From my Flash Fiction collection
Moonlight shimmers on Jenny’s dress. It is the winter solstice and the night is clear, the bright white moon surrounded by velvet blackness. Jenny is the Chosen One. Her long golden hair crowned with a mistletoe and ivy garland cascades over her shoulders. Tall and slim, she holds the silver chalice aloft
She must be so cold, Cal thinks.
The villagers stand in a circle holding blazing torches, their faces reflected oddly in the flickering flames. The priest throws back his head and starts to chant. The gathering echoes his words of power. The spell reaches a climax and suddenly there is silence. Jenny puts the chalice to her lips and drinks. It falls to the floor and rolls away as the trance takes hold of her.
The chalice stops at the edge of the circle by Cal’s feet. He picks it up feeling the warmth where his sister had held it.
The priest lifts Jenny onto the stone table. A woman comes forward and takes the garland from her hair, replacing it with a delicate silver circlet. The priest starts to chant again and the woman returns to the circle. The transformation is about to begin.
As the villagers depart, Cal slips away and hides behind the old oak tree. He watches as the priest raises his arms and performs a final incantation before following the line of villagers back down to the valley.
Jenny is alone on the hilltop now. Cal shivers although he is dressed in his warmest clothes. How can Jenny stand this?
Something rustles in the undergrowth beside him. Cal looks down. A small furry creature looks up at him with bright black eyes. More rustling: a rabbit, now a fox and a fawn. Forest animals gather around the stone table. The smallest ones climb up and nuzzle up to Jenny. Soon she is covered by a living blanket of fur.
Out of nowhere, thunder; sounding like galloping horses. The noise reverberates around the hilltop. Clouds cover the moon. Cal cowers.
Then a column of the brightest light that Cal has ever seen strikes the hilltop. The creatures scatter leaving Jenny exposed on the stone table. The beam glows and throbs, alive with energy. Cal watches open-mouthed as Jenny’s body is lifted up.
The transformation, Cal thinks. No one has ever witnessed this.
* * *
The following morning the priest walks up the hill to bring back the Chosen One. As he looks around to check he is alone he notices something at the foot of the old oak tree. He hurries over. It is the boy, Cal, who picked up the chalice last night. The chalice is still clutched in his hand, but the body is lifeless. The priest shakes his head.
He walks over to the table. The girl is sleeping peacefully, covered in a shiny silver blanket. As he removes the strange material, she stirs and opens her eyes. Bright turquoise: the transformation is complete. She is truly the Chosen One.
©2018 Chris Hall