Fairy Tale Flash Monday - Changeling

In her brother’s chair, something was smiling at her...

The thing was not her brother.

It certainly looked like James. The dark, glossy hair. The slender fingers. The scar over his left eye, the one he got from falling out of the peach tree. All of it was his, and all of it was perfect.

Except the smile.

“Can you please pass the bacon?” it asked at breakfast, as James did most every morning. Anya silently passed it the plate and noted the rough feel of its fingertips brushing hers. She knew those calluses. She knew those hangnails and knobbly knuckles.

She knew better.

“Thank you,” it said, smiling. James never smiled.

When they came for him last night, Anya thought she was dreaming. There was an unreal quality to the air, a heavy haze made even more unsettling by the candle flickering on the dresser. Her brother was perched wild-eyed on the windowsill, surrounded by tiny people with faces both terrible and beautiful. Without thinking, she fumbled for the iron cross in her bedside table, but it was too late. James was gone.

And now, in her brother’s chair, something was smiling at her.

Her father took the dish of bacon from the creature and piled his own plate high. “What trouble will you two be causing today?” he asked.

“We’re going on a picnic in Miller’s Wood,” it said, licking its greasy lips.

Her father frowned. “Miller’s Wood? Isn’t that where little Thomas Greene went missing?”

“We’ll be careful,” it told him. “Anya will keep me safe.” It turned to gaze at her, and Anya felt something desperate lurch deep within her chest.

“We’re going to have so much fun, right sister?” it said, and the smile grew wider.

Kelsey Sorge hails from Staunton, Virginia, where she teaches English and dreams about living in a treehouse. Her work has been featured in Right Hand Pointing, One Sentence Poems, and The Drabble.
Read more at www.kelseysorge.com
or follow her on Twitter @kelseysorge

Cover Art: Amanda Bergloff
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