One-Minute Epics are new micro tales from John Klobucher’s Lore of the Underlings, a lyrical fantasy-fiction world. Here’s the latest installment…
Blink of an Eye
“Three farns a bunch!” cried the blind old woman, hawking her bruised, rotten fruit on the side of the road. “Pepper pears! Ripe blood poms!” But the village folk all passed her by as usual, like she was part of the dusty landscape or some crumbling landmark they’d learned to ignore. After all, she’d been there forever it seemed — since before the Governor’s death squads, the blight on the orchards, the darkness taking Nord. She’d owned this spot for seventeen years from the day when the specter first appeared, that eye in the sky most people called the Pendant, which watched but never blinked.
This morning some boys saw fit to taunt the hag, or “Pommy” as they called her. “How ‘bout a sample?” one snickered. “They look so yummy.”
“Yeah, Pommy, we’re really hungry!”
She stabbed at their voices with her crook stick but missed them. They toppled her barrel and laughed. “Make us some pom jam, you ancient prune.”
“Curse you!” She shook her fist and spat.
Moldy blue poms spilled in all directions, some rolling way down the road where the boys had run. The blind woman picked up a plump one and hurled it. She didn’t miss this time.
Just then the noon bell tolled in the village square; the old crone pulled on her shawl. She expected the specter’s long shadow to fall any moment and turn the day to dusk. But somehow she still felt sun on her weathered skin and screwed up her blank white eyes.
Other townsfolk took notice and stopped in their tracks. They gawked at the changing sky.
“Look at the Pendant!”
“Why is it spinning?”
“Something’s going on…”
The witchy old woman knowingly sniffed the air. “Prepare yourselves, fools. They’re coming.”
To be continued…