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Age of Innocence: Flash Fiction

Updated on March 29, 2019
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Chris has written more than 300 flash fiction/short stories. Working Vacation was 21st out of 6,700 in the 2016 Writer's Digest competition.

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Age of Innocence

Ikal watched his daughter, only a child, walk in front of the crowd, dressed to impress. Her name was Yatzil. She was nervous, shy, and afraid, too young to understand the significance of the pageantry and the honor it was for those in charge to have chosen her from among all the girls present.

At such an event, a ring of red, blue, yellow and pink flowers might have adorned her long black hair. A necklace of white blossoms might have hung low, emphasizing her undeveloped youthfulness and innocence.

But there were no flowers in the ceremony, no efflorescence at all in the surrounding countryside. These were mere insinuations of even greater impending perils which led to the selection of the child and the solemn tradition that was to follow.

Dan Fogelberg's The Innocent Age

In the shade of the trees which lined the brim of a deep pit and a pool far below, Ikal and all the people watched. The priest's assistants escorted Yatzil to the stone waiting-chamber on the brink of the chasm.

Rain had not come to the Yucatecan hinterland for many months. Garden and wild plants withered, curling like the tzabcan snake when it hides among dead leaves. Food became as precious as obsidian and hunger everyone’s constant companion. Desperation hung in the air like a heavy fog.

In the innocence of childhood, Yatzil stood on the far side of the chamber, naked, obedient, hands and feet bound, perched above the gaping mouth of the sinkhole. The priest reached out from the chamber and lightly touched the curve of her lower back. Yatzil fell.

The people wandered away with heads bowed and hearts hopeful, leaving Ikal gazing into the clear sky through eyes clouded by pooling tears.

“Mighty Chaac, rain god of the Mayan people, are you happy now?”

Pool, or Cenote, at Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

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working

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