short story, story promptTrix finds something unusual in a village that is completely devoid of its inhabitants – a small child who seems to have been left behind by the enemy…


The scrap of material caught Trix’s eye. It fluttered in the cold wind, the deep purple colour of it contrasting starkly against the pureness of the freshly fallen snow.

She nudged her horse forward and snagged the material from the fence post it had caught on.

“They were here,” she said, bitterness  tinging her voice. “Have we found any survivors?”

One of her companions, the elf Mhir’n, trotted closer to her. “Scouts report the usual, Trix. No one left in the village. Signs of struggle, but no blood.”

“By Kynari’s Fists,” she swore. She clenched her own hands. “How do they do it so fast? How do they get two hundred reluctant villagers to disappear without a trace?” Her horse pranced nervously under her, sensing her frustration. She forced herself to calm down and patted Savhir’s neck soothingly.

“Can the scouts find any tracks to follow?” She knew what the answer would be, but asked anyway, hoping against hope that this time the ghosts in purple had made a mistake.

Mhir’n shook his head. “Nothing good yet. There are some tracks that they were able to follow for about half a mile, then they dried up. With the recent snowfall, it’s hard to find anything usable.”

Sighing, Trix dismounted and rolled her shoulders. She’d do her usual walk around the crime scene, see if anything turned up. Tying Savhir’s reins to the fence post, she gave him half a carrot to snack on. “That’s your last one today,” she murmured affectionately. The gelding tossed his head in denial.

Scanning the abandoned farming village, she decided to start at the huts on the edge of town that seemed the least affected by the recent attack. There were less footprints scuffling the mud and snow and items seemed to be relatively unharmed whereas in the rest of the village, things had been overturned and produce spilled.

She approached a mud brick hut. The thatch seemed to be in good repair and the shutters were well-maintained. The whole village had an air of prosperity to it. The past few years had been good to the farmers. Swinging open the door, she left it open to let in some sunlight and inspected her surroundings. She almost shrieked as a dark blur shot out of the shadows and swiped at her ankles. It darted out the door.

Realising it was only a small brown cat, she laughed to herself. It had been a long time since something had startled her. Her wits were usually much sharper than that.

A muffled sniffle had her freezing in place. She stood in silence, but heard nothing more. Had she imagined it? Her hearing was usually impeccable. There was definitely someone hiding nearby.

Trix began to move around the room, searching for any hiding places. She whistled a cheery tune as she worked, hoping it might coax the person out. A slight scrape to her right told her she was close.

Gently, she eased open the door to a tiny cupboard. Wide brown eyes stared at her. Shivers wracked the child’s body.

“Hey, there you are,” Trix said softly, getting down on her hands and knees. “I’ve been looking for you.”

The little girl blinked and stared at her.

“What’s your name? I’m Trixie.”

No response.

“Are you hurt?”

There was the faintest shake of a head.

“I’ve got a honey bun in my pack. Are you hungry?”

A more definite nod.

“Why don’t you come out of there and you can eat it more comfortably?”

The girl hesitated for a moment, then placed a tiny hand in Trix’s outstretched one. Trix helped her crawl out of the cramped cupboard. She caught her breath as she realised the child was wearing a short purple dress. A talisman in the shape of a hawk’s head hung around the girl’s neck.

The sign of the ghosts in purple! Is she one of their children? Why has she been left behind? Can she lead us to them?

Questions spun in her head, but she kept smiling at the little girl and handed her the sticky bun. The child bit into it hungrily. She looked up at Trix. “Prysim,” she whispered, pointing shyly to herself.

“Hello, Prysim. It’s nice to meet you.” What in Kynari’s name am I going to do with a child of the enemy?

This one is interesting!

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