Kalin rubbed his hands together. “Grandfather, it’s cold.”
The head crowned with long white hair nodded. “Yes. And we must hurry.” He struggled up the hill, staff in hand.
Kalin scurried after, panting for breath. “Grandfather, you should be home! Father put you in my care!”
“I’m sure he did. He delayed me too long.” The old man hauled himself over one last ledge. “Here. We must unbury the dead one.” He poked a snow-covered mound with his staff. “Dig, Kalin. Dig!”
The boy wrinkled his nose but obeyed, if for no other reason than to get Grandfather home quickly.
He shoved away the heavy snow with frostbitten hands. The soil crumbled under numb fingers. After a few minutes of digging, the ground trembled.
“She is a restless sleeper. Kalin, back away now.”
Kalin scrambled from the shallow pit.
The dirt shook once. Again.
The bottom of the pit exploded, showering Kalin and Grandfather with rich soil. Kalin felt warm.
Something towered over the men. It stood on two bright legs. Green ivy grew up each leg, forming a loose tunic over its shining torso. A head too bright to see nodded to Grandfather. “As always, Steward,” a sweet feminine voice emanated.
“Kalin will be next,” Grandfather answered as he bowed.
“I look forward to his blessing.” The figure reached forward and pressed a finger against Kalin’s forehead. Warmth flooded through him. He felt his hands again. His labored breathing eased. The figure stood again. “Steward, we will meet again in the fall.”
“Will I bury you?”
“This year I will bury you.” The figure’s answer was laced with sorrow.
“As you say.” Grandfather nodded. “We will meet below the grave.”
The figure turned and was gone.
Sunlight broke through the clouds.
Kalin smiled. “Grandfather, it’s warm.”
The head crowned with long white hair nodded. “Yes. And we need hurry no longer. My task is done.”
FLASH! It’s Flash Friday, the day when Seeking New Earth authors write short stories up to 1000 words (“flash fiction”) or 110 words (“microfiction”). Both are sure to instigate the imagination and stimulate the synapses. Did you like what you read? Want to explore the story some more? Or maybe you want to try your own hand at some flash fiction? Leave us a comment below!