Belen’s Birthday

On Belen’s twelfth birthday, her mother died.

It was not through any natural means. A giant, in a fit of youthful lunacy, saw a small elf running and decided to stomp on it.

All things considered, Agatha’s was a kindly death. Where other giants had been known to capture elves, toy with them, torture them, and prolong suffering for days, weeks, sometimes months, and in particularly sociopathic cases, years, Agatha’s immediate death could be considered a kindly passing.

This did nothing to stem Belen’s rage.

Agatha had been collecting mushrooms, plans in the works to prepare a special meal for her daughter. She sent Belen to gather the sprouts on which the mushrooms would be served. Finishing her gathering, Belen heard a dim-witted guffaw, a scream, and a splat. She dropped the greens and ran toward the commotion only to see the back of the hulking monster, moving slowly for his kind, but still too fast for Belen to catch him. When he was out of sight, she ran to her mother, or the flat, bloody mess that remained of her.

Belen dug the grave herself, shoveled her mother’s remains in, and covered it over. It took her until well past midnight, having to stop every few minutes to sob or to rest.

When the last shovelful was placed, Belen’s tears were dry, and all the remained was a sense of injustice coupled with a cold fury.

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