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Flash Fiction – First Snow December 18, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a series. Click Here to read from the beginning.


(years ago, on a chill winter night…)

All was quiet in the graveyard.  The first snow of the year had fallen, blanketing the tombstones in white. Grimm paced silently between them, leaving no tracks to mark his passing.  In the distance, he could just see the lights in the mansion, and if he listened closely he could hear the murmur of the people gathered inside.  Every year his master held a grand ball to celebrate the changing of the seasons.  And every year Lucien would come out to the graveyard to greet him, and bring him a gift.  Last year it had been a bottle of scotch. Something to warm the old ghost up, he had said, with a rare smile.  He had even poured the drink for Grimm, into a fine crystal bowl.  The empty bottle and bowl still decorated the mausoleum where the ghostly hound kept the few possessions he owned.

Grimm had expected Lucien to come out long before now. It was late, and the party at the mansion was winding down. He sighed, and laid his head down on his paws.  Much as he would have liked to join the festivities, his presence tended to make the guests nervous.  All he could do was wait, and hope his master had not forgotten him.

He was just about to give up and go back to his mausoleum when he heard footsteps crunching in the snow.  There was no way it could be his master, the steps were too light.  As he crept invisibly towards the intruder, a child’s voice called out his name.  Or at least, tried to. 

“Grimmalycann, Grimalla…. Oh, phooey.  Grimm Grimm Grimm!”

To his surprise, he felt the tug of a true summons.  Whoever this was, they were related to his master. Only one of the bloodline could call him.  Grimm materialized as he walked around a tombstone, and found himself looking down at a tiny little girl.  She had Lucien’s dark hair, dark blue eyes and the pale skin so common to ice elementals.   The stubborn set to her jaw was all Serenna though, and he sighed inwardly.  “Go away, child.  I am not a toy to be played with.”

“Nope, I’m not gonna go, cause daddy said you’d tell me to go but I was not supposedta cause someday you’ll work for me and I gotta be able to call you so I did and now you hafta tell me a story.”

Grimm blinked. He hadn’t realized anyone could talk that long without taking a breath. Extraordinary.

“Ooh, I almost forgot!”  She took off her mittens and pulled some slightly crumbled cookies out of her pocket. “Daddy says you hafta pay to call you but I don’t want you to hurt anybody so I brought some cookies ‘cause I like cookies and I thought maybe you’d like cookies too.”  She took a breath. “So, here’s some cookies and now you can tell me a story.”

Grimm blinked again, dumbfounded.  He tilted his head to the side, thinking furiously.  There was nothing that said there had to be blood shed to command his service. Only that a price be paid.  His nose twitched.  The cookies smelled good, they were covered in icing and sugar.  He lay down so the child could quit craning her neck to look at him.  “What is your name, little one?”

“My name is Nox and I’m five years old.  Are you gonna tell me a story or not?” she said, setting her hands on her hips.

Grimm gave her a solemn nod.  “The payment you brought is acceptable. A short story though, I somehow doubt you’re supposed to be out this late.”

A sly smile crossed her face, but she quickly remembered to look serious again.  It was all Grimm could do not to laugh at her careful dignity, as she set the cookies ceremoniously down in front of him.  He noticed she kept one for herself.  To keep him company while he ate, no doubt.

“Once upon a time….”

—–

Much to his dismay, she fell asleep halfway through the story, her head pillowed on his side.  Normally he would never call out to his master unless there was an emergency, but if Serenna caught the girl out here she’d have both of their hides. 

Lucien strode out of the darkness a few minutes later.  “I suppose it was only a matter of time before she ended up out here. I’m only surprised she waited this long, I told her about you this morning.” 

“Your daughter is fearless. “ Grimm said, laughing quietly.

A brief, proud smile crossed Lucien’s face. “You have no idea.  Do you know she tried to fly last week?  She heard some story about the House of Winds, and was determined to re-enact the whole thing.  We found her in the top branches of a tree in the garden.”  He shook his head.  “I think fighting a war was easier than raising a child.  I actually had some control over that.”

Grimm laughed along with him.  “Well, if she wanders out here again, I’ll keep an eye on her for you.”

Lucien reached into his pocket and pulled out a book. “For you.  We were so busy tearing the mansion apart looking for her, I almost forgot.”  He brushed the snow off the top of a gravestone and set it down.

Grimm’s tail thumped happily, he loved to read. “Thank you!”

 “Well, I’d better get her back to bed.”  Lucien took the half-eaten cookie out of Nox’s hand and retrieved her mittens before picking her up.  “Good night, old friend.”  He carefully cradled his little girl in his arms, and headed back up the hill to the mansion.

Grimm sat and watched them go.  That little imp was going to be no end of trouble.  He chuckled and snapped up the last of the cookies, making sure not to miss a single crumb. This wintertide had certainly turned out to be a memorable one.


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Comments»

1. Julie (Okami) - December 18, 2009

Please send Grimm to my house to live. I’ll take very good care of him.

I continue to love this story and can’t wait for the next installment.

Thank you.

2. soesposito - December 18, 2009

Oh, so that’s how they met! soooo sweet, what a great job you did showing their instant chemistry! Wonderful.

3. Marisa Birns - December 18, 2009

Yes! Cookies always are a good payment. 🙂

Loved the back story to Nox and Grimm.

And smiled at the line that Grimm knew back then that Nox will be “no end of trouble”

4. Craig Daniels - December 18, 2009

a wonderfully enchanted story that gives me warmth as I head outside…very nice work……Thanks for sharing

5. Laura Eno - December 18, 2009

Lucien might have called Grimm ‘friend’ but I’m glad that he’s free to honestly be a friend to Nox. This continues to be a wonderful series!

6. michelledevans - December 19, 2009

Ah ha, looking forward to the next installment…

7. Anne Tyler Lord - December 20, 2009

Oh, what a sweet interaction between Nox and Grimm. Nice to see how they met.

Cookies, how perfect!

Well-done!

8. Deanna Schrayer - December 22, 2009

I have some catching up to do on Nox and Grimm! Love this story, it’s so full of emotion. Very nicely done!

9. Walt - August 20, 2010

Its killing me not to read the latest installments as you post them but I want to get caught up. Excellent back story.

10. Xanto - September 3, 2010

Now I want cookies!


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