Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction #8 - An Evening Encounter

For those who actually read the blog for the blog part of things, I had the most amazing lesson today! Superpony had lightbulbs flashing every few minutes. hahaha and that story's on the GRS blog :)

For my Canadian readers -- Happy Turkey Day!!! Have a great Thanksgiving :)

And for everybody else: Friday Flash :) I couldn't decide on the right ending -- I have an extra paragraph that I couldn't decide whether or not to include. I *think* it's better w/o, but not quite sure so I added it in after a break at the end. Let me know your thoughts!

*edited to add: Alright -- the votes are in! Last paragraph is gone :) Anybody reading from now on in gets the edited version! Cheers :) *

Thanks for reading!

An Evening Encounter

It was a dark and stormy night. Oh wait, no it wasn't -- that's somebody else's story. It was actually a stunningly gorgeous night, crisp and cool with the hint of unfallen snow on the air. The harvest moon lit the world with a surreal night-time glow and the stars were so numerous Elsie felt there had to be some uncharted ones visible to those who knew those kind of things.

She was at the cottage for Thanksgiving and had escaped the warmth and chaos of the indoors for a few moments of complete silence. She'd been looking forward to this weekend for a long time -- the complete escape from the reality of her everyday life. She took a deep breath and savored the intense quiet.

"Excuse me," the little voice made her jump and her heart pound unbelievably fast. Her mind reviewed every scary movie she'd ever seen as she debated whether her family would hear her if she screamed. And then her imagination was brought under control as she observed who was addressing her -- a being entirely too fantastic for her somewhat uninventive imagination to have created.

"I was wondering if you might be able to spare a slice of pumpkin pie?" the little man asked. What? Elsie nearly laughed at the disjointed request. He was a squat man, with a face that rather resembled the cabbage-patch doll she'd had as a child. His dark green hair, highlighted by the moonlight, was a shade that was never in fashion -- not even in the 80s -- and was pulled back into a pony tail tied with something that looked like braided grass but was sparkling in the starlight. His voice was high, which made him seem childlike, but his eyes were haunted and belied an age not revealed in his appearance.

"Pumpkin pie?" Elsie asked, bewildered.

"Precisely." he replied, offering no explanation as to the strange request.

It was Thanksgiving -- of course she had pumpkin pie. And as her family had already eaten, nobody would care if she helped herself to another piece; this was the weekend for overindulgence of very good food after all.

"Sure," she decided with a shrug. "I'll be right back." And with a backwards glance at the unusual little man, she returned to the warmth and comfort of the cottage. She cut a generous slice and foamed a significant amount of whipped cream on top -- pumpkin pie was useless without whipped cream after all! Now the interesting challenge would be getting back outside with the pie. Sure enough as soon as she put her jacket on her mother questioned it.

"Where are you going?"

"I left my book in the car -- just going to grab it." It wasn't entirely a lie, she *had* left her book in the car and did want to have it for the evening.

"With your pie?" damn, her mother never missed anything.

"Well I don't dare leave it here!" Elsie stated emphatically with a deliberate look at her uncles and her younger brothers. Her mother smiled in acknowledgment while her male relatives loudly defended their honour and Elsie slipped out the door.

She returned to where she'd left the little man, but nobody was there. She looked around and was beginning to feel more than a little foolish when he materialized beside her. He lifted the entire slice with one giant sized hand, somehow keeping the pie intact and the whipped cream on top and leaving her with an empty plate. "Thank you," he said, and with a little half-nod, half-bow, he was gone.

"Well I guess that's that," Elsie thought, somewhat bemused, as she returned to the house, remembering to stop at the car and pick up her book.

"Polished that off pretty quickly, didn't you?" her brother was quick to point out as she walked into the cottage w/ the empty plate.

"It's good stuff." Elsie said with a laugh and fell back into the camaraderie of extended family gatherings.

Late that night when she finally went to sleep, she dreamed. She dreamed of summer in the nearby meadow and fairies, for they could be nothing else, dancing around the tree. Most ignored her completely, but one came and gestured to Elsie to follow. Quickly they came upon a pumpkin patch that, in the way of dreams, Elsie accepted unquestioningly. As she watched, Elsie saw the little man very like the one she met earlier appear to tend the patch; he seemed oblivious to her and the fairy's presence.

Elsie looked at the fairy quizzically. "Garden gnomes," the fairy answered her unasked question in a lilting voice. "Their lives rely on their gardens; this year the trolls wiped out the plot. If they couldn't recreate it by next year, the entire pack would die. It was out of desperation that Finzig approached you -- having spoken to you, law prohibits his return, but the pumpkin source you provided will save his family and the white gold on top will make them incredibly wealthy. That was very generous of you to include." The fairy said with a smile.

"What of Finzig?" Elsie asked, moved by the plight of one who'd risk all to save his family.

"He's going to travel," the fairy told her. "He'll be as the minstrels of your history once were -- welcome everywhere briefly and nowhere forever. He'll carry news and stories and discoveries from one garden to another, perhaps occasionally posing for photographs with those of your world. Don't look so sad," she told Elsie, "it's a life he'll embrace. As a child he was forever wandering and as an adult never settled in the pack. This will give him a chance to do what he's always wanted to do, and a valid reason for doing it. He's one of the few to ever leave with pride and his story will be sung for generations. And what you did made his leaving worthwhile. I brought you here so you could know that." And on that note the dream faded and Elsie opened her eyes to find herself lying in bed with her mind still in that place between sleep and awake where you still remember dreaming.


hahaha so this story was written at least partially for Chris who chose to avoid wizards in favour of garden gnomes *g*


I would leave the last paragraph out - it has a sense of overexplaining. This was cute!


I liked it. I think you are right, that the added paragraph is not needed. I enjoyed the whole little magical world you set up here. And may be blessings of the gnomes be upon her. :)


What a great story - loved your description of the gnome and the colour of his hair not even being fashionable in the 80s. Hilarious. And the occasional posing for photos. Very funny.

Leave out the last par. Totally unnecessary IMHO!


hahaha thanks guys! I guess the whole "when in doubt, leave it out" holds true eh? Last paragraph gone! Cheers!


lol, I'm now intrigued about the last part!

Very cute story, very nicely told. The funny interjections - "not even in the 80s", "occasionally for photos" - went very well.
And the family setting (never underestimate the capacity of the male stomach) was very natural-sounding.


I am sad I got here late and missed the paragraph, but I loved the story.

It was very refreshing, and damn it... I want some pumpkin pie too!



I quite liked it, Laur!

There needs to be more stories about garden gnomes, especially travelling ones.


I liked this quite a bit. As others have said your humorous bits worked well. I like the idea that whipped cream is valuable to them.


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