Flash Fiction Friday – Report on the Demise of the Smelters

As I mentioned in my newest Worldbuilding Wednesday post (they’re back, yay), I’m currently doing a worldbuilding challenge arranged by World Anvil. For Thursday’s entry (though I didn’t write it until today), I wrote a small article called False Children, about a sort of monster in one of my worlds. Afterward the piece below popped into my head, so I thought I’d write it for Flash Fiction Friday. I might actually add some part of it to my article, to add some flavor to it. Hope you enjoy!

Report on the Demise of the Smelters

I write this to report the demise of the Smelters, whose home was at Tubridge, near the base of the collapsed west bridge. 

Just after the spring equinox, some ten days ago, I passed by the Smelters with a group travelling east and stopped briefly to trade. I had some various pieces of metal on me, which I had found on a recent raid into one of the fallen cities, and was given a good offer for them by the group Head, a fellow called Braids for his ornamental beard – enough supplies to last me on the next leg of my journey, and a portion of the metal, perhaps iron or copper, back when I next passed through, once it had been smelted and separated and turned into ingots. 

As I negotiated this with the Head, I noticed near his living place a child of perhaps seven or eight. I suspected right away that it was a False Child, for I had been to the Smelters many times before and traded with Braids in the past but I had never seen this child and never heard of Braids having another child since his only daughter was taken by the river some four years ago. As I was travelling with only a few companions, I was wary of a fight or making trouble between us all, but still I tried to gently enquire about the child. Braids was straight away defensive on the topic, as were some others nearby who happened to hear. 

Now convinced it was a False Child but with no evidence nor way to prove it, and neither wanting to linger long enough for it to worm its way into my mind, too, I quickly made my leave with my companions. Eight days later, when we passed by Tubridge once again, I stopped by again and though I was not surprised, it was with great sorrow I found the place empty, only bones left of them now and the beast long gone.

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