote to my old friends the day after we got word they were missing,” Mother continued once he fabric was secured. “A couple of their boys said Isaac had dared little Mary to sit inside the fairy ring the day before.” She tutted and shook her head. “The police dismissed it as childish foolishness, but that’s no coincidence, I tell you.”
“Don’t you ‘mother’ me, young lady,” Penelope’s mother snapped.
Penelope jumped at her sharp tone and sat the knife down beside the cutting board. She didn’t dare talk back as she scooped the slices of onion up and dumped them in the pot.
“Your great-great-grandfather was warned never to return to that well,” Mother continued. “He signed an agreement with Queen Mab herself that any within the house forfeited their freedom if any of his household did so. Peter knew that. Rosalind knew that. Mother made sure of it!”
Penelope’s heart clenched as she watched her mother’s expression turn sad. Her mother sighed and returned to sewing the sleeves onto the dress she was making.
“But time makes fools of us all,” she murmured.
Penelope’s attention slid from her mother to the collection of her Granny’s books on the shelf beyond. She chewed her bottom lip as an idea began forming in the back of her mind.
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me" and "Culture Shock." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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