Flash Fiction: Early Bird (252 words)

Lucas eyed the heaped collection of shirts, books, boots, breeches, coats, scarves, blankets, coins, and knick-knacks in the middle of his bed. Then he looked down at the empty shoulder bag crumpled on the floor. Even with the draw string dragged open as far as it would go, it looked as if he would have jump on top if it to get it to hold more than his blanket and three rolled up shirts. It would never swallow the entire mountain he had sorted out.

Lucas glanced sideways at Elli.

She was close to sighing, but still holding onto the task at hand. “So, you’ll have to leave behind a few more things,” she murmured.

Lucas looked at the pile. He looked down at the bag. He would have to leave behind a lot more things.

“I think,” he said after a moment. “It would almost be easier to just light it all on fire.”

Elli’s eyebrows snapped up. He wasn’t sure if the idea surprised or impressed her. “Well, all right,” she said. “Do that then.”

Lucas cracked a smile in disbelief. “What?”

“Sure,” Elli said. “I mean, take care of two foxes with one trap. You had such trouble leaving on time last year, but I bet you’ll be early after Da chases you out with a bat for inventing the indoor bonfire. Go for it.”

Lucas bent double, holding himself against his knees while he laughed. Elli stayed just as she was, eyebrows high, but slowly remembering to grin.


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